Saturday, July 31, 2010

Slow Me Down!

So many girls today have so many expectations set on them by society. At times we need to remember that they are just growing up in a crazy world, and need a minute to breathe! I watched this video and immediately thought of sharing this with you all! I think it is a great video for girls and for us women. It is a great reminder that sometimes we need a minute to slow down and just breathe.

Friday, July 30, 2010

No health benefits, only harm


Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types.

1.Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
2.Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina).
3.Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.
4.Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

After discussing Violence Against Women, extensively, I thought I'd share this. I'm just mortified and I feel like I've reopened Pandora's box. I want to stop this ridiculous practice. I get that we can't all agree that there's "difference" in FGM and MGM but...come ON! You're not torturing a baby boy....they're not tortured. They have antiseptics, they have numbing creams--most sleep through the procedure. What's happening to females is a tragedy. Period. It's not the same thing, and I'll argue that with anyone who says it is. It's a violent act towards women to prevent them from feeling sexual pleasure--until their husband wants to slice them open, have their way and then stitch them back up in some cases. You want to compare the two? I'm sad.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

UCF Developing Virtual Game About Sex Ed

I really have no words about this, but wanted to share the link. Hooray for tuition hikes, huh?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

If you really knew me?

If you really knew me just premiered as a reality TV show on MTV. This show is based on an amazing project that is sweeping through schools across the nation. In my opinion this show can be a very positive experience for young girls and boys. This project helps break the Walls of prejudice, discrimination, and hate. Please read this article and check out the show for yourself! Please let mr know what you all think.

What many girls go through when they look in the mirror!

There is so much pressure out in the world for young girls. Young girls have to be popular, pretty, smart, virginal, sexual, silly, frail,and strong all at the same time!
There are so many contradicting messages that are being told to these girls. How do we expect them to love themselves if we live in a so society of contradictions?
How do we expect girls to be confident in who they are when there are pressures in the world to look "perfect". I remeber thinking like this poem describes at many points in my youth. I am sure that many of you did too. :(

Olivia Munn vs Playboy.

I'm not quite decided on whether I truly sympathize with Oliva Munn's predicament. Whatever your opinion on the magazine, you have to admit that it's a powerful cultural force in America today. People want to read it to be titillated. Many people want to be famous and read about in publications with the largest circulation possible. I don't believe it's right to want to benefit from the readership of Playboy and expect the sexist rules it applies to all of the other women in its pages not to apply to you. On the other hand, I don't believe it's right to have those sexist rules in the first place, or ignore a contract the way that the crew of the photo shoot did. Another part of me feels that if you're willing to go topless with hair covering your breasts, is it really any less modest, dignified or classy to actually show your breast? Fully nude or not, Munn was apparently encouraged by her publicist to appear in a magazine that is known for objectifying women and she went along with it. How do you feel about this situation?

Sequential Feminism

When it comes to comic books, you may think of them as being particularly male oriented reads. There are plenty of wonderful examples, though, of comics created by females that are more realistic and heartfelt than the rugged late 80s-early 90s norm which is, thankfully, going extinct. Women have been drawing comics for as long as there have been comics, but only comparatively recently has the market for these works been acknowledged, and it's much easier to find graphic novels drawn and/or written by women not just in the underground 'zine section but also on the mainstream shelves. This mainstreaming of feminine comics is a very good thing, bringing a broader range of perspectives to the comics world.
There are plenty of great artists you can look up, like Lynda Barry, Colleen Coover or Amanda Conner. But I wanted to write this post because of a surprising read from Eric Powell, known for his watercolored comics about thugs, zombies and women who look like 50s pinups. I've loved his characters and art for years, but never expected anything resembling feminism from his work. Taking a break from his main projects, though, he created a 3-part miniseries called Chimichanga, about a little bearded girl at the circus named Lula. Lula is a surprising character as far as Powell creations go- She has indomitable self esteem in the face of a society that finds her ugly.

The rising incidences of this kind of attitude in male-created comics shows that we've made progress, I feel. Please take the time to check out more comic works by female artists!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In Her Shoes




I wanted to let everyone know about a great book that I just picked up and can not put down. It is called "In Her Shoes" by the well-known author Jennifer Weiner. The book was also made into a movie in 2005 staring Cameron Diaz. This book relates to all women, but I think its especially great for young women who are currently going through college. It's the story of 2 sisters who go through the lifes struggles growing up in the typical family. I have not finished the book yet, but have heard great things about the book as well as the film. Wanted to recommend it all to you as well. Enjoy!


FGM

I just thought I should post this link because of this weeks discussion.
In my opinion it is incredibly sad what these girls have to go through!

My Girls

As some of you may know I work for a local non profit organization that houses foster kids. Thanks to this organization I have learned a great deal from these kids especially from the young girls. There are two very sweet twins that I work with. They are both in high school. They were seperated from their family because their older brother did some inapropriate things to them when they were younger. They have been in foster care for 3 years now. Even though, they have been through horrible things in their short lives they are so strong hearted. They have an unbreakable bond with so much love. They do not wallow in their own sorrow, but they make the best of their situation. They are intelligent, sweet, and strong individuals. I know they have a bright future ahead of them because of their incredible strength and faith in eachother.
Just thought I should share this with all of you lovely ladies !

Monday, July 26, 2010

Being Girl

Do you remember when you first got your period?

Do you remember having all these questions, but were embarassed to ask your mom or friends?

Here is a site I used to use as a young girl, that still exists today. It's a website sponsored by Always and Tampax and answers all questions related to having your menstrual period. I think it is a great resource for "girls" first experiencing puberty. Recommend it to your young sisters, or to use with your own daughter. Enjoy!

http://www.beinggirl.com

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All Girl Army

Found here:

Are you a young feminist looking for a vital community, peer and mentor support, energized discussion and a great place to be seen and heard? The All Girl Army wants you!

The main part of the All Girl Army site is the individual blogs for no more than 29 girls and women between the ages of 10 and 25 who identify as feminist, and a single, collective blog which highlights entries from the individual blogs, as well as news items pertinent to women and girls and topics given for more writing and discussion.

Blogs are expected to represent you and your life, so are personal in some respect, but should address women's and feminist issues en large, evaluated through your own lens. Remember: the personal IS political, so every post needn't be a political screed, but personal entries should have express relevance to feminist/women's issues in some way. You can always evaluate issues in your daily life via a feminist lens in some respects, or share experiences you know other women are also having.

Bloggers are required to post regularly: a minimum of twice each month. Bloggers will also need to read the blogs of the other collective members, participate in and help moderate the discussion areas of the site, and take an active part, including leadership roles, in creating and managing site plans, polices and practices.

Because we have set a limit on the number of women blogging at a given time, there is an application process. The application information you share below will only be seen by the application reviewer(s), except where otherwise noted. Once bloggers pass the age of 25, they may elect to become part of the board collective composed of a group of women over 25, working in support of the younger women.

If accepted, there are some basic rules and guidelines you will be expected to adhere to and abide by. Take a look now, before applying, to make sure that these will work for you. The application follows at the end of this page.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Purity pledges on the Internet

Do you read The American Virgin? If not, you should. It's a really great blog with a focus on "virginity" -- both the purity movement, abstinence-only education, and they also do some first person interviews with people who consider themselves "virgins" with questions about their opinions on the topic.

The latest post has to do with virginity pledges happening on Facebook. Full disclosure: I find nothing wrong with people abstaining from sex for any particular reason that they choose to. As a sex-positive feminist, who am I to tell people what they should or should not do with their own bodies? Making informed choices about sex -- whether it's having a happy, healthy sex life within a monogamous relationship, or having a happy, healthy sex live with as many partners as you'd like -- also means that you have the option to make informed choices about not having sex. The key word is "informed" -- are you remaining abstinent because it is what *you* truly want to do, or are you remaining abstinent because you think it is what you *should* do?

The many questions I have for people who sign purity pledges are: what will you do if you never get married? What will you do if you do get married, have sex with your new husband or wife, only to find that they become unfaithful or leave you? Will you become a "born again" virgin? What if you find you are not sexually compatible at all? These are not meant to be judgmental questions, but things that are never talked about within the purity movement and ones that I would be interested in seeing how they are handled.

Coupled with the promise of staying pure, it also puts a lot of pressure on marriage and the idea of finding "the one" -- but does this mean people will settle? Or worse, rush into things? Divorce rates are higher today than ever, yet the people who are often behind the purity movement are also the ones fighting against same-sex marriage, which is another interesting aspect tied into it.

I know we're all over The Purity Myth but it's a topic that continues to fascinate and confuse me, all at the same time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Don'g blog it

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/24320935/detail.html
This is a news story that I found today on ClickOrlando.com. What struck me about this article is circumstances that surround the 11 year old girl and her parents reaction. I am not going to mention details about the article, because I want you to read it and think about it, and also think about how you use the internet’s blog sites. Do you consider who is really watching your blogs? Have you ever considered that future employers or scholarship awarders might come across your blogs when they research you on the internet? Did it ever occur to you that someone you baby sit for might happen upon what you write on the internet, and that can impact their impression on your ability to care for their children? Blogging is not private, or secure, or even wise. It is no different that leaving your diary on the lunch room table, or even worse, it being read daily over a loud speaker so all can hear. My advice as a 33 year old mother of two who does check the internet for those who watch my children is; don’t use it to express private and personal information and opinions. Keep it clean. If you would not show an employer, parent, or grandparent a picture then don’t post it. If you would not say it to everyone, then don’t blog it.


Robin Apelado

Stories on Sex Ed

Just from reading the postings of my fellow classmates, I have come to realize the variety of experiences women have both in their formal sexual education and the way in which they received "the talk" from their parents. It hit me, though, that most of us represent the same generation of women, learning about sex from pretty much the same generation of adults. If those experiences were so radically different, my mind was abuzz with possibility.

When my grandmother was a child, her mother was terrified to discuss with her anything about the changes in her body, so she simply didn't bother. One day, my grandma went to the bathroom to discover that she was bleeding heavily, and she was scared out of her mind. With no information on menstruation, she jumped to the conclusion that she was dying and began sobbing hysterically. She went running to her mother to tell her, and her mother apparently deemed it appropriate to tell her that she had simply gotten her period. As a result, my grandma started discussing menstruation with my mom as young as six or seven, to keep that from ever happening to her.

Here is a link to a post from a while back on Feministe, about the ways in which girls were taught about their bodies. The post itself is interesting, but the best part is the comment section, filled with amazing stories from women of all ages about their experiences. I highly recommend reading through them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Abstinence and Pop Culture

Relevant to our discussions, there's a great post up at Feministing about mentions of abstinence in pop culture.

As someone who has read all of the Twilight books, it is the one thing that really freaked me out about them. Like the Feministing post states, the messages about sex in the books are incredibly confusing. The worst part, however, is when Bella and Edward do have sex, it is very similar to rape, i.e. she wakes up, has no clue what happens, and is covered in bruises because he can't "control" himself.

With regards to Taylor Swift, I know that she is often pitted against Miley Cyrus to further perpetuate the virgin/whore dichotomy we see repeated in society. In her popular song "Fifteen" it's written from the perspective of a girl who watches her friend fall in love with a boy, lose her virginity, and then get dumped. The lyrics in question are: "Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind, and we cried." (Everything she had, indicating her virginity?) There are a lot of things to love about Taylor Swift (she's young, talented, writes her own music, plays an instrument, and seems to really enjoy what she does and interacts with her fans), but this song is definitely sending the wrong message to young girls. I know the overall message is that boys come and go and that the majority of girls think they are in love with their first boyfriends but it's rare that those relationships last. But it also places a lot of stock in how relationships can ruin you, and doesn't speak a lot about girls having independence outsive of romantic relationships.

And yet, parents seem to think these things are okay for their children despite the messages they send. It begs the question of: is anything in pop culture really "safe" for girls?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

HUGE

I've been watching the new series called HUGE on ABC family for the past couple of weeks. It just started two weeks ago and it stars Nicky Blonski (the girl who played in Hairspray). It's about this girl, Willamina (Will for short), who has been sent to fat camp to put it bluntly. There are people at the camp from every shape and size. Their daily tasks consist of exercising, eating healthy, and talking in groups with each other about their struggles with being overweight. I'm overweight myself so I really like the show and can relate to quite a few things that have gone on so far. On last weeks episode a new girl came to camp and her parents and little sister came with her and stayed a few nights even though camp leader was against it. At one point the girls little sister stood in front of the mirror observing herself. She held her shirt up and would suck in her little gut. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her weight. It just killed me to see this young girl about 10-11 years old doing that. To me that should be the last thing on her mind. Just thought I would share....it's a good show. It comes on Monday nights at 9 if anyone wants to watch it.

-Lindsey

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vindictive Valenti

We started to read “The Purity Myth” this week. I do have to say the author Jessica Valenti is a rather angry woman when it comes to the standard of maintaining virginity until marriage. If one can read through her rants on Christian organizations, the real meat of her thoughts comes into view. Her point is that the conservative view of maintaining virginity overshadows the bigger sexual issues that plague our country. Valenti points out the over sexualizing of youth as one of these bigger issues, and she is right, to an extent. This particular issue is addressed by many of the same conservative Christians that promote waiting until marriage to have sex. This is just one of many topics that plagued me while working through the chapters. The other thing that plagued me was the thought of this book actually promoting youth sex. Is it? I really am not sure. Her voice may be intended for the 17 and older reader, and if her statistics are correct, is about the age when teens are having their first sexual experience. Valenti could have been more powerful with her message to this older teen group if her thought process was a bit more clear and less of a personal rant against conservative Christian groups. She has a great deal to say and valid points concerning the sexualizing of women and girls that should be addressed by our society.

Robin Apelado

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pretty Face



What is this mess if photographs I've made into a collage above? It's just images I've found on the internet of women, and men, saying ENOUGH with the negative media. Enough. It's girl power, and it's boy power. We live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by negative media...media telling us who we SHOULD be. What we SHOULD look like. How we SHOULD dress. Who we SHOULD date. How much we SHOULD weigh. Let me touch on this for a moment..How much we SHOULD weigh? What's a good weight? Does wii fit know? Really...does it know what I should weigh, to feel "good about myself," or is it telling me when I get on the scale I need to weigh what it says in order for people to look at my body and not be mortified. Have you ever heard someone say, "She's a butta face." Everything looks good...butta face. That infuriates me....but it's the same thing when someone is viewed for only a face....only her face looks good, her body is despicable. Why? Is it because society says so? Continuing on my tangent...The magazines, newspapers, internet sites tell us what color our hair SHOULD be. What color eyes we SHOULD have. What face shape is MOST appealing. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of trying to look like someone I'm not, act like someone I wouldn't want to be friends with, and trying to emulate the cover of some bullshit magazine. I'm me, and I like me just as I am...and you SHOULD too.

Here are some websites I've come across lately...and I've enjoyed. Check them out:

http://womensglib.wordpress.com/

http://thefbomb.org/

http://www.girlsforachange.org/


Forget the media, what do they know anyway?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tampon Timeline

Ever wonder how tampons have evolved? What did they use back then during the time of BC? I was searching through the gURL.com website and came across this tampon timeline. It is very interesting and gave me a few laughs, but I also learned from it. Just a few I found interesting:

During the BC Era:

Egypt: disposable plugs from softened papyrus.

Ancient Greece: wrapped scraps of lint around a lightweight wooden stick, probably reusing the stick and replacing the lint as needed.

Africa: rolled up long blades of grass from the planes to create their tampons and pads.

Japanese: molded paper pulp into plugs to wear as tampons.

Pacific Island: harvest absorbent sea sponges from the ocean and insert them as tampons.

Thought these were interesting, check out the other eras. The link is:

http://www.gurl.com/findout/guides/articles/1,,716773,00.html

PRECIOUS- ‘the teenager who made a come-back’.

PRECIOUS- ‘the teenager who made a come-back’.


I chose to review the movie Precious starring Gabourey Sidibe, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Patterson, and Mo’Nique, written by Geoffrey Fletcher, directed by Lee Daniels based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” In the movie "Precious" Claireece Precious Jones is portrayed as an obese, illiterate, black 16-year-old teen that is pregnant by her father with her second child. Most girls and women have experienced some kind to gender discrimination while growing up, and will acknowledge that this possible took place either at school, our in their community. Precious endures many hardships in her young life such as, constant physical and mental abuse daily by her peers in her neighborhood, her mother, and repeated rapes by her father. The story supposedly took place in 1987 in Harlem, in New York City. I was able to draw a few connections between this story and the narrator of ‘The World and What’s Wrong’, when she says, “You can choose to let others control your life, or you can choose to believe in your power to make a difference. When someone gives you that you’re worth-nothing look, you should return it with a smile instead of the same (Goldwasser 231). In the story she resides in a rundown apartment and the family survives on welfare. Her first child, has Down Syndrome and is being cared for by Precious's grandmother. Grandmother’s raring baby for young girls is nothing new; this has being happing from generations back. As females we appear to be the best choice for the narrator’s voice, because many of us has gone through the same emotions that Precious went through, so we might find ourselves thinking before we come to a conclusion. Precious felt overpowered by father throughout her story, and thought she had to continue to have sex with him. She experiences rejection by her mother and hates herself for not being able to stand up to both of her parents. However there became a point in the movie when Precious’ mother felt intimidated by her sudden forthright behavior after she had visited the social worker who assured and encouraged Precious to stand up to her mom. At that point the sharp gaze of her eyes showed that she had overcome her fears and was willing to accept whatever consequences resulted thereafter.
During Precious’ second pregnancy, she is suspended from her junior high school and is referred to an alternative school by the principal. “I do know that there are a lot of things thrown at teenage girls these days. Like the media. They tell us we have to be a size zero, and what do even the prettiest of women promise us we can look forward?” (Goldwasser 230). Reporters who go around gathering information for media most times will highlight the minorities in urban areas, but one should remember that girls in all races, and socio- economic status experience and live similar circumstances. It is my believe that the reporters do not take the time to go into the rural areas to get their information/ stories, because ‘juicy information sells faster’.
“As girls mature into young women and enter adolescence, the physical changes of teen hood accelerate them into awareness of the body as a site of sexuality” (Lipkin 2). Like the ‘Maury’ show aired on television, we see similar stories daily, about girls having sex or baby with their, father, step-father, uncle, best friend’s husband or boyfriend even their neighbor. Precious is a true to life story that the public needed to know about. Many young girls are faced with similar situations daily. Like many teen girls in her mind she envisions another world, one in which, she is loved and appreciated. Precious uses imagination and fantasy and sees herself in music videos; believing she is a superstar and thus strive for the attention. She looks at photo albums, and imagines the pictures are her. When she looks in the mirror, she sees the image of a pretty, white, thin, blonde girl, and in her mind she envisions another world, one in which she is loved and appreciated.
Several teenagers experience the same faith. In many cases it is not that they are ‘bad’ or stupid, but it is mainly due to the lack of guidance. I truly admired her love for her children, despite the verbal and physical abuse she underwent by her mother; she managed to remain faithful and respectful. Her mother never offered compassion or words of encouragement. Instead precious was belittled with name calling, slapped around physically and would be reminded at all times that she did not have the looks, body or ability to make it in the real world. The only independence Precious had with her family was the key to the apartment door, and even so her mom complained about her hours of coming and going.
Throughout the entire movie all Precious strived for was LOVE, yet she remarked that “Love makes me feel worthless.” I think the ending is kind of a new beginning to another teenagers’ stride for acceptance. After hearing Precious’ struggles, I am surprise she did not commit suicide, due to feeling ashamed of herself. I was pleased to see her quick halt in realizing, ‘that she can rid herself of all the emotions, and fears she had built up inside of her’. Her strength was taking her tragedy and turning it into her success story. The movie ‘Precious ‘has shown many young people both males and females how one can break away from a destructive settings and become, ‘the unsuspected’. To me that’s a real success in life! Like the saying goes ‘if you can think it you can achieve it’. All Precious needed was love and some words of encouragement.

Here is a sneak peek at a part of the movie. Enjoy! http://www.moviefone.com/movie/precious/31794/video/precious-based-on-a-novel-by-sapphire/23765163001