Monday, August 9, 2010

Beauty and Body Image in the Media

I found this article from the Media Awareness Network. I thought it goes great with Week Twelves discussion and other discussions in the past.

How does the media effect girls and their body image? Does it lower their self-esteem? This is a great resource for answers to those questions and many more. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

END Sex Trafficking

This site was created to educate the public about sex trafficking through education and creative media (this problem affects over one million people--girls being the most vulnerable).


Girls, Models, and Warped Body Image

This is an article from USA today looking at how young girls are bombarded with the message that they need to be super-skinny in order to be sexy (what of young girls feeling the need to be sexy?).


Body iCON

I came across this golden nugget of a site while doing research for a sociology course regarding gender. This site was created by graduate students of Columbia University, for their masters project in journalism:

"We set out to interview a diverse group of women and experts to give us an up-to-the-minute report. Here, we provide an insightful look at the private and pervasive issues surrounding our bodies."

I have spent hours on this site--it is fantastic.
I ha

This website is basically the YouTube of feminism. It's great. It has all sorts of videos, commercials, PSAs, previews for feminist documentaries, lectures, and more thing relevant to feminism. I've spent hours and hours on here already. It is truly a wonderful resource.

Gender and Tropes in advertising

This is a very comprehensive website that is quite interesting. It began as a power point and now has over 25oo images that can be accessed as learning tool for gender studies by anyone. Check out the section entitled "kids and ads" and tell me what you think (a little disturbing?).


1001 Feminist Links and Other Interesting Topics

I thought this was a fabulous site, there is a lot to explore (something for everyone), I hope that you will enjoy!


It's a girl

The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, "It's a girl." ~Shirley Chisholm

I came across this quote and thought it was so true. I remember as we talked about this at the beginning of the class this summer. Just thought I'd share!

U By Kotex

I'm sure you've all seen this commercial before, but I love it, and the others like it. I love that a tampon company finally realized that they were insulting our intelligence by thinking that seeing a woman in white pants, dancing, would convince us that their tampon was the best. I don't care what tampon I'm wearing. I am NOT wearing white pants on my period! Anyway, I find this to be a step in the right direction when it comes to treating women like humans, treating their problems frankly, and not being afraid to be honest about menstruation.

Gender Policing Phrases

When I was working on my service learning, I was helping out on the Hidden Treasure Farm. Because there were no women or children to work with at the time, I was set to doing farm tasks. At one point, I was cleaning chairs in an area that turned out to be full of wasps and ran away. After getting a class of water and calming down, I headed back to set aright the cleaning supplies, which were now strewn everywhere. As I did so, I gave myself a pep talk, which consisted of "Okay. Time to grow a pair and pick up the buckets." And then, of course, I was appalled at myself. Grow a pair? Of testicles? Because I needed testicles to go be around wasps.

As the girlfriend of man who is afraid of bugs and runs away screaming (like a girl?) every time he sees a tiny spider, I know that being man does not make one brave or able to handle little stinging things. I even know that having testicles does not make a man. But phrases like "ran away like a girl" and "grow a pair" are used so often that they seep into our psyches and become attached to gender stereotypes. I consider myself to be pretty aware of myself and highly feminist, but even I kept having thoughts like this the whole time I was completing tasks that took "masculine" strength. In order to lift branches, I felt I should "man up". Why is that? Why on earth wasn't I just thinking, "I should really work out" versus "I should be a man"? How can I change the lines of thinking and really common phrases that pop to my mind unbidden? And in the meantime, how do they affect me and my perception of men and women?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hot X: Algebra Exposed!

Heard an interview with Danica McKellar (Winnie from the Wonder Years) on NPR's Science Friday last night. McKellar is a math wiz and has finished her third book Hot X: Algebra Exposed! which combines math equations and personal stories about getting through middle and high school for girls. There is relationship advice and even an excerpt about domestic violence and the rise of dating violence among young people. This is from McKellar's website:

Straight from Hollywood, two-time New York Times bestselling author Danica McKellar delivers Hot X: Algebra Exposed!

With Math Doesn't Suck and Kiss My Math, actress and math genius Danica McKellar shattered the "math nerd" stereotype by showing students how to ace middle school math and pre-algebra in her unique, just-us-girls style.

Now Danica takes on the most feared of all math classes: algebra! Sizzling with Danica's trademark sass and style, Hot X: Algebra Exposed puts math-phobic students at ease, showing anyone how to become confident and totally "get" topics like square roots, polynomials, quadratic equations, word problems, and more. Each chapter features:

•Easy to follow, step-by-step instruction
•Time-saving tips and tricks for homework and tests
•Illuminating practice problems with detailed solutions
•Real-world examples that teens can relate to!
•True stories from Danica's own life as a math student and actress
Hot X: Algebra Exposed also includes special features like "How Can I Focus and Avoid Distractions?" giving students real solutions to help them be their best!

Combining fun reader-favorites like personality quizzes, creative illustrations and real-life testimonials with handwritten step-by-step math lessons, Danica's irreverent, lighthearted approach helps girls everywhere conquer their fears of algebra, opening the door to higher scores, better grades, and overall math success.

With Danica as personal tutor and coach, girls everywhere can stop dreading algebra and watch their scores rise!

It's sad as women we need to resort to these measures

I came across this thing on my best friend's page on Facebook and shared it with everyone on there ( I didn't seem to get much response). But i personally was very outraged at the extent that women need to work to protect themselves. This is an article of a new type of condom that was made for women just in case they are raped there are some special teeth on it and it grips onto.... well you get the idea. The article is that link. Unfortunely the extent of the violence on women that is endured in Africa has resulted in women resorting to this.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Just thought i should share

For my service learning I had the opportunity to share with a group called Las Princesitas~~~ translation The Princesses. I just wanted to share their pictures and share how close i got to these young girls and hope that I somewhat helped or impacted their lives with what I had to share with them.

On the top left is Jenny she's 13 and my little sister (literally), then theirs estrella and lorena. She's the leader of the group and thats her daughter she's 13.And they have the most amazing relationship. Then at the bottom left is Paola she's 12 and then Bryana who's 13. All these girls are very beauttiful on both the inside and out and best of all they know it and are not ashamed.

Just thought i should share!

Girl Power!

The Girl Power! A Healthy Woman Event connects parents and their daughters in an afternoon filled with laughter, learning and listening. The event includes:

•Engaging certified experts in the fields of nutrition, self-esteem, safety and communication
•Interactive, fun exhibits
•Delicious treats
•Fantastic Prizes
•A gift bag to be filled with goodies

The 2010 Girl Power! A Healthy Woman Event will be held Saturday, August 28, 2010

Orange County Convention Center South Concourse 12:30 - 5:30 p.m

Here are a few of the speakers for the one day event:
•Nurse practitioner with Dr. Catherine Zelner, GYN
•Co-founder, Parents Everywhere
•Columnist, Moms Like Me
•Parenting Educator (teaches workshops in town)
•Reiki & Qigong Practitioner
•UCF College of Nursing Adjunct Faculty

Cool Girl Julie

I am across this website/blog about this cool girl Julie. This is from her cite:

"I live in Chicago. I am in the gifted program at school. I love playing music, dancing, and drawing. I am in Girl Scouts."

"I have a lot of pets:3 dogs ( Lilly, Laui, and Cocoa)2 cats (Winnie, and Buddy)
1 Beta Fish (Swimmy)1 Guinea Pig (Lucky)"

She reviews music, has her own videos and sells merchandise.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Urban Outfitters Awfulness

What do you think of Urban Outfitters campaign and collection of t-shirts that encourage eating disorders? 

A Letter to Girls from Eve Ensler

A few months ago, I spotted Eve Ensler's new book in Borders. I didn't have the money to buy it, so I sat down and read the entire thing in an hour. I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World is said, by Ensler, "a literary text inspired by traveling the world, by witnessing events, by listening to real and imagined conversations. On occasion a monologue was inspired by an article, an experience, a memory, a dream, a wish, an image, or a moment of grief or rage."

The monologues inside made me laugh, made me cry, made me question, made me angry, etc. Much like the The Vagina Monologues, it is empowering and sad and rage-inducing and beautiful. I urge all of you to check it out, to buy it for yourself or for a teenage girl in your life, and to share the stories with others.

I wanted to post Eve's "introduction"/letter to girls/readers in the beginning. This was posted in a magazine a few months ago (Glamour, I believe) and it's available under the "Search Inside" function on Amazon so there should be no copyright infringements violated. It is a little long, but it's beautiful.


Dear Emotional Creature,

You know who you are. I wrote this book because I believe in you. I believe in your authenticity, your uniqueness, your intensity, your wildness. I love the way you dye your hair purple, or hike up your short skirt, or blare your music while you lip-sync every single memorized lyric. I love your restlessness and your hunger. You are one of our greatest natural resources. You possess a necessary agency and energy that if unleashed could transform, inspire, and heal the world.

I know we make you feel stupid, as being a teenager meant you were temporarily deranged. We have become accustomed to muting you, judging you, discounting you, asking you--sometimes even forcing you--to betray what you see and know how you feel.
You scare us. You remind us of what we have been forced to shut down or abandon in ourselves in order to fit in. You ask us by your being to question, to wake up, to reperceive. Sometimes I think we tell you we are protecting you when really we are protecting ourselves from our own feelings of self-betrayal and loss.

Everyone seems to have a certain way they want you to be--your mother, father, teachers, religious leaders, politicians, boyfriends, fashion gurus, celebrities, girlfriends. In researching this book I came up with a very disturbing statistic: 74 percent of you say you are under pressure to please everyone.

I have done a lot of thinking about what it means to please. To please, to embody the wish or will of somebody other than yourself. To please the fashion setters, we starve ourselves. To please boys, we push ourselves when we aren't ready. To please the popular girls, we end up acting mean to our best friends. To please our parents, we become insane overachievers. If you are trying to please, how do you take responsibility for your own needs? How do you even know what your own needs are? What do you have to cut off in yourself in order to please others? I think the act of pleasing makes everything murky. We lose track of ourselves. We stop uttering declaratory sentences. We stop directing our lives. We wait to be rescued. We forget what we know. We make everything okay rather than real.

I have had the good fortune to travel around the world. Everywhere I meet teenage girls, circles of girls, packs of girls walking the country roads home from school, hanging out on city street corners, arm in arm, laughing, giggling, screaming. Electric girls. I see how your lives get hijacked, how your opinions and desires get denied and undone. I see too how this later comes to determine so much of our lives as adults. So many of the women I have met through The Vagina Monologues and The Good Body and V-Day are still trying to overcome what was muted or undone in them when they were young. They are struggling late into their lives to know their desires, to find their power and their way.

This book is a call to question rather to please. To provoke, to challenge, to dare, to satisfy your own imagination and appetite. To know yourself truly. To take responsibility for who you are, to engage. This book is a call to listen to the voice inside of you that might want something different, that hears, that knows, the way only you can hear and know. It's a call to your original girl self, to your emotional creature self, to move at your speed, to walk with your step, to wear your color. It is an invitation to heed your instinct to resist war, or draw snakes, or to speak to the stars.

I hope you will see this book as something living, that you will use it to help you to identify and overcome the obstacles or pressures that prevent you from being an emotional create. Maybe after you read these stories and monologues you will be inspired to write and share your own, or paint your bedroom wall or fight for polar bears or speak up in class or learn about sexuality or demand your rights.

When I was your age, I didn't know how to live as an emotional creature. I felt like an alien. I still do a lot of the time. I don't think it has much to do with the country I grew up in or the language I speak. In this book you will meet girls from everywhere. Some live in remote villages, other in huge cities or posh suburbs. Some worrying about whether they will be able to afford the latest purple UGGs, some worrying if they'll ever get home after two years of being held as a sex slave. Some deciding whether they are able to kill a supposed enemy, some on the brink of killing themselves, some desperate for the next meal, some unable to stop starving themselves. Girls from Cairo, Kwai Yong, Sofia, Ramallah, Bukavu, Narok, Westchester, Jerusalem, Manhattan, Paris. All of them, all of you, live on the planet right now. I think whatever country or town or village you physically live in, you inhabit a similar emotional landscape. You all come from girl land. There you get born with this awareness, this open-hearted have to eat it, taste it, know it, defy it. Then the "grown-ups" come with their rules, their directions. They teach you how to make yourselves less so everyone feels more comfortable. They teach you not to stand out. They get you to behave.

I am older now. I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, with being this alive, this intense. I just don't want you to have to wait that long.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives

A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships

An essential road map through the difficult terrain of adolescence, Changing Bodies, Changing Lives gives teens a thoughtful, empathetic and personal look at the issues that affect them daily.

Teenagers need a place to find factual, straightforward, and thorough information on sex and on the many ways puberty affects their emotional and physical health. Since 1981, Changing Bodies, Changing Lives has been the source for teens who want facts and confirmation that they're not alone in what they're feeling and doing. In this newly revised and expanded edition, reputed by clinic directors, sex educators, parents and teenagers to be "the best in its field," Ruth Bell and her co-authors continue to offer nonjudgmental advice on every issue confronting adolescents today. Not only has each chapter been fully updated, but there are four new chapters addressing issues of today's teens. Based on quotes and stories from hundreds of teenagers and Bell's meticulous research, Changing Bodies, Changing Lives thoughtfully answers questions and concerns teenagers confront today, including:

• Changes brought on by puberty
• Eating disorders and body image
• Mental health care
• Teen pregnancy
• STDs and how to avoid them
• Positive role modeling
• Preventative health care
• Drug and alcohol abuse
• Birth control and safer sex
• Sexuality
• Violence and Abuse

Laurie Halse Anderson - Speak Poem

(Trigger warning)

I know that Abigail did her Book Review on Speak, and if any of you aren't familiar with the book or the film, you should check it out. I read this book in high school and it was incredibly emotional.

Laurie Halse Anderson wrote and read this poem for the 10th anniversary of the book. The poem is composed of lines from emails/letters she's received from people who have read the book. It's incredibly touching, and shows how words on a page can transform, change, and save lives.


You write to us
from Houston, Brooklyn, Peoria, Rye, NY,
LA, DC, Everyanywhere USA to my mailbox, My
Space Face Book A
livejournal of bffs whispering
Onehundredthousand whispers to Melinda and

I was raped, too
sexually assaulted in seventh grade,
tenth grade, the summer after graduation,
at a party i was 16
i was 14
i was 5 and he did it for three years
i loved him
i didn’t even know him.
He was my best friend’s brother,
my grandfather, father, mommy’s boyfriend,
my date
my cousin
my coach
i met him for the first time that night and—
four guys took turns, and—
i’m a boy and this happened to me, and—

… I got pregnant I gave up my daughter for adoption …
did it happen to you, too?
U 2?

i wasn’t raped, but
my dad drinks, but
i hate talking, but
my brother was shot, but
i am outcast, but
my parents split up, but
i am clanless, but
we lost our house, but
i have secrets - seven years of secrets and i cut
myself my friends cut
we all cut cut cut
to let out the pain

… my 5-year-old cousin was raped –
he’s beginning to act out now
… do you have suicidal thoughts?
do you want to kill him?

Melinda is a lot like this girl I know
No she’s a lot like
i am MelindaSarah
i am MelindaRogelio i am MelindaMegan,
PhillipNavdiaTiaraMateoKristinaBeth it keeps hurting, but
this book cracked my shell
it keeps hurting I hurt, but
but your book cracked my shell.

I cried when I read it.
I laughed when I read it
is that dumb? I sat with the girl—
you know, that girl—
I sat with her because nobody sits with her at lunch
and I’m a cheerleader, so there.
speak changed my life
cracked my shell
made me think
about parties
gave me
wings this book
opened my mouth i whispered, cried
rolled up my sleeves i
hate talking but
I am trying.

You made me remember who I am.

P.S. Our class is gonna analyze this thing to death.

Me: weeping

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Animal Safehouse Benefit

Animal Safehouse is having a benefit concert at Natura Coffee & Tea on Friday August 6th from 8:30pm-1am. Natura is located 12078 Collegiate WayOrlando, FL (behind Friendly’s and AppleBees on University Blvd.) Please spread the word and come support the cause.

Animal Safehouse of Brevard is a not-for-profit effort geared towards providing temporary safe placement of pets who, like their owners, need to flee from domestic violence situations. While there are shelters for women and children, there are currently no facilities for their pets. Most women with pets will not leave their abusive homes if they cannot bring their furry loved ones along in fear of retaliation.

Leandra Preston, Professor of Women's Studies at University of Central Florida, has worked closely with the Domestic Violence Task Force of Brevard, the Salvation Army domestic violence program, and Serene Harbor for several years. As an avid animal lover, she recognized the desperate need for a safe place for pets who are also subject to abuse while their owners seek safety. Animal Safehouse of Brevard was formed in Summer 2008 by Leandra as a network of individuals committed to helping both women and pets who are victims of domestic violence. We serve all of Central Florida, though Harbor House of Central Florida is soon to have a kennel to meet needs of women in shelter there.

Winter Girls


“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies.
But now Cassie is dead. Lia’s mother is busy saving other people’s lives.
Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia’s head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way – thin, thinner, thinnest – maybe she’ll disappear altogether.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores one girl’s chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.

Why I Won’t Watch True Blood Tonight: Violence Against Women

True Blood is an HBO television drama series based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris. The show is about vampires “coming out” to human society because of a synthetic blood like drink. The story follows Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire partner Bill Compton in Louisiana. The show is very violent but Pema Levy from Women’s Rights points out that the show is taking a dangerous turn and the violence has become increasingly sexual.

“It’s not violence per se that is unacceptable, but rather the context in which it is portrayed: showing violence against women without simultaneously condemning that violence. The writers believe that they can justify this by using a theme: vampires are inherently violent, like blood, like violent sex. In doing so, True Blood buys into the same myths about violence and rape that do real harm to women today: that men have more sexual drive, that rape is an act of passion rather than domination, that women mean yes when they say no, that violence against women is part of the natural order.”

Girls Drawing Girls

Evertone ought to check out Girls Drawing Girls. This collective of female artists create pin-up drawings which comment on the sexualized art of women made by men. There are a lot of talented women present here. (Some art is a bit NSFW but it's nothing a woman hasn't seen before!)

A Storm in a AA.

I'm really posting this about the article that's linked to the "Title," of this post. I ran across it while at work (...yes, I read feminism articles while on the clock, SUE ME). I was pretty mortified by what I read. I'm also mortified by the TLC HIT show: Toddlers & Tiaras. Don't get me started. Enjoy!

Feral Children in Our Own Backyard

Probably if you've taken a psychology class, you've learned about the phenomenon of "feral children". Basically, it is a non-medical term used to describe children who have grown up without any consistent human social interaction. There have been some famous cases, like a boy in France who was apparently raised by wolves, and a girl named Genie, who was found strapped to a potty chair in her adolescence.

A few years ago, a case like this surfaced in the Tampa Bay area, and a link to the article is above. A seven-year-old girl named Danielle was found starving, surrounded by bugs, in a locked room, where she 'lived' with her mother and two older brothers. You can find all the information on her progress in the article, and it's pretty inspiring, but I wanted to know what everyone thought of the situation.

The mother chose to keep caring for her adult sons, one of whom was mentally handicapped, but never even took her daughter outside. She blamed many of the circumstances on being left alone by her boyfriend. Do you think it was relevant that Danielle is female? Would the mother have treated the boy differently? This article is definitely worth a read, as it will get you thinking.

Women at Point Zero

Below is a response to a discussion on the book "Women at Point Zero." I am sharing it becuase it is personal to me and hope it will encourage others to read the novel.

Essay Response to a discussion on the novel “Women at Point Zero.”

1. Firdaus states that “I now knew that all of us were prostitutes who sold themselves at varying prices” (76). Explain the import of this statement in the context of the entire novel.

I felt almost obligated to write on this topic. It might be because of the glaring instances in the book or the connection that such a topic has with me personally. Whatever the reason, this is what I have chosen and while the examples that I have pick out to discuss are clear to see in the narrated story I find them the most relevant to our lives as women, especially mine.

From the beginning of the book our narrating character, Firdaus, has been groomed, blindly by her immediate family in the commodity of human service. Reading through page 16 we see her mother displaying servitude to her abusive and dominating husband in exchange for staying in favor with him. That is the price her mother pays for living an honorable life of marriage and having a roof to take shelter in. As a grown girl with no live parents to provide for her, Firdaus is transferred to the protection of her uncle. For this her price is sexual submission to him. When her uncle marries Firdaus is in a position of servitude to the uncle and his wife. Her choice, or price, is to stay in a home and live honorably according to Islamic law or strike out on her own. When there is a decision made by her uncle and his wife to place Firdaus in an arranged marriage she decides that is too high a price for the guarantee of a home. When she is alone in the streets she awakens to the reality that her choice to be independent of a husband will be higher and more undesirable than agreeing to an arranged marriage. This thinking did not turn out to be true for her, because her husband was oppressive, greedy, and dominating to her. She had witnessed this before with how her father treated her mother and knew the price her mother paid, she had given her joy up for a life of bitterness and hate. Firdaus did not want another to determine who she would become so she left her husband and learned the life of prostitution.

During her journey through life between controlled by family and prostitution, Firdaus allowed herself to buy into her emotions of caring and love for another person. In these instances her purchase resulted in an empty return, like a coin slot that she had placed all her assets into and upon pulling the lever found she had lost it all. It was devastating her and cost her dearly each time. I think about this and see how it replays in her life, and how any one of us could replace ourselves with Firdaus, and gain empty returns.

How wise she was to understand through observation and experience that we all have our price we pay for what we want or fear we do not want to happen. We do things out of our comfort zone or against what we see as right living to stay in good graces, avoid and argument, or keep ourselves from living in poverty. In the end of the novel Firdaus transcendences the social pressure to pay a price for what others define as righteous living. Her act was violent but just as it was necessary to her decision not to go on paying the price for free living.

Most of us will never summon the courage and strength to rise above paying others in some way for what we want how we want to live. There will always be a trade off; looking the other way at work when others make harassing comments, keeping silent when you know someone or yourself is abused. For those who do sum up the courage to “blow the whistle” their life will change, some for the better, many for the worst, but it is in the conscious that those who do transcendent paying the price will find a return on their gamble.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Born A Woman

I was heading to the lake this weekend, listening to XM Radio's "Station 6," which is 60's Music. This song came on and I sent myself an email to post this here. The lyrics say it all...this is our life.

It makes no difference if you're rich or poor
Or if you're smart or dumb
A woman's place in this old world
Is under some man's thumb
And if you're born a woman
You're born to be hurt
You're born to be stepped on, lied to, cheated on
And treated like dirt
Ah if you're born a woman
You're born to be hurt
A woman's lot is to give and give
And go on giving
A woman's got to love and lose
And go on living
Well I was born a woman
I didn't have no say
And when my man finally comes home
He makes me glad it happened that way
Because to be his woman
No price is too great to pay
Yes I was born a woman
I'm glad it happened that way
Oh I was born a woman I'm glad it happened that way

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Operation Beautiful

Operation Beautiful – transforming the way you see yourself one post-it note at a time

This blog of people leaving post-it notes all around where they live of messages of inner beauty and self acceptance. There’s an event going on from August 2-7th in which people place notes in women’s bathrooms and other various places saying things like “You=Perfect” and “You are Lovely” trying to bring people smiles and spread the word of loving our bodies and ourselves and rejecting societal standards. National Organization for Women has done this type of Love Your Body campaign in the past and I hope that others at UCF leave these messages of love around campus this week.