Vintage Journalism and Women

If only this guy knew that some of today’s journalism greats would be kick-ass women such as Soledad O’Brien, Barbara Walters, Lisa Ling and Arianna Huffington. Watch below to see what I’m talking about…

Click here to read the original post on Huffington Post Women.

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Ashley Madison: Exploitation and Body Image

This Jezebel piece written by BBW model Jacqueline (who was unfortunately featured in a couple of Ashley Madison ads) really hits the nail on the head when it comes to body shaming and unethical (and, dare I say immoral?) business ventures. Definitely worth a look.

Click here to read Jacqueline's piece on Jezebel.com (photo from webojen.com)

*Note: I know, this post is coming out of the blue since another much-too-long hiatus. But, I am back once again and I have a ton of content in store. I promise No, really. I’m serious this time.

The Feminist Dating Bible?

Samhita Mukhopadhyay , executive editor of Feministing.com, has released the book Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life. In the book, she posits that the traditional thought of feminism ruining relationships is false and that, in fact, the rise of feminism has helped in the romance department. Addressing cultural norms, sexuality and the pressure to marry, this book’s mission is to help explain the madness that is relationships and how feminists can find love without compromising their principles.

In an interview on Salon.com, Mukhopadhyay had this to say on the conflict between feminism and dating:

The truth of that argument is that feminism has hurt this really archaic notion of romance… This friction has come up between the reality of how we’re living our lives and the romantic story that hinges on gender relationships that don’t exist anymore.

(Click here to read the full interview on Salon.com)

Hopefully, Mukhopadhyay’s work will eschew the “traditions” of the dating game so us feminists don’t have to play dumb or damsel in distress to get a date.

Click here to purchase "Outdated" on Amazon.com

Famished Fashion?

Oh come on, It’s NY Fashion Week. You knew that this was coming.

As waifish supermodels grace the runway, once again the media is raising concern about their health and whether or not the industry is to blame. I would go on a rant about this, but I’ll let the following news sources do it for me:

Learning Curve on Size is Vital to Fashion (via Herald Sun)

Eating Disorders And Fashion Are Still At Odds (via New York Daily News)

Fashion and Eating Disorders: How Much Responsibility Does Industry Have? (via Huffington Post Women)

VIDEO: Local Designer Highlights More than Fashion Week (via The Age)

Kiddie Dieting

Our young girls already have enough in the media that chip away at their self-esteem and body image. Now, an author decides to write a children’s book encouraging young girls to go on a diet.

Maggie Goes on a Diet, which hits the shelves Oct. 16, tells the story of 14-year-old Maggie who, well, goes on a diet. After shedding pounds off of her overweight frame, she becomes “normal-sized,” athletic and confident.

The book's cover depicts Maggie, age 14, fantasizing in the mirror about her ideal body. (Source: Amazon.com)

Granted, with childhood obesity on the rise it would be wise for media to help teach our children how to eat healthfully and encourage them to participate in athletic activities. However, I have to question the ultimate impact the book will have on its audience (presumably, young girls). Its message implies that the only way a girl can be truly happy and confident is if she is of a certain dress size. In reality, while we should encourage our children to adopt  healthy lifestyle, we should be careful to not equate size to happiness, as this is the message that could be detrimental to their self-esteem well into their adult years.

Trust me. I speak from experience.

Click here to read an article on the book from Huffington Post Women.

ABC News weighed in as well; click here to read their report.

Reclaiming “Slut”

The recent emergence of “slut walks” has been causing quite a stir in the media, with the latest occurring in my (semi) hometown of Philadelphia.

So, what is the point of an army of scantily clad women taking to the streets? According to a report on NBC, the SlutWalk movement was sparked by a Boston police officer’s comment which reflects the unfortunate opinion of many when it comes to the sexual assault and rape of women” “If didn’t dress like a slut, then she would not have been raped.”

I could go on a 100 mile-long rant on how this police officer is an idiot, how he would think twice about saying that if the victim were, say, his mother, daughter, sister, niece, etc., how the way a woman is dressed is not an invitation to rape no matter what, that rape isn’t a crime caused by uncontrollable sexual urges but by an assailant wanting exercise power and control over their victim and so on. But, I won’t. I think these SlutWalks are doing a great job in not only gaining media attention for a crime that continues to affect women worldwide, but they are also sending a powerful message: we are not “sluts,” we are women who have rights to our bodies and to our sexuality.

Latina Lesbians and Partner Violence

According to a study conducted by Mujeres Latinas en Accion and Amigas Latinas, it seems as if Latina lesbians in Chicago are enduring a surge in domestic violence.

Out of the 300 women profiled, 49 percent report that their partner attempted to isolate them from family and friends (which is a huge red flag in any relationship, to say the least) 43 percent report that their partner had pushed or hit them, and 31 percent have had a partner threaten their lives.Furthermore, 45 percent admit to have attacked their partner and 25 percent report that they had threatened to kill their partner during a dispute.

Click here to read the full report via the Chicago Sun Times (Photo taken from PhotographicDictionary.com)

As if the discrimination they face (both outside of and within the Hispanic community) was not enough, these women also have the added issue of domestic violence. Small sample size aside, these numbers point to a growing issue. It is already difficult for members of the GLBTQ community, regardless of race, to acquire access to resources that combat domestic violence. This impediment, no doubt, exacerbates domestic violence withing the GLBTQ community overall.

Although the end of the report has a silver lining in that most in the LBTQ are out and have found support, the issue of dating and domestic violence is an ongoing one. Overall, the Medical University of South Carolina reports that 17-45% of lesbians have reported at least one incident of intimate partner violence, and even this number reflects vast underreporting (as do most statistics regarding dating/domestic violence).

As someone who works adamantly on my campus to educate my peers on the dangers of dating violence, the need to raise awareness about and fight it in the heterosexual and homosexual communities is paramount in my eyes. No matter who a woman decides to love, she does not at all deserve to be abused by her partner in any way, shape or form.

Love does not hurt.

The best way to combat abuse is to talk about it. Here is a list of my favorite resources:

DomesticViolence.org

TheHotline.org

NCADV.org

AARDVARC.org

RAINN.org

 

Femininty Doesn’t STEM from Math and Science?

According to a TrueChild report, the answer is “yes,” or at least that’s how our young girls feel.

Statistically, elementary school children show the same interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related topics, but by the 8th grade, girls are outnumbered two to one. Furthermore, by high school girls are less likely to take AP math and science courses, and tend to have lower SAT math scores.

The TrueChild report states that this decrease in interest starts around the 3rd grade when girls begin to “notice” boys and begin internalizing the incorrect notion that women can be either “pretty” or “smart,” not both. This conflict only continues with women who do enter STEM careers. According to a BUST.com piece on the report:

Later on, adult women with careers in engineering are also found to often feel conflicted about choosing between proving that they are “real engineers” or “real women.”

It’s a damn shame that, even now, women are either pigeon-holed into more “conventional” careers or break the mold only to be met with some form of hardship or pressure rather than being rewarded for their efforts. No wonder the gender pay gap persists. It all goes back to what (and how) we teach our girls about brains and beauty.

She could do both-and, so can you (Source: DeviantArt. Click to see original.)

Read BUST.com’s full commentary on the study.

Lauryn Hill: The Human Vending Machine and How It Relates to Stay-At-Home Moms

First and foremost, Jay Smooth’s commentary always leaves me enlightened; he is a very bright man indeed.

Moving right along: his commentary on Lauryn Hill points to a larger problem women face. Our culture in general has shifted to a mentality that is best summed up from the following lyrics from Beyoncé’s “Run The World (Girls):”

Smart enough to bear the children-then get back to business.

I am all for “working mothers,” but we should not assume that stay-at-home moms are listless drags on society. In fact, I would contend that, with all of the career advancements women have available to them in this age, raising a child is still one of the hardest-if not the hardest-job any individual could undertake.

Raising a child takes a certain level of patience, effort, nurturing and, above all else, time that some of us simply do not have. Stay-at-home moms may not bring home any income, but they are indeed working their asses off and dedicating the most valuable resource of all-time-to raising their children. For this, they should be rewarded, not ridiculed.

Like Lauryn, no woman should be viewed as a “human vending machine,” or any work machine for that matter. Raising children is a legitimate career and should be treated as such.

For more, read this Forbes article that explains why a stay-at-home mom should earn a six-figure salary.

How to Talk to Little Girls

An article on Think.TV written by Lisa Bloom challenges our culture’s tendency to compliment young girls on their looks or clothes instead of their intelligence. Bloom, the author of ThinkStraight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, states in the piece that asking a little girl what she is reading will do far more for her self-esteem than asking where she got her pretty dress.

Maya (right) is adorable-but, she can also read all by herself. She is five years old. (Source: http://www.Think.tv)

Although there is a mountain of truth in Bloom’s rationale, I think the focus should be on creating  a healthy balance between the two. Young girls should be complimented on the total package-being beautiful and smart. Too much of a good thing in any case could be detrimental.

To learn more about Lisa Bloom and "Think," click here. (Source: http://www.Amazon.com)

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