Site To See: She’s The First

Did you know that DonateMyDress founder Tammy Tibbets also has an organization that helps send young girls in developing nations to school?

“She’s The First” is a non-profit organization that aims to “sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate.” Tibbets established this site after realizing that if she could create a network for underprivileged girls to find prom gowns, she could surely do the same to enable girls to get an education and make their mark in the world as global leaders. She’s The First contains a directory of organizations around the globe that supports girls’ education for interested donors, provides tools for starting local chapters, and offers its own sponsorship program.

As always, I am quite proud to share this cause with you readers. I will be adding their link to the Blog Roll at the bottom of the page in addition to featuring it here so you have easy access to their webpage.

Click here to visit ShesTheFirst.Org

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How To Outlaw Single Parenthood

Oh, Wisconsin…

Can you please tell me why your state legislature is ready to consider single parenthood a form of child abuse? Please?

If passed, SB507 would theoretically land 1/3 of the state’s population in jail. In my eyes, that is not at all a smooth move. But don’t tell Senator Glenn Grothman, the wonderfully moronic legislator that proposed this nonsense. He just wants this bill to become law so the big, bad government doesn’t use single parenthood as a means to throw the nation into a totalitarian state of dependency, as mapped out by his paranoid diatribe (which you can read here).

Although single parenthood is indeed stressful for both parent and child(ren), that in itself does not lead to child abuse. Single parenthood in conjunction with a dangerous living environment (substance, unsafe living conditions, mental instability, etc.) is really the issue behind the abuse.

Trust me, I know.

Since single parenthood is a risk for economic instability, and since it seems to be a major issue in Wisconsin, perhaps the state legislature should do their part to ease the financial strain of single parenthood via tax breaks (for example) instead of further punishing this population-which, in case you haven’t noticed, is overwhelmingly made up of women.

Watch Sen. Grothman in action below.

 

Mc-Gender

May I just gush for a moment and say how much I love Bitch Media? Their content makes my heart flutter.

Take this (Mc) nugget for example: writer  Avital Norman Nathman wrote a piece examining the gender issues that come in each and every Happy Meal sold by McDonalds. When I was a kid, I never knew a time when the cashier didn’t ask if the Happy Meal was for a boy or girl. However, Nathman points out that, once upon a time, McDonald’s had gender-neutral merchandise. Granted, many other fast food restaurants (and other consumer industries, for that matter) are guilty of this, but McDonald’s is taking center stage for this brief, but biting, commentary.

I hate clowns. Click here to read the article. (graphic from Bitch Media)

Rape, Redifined

The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Rapes by force and attempts or assaults to rape, regardless of the age of the victim, are included. Statutory offenses (no force used―victim under age of consent) are excluded.

This is the current federal definition of sexual assault. It was written in 1929.

Aside from the obvious exclusion of statutory rape, this definition excludes many other forms of equally terrible forms of sexual assault (same-sex assault, oral assault, and rape with an object, to name a few) and excludes entire classes of members,namely male and transgender victims. With sexual assault already being a highly unreported crime, this narrow federal explanation of sexual assault makes it difficult-if not impossible-for victims of sexual assault to prosecute their assailants at the federal level.

On Oct. 18, an F.B.I. subcommittee will finally meet to discuss and (hopefully) ultimately expand the definition of rape. True, it may cause a surge in the number of sexual assaults as per its new definition, but this expansion will allow the reporting of sexual assault to be prosecuted by the same criteria, allowing for consistency at the state and federal level of crime and prosecution.

To help support this move, please click here to participate in an email campaign hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Click here for the original New York Times’ article.

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.

Frivolous Fridays: How to Insert a Tampon, as told by Larry David

Kudos to Larry David for the latest episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in which he instructs a girl scout on how to use a tampon (through the bathroom door, of course). Finally, a show that used the word “vagina” and talks about tampons in a (semi) serious, non-ironic manner. Nicely done!

Click here to watch the clip and read the story on Jezebel.com

Jezebel.com had even more praise for this and other episodes, which you can read by clicking here.

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.

Gender-Free Preschool?

First we had Baby Storm, and now this.

A new preschool in Stockholm, Sweden is riding the gender-less wave and attempting to construct an environment free from gender expectations for their students. The school, aptly called Egalia (Swedish for “equality”), offers a unique experience for students, according to one of its teachers:

“Society expects girls to be girlie, nice, and pretty and boys to be manly, rough, and outgoing,” says Jenny Johnsson, a teacher at the school. “Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be.”

According to the article on Bust.com, Egalia constructs this gender-neutral environment by way of referring to students and instructors by name or “Teacher” followed by the name instead of the pronouns “he,” “she,” Miss” or Mr.,”stocking the bookshelves depicting families in gender-neutral or non-traditional parental roles, and allowing students to play with any toy they choose instead of redirecting the girls to the kitchen station and the boys to the toy cars.

A very interesting experiment in shaping, or not shaping, gender roles and expectations.

Students at play in the garden of Egalia Preschool. Source: Today Moms, NBC; click for source.

Here are the questions I would like YOU to answer:
Would you enroll your child?
Do you think gender neutrality is the road to gender equality?

Read the full news story here.

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