Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

10 Finds for You – August 15th

Okay, so one thing that I do is that I love to share other people’s articles and content. Why? Because there are a lot of great things out there. So periodically, I’ll do what I’m doing today, which is leave you a list of things I recommend reading (or watching). Just a few notes because I’m just going to leave the links and not add any of my extra commentary, leaving a link here does not mean I agree with everything on the site – I just think the particular link is interesting whether or not I agree with it. If you want to discuss any one in particular, leave a comment and I’ll happily discuss it with you and what I think about it.

1. What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?

2. Couple to attempt 50-mile swim across Lake Michigan

3. Women Scientists Still Face Discrimination

4. College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equality

5. Sentencing Juveniles

6. ‘The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness’ Author Brianna Karp Offers Advice to Young People on the Streets

7. One-third of tween clothes are sexy, study finds

8. TTC & IF: WHO Annoyance

9. Sex and Self-Esteem: A Big Boost for Men, Not So Much for Women

10. Fathers: Key to Their Children’s Faith

Happy reading!

Melissa

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Safe and Sexy

So, I told you I was going to still blog about politics and the like some of the time – just not all of the time. So today I wanted to blog about this interesting video I ran across. Basically, this video is about this photographer who has traveled all over the world, to many different countries, asking women to pose for her wearing two different outfits. One outfit is supposed to be what they feel safe wearing and the other outfit is supposed to be what they feel sexy wearing.

It was really interesting to think about the differences between the two outfits. First of all because of the kind of message it is – the idea of what sexy looks like and perhaps the idea that we are allowing society to decide what clothes make us attractive versus feeling attractive in the clothes we also feel comfortable in. Or maybe we’re not meant to feel sexy in the same clothes that we feel comfortable in because sexy should be reserved for certain people. I know there are definitely clothes I feel both sexy and comfortable in in the right situation. For example, there are very sexy things that I own and wear. And when I’m wearing them in the privacy of my own home, in front of my husband, I feel very sexy and also very comfortable. But if I wore those same things out and about in the town – no way would I feel comfortable! So maybe I’m not meant to wear sexy clothes out and about.

One last interesting thing of note was what a lot of people found sexy was different from the image the media pushes on us as sexy. The outfits weren’t all overly revealing. Some certainly bared skin, but most of them were still much different from the like those outfits you see on celebrities that leave very little to the imagination. Anyways, I’ll leave you with the video now so you can watch it. And there is some skin bared in the video, just so you know, but it was originally aired on PBS so that probably gives you an idea of its appropriateness. There’s also some really interesting thoughts in there from when she asked people what made them feel powerful and what made them feel vulnerable. Leave your thoughts in the comment – do you agree or disagree with me? What feelings does the video invoke in you when you watch it?

For some reason, I’m having trouble embedding it – but you can see the video here

Melissa

P.S., I’m still looking for new blog name suggestions! You could leave those too if you’d like!

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Study of Women and Men in Movies

So this is the part where I tell you guys I’ve decided to drop the last series I was working on. Why? Because to be honest, while it was interesting to work on, I didn’t enjoy it that much and there’s a new Time list out already. Perhaps in the future I will do one on the current Time list, but who knows? I’m flexible.

Also, you may wonder why I’m blogging now. I have a new little guy at home. Well to be honest, the sleep when the baby sleep thing doesn’t work real well for me during the day – if I don’t feel tired, I can’t make myself sleep without ending up majorly frustrated. I am trying to rest and take it easy though and blogging is better than cleaning in terms of taking it easy. So that’s why I’m blogging, if you’re wondering that. To be honest, in a lot of ways, even though I’m still recovering, I feel better now than I did when I was pregnant and I have a lot more energy. Little guy is a really good, calm baby and he sleeps really well so I have to do something to stimulate my brain or I will lose it.

So I thought I would write about a study I came across – it’s about a year old, but I don’t think anything has changed and the data is still very relevant to today. Basically what the study did was to analyze the top 100 films from 2008 in terms of men and women.

Some of the insane things they found – men had 67 percent of the speaking roles compared to 33 percent for women. Is this a subtle reenforcement of women should be seen but not heard? It very well could be. It also found that women were more likely to wear provocative clothing and to appear nude than men were. I think this is a huge problem because it reenforces the idea that women are sex objects and that their bodies need to be put on display. If it’s in our movies, you can bet that’s the message that it’s sending. Even now, as I write this, my husband is watching Iron Man 2 in the background and the female that’s breaking in is dressed in a super skin tight black outfit, clearly meant to look hot, while the man breaking in with her is dressed in a suit. There’s no reason her outfit needs to be so skin tight and there’s no reason it needs to have a plunging v-neck either – does that really help her break in? I don’t think so. One of the scarier parts of the study found that teen girls in movies were just as likely to appear partially nude and more likely to wear sexy clothing. No wonder teen girls struggle with body image so much when the teen girls are being portrayed as sexy in so many movies. It’s a lot of pressure.

Anyways, I feel like somewhere in my head I knew this, but looking at the actual numbers makes it seem kind of shocking. I mean, I knew that women are classically portrayed as sex objects in movies, but still. You can check out the full thing here.

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The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Amy Chua

Amy Chua. Maybe you don’t recognize the name, but if I say Tiger Mom, would you recognize that?

Let’s learn a little more about her:

  • She is a law professor at Yale.
  • She wrote a memoir called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother which was about raising American kids the Chinese way.
  • Her book started a huge debate over how to parent your kids.
  • Her daughter has responded to the criticism of her mother by standing up for her mother.

If nothing else, she is influential because she started this huge conversation about how we should parent and what effect that has on our kids. I think having that conversation is important, regardless of what you think of her style. It started a conversation that needed to be had – what kind of parenting is best for our kids? It’s something that should be talked about. I can’t say anything yet about what I think of the memoir because I haven’t read it yet (but I plan to at some point) and I shouldn’t judge a whole book based on the comments of people online. But was she influential in this past year? Definitely.

Oh and because she’s influential for writing a book, here is a link to excerpts of it and at the end, the book itself:

Sources:

*I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decide to buy the book after clicking on the link, part of the proceeds will come back to me. Thanks for supporting me!

 

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Forced Abortions

I wish I could say that sex selection abortions didn’t happen. I really wish I could. Because most of the time, when an abortion is the choice to be made, it’s because the baby is a girl. It happens in places like India and China. Especially  China, where population police control the number of children you are allowed to have. Why is the rest of the world so slow to say something about it? It is girls that are being effected, more than anything, because of the high cultural preference for a boy.

I can not imagine what these mothers go through, how terrified they must be, knowing that if they get pregnant again or even if they get pregnant the first time and it’s a girl, someone might force them to have an abortion or pay an amount of money they can’t afford just to keep the child.

This is a truly sad situation that needs to be stopped. Girls are dying merely because they are girls. Watch this video about one mother in China and her daughters.

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Interesting Editorial

I ran across this editorial today and I thought I’d post it here. It makes some really good points about the way our society works – the really bizarre way. It talks about how we present this idea to little girls that the way they ought to be is really sexual and then when something happens to them (like they are raped or anything else), we blame them for their over sexualization even though that over sexualization is something we’re presenting as how you get ahead in life. It’s interesting to consider, no doubt, because I definitely do think the message that you need to be “sexy” and “hot” is out there and that this message is being pointed at kids younger and younger and I have seen a lot of victim blaming for being “too sexy.” So I definitely think that this cycle that the editorial talks about is highly worth considering.

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Sexualizing Little Girls

This product is a bit old and I couldn’t find it on Abercrombie and Fitch’s website anymore (probably because it’s winter and they’re no longer selling swimsuits) but I pull it out of the archives, so to speak, to make a larger point that I sort of hinted at yesterday.

You see, over the summer, Abercrombie and Fitch released a padded bikini top aimed at girls as little as 7. 7 years old? And Abercrombie and Fitch already think they need padding? Just why? Why are we in such a hurry to turn our little girls into women? Childhood is a time that you are supposed to enjoy – the time before you start to feel pressures from society about how you look and about how you should act and everything like that. We are letting our little girls down by pushing being sexy on them at such a young age. They deserve better. They deserve to just be little girls who don’t need any padding because they don’t need boobs.

It’s time to put our foot down and say these things are unacceptable. Let little girls be little girls.

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Breast Implants Have Increased

So man oh man. I came across this article from the New York Times about how in the last ten years breast implants have increased. A lot. I mean, sure, they could increase more, but it still seems like a huge number to me. They increased 39 percent since 2000. And maybe over time that doesn’t seem like a huge increase, but still. It asks the question why? Plastic surgery carries serious risks and it’s not like there’s any medical reason (that I know of) to get breast implants like there is to get a breast reduction.

Why do women feel the need to make their breasts bigger? I feel like this represents an underlying trend in society not to be happy with our body’s image. You know? There’s always bigger breasts, longer legs, better hair, thinner figure to have. But why? Why is it that some women feel such pressure to look a certain way that they’re willing to undergo surgery to look a different way? And it’s risky surgery at that. What is it about our society that women feel the need to do this? To risk possible death just to have bigger boobs?

What would it take to end the hate about our body image? What would it take for women to love themselves? This is the question I want to know.

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Young Girls Dressing Provocatively

I was reading this article on the Wall Street Journal about potential reasons why moms and dads not only allow their young girls to dress provocatively, but they pay for the clothes as well.

It’s really interesting the different theories posited by the article. First, is that it is a bonding thing between mother and daughter, since the mothers did so when they were young.Second is that they don’t know how to teach their daughters how not to do that and that they feel like they’re setting double standards when they acted like that to then tell their daughters not to.

I agree with the second theory more than the first, but I think I also have my own theory, that’s sort of tied up in the second theory, but not quite. It’s more that women have been fed this message so long that it’s empowering to sleep around and to dress sexily and everything like that and even though many moms feel bad about it now, I still think somewhere in their subconscious is the idea that they want their daughter to be liberated and empowered.

But you know what? It’s not liberating and empowering. It’s letting a man make an object out of you sexually and thinking it’s for your benefit. I think that the over-sexualization and hyper-sexualization of women is not for the benefit of women but for the benefit of man. Think about it – in the past, if a man wanted to have sex he had two options – pay for and sleep with a prostitute or wait until he was married and have sex with his wife. Now, he can have with a lot of women whenever he wants, pretty consequence free. Sure, he might have to worry about STDs, but there’s no obligation for him to stick around if the woman gets pregnant.

I don’t know if I’m making sense of if you agree or even quite where I was going with this. I just think that telling everyone they can have sex all the time is not empowering. To me, it’s empowering to have the self-control not to sleep around and the trust that waiting will bring me something better. And you know what? Now that I’m married and have had sex, I realized that if I had had it before I married I would be a broken person, because that’s an amazing connection and it would break me in so many ways to have that with many different people – to have it with people and then to have them leave me. I couldn’t handle that. And I recognize I couldn’t handle that.

Sorry to get into an area that you probably didn’t want to hear about but I think that waiting for sex should be the norm and it should be that way because sex is something beautiful and special. It’s not empowering to me to give away something special to everyone, but it is to save that something special for a special person.

So thoughts, did I just ignite a firestorm? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

“Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?” – From the article linked above

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Women at M.I.T. – Too Much of an Advantage?

I read an interesting article today from the New York Times. A bit old but still conjured up a lot of thoughts.

In the late 1990s, women at MIT began to talk. And when they began to talk, they realized that they were getting the short end of the stick. Their lab spaces were smaller, their salaries were lower, and there were a lot less of them than they were of men. So they took it up the ladder, to someone who could do something about it. And things changed for the better.

But now, they face the problem that people are accusing them of only being successful because they’re a woman. For example, people think the college works too hard to recruit them, that women only win prizes because they’re women, and that male undergrads tell female undergrads that they’re only there because of affirmative action.  And accusations like that can really hurt when you’ve worked hard. They also face tight personality roles that there is a lot of pressure to conform to, that women professors have to act a certain way.

Additionally, there are parts that the women themselves don’t like. There’s a rule requiring a woman on every committee, but with less women, the women have to take on more committees, so they argue that they lose out on a lot of time they could be spending researching or doing consultancies. Additionally, women get a lot of invitations to speak on panels about work life balance – many more invitations to speak than the men do.

Then there are parts that are really great – everyone can have a year off (male and female) after a child is born, there’s day care available, and if you travel away on business, M.I.T. helps cover the cost of child care.  However, even this gets abused as some men take it and use it to work instead of taking care of their child.

I don’t think this is the case. In fact, at M.I.T. for a man or a woman to get tenure, they need to have 15 different outside recommendations – a hard standard for anyone to beat. I would doubt too that anyone would say that this girl, who I blogged about before, was let in just because she was a woman. And this graduate of M.I.T. was certainly a smart and talented women. They do exist, male scientists, they do. Don’t knock those awesome women! Girl power!

“To women in my generation, these residual issues can sound small because we see so much progress. But they’re not small; they still create an unequal playing field for women — not just at universities, and certainly not just at M.I.T. And they’re harder to change because they are a reflection of where women stand in society.” – Nancy H. Hopkins

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