Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

Changing Attitudes to Change Culture on Rape

This story is a bit old, but I have been wanting to cover it for awhile. So here’s my take on this story.

Rape is a horrible problem that happens worldwide. It is even worse in conflict situations, where is is used to shame the women and their men. In some cultures, a woman can be killed for being raped. Even if she’s allowed to live, she’s usually considered pretty undesirable.

Syria is one of those countries. And with the recent conflict, women have been raped.

After hearing about it, some men decided to step forward and offer to marry them. So far as I can tell, they’ve never met them. They’ve never seen them. They don’t know who it is they’re going to marry. But they’re doing it because they don’t agree with how these women have been used.

And that – is a powerful thing. It sends a message, both to these woman and to these rapists. To the women it says, someone wants you. You are desired. You don’t have to live the rest of your life in shame. To the rapists it says, you can’t take them from us. You can’t make them not count.

And that – is how cultures get changed. When places where the long standing history is that rape brings immense shame has men who say, no. Because really, cultures of violence against women, can only get so far by educating the women. The men are the one who need to be educated, who need to stand up and say this is not okay, because usually the men are the one perpetuating these crimes. And these men are doing that. And when the men and the women in a culture stand up and say this is not okay, it is the first step to ending it.

Enjoy the read: Syrian Men Promise to Marry Women Who Were Raped

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Women in History: Lena Bryant

So, I have to say that there is not a lot of information about this woman out there. She is an entrepreneur, which I think successful women entrepreneurs do a lot for women too, even if their effect maybe isn’t as pronounced as someone who fought for suffrage. But they opened the doors for women to successfully run businesses today. And, in Lena Bryant’s case, she changed clothing manufacturing for the better.

She

  • started Lane Bryant.
  • was an immigrant.
  • was supposed to marry the man who paid for her to come to America, then refused and took a sewing job in a factory.
  • eventually married and had one son.
  • was widowed shortly after her son was born.
  • needed to find a way to support her young son.
  • took up selling her sewing out of her apartment.
  • eventually rented a store front on 5th Avenue that she lived in the back of.
  • made the first commercial maternity dress and it was a huge hit between women of all classes.
  • married again sometime after opening her storefront and went on to have three more kids with him.
  • had to overcome the fact that pregnancy was not mentioned in press, which made advertising this dress hard, but at one point she got it into a paper and the dress completely sold out one day after that.
  • created the first mail-order catalog to also help overcome this problem. They had one for maternity wear and one for plus-size wear.
  • also designed plus size clothing – another big seller and another first too. She was the first mass manufacturer of plus sized clothing.
  • measured 4,500 women and surveyed 200,000 women before designing her plus-size clothing to figure out what real women, not models, needed.
  • made 5 million dollars by 1923.
  • really cared about people. When any of her customers had been in any kind of natural disaster, she would work with the Red Cross to assist them by replacing their wardrobe.
  • also want to make sure her employees were taken care of, something unusual for the time. She provided for her employees above and beyond what was the norm. She offered medical benefits, life insurance, profit sharing, pensions, and disability insurance to her employees.

Additional fun fact: The name Lane Bryant comes from the bank misspelling her name.

So I hoped you learn a little more about someone who I feel like has a well known company, even if she herself is not that well known. I didn’t find much information on her to be honest. However, her company continues to be successful, even to today. And I think she’s important because look at everything she was able to do. She saw women’s needs and she met them. And sure, maybe it seems like a trivial need, but people need clothes to wear. And not only that, but she helped people. She put people before profits. And she wanted to make sure her employees were taken care of too.

Sources:

P.S. if you like my blog, won’t you like my page on Facebook?

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Barbie: (Almost) Life Sized

I think that seeing this life size Barbie is really important. And I think realizing that Barbie, while not the only factor, does play a role is important. And I dunno, I don’t like Mattel’s statement on the whole thing that she wasn’t modeled on a real person. I mean, of course she’s not modeled on an exact real person, but she’s clearly not modeled after a dog or a cat or anything else. And I mean clearly they decided for a reason to give her super big boobs and to make her have a super skinny waist. I mean, they didn’t decide these things in a vacuum. They did it for a reason. The question is what reason? Did they do it to make us want to look like Barbie? I mean you have all kinds of Barbie – Barbie can do anything. Why not aspire to be like Barbie?

Barbie isn’t solely responsible, but so many girls play with her and how she looks is going to weigh in on things. I mean, I can’t help but know that I always noticed when I was a kid and I started developing I wanted big breasts. Hmmm. Maybe my sister was onto something when she started to pop the heads off of all my Barbies.

Update: I have since learned, that while parts of this Barbie are proportional, not every part of her is proportional (I did some looking after I was questioned about it by people with keener eyes than I have who can tell proportions). From this article, “She based her numbers on the book “Body Wars” by Dr. Margo Maine, and readily admits the doll’s head, hands and some other features are not to scale.”

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The Sexualizing of Little Girls

I don’t usually link solely to other content (or don’t like to) and I wouldn’t usually link to this blog (because I don’t agree with everything they have to say) but awhile back there were a lot of articles out blaming parents for oversexualizing their kids. And to some extent, the blame should fall on parents who buy these (because it’s not like most 8 year olds have a lot of disposable income).

But as this post from Jezebel points out, the issues are deeper than that. Well said (this time).

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America the Beautiful Review

So, I’ve decided another thing I want to do with this blog is let you know about documentaries that talk about women’s issues. I will only review documentaries I’ve watched so I can give you my first hand account on whether or not the documentary is worth watching and spending some time on.

Today’s documentary is America the Beautiful. Here’s the trailer.

I think 100 percent this movie is worth watching. Everyone needs to see this video. Every woman needs to see this especially. You will learn astounding things and after this, you will never think about beauty in the same way, or at least I don’t think of beauty in the same way since watching this.

It is a worthwhile documentary to say the least. It is rated R because it does get a bit graphic or rather frank really, but it is worth the watch. The beauty industry deserves to be exposed for what it is and how they treat women.

You can find out more here: http://americathebeautifuldoc.com/

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Size Two? Too Fat

It was one of those he said, she said cases. Or rather, she said, she said. And I know this is a little old and I want to work on new issues as well, but sometimes I just want to say stuff about things that have already happened.

But there were some facts involved. Domonique Ramirez won Miss San Antonio. She was then subsequently fired and a new beauty queen reinstated.

The reason she claims she was fired? For being too fat. Which they denied, but then yet testified that bikini photos they took of her where she gained so much weight were so bad that they couldn’t be used. They also say she was tardy, but still, they testified this part in a court of law.

She sued and subsequently won and was reinstated.

Those are the facts.

And this? This is Domonique.

Domonique Ramirez

First of all, does she look fat to you? Because she sure doesn’t to me. And even if she was fat, would that make her any less beautiful? Why do we continue to base our beauty on such narrow standards that no one, not even this girl, is skinny enough? Beauty comes from the inside and instead, we’ve made it all about this unattainable outside. Our beauty standards are out of reach to most women. When we tell women they aren’t beautiful, we also tell them x product will make them beautiful. We put women down, to sell beauty. It’s ridiculous and it needs to stop. We need to start recognizing women, all women, as beautiful. Because really, every woman is beautiful. We are all beautiful for our own unique reasons.

As I’ve probably said before, I’m against beauty pageants. This is just another reason why. We need to redefine beauty if it’s not already too late.

Photo credit
News Radio

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Botox for 8 Year Olds?

So, I previously brought you plastic surgery to prevent bullying and now I bring you sadly, more unfortunate news about what mothers will do to make their children “pretty” this time in the name of a pageant.

In San Fransisco, there is an 8 year old girl whose mother injects her with botox to get rid of her “wrinkles.” Not only that, but she is getting pubic hair waxes (called virgin waxes) in order to “keep her from growing any pubic hair.” All I can keep asking myself is why? Why do we allow mothers to treat their children this way? Thankfully, they are investigating, but this isn’t going to stop here I’m afraid. If it isn’t this mother, it will be some other mother. It boils down to this fact. We, as a society, value beauty. And the advertising industry and the media have made a very clear picture of what it means to be beautiful. As I have said before on this blog, beauty should not be what we value so much that people go to such extremes to get it. This girl was perfectly beautiful before she got botox and even if she hadn’t been, she still shouldn’t have gotten botox. This child is going to be messed up for life, always trying to get on the next big thing until she is “pretty enough,” but more likely until she dies of a botched plastic surgery or a botox injection gone wrong. Instead of teaching this little girl that she is beautiful no matter what and that she is valuable for so much more than her looks, this mom choose to give her 8 year old botox.

Oh and just like I showed you with plastic surgery, these are the risks of botox, (from Mayo Clinic)

Pain and bruising at the injection site
Redness
Itching
Headache
Nausea
Temporary muscle weakness
Increased body sweat
Although very unlikely, there is a possibility that the effect of botulinum toxin may spread to other parts of the body and cause botulism-like signs and symptoms.

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:

Muscle weakness all over the body
Vision problems
Trouble speaking or swallowing
Trouble breathing
Loss of bladder control
Other serious but very uncommon side effects to watch out for include:

Allergic reaction (itching, hives, swelling, chest tightness, trouble breathing)
Eye pain, bleeding or bruising around your eye
Blistering, peeling of your skin or severe rash
Chest pain, shortness of breath or uneven heart rate
Flu-like symptoms
Face or neck pain
Seizures

Okay, personally, I would try to avoid anything that might happen to give my child those possible side effects, especially in the name of cosmetics. Child services is investigating and I hope something is done. I’m including three videos below so you can see how the child’s self-esteem is going to be ruined for life.

Interview with mom and girl:

Discussion on it, mentioning virgin waxes:

On the follow up:

It is a shame that we live in a country where a mom even considers doing this to her child.

Going to take a quick poll below.

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Pretty

I don’t have many thoughts on it, but I’m passing along this video because I think it goes along with the video the other day. There is such a pressure, especially by mothers, to be pretty. I liked what she said about what she will tell her daughters, because I think that those are the important things for young women to hear.

Enjoy.

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Plastic Surgery to Prevent Bullying?

So plastic surgery. I get it – it’s a woman decision, despite overwhelming evidence that it is dangerous. After watching the documentary America the Beautiful, I learned that since a Supreme Court ruling, you can be any kind of MD and practice plastic surgery. On top of that, here are some potential risks of plastic surgery under general anesthesia.

Abnormal heart rhythm
Blood Clots—Blood Clots can be fatal and are difficult to predict. To lower the risk, patients should not stay in any one position too long. Flexing the feet often helps too.
Airway Obstruction—Anesthesia may irritate air passages, which causes the spasms of the vocal cords. This can block the airway.
Brain Damage—Brain Damage may occur if blood circulation drops to a dangerous level.
Heart Attack
Malignant Hyperthermia—A rare but real complication when blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature rise to a dangerous level. If not diagnosed and treated promptly, death may occur.
Stroke
Nerve Damage
Death
Source

Like I said, I feel women should have a choice about it. But what about plastic surgery for our little girls? To help them avoid bullying?

Check out this video:

The doctor claims it was for medical reasons, but there are no other proofs in the video that it was to the contrary. The reason this video upsets me is because is this the message we are sending to our little girls, our future women? That if there’s something “wrong” with the way they look  and people are teasing them to just fix it with some plastic surgery? What happened to teaching our little girls that they are beautiful, no matter how they look? I think that things like this keep women from being empowered because instead of teaching our future women that they have reason to think they are beautiful no matter how they look, we are teaching them that their beauty and worth is in what other people think of them. Women all over the world struggle with this. In Korea, when I was there, plastic surgery is so popular – I saw people my own age who had already had it. You could see butt inserts to make your butt bigger in the stores. And the US is just the same – breast implants, plastic surgery, media discussing women’s looks. We keep women down by constantly telling them they aren’t good enough

And now we are starting young. Teaching tomorrow’s women that they must keep this cycle going, keep themselves down, by women (mothers) telling girls (daughters) that they aren’t good enough.

Oh, in case you’re curious, here’s the foundation the video talked about. Little Baby Face Foundation. Granted, it looks like they do a lot of good work. In fact, I know they do. In the subject of full disclosure, my sister had plastic surgery when she was young.

But there is a difference between these two girls. You see, my sister was born with a cleft palate. And that my friends, is truly a medical problem. Why? Well, if you have a cleft palate, it means you have a hole in the roof of your mouth. You can’t eat properly. My mom had to put the milk in a little tube and put it down my sister’s throat to make sure it bypassed the hole. That was truly a medical problem.

But this? This is just continuing a cycle that uses the ideal and esteem of beauty to keep women down.

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Women and Islam

All right, well before I start this post I want to say, I am a practicing Christian (Wisconsin Synod Lutheran in case you’re curious) and I am not a Muslim, nor have I ever been Muslim. That being said, I do have thoughts on the way that Islam treats women.

The issue I am going to focus on today is the veiling of Islamic women. I’m talking about the hijab, the niqab, and burqa.

For brief definitions:
Hijab – “Refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general.” (Wikipedia)
Niqab – “A veil which covers the face, worn by some Muslim women as a part of sartorial hijāb.” (Wikipedia)
Burqa – “An enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions to cover their bodies in public places. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman’s loose body-covering (Arabic: jilbāb), plus the head-covering (Arabic: ḥijāb, taking the most usual meaning), plus the face-veil (Arabic: niqāb).” (Wikipedia)

I’m talking about this in light of recent news from France. France has banned the burqa. It went into effect earlier this week. In fact, they’ve already made some arrests.

I want you to watch this video where two Muslim women debate it and then I’ll give you my opinion on it.

While I feel that countries who choose to force women to wear the burqa, niqab, or hijab are wrong and those laws should be overturned, I also feel that nobody should have the right to tell you you can not wear something, especially not if it is something you are doing for religious reasons.

Last week, I attended (and presented) at Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies student conference. One of the sessions I got the chance to attend was called “Do You See More Than My Hijab?” This student had done her research, asking other Muslim women across campus on their feelings on wearing the veil. The speaker talked about how she felt the majority of the time that her veil didn’t bring her any negative effects from people and that men actually respected her more, she felt, when she was wearing it – opening doors for her and such. She was very open with us and allowed us to ask her any questions. She talked about her choice to wear the hijab. I used to feel too that it was oppressive, I used to read Muslim women talking about how it wasn’t, but it wasn’t until I talked to a real person that it convinced me that it wasn’t oppressive to women (where they have a choice).

And you know, even though I would never do it – a lot of it made sense to me. A lot of people have picked on me for wearing what I consider modest clothing because they think my status of modesty is ridiculous. To them (a lot of Muslim women) the hijab, niqab, and burqa are their way of being modest. When it’s done for their choice, I think they should have every right in the world to make that choice. Modesty is so little valued in our world, that when a woman wants to be modest, there is often a lot of backlash against it, like these women are facing.

I think I will end with this quote by a Muslim woman, that sums up my thoughts on this.

If women want to walk around half-naked I don’t object to them doing so. If they want to wear tight jeans where you can see their underwear or walk around with their breasts hanging out, I don’t give a damn. But if they are allowed to do that, why should I not be allowed to cover up? – Source

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