Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cole Grace

Sunday October 28th, was a sad day.

Cole Grace is a 10 year old boy from West Warwick who was diagnosed with a Grade IV Glioblastoma (a rare cancerous brain tumor) on January 27, 2012.  He was Rock n Roll Royalty after he met and skyped with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and they sang "Walk This Way" together.

I knew Cole through his mother Jen and his aunt Jaimie who both worked at T's with me.  And after he was diagnosed I did everything in my power to help them.  T's in East Greenwich put on "Caring for Cole" events like a wine tasting and donate a table day, where each server donated the tips collected from the entire day from a designated table to Cole.  After having a brain tumor myself, I wanted to help the Grace family.  Cole Grace was has been in hospice and passed away Sunday morning.  He will be remembered by so many, by his smile, his laugh, and his love for rock n' roll.  (and of course his name on the Pink Heals Rescue)

Rest in Peace Buddy.  <3

Monday, October 29, 2012

Talking Post 9: Sex Positive

To be perfectly honest in high school I was a prude (dictionary.com - A person who is or claims to be easily shocked by matters relating to sex or nudity.)  Within my group of friends I was the last to have sex, and they always poked fun at me because of it.  But I was raised on the mindset that I should wait until I'm married to have sex, and can only have sex with one person in my lifetime, and I obviously cannot talk to anyone about sex.  But thankfully my mindset has changed over time.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not someone who sleeps around, but I am someone who believes that it is healthy to have sex as long as you're smart about it.

This is why I thought Rachel Rabbit White's: 8 Ways To Be Positive You're Sex Positive was a perfect example of why sex is ok.  Right off the bat she says, "Having sex is healthy, but so is NOT HAVING SEX!!!"  Sex positivity has long been about "owning our desires" but it should also be about owning our lack of desires too.  And for me at least I wanted to wait until I was married or to know that I was with someone who wasn't going to break my heart after I gave them everything.   

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saying "Girls" vs. "Ladies"

So we were talking on Thursday about how it isn't appropriate to call women, girls.  And I have been dealing with this at my job for years.  I work at T's restaurant in East Greenwich as the greeter and hostess since they opened in 2008.  Since I've been there for so long I've seen both sides of the story:

On one hand there are the older women who get really offended if I call them "girls".  And I've been told off once by a woman who got really angry about it because she thought I was being totally disrespectful all because I didn't call her a lady.

But then on the other hand, there are so many more women who are so flattered to hear me call them girls.  It literally makes their entire day, because they feel get to feel young again and they get this huge smile on their face.

So I totally understand the whole concept of saying "ladies" instead of "girls", but it really does depend on who is walking through my door.  But I can usually tell at this point who is the type of person who would get annoyed by me calling them a girl and I can usually catch myself before it slips out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I am a Princess

I Am A Princess:
Disney's Press release on the "new image of princesses"

I think this is such a great start in changing how little girls view princesses, the whole "damsel in distress, prince charming needs to come save me" thing.  But it's interesting I found the video on YouTube and I was expecting there to be a lot of support for the video and there was a bunch of comments saying how people liked the new image of princesses, and yet there were still some that were saying that we weren't doing enough for the boys.  I have no problem if a guy wants to be a Princess, I say go for it.  But I think that idea is a little extreme for Disney, especially for a commercial.  It's baby steps.  I am so excited about this Press Release!!!  It makes me want to be a Princess again!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Generation M: Misogyny and Media Culture

The last reading, Cinderella ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein went hand in hand with the film, I saw Generation M: Misogyny and Media Culture.  Ronnie and I were the only ones at the film so we had a lot of fun and were able to make a lot of references and connections with the media culture they were showing.

I was going to write about the whole Barbie thing in this blog, but that was before I read the piece by So thOrenstein, but anyways.  I have always had a problem with the media because of the "neat little boxes" they put genders into.  Why do we always depict boys in the media as playing in the mud and girls playing house?

Although, I love the pink room, it's so ridiculous!

So what does this stuff mean?  What is Media?  According to dictionary.com they say Media is the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, internet, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely.  

And Misogyny?  Noun - hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.  

So someone's hatred, dislike, and mistrust of women is being depicted in the media that is being seen and heard by millions and billion of people every day... cool.

Did you know that every second, 3 Barbies are sold?  And did you know that there is a lingerie Barbie?  I don't know about you but my favorite part about my Barbies was dressing them up, so why am I going to pay to get a Barbie that doesn't even come with a real outfit?  

The film believes that society is defining femininity in a bad way.  Although it is a great thing that there is female empowerment happening all across the world, it may not always be the best thing for females overall.  The movie classified it as a growing hatred of women because of our growing empowerment.  And therefore we have become sexual objects, second class citizens, and there is an increase in violence against women.  The movie says women are empowering themselves through sex, which in turn is causing them to loose their power later on.  It is evident in music videos like:

Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado ft. Timbaland

And of course another obvious song: Don't cha by the Pussy Cat Dolls.  (Side-note:  Ronnie and I felt as though their name brings a reputation to girls too, we think they should just change it to 'feline mannequins')

 Now notice how there are no girls everyday average girls in these videos.  And why is that?  Because these girls are the epitome of perfection.  They are what every guy wants, and what every girl wants to be.  Throughout school all most girls want is to fit in.  That's what I wanted and I would do almost anything to get it.  But looking back at it, I was crazy!  Society is crazy for putting these thoughts into young girls minds.  Thoughts about being a size 2, about having sex with boys to be popular, about shopping being better than studying.  And Pink realized that.

Pink - Stupid Girls 

Dove Soap - Real Beauty 

The movie said that happiness is linked to how we look.  Which I completely agree with.  Which is why with all these images in the media of how girls "should be", it is easy for them to be depressed, anxious, or have lower self-body images.  It's how we've been socialized, for example in the 1990s, there was a study done in Fiji, where tv drastically altered their views of bodies.  Where once they had healthy body weights and sizes and saw nothing wrong with them, as soon as the tv was brought in, they began saying they were "too fat" and stopped eating.  It's commercials like the Victoria Secret commercial, that ask women, what is sexy?  And give them the idealized beauty with no room for imperfections.  

Society has created a "perfect" idea of what a women should be and the "perfect" idea of what a man should be.  So while women are forever on a quest for beauty perfection, men have to put on their "tough guise" in order to fit their roles.  They must be aggressive and competitive, play video games like grand theft auto, like having sex with girls, and not care about their feelings.  Guys "need to look tough to impress girls by wearing baggy pants and hoodies."  Which is weird because I was talking to my boyfriend after we were watching "Breaking Bad" one night and the history of baggy pants came from a prison.  

For all that enjoy wearing their pants below their butts... This trend was born in United States Jails.  Prisoners who were willing to have sex with other prisoners needed to invent a signal, that would go unnoticed by guards, so they wouldn't suffer consequences.  By partially showing their butts, they showed they were available to be penetrated by other inmates.  

Ronie and I also noted that it's not right that the "N" word is so horrible, but rappers can say "bitch" is every other lyric and it's socially acceptable.  We've made great strides in race but not in gender.  Men like Rush Limbaugh, and movies like Borat put women in a roll that are almost impossible to get out of.  

The movie closes with boys and girls are just different - that's the way it is.  It's in the genes.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Talking Point 8: Cinderella ate my Daughter


I should start off by saying I am completely and totally bias on this subject... And that is because I totally was "that little girl", that was swallowed up by Cinderella.  Literally, I loved her, adored her!  I had Cinderella themed birthday parties, I had Cinderella bedding, I had Cinderella backpacks, I was even Cinderella for Halloween... for three years in a row.  My mom says I could watch the movie a million times and never get sick of it.  
Me as Cinderella and my brother as an Army Man Halloween 1994

The author argues that we are not teaching girls the true importance of being a girl.  Orenstein begins by saying that through all of the fairy tales and "pinkification" we have taught girls that:
  • They must be feminine and wear dresses ("As for Mulan, when she does show up, it's in a kimono-like hanfu, the one that makes her miserable in the movie, rather than in her warrior's gear.")
  • They must live out the "princess fantasy".
  • They must have the perfect body, clothes, hair, jewelry, makeup, etc.
  • They must get the man --> the handsome prince
The list goes on and on.  It's just ridiculous.  It is because of this princess phenominon that girls no longer consider themselves as beautiful no matter what.  I find it ironic that as an earlier post, I posted a video about Pantene Beautiful Lengths and how women shouldn't have to buy wigs after battling for their lives.  They should know that they are beautiful even without their hair, but the Disney Princesses would disagree.  We have yet to see a bald Princess, however Disney released a princess with short hair in 2010... well technically, she starts with long hair and in the end, the Prince has to cut it to save her.

My question is when are they going to come out with a Princess that isn't a size 0, because she would definitely be a princess I would look up to.  And Pleasant Rowland knew that when she created the American girl line.  Giving them, "notably realistic, childlike proportions - no Barbie bosoms here"!!!  Thank God!  

But still the royalty of a princess is what catches little girls eyes.  Peggy argues that girls are loosing their creativity and imagination by linking their identity purely to their appearance because of the consumerism of Princesses and in a sense it's true.
"I despaired at the singular lack of imagination about girls' lives and interests, at the rows and rows of make-your-own jewelry/lip gloss/nail polish/fashion show craft kits at the drumbeat of the consumer feminine."

It's like asking a girl, "what do you want to be for Halloween?"  The imagination is gone.  I now ask my younger customers to choose for me, last year myself and my manager were Tinkerbell the fairy Vidia, per our customers request.  She was 7 last year.  So I asked her last week what she wanted me to be this year and now it's "a snow fairy or a snow princess"... Original.  (So if anyone knows where to get a costume for a snow fairy/princess let me know)

The author argues that "girls' attraction to pink may seem unavoidable, somehow encoded in their DNA".  And I would agree to some extent.  I myself am a pink fanatic.  I just completely love the color, I always have and I probably always will.  I just think it's a "happy" color, because it just bright and cheerful to look at.

My "Princess" picture: Senior Prom 2009:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Racism - why is your skin so dirty?

So I was skyping with my best friend, Gerianne, who is Haitian, from high school the other night and it reminded me of our conversations of racism and my article.  My group kind of talked about how white women just don't understand black women, the article by Smith says, "It's not white women's fault that they have been raised, for the most part, not knowing how to talk to Black women, not knowing how to look us in the eye and laugh with us."  (page 26)  Anyways, to get to the point about talking with my my friend, growing up we lived in East Greenwich, a predominantly white community, and I think she was the only black kid in our graduating class.  But we were best friends from the time I moved to East Greenwich, and her dad was my neurologist when I was diagnosed in 2008, so she is more of a sister, and her family is like another family to me.

When she was younger she had a girl come to her at elementary school or whatever and ask:
"Why is your skin so dirty?"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Feminists & their hair

Ok so I got an email with this video this morning and I thought I would share because it kind of makes me upset and I'll tell you why.

When I was diagnosed with Timmy the Tumor in 2008, I had had really long hair all my life.  I had really never cut my hair, it had always been long.  It was something I was proud of.  And my first neurosurgeon loved my hair, she was pregnant at the time with a baby girl and refused to shave my head, instead she only shaved the sections that she needed.  This was awesome because I could keep my hair, but it was also most likely the reason why I contracted a 1-in-1,000 brain infection after my first surgery.  She left Hasbro Hospital, and my last surgery was done by Dr. Petra Klinger, the leading shunt specialist in the world!!  She is from germany, she is fantastic, I love her, and frankly she didn't give a crap about my hair, she cared about my health.  So off went my hair.  So I was bald.

My most recent scar - it looks like a candy cane
My hair after the surgery - I donated it to Locks of Love - it was over a foot long

But afterwards my hair was saved and everyone asked me, "so do you want us to make you a wig out of the hair we saved?" And I declined.  It was summer, so it wasn't that cold.  My friends and family bought me hats to cover the scars so I could go in the sun.  And even though I was so proud of my hair, I found that I didn't need to hide behind it anymore.  Now don't get me wrong, I think it is great that people donate their hair, hell I did too.  But after losing all my hair I want girls and women to know that they don't need it to be beautiful.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The "F-Word" (Talking Point 1) - Take 2

So I realized I had rewritten my blog on Rowe-Finkbeiner's "A Tsunami in History" and Hogeland's "Fear of Feminism", but had never posted it.  So here goes.

Extended Comments with thanks to Felicia Gminski's blog post.

Felicia says:
"As far as I remember, all my lady friends also voted. We all thought it was an honor and a duty. We felt responsible for helping to decide who ran our country."(pg. 24). I thought this was an interesting quote to bring to attention merely because it shows how active and willing to participate these women were once they received the right to do something we may take for granted today. Women in history have fought for decades for something that seems like such a common right today when in actuality, this was once considered a huge privilege. 

I complete agree with Felicia.  I personally think it's really interesting how back in the day women fought so hard to even get the right to vote and yet now, more often than not, many adolescence (of both genders) would rather leave the responsibility and decision making up to their parents.  Today, society takes so much for granted without even realizing it.  

Felicia says:
I consider this quote to be a great segway into another quote I came across while reading the same passage. As stated by Marybeth, a 45 year old family therapist -- "We dealt with work-and-family balancing acts and rising divorce, and ended up with women working both inside and outside the home. Many young women are rejecting that struggle and saying they want to have more fun. We were so serious. So, there's some jealousy of younger women there. They get to be hip, sexy, and cool, and we didn't get to do that. But it's also great to see younger women standing on the shoulders of the second wave enjoying life." (pg. 31). I felt that this was yet another important quote to bring to attention because it brings to mind the hardships women in the first wave faced in trying to secure equal rights and now where are we? Are we taking for granted the struggle our elders faced prior and not helping the cause? Or are we gratefully enjoying the perks while still working in a more leisurely manner to allow others the same benefits in the future? Are we in continuous support of this movement if it means having to put in the work that's required to gain change?

And again I agree.  My mom and dad got divorced when I was 10 years old and my brother and I lived with a single mom for years.  She was my hero for being able to face all the struggles that were in front of her.  Without the first wave feminists fighting for equal rights, my mom would never have been able to have kept the house we live in, work at the job she loves (and get paid as much as a man), and enjoy her life (i.e. find my step-dad).

Felicias says:
Transitioning into my last quote pulled from Fear of Feminism, I find it important to point out Lisa Marie Hogeland's statement of "Young women may believe that a feminist identity puts them out of the pool for many men, limits the options of who they might become with a partner, how they might decide to live. They may not be wrong either: how many young men feminists or feminist sympathizers do you know?" (pg. 20). I think this quote is imperative to bring up alongside the other quotes mentioned in this post because I feel with good reason that they go hand-in-hand. Women of the first and maybe even second wave may look to the waves following and wonder why there are still women that either are unsupportive or take neither side in the stand for equality. Maybe we can say the second wave had an excuse... maybe. Perhaps they were reaping the benefits the first wave had brought on and that's all fine and dandy... they still continued to fight, right? Right. And now here we are with our newest generation in what could be considered the third wave and yet to this day, we are still facing these challenges with some who are still unsupportive or inactive. Is it because we have accepted these benefits and don't feel the need to continue on or is it that we are too afraid to be unaccepted as willingly as one who doesn't fight for themselves/others? After all, who wants a trouble maker, eh?

Who wouldn't want to be a trouble maker if our rights are in jeopardy?  I feel as though this generation doesn't realize that there was a time when women didn't have all the rights we have now, they weren't just handed to us, we had to fight for them.  

I did find another blog that tells women why there's no reason to fear feminism that I thought is pretty interesting.

What Are Little Boys Made Of? (Talking Point 7)

Reflection & Quotes.

Honestly, I really liked the article What Are Little Boys Made Of? by Michael Kimmel.  Growing up I was always around "the boys"... not only did I idolize my big brother (Bubba), but I remember much of childhood being spent with him and a group of his friends that I now call my, "other brothers", as they killed hundreds of people in online battles, or spent what seemed like forever at soccer tournaments at first and then later airsoft tournaments.  I watched them grow up and in my mind become stereotypical boys, especially my brother who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2009, created an airsoft league at the Academy, and is now stationed at Almendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage Alaska and owns more guns than pairs of shoes.

"Gurian argues that our educational system forces naturally rambunctious boys to conform to a regime of obedience." (157)
I do agree with that statement, because there are always the classes in schools where  rowdy boys are placed in order to be kept away from the other students.

Then when I was 15, my now step-dad and his son (Aaron) moved in with my mom and I.  Now Aaron was completely different from my older brother because he LOVES playing violent video games.  Now, don't get me wrong, Bubba does too, but Aaron can play for hours.  Which in why I was reminded of him when I was reading:
"From an early age, boys learn that violence is not only an acceptable form of conflict resolution, but one that is admired.  Four times more teenage boys than teenage girls think fighting is appropriate when someone cuts into the front of a line.  Half of all teenage boys get into a physical fight each year."  (159)
 And then when I was 17, I started dating my boyfriend Matthew, who is the opposite of both of my brothers in the sense that he is not violent what so ever.  Maybe it is because he had a rough childhood, and lost his father at a young age, I'm not sure.  But just because he isn't violent, does that not make him a man?

"The belief that violence is manly is not carried on any chromosome, not soldered into the wiring of the right or left hemisphere, not juiced by testosterone.  (Half of all boys don't fight, most don't carry weapons, and almost all don't kill: are they not boys?)" (159)

One quote that also really sticks out to me was:
"I'd rather be wanted for murder than not wanted at all" (159)
And I'm still not sure what to make out of it but it was one of those things that really struck me as interesting while reading this piece.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Draw the Line for Reproductive Rights

Iowa is kicking butt

"Same Love"

Same Love in an interesting music video I found on same-sex marriage by Macklemore. 

"Same Love" - Macklemore
(with Ryan Lewis)
(feat. Mary Lambert)

When I was in the third grade I thought I was gay
‘Cause I could draw, an’ my uncle was, and I kept my room straight
I told my mom tears rushing down my face
She’s like “Ben you've loved girls since before pre-k shrimp”
Yea I guess she had a point didn’t she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, “yea I’m good at little league”
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing god, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And god loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don’t know

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
I’m acting strange
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately
"Man, that’s gay" get dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we’re saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don’t have acceptance for ‘em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
A gay is synonymous with the lesser
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

And press play, don’t press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn the back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking ‘round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever god we believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
About time we raised up

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
I’m acting strange
Even if I try
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(I‘m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I‘m not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I‘m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I‘m not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I‘m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(I‘m not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I‘m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
Love is kind