#LikeAGirl

We’ve all heard it.

“Run like a girl,”

“Throw like a girl,”

etc.

Where did the expression “like a girl” even come from? And why is it being used in a demeaning way?

Props to Always for reminding us to listen and actually think about the things we say.

Advertisements

Body Image Confidence – Summer Edition

It is summer, and we all know what that means!

Swimsuit season.

We often become critical of our bodies, (thanks to the images we see in the media, and of course our nit-picky-ness), and can feel very self conscious or insecure about the way that we look.

In the video above, Kait mentions some of her struggles with her own body type. Being only 5 feet tall myself, I can completely relate and have had some similar struggles as her. One strategy that you can try is to adopt new language about your body. For instance, “fun-sized” instead of “short”or “small”. It is surprising how much using empowering language can help you feel good about yourself!

For some more great tips on how to feel more confident this summer, take a few minutes to watch the video above.

Every body is beautiful!

OWN IT.

A Response to Cheri’s Camo Confession

I have to admit, I adore this woman. Her strength and courage to share her story and show her imperfections is wonderful. I actually kind of want to be her best friend.

Just one complaint.

This is an advertisement for a makeup product. And it’s making Cheri’s story a little distorted.

Now, for me, I feel like a rock in a hard place here. Here I am, advocating for women’s empowerment and such. But… I’m also a college student that is currently studying strategic communications, and learning how to craft strategic messaging in different creative outlets. The feminist side of my brain is yelling “STOP, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU ARE TELLING YOUR AMAZING STORY BUT SUCCUMBING TO MODERN SOCIETAL NORMS AND COVERING YOUR ‘IMPERFECTIONS’ UGHHHH.” While the other part of me is thinking, “Wow, what a fantastically creative and potentially uplifting messaging tactic.”

Perhaps I’m biased – I certainly have not lived with Vitiligo – but I think that this is just a bit…(for lack of a better word), hypocritical. Sorry, I know, a bit harsh. I just can’t understand why someone would advocate for “being yourself”, and “not hiding your true self”, and then turn everything around and say, “Ohhhhh, but I actually like to cover up my imperfections with this makeup product.”

Cheri, by covering your imperfections, you are contributing to the sheltering of the rest of society. You are aiding in other’s ignorance. I know that it has to be an incredibly hard thing to deal with the hateful comments that you receive on such a regular basis, but continuing to hide will not fix this. Humans are imperfect.  This needs to be normalized. Cheri, you should feel comfortable in your own skin, because your own skin is unique, and gorgeous. Although I stand by the fact that it is your choice to choose what way you want to present yourself, this wouldn’t be a NYTFB post without some analytical thinking.

Please let me know in the comments below what you think of this video and this messaging campaign. I obviously have some mixed feelings.

Gender Normativity: The Consequences of a One-Track Mindset

We are all familiar with the sayings “boy’s don’t cry,” “man up,” and “she’s too girly.” Sure, these can be thrown around as playful ways to tease someone for the way that they are acting, but actually, we internalize them more than most people know.

It’s called gender normativity, and it compartmentalizes and limits us as beings.

And it starts early on.

Let’s take Grayson as our first example. Grayson, a 9 year-old North Carolina schoolboy has recently been in the news for being bullied. New York Daily News states that he was sporting his favorite “My Little Pony” bag, typically an item found in the “girls section” of the toy aisle, and was being bullied by others at school for it. Sadly, this story isn’t only about the bullying. It gets even worse.

The children that were teasing Grayson were not punished. Instead, the faculty at the elementary school told Grayson to put the bag away so that the other children would stop bullying him. Teachers and adults are meant to be role models that empower kids to show their own individuality. Instead, these teachers essentially became bullies themselves because they were encouraging Grayson to abide by gender normativity standards.

So why do children’s toys have to be gendered? Wise 7-year-old Charlotte was wondering the same thing, and decided to ask Lego about it. According to USA today, she sent a letter to the company stating:

“There are more Lego boy people and barely any Lego girls. Today I went to a store and saw Legos in two sections the girls pink and the boys blue. All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks.”

Charlotte hits the nail on the head here. Whether it be implicitly or explicitly, children grow up being shown that what they are “supposed” to like and be, is determined by their gender. The truth is that not all children are as wise as Grayson and Charlotte, and are consequently tainted by the gender normativity mindset.

Here’s the big picture: maintaining these gender normativity standards hinders individuals from venturing outside of those standards. Young girls feel less compelled to become doctors or lawyers or politicians, because those are “man’s professions.” Young boys feel less compelled to become nurses, or beauticians, or even stay-at-home dads, because that’s “what girls do.” Charles M. Blow, an op-ed columnist of The New York Times says it best:

“We have to see our girls and boys as more than skirts and pants, damsels and squires, child-bearers and breadwinners. We must see them as — and encourage them to express themselves as — fully realized beings. Girls must be given safe space to be assertive and boys to be vulnerable without feeling that they have failed a test of gender normativity. […] We must allow girls and boys, men and women, to be fully free.”

Now that we have recognized that a problem exists with gender normativity in society today, it is valid to begin speculating upon what can we do to change the one-track mindset that is so engrained into our society.

And here’s the answer.

Gender normativity can be eliminated, and in all honestly, it starts with you. You can spark something.

Turn on your television or walk in a children’s toy aisle at a store near you. Analyze the messages that are being produced by these companies that are trying to convince you to buy their products. If you detect messages that you do not agree with, stand up like 7-year-old Charlotte did, and send the company a letter. And then tell your friends to do the same.

Ultimately, gender normativity limits. Limits set bars. Let’s not raise the bar; let’s instead work to eliminate the bar completely. Then, we can open ourselves up to a world of possibilities.

Miss Representation: An Important Look into Modern Media

Oh goodness, where to begin with this film? So thought provoking.

If you haven’t already seen Miss Representation, (it’s on Netflix), I think it is the perfect way to get a feel of what kind of effects our media really has on the female population. The scary statistics paired with the visual compilation of some current ads makes for an all too real depiction of this all too real issue.

Beyond the depictions of ads in media today, the film features something even more heartbreaking. Students. Girls. Their stories. Speaking about the struggles of living as a girl with unrealistic standards set for themselves. Miss Representation exposes that the media is slowly deteriorating our girls and young women, and it is tragic. This is what hits home.

I find myself wondering why this film is not a required film for high school or college classes. One of the major things that I have learned in my schooling is that by being media literate, one can detect underlying messages and can be in control of the media they consume rather than being consumed by the media. By educating young girls and women about the strategies that the media and advertisers use, they can be better equipped to tackle these skewed messages, rather than succumb to them.

Katie Couric’s statement at the end of this trailer is a great way to sum up this issue. “The media can be an instrument of change. It can awaken people and change minds. It depends on who’s piloting the plane.”

We need to be like Amelia Earhart. We need to take over this plane and fly it to a place where women can use the media to be empowered.