Here’s an ad that ran in the most recent issue of “The Bucknellian” — the college newspaper at Bucknell University. It invites college students to “get rid of the areas that make [them] crazy” at Geisinger Hospital. What’s worse? Geisinger runs Bucknell University’s student health services. So, as one of our readers puts it, “this is a case of a hospital charged with guarding the health of students promoting to those same students liposuction.” Faculty, staff, and some students are outraged. Isn’t anybody in Geisinger’s marketing department thinking? How about the student staff at the Bucknellian? Or whomever oversees the staff, assuming some faculty or staff member(s) does? If you’re moved to speak out: Bucknellian at (570) 577-1085; Geisinger Center for Aesthetics and Cosmetic Surgery at (855) 872-0448. (Thanks, G!)
superheroines September 4, 2012
I’m not expert in comics and/or superheroes and I know there ARE female superheroes, or better, superheroines, such as Firestar, Black Widow, Aquagirl, and Batwoman. (A wiki list can be found here.) Where are the mainstream superheroines geared towards kids lately? It’s not that they never existed, but they have been written out of the newest iterations of the mainstream kid shows. My son and daughter are into the superhero scene, which has led to my 7 year old daughter being mocked for liking Spiderman. (She seemed bemused and dismissed the mocking and the mocker pretty quickly.) We went with a Marvel comic theme in my son’s room and it wasn’t difficult to find many superheroines in posters and such for his room. But when it comes to current kids TV shows, kids movies, and most kids merchandise today, the superhero seen is virtually all male. For girls, as we know the toy market is virtually all pink and princesses.
This predicament did lead to a fun activity with my kids. They made up their own superheroines, including No Weakness, Scary Girl, Tool Girl, Hide Girl, and Loud Woman.
Where have all the mainstream superheroines for kids gone and how can we bring them back?
Complete and Beautiful June 13, 2012
Check out Complete and Beautiful, a new website celebrating “every girl and woman, of every shape, size, ability, skin tone, age, and uniqueness.” Here is a letter of invitation from Jessi Lax, the site’s founder.
To the girls and women of the world,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Jessica. I graduated from college in May 2011. I have a labradoodle service dog, Darby, who means the world to me. I’m 5’0” on a good day. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines. One of my nicknames is Cinderella because my shoes are constantly falling off of my feet. And, like Ellen DeGeneres, I believe in dance.
I am in the process of starting a beauty campaign: Complete and Beautiful. The mission of Complete and Beautiful is to celebrate all girls and women, inside and out. The beauty campaign is not just about your appearance; it is about how you see yourself as a person, and how other people see you as well. Complete and Beautiful is a website that, I hope, will evolve into something much bigger. But first, let me explain where I’m coming from.
I have a mild case of Cerebral Palsy. It affects my legs and my left hand. I did not even realize that I was differently-abled until I was ten. I did not begin to deal with my circumstances until my senior year of high school. My ability status, along with other societal preferences regarding appearance, fueled my troubles with body image.
My body is not representative of the standard ideal. For years I thought I was ugly. For years society has told me directly and indirectly that I am not valuable, not worthy, not desirable, and not complete. In our society, people, especially girls and women, are inundated by messages that they are unattractive or deficient in some way, making women self-conscious and insecure. Women worry and fuss, almost constantly, about things like their weight, skin tone, and age. All girls and women, even those judged to be classically beautiful, struggle as they try to reach and sustain an impossible perfection. Looking beautiful is unfortunately no guarantee of feeling beautiful. All of these factors and more contribute to possibly one of the most damaging messages of all: “You cannot be loved.”
I was one of those girls. I had that pain; I felt unlovable. But I refuse to keep the cycle going. I’m asking you to help me change lives; perhaps even save them. I am miles ahead of where I was a few years ago. Admittedly, I still have my share of bad days. However, more often than not, I find myself smiling at my reflection. Why? How? I started to make a concerted effort to believe in and see my own beauty. It was extremely difficult, and at times it still is, but I did it.
This is for every girl and woman, of every shape, size, ability, skin tone, age, and uniqueness. This is for you–because you are complete and you are beautiful.
Go to: www.completeandbeautiful.com and share your story today.
Be still my typing fingers… June 1, 2012
I can’t believe I’m doing this.
His account of the origin is controversial. As for the rest, it is worth thinking about, so to speak. BUT little is so simple. IMHO.
Photoshop by Adobé January 11, 2012
This will make a handy little addition to Feminism classes… (Thanks RW!)
Some lapdancing experiences November 12, 2011
Wondered what it’s like to take one’s clothes off for money? Different people have different experiences. A new book by former dancer, Jennifer Hayashi Danns, and campaigner, Sandrine Leveque, collects together some stories from lap dancers and other sex workers, describing their working lives. Danns explains that in the clubs where she has worked, the women must pay a fee for working there, so they take on the financial risk – if there are no customers, the club still makes money, but the women could lose cash. Unsurprisingly, there is fierce competition for customers between the dancers, who will sometimes masturbate, or ignore no-touching rules so they can make enough cash to pay the club fee and make a profit. The male customers frequently make remarks – often insulting – about the bodies of the dancers, telling them that their breasts are too small, pointing out their cellulite, calling them names, or commenting on their genitalia. Danns reports that most of her customers were groups of rowdy young men, who wanted to show off to their friends:
There’s something psychologically unhealthy about it… All you have done is picked the woman you think is most attractive and paid her – but now you want a round of applause. Isn’t that strange?
Danns doesn’t want to see the industry banned, as she thinks such legislation wouldn’t remedy the sexist culture that she sees as underlying it. But she hopes her book will help people see that some parts of the sex industry harm both women and men. You can read more here.
Edited in response to comments that rightly pointed out the previous version made it sound as if Danns’ experiences are universal, but other accounts show they are not.
Stress and Self-defeating Behavior November 24, 2010
I’ve just added a link in our page, the Psychology of Philosophy, to an interesting article in the NY Times from 2009. I’ve thought back to it a lot over the last year and finally realized it might be worth sharing. The ideas below come largely from that article.
Have you ever found yourself in a rut, performing in some routine way that is not really advancing anything? Or, if you do manage to get words to paper in finishing your thesis or your essays, the results are mechanical, uninspired, boring? Or perhaps you find yourself in one kind of social situation – say an APA interview – and suddenly you realize you are adopting the role prescribed at your mother’s tea parties, where you sat demurely and laughed at the adults’ jokes. OMIGOD!
Well, been there, done that. And could not understand why. But one thing I love about cognitive science is that it can give one explanations of one’s own very puzzling behavior that are better than any one has had before. And here’s one way of thinking of what’s going on in both of the sort of cases described above. Effective creativity, whether writing philosophy or responding to new situations, requires a trust of one’s own instinctive sensibility. You do not get it just by following rules. Stress, however, in effect communicates danger to one’s nervous system, and it’s as though the brain says “There’s danger! Now is definitely not the time to try out new things. Stick with the old routines.” So you find yourself repeating routine things such as summarizing articles, which looks terrible in your thesis. Even worse, you find your adviser’s stock phrases showing up in your work. Or if you do manage actually to say something that could be unexpected, you freeze with embarrassment, thus conveying the idea that your social skills are close to zero.
The alternatives are obvious: either get rid of the stress or get effective routine that will see you through the interview (aka: practive the interviews!!).
Getting rid of the stress? Well, what do you think?
“My Princess Boy” November 11, 2010
Cross-dressing for kiddies may even become fashionable. What a good thing that would be!
I was struck, since I had read our own elp’s post about her son, to see an almost identical story about a mother and son in Seattle. The story includes support from the school. And one result is a book about the family’s experiences with a ‘different’ boy:
The so-far self-published book is forthcoming from Simon and Shuster in December. The web site says:
My Princess Boy is a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. With words and illustrations even the youngest of children can understand, My Princess Boy tells the tale of a 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic** self by wearing dresses and enjoying “traditional girl” things like jewelry, sparkles or anything pink. The book is told from a mother’s point of view, sharing both positive and negative experiences the Princess Boy has with family, friends, classmates and even total strangers.
The book is listed at Amazon as currently unavailable, but there is more about the author-mother here. There is also a separate web site for the book, with links to other forums; you can contact the author if you want.
See also Jender’s related post.
**On the West Coast things are especially authentic.
“Puberty cards make it easier” May 4, 2010
Really? Do they? Menarchy Parties R’ Us says so. In fact, they suggest throwing a puberty party, complete with Pin the Ovaries on the Uterus game, “Private Days Feminine Disposable Bags” as party favours, and a “Puberty Marshmallow Game”.
It’s all tremendously well-meaning. But I think I’d have had to crawl under my bed for a week and not come out if someone had tried to throw me such a party. (Thanks, SL!)
Bulimia: One Case April 22, 2010
The post follows a NY Times story, placed oddly in the Fashion and Style section.
On May 6, 2009, Melissa Avrin died of a heart attack. She was 19. Her mother, Judy, is finishing a documentary about her life and her bulimia. There is also a web page with clips from the film and information (“resources”) about eating disorders.
It’s very likely we all know people suffering from eating disorders. The material linked to might serve to help you find a way to discuss them. And here’s the film’s trailer:
The film’s label “NEDA” comes from the National Eating Disorders Association. They look to have a very useful site.