Friday, November 25, 2011
Talk to your daughters (and sons) before the "beauty" industry does.
Watch this 1-minute video everyday...every morning, if you have to, until you believe that our self-doubt, self-loathing, body dissatisfaction, perfectionism, and self-harm is fuelled by the constant onslaught of messages that tell us we are not good enough, from companies that have no other agenda than their multi-million dollar profits.
This is the Dove Onslaught video.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
One of the things that Day of the Girl encourages us to do in September is get mad.
So here is their wonderful introduction to some of the biggest issues facing girls around the world. Read away, get your blood boiling, cry in frustration.
Then support the Day of the Girl, sign the petition, and think about the small things that you could do. Being aware of, and spreading awareness of the issues is part of the solution.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
So, here are the Top 5 ways that we can encourage girls to feel that they are more than what they look like:
1. Get them involved in some kind of community service. It is important for teens especially, to appreciate that there are problems in the world that they can contribute to in a positive way. Get them helping out. Volunteering for teens should not just be about satisfying a requirement for high school credits - if you can help ignite a passion for a cause in your community, the focus on self shifts, and that time and energy can be channelled to something amazing. Perhaps they can find a place at a humane society, sharing their compassion for animals, or perhaps they enjoy cooking and can prepare meals for a shelter. It doesn't matter - the point is that the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from giving and helping creates confidence and we need girls who are confident in what they do.
2. Sports. It doesn't matter if you think your daughter or niece is 'athletic' or 'competitive' or whatever other labels we like to use on school kids. Get girls involved in something. Think outside the box to find something that suits their personality. Don't confine yourself to traditional team activities - in addition to soccer and baseball and ice-hockey, look for women's rugby teams, water polo teams, and think about golf, yoga and swimming. Physical activity to keep healthy, develop sportsmanship, and to forge new friendships is never a bad thing, and for girls with a competitive streak, it's a healthy way for them to win (and of course, lose).
3. Technology. Let them be nerds. Or geeks. Or whatever it is that people call kids that like math and science these days. EMBRACE IT. Encourage them, and compliment them on their tenacity for problem solving, or their commitment to the computer club. Girls can easily be nudged out of this realm by other people who make them feel they are not being girly or feminine enough so if there is a girl in your life showing signs of interest in this area - let her know she is awesome. Take her to science museums, or to your local flying school, take your tween outside and watch the International Space Station fly over your house at night. Look up some awesome role models for her - astronauts, engineers, pilots, inventors, scientists and run with it.
4. Find and support a hobby. Perhaps the Girl Guides is a good fit, or a specific art or craft, or a musical instrument, but get your girl doing something. If she's busy using her body and mind to create things, or design things then she's less likely to be worried about what she's wearing, or what she looks like. It takes the focus off the superficial, and gives her free time some specific meaning. You need to work with your girl to find something that makes her tick. Look around, try new things and when you find something, support it.
5. Finally, find a way to introduce your girl to elderly women who can inspire her with their wisdom, humor and wit. Girls need to see that women are beautiful at all ages, and that beauty radiates from within. Elderly women, whose skin and hair and bodies don't match what the media tells us is the beauty ideal, force us to reconsider what the definition of beauty is. Girls who can see past wrinkles and age spots and waistlines and grey hair in others, have more of chance of seeing past their blemishes and stray hairs and cellulite. Think of people in your life whose beauty radiates from their heart and introduce her to the girl in your life.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
First of all, you need a big US retail chain fashion buyer (cough, cough, that's you JC Penney) to select a horrendously sexist t-shirt for girls, that completely sells girls out, puts them down, and reinforces the old-stereotype that girls can either be smart of pretty, but never, ever both.
After this succeeds and the big chain pulls the T-shirt (and presumably fires the buyer who thought it was a good idea), you need someone to think up an awesome catchphrase, design an eye-catching and quite honestly ADORABLE T-shirt that sends the completely opposite message. Enter Pigtail Pals.
Monday, August 29, 2011
The comments that women (and men) make, everyday, about food, calories, weight, image, clothes, and fat just keep reinforcing the ridiculous thin-ideal and unattainable beauty standard that the media has been force feeding us.
Most of my friends already know that I won't entertain their fat-talk. I am delighted to hear about their healthy activities or their new healthy and delicious recipe, but I won't be joining in fat-conversations about weight-loss or cellulite. They're not fun or helpful, it's a complete waste of precious time and I'd rather poke myself in the eyeball than hear about how many calories you burnt on the elliptical last night.
But changing the conversation is a work in progress. I've tried really hard recently not to comment on people's weight loss. This one is harder than you might think. It's almost reflexive to want to say something about each other's appearance...and in the past if someone has clearly lost some weight I would probably have said how 'great' they look, thinking that this was a compliment.
But I realize now that that isn't necessarily true...equating weight loss with attractiveness is in fact a regurgitation of what I'm told to think by the media. And I need to not be brain-washed.
Weight loss does not equal attractiveness. Thin does not equal hot. Skinny is a crappy ideal. But Hell's Bells, are we ever taught to think that way. Take those cheesy weight loss infomercials for example, that teach us that unless you are slim, muscular and made-over then your life just cannot begin. You need a new 'you', to become successful and attractive and popular. No other body shape or size can possibly make it anywhere in this world, and until you lose some weight you will forever be depressed and lonely, waiting and willing for your repressed 'thin' self to bust out from the burden of your average-looking body and find true happiness. What a hot-crock of crap.
So at least for Fat Talk Free Week in October, challenge yourself and challenge your friends to steer clear of Fat Talk. For one week, use the challenge to focus on everything else. Focus on your inner beauty...talents...dreams...goals. Talk about everything - enjoy food - wear your favorite clothes, but just try not to dwell on appearances. Give yourself a break from Fat Talk.
Who knows, your conversation might change for good. And besides, there is so much more to talk about.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
It felt totally awesome, and I hope it made at least one person forget about the message in the weight-loss ad, and walk away smiling.
Join in the mission! Change the conversation. Change the way we see ourselves. : )
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Snuggled on the sofa, feeling guilty for being so ridiculously lazy and weak, I decided to grab a bottle of nail polish and do my nails. While I was scrubbing off the chipped and icky 3-week old stuff from my nails (so classy, I know), the boy, out of the blue, asked if he can have some polish on his nails.
Well, sure thing kiddo I thought and the boy got a coat of the pink stuff. And goodness gracious, was he ever fussy about it too. We had Q-Tips out to perfect the edges and everything. He sat with his hands held up for about 10 minutes, blowing gently on his colorful little nails. He even suggested that next time, we do a 'pattern' of alternating colors. ; )
When my husband got home from work, the kid showed him his nails and asked him if he wanted to play pirates and have a sword fight. "Nice nails, dude" he said and off they went to pretend fight about nothing with plastic cutlasses.
I heart my boys. Nail polish, swords and all.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
She is posed for a fashion spread for Vogue Paris. And somehow because it's Vogue, because it's high fashion, because it's highly paid and high profile, it's acceptable and okay. How in a million years is this okay?
What kind of parent sleeps at night after watching stylists and photographers dress up their pre-pubescent girl in leopard print high heels and make-up and photograph them, posing them seductively in adult clothing for a high-fashion photo shoot? Who is letting this happen to kids?
This is high-class child pornography. Nothing less. This little girl is 10 years old. She has been primped and preened, and posed and photographed in adult poses, sexualizing and objectifying her. As each picture is taken of her staring, lost and obedient into the camera, her innocence and her potential is robbed, frame by pornographic frame.
Everything is wrong with this. Nothing makes sense. Why is the fashion industry even trying to sell women's clothes by using a 10 year old's pre-pubescent body. What does that say about the impossible, unattainable standards that the industry presents to us? Why are we not enraged and shocked by the use of a 10 year old child to sell adult luxury products? What am I missing?
I feel guilty in part for re-posting this little girl's picture. But I have to. I have to do my little part in exposing the culture that is suffocating our girls and strangling our society. We are better than this, aren't we? Can't we let kids be kids? Can't we demand more from ourselves? Can't we protect children from being used as objects and sales tools. This little girl represents all girls and women who are being used and manipulated. I want to scream and tell her that there's more to her than this...there is more to life than this...that she can be so much more. That she's being used.
There is plenty of room for fashion and creativity and art and beauty, but this is not it.
This, well this is just wrong. So very wrong.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
My link tonight is to a project called the Illusionists. A documentary type movie in the making about the influence that the beauty industry and the media have on our lives, and the obsession with physical perfection above all else.
Here's the link.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
If a woman isn't saying NO...it does not mean, no matter what she is wearing, or how much she's flirted, or who she's slept with in the past, that she is saying YES.
It's a great campaign, with a great message. I just wanted to share it.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
It's about four New York women (think Sex in the City in 10-15 years...with chubby husbands, saggy boobs and 10 year old kids) who have all essentially given up some major part of themselves for motherhood, marriage, and suburbia. It's a slow, intimate read; frustrating at times...much like the lives of some of the women, but also comfortable and easy, as it invites us to explore the forces behind female friendship, the torment and anxiety of raising kids and both the ambivalence and motivation behind keeping careers afloat amidst the other stuff that pulls women in all directions.
If I was Oprah, this would be my pick for the summer. But I'm not, I'm just me...so if you know me and you want to borrow it, let me know. If you don't know me, and you're going on vacation, or looking for a bedtime read, you'll have to get it yourself. ; )
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I think it would suck to be a 7 year old North American girl in 2011. Sidekicks? Please.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World
That's all : )
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Here's a little video calling Beyonce out on her "Run the World" lyrics.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Although there is no written law in Saudi Arabia that explicitly prohibits women drivers, women are not issued driving licences, and religious authorities and scholars have declared women driving 'haraam' (forbidden). It's the only country in the world with such a ban, and many women (and some men) feel it's time to do something about it.
Today many brave women in Saudi Arabia, spurred on by support on the Twittersphere (#women2drive) got behind the wheel, started their engines and drove their way into a courageous campaign for their rights.
Next time you get behind the wheel, take a second to think about the brave Saudi women standing up for their right to mobility. Courage after all, is contagious.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Once upon a time, there was a stupid T-shirt with a crummy message.
It thought it was really hip and cool, and all the pretty girls were wearing it, and not doing math because they were too pretty, and then, kapow, along came an actually awesome t-shirt.
And all was right again. Because even pretty girls do math, and science and engineering and everything else, and the 'pretty' just doesn't even matter, because they're too busy inventing and fixing stuff and being smart and great.
That's all for today.
Monday, June 13, 2011
I could have chosen to describe these two women in many different ways...Real vs. Fake, Smart vs. Stupid (harsh but true), Newsworthy vs. Not Newsworthy, but I chose Classy vs. Classless, which I think sums it up quite nicely.
The first picture, is Sarah Burge, a self-proclaimed 'Human Barbie', who has had so much plastic surgery to alter her appearance, that she apparently holds the world record for the most cosmetic procedures done. Anyway, Ms. Burge made the news this week, when she announced that she had given her 7 year old daughter a gift certificate for breast implants. Don't worry folks, it's not for her to use until she is 16 years old, so don't be called Child Protection Services just yet. She's just setting the lil' girl up now for a life of self-loathing and torture. What wonderful parental foresight. (Insert eye roll).
I'm not really sure where to start with this woman, or if even I should bother. She's a lost cause. I'll just suggest that perhaps there are better (less-selfish and conceited) uses for $800,000 than spending it on surgery to look like a plastic Mattel toy (the amount Ms. Burge has reportedly spent on cosmetic procedures). I can also think of an endless list of gifts that I would have loved to receive from my parents at age 7, none of which involved anaesthetic or a scalpel. Finally, I guess this story is proof that no matter what you look like on the outside...or how beautiful you think that defying age or gravity or nature makes you, you can still be a horrendously ugly, misguided, selfish person on the inside, and there's no surgery that can change that.
The second picture, in stark contrast is Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a picture of strength, poise and tenacity. Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head in January, in an attempted assassination as she spoke with constituents at a supermarket. She's had plastic surgery too - although Ms. Gifford's surgeon used the plastic to replace part of her skull that had been removed to permit her brain to swell after the gunshot to her head. Anyway, Ms. Giffords certainly didn't choose to spend the last 6 months in hospital; she has (and this is my whole point) better things to be doing with her time. She was sworn in as the third woman in Arizona's history to be elected to serve in the U.S. Congress in 2007. In her inaugural speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Giffords advocated an immigration reform package. In her first month in office, Giffords voted in favor of increased federal funding for stem cell research and for increasing the minimum wage.
Sarah Burge and Gabrielle Giffords: two very, very different women. Which one is your daughter's role model? Who will your family be talking about over dinner? Which one is more newsworthy? Who is more "beautiful" - if it matters, and whatever that means?
Friday, June 10, 2011
Anyway, here are my Top 5 Travel Tips for you all. I discovered all of this on my recent vacation, so if any of you are planning a trip to the UK espcially, but anywhere really, then these are the tips for you!
5. Cell-phone or ‘mobile phone’ service rocks in the UK. We borrowed a cell phone from a relative who recently moved here and once we arrived in the UK we bought a SIM card from Tesco, a nationwide supermarket. We paid 10GBP, or about $15 for 100 minutes of airtime. As soon as we activated it, we received a bonus 200 minutes of airtime. The 10GBP lasted us for the whole trip. We made calls, received calls and texted back and forth within the UK til our heart’s content. I am sure there are still 100’s of minutes of credit sitting on the phone too. If you’re planning on calling within the UK, and you can get your hands on a phone – you’re golden.
4. Maybe you still have last years precious Christmas Day photos on your camera at home, but if you’re going on a trip, take a laptop or figure out someway to take your photos off your camera regularly and save them. We took over 1000 pictures over 2 weeks and we uploaded ours every day to the laptop. On the last day of the trip, no word of a lie, I dropped our camera in the sea. The North Sea to be exact and the camera was toast. I can’t imagine how heartbroken I would have been if all 1000 pictures had gone with it. They were all OK though. Phew.
3. When travelling with kids, be ready for puke. And by ready, I don’t mean a scrambling to empty a plastic bag mid-vomit, and half a travel-pack of baby wipes. I mean expect your kid to projectile puke all over your rental car and into your purse, and if it doesn’t happen, bonus for you. I got everything I needed for such an event, after it happened once. Get it, keep it together, don’t take it out of the car and keep it for an emergency. A bottle of water, a pack of wipes, some kitchen towel, spare clothes, paper bags and plastic bags to seal away the pukey stuff til the next stop. You’ll be glad you did.
2. If you’re travelling with munchkins, give them a chance to entertain themselves, before setting up a daycare craft centre on the airplane. My 4-year old entertained himself for 7 hours with all his toys that he had chosen to pack in his backpack. I had all kinds of activity books, stickers and felt crafts in my purse ready to go at the first sign of boredom, but he played quite happily for about 4 hours before I noticed he was snoozing on my shoulder.
The Leap Frog Tag Pen http://microsite.leapfrog.com/tag_ca/index.html#/learn_about_tag/see_how_tag_works/and the Leapster 2 http://www.leapfrog.com/gaming/leapster2/both get big shout outs here.
1. If you’re planning on driving, do yourself a favour and download the GPS maps of wherever you’re going. Bringing our own GPS worked out cheaper than renting one with the rental car. Our GPS maps for the UK cost us $70, so sure a map of the country would be cheaper – but let’s just say it was an investment in my marriage! It reduced the inevitable bickering that comes with map reading, asking for directions and getting lost. We could punch in Food, or Gas, or Attractions, whenever we needed to be fed, watered or entertained, and the trusty GPS guided us to the nearest spots. It also helped us plan our days, as we could tell at-a-glance how long we’d be in the car and when we’d be arriving at our destinations. In the UK, where you’re already on the other side of the road, the lane directions are written on the road, there are roundabouts instead of intersections, and mysterious road signs at every turn, take the help, get a GPS and save yourself a headache.
Those were my Top 5 Travel Tips….leave a comment if you have any good ones yourself. I’m going to post my Top 5 Favourite Vacation moments (with pictures) soon!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I am back from my holidays! I had an amazing time, away from work with my boys, exploring the beautiful England and Scotland and visiting with family and friends. I'll post some travel-bloggish type stuff soon, because I have some places and things that I really want to rave about, but before I do, I just wanted to jump on with a cool ad that I saw on the PBG (Powered by Girl) Facebook feed.
I guess 'change' is my buzzword for this week. A friend posted this helpful little flowchart on Facebook the other day, and I love it.
We can all change. We can change our minds, our outlooks, our friends, our clothes, our smiles, our attitudes, our goals, our dreams, our realities, our futures, our children's futures. Anything.
Here's the ad - I hope you like it. I hope you Dare to Change.
Monday, May 16, 2011
For my last post before my trip, here are my Top 5 British foods, that I'm going to gorge on in unhealthy amounts during my trip, and hopefully smuggle back in shocking quantities on my return!
5. Butteries - Yes, the Aberdeen Roll. I'm going to get to a bakery
stat as soon as we reach our Scottish destination, and grab a bag of butteries for breakfast. With plenty of butter and a smothering of jam, I can almost taste the crumbly goodness already. Mmmmm, delish.
4. Cornish Pasties - Oggy, oggy, oggy. Oi, oi, oi. Cornish Pasties aren't just found in Cornwall. I'm excited for me and the boys to lunch on these little gems a few times on this trip. They're cheap, easy and filling, and even have veggies in them to boot. There's loads of different kinds...even chicken tikka...I can't wait. Amazing!
3. Battered Sausage and Chips - Not a dish requiring much explanation.
Pork sausage dipped in batter and fried, served up with a nice greasy helping of chips. It's not healthy, and it's not fine dining, but it's divine, and I haven't had one in years, so it's on the list. (And yes, pass the brown sauce please!)
2. Crisps - My very Canadian son thinks it's hilarious that 'chips' are called crisps in the UK. And fries are called chips. Anyway, whatever they're called, the UK has the edge on flavours. My personal favorites are Prawn Cocktail Skips, Pickled Onion Monster Munch, and Cheesy Wotsits. I also can scarf down a bag of Cheese and Onion walkers like nobody's business, and I'm sure I'll get my hands on a bag or two of Bacon Fries. Needless to say I'm excited about the bags of crisps. I'll plan on bringing a bunch home, but I'll tell you right now, they'll all be gone before we've reached altitude.
1. British Sweets - Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to
be a very good role model to the kid on this vacation. Maybe I'll just buy the sweets on the sly and scoff them all after he's gone to bed. Whatever...one thing I know for sure, is that I'll be stocking up on Double Deckers, Twirls, Revels, Galaxy bars and Minstrels not long after landing at Heathrow. I'm sure the sugar high will help with the jet lag anyway.
So there we have it. My Top 5 foods that I'm excited to get my hands on and teeth into on our vacation. Not very nutritious, I concede. OK, mostly not nutritious at all, but like I said, I've been deprived for a long time, so I'm going wild.
See you all on the flipside of the vacation. Don't forget you can still vote for The Mauve Dinosaur blog every day by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs picture at the top right. It increases my ranking, and then maybe some newbie visitors will stop by! Cheerio for now!
Friday, May 13, 2011
It's a tough watch.
This poor little brainwashed 8 year old says that after her "mom" injects the Botox into her head that she feels "beautiful...pretty...and all those nice words."
This breaks my heart.
It's tough for me to comment on this, without unleashing a world of anger on the woman in that video who calls herself a "mom". It's anger tinged with pity. The mother needs help; therapy, an intervention. She is clearly so deluded and addicted to the pageant life, that she is willing to buy drugs from an underground 'Doctor' and inject them herself into her 8 year old daughter's face.
I hope the mother gets investigated. I hope the Doctor supplying this drug to child beauty pageant participants loses his licence, and more than anything, I hope that against all the odds stacked against her, that the little 8 year old girl manages somehow to grow up into a strong, productive, healthy young woman. She's been objectified, sexualized and violated, by her own family; paraded, judged, and criticized by panels of strangers based on her appearance. How can she possibly emerge unscathed? How can she possibly not grow up with an unhealthy focus on constantly appearing perfect? Will she ever feel naturally good enough? Will she ever feel as though she has an assured place in the world, regardless of what she looks like?
This story isn't cute, it isn't funny, and it isn't 'what all the moms are doing'. It's an example of a heinous act of abuse. An abuse of power and an abuse of trust. This story, this video, is why we HAVE to change how we as a society are treating young girls, how we allow them to be treated and depicted and how we ignore and minimize the consequences. Is it time to stand up yet?
Take a stand against the fashion giants who demean, sexualize, and violate women to sell their products.
Friday, May 6, 2011
There are so many more important things to be worrying about instead of obsessing over body weight or size.
The 'diet industry' sucks. Commercial diets perpetuate negative stereotypes of women, and weight-loss surgery in many cases is another form of violence against women.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Sometimes, when we tell each other that we love one another, my little guy tells me that he loves me more than I love him. I go along with the game of trying to out-do each other...you know, how many times I love him around the world, and to the moon (and back), how many times around the whole universe...infinity and twenty times, that kind of thing. It's fun and we giggle and I get the warm and fuzzies, but the truth is that he will never, ever, ever know how much I love him. I can try and tell him, and I do, but he will never actually truly know.
Maybe one day when he grows up he'll be a dad, and he'll have daddy love, which is also awesome I am sure, or maybe he'll grow up and choose to love a man instead and maybe they'll adopt me a grandbaby, and he'll have another kind of awesome love, but I don't know those kinds of love, so I'll just talk about what I know, inside my heart. The love I have is 'i-gave-birth-to-you-mommy love', and my son will simply never know it. He will never quite understand how it feels to look at someone whose heart starting beating inside you.
I grew him. I feel kind of superhero-esque when I stop to think about it actually.
I get that motherhood isn't just for women who have been pregnant or given birth, I truly do. There are foster mothers, and adoptive mothers, and surrogate mothers - there are lots of different ways to experience the euphoric highs and wretched lows of motherhood, but the growing, the giving birth and the nursing was my very personal, wonderful start, so that's all I know.
I look into my little boy's big, curious eyes everyday, and I wonder what things he will see. I wonder where he will go and what life holds for him. My heart breaks when I realize that I can't protect him from the inevitable pain, disappointment, and failures that are a part of life and I hurt a little bit when I think that one day, the 'Watch this Mommy's will stop and he'll start doing and trying things that he doesn't want me around for. My heart swells when I think that one day he'll do something great - to make himself proud, exceed his own expectations, and maybe even find love, and find his place in the big, bad world that I brought him into.
My mother love for my child is a fierce love; unconditional, pure, unwavering. Raw.
The most intense moment of clarity I've ever had in my life was the moment I saw him.
I knew at that moment that the person who coined the phrase 'Love at first sight' must have been a mother. A mother, like me, whose life and heart changed in an instant.
All mothers are superheroes. We make and raise kids in all our different ways, but we all have a superpower in common. We love our kids like only moms can, and that, is pretty damn special.
Happy Mother's Day ladies.