Monday, April 16, 2012

Memory Tricks! An Animation Project for/by Girls

Check out THIS cool project!! Leandra

Dreams of Vengeance

            Many of our thoughts or memories from middle school come with the thought “I’m counting down the days till middle school becomes a thing we can refer to in the past tense.” Then we all theoretically “move on” and laugh about all of those silly things that happened that were humiliating and relish in how fabulous we are now. But what happens when you have a daughter or a niece or a close family friend’s 13-year-old queer child who is going to school each day ashamed, insecure, or terrified of what the “popular girls” are going to put them through today? Do you sit and calmly reassure them that it will be better one day, or do you put on your “steel-toed ass kickers” and march down to that school?
            Ayun Halliday writes about her feelings as her daughter lives a similar experience in middle school. She talks about her “dreams of vengeance” for her daughter and the surreal and liberating experience it would be to tell-off Emma (the clique leader) and “totally shaming her into realizing what an awful person she’d become and all her friends were there to witness it”.
            Overall, most young people experience bullying at some point from elementary to high school, but technology gaps and advances look differently over time, class and geographic location. In the article “Mean Girls: Making it Through the Misfortunes of Middle School”, Halliday also discusses the differences in how relationships are formed and maintained with the advent of Facebook. She writes,
“Facebook can be a great reward for those of us old enough to wonder what ever became of all the folks we lost along the way. But thank God it didn’t exist when I was in middle school. Overhearing classmates chattering on about their in jokes, social hierarchies, and the many parties to which I’d not been invited was fun enough as it was. No need to compound the gaiety with an avalanche of photographic evidence.”

But it goes far beyond just photographic evidence reminding one how marginalized from the “in group” they were. Facebook and other social networking sites have transformed relationships, especially among the young people who use these sites most actively and regularly. The effects of being cast of being marginalized are exacerbated by repeated photographic evidence, by the ability for people to so immediately and readily “comment” on one’s entire life essentially. Now, groups of students don’t even have to be communicating with one another to collectively target another unfortunate teen.
            Once ridicule and humiliation happens now as it does over the internet, it cannot be forgotten or move past as readily as if it was not immortalized online. Pictures, statuses, clips, videos, conversations…etc can all be accessed at any point, by any computer theoretically and can never really be deleted or erased. “Screen shots” and the “save image” option make every decision, every fault, every wrong angle, every grammar mistake, every slip or accident subject to infinite mockery, which is a far different dynamic than any other generation. We may have been able to forget our misfortunes in middle school, but what about the future generations where technology dictates nothing can be erased and nothing will be forgotten?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Katy Perry, a voice for strong young women.

I just wanted to take a moment to point out how much I love the theme of Katy Perry's music. Her songs are fun, very catchy, and girlie. At first I thought she was just a new pop princess, til I saw the video for Firework.

The Effects of Insulin Pump Usage on Female Self-Esteem and Body Image

So this entire semester, my service learning project was devoted to trying to start a diabetes related non-profit. I finally had an interview with the executive director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and all my dreams and hard work kind of combusted. :(

However, for my honors thesis, I created and conducted a survey about the effects of insulin pump usage on female self-esteem and body image. I used my diabetes blog to recruit interview participants. I was WOWED by the results. I was stressing about finding 15 women to participate. I ended up getting over 30 responses for women asking for my survey in less than 24 hours.

This showed me the true potential of the internet to bring people (and in my case specifically diabetic females) together. Additionally, it proved one of the points of this class: The women took the initiative to create media online which advanced their individual level of self-empowerment. Many of the women write their own blogs, or use diabetes blogs as a way of connecting. They found my blog and reached out to me. I spoke to women all over the U.S. and Canada, and they all told me intimate details of their lives.

I finally finished my final draft today, and hopefully I will submit it for publication (not sure where yet). But I could not have done this with out my technological competencies, and the compassion and knowledge of women like myself.

New Spider-Man and New depiction of Women

So the new Ultimate Spider-man series has taken a new spin on the female character. While they've continued with the whole, all super-hero women and their potential lovers must be well endowed, they've also made significant changes to attract a female audience. Mary-Jane Watson for one is no longer a struggling actress who won't fight against the powers that be, come they in the form of Super villain, government organization, or the news medias. Watson in the first few episodes makes it clear that she wants to be a reporter and fight the good fight by getting the real truth to the people. This is a lot like DC's Louis Lane, but Louis in her own right has been celebrated by many as being a super-powerless woman who still can command the masses.

Another addition to the spider-man set up is Spider-man's need for allies. Of his allies there is a specific White Tiger, who is a teen girl. While White Tiger is the only girl in the group of super heroes, she is also the only voice of reason. Instead of being controlled by her emotions as is typical of the female archetype, White Tiger is motivated by success and logos.

There's certainly a lot of ways in which this show can improve the way it portrays women, but I think its a step in the right direction. Especially for a cartoon aimed at prepubescent boys.

We CAN Do It... No Matter Who WE Are, No Matter Where WE Are!!

     I have been vastly and oddly intimidated by blogging (and social networking for that matter).  It is new to me, but throughout this semester, I had to dig deep to find the root of my fear. It is rooted in trust issues that I have been tirelessly working on in my personal / spiritual life and when it cropped up in my classes, particularly in this class, I was embarrassed to admit the fear, often paralyzed by the fear to the extent of inaction, and frustrated all the more.
     HOWEVER, although I have not embraced these new tools as quickly as I expected to, reading all the texts of this semester and getting involved with activism online has grown my trust in a 'seed to sapling' kind of way. I am so very encouraged by other women's struggles and successes in this same area of fear and trust.  Perhaps even more inspiring is to see and read over and over and over again about all these women and girls online who have enacted major change, fought or created policy and law, and mobilized mass amounts of people in the name of justice, freedom, autonomy, and rights for women.  In such a politically charged time as we are in, it is a huge comfort for me to know that actions are taken- and taken swiftly via the internet, social networks, blogs, and the like.  This was a great piece from Ms. Magazines blog that really drove home the political influence of digital media on women and girls and how it is truly empowering if we use it rightly.  I always thought I was not fearful at all about putting myself "out there", but discovering the fears, uprooting them, and following the lead of women enacting a "shift of consciousness" by using media has encouraged me to continue to "grow" and strengthen MY online voice and connect to others who wish to do the same :)

Stripping for "Likes" Brings Objectification & Popularity to a New LOW!

     The more I get involved with Women's Studies my passion for activism grows.  It is no longer enough for me to just read an article, blog, journal, book, etc., become infuriated about the mistreatment of girls and women (or humanity at large) and do nothing.  I have been trying to take at least one action in step with each piece of news in which I find people (especially women and girls) are exploited, oppressed, or marginalized by others.  Ironically, as overwhelmed as I have been in the last few months, adding this to my plate seems necessary.  If all I do is study theory and then not apply the immediate application, or praxis (as I have been reading about from bell hooks) then I find myself feeling lost or at least way too passive in a world filled with obvious injustice.
     With that said, I get updates from Ms. Magazine's blog and this was one that I had to share with all of you. Capitalization ans commodification of girl's and women's bodies is not new, as this blog post points out, but using stripping "techniques" to gain "likes", sell clothing, and increase traffic to the companies FB page is really inappropriate! Please read the blog and either report them to FB as they DO violate the terms of FB (the blog points out) and /or call the company and demand they stop this advertising campaign that is ultimately hurting girls. 
(click the link above to read the article)

Fantasy Land Expansion isn't without its princesses

I'm not one to criticize Disney. I've worked with the company and have come to love everything they do. In 2009 when this video was released, the proposed project stirred up quite the uproar. With the new park expansion having opened this year though its interesting to wonder about how these princess portray the roles of beauty and how closely the girls in the story board drawings resemble them. Is Disney aiding to the hegemonic ideal? It's a question to close to my heart for me to answer. So I'll let you decide.

Beauty Contraptions

So, I love this series. I thought I'd share in case anyone needed a pre-finals week Haskins splurge ;)

The hegemonic ideal through Tamilian Pop Song

So the above video is pretty funny and it works for the movie. The issue I have is one that is constantly being brought up involving how different races/ethnicities/etc. attempt to establish an ideal beauty image based on the hegemonic ideal. In the song the man describes that a girl should be fair and white to beautiful. The girl, while appealing, does not fit the village motif the movie song takes place in. I am not saying that she shouldn't have been made part of the movie. It is just interesting to note that the girl here satisfies the hegemonic ideal, and also the cultural ideal for this South Indian film.

Below is a rough and working translation of the lyrics.

Media vs. Personal Connection

My generation, I've been told, can't handle f2f interaction. We can't develop a long form argument, can't write a formal letter or draft a resume, and we don't work very hard.

This is the impression I get, anyway, from people who talk about us. But the main thing I see in the way people consider my generation is the idea that we're all hooked up to tvs and video games 24/7. We can only shop online, we have hundreds of "friends" but never go out. Let me put this straight: that's not true.

I still have "real" friends, using the term in the sense that we see each other at least once a week. I am a master at the face to face conversation because I work at a customer service oriented job and I'd be fired if I couldn't talk to people.

This is what some people in my generation feel about tv:

And some people use new media to develop personal brands:

so maybe we aren't a super generation. But, honestly, my grandparents didn't get kicked out of school for protesting the war. They probably didn't know what they were going to do with their lives either. So let's not pretend like we need to have it together at 21. Nobody really does.

"Who run the world?"

This is kind of an old video, and I'm not positive if it has already been posted, or if you've already seen it... but it's worth viewing twice!
One of my professor's showed this to my class the other day.
It's a "critique" on Beyonce's song "Who run the world". If you haven't seen it, it's good... take a look!

What Does Transgender Mean?

Such a heartwarming story about a father coming to terms with the reality that he doesn't have a son, but a daughter:


Welfare parents 'need to go to work'

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I don't agree with Romney. In the words of Michelle Obama "Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected." Regardless of how he meant it, his statement that women should "have the dignity of work" makes it seem that stay at home mothers are just living in paradise and are not working because it is not outside the home, once again making housework seem trivial and unimportant.

Another misogynistic viral video

Another gem I found being passed around as funny on facebook.

This woman is NOT very intelligent, clearly.  However, what kind of a partner, friend, or decent human being would post a video like this?  The answer is: a misogynistic jerk!  Videos like this belittle and demean women.  I find it annoying that so many people, let alone women, find this funny.  I feel deeply sorry for Chelsea.  I hope that some day she realizes how demeaning this video is. 

One of the other concerning aspects of this video is that is makes this kind of lack of intelligence "cute" and funny.  It sends a message to young girls that being stupid is cute and funny and socially acceptable.  Its yet another example of systeming misogyny, but even with that being should not be socially acceptable to be more concerned with what your head looks like than the intellectual content inside your head.  It should not be socially acceptable to post videos like this online either. 

If only feminism spread as easily as ignorance.

Mean Girls

Kelly Osbourne and Christina Aquilera are both very talented women in their own right. The two have been notoriously feuding for years and it doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. In an interview with Glamour magazine, Kelly calls Christina fat, and states that she would tell her that she is fat to her face. Why they are feuding is beyond me. In my opinion it is very childish, and when girls say hurtful things like that to each other it just makes it fair game for guys to be that mean to us. Kelly goes on to say that before she lost 50 pounds she would be made fun of and that even now she doesn't think of herself as skinny. If it was a hurtful time for her, maybe she should be a little bit more considerate not only for Christina, but for other women who might be battling weight issues who look up to her as a role model. Just a thought.,,20586655,00.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl3|sec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D152187

Pretty is a burden?

I have to admit, this article still has me on the fence about where I stand.  One part of me wants to say "F*ck you.  Stop complaining about the burden of naturally fitting the beauty stereotype and getting free sh*t all the time."  However, I realize some of that might be slightly bitter or maybe even...jealousy, if I am totally honest with myself.  My sister is exactly like the woman in this article.  She is pretty, bubbly, very fashionable, and have been obsessed with looking good since she started demanding only Big Bird diapers at the age of 2.  She gets a lot of complimentary stuff and upgrades, but people have also judged her severely before they met her.  Through high school a lot of people called her a bitch, simply because she was pretty.  When her male friends get girlfriends, they often are never allowed to see or speak with my sister again.  She is seen as a threat or something. 

There is no simple answer to this.  It is what it is.  Some people are considered "prettier" than others.  I can only imagine how much worse this is for teenage girls.  The pressure to be beautiful is extreme.  When girls naturally (or not so naturally) fit the beauty ideal, I don't think they deserve to be bullied, ostracized, or outcast by other girls.  I also find it disgusting that "beautiful" women get more free stuff for being beautiful. 

This, again, boils down to a problem in society.  Beauty, not brains, is what is ultimately rewarded for women.  This has got to change.

A show for boys, but with a girl!

Just yesterday Nickelodeon premiered in the United States, "The Legend of Korra." The show targets boys aged 8 - 14, but features a strong female lead. While the shows predecessor, "Avatar: The Last Air Bender" featured a happy-go lucky male child, this show uses a female teen who in the first episode is demonstrated to be a "strong fighter, yet weak in mind." While this description is apt for the character, I think there will certainly be camps formed among feminists everywhere whether this is a good or bad thing. I personally think this type of character who is not all beauty, but is focused, is in fact a good thing, since the character isn't portrayed to be that pretty at all compared to other Avatar females. Still I'm sure the debates will begin. So let them begin.

A new way to protest

I found this article interesting. While many people see the escort profession as one that demeans women, these women are using their services (or lack thereof) to enact change.

A flawed message to teenage girls

I keep seeing this article on my facebook feed.  I agree with 9 out of the 10 points she makes, but the first point she makes is flawed.  I understand what she is trying to say, but I think Kate is feeding the slut vs good girl dichotomy that divides women and perpetuates victim blaming.  I have tried in vain, to explain this to friends who post this list.  I have gotten blasted for "wanting" girls to be sluts and not understanding how vulnerable young girls are.  Yes, the majority of the article is about empowering young women.  Yes, there are too many teenage girls that wear low cut tops and mini-skirts specifically to attract boys.  The real problem is not in the clothes, its in the pressure for girls to impress guys.  Girls need to be empowered and have confidence in themselves, without society or boys telling them they are worthy because they fit the constructed idea of beauty.  The problem is societal, not a teenage girl problem.  Telling girls not to wear low cut tops IS victim blaming and its wrong, even with the best of intentions.

This article by Nicholas Kristof highlights how girls are trafficked by pimps and what we can do to change things...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A new series for young girls.

I have been hearing a lot about this series about "Girls" a new series that is premiering on HBO tomorrow. Some people are billing it as a younger version of "Sex and the city". It looks more to me like a smart funny take on what average young women deal with. From the trailer I already love Lena Dunham's character of a sarcastic young women who is trying to cope with a life she did not expect at the age of 24. Something that I can equally relate to, when I was that age. Check out the trailer below, it looks to be an enlightening and realistic series for the modern young women.

Etsy Hacker Grants

Hacker School, a free 3 month long "retreat" to improve programming skills, is accepting applications for the summer session. The school is in New York City, and while there is no tutition to attend, living for 3 months in NY is expensive. Their current session has only 1 female student out of class of 20 and hope to see the summer batch at 50% female students. Addressing the gender bias in technology he has been troubled by over his 17 year career Marc Hedlund, VP of Engineering at, has helped created a $50,000 scholarship "Etsy Hacker Grants" for female students from to make attending Hacker School viable for more women financially.

Learn more about Hacker School and apply:
Learn about the Etsy Hacker Grants, with a link to the application

the other war on women

The war on woman is a serious issue that we are dealing with. So it is wonderful to see a comedian like Stephen Colbert, take a humorous side on this issue while dealing a decisive blow to this damaging conservative view.

The Oppression "Time Machine" is at it Again....

I have been around for a few elections by now, and during an election year it does get ugly.  However, all the anti-women's / anti-girl's rights rhetoric and attempts (and some successes... unfortunately...) to pass outdated restrictive laws is just seriously burning me up!! Here is one that I discovered via my membership with /emailed action alerts from NOW:

I feel like it is an anti-choice bandwagon that people are jumping on left and right! Please join me in contacting your local representatives to STOP this antiquated bill that puts girls in danger of getting illegal, unsafe, or having no access to abortions if they need /choose... (it is also a Floridian woman who introduced this law again: . Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.))

                     "TAKE ACTION NOW"

Friday, April 13, 2012

After reading CamGirls, I thought it would be interesting to do some research on the JennyCam, the first online cam girl. Jennifer Ringley set up a camera in her college dorm room to broadcast her life, her daily life, to anyone willing to watch. The JennyCam was a media sensation! People could log on and watch her normal every day life, read her journals, look at her pictures..when ever they wanted to. Jenny even had the cam on one night when she had sex! She was not trying to make porn; she was just broadcasting her life and occasional sex was part of her life.

The JennyCam shut down in 2004 after an eight year run for Jenny. So I was curious to see if anyone out there was brave enough to have a camera on in their life 24/7 in 2012. Well, I typed in Camgirls in the Google search engine. And what came back was rather shocking, or maybe not shocking, maybe expected in this day and age. There were 72,200,000 cam girl web sites listed! And almost every single one of them was for Porn!

So the age of innocence of the web cam is, has been obviously, over for a long time. The plethora of porn cam sites was overwhelming. How can any one person make any money at their cam site with 72 million sites to choose from? Jenny Ringley was a media sensation as she was not about porn, she was about real life. It is a shame to see that this part of the internet, the cam sites, has been reduced to total smut. And even if I did want to have a 'normal' life web cam, I would not want it listed with 72 millions porn sites! Could you imagine telling your friends to Google search for your web cam site and they being inundated with massive amounts of porn before they could find your nice site?

In an interview she gave at the height of her popularity, Jennifer Ringley told ABC news that she wanted to show people that what we see on TV--people with perfect hair, perfect friends, perfect lives-- is not reality. I'm reality.(Senft, 2008) And yes Jenny showed people that life is sometimes, most of the time, pretty boring. Not much really happens to us all the time. Sitcoms on TV make it seem like we have to be doing something all the time; entertaining friends, talking on the phone, getting dressed to go out, but never really being alone. Real life was in the JennyCam. Life is boring and it seems most of us are happy with our boring lives. I just wanted to say thank you to JennyCam for sharing her life with the world and showing us all that we too are indeed pretty normal.

Work Cited
Senft, T. M. (2008). Camgirls. (Vol. 4, p. 16). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc,.

This website is called Fuel for Writing.  This page is an excellent source of information if you have ever thought of writing any of your own fan fiction. The writer goes on to give tips on how to write good fan fiction, how to rate your fan fiction (ratings are important so that they younger people who read fan fiction do not get more than they bargained for!), and how you may feel about the praise or criticism you may receive from readers. I am not a fan fiction writer and I never knew anything like fan fiction existed until I took this course!

I peeked at a Hunger Games fan fiction site and was astonished to find 13,945 fan fiction entries on just one site! I looked a couple of the entries however, not having finished the final book of the Hunger Games, I will return after I know how the story ends to read some of the  fan fiction stories. I can see how, after a series is over, that a fan could hunger for more story; more story that the original writer never intended on adding to the series. This is where fan fiction comes in! One can immerse themselves in hundreds and thousands of fan fiction stories about their favorite characters or other characters and still enjoy the story line.

I personally find fan fiction an interesting outlet for writers young and old! And there was not gender placed on who can write fan fiction in the article. Check this out if you think you might want to indulge in fan fiction! Or maybe you already do!

I found this online site which is a daily industry news site. This particular posting was very interesting in that it related to the readings this week in Instant Identity Chapter 5, and Girl Wide Web 2.0 Chapter 13. This sited talks about the different ways that the businesses can increase their business in the coming year(s) according to the changing habits of the consumers; the consumers being the youth market.

 I found the marketing plan, Number 2, to put the brands in the games that are downloaded and played on the smart phones a rather interesting way to sell products. Luckily, we can purchase the game app and get rid of all the marketing because it is so irritating! I do not purchase any products I see through a smart phone game! Who is buying these products through these outlets to make the businesses want to continue with this extremely irritating marketing? This type of in your face while I am playing my game marketing just makes me take not of the product and NOT ever buy from that company! Does anyone else feel the same way about those type of ads?

 Please read the 12 ways companies are planning on, or already doing, new marketing strategies for the youth market. Number 7 is good as that companies are realizing that what they are saying must be relevant or it will just "drive the youth away". The only good thing I saw was in Number 12; that more jobs will need to be created to keep up with the every changing youth market in advertising! That would be a plus!

Like, really?

As we have studied this semester, culture and media production by girls is largely overlooked and undervalued. This article from the “The New York Times” by Douglas Quenqua explores the idea of language development by girls. Girls and young women are acknowledged to be creators of trends in linguists that will become adopted by the population at large. Often dismissed as “immature or even stupid” and “cute”, vocal trends such as peppering sentences with “like”, are more “sophisticated” mechanisms that add nuance to communication. The ubiquity of the trends has been studied and interestingly, among older participants, men used them the most.

What Kind of Feminist Are YOU?

As a Women's Studies major, one thing I usually get from people who are confused about what that means, is the phrase, "I'm not a feminist, but..." This phrase is usually ended with things such as. "I believe women are equal to men," "I think women should have equal rights," or "I'm not sexist," etc.

Well..let's check out the definition: "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes."

Is it just me, or does that sound exactly like what the people who were saying, "I'm not a feminist but..." seemed to be saying that they believe? Feminism gets a bad reputation, because it is so largely misunderstood. There are so many kinds of feminism, but at its core the majority of feminist beliefs are based in a theory of equality. And since this is the case, most people who say that they aren't feminists (if they believe in equality between/among genders) actually are.

There are, however various forms of feminism. (Liberal, radical, global, Marxist, Women of Color, etc.) So for the feminists who read this blog, how do YOU identify?

To learn more about the various types of feminism, click here!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Miss Representation

There is a great documentary just recently released on DVD, that deals directly with girls and the media called Miss Representation. You can find the trailer at I also found a wonderful Q&A with the director,, where she discusses the ongoing problem with the view of women in the media.

This is a very important film for all women and young girls to see, because it deals directly with the portrayal of women in the media and how it effects young girls. It is amazing to see how still women have to fight these overly sexual and degrading images of women that is being forced upon us by a patriarchal society. Join the fight to empower women. Watch this film and make sure to visit there site at

Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls | Kate Conner

Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls | Kate Conner

Loved this post from Kate Conner.  I honestly think these are things that all teenage girls need to hear.

Don't Trust The B...

In another course I am taking for my Women's Studies minor we've been talking recently about how popular the word 'bitch' has become.
A lot of college age girls, and younger too, I'm sure, use the word to greet their friends, and use it as a sort-of compliment.
Ex: "You're hair is so beautiful, you're such a bitch!"
While it may not be harmful in that context, it could turn into something harmful. In my opinion using the term so loosely gives other people to use the word for other meanings, and that's not good.
ABC has a new show called "Don't Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23" that aired last night. I was curious about the ratings and if viewers found the somewhat dark content humorous and I found a few articles that I thought some others in the class might be interested in.
Does anyone think that having a show like this on TV might encourage younger girls to actually act this way?

Teen Girls and Prom Dresses

In this article, teen girls going to proms this year are wanting to wear skimpy scandalous dresses. The parents and the schools are trying to crack down and say no to dresses that are showing too much cleavage, with slits up to thighs, and extremely low cut in the back. It seems these teen girls are wanting to dress like the 'Dancing With The Stars' female dancers!
The teens are saying that this is their one night to break the school rules and to dress how they would like to look beautiful for the prom. So why has beauty gone to showing breasts, hips, backs, and thighs? It seems the more we try to help young girls respect themselves we are overrun by the medias ideaof how a woman should dress. It is sad that young girls today are thinking the only way they can look pretty is to show off as much skin as possible. If you could only see my prom dresses from  1975 and 1976!! lol

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Photoshop Law

In a media obsessed world, it was a relief to find a law being passed to stop the over use of photoshop on models. This law is being put into legislation in Israel where 2 percent of girls 14-18 have severe eating disorders. The fact is that this problem is happening throughout the world. Photoshop is routinely used to fix images of women, even if they do not need it. This "Photoshop law" would force adverts in magazines to disclose the fact that women were digitally altered to look thinner and stop the use of underweight models. There is a revealing slideshow in this article,,

that reveals photos of what models really look like. It is not surprising the unrealistic expectations that girls are forced to live up to, when they only see photo shopped pictures of models that are only a small percentage of women. I hope that other countries take a page out of Israels book and start passing laws to force the media to show women how they truly are. Not a digitally enhanced view of what advertisers think women should look like.

Suicide: Seemed the ONLY Way Out of Marrying Her Rapist

I am always so inspired by women who fight policy and absurd laws...but ENRAGED every time I hear about things like this.
 I found this article a few weeks back.  The story is of a Moroccan girl, Amina Filali who was 16 years old.  She was raped and when her parents pressed charges, they were told she would have to marry her rapist to uphold the "honor" of her family.  The fact is, this is an actual archaic law that holds if a man rapes a woman, but marries her, he is not liable for the crime. She then had to marry him, went to live with him and his family, was raped again, and starved and beaten.  She felt her last resort was to kill herself and she did.  Women of the region have taken to protesting the law (, trying to enact change and have the law abolished.
Women shout slogans as they protest against the suicide of Amina al-Filali, 16, who was forced to marry the man who raped her outside parliament in Rabat. (AFP)
             (photo courtesy of

The "backwardness" of the law is that they say it is meant to "safeguard the honor of girls who are raped", but all it does is cause them to be more dishonored when the state is blaming the victim and then in essence, punishing HER by making her live with her rapist! Now she is forever at his mercy (because she cannot divorce him) and will be raped again!
The more I continue to read about the injustice of girls and women globally the more I am disgusted about the 'who-is-wearing-what /who-is-dating-who' "news" of the U.S....... girls and women are dying because of patriarchal laws and the devaluation of women....this is NOT OK!!

What Is Digital Literacy?

One of the major ideas presented in this course stems from the question - "Is simply knowing the ways that media influences culture and society (viewers, listeners, readers, etc.) enough to satisfy as literacy in the digital age we find ourselves in?"  And this - "If we know what a profound effect media has on us as citizens, as women, as young girls, as students, as employees, as people, then would it be more effective to encourage a contribution to the media presented and available, rather than simply a healthy awareness of what other people and corporate companies are putting out there?"

Obviously, teaching girls that they are in fact effected by the images placed before them and the content of the songs they listen to or the tv shows they watch may not be as innocent as they may think is important.  Many young girls are not even taught to question the ideal body type, the sexualization of their favorite television show characters, or the constant barrage of commercials that are selling them products aimed at changing/bettering their appearance in some way.  And because this is a sad truth, educational programs are indeed necessary and good.  But to stop there implies the notion that there is nothing that girls can do about it, and I feel as though that is the major problem with the majority of resources available.

In browsing, for example, I came across this website, Media Awareness Network.  It offers a variety of tools and resources for parents and teachers that allow them to broach the subject of media with their children and students, which is wonderful.  But I can't seem to find any sort of encouragement in giving a girl a video camera, or digital camera, and setting her up with her own editing system so that she can learn to contribute to the conversation that the media has begun and continues in regards to girls and women.  We have at our disposal, things like BlogSpot, Wordpress, Facebook, and YouTube.  These are tools that can very easily be utilized in basic media production for girls, and communities can be formed that question the status quo of what media has been allowed to present for so long.

Where are the sites and resources that foster that type of literacy?

Empowering Women & Men Through Photography

Jimmie Briggs is the man behind the Man Up Campaign, and with his help and organization, an exhibit was put together in New York City last month of positive images of women in order to shed light on the cultural ideologies that implicitly turn a blind eye to violence against women.  The photographs are all beautiful, and Jimmie Briggs responded to a series of questions regarding its inspiration here.

Here are some of the images displayed:

Please also visit Man Up's website here!  Way to go men!

Science Chic

There has been a lot of talk about which jobs are likely to experience a boom within the next twenty years or so, and which will become obsolete due to automation.  Engineering, in all of its forms, is one field that is expected to experience continued growth as the technological advancements, which are occurring at an alarming rate, will offer new avenues of scientific study, exploration, and offer a whole new set of problems that people in engineering will be commissioned to figure out for us.  One looming question being, how long before we use up the earth and its resources beyond return?

We, as a country, and as members of the global community will need to figure out ways to encourage the next generation to pursue science, technology, mathematics, and engineering if these are issues we would hope to solve, and opportunities we would hope to seize.  The organization, Women in Technology Project, is looking for ways to tap into traditionally ignored demographics of students, encouraging their growth and interest for the benefit of all.  Check it out here!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Barbie And Her Toy Box Pals Go Bald For A Cause

So I think this is really neat that the toy manufacturers are releasing these bald dolls. I understand that it can be quite powerful to see an image that looks like oneself in media. For me, being able to play video games and see queer characters makes me feel more comfortable, not because of any issues of identity I have not resolved, but because positive images occur when culture has positive ideas about a specific group.

More specifically about these dolls, I love how a social media campaign on FaceBook led these companies to go from producing one doll for a cancer-stricken girl to releasing a whole line of Barbies and Bratz that are bald. Although consumerism is not a path to agency (in my opinion), I think that these dolls work as a sign of solidarity for young girls (and boys) that are affected by such a severe illness. The power of social media in situations like this makes me feel better about living in a globalized world filled with huge conglomerates.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

YWLP "Leading Out Loud!"

Last Friday the Young Women's Leaders Program at UCF hosted 5 elementary schools and three middle schools for a "Leading Out Loud (L.O.L)" workshop that was created to empower middle school girls to help stop bullying in elementary and middle schools. The audience of the workshops consisted of 5 elementary schools (both boys and girls) who participated in activities and games that advocated for school safety and students’ potential to “stomp out school bullying”.

The American Association of University Women awarded UCF's YWLP a grant to create and promote this workshop along with other efforts to help stomp out bullying among young girls and boys. Bullying has evolved in the past 15 years through the development of technologies that makes it easier to do, immediate, and online anonymity absolutely makes bullying more accessible to those who would not normally do it face-to-face or over the phone. "Cyber-bullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. ( This definition necessitates minors instigating against other minors or minors being on both sides of the conflict or otherwise the name of the offense would be cyber-harassment/cyber-stalking. The change in rhetoric based on age places cyber-bullying as a less threatening and less traumatic offense than cyber-stalking even though it may be exponentially worse in practice.

When bullying is accepted as a normal but unfortunate part of school, as it so commonly is, it also dulls its seriousness. This then translates to boys and girls not reporting issues of abuse and bullying to adults or friends. According to the AAUW “Crossing the Line” executive summary, “girls were more likely than boys to talk with parents and other family members and more likely than boys to talk with friends”. This inability of boys to talk about bullying or report is detrimental to all bullying because, as students police other students and therefore reinforce gender stereotypes as puberty progresses, boys would typically be the most able to stop bullying if the threat didn’t loom over their heads that much more. Even though bullying and harassment is more likely to affect girls and be performed by girls, boys are expected to take the path of least resistance in order to not be emasculated.

According to the AAUW “Crossing the Line” executive summary, sexual harassment differs by legal definition but is just as prevalent is middle and high schools. “Sexual harassment by text, e-mail, Facebook, or other electronic means [affect] nearly one-third (30 percent) of students. Interestingly, many of the students who were sexually harassed through cyberspace were also sexually harassed in person” (exec summary). Harassment and bullying are strongly tied to the high school and middle school experience and as technology advances and new outlets are created for virtual communication, harassment takes new and harsher forms. Therefore, efforts to null or stop this destructive behavior need to address both and all avenues. The YWLP LOL workshops taught young students how to spot, speak out against and prevent bullying in their schools. They were taught to find a teacher or an adult or call for help when they witness something or to speak out themselves and not take the path of least resistance. These in-person tools also theoretically translate to online prevention.

The AAUW executive report further explains “girls were more likely than boys to be sexually harassed, by a significant margin (56% vs. 40%). Girls were more likely to be sexually harassed both in person (52% vs. 35%) and via text, e-mail, Facebook, or other electronic means (36% vs. 24%).” According to another AAUW report, girls are more likely than boys to be cyber bullies. This cycle of “girl hate” and trauma experienced by young women disproportionately makes them more vulnerable online and therefore perhaps less likely to explore the boundless possibilities of helpful resources and revolutionary girl-power that may be found in the virtual world.

Throughout the day, the middle school girls were nervous about leading workshops. The middle school girls are “little sisters” in the Young Women’s Leaders Program at UCF and were put in charge of creating their own workshops and creating campaigns at their schools to help stop and prevent school bullying. Due to the dominance of technology, the girls focused a lot on preventing cyber bullying or fighting back against cyber-bullying. This topic of online bullying is hardly ever touched on in traditional anti-bullying lectures regardless of its increasing prevalence. It’s very important to reach these young boys and girls in the terms that they are most familiar with and have the most agency over. If one ignores the internet or technology as a factor in any situation in the coming generations, they are ignoring a crucial aspect of life.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Girls Around Me App

The “Girls Around Me” app is used to locate women in the surrounding area through social media like Facebook. As the writer of the Forbes article points out “this is a great tool if you’re a stalker,” which is most likely why this app was recently pulled from the iTunes app store. Though Forbes writer Kashmir Hill seems to believe that these women want to be found since they are generally savvier when it comes to privacy settings. Luckily the writer of this article Erik Kain has more sense and goes to discuss why this is not so “This is true—some women want to be found this way, I’ve no doubt. A dating app that you mutually sign on for, however, is an entirely different beast than an app that only lets other people find you… Girls Around Me is a lopsided application, placing all the power in the hands of the men using the app.” Kain goes onto to discuss how most likely the women who are shown are most likely not so tech savvy as those not shown. Whatever the reasons why these women pop up on the app does not matter, so much as the app itself which encourages men to find women; whether they want to be found or not. Below is a link to the article.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Media Awareness

This is a site devoted to spreading media awareness within the female youth population. It discusses issues such as online hate, media stereotypes, and more.


Hey, everyone!

I wanted to share this website with you all to see an organization that has gotten its start with the help of the internet and Facebook.  Facebook is definitely becoming a massively utilized forum to share ideas and advertise for organizations and companies to get the word out about particular causes.  Rethreaded is a company that seeks to offer work to women who have recently escaped the sex trade, both internationally, and locally.  Check out their website or Facebook page and show some support!


The Virtual World & Me

I am a bit of a romantic.  I might even classify myself as someone who falls into the “Golden Age” notion of the past was better than the present.  That being said, I am, admittedly, a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to technology and my own digital literacy. 

When I was young, we didn’t have a computer in our home until my mother remarried when I was in the 6th grade.  Up until that point, if I had homework that required the computer or internet access, my mother would trek down to her office with us after our after school activities, and we would get on for only what was needed and get right off because it was a company computer, and we now had thirty minutes to drive home.  My first real interaction with the internet came with the advent of the middle school social scene taking to Instant Messenger.

I remember that in order to be allowed to use the internet in my new step-father’s house, you had to pass a typing test.  I don’t know if he had software or there was a site we used, but regardless, we had to show progress to be able to do what we wanted to do.  I hated it!  But, I believe that it was one test that I passed that enabled me to create a screen name for AIM, and that was the primary means of communication, and the way I was the most comfortable in expressing my identity as a young teen.  As a shy girl in person, I really felt as though I was given an opportunity to express myself when I spoke with my friends and with boys online.
Even when I did finally have access to the internet, I was completely flummoxed when it came to the idea of “surfing.”  I didn’t understand what it was that people could possibly be searching for, and it all seemed quite overrated to me.  Give me AIM, and I was good to go.  As the years passed, my next major interest in the internet came with the myriad of song lyric websites.  I searched for all of my favorite songs, and made them my screen names, or my “Away Message” on AIM.  And for a very long time (all the way through high school), email, AIM, and Microsoft Word were the only things that I utilized by way of technology.  I even had an old Canon camera with the roll-up film all the way until my sophomore year of high school (which was 2004, by the way).

I loved to communicate over the internet.  It helped me to navigate my youth and adolescence in a way that I didn’t feel I was capable of in person or over the telephone.  I was a different person online; very funny and outspoken.  In person, I was the shy, wallflower type.  AIM gave me the courage to say what was on my mind because no one could see my face, and when no one was looking at me, I was much less likely to blush.  But despite my love of online conversations, I never went into chat rooms; I didn’t have an interest in talking to people I didn’t know.  I never have utilized MySpace; mainly because I found myself disinterested in learning how to navigate my way through a site.  And as far as Facebook is concerned, I did not create my first profile page; a friend of mine did when we were all going off to college, insisting that this was the only way we would be able to keep in touch.

I did learn much more about the internet, and expand my technological knowledge base in my first year or so of college, but even still, it largely consisted of Facebook and the “Chat” feature, therein.  The purchase of my own laptop opened up a world of music in mp3 format, PhotoBooth, and YouTube, however, I have only just recently made my first YouTube video, and that was only because it was a class assignment.  I must admit that I am not all that interested in being a producer of media that can be so closely connected to my likeness.

I still much prefer the anonymity of blogs and chatting.

What about you?