This book came to my attention from People Magazine of all place (I swear, my mother in law bought it). In the book, univ of Iowa Professor M. Gigi Durham discusses out culture’s sexualization of younger and younger girls and what we can do to protect our daughters. Here’s the review from Publishers Weekly: From Publishers Weekly
We’ve all seen it—the tiny T-shirts with sexually suggestive slogans, the four-year-old gyrating to a Britney Spears song, the young boy shooting prostitutes in his video game—and University of Iowa journalism professor Durham has had enough. In her debut book, she argues that the media—from advertisements to Seventeen magazine—are circulating damaging myths that distort, undermine and restrict girls’ sexual progress. Durham, who describes herself as pro-girl and pro-media, does more than criticize profit-driven media, recognizing as part of the problem Americans’ contradictory willingness to view sexualized ad images but not to talk about sex. Chapters expose five media myths: that by flaunting her hotness a little girl is acting powerfully; that Barbie has the ideal body; that children—especially little girls—are sexy; that violence against women is sexy; and that girls must learn what boys want, but not vice versa. After debunking each myth, Durham offers practical suggestions for overcoming these falsehoods, including sample questions for parents and children. In a well-written and well-researched book, she exposes a troubling phenomenon and calls readers to action.
I haven’t read the book, but you can bet it’s going on the GirlMogul reading list.
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I am going to post something that came to me an email during campaign season, but I think it’s important, that we, as GirlMoguls remember the value of democracy and independence…I don’t know the original author – so if anyone does, please put a comment here. Enjouy your 4th of July and rememer – History is being made…and you are a part of it.
Why women should vote–I needed the reminder.
This is the story of our Grandmothers, and Great-grandmothers, as they lived only 90 years ago. It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.”
They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the “Night of Terror” on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because–why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie “Iron Jawed Angels.” It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was–with herself. “One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,” she said. “What would those women think of the way I use–or don’t use–my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.” The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her “all over again.”
HBO released the movie on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.
The doctor admonished the men: “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.
We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – remember to vote.
History is being made.
Parents Fret as Even Toddlers Love ‘High School’ This article from the NY Times via the AP. Apparently little girls (3&4 year olds) are obsessed with Disney’s High School Musical. If the princesses weren’t bad enough (and you know my opinion on princesses) then Disney has brought its pop confection about high school down to a much younger level. I suppose on the surface, High School Musical may seem like harmless fun – and less loaded with gender issues, than say, The Little Mermaid or Snow White, but do you really want your 3 year old to be thinking about coolest clothes, crushes and other high school things? I certainly don’t. The signing I am fine with. But I definitely don’t want to have to deal with crushes, cliques or the like at this age.
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