Entries from June 2007 ↓

The Meaning of Hair

By Tracee Sioux

The kids got new haircuts. Ainsley got a long bob and Zack, a mohawk. Both haircuts beg the issue of the meaning of hair. How much do we use our hair to create our identity and to identify with our children?

The first time Ainsley ever got more than a trim is a very sore spot in our family. It was unhealthy, had a bunch of split ends and was without shape or form. She was three-years-old and for some reason it seemed rebellious to cut her baby hair. I had known lots of mommies with a no-cutting-of-the-baby-hair rule, not even allowing toddler daughters to cut bangs to allow basic vision. I wondered, Who is she, Samson? Does her hair have special powers I don’t know about? If we cut her hair, will she lose her special girlness?

I then made a huge blunder. I dropped my 3-year-old daughter off at my mother-in-law’s with permission to give her a “long bob, long enough for a ponytail.” She came back with a short Dorothy Hamill pixie cut. When my husband saw it, he got so upset he nearly cried and then left furious about what I had done.

A. This was not the haircut I had asked for. Why was he angry at me rather than his mother?

B. Why was he putting so much meaning into a bad haircut? Did he know how many bad haircuts she’s likely to have throughout her life? Why was he making it into such a big thing?

C. Why was he making her girlness all about the length of her hair?

Ainsley loved having short hair and has asked, since then, to have her hair cut short. A short bob is what she asked for this year. She was forbidden, I was forbidden, his mother was forbidden. Internet sites with long bobs were perused by all three of us (me, husband and his mother) to decide exactly what style and length Ainsley’s hair would be. Ainsley was asked, after everyone else had agreed, whether she could live with that haircut.

At the same time my husband likes my pink highlights, is totally fine with me putting pink streaks in Ainsley’s hair and thinks Zack’s mohawk is baby-cool.

It’s an enigma. One that seems to have everything to do with girls having long hair.

More posts on Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty
Beauty & Reality
Self-Loathing Sin Bank
More posts on hair:

The Meaning of Hair

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Mythbusters – Science is Girly

By Tracee Sioux

Mythbusters, a series on the Discovery Channels (TLC, etc), that puts myths and urban legends through scientific tests to determine if there is any truth to it is a fantastic way to empower girls.

When I was a kid I had no reason to believe that science or math might apply to me. When asking why I had to learn math I was given reasons like, to figure out a recipe, which frankly held no appeal for me. Math and science were “boy” subjects. Boys took wood and auto shop and learned how to built things and fix cars and girls were required to take home economics and learn to sew and cook. Seriously.

But, one of the best things we can do for our daughters is interest them in math and science professions, if only because these fields PAY a lot more money than social science professions do. Technology is moving quickly and science is becoming increasingly important in our society and culture. We need to be conscientious about preparing our children, especially our girls, for the scientifically advanced future they will face.

Mythbusters is fantastic because science become fun and interesting as all get out. We have spent entire lazy Saturdays or Sundays watching episode after episode of Mythbusters blowing up sharks, crashing cars or floating children with helium balloons. My husband got so excited about the experiment with Mentos and Diet Coke having the compound effect of a volcanic explosion that he performed the experiment at our daughter’s birthday party.

Even better for girls is that one of the scientists on the show is Kari Byron, a girl! It is totally awesome, for me and my daughter, to see her hold her own with other scientists and coming up with hypothesis’ and performing scientific experiments to prove or disprove a myth.

Will setting off too many roach bombs blow up a house? Actually, if there is a flame and a ton of bombs, it can.

Could the General Lee on the Dukes of Hazard really make those jumps? Uh, no.

Can you blow up a great white shark with an air tank? Watch the show with your daughter to find out.

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Fergalicious, Big Girls Don’t Cry

By Tracee Sioux

I often watch VH1 videos at the gym during my workout and I totally approve of Fergie’s song Big Girls Don’t Cry as a great message for girls.

The song tells the story of a girl who has dreams, but she’s inconveniently in love with this guy who is obviously not going in the same direction. The girl chooses to leave the guy to pursue the dream. She’s sad, but her self and her dream are worth the sacrifice of a love affair.

I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It’s personal, Myself and I
We’ve got some straightenin’ out to do
And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I’ve got to get a move on with my life
Its time to be a big girl now
And big girls don’t cry

I love this message for girls. I think most of girls’ cultural influences paint a rosy picture and glamorize giving up everything for another person. In reality, I think it is rarely the best idea to give up a dream, a future, an education or an experience for a lover.

Speaking personally, I gave up going to be a nanny in Maryland when I was right out of high school – to stay with a boy. I really just chickened out. What a bad choice. Going seemed much scarier, but who knows where I would have gone or what I could have done had I not given up the opportunity to spread my wings? But, at the time it seemed like a romantic decision to stay because he asked me to.

We owe it to our daughters to provide a clear definition about what is romantic and what is just an illusion of romantic. Especially, when they are young and unburdened my marriage or children. We should teach them that sometimes it’s scary or painful, but their own dreams, educations, careers and experiences deserve pursuit.

By the way, my parents did tell me not to stay for him. But, I wouldn’t/couldn’t hear them.

I entered this column on Weary Parent as part of a blogging contest. The theme: “I want to know what advice your parents or another influential adult gave you as a teen that you took to heart. It can be funny. It can be serious. It can be a list, a story, a confession – be creative! Just keep it tasteful – this is a family-oriented site.”

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Hot Princes

By Tracee Sioux

I saw Princes William and Harry on The Today Show. Wow, they turned out HOT!

As a Femimommy who is adamantly Anti-Princess, does that mean I have to be Anti-Hot Prince? I even caught myself fantasizing that if I couldn’t have them, maybe Ainsley could. Isn’t that just wrong?

My last significant memory of these princes is of little boys grieving over their mother, Princess Diana. My daughter is fascinated with Diana, by the way. I’ve encouraged this as a way to get her interested in political dynamics and how governments work, never too early for that, I say. Ainsley was fascinated by the idea that there are real princesses, but she’s very taken, as we all were, with Diana. She’s not interested in Caroline or Fergie, but she can spot Diana pictures and loves to point them out. The boys were promoting a big Diana tribute concert, 10 years after her death, airing July 1, also on NBC.
Watching these boys be interviewed was intriguing. They seem to have the same characteristic Diana had and to be able to captivate the way she did. There really seemed to be very little Prince Charles in them. Well the older son and future King of England, William did seem to be more reserved and stiff than “bad boy” Harry. If I were picking a prince, it’d be Harry for me, I mean Ainsley.

Diana’s genetics certainly had a positive impact on the Royal Family’s looks that’s for sure. These are big, sexy, tall, good-looking almost men.
Their on Dateline too, DVR that.
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Global Gag Rule is Anti-Girl

There is an amendment to the Global Gag Rule before congress right now. The Gag Rule is where the United States has decided to withhold money from International organizations like The Red Cross if they fund contraceptives or reserve the right to say the word “abortion” to any of their patients.

Ever wonder how Africa developed such an extreme AIDS problem or why there are so many starving orphans in poverty stricken countries? Global Gag Rule.

It’s hypocritical and undemocratic for the United States to make a moral judgement about abortion and contraceptives for every country on planet earth. Sounds more like a hegemony than a democracy to me. We end up paying for the Global Gag Rule through other funding, like feeding their orphans anyway, so it’s really rather like shooting ourselves in the foot.

Plus, any and all global restrictions on any kind of contraceptive information is anti-girl and anti-woman. Because it’s not abortions the U.S. is refusing to pay for it’s reproductive information we are refusing to pay for. Where’s the democratic ideal of freedom of speech in that? Hence the word Gag in the Rule.

Right now before congress there is an issue that gets all convoluted. It’s an amendment to a foreign operations appropriation bill called the Stupak-Smith amendment. The issue has nothing to do with pro-choice or pro-life camps because abortion is not at stake – only contraceptives.

In America, whether you are pro-life or not you most likely appreciate your access to condoms and birth control pills. Especially, if you feel your family is perfectly complete as it is, but perhaps have 10 or 20 more childbearing years in you. Well, imagine you had no access to these simple contraceptives because you had no money or some foreign country, like the U.S., forbade the distribution of them. If I was that girl or woman I would wonder why the U.S. wanted to ruin my life by forcing me to have more children than I could afford to care for.

No matter what your stance on Row vs. Wade, surely you can see the difference between abortion and contraceptives. Globally, millions of girls and women are in a precariously unempowered position by being denied access to birth control.

You can participate in empowering girls and women all over the world by following this link to write your representative. The letter provided encourages law makers to ease the Global Gag Rule to allow the distribution of contraceptives by voting NO on the Stupak-Smith Foreign Ops Amendment.

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