Entries from January 2010 ↓

The Girl Cell, Eve Ensler on TED

This TED Talk is worth the 20 minutes. Eve Ensler is amazing. The best part is the end when she monologues from her new book,I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.

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Madly In Love with Me Day, Feb. 13

Madly In Love With Me Day is Feb. 13. Most likely it’s not a coincidence that it’s the day before Valentine’s Day.

MadlyInLoveWithMe.com is sparking the party. (Perhaps Hallmark will catch on?)

If you, or your daughter, have a difficult time connecting to a little self-love and self-care you might sign up for the Self-Love Kit or take two of the Self-Love Dares.

If your confused and think self-love has something to do with masturbation, read the Self Love Manifesta.

Why would anyone start a self-love movement as their mission? Christine Arylo, you might remember her from the book she wrote, Choosing Me Before We, tells you why, right here. It’s pretty self-less.

Which is the beautifully juxtaposed thing. Self-Love isn’t Selfish, it’s the kindest thing we can do for others. Take care of you so you can take care of them. If we all did that, well, there’d just be a lot more love on this here planet. This here planet is in need of some love. Start in the one, single, solitary person you have complete autonomy over – YOU. It is where you are most powerful.

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Reproductive Coercion in Teens

Newsweek has an article about a phenomenon called Reproductive Coercion.

Essentially, the male in the relationship is coercing the female to become pregnant so he can control her forever, through the child. After the baby, he reasons, he’ll be able to control her forever. Her odds of leaving him to find another man lessen and he will have more control over the rest of her life. Having a baby only strengthens her resolve to stay in a dangerous relationship.

New research suggests that reproductive coercion is often found where physical and emotional abuse is found. Controlling his partner is the same motivator as all other forms of abuse, and one of the mechanisms for controlling his partner is trying to get her pregnant.

He may insist she not use birth control, monitor her menstrual cycle, flush birth control pills down the toilet, forbid her from seeing a doctor or going to a family planning clinic, and refuse to use a condom or poke a hole in one.

Like domestic and dating violence, the rate of reproductive coercion for teenage girls mirrors the rate for adult women.

The difference being that teenage girls have little experience with relationships and often don’t know that what is happening to them is wrong, dangerous, controlling or abusive.

The boundary between reproductive coercion and relationship violence—and whether there is, in fact, a boundary at all—is a difficult issue for health-care providers to address. In some cases, it can fit a spectrum of other abusive behaviors, from threatening to physical violence, that create an imbalance in a relationship’s power dynamic. “Just like violence, it’s a power thing,” says Walker, who has seen patients whose boyfriends monitor their periods to ensure they’re not taking Depo-Provera contraceptive shots (which often cause women to skip their period). “The man is taking away a woman’s power to decide she’s not going to have a child. Still, the line is unclear. Miller, for example, would be hesitant to categorize reproductive coercion as a form of partner violence, since many states have laws mandating reporting of such incidents. “I’m not sure that a young woman telling me that her partner flushed her birth control down the toilet necessitates me reporting that to the authorities,” says Miller. In these situations, Miller has two concerns: getting the teenager onto a birth control she can hide from her partner (possibly Depo-Prevera shots, which last three months and are administered at a doctor’s office) and building a relationship with the patient to explore the possibility of ending the relationship.” What we hear from domestic-violence survivors is they don’t like being told they have to leave a relationship,” says Miller. “So instead of saying, ‘This is an abusive relationship,’ our counseling is very much focused on having them explain how this affects their health.”

In every situation, every abusive relationship is about control.

The best prevention is to talk with your daughter about her right and responsibility to control her own body, her own mind, her own choices, her own life, her own future, her own decisions, her own reproductive system, her own friends, her own job, etc.

To control ourselves is our inherent birthright.

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Read Half The Sky Now – Join Female Abolitionist Movement of 21st Century

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide deserve a Pulitzer Prize.

I’ll go further and suggest that they should receive The Nobel Peace Prize for the work that culminated in Half The Sky and the work I pray comes out of it.

Are you like me? Do you ever utter this prayer?

God, what about your precious daughters? More honestly it comes out like this, “God, what are you doing to your daughters?” and What are you letting your sons do to your daughters? Why would you let your sons do this?

I utter it generally when faced with the realities of girls and women around the world that blow my mind.

I uttered this prayer and felt like weeping on nearly every page of this brilliant and profound work.

Quickly, just a few realities that should blow your mind too:

* There are more literal slaves now – today, in 2010, the 21st Century – than there were during the height of the slave trade in the 1800s. Even after the statistics are averaged for population growth. Instead of being racially motivated, in 2010 the slavery is gender-specific. It is women and girls who are enslaved. The difference between the slaves of the 1800s or The Old Testament is that at least those tribes had an abolitionist movement. An abolitionist movement for women and girls has yet to gather steam. Half the Sky is a call to an Abolitionist Movement for Females around the globe. Please, let it move you.

* Women now own just 1% of the land on Earth.

* While Liberal Americans will fight for the right of women to have abortions and Conservative Americans will fiercely oppose the word even be uttered – the stark and shameful reality is that neither group talks much about maternal health of these women. In fact, Maternal Mortality is a far bigger problem. “Maternal deaths in developing countries are often the ultimate tragic outcome of the cumulative denial of women’s human rights,” noted the journal Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Women are not dying because of untreatable diseases. They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.”

* If you took all the holocausts and wars of the 20th Century and added those deaths up it is still fewer people than the women who have been discriminated to death during the same time period. More women were killed, for being female. In beatings by their husbands, in sex trafficking, the rape and slaughter of racial cleansing, in honor killings, maternal mortality, unsafe abortions, intentional withholding of medicine, and lack of education.

* Of the 115 million children who have dropped out of elementary school, 57% are girls. In South and East Asia, two-thirds are girls.

* Countries that repress women also tend to be backward economically, adding to the frustrations that nurture terrorism. Young men in these countries grow up in an all-male environment, in a testosterone-saturated world that has the ethos of a high school boys’ locker room. Organizations made up disproportionately of young men – whether they be gangs or boys’ schools or prisons or military units – are often particularly violent. We suspect the same can be true of entire countries.

I’m not finished talking about this. I likely never will be.

Apathy is poison to the human soul. Now I know and I can’t unknow. I pray you’ll read the book so the same will be true for you.

I predict Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide will have a profound impact on my work here on The Girl Revolution.

The best thing about the book are the real, tangible and achievable solutions provided. The authors have taken great care to explore how to realistically solve and fix the myriad of problems. My two hands can only do so much . . . but the imagination and the pen are the most powerful weapons on earth and I have adequately mastered these them enough to shift some perceptions. All repression, oppression, violence, rape, murder, war, spiritual manipulation and evil on the planet Earth begins first with a thought. Some of it begins with people’s incorrect thinking about gender. They begin with many of the thoughts the authors write about in this book, “Men have a right to rule over women, rape women, beat their wives, sell their daughters, have sex with girls who look too sexy, withhold medicine. Women and girls must submit to their husbands, cover themselves, subjugate themselves to humiliation.”

No. No they don’t.

Change people’s thinking and you change everything. That’s my aim. That’s my intention here on The Girl Revolution – it always has been – to change people’s thinking about girls.

Join The Girl Revolution Tribe for this Abolitionist Movement of the 21st Century and the global fight against Terrorism. Fan The Girl Revolution on Facebook, sign up for the Inspirational Words (you won’t be bombarded by email I promise), or sign up for the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter.

Love,

Tracee Sioux, Abolitionist.

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Obesity Thunder Bay Website Fights Childhood Obesity

Listen, I took some slack for The Girl Revolution: Fit Girl Series I ran last year. Too obsessive, one reader said in her email.

The thing is, childhood obesity has very serious health consequences for our children. Especially for our daughters who reach puberty between 100 and 110 pounds, whether that happens at 6 or 12. Outward signs of puberty are beginning in some girls as early as 6 and still being considered medically normal.

You know, and I know, that we have listened to adult men claim they have a right to have sex with children because they look older than they are, “She looked like a grown up, look what she was wearing!” I’m ashamed to say which of my own friends and family members have said this about junior high girls.

We’ve listened to this disgusting and inexcusable line from men who have sex with 12-18 year olds.

These girls’ crimes? They grew breasts. Visible signs of “looking older.”

Nothing cultural has changed – men are still using this piss-poor excuse for inexcusable behavior, and we’re still letting them get away with it because the girls look “sexual” as soon as breasts appear on their bodies. But now girls are looking older earlier than ever before it’s time to decide whether we’ve heard enough “she looked older” B.S.

You tell me if it’s a serious concern that 8-year-olds develop breasts because they are gaining weight too fast. Think back: bra snapping, cat calls, harassment in school, older men asking if you “need a ride,” inappropriate touching, sexual name-calling, attempts to seduce, etc. Yeah, you were there.

Add to that the serious concerns about future breast cancer risks (increases if she starts her period early, doesn’t have a child before age 30 and doesn’t breast feed), diabetes, rising health care costs, pre-existing conditions of the health insurance industry (they’re blatantly rejecting obese children).

Tribe, we have a problem that needs serious addressing.

Visit the Obesity Thunder website to see all sorts of videos around the issue.

Fit Girl Series: Whose Body Is It Anyway

Fit Girl Series: We Did It

Fit Girl Series: Accept Your Body

Fit Girl Series: Friends, Strangers With Candy

Fit Girl Series: Comparing Children

Fit Girl Series: Exercise Poll

Fit Girl Series: Eat This, Not That!

Fit Girl Series: BIG FAT LIARS!

Fit Girl Series: Obese Teens on Oprah

Fit Girl Series: Weight = Moral Failure

Fit Family = Fit Girl

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