Category Archives: Men and Gender Issues

Where Are You Most Beautiful?

What if I asked you, “where are you most beautiful?” What would be your response?

For father and Clinical psychologist, Dr. Kelly Flanagan he wants his “Little One” to always know where her beauty exists: on the inside.

bonus points if you notice what's similar about these covers.

bonus points if you notice what’s similar about these covers.

Dr. Flanagan wrote a letter to his 4-year-old little girl on his blog about the oppressive language that’s seen up and down the make-up aisle of retail stores (and on the covers of magazines.) These words having staying power, power that grabs you by the throat and shakes you while saying (subconsciously) you’re not beautiful if you’re not “ageless,” “zit-free,” or “flawless.” (also see: clean.clear.and under control.)

He points out that after having a daughter he started to realize she’s just as strong and a force in this world to be reckoned with. She has the same gifts, potential and passions as any man. High-five, Daddio! Observing the words listed in the packaging of the make-up aisle many people, including her, won’t view her as someone that is fully capable of greatness, instead she will be thought of as a play thing or just a pretty face to gawk at. Society, you’re rude.

In his letter, father Flanagan (nope, not a priest, but it does have a nice ring to it) didn’t change the words marketers use, but instead gave them a new meaning, a better meaning. He redefined the make-up aisle.

Here are my favorite redefines:

Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.

Infallible. May you be constantly, infallibly aware that infallibility doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion created by people interested in your wallet. If you choose to seek perfection, may it be in an infallible grace—for yourself, and for everyone around you.

Choose your dream. But not from a department store shelf. Find the still-quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Discover what you want to do in the world. And when you have chosen, may you faithfully pursue it, with integrity and with hope.

He ends the letter with reminding his “Little One” that when she gets older and perhaps may want to wear make up, she should never forget where she is most beautiful: on the inside.

This letter truly touched me and I think more fathers, mothers, and overall people should take the time to dissect the beauty veil and how it impacts young girls/women psyches. I have found so much inspiration from Dr. Flanagan that next week I will be writing a letter to my own (unborn) daughter and posting it here.
In the meantime, I’m curious what life lessons you would include in your own letter to your child? Leave these nuggets ‘o wisdom in the comments! 



Habit Inheritance is Accidental

I have always said I was bold, independent and spoke my mind on issues that make you squirm in your chair in discomfort, but college student Lily Myers really does exhibit what SGS is all about—she doesn’t just smash girl stereotypes into smithereens she slams them, poetry style.

In her piece she tackles body image and the destruction a negative image can do to the psyche and plays the lead role in what space, as women, we “deserve to occupy.” Men are taught to grow out (body, voice, demeanor) and women are too often taught to grow in (body, voice, demeanor.)

I like charts and I like visuals…

So here’s a comparison table for those visual learners out there.


What adjectives would you add to the above chart? (Let me know in the comments)

These stereotypes persist because we let them. Simple as that, right? Welllll sorrtaaa kinnndaaa. We should be able to red light them, BUT we often don’t even realize we’re stereotyping! We can’t allow these stereotypes to continue to weasel their way into our culture through modeled habits that slowly and often unconsciously leach into our own.

“Sit across the table from someone long enough and you pick up their habits.”-Lily Myers

We have to instead be mindful. Lily’s piece confronts today’s culture and the different sets of standards for men and women (see handy dandy chart above) and how we as friends, mothers, aunts, sisters really do play a vital role in the development of young girls around us! (Same goes for the guy side.) We have to be mindful of the treatment we are giving ourselves in the presence of others. If we are indeed more conscious the toxic body hate culture cycle will diminish and be nothing more than a fleck of light in culture. It matters because the little ones, they’re watching (link to dancers).


Question: What habits have you picked up from others around you? Good, Bad, Funny, Ugly. We love ‘em all around these shattery glass parts. Leave a comment below!


It’s Chime for Change!



For every girl.
For every woman.

If you know me, you know that I love me some televised musical entertainment in the form of awards shows, music videos, reality TV and benefit concerts from time to time.

And on Sunday night live from the Twickenham Stadium in London the sold out benefit concert Chime for Change aired on NBC featuring the musical stylings of J.Lo, Ellie Goulding, Beyonce, Florence and the Machine, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and many more. Wish I was there! There were also celeb spokespeople: Selma Hayek, Frida Giannini, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Madonna, Jada Pinkett Smith and others who spoke about specific causes close to their hearts. The concert was televised in 150 countries in 6 continents. Talk about a movement! Heyyo!

Why were they coming together? To raise their (high profile) voices to make a change for every girl and woman all over the world. It’s Chime for Change (I love a good play on words!)

Chime for Change founded by Gucci (yup, you read that right…more on that later), co-founded by Beyonce Knowles, Selma Hayak and Frida Giannini (Gucci designer), is a new global campaign to raise funds and awareness for girls’ and women’s empowerment. The campaign focuses on three key areas: Education, Health and Justice.

Through the crowd-funding organization Catapult, nonprofit organizations post their campaigns, people can then search, find and fund the project that means the most to them. Simple, easy, to the point—I like it.

What I don’t like is the fact is Gucci is the founder of this campaign. They’re using their international brand recognition for the benefit of making change. I get that and I think it’s great. BUT they should probably practice what they preach, amiright? A great first step in this Chime for Change is to change how they objectify women in their print advertisements, to which they have received controversy over in the past. (Exhibit A & Exhibit B) I have to be honest when I say I was super pumped about this televised concert aimed to empower females around the world, but discovering that it was a project of Gucci I pulled back, I was disappointed, which is an understatement. Until…

Jada Pinkett Smith presented the project “Jessica’s Story.” Three years ago Jessica escaped sexual abuse and trafficking, a nightmare that she had lived since she was six years old. She is just one of the hundreds of thousands of children who are sex trafficked in the United States. For Jessica there were not a lot of resourced to turn to as she sought to escape, that’s why today, Jessica is helping other girls break the stigma, empower them and provide them with resources.
Click to watch her story below!

Silence is Louder than Violence & the Difference Between Being a Bystander and a Do-stander

Men and Boys this one’s for you! I just finished watching the TedTalk by Jackson Katz surrounding gender violence issues. What are gender violence issues exactly?: Sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, violence toward children. A.K.A as topics that are icky to talk about for me mainly because they’re so dang controversial. Double Ick. Now hold on a minute don’t X out quite yet, especially you dudes out there! This post isn’t going to be about the ins and outs of the gender violence issues but rather how men often get left out of the conversations surrounding these issues.

When I first watched this TedTalk I was completely overwhelmed with everything Katz had to say because there was just SO MUCH INFORMATION. SO MUCH. In order to help the info digest better in my hungry brain cells I wrote down quotes, aha! moments, and “I can agree with that” points. They are written below in paragraph form as concisely as I could make sense of them. You could also watch the TedTalk! In fact you probably should because I can hear your brain’s cells grumbling from here. Feed them! 

Ish-is-aboutta-get-REEL HIGHLIGHTS
Brain Relations:
Gender violence issues have been seen as women’s issues because something in the human brain trigger “gender” to mean “women” the same way “sexual orientation” triggers us to think “gay”. Pesky brain. Somehow our brains take these labels steers them down a path to the least-dominant group (in our case, women). In these examples, the dominant group (for the sake of this post, men) is often left out of the conversations.  Katz doesn’t see these gender issues as solely “women’s issues that some good men help out with but rather these are men’s issues first and foremost.”

Commonalities: What people forget is boys are affected by the men in their lives, who boys sees as their role model, harming his mother, sister, or another female in the home. He’s traumatized. Yet we as a society turn our heads to the young boy because we focus on the women who were abused in the situation not on the psychological health of the boy who was the witness to the abuse.  What’s going on with these boys, why are we forgetting about them?

So to those people that are bashing the female leaders for taking a stand on gender issues and labeling the movement as anti-male you’re a little loco senor(ita). In gender violence instances both men and women are victims. That’s our commonality. This isn’t just a you issue it’s a we issue.
“The same system that produces men who abuse women, produces men who abuse other men,” said Katz.  (see the daily evening news for evidence) A vicious cycle.

Societal Roles: As we all know several things play into how we as humans, as a culture, behave, and interact but for men a lot of these roles are defined by race, religion, media, family life, economics, sports, and peer-to-peer interaction also known as pressure.  These “roles” define how men should behave in our society and being all gunho about something that has been labeled (again by society errr our brains) as women’s issues is to just not say anything, do not pass go do not collection $200. But you see guys this is the key problemo and a question I want to present is…How can men change manhood as its defined by society?

Simple Answer? Hold on to your britches people