A great follow up from my “Losing Your Voice” post about how girls’ voices plummet along with their confidence as they age and discover the cultural and societal (and cruel) norms.
I’m loving that Always is combatting this idea by airing their #LikeaGirl commercial during Sunday’s Super Bowl. I’m also sad this is still a thing and curious about what happens to us females who overtime start to fall into the fold and believe in these ever-grained stigmas of girlhood as being silly and frivolous. I mean, do you remember running like you had two broken knee caps as portrayed in the commercial? No? Me neither. I just ran and ran as fast as I could for as long as I could.
It’s time to end the stigma of being a girl. It’s time to flip it on its head and show the world we are all strong. As for those societal “norms”—get gone, you have no room in this new generation of strong girls!
There’s this new phenomenon, OK not new just now being talked about (finally). It is the “losing their voice” phenomenon that is muting girls in the adolescent phase through to adulthood as they become more astute to the culture and societal, albeit ridiculous, standards infiltrating their psyche.
Does this really happen? Absolutely, I’ve been a witness to it time and time again through friends and young girls I interact with at the dance studio. Does it have to happen? No way! And here’s why…
When I was young, I was the girl that hid behind my mother’s legs in elevators, never uttering a peep until I got into the house or car with my family—my “safe” space, while other kids were running around giving their unfiltered opinion of the world around them. Today, I’m a more confident woman, who is bold and isn’t afraid of voicing my opinion, something that has developed over time and really escalating in the last few years, post-college. Who do I have to thank for that?
The real world: It’s complete with an all-too-often male-dominated (we’re working on that!), career driven environment forcing me to be ballsy and step out of my comfort zone.
My mother and other positive female role models and entrepreneurs in my life: They encourage me to be vocal, go after what I want (no matter how big the dream) and never bat an eye at the haters (because haters gon’ hate..hate..hate..)
How can you encourage those girls and women currently idle in this “in between”? Well, Fast Company published a well-articulated article to encourage women to not be comfortable fitting in the feminine and often “passive” role, but to instead be confident, fearless and wildly obsessed with their lives and own their opinions!
Here’s my commentary on Fast Company’s list on how to pump up the girls and women in your life (p.s. you’re included in this!):
1. Encouraging their interests
If it’s boxing, snowboarding, dancing, or putting together vision boards lift them up. Step into their world, be curious and ask questions, who knows you may learn something yourself. Never ever, shrug it off or tear them down for being into something that’s not your mug o’ joy.
2. Call out and monitor the media, which includes user generated social media (Instagram, I’m looking at you) and be avid in smashing the stereotypes into smithereens through discussions 😉
3. Watch your own talk
OK, THIS IS THE HARDEST. If I’m having a downtrodden day, we all have them, and overall feel “bleh” about my body, I try to spin it around and find something positive about myself, rather than intoxicating my social feeds both online and IRL with my “woe is me” messages, that inadvertently girls and women are reading and listening to which leads to the appearance dictating self-worth in their subconscious, similarly to those Photoshopped teen magazines that show the unrealistic beauty standards. This is a great practice for all you mothers and sisters out there who are constantly around your favorite girl!
4. Create a safe space for them to express themselves
For me, growing up, my expression was in the dance studio, which looking back is strange because I think dance has a stigma of being body obsessed. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a studio that believes dance is for everyone (shape, size, color—all are welcome!)
5. Bring awareness to the “loss of voice” phenomenon!
Sometimes talking it out (or writing it out) and helping others see that this does happen at their age—but it doesn’t have to—if you’re surrounded by the right people with the right uplifting messages you will forever build your voice to new decibels.
I know I know, two posts in one week, especially after being silent for what seems like an eternity! But I could not contain myself any longer! This is a huge day and weekend for the girl world!
Today, Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her bravery and ability to triumph suppression and draw attention not just to her experience of being denied an education in her home country of Pakistan, but for all young girls around the globe, who want to go to school to receive the freedom that education provides. Malala came to global attention after the Taliban shot her in the head about 2 years ago, for her resilient efforts to promote educations for girls in Pakistan. After recovery, Malala made it her life’s mission to be the spokeswoman for girls education around the globe. According to the Nobel committee, at 17-years-old, Malala is the youngest peace prize winner, ever. You go Malala! You are no doubt a nobel prize to me and girls everywhere!
The prize was shared with Kailash Satyarthi, 60, of India for his efforts on promoting education for young people while shedding light on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.
This announcement comes just one day before International Day of the Girl Child this Saturday, October 11 with the theme: Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence. Two years ago, the United Nations declared in a resolution that “empowerment and an investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights,” from that resolution, International Day of the Girl was born. The purpose of the day (though more like a movement, a “dayvement”?) is to raise awareness and promote causes and issues surrounding girl culture in today’s world from freedom and education to safety and ultimately, equality. Many are taking to social media to share why they’re raising awareness by using the hashtag #dayofthegirl.
She’s never seen a diamond in the flesh, she cuts her teeth on wedding rings in the movies because she’s just that badass, so naturally, we’re on each other’s team.
Lorde, music’s royalty and über talented 17 year-old became my Twitter heroine March 30. P.S. how is she only 17, amiright?!
She tweeted a side-by-side photos of herself, one photoshopped eliminating her blemishes and another sans editing with this amazing caption: i find this curious—two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. remember flaws are ok
Being that she’s a 17 year-old (again, HOW?!) and in blinding light of fame, it’s refreshing that she use her fame as an opportunity to shatter some p-shoppin’. By using Twitter she was able to reach her fans directly (which I’m sure many are teens themselves) using herself as an example of the unrealistic results of photoshop and telling her fans that giving your flaws a big ol’ hug is a good thing, because it makes you, you.
Other celebrities should jump on this golf cart to dissecting photo editing! Forrreeee!!
Dear Barbie, Meet Lammily
We’re all familiar with the unrealistic Barbie biology and the pressures she subconsciously has on young girls growing up.
Nickolay Lamm, a full-time artist and researcher sat down a few months ago and designed a “normal” Barbie that reflected the proportions of a 19 year-old girl based on the CDC reported standards. His goal: to show that average is beautiful and to revolutionize how girls think about their body through a new fashion doll named, Lammily. Watch out Barbie there’s a new girl in town and she can bend her knees, elbows, wrists, ankles and isn’t constantly walking on her tippy toes.
After countless requests from parents and girls alike to make this average doll from an illustrator on paper to a physical doll for purchase, Lamm started his kickstarter campaign and as of March 5 has almost $20,000 raised!
Seeing that Barbie was featured as a Sports Illustrated model this year, (seriously) it’s clear Mattel has no interest in changing Babs measurements to be more realistic. However with the demand for change, there has never been more of an opportune time for toys to challenge societal standards. GoldieBlox challenged the pink aisle and restrictive gender stereotypes and so will Lammily.
I already donated $75 and I am looking forward to giving away one first edition Lammily doll right here on the blog! So stay tuned for that nugget of awesome!
I really believe by changing toys, freeing magazine covers of photoshopped images, and casting more female protagonists in television shows and movies we are changing the way girls think and view themselves and others.
Please donate to the Lammily project here: https://www.lammily.com/average-is-beautiful
What are your thoughts on making this average doll a reality for girls everywhere?!
Last week I shared with you a letter a father wrote his daughter about the pressures of growing up in this “better be perfect looking or else” culture we live in today when “perfection” is just a wave of the mascara wand away.
I gave myself the challenge to write a letter to my future 13-year-old daughter on how to relish life, though I’m not even close to knowing “it all.” Here we go!
Dear (future) daughter of mine,
Hey Lovely, in life there will be challenges and difficulties (like puberty), celebrations and triumphs (like acing that math test), but all of those lessons learned and victories won are moments that shape your You. A life puzzle… of sorts.
Here are my top 5 (so far) things you should know:
ONE: Become a Thunkie
Or a thinking junkie. Your brain is beautiful, use it! Show your personality, communicate your dreams. Soak up all the knowledge from not only the classroom, but also life’s experiences. Pick up a book, a real one…smell the pages, have your eyes scroll across the serif text, learn something of value. Because in the end your brain is your most valuable tool, though sometimes you’ll wish it would shut up so you can follow your heart.
TWO: Don’t Believe Everything You Read (and watch)
“The 10 Ways to Get Every Man to Want You”
“5 Days to Flawless Skin”
“The Get Toned by Tuesday Workout.”
All of the above could have (and no doubt have) been headlines for the women teen magazine, Cosmopolitan. Don’t believe the hype, I admittedly tried the 10 ways… didn’t work. Flawless skin? I’ll keep my laugh lines, thank you. And you can never get toned by Tuesday, ever. Also those models and celebs on the cover, they’re photoshopped to have beaming sun-kissed skin and the perfect hourglass shape.
In life many things are based around appearance, influenced by marketers. In today’s (2014) culture there’s a high value on appearance. For women we’re told to be younger, thinner, and more natural by caking on make-up.
Today, were even lacking in powerful female characters in TV/movies and even in real life. In the off chance a woman of power like former secretary of state for the Obama administration Hillary Clinton, is in the news she’s labeled as a “bitch” or “bossy” and often critiqued more on her appearance than her work. Bet you didn’t’ know you were getting a culture history lesson, did ya?
Lovely, if people call you “bossy,” shoot them a warm smile and reply “thanks,” you’ll catch them completely off guard leaving you to bask in your Thunkie glory.
THREE: Always Believe Your Mother
I know, I know you’re like “mommmmm, seriously?” Dead. Deal with it. As you grow and mature you’ll be thanking me one day, as I did my own mother (yup, tastes like vinegar). However, I’m not going to silver platter these “told you sos,” some you’ll have the privilege of learning on your own. Like, social media. Just know what happens on social media is being collected by the Library of Congress and will no doubt come back to spook you during that important job interview. Which is why you shouldn’t put up a fight when I say you have to be in college before your granted the responsibility of running your own reputation on the wild, wild web.
FOUR: You Only Live Once
This has been my life motto since I was 12, until Drake went and ruined it with his overplayed tune. Even my screen name was “ulive1” on AIM (which was basically text messaging via the Internet). Anywho! Please remember that this life is precious. You only get one shot to make the most of it. Everyday is a blessing. Don’t drink and drive. Do travel. Don’t speed. Do work hard because it will pay off. Don’t worry too much. Do dance around your room and Do and ask your mother to join you.
FIVE: Be Vibrant, Be You
Be strong, be steadfast, be giving. Take responsibility of your happiness. Dismiss those who prove toxic on your well-being leaving room for others that paint your world in positivity and love. Positive thinking is powerful and how you view yourself affects how others, in all aspects of your life, view you. So make the promise to yourself—you deserve it—because you are beautiful, because you are you!
Be the best You, you deserve it and so does the world!
With all the XOs,
What are some life lessons you would share in a letter to your future child or current sister, cousin, friend? Share in the comments!
There’s a new real beauty advertising campaign on the rise by American Eagle apparel’s lingerie line, Aerie. Its spring 2014 advertisements will not be featuring Photoshop retouched images. (Cue happy dance.)
Aerie seems to be taking their lead from Dove’s Real Beauty campaign who took a risk and cannonballed into the deep end of the body image pool 10 years ago, and fortunately surfaced with numerous viral advertisements that are changing the way women view themselves.
What makes Aerie different? It’s young. Founded in 2006, Aerie is aimed at the high school and college female demographic. Females between the ages of 15-21 are the most impressionable when it comes to their sense of body image and these self-opinions are often dictated by what is seen in the media.
Aerie hopes to make women feel confident about the body they’re rockin’ and is asking them to participate by tagging photos of themselves using the hashtag #AerieREAL. Because “the real you is sexy.” (oh, snap!)
Though the ads still feature beautiful girls with model-like features: hourglass figures, legs-for-days, blemish-free faces, it still beats the alternative where images are digitally sculpted and shaped by the strokes of an (air) brush.
What do you think about Aerie’s real campaign? Good idea? Bad idea? Marketing ploy?
Let me know in the comments!
“Bikini Bridge” is not a thing.
This breach of culture was started by the evil Internet imbeciles named 4chan (also responsible for “CuttingforBieber”) in an attempt to make girls hate their bodies (more than most of us already do) and feel insecure about not possessing this bogus body attribute. It’s the new “Thigh Gap” of 2014. No, no it’s not. It was a test, of sorts, to see if the phenom would take off and become a society staple and so far, it’s working.
Now with 1,645 2,365 likes (since its inception, yesterday) the Facebook page is ever-growing with comments from mostly men (who are horned up, beep beep) rating the girls’ the “bridge” from 1-10. If a bikini bridge was a thing it would be formed when girls lay flat on their backs clad in a bikini and take a selfie of their undercarriage to capture the “bridge” of fabric created when their hips are protruding out farther than their stomach.
I couldn’t spend much time on the page because, well, I was starting to feel physically ill and tossing my cookies (mmm, cookies) was not on today’s to do list. The page description is “this is for those who don’t enjoy porn but do enjoy the erotic glimpse of Bikini Bridge. To see less is more.”
And click, buh-bye.
The Internet misfits weaseled their way into the Twitterverse where there is over 5,000 tweets using #bikinibridge hashtag as well as tragic blog posts that thought this “bridge” was the next body trending shaming thing, like this piece on Buzzfeed Community that shames women who don’t possess this counterfeit curvature and it’s by a woman.
We have to do better, ladies. Because if we don’t, no one else will.
We have to take these hoaxes for what they are, FAKE, and instead of continuing to let them invade our culture, that’s already brittle, we have to put up those shields, blinders or both and be on the offensive (be ahead of the game, in control) of what we read in all mediums and what we write. We must do research to find truths instead of accepting a forged façade.
What words or phrases would you like to see banned from our culture? Ugly Cry? Bubble Butt? Thigh Gap? Let me know in the comments!
In the spirit of the New Year I’m listing 14 things we women, girls, females need to start doing in 2014!
Ready, steady, GO!
1. Say “yes” to yourself more
and “no” others or activities that really just don’t give you that “omg, I’m going to pee my pants I’m so excited” feeling!
2. Exercise not to “get thin”, but because endorphins make you feel all the happies
3. Accepting that life is a journey and you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
hey fate, I’m looking at you
5. Cherish moments with family & friends focusing more on the experience of being with each other and…
6. For the love of all things, put down the phone and walk a way
We’re all guilty of it. Desperately wanting to capture that moment, freeze it in time for eternity, posting it on the web, for eternity, but what about relishing the moment without the digital device? Try it. I think you and I will like it!
7. Be mindful of spending
This year I have a goal of finally getting out of my parents house, yup I’m 25 and live at home because 1) real estate and rent in the DC metro area in outrageous and 2) I’d rather spend money on bottomless brunches and traveling. I’m tracking my spending, maybe cutting out some traveling, setting up automatic banking transfers to my savings, getting my Roth IRA up to speed and start some investing. Oh hey adulthood, waddup. By focusing on these simple and sometimes daunting tasks your 65 year old self will be happy to retire and not be poor. YAY!
8. Dance more, because again happies
Whether you dance in the club, Zumba at the gym, take salsa or line dance lessons or simply prancercise around your bedroom in your undies, we all need to let loose!
9. Write life in a journal
When I was 10, I started my journaling experience filling up an entire composition book of my thoughts and daily activities, and I can’t wait to stumbled upon that lovely piece of literary (ha!) work! Writing is therapeutic and often allows us to reflect on our day, week, month. Plus, it’ll be fun for your relatives to comb through your life archives when you’re 90.
10. Finish things you start, this includes books, movies, and dreams
HUGE focus on dreams. For about a year, I’ve had this business idea I’ve let fear wiggle its way in to my psyche! You can’t fail if you never take that first step and START! Getting to it “later” often means “never.” That thing you’ve been waiting to start, be like Nike and just do it!
11. Start to put yourself out into the dating world.
Personally, I was pretty dang bold in the realm of dating in the latter half of 2013, I randomly Facebook messaged one of these handsome guys from Inside Edition segment (successfully going out on a few dates), tweeted at Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins to be my NYE date. (to no avail) But seriously if anyone knows Kerrigan, holler atcha girl!!
12. Start believing in yourself
This is kind of like number 10, but if you can dream it you can do it. And for us fierce females we have to start doing because we are capable and we shouldn’t let the media, men, other females or anyone else dampen that spirit.
13. Learn something new
Coding, Photography, and there’s always those Pinterest recipes and crafts that no matter how many you pin, they will not make themselves.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU’RE GOING TO START DOING IN 2014?!? Leave a comment! Happy New Year!