How to talk to little girls

I wanted to share an article with you today, written by Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World. (Awesome book btw, should be mandatory reading for anyone regardless of gender.) This article explains in a very enlightening way how we subconsciously help creating gender stereotypes while communicating with kids, even though our intentions of course are nothing but the best.

How to talk to little girls

“I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”

But I didn’t. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.

What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment.

This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.”


Image borrowed from TLC

“That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.

“Maya,” I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, “very nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.

“Hey, what are you reading?” I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I’m nuts for them. I let that show.

Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.

“I LOVE books,” I said. “Do you?”

Most kids do.

“YES,” she said. “And I can read them all by myself now!”

“Wow, amazing!” I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.

“What’s your favorite book?” I asked.

“I’ll go get it! Can I read it to you?”

Purplicious was Maya’s pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.

Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It’s surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I’m stubborn.

I told her that I’d just written a book, and that I hoped she’d write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we’d read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.”

“So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya’s perspective for at least that evening.

Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.”

Lisa Bloom for Huffington Post

Advertisements

Slut shaming 101

I found this quote on Facebook this morning, it´s taken from the book More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Through His Daughter’s Eyes, and yes, it´s exactly just that, a “life lesson” taught by Muhammad Ali to his daughters on a day when they were apparently wearing clothes a bit too revealing for his liking.

“When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.
My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to.
Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.
Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”
He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

This is the foundation of what we today refer to as slut shaming, that a woman who is sexually liberated (or just happens to be wearing a skirt that´s a little too short) should be ashamed of her behavior and that she´s not respecting her body. See that´s what I don´t quite understand, how is restricting what you wear in order to please someone else respecting yourself? To me respecting my body is maintaining the control to do whatever I want with it. I respect my body in the sense that I keep it happy and healthy by eating healthy, giving it sunlight, fresh air and exercise, if I´m cold I put more clothes on, if I´m hot I take some clothes off, if I´m thirsty I drink water, and if my body feels like putting on something slutty and sleep with every guy within a mile radius, then you can be sure I will let it! I respect myself enough not to be constrained  and judged by the opinions of a slut shaming society.

I find it sad that we live in such a man hating culture, reducing men to testosterone driven animals who are triggered by only the sight of a woman’s legs or cleavage. Personally I think men are better than that, I think you are intelligent enough to constrain yourselves and act respectfully towards women in spite of how much of their skin you see. Don´t let sexist opinions get you down, I have faith in you men of the world!

As a final thought, a question; how many parents would have a conversation like this with their son? Telling them to dress less sexy, and to hide their “diamonds” in “the mountain”?? Why does this rule only apply to women? Shouldn´t men “respect” their bodies as well?

As with every situation in life there is a Sex and the City quote to go with it:

Awesome skin care tips!

I´ve been using biological skin care products for the past 6 years now and the improvement of my skin condition has been amazing. The funny thing is I´ve spent years and years spending insane amounts of money on different products, thinking the more expensive the better product. That was before I started working in the health food business and learned all about glycerin, paraffin and other petroleum based oils that are added in basically all the conventional skin care products out there, whether it´s L´oreal or Clinique. Synthetic oils block your pores and make it impossible for the moisture to enter your skin. Meaning it will only lay on top of your skin making it temporarily soft, but the next time you shower or wash your face you´re dry again and need to apply more. Same for the cleansers, you can´t properly deep cleanse since the synthetic oils keep everything on top.


Mmm, mineraal ooil…

“Mineral oil acts as a thin layer on the skin. It is difficult to absorb and clogs the pores, which slows the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins. Remember, the skin is the body’s largest organ and plays an important role in maintaining overall health! Once the oil is absorbed, it is broken down by the liver and passes through the intestinal tract, it will absorb all of the fat-soluble vitamins found there. It is essentially stealing important vitamins from the body, which the body will not be able to replace. This can eventually lead to nutritional deficiencies. Studies have also shown forms of pneumonia caused by mineral oil decreasing lung function, known as lipoid pneumonia. Because of these dangers, the medical community has condemned the use of mineral oil taken orally or as an ingredient in medications.”(Source;)


Mmm, petrooleuum…

I know a lot of people will argue that if mineral oil was that bad for you it wouldn´t be allowed in all these skin care products. Well, I just woke up but unless there´s been a dramatic change since last night and the Dalai Lama was just proclaimed president, money still rules the world. And fact is mineral oils are cheap, it´s actually cheaper to buy the oil than to dispose it. And no, obviously it doesn´t have any instant harmful effects. However, as you may have noticed earlier in this blog, my favorite motto is educate yourself and learn to think for yourself, instead of trusting others to do it for you. So let´s look at this from a common sense point of view; mineral oils are by-products from refining gasoline (you know that stuff we put in our cars that are currently destroying the earth), does that seem like something you would want to rub your body in? I mean does that make sense?

So what to use instead? Fear not, I have a guide coming up in part 2!

“Wow, you´re so brave showing yourself in public like that, even though you put on a little weight!”

A while back ago a swedish blogger posted some pictures of herself on vacation in the Bahamas. Like most people on vacation she was hanging out on the beach, and like most people on the beach she was wearing some sort of swim wear, in this case a bikini. This post generated over 1400 comments, not about the beautiful beach or what a great time she seemed to be having with her friends. No they were all related to her body and whether or not she should be allowed to show herself in a bikini in public like that. There was the one side that thought she was way to fat to even leave the house basically, and then there was the other side, that to me is equally bad, the ones that applauded her for wearing that bikini with pride even though she put on a few lately. “You go girl!”

This girl is smart and independent, she is just a little over 20 and already running several businesses, and should be a good role model for young girls, and yet she will still be judged by the way she looks in a bikini. One of the companies is a magazine dedicated to boost young womens´ confidence and as a response to the 1400 idiots she did what any young woman with a magazine would have done, she posted herself naked on the cover. Now as a big F U to all the haters out there I think this is a great idea, and I know the thought behind it to encourage women to be proud of their bodies regardless of size is well intended. The problem is that it keeps focus on where it shouldn´t be, on womens´ bodies.

Let´s put this in a different perspective and switch the genders. If she were a guy who posted photos of himself on the beach, how many people do you think would post the same kind of comments? How many people do you think would feel the obvious need to point out whether or not he should be seen in public (on the beach!) with so little clothes on. How often do guys get to hear the phrase; “Wow, you´re so brave showing yourself in public like that, even though you put on a little weight! You´re such an inspiration to me! You go guy!”
If there are any men out there who have experienced this please let me know!

Feminism has come a long way in the past 100 years, we´ve achieved the right to vote, the right to drive, the right to have our own careers etc. Well I´m generalizing the western society of course. There are many parts of the world where we are no way near this kind of equality. However todays topic will be focused on western society since a lot of these countries take such pride in the level of equality reached. And yes, we should be, but does that mean we should stop fighting to improve further? Cause when a woman can have all the success and career that any man but it still comes down to the way she looks, we are still not equal. It´s the same kind of patriarchal structures just taking a different form.


This pretty much sums up my point! 😉

Warning! Angry feminist rant!

So this photo has been circling around Facebook for a while now. I like it because it represents a kind of sexism that absolutely drives me crazy. The sexism by nice guy trick. You see this guy, he´s just trying to be nice and helpful to us girls. Cause obviously somewhere along the quest of pleasing the male population we women just got it wrong, so wrong! Nice clothes and make up, that´s not what men want, they just want natural beauty. Isn´t that great?! Thank god this guy finally stepped up to the plate, and took the responsibility of educating women everywhere, on what it is that men want. And also at the same time cementing the belief that womens´ sole purpose in life is to be attractive to the opposite sex. We don´t wear nice clothes and make up for any other reason than to get the male population to notice us so they will want to fuck us. That´s it, all we care about is our fuckability.

I have on a number of occasions, and I´m sure a lot of you have as well, met one of these guys. “Men don´t want skinny girls, men like curves, so you should just stop dieting!” (“Oh really?? Praise the lord!!”) Did you ever stop to think for a minute that maybe, juuust maybe, I actually don´t give a shit if you want to fuck me or not?! That maybe I have bigger ambitions in life than to please the entire testosterone filled half of the population?? That maybe I eat the way I do because I´m actually concerned about my health so that I can live a long happy life doing things that I love (and that does not include doing you)!? Maybe I wear make up because I find it a creative and fun way of expressing who I am!? Maybe I wear nice clothes and jewelry because I enjoy looking at pretty things!?

So yes, this might come as a shock to all of you “nice guys” out there, but women don´t need your help learning how to be more attractive, because we´re not interested in being reviewed by you anyway, and how we choose to present ourselves in this world is non of your fucking business!

Drugs Cigarettes Alcohol…and Sugar?

The final episode of The Skinny on Obesity. Dr Robert Lustig talks about regulations on sugar in society. It´s a good idea in theory, but I think we are far from it becoming a reality. Unfortunately there is so much money in the sugar industry and a many countries´ economy depends on selling agricultural products, which is why the governments out there are still claiming fat is the enemy and we should consume high carb low fat foods to stay healthy, even though the escalating pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease has been claiming the opposite for the past 30 years.

I think the best weapon in these crazy times is education. I still have hopes for humanity, I still believe most of us are intelligent people, I´ve said it before, we need to stop letting other people think for us, and instead take charge of our own lives and our own health. If everybody starts making healthier food decisions and stop buying sugary starchy crap, the food industry will eventually be forced to change their selection of products. In Sweden the low carb high fat lifestyle is growing and the results are already showing in the supermarkets, real butter is flying of the shelves whereas margarine sales are going down.


Swedish supermarket offering margarine on sale (5 SEK = about 50 cents) in a desperate attempt to get rid of it before the expiration date. Image from kostdoktorn.se

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don´t have any.

Will I be pretty?

To my future daughter and every little girl in this world.

When you approach me, begging, “Mom, will I be pretty?” I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer NO!
The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters.
You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing, but you will never be merely “pretty”.

If you still don´t get it:
How to talk to little girls

We are spiritual beings having human experiences

Every now and then I get into a discussion with people about their spiritual beliefs and what happens when you die. I believe in a spiritual world, and that we never really die, we just recycle. When our bodies stop functioning our souls go back to the spiritual home we came from, we rest and revise the lessons learned from this life, and then we go back and are born into another body. We are put here on earth to go through challenges that will help us evolve as spirits. I´m not afraid to die, because I know that our home is a place more wonderful than this, and our souls are always safe, they can not be harmed, only our bodies can be harmed, and they are just a shell, a tool we use to get the work done. I`m always grateful for the challenges life gives me (even though sometimes it feels like you just want to crawl into a fetal position and cry), because no matter what happens I will learn from it and come out a wiser stronger person.

When I tell people this, I get different reactions, there are the ones who think I´m crazy, the ones who agree with me and every now and then you get the ones who have an experience of realisation (those are my favorites). What amazes me though are the ones that think I`m crazy, that always need to pull out the old argument of “if it can´t be scientifically proven, it can not exist”. (Sigh…) And I receive a lecture in how are bodies work, that everything is just a chemical reaction, our feelings, our thoughts, we´re really just highly advanced robots with the ability to interact with other highly advanced robots. (How is that not the most depressing thing you´ve ever heard?) Look, I studied physiology, I know how the biochemistry of our bodies work. I`m a smart person, but that also makes me believe that this can´t be all there is. There´s a collaboration going on between our minds and bodies, we are one for the whole life we´re here. We´re not just robots, we´re so much more than that. I don´t need that to be scientifically proven, it´s already real in my world. I`m sorry that some people can not feel that, but I guess they have a different lesson to learn in this life, and their minds aren´t as open yet.

The funny thing is though, these people, they go through mid-life crisis (or any other life-crisis), fear of death, fear of life, fear of people, fear of failing, fear of losing loved ones etc, while I´m happy and content trusting the universe to guide me to where I need to go, and yet they´re telling me I´m doing it wrong.

The Skinny on Obesity pt 5




Now, I´ve never squeezed a baby out of my vagina so there´s probably a lot of people out there thinking I have no say in this, however I have a hard time understanding women who get pregnant and go; “I´m going to get fat anyway so I´m just gonna eat whatever I want.” Correct me if I´m wrong but shouldn´t this be the time when you really pay attention to what you put in your body? Shouldn´t these 9 months of your life be all about healthy natural food with lots of necessary nutrients for you and your baby, and not at all about eating sugary transfatty cookies, potato chips and other junk? I just find it interesting that women are advised not to eat fish, containing essential fatty acids for both mother and baby (more on this in an upcoming post), because fish might contain mercury (can be avoided by choosing fresh fish), but they are encouraged to stuff their bodies with ice cream, cookies, chips, and soda, because “they´re going to get fat anyway, and might as well enjoy it as much as possible…”

I´m very picky about what I put into my body (I´m borderline OCD with reading the ingredients of my food purchases making sure there´s no artificial crap in it), and if I ever were to get pregnant one day I can only imagine that taking on a ten-fold increase in obsessiveness. Now I´m just potentially destroying my own body, but to do the same to a brand new baby body with no chance of defending itself…(!!!) The thing is, I´m sure all mothers-to-be out there want what´s best for their babies, nobody actually wants to ruin their babies´ health. The problem is the lack of information on what sugar and transfats do to your body, well there´s plenty of information out there, but it rarely reaches its targets unfortunately. People tend to think that if it´s in their grocery store labelled as food it´s completely safe to put in their mouths. Here´s a useful tip; the food industry doesn´t care about your health, it cares about selling products in order to make more money. Don´t rely on them to make healthy choices for you, instead take control of your own life, educate yourself and start making good choices based on knowledge instead of capitalism!

(For more information, links to research studies referenced in the videos, and a quiz on food addiction, go to website www.uctv.tv/skinny-on-obesity.)

What do you think feminism is?


Picture from FB group A girl’s guide to taking over the world.

One thing that really drives me crazy is when people go; I´m antifeminism but pro gender equality. Feminism and gender equality are the exact same things! Feminism is about people having equal human rights regardless of their gender. That´s it! Now there is always going be the small click of extremists, the ones that think women are superior to men and wants a matriarchal society, however thinking they are the true representatives of feminism is like thinking all muslims are terrorists. It´s just a small group of people misconstruing the foundation of the belief, in order to fit their own, often not so humane, agenda. I can honestly say every single feminist I´ve met have been a supporter of the true base of feminism; equal rights for all men and women.

This is a comment I saw written on a blog once (can´t remember which) but I thought it summed it all up so perfectly I copy pasted it and saved it on my computer:

“There are still women in the world being sold by their fathers, who can´t leave the house without a man escorting her, who are raped as little girls because they show their hair and therefor are considered whores, there are wars going on with hundreds of thousands of rape victims each year… Do you think it´s wrong that the only reason this is happening to these people is that they were born with a vagina? Congratulations, you´re a feminist!”