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

Time to get with the program Spain!

lowfatmadness

I was on the metro today and I saw this ad for Asturiana milk. They have now manage to make their milk contain even less fat, and I can´t help but wonder when this country is going to catch up with modern day society and learn that natural fats are actually healthy (necessary even) for your body. Isn´t this low-fat mentality just so 1995? Don´t people know by now that it´s overconsumption of carbohydrates that is the reason for obesity, type 2 diabetes etc, and not fat. All it takes is just some basic knowledge in physiology to figure that out. And I know that the world is run by money and that the sugar industry and the pharmaceutical industry are actually some of the largest industries in the world, and if people would stop wanting/needing their products it would be a financial disaster, but sometimes the stupidity and greed of this world becomes exhausting. I just want to run off to a desert island or a mountain top somewhere and not be exposed to this shit for a while.

How the whole “saturated fat myth” got started:

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:

Hungry for change

This is a really interesting video on why we need to stop dieting and instead focus on being healthy and happy. There´s such an obsession in society today on beauty and being skinny and perfect and we forget the most important reason that we´re here, to work on our minds, to evolve and become happy, loving, intelligent beings. Will write a longer post on this subject later but first go watch this video! It´s only available for free for 19 more hours, so click on the image below to watch it!

Another kind of survival strategies

First it was the Japp chocolate bar commercial, and now this! Why do cavemen like this get to have a well paid writing job while awesome intelligent people like me still remain unpublished…?? What kind of publisher thought this would be a good book to give out in the year of 2012? I´ll tell you, they´re called Scholastic.

I now present to you How to survive anything, by Martin Oliver and Lottie Stride (Dear god woman! What did womankind ever do to you to make you hate your own gender this much??) The books come in two different versions, boys only and girls only, since we obviously encounter different dangers in life depending on the shape of our genitalia. (The links above go to the books on Amazon UK if you feel like dropping by and giving them a bad review.)

So let´s start with the boys only version:

These are the titles of the chapters:

How to Survive a shark attack
How to Survive in a Forest
How to Survive Frostbite
How to Survive a Plane Crash
How to Survive in the Desert
How to Survive a Polar Bear Attack
How to Survive a Flash Flood
How to Survive a Broken Leg
How to Survive an Earthquake
How to Survive a Forest Fire
How to Survive in a Whiteout
How to Survive a Zombie Invasion
How to Survive a Snakebite
How to Survive if Your Parachute Fails
How to Survive a Croc Attack
How to Survive a Lightning Strike
How to Survive a T-Rex
How to Survive Whitewater Rapids
How to Survive a Sinking Ship
How to Survive a Vampire Attack
How to Survive an Avalanche
How to Survive a Tornado
How to Survive Quicksand
How to Survive a Fall
How to Survive a Swarm of Bees
How to Survive in Space

Pretty good and interesting tips for a kid to pick up, right?! If I had a son I´d gladly buy him this one, if it weren´t for the fact that the same publishing company had decided to make a girls only version in the same series.
Now, let´s see what kind of life threatening situations young girls might end up in…


(Ahh, and the cover illustration gives such promise, oh well…)

How to survive a BFF Fight
How to Survive Soccer Tryouts
How to Survive a Breakout (That would be skin not jail.)
How to Show You’re Sorry
How to Have the Best Sleepover Ever
How to Take the Perfect School Photo
How to Survive Brothers
Scary Survival Dos and Don’ts
(“Don’t throw things or yell at your ghost, it may react badly.”) (Noted! Thanks!)
How to Handle Becoming Rich
How to Keep Stuff Secret
How to Survive Tests
How to Survive Shyness
How to Handle Sudden Stardom
More Stardom Survival Tips (Oh good, cause one chapter just didn´t feel like enough when it comes to this very common life and death situation…)
How to Survive a Camping Trip
(“fresh air is excellent for the skin”)
How to Survive a Fashion Disaster (Oh come on!!)
How to Teach Your Cat to Sit (Haven´t we all been victimized by those damn cats who just don´t know how to sit?!)
How to Turn a No Into a Yes (Uhm…okay…question mark…)
Top Tips for Speechmaking
How to Survive Embarrassment
How to Be a Mind Reader
How to Survive a Crush
Seaside Survival
(“Don’t wear heels, tie your hair back, sunglasses add glamour.”)
How to Soothe Sunburn
How to Pick Perfect Sunglasses
Surviving a Zombie Attack (Finally something useful! Oh wait, zombies don´t actually exist…)
How to Spot a Frenemy
Brilliant Boredom Busters
How to Survive Truth or Dare
How to Beat Bullies (Fair enough, I´ll give you this one.)
How to be an Amazing Babysitter

Apparently the only situation both boys and girls may be a victim to is the zombie invasion, and we all know how often those happen… Luckily Scholastic received so much criticism for these books they had to “apologize” (well they acknowledged the criticism given at least) and ensure that no further copies of these books would be available. That´s a step in the right direction I guess, but my question is still; why were they made available in the first place??

The Breakup Bible – Tough love for the heart

Breakups can suck, or they can be the best freedom manifestation of your life. I have experienced both, and so have many of my friends, and so have most of you out there, that´s just life. One of the best ways of dealing with a breakup is of course analyzing it with your best friends over a few glasses of wine and a couple of liters of Ben & Jerry´s. Now after many years of deconstructing and analyzing the thoughts and feelings of the end of romance I have come to a few conclusions, and I wanted to share some of them with you today. This is about the toughest breakup of them all:

“The soulmate breakup”

First of all; some of you experience this everytime you break up with someone. You people need to get over yourself, seriously do you know how hard it is to find a soulmate in a romantic kind of relationship? And you seriously think you´ve done it five times in a row!? No honey, wake up and smell the hormones, your mind is playing tricks on you. If you believe you´ve found your soulmate five times already, then my guess is you never found one at all. Breakups suck, but you get over them every single time. Remember your first love? Do you remember how miserable you were when it ended? Now go to you second love, or even your most recent love, how do you feel when you think about your first love now? Do you still want to slash your wrists in pain over never being with him/her again? I´m guessing not… Time heals every single time, it wasn´t different the second or third time it happened, odds are it´s not going to be different this time either. It´s the law of relationships. You will get over it. You did not lose your soulmate. Had he/she truly been your soulmate they probably wouldn´t have broken up with you in the first place, clearly they did not feel the same way.

Anyway if this was a great love, you might need something a little stronger than B&J in order to get over it. I´m talking about our favorite defense mechansim; denial. Once I was so in love with a guy I had to live in denial and false hope for 6 months before I could accept the fact that he was cheating on me with a 16 year old (I know, ew…), but then a survival mechanism took over. I´m guessing my subconscious was done grieving and I was able to break it off, for good. I was sad for a few months, but not in that gut wrenching way I probably would have had to go through had the breakup taken place six months earlier. So yes, even if your friends may tell you you need to snap out of it, sometimes you do need time to process in order to cope. It´s just your body´s natural way of keeping you alive. Don´t stress it, you´ll know when you´re ready. Your survival instinct will let you know when it´s time to move on. Now on the other hand if this denial thing goes on for years, you might actually need to snap out of it though, that´s not healthy. You deserve better, and I´m not just saying that because it´s the typical cliché to word vomit out when you´re trying to cheer someone up. Everybody deserves to be happy in their lives, if not, what´s the point of being here?? Nobody is going to thank you on your death bed for being miserable your whole life. Life is not about sacrifice, it´s about being happy and loved, and if you´re with someone who keeps hurting you, you do deserve better.

first you much love yourself / myself / i deserve better

“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! 😉

How to be obnoxiously happy all the time

Make a decision that you are going to do everything you can to be as happy as you can in every moment.

This may be the best advice I´ve ever gotten (read it on The Secret website). Sometimes it´s easy to succumb to those negative thoughts, I know I struggle with it on some days. Something happens, something small or big that annoys you, you can´t help but bitching a little bit about it (see angry feminist rant below 😉 ). Now here is where I´m lucky enough to actually become aware of my negativity and before it starts to spiral I have the chance to change the thought into something positive. Basically just distract yourself from whatever annoying just happened. I do that by thinking about this sentence above; make a decision that you are going to do everything you can to be as happy as you can in every moment. And then I think, what would make me happy in this moment? What do I have around me right now that could put a smile on my face? It could be anything, listening to my favorite song, an episode of my favorite sit com, the fact that the sun is shining, calling up my best friend, thinking about my cat… Do what the song says and list your favorite things! 😉 And suddenly you´re back on track again!


My cat loves a sunny day too, just like his mommy!

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!

I am my own core shaker

Why you need to find yourself before someone else does:

I used to be one of those people, in my early twenties, who constantly was looking for attention, appraisal and acceptance from the world around me. I´ts quite common though, that age, filled with insecurities about pretty much anything, my hair, my clothes, my boyfriends, my opinions, my dreams. I always felt the need to please other people, to adjust myself into what they wanted me to be, cause I felt my own self wasn´t good enough to fit in to their world. I think the best part about turning 30 was that I somehow stopped caring what other people thought, it was such a relief. There´s still people around me that feel the need to give me their opinion about things that aren´t any of their business, but the good thing about growing up is that those things nowadays just goes in through one ear and out the other. I hear you but I just don´t care. I don´t need the acceptance of other people, because I have the acceptance of myself. I´m a pretty great person, I know what I want and I know where I´m going and if someone else doesn´t agree with me, then that´s literally their problem not mine, I´m not going to waste my energy on things beyond my control, things that are going on inside someone else´s head.

“Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behavior and actions of other people. Never give your power to anyone else.”
― Brian L. Weiss

Instead of fishing for the love and attention of other people, or waiting for that perfect someone to come around and complete you I want to share my best tips and tricks for how to shake your own core and create your own happiness.

Do some soul searching

Get to know yourself, and figure out what you really want in life. Who are you? I´ve spent the past two summers pondering this, a lot of free time helps, like being unemployed when your friends aren´t for example. But even if you´re working your butt off full time, at least try to squeeze in 20 minutes of daily “me time”. I know you can do that, just take it out of your “Facebook time-account”. 20 minutes of just you, meditating, day dreaming, reading, no TV or radio on in the background, just the sweet sound of your own wonderful mind thinking and fantasizing about your wishes and dreams. 🙂 (Tip of the day; Brian Weiss meditation CD I´m in love with, soo relaxing and healing for your soul!)

Go for walks

This kind of falls under the soul searching category as well, as this is when I usually get most of my daily ponderings done. However getting some air, and some sun light (helps create vitamin D, which makes you happy) and some exercise to kick start those endorphins are all great for your well being and for clearing your head, in order to take in new knowledge or reconstruct some old.

Read

I´m addicted to learning new things, which is probably why I´ve changed my career direction about 50 times in my life. There are just so many exciting areas out there that I want to learn more about. It´s the best feeling in the world when you notice yourself changing throughout the years and you´re just becoming smarter and smarter. 😉 So yes, read as much as you can (or if you prefer, one of my favorites is to get the audio book for my ipod and listen to while power walking, since I have little time for actually sitting down with a book, even though I do love it). Or maybe take a class in something you´ve never tried before, that will also allow you to meet new people, and make new connections. (For great reading tips go to my books and movies section above.)

Travel

This will help opening your mind, the world is such an interesting place and we just don´t take advantage of it enough living here. 🙂 Many of us are too busy staying safely in our comfort zone, fearing things that are different from what we are used to.

The Gratitude List

Every day I write down a few things that I´m grateful for. It gives me perspective on life and makes me appreciate all the wonderful things I have which in turn will lead to attracting more wonderful things. It can be anything, nothing is too small to deserve your gratitude and attention. For example, this is my list of gratitude today.

I´m grateful for the sun shining and that I was able to walk to work today, I´m grateful for my bills being paid easily this month, I´m grateful for that I found the perfect color threads for a project I´m working on, I´m grateful for my wonderful friends helping me out whenever I need them. Seeing all this in writing makes it more real, and it gives a little reminder of all the good things I have in my life, that I sometimes forget about.

Listen to your intuition

“If you rely exclusively on the advice of others, you may make terrible mistakes. Your heart knows what you need. Other people have other agendas.”
― Brian L. WeissOnly Love Is Real: A Story of Soulmates Reunited