November 5, 2010

Are YOU Pretty?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 5:57 pm by Gina

Ciao ragazze!

Even if poetry isn’t your thing or you’ve never heard someone perform it out loud, this is something you have to watch. Poetry slammer Katie Makkai rocks this performance about “pretty” and how we use such a silly word to define ourselves. Raw and real it gets to the point. Watch it and tell me what you think!

The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be,
and no child of mine will be contained in six letters.
You will be
pretty intelligent,
pretty creative,
pretty amazing,
but you will never be merely “pretty.”

There is so much more that makes someone pretty than a straight nose and nice clothes. Are you living a pretty life?

Here’s to striving for something more substantial than simply “pretty.”
~Gina

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October 8, 2010

The Girl Effect

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:52 pm by Gina

The Girl Effect, n.
The unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.”

The Girl Effect is about girls. And boys. And moms and dads. And villages and towns and countries.

Girls living in poverty are uniquely capable of creating a better future. But when a girl reaches adolescence, she comes to a crossroads:

The Girl Effect is amazing. It’s as simple as that. The website is amazing, the videos are amazing but most importantly, the cause is amazing.

When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 per-cent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

There’s something that everyone can do to help. You can donate, you can spread the message or you can simply learn more. Go to the website and look around, its fascinating.

Think of yourself at 12 years old, it was no time to be having babies or to be worrying about when you will get your next meal. Maybe the worlds biggest problems don’t have to be so big and overwhelming. We can invest in the future by helping one girl at a time.

With love,
~Gina

October 6, 2010

Is Facebook Helping Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 7:26 pm by Gina

“About 1 in 8 women in the United States (between 12 and 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.” (via)

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was created to increase awareness, raise funds for research and offer information and support to those affected by breast cancer. Charities such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure contribute during this month to the research and prevention of breast cancer.

This I’m sure many of you know. What many of you may not know is why there seems to be status after status on facebook beginning with “I like it on…” and ending with a location. For example, “I like it on the kitchen counter.”

We’ll just say it for the sake of time- it seems like its referencing preferred sex locations. However, its actual purpose is to raise awareness for breast cancer through social media. Last year through chain messages etc., girls were supposed to put their statuses as the color of their bra, this year it is where you set your purse when you get home.

This is the message I received:

“Remember the game last year about what color bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news.

This year’s game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox.

The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER – DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE- PUT IT IN YOUR STATUS!!! PASS THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW :-)”

Contrary to the seemingly positive message of Breast Cancer Awareness month is National Breast Cancer Coalition president, Fran Visco. In her article “Why I’m Not Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month” she expresses her frustrations over the event.

Visco says: “Actually, this is the 25th breast cancer awareness month. We are being asked to celebrate that fact – which is symptomatic of the problem. Why do we try so hard to make breast cancer palatable, comfortable, pink? I really don’t feel like celebrating.

We argued over whether a new drug that shrank a tumor for several weeks but didn’t make women live longer, or improve their quality of life — and had life threatening side effects — was good enough. Such low expectations. We deserve more. I don’t feel very pink about any of this. I feel angry. I am frustrated at the lack of progress.”

I find a refreshing honesty in Visco’s frustrations. Though I do believe in and have witnessed the powers of Social Media, I did not participate in the facebook game either last year or this year. I understand the point, but I think that many do not. Real, palpable efforts need to be made and recognized along with the raising of awareness.

Click on our BIAW Poll and tell me what you think!!

Is the “status game” an adequate way to raise awareness or does it take from the real point of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
(polls)

~Gina

September 28, 2010

Disney Princesses

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:39 pm by Gina

Ahhh, the ever controversial Disney. It has been discussed countless times before, but considering the only readers I have are people I know and love, I want to hear what YOU think!!

Like many of you, I grew up with Disney. I probably know every word to every Disney movie considering how many times I’ve seen them all. As a little girl, I think I would have given away my security stuffed animal if it meant I could become Ariel (I mean come on–everyone loves the ocean!!) However this picture brings up a different point.

or this one:

Let’s think a little:

Beauty and the Beast:

Belle likes to read and takes care of her Father. She refuses to marry the typical, expected, handsome guy because his personality is horrible and seems to see past the superficial things of other people. Still, she is pretty and her kiss is what saves the day.

Mulan:

Mulan isn’t necessarily a princess, however she is a Disney female and a brave one at that. She defies the stereotypes for women of her time (also disregarding her family but her intentions were good) and seems to prove that women can be whoever they want to be.

Aladdin:

Jasmine, the spoiled princess. Yes, she did try and break the mold and make decisions on her own, also in the end she tried to aid in her own rescue with the resources she had. Unfortunately that resource was her sexuality.

Sleeping Beauty:

Aurora was promised to a man and hidden away to protect her from an evil witch of some sort. Her two greatest gifts (not born with, but received from fairies) are her beauty and singing voice (ever heard of kindness, listening abilities, diplomacy…I could go on), besides that she barely ever talks. Finally she is saved by a prince’s kiss, aka completely dependent on others.

The Little Mermaid:

Ariel is defiant and young, she works hard for her dreams, however this means giving up her voice just to marry a beautiful man. Umm HELLO?!!? It makes me sad because she is by far my favorite of the Disney princesses (basically just because she’s a mermaid though) but that couldn’t be a more blatant message–Give up your individuality/voice for a man. At least in the end she helps kill the witch, save the man AND gets her voice back.

Cinderella:

Cinderella seems to be neutral in the feminism department. Her beauty and marriage to a man is what saved the day. However she did stand up to her step mother (kinda) and fought to accomplish her goals (umm…to go to a dance.) Definitely would have been better if she wished for something more positive and independent to gain her independence.

Pocahontas:

Pocahontas is strong, brave and refused to back down from what she wanted. Her love started a war, but only because of the misperceptions of men and after she successfully ended the war. I can’t really think of many anti-feminine things she did.

Princess and the Frog:

I have yet to see this movie, but the diversity and more of an “open-mind” concept is something I can’t complain about. I hear Princess Tiana is a rather good princess. Anyone seen it yet?

Most images and some ideas (via)

Please– add on to my thoughts! What do you think, did Disney affect you as a child or is it solely a movie? In my opinion, there are worse things that children watch then movies about Disney Princesses. On the other hand, it is a brand that we trust to influence our children greatly. AND of course, which is YOUR favorite movie? 🙂

Other things to consider:
– At least the men were always Prince’s/Nobel/other good qualities
– The majority of Disney Princesses are brave
– As the movies become more modern, they seem to become a little bit better in the feminism department (think Mulan, Princess and the Frog)
– ALL of the Princesses are unrealistically (even for a cartoon) skinny.
– Think of the time period!
– ?

~Gina

September 14, 2010

Ted Talks: Embrace Your Inner Girl

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 6:13 am by Gina

Ted Talks is “a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.” This website is filled with the most inspiring, courageous, persuasive and any other positive adjective one can use to describe, speeches from people all over the world.

One such person is Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, a play that recounts stories from hundreds of women about their bodies, their sexual experiences, and yes, their vaginas. Since its start in ’96 it has been translated into more than 45 languages and performed in more than 120 countries.

Here, Eve talks about her concept of the “girl cell.” The inner cell that everyone, women and men, have. In her words this cell is, “compassion, and it’s empathy, and it’s passion itself, and it’s vulnerability, and it’s openness and it’s intensity and it’s association, and it’s relationship, and it is intuitive.”

She continues the explanation saying, “And then let’s think how compassion informs wisdom, and that vulnerability is our greatest strength, and that emotions have inherent logic, which lead to radical, appropriate, saving action. And then let’s remember that we’ve been taught the exact opposite by the powers that be, that compassion clouds your thinking, that it gets in the way, that vulnerability is weakness, that emotions are not to be trusted, and you’re not supposed to take things personally, which is one of my favorites.

I think the whole world has essentially been brought up not to be a girl. How do we bring up boys? What does it mean to be a boy? To be a boy really means not to be a girl. To be a man means not to be a girl. To be a woman means not to be a girl. To be strong means not to be a girl. To be a leader means not to be a girl. I actually think that being a girl is so powerful that we’ve had to train everyone not to be that. ”

Wow. And the whole speech is like that! She continues with horrific yet powerful stories of girls she has met during her career and their stories as well as what this did to transform her and what it means to be a girl. I know that it is a longer video, but I promise it is completely worth it!! At the very least listen to the beginning or click here to read the interactive script.

Concluding with an excerpt from her new book she explains her reading with this:
“But I really want to do it for each and every person here, to value the girl in us, to value the part that cries, to value the part that’s emotional, to value the part that’s vulnerable, to understand that’s where the future lies.”

Something that doesn’t tell us to stop feeling? I think I can get used to that!

~Gina

September 12, 2010

Women Finally Outearn Men-Kind Of

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:53 am by Gina

Women in general still earn far less than men, about 80 cents on the dollar comparatively, but this seems to be changing. According to Reach Advisors-a NY based consumer research group-young, single women are earning more than their male peers in large, urban areas.

According to The Wall Street Journal this is “a shift that is being driven by the growing ranks of women who attend college and move on to high-earning jobs.” Well hello there benefits of college!

While the trend has been around for several years in the bigger cities, it is now beginning to spread to smaller cities and across different industries.

Still, the article continues by saying: “While these particular women earn more than their male peers, women on the whole haven’t reached equal status in any particular job or education level. For instance, women with a bachelor’s degree had median earnings of $39,571 between 2006 and 2008, compared with $59,079 for men at the same education level, according to the Census.”

If you ask me, $19,508 less a year for no apparent reason seems a little unconstitutional. I’m sure a reason can be invented–but we all know who can multitask better! 🙂

This isn’t the entire list of the major metro cities that were studied, but in my own bias I made sure to include the three major Ohio cities.

Some tips from a similar article on how to better your situations with job negotiations.

1) Sell Yourself
-“NYU’s Internet expert Clay Shirky says, “Part of this sorting out of careers is sexism, but part of it is that men are just better at being arrogant and less concerned about people thinking we’re stupid (often correctly, it should be noted) for trying things we’re not qualified for.” ”

2) Reject the First Offer
– In the experience of Julie Freeman HR director of Hybrid Mom, “”A man will almost always ask for more money or a title increase, whereas a woman is more likely to simply inquire about benefits.””

What does this mean for you? If you are like me, and are not necessarily searching for the job that is going to become your career, you can still apply these concepts. First, don’t sell yourself short and talk yourself out of the job. The worst your employer can say is no. My sister asked for a raise after 6 months (the norm is a year) and she got it! Second, the trend is in young women–meaning by the time you hit the job market it should only be better!

~Gina

September 10, 2010

K.I.S.S.

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 2:40 pm by Gina

K.I.S.S- Keep It Simple Stupid. This infographic is simple, it makes life seem simple with not a lot of gray parts to deal with. We all know life is not simple (“nobody said it was easy,”) but maybe just knowing that and not fighting it so much is what we need to do. If we keep it simple we won’t stress about things we can’t control. We won’t overthink the why’s and how’s (“everything happens for a reason.”) We will make decisions simply because we know that whatever decision we make is what it is (“if it changes your life- let it.”) We will be nice to everyone, and we won’t let the other bring us down (“love the people who treat us right and forget about the ones who don’t.”)

KISS can be applied to anything: from scheduling to over-accessorizing. From analyzing dates gone wrong to ensuring the next date is better. What do you think about this concept? I’m not a fan of the “stupid” part, but I figure its just a way to make a good acronym, one that often has a positive motive.

~Gina

My favorite part: “If you get a chance-take it. If it changes your life-let it.” That’s never an easy thing to do! Still, I think it can make life that much more beautiful.

September 8, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 2:05 pm by Gina

This is the first time I’ve done a “review” but I wanted to share with you a book I just read. Let’s call it something catchy like “G’s Book Club” (or does Oprah already have that one?) Okay you get back to me with suggestions for that..

The book is the first of a trilogy by Stieg Larsson, a Swedish author who delivered the manuscripts shortly before dying of a heart attack. (interesting fact no?) Set in Sweden, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is crime novel with surprising amounts of depth. It is a multi-faceted book that touches on murder, family secrets and, of course, love. I also noticed a reoccurring feminine theme- one that we are going to focus on.

The novels protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, is an investigative journalist recently convicted of libel. He takes a job investigating the disappearance of a member of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families. He is the typical protagonist- gentlemanly, moral, conflicted and suave. His predictability doesn’t take away from the story though, as he has many influential supporting characters to back him up. He seems to be surrounded by a posse of women throughout the entire novel, prominently his longtime lover and best friend Erika Berger and his eventual coworker and semi-girlfriend Lisbeth Salander.

Split into three parts, each part begins with a different fact involving women and crime in Sweden. Part 1 states, “Eighteen percent of the women in Sweden have at one time been threatened by a man.” Part 2 begins with “Forty-six percent of the women in Sweden have been subjected to violence by a man.” And finally Part 3 tells us that “Thirteen percent of the women in Sweden have been subjected to aggravated sexual assault outside of a sexual relationship.”

Though it is not the first issue one may think about while reading the book, in fact the plot can get cumbersome at times from the amount of story lines running through, I believe the author purposefully sheds a light on the mistreatment of women. Abuse and sexual abuse are common instances in the book that are never sugarcoated, ignored or disguised, even to characters as independent and powerful as Salander.

While this and the other negative themes can be depressing, the book comes off as realistic to me, even if it is a bit raw. Alex Berenson of the NY Times shares this about the novel’s title: “The book’s original Swedish title was “Men Who Hate Women,” a label that just about captures the subtlety of the novel’s sexual politics. Except for Blomkvist, nearly every man in the book under age 70 is a violent misogynist.”

Was this Larsson’s real vision of men and women in Sweden? Was his motivation to, as I said, “shed a light on the mistreatment of women” or simply to write an intriguing novel? If you read the book- tell me what you think!!

September 5, 2010

This Is Your Life

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:15 pm by Gina

Simple, powerful, uplifting. via Holstee Love it!

September 2, 2010

The First of Italy 2010

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:25 pm by Gina

Hi all,

As previously stated–I’m in Italy. I arrived August 2 with my mom and nonna (grandma) and we had a fabulous time traveling from Rome to Florence, Venice and finally to Milan, with day trips to Pisa, Viareggio and Murano. It was an amazing two weeks and I am very grateful for my good fortune.

I made a video of our time here together which was just my first two weeks (there are many more weeks to come!) There are hundreds of pictures but I tried to narrow it down to some of the best. Hope you enjoy!

Probably the number one thing I’m thankful for is that I was able to go on my dream trip with not only my mom, but also my nonna. She is 78 years old but don’t let that fool you, she can practically run laps around me. One of the strongest women I know, she is who I give credit to for my mindset that created this blog. She had four daughters and it was in this atmosphere that I grew up, watching the women of the family plan events, cook amazing meals, have careers and families and keep our family together. I love family get-togethers and find myself admiring these women every time we have one.

Who are the women you admire? What have you noticed with the women in your family? If there are negative things don’t worry, there are in every family, including mine. The important thing is how we work around the tough stuff. How we help each other, react to situations beyond our control and learn from the women around us. I’ve learned a lot from the women in my life, and I’m glad I was able to learn from them in a totally new and amazing atmosphere.

Buona giornata!
~Gina

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