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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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

April 18, 2010

What I Love

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 3:18 pm by Gina

Morning readers!

I love a lot of things, I’m talking a really large amount of things (I bet you do too if you took the time to think about it) but what I love today is yoga. I know I’ve talked about it in previous posts but even since then my practice has grown considerably. I go to “power yoga” (the title the gym decided to give it to warn people that its more than your basic yoga class) twice a week from 4:10-5:30.

I’ve been a yoga fan for years now, but classes at the YMCA were on-again off-again because frankly, they weren’t really cutting it. As a student of Ohio University I have “free” access to the many programs offered by their gym, which includes many different yoga classes.

Power Yoga is different from the other yoga classes, and for once offers something that I had unknowingly been searching for in my other classes- a mental aspect. Yoga is practiced by many as simply another work-out. A new way to get some strength training and gain sculpted arms and a sexy butt. Don’t get me wrong, yoga has a bajillion health benefits, but as my new teacher says, we’re not only working on our sexy butts, we’re working on our sexy hearts.

My roommates and friends know the importance of my yoga classes, missing them is hard as a regular school/work week can bring more than enough stress and tension. Yoga class is where I relieve that. Sure I often count it as my strength training and a workout, but that is not the thing that continually brings me back.

For me, it is my time of the week to calm myself, look inward, and challenge my body physically. The days that are the hardest are sometimes the easiest mentally because you are forced to remain in the present moment when you’re doing complicated and difficult poses. Others are calmer with some restorative work for the muscles which tends to restore my mind as well.

If yoga is not your thing then no worries, I’m writing this post to share with others one thing that I really love. (I can actually do the pose picture below! ha that was an exciting day!) Everyone has something, or needs something that they really love. Something that eases stress and leaves you feeling better afterwards!

I encourage you to take some time to look at the linked articles from Women’s Health, they have an entire section of their website dedicated to both the physical AND mental aspects of yoga. And as always share! How do you feel about yoga? What do you love?

Loving yoga and you,
~Gina

March 31, 2010

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:31 pm by Gina

When I first walked in to the theater I was surprised by how many people already filled the limited amount of seats, evidence that there is a hunger to hear about these issues and perhaps an excitement to get rid of them. I’ve come to hear a presentation from Courtney Martin about her book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, and how “the quest for perfection is harming young women.”

Courtney, a young writer and graduate from Barnard as well as NYU has a personality so friendly and relatable it is easy to feel comfortable around her, as if she is a close friend. Characteristics that, to me, make her all the more qualified to write a book on the struggles of young women.

She says outright, “I am not an expert on eating disorders, nutrition, health, or psychology, but I do have expertise in quiet desperation…In this book, I act as an observer, an outraged idealist, a story teller, a bleeding heart, an eavesdropper, and an ordinary young woman.”

Courtney begins by asking us to close our eyes and imagine our morning.

“One minute debating whether to have a bagel and be “bad” or a protein shake and be “good”; two minutes chastising yourself for choosing the bagel: two minutes contemplating how fattening the cream cheese was. Three minutes poking your face in the mirror, feeling bad about the dark circles under your eyes. Four minutes reading that Lindsay Lohan lost a bunch of weight; another minute chastising yourself for being so vulnerable to the media; five minutes thinking about how crazy it is that woman as smart as you spend so much of their days obsessing about food and fitness…”

The list goes on to include contemplating decisions such as chicken sandwich vs. salad, gym vs. nap and dinner eating plans. Think about your own day, how much of it is spent chastising yourself? Everyone wants to be healthy, but it is not healthy if it comes with a side of hatred, discouragement and obsession. All told, women spend about 100 minutes a day scrutinizing instead of loving their bodies. These are ambitious, driven, impatient women who have settled on wasting this time and energy obsessing over their bodies.

What fascinates me most about her book is the focus not just on eating and body image disorders, but also on the perfectionism that seems to have taken over our generation. We were raised by parents of a feminist, rebellious generation who taught us “we can do anything” and yet we heard “we must do everything.” It is this complex that is also represented in the title of Martin’s book—Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters.

I am positive that everyone knows the perfect girl. They have struggled with it themselves and seen their peers/relatives/friends struggle as well. Perfect girls are the captains of our sports teams, honor roll students, winners of scholarships, peacemakers, do-gooders, socially conscious and involved. We have 5-year plans and must be thin, beautiful and effortlessly perfect.

On the other hand, the starving daughters are dying for attention, recognition, a hug. They are constantly being pushed away by the perfect girl who only wants to show the world her beauty, strength and willpower, not her doubt, fears and cravings. The starving daughters are tired of trying so hard all the time and constantly being at war with the perfect girl.

I am not trying to blame the media, our parents or our friends. I am not trying to say that every person you know has an eating disorder, and I don’t think Courtney is either. Instead, this book brings to attention the harm that destructive thoughts and attitudes can have to one’s well-being, which, in a world where two-thirds of females ages 18-35 would rather be mean or stupid than fat, is something every single person has to conquer to some degree.

A few weekends ago I came home from school stressed and emotionally drained from trying to support a friend I know who struggles with some of these same problems. Collapsing on the couch I looked at both of my parents and genuinely thanked them for never making me feel like I had to be perfect, I did that to myself more than enough.

Don’t wait until you are 50 to love yourself, life is too short and perfect is far too boring. 🙂

With love,
Gina

~If you are interested in hearing Courtney speak and read excerpts from her book click here

~Much of this post was paraphrased from Courtney’s book. I encourage you to check it out!

January 28, 2010

Dove Real Beauty

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:08 pm by Gina

Hi Ladies!

The picture that went along with Jessica’s post on the Dove Real Beauty campaign and plus size models really struck me. She was BEAUTIFUL and weirdly labeled as “big.” I searched some Dove videos and loved them.

First:

This one particularly stuck with me because it made me realize/remember how early our image of ourselves becomes affected. I had forgotten that when I was that young I used to worry about certain physical aspects of myself and wish they were different. How Silly!! I hadn’t even hit puberty yet, and Lord knows thats when the real tough times come! haha These children should never have to think of things like that yet with the barrage of media that everyone takes in, it makes sense.

Second:

When I started watching this video I was almost bored. “What’s the point,” I thought. Then they pulled out the Photoshop and I was genuinely shocked! That woman’s image was completely manipulated- I didn’t even know they could make necks longer! It was a stark reminder of the truth behind a lot of our media.

Even if you didn’t want to hear my super- corny explanations of my choices, I hope you enjoyed the videos. I hope you watch them and it reminds you to love yourself!

~Gina

January 26, 2010

Plus Size Fashion

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 4:32 am by Gina

Hey everyone,
If you have ever read a fashion magazine, you have probably noticed the plethora of perfectly perfect models that appear smiling back at you on every page. This can be kind of frustrating to look at month after month, issue after issue, especially if you aren’t feeling perfectly perfect yourself. That’s why I find it so refreshing to see (for the hope of not sounding too cliche) REAL women in the pages of magazines, who have flaws, and are all the more beautiful for them.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the Dove Real Beauty campaign, which I personally loved. Embracing women for themselves is always inspiring. Today I saw this article on jezebel.com about the status of plus-size fashion debate, and found it both exciting and depressing. It goes more in depth in the article, but what I was glad to hear was the fact that more people are starting to take notice of plus-size models in the high fashion industry, notoriously know for it’s stick-thin standards of beauty. This is definitely a step in the right direction, and if any of you hear more news about this, please let us know!
Have a good week!
Jess

December 2, 2009

Victoria’s Secret… Not So Secret?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:37 pm by Gina

Ok Ladies,

I know you all saw it, the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show. Am I right? mmmyes. Anyone with a DVR/Tivo for sure! This is a loaded show for me; for one the girl in me still thought it was fun and exciting and amazing. But then the woman in me who struggles with body image (just like nearly every other girl/woman on earth) was horrified!

I’m in a good place in my life with my body image and it took a lot of years to get to a point where I am comfortable. I’m sure many women are still struggling. It helps that I have overhauled my eating and exercising habits to live in the healthiest way I can! It also helped when I stopped comparing myself to those, far too often, unrealistic images on TV, such as the Victoria Secrets models. Why would I compare myself to them anyway, we don’t have the same body type by any stretch of the imagination. I’m 5’1″ altogether– a far cry from the mile high legs the models sport on the runway!!

The final reason the show was loaded for me is a more recent, and more personal one. I recently have made a very, very close friend at college who, I realized rather quickly, struggles with her eating/body image. Watching this show with her nearly broke my heart. When I scoffed at some of the skinniest of the models she was in awe. I know that we cannot blame the media for all our problems, but it certainly doesn’t help that these models are made into some kind of superwomen, revered by all. Too often we forget that we are just as good as them, just as strong, just as beautiful.

As women it is our job to shatter this narrow image of “beauty” and show the world how broad that definition can truly be. I don’t want to see my friend hurt herself any longer because these thoughts are so deeply embedded in her brain that she doesn’t know any other way. I love her and I love the strength of women and I hope we can take positive things from the show, such as another great blogger mentioned, the model’s confidence.

My sister ended a conversation we had about the Fashion Show with this truly insightful thought,

“I think that there should be a minimum weight limit of all models of 150 lbs, because if you’re 5’7″ you should be at least 150 lbs. Thats just the way it is.” haha Gotta love the sis!

Another friend (a boy) put this as his status: “I watched the Victoria’s secret fashion show last night. Their new models are pencil thin. Not womanly like they used to be. Much disappointment.”

I think September’s issue of Glamour is a great example of this common problem when they featured this picture in an article about feeling comfortable in your own skin:

The positive outcry women made about this gorgeous image proves other women are on the same page as me! Read the entire article here

Celebrate yourself!
~Gina