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

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May 14, 2010

Women Board Directors

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:18 pm by Gina

This post comes from a new site called “Catalyst” that I found while searching “number of women CEO’s of fortune 500 companies.” haha I am such a nerd.

Catalyst’s mission is to work “with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business.” Thus their motto is “Changing Workplaces. Changing Lives.” Founded in 1962 Catalyst is now the leading nonprofit organization working with over 400 business globally. It seems mainly that their main work is research. They then use their information to advance women and business and provide models for change.

Wow! That’s a lot! In a census published in March 2010, “Financial Post 500 Women Board Directors,” Catalyst “examines women’s representation on corporate boards at the most profitable companies in Canada.” Many interesting things were found:

– In both 2007 and 2009, less than one-fifth of companies had three or more women on their boards, and more than 40 percent had no women directors.

– Nearly half of public companies have no women board directors.

– Women’s representation in board leadership positions at public companies continues to lag behind their overall representation as board directors.

BUT

– Women’s representation on private company boards increased 4 percentage points from 2007 to 2009.

– In 2009, women held 14.0 percent of board seats at Financial Post 500 companies, an increase of one percentage point since 2007.

For the complete study click here

What do you think? Did you even realize these things? Do you think this is still an important issue or not as important anymore? Let me hear your thoughts! I also encourage you to explore Catalyst.org, its an interesting site!

Happy Weekend!
~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!

February 11, 2010

Black History Month

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 7:20 pm by Gina

Readers!

Can you believe its February 11th and I haven’t done a post about Black History Month yet? Well get ready because I’m about to go Black History Post CRAZY! ha, that sentence barely made sense.

I want to begin with one of my favorite speeches/poems of all times- “Ain’t I a Woman?” This not only focuses on African-Americans (I say that because many people affected by this speech were Africans) it also focuses on Women.

Isabella Baumfree, known to most as Sojourner Truth was a powerful Woman’s Rights Activist, Abolitionist, Minister and Ex-Slave. This speech was given in 1851 at a women’s rights convention in Ohio (my home!) I encourage you to read the speech in its entirety, it really is worth it! (via)

Ain’t I a Woman?

“Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.”

Wow. Now imagine yourself there. Imagine the volatility of the time. Imagine what a scene this powerful speech would cause!

For now, in 2010, lets focus on the last paragraph: “These women together ought to be able to turn it [the world] back and get it right side up again!” I believe that this is true. We all know the power of a woman’s will- imagine it combined!!

Happy BHM!!
~Gina Marie

February 5, 2010

Your Lists!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:59 pm by Gina

Ladies!

First, let me say THANK YOU for sharing your lists with me, for the encouragement and also for such a personal glimpse into your minds! I can’t explain how much joy this brought me! Reading over the comments there were DEFINITELY some themes (many themes actually.) The ones I tallied the most of though went something like this (highly paraphrased of course):

Surround yourself with positive people then always, always, ALWAYS appreciate those special people. Your amazing friends and family members, they are more valuable than you can imagine. Make sure you keep in touch with these people no matter how far and make sure to let them know how much they mean to you from time to time.

Find something you love and go for it! Follow your passion and HAVE passion- it is more essential to your day to day life than first meets the eye.

Get your feelings out rather than bottling them in. It is better to express yourself- whether that is through writing, drawing, singing, dancing, talking, laughing, or smiling. Never forget to smile and to LOVE YOURSELF!

And lastly, as much as all of us teenagers don’t show it, the number one most common response was to love your Family- particularly your mother. To say thank you, appreciate them, listen to them, work to spend time with them instead of doing everything you can to leave. Don’t take your family for granted- life is short.

These responses were all amazing, but something I got even greater joy out of was the feeling of community the responses gave me- even through the internet. Amanda quoting Regina, people reading other peoples lists and borrowing aspects of it, compliments given (thanks Allie!) and even more exciting, Patricia V. Davis actually commented!! Thats right, the author of the original list, founder and editor-in-chief of Harlots Sauce Radio and e-magazine, author of multiple poems on women’s issues and keeper of a bossy blog COMMENTED THIS BLOG!!! We’re practically famous! haha It’s because I am a woman! 🙂

Thank you all!
~Gina Marie

February 1, 2010

10 Things I’d Love To Tell My Younger Self

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 7:46 pm by Gina

Hello readers!

I saw this article from another blog I follow and immediately followed the link to read on. From Patricia Volonakis Davis, founder and editor-in-chief of Harlots’ Sauce Radio and e-magazine and author of her own memoir, we get a list of things learned. I’m just going to repeat exactly what she posted (boys you can get something out of this as well):

“I’ve learned some valuable things about life, love and being female over the past half-century. Here is the advice I try to pass on to younger women in my life (family and friends) in the hope that it will save them some precious time:

1) You are at least ten times prettier than you think you are.
That holds true no matter how pretty you already think you are! Don’t believe me? Ask your mother/auntie/grannie if she thought she was pretty when she was twenty. She’ll say, “no.” Then find a photo of her at that age. See what I mean?

2) The only thing you should be faking is confidence.
If you don’t have it yet, pretend you do. In every new situation, pretend you’re not nervous, pretend you’re not afraid. After a few times doing this, the pretend part disappears.

3) Want to try something new, like painting, skiing, running your own business? Go to the library and borrow ten different books on the subject.
Skim through them all, find the ones that have the most vital information and study them. Then see number 2.

4) No matter how old you get, remember what it was like to be a nine-year old girl.
Remember the feeling of freedom. If you’ve already forgotten, do a cartwheel. You can so still do one. Savour that feeling. Wake up with it every day. You’ll stay young until the day you die.

5)In the same vein, cut or potted flowers are never a waste of money.
Because every time we glance at them, they remind us how much beauty there can be in the world.

6) Speaking of money, starting right this moment, whether you’re twenty or sixty, you can change your finances around.
Don’t leave someone else completely in charge,whether it’s your husband, partner, parents or banker. Become financially saavy. Financial independence gives you the freedom to walk away from many bad situations. How do you know you’re in bad situation? See number seven.

7) If your stomach hurts and you haven’t got a virus, you’re in a bad situation.
Before you know what it is, your stomach always does. Give yourself some time to ponder what it might be that’s making your stomach hurt. Chances are you already do know, you just don’t want to believe it, for some reason. You can ignore advice from your friends, even your own brain, but you can’t ignore your stomach, because the stomach never lies. Oh, and by the way? – Drowning your stomach in alcohol won’t make it stop telling you the truth, either.

8 ) When meeting someone new and he or she seems to be behaving like an assh*le, show compassion first.
If after you display your sincere compassion, they are still acting like an assh*le, walk away. If they follow you, call the police.

9) Wear sunscreen on your face, neck and hands every day, winter and summer.
I don’t care how dark your skin naturally is. Wear it. You’ll remember me when you look in the mirror at age fifty. Always keep in mind that Your body is directly connected to your spirit. Look after your body. Exercise, floss and brush your teeth. Put nothing in your body that can permanently harm your spirit, including the wrong man.

10) And if you are in bed with a man and he’s the right man:
…meaning your stomach doesn’t hurt, he’s smiling at you, he knows your name, he’s not drunk and neither are you–for godsakes–enjoy yourself. He is not at all thinking about how fat your thighs look.

What warm, positive words on a cold day! So here is the challenge, make your own list! It can be 20, 10, 5, even 3 things (it is YOUR list after all) that you would love to tell yourself. Don’t list regrets, life is too short for that, rather, list the things you have the wisdom to see now, that you didn’t at a younger age and

    let us hear them!!

To encourage you all to share I’ll post my list:
1) Trust, love, and count on yourself, or else you’ll never be able to do those things for somebody else.
2) You really are prettier than you believe
3) Read and constantly educate yourself
4) Brush your teeth more often and wear your retainer!
5) Forgive and Forget a few more times, in the end love is better than resentment.
6) Talk to your grandparents more, you can’t imagine how much you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
7) On that note, don’t fight with your parents as much. Sure they are crazy, but to them so are you!
8 ) Never let other’s thoughts change the path you want to take
9) STOP worrying about money so much
10) STOP worrying so much in general, it’s hard but possible.

Love yourself!
~Gina Marie

January 21, 2010

Dumb Generals, Irresponsible Presidents

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:56 pm by Gina

“It may be his prerogative to be dumb, but that’s really not a very good idea.”
-Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women.

This quote completely caught my attention while flipping through an issue of TIME magazine. O’Neill is referring to a US Army general in Iraq, Anthony Cucolo III, who directed that female soldiers who become pregnant, as well as the male soldiers who impregnate them, be punished.

Ok, I know what you are thinking- “oh here come the wrath of the feminists.” Which, it seems isn’t so inaccurate, but that is not why I am posting this quote. There are many sides to this argument and many more points than would immediately come to mind. For one, you can’t punish someone for conceiving a child! On the other hand, taking an oath as a soldier means to fulfill extraordinary duties that span the length of your deployment- getting pregnant and unavoidably being sent home shatter that oath.

A Post commentary article that takes a slightly opposite side of O’Neill quotes Cucolo as saying,

“I appreciate the inflamed – I got it. Here’s the deal. I’m the one responsible and I mean this sincerely and I mean this with – I hope I’m not sounding – it doesn’t matter. I am the one responsible and accountable for these 22,000 soldiers. The National Organization for Women is not. Critics are not. I appreciate – I will listen to critics, and they add thought. But they actually don’t have to do anything. I have to accomplish a very complex mission, very complex.”

Apparently he doesn’t care how he sounds, and he means what he says. The author of the article mentioned above also points out that Cucolo’s order is equal for both men and women and does not punish women who are impregnated as a result of rape.

What do you think? Do you think it is a “dumb” idea as NOW does or do you find it brilliant? In-between? Terry O’Neill was criticized as the president of the “National Organization of Irresponsible Women” after exclaiming this about general Cucolo- do you agree? Tell me your thoughts!

~Gina

December 31, 2009

New Years NEW Resolution- YOU!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:18 am by Gina

Hi READERS,

Sorry it’s been awhile, also sorry about the over-used excuse of “the holidays.” Tried but true! Anyway I’d like to welcome the New Year in with all of you!! I have never been a huge fan of New Years resolutions; it seems silly to me to make resolutions just because of some random holiday when it may not be the right time in your life to make them. I resolve to do things daily, whether long or short-term, and I think many of you do too. Still, one can see the benefit of taking time out to breathe, relax, and take a life inventory. Where are you right now? Where do you want to be? What was hard about the past year? What was great? Don’t just think big- think small, common, strange and everything in between that helps you find your answers.

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
—Louisa May Alcott

What a great quote to read after taking stock of one’s life! Don’t be down if you haven’t done your resolutions from last year, whatever they were. You are faced with Change everyday and what you think is best for you at one time may not be at another. What is important is that you can see those goals/aspirations and keep following their path. Instead of beating yourself up, what you should do is ask why? Did you not accomplish certain goals because they were outrageous, too broad or not strong enough? Did you procrastinate, forget them or did life change them? The most important question for me personally is, “am I not doing this because of my own fear?” I do everything I can to not base the decisions in my life off of fear. If the only thing holding you back is fear, than the only thing holding you back is yourself. At any given moment you can take steps to get past that fear.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Finally, I think it is important to realize the things you already have accomplished in your life. Once again, not just big things, little things are often just as important. The relationship you mended, forgiveness that you have given, trash that you picked up, the smile you caused. In the end, those are the big things. We have accomplished a lot in the past decade, just think of the decade to come!

“Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade.”
— Constance Baker Motley
(First Black Woman in the U.S. to become a Federal Judge)

Happy New Years!!

~Gina Marie