women

Helping the Women of Assam, India

women weavers

Yesterday I cooked Indian food for my good friend Mili who has been raising money to help impoverished children and women in India with her annual fundraiser. This year they are supporting women in Assam (the part of India she is from) to purchase and use more efficient looms and to have better access to markets to sell their wares at fair wages. If you can help by donating something (anything really – even a few dollars), it would mean a lot to me and to Mili and to the women of Assam!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Wm9NfhD_g5c

Here’s a link to one of the dancers at the fundraiser last night.

Those who wanted to come and support and could not make it, it is still not too late… You could still help us by writing a check to AFNA (Assam Foundation of North America) and send it to Mili Dutta, 3233 Columbus Ave S, MN 55407.
 
She wanted to raise $5000 and so far they have raised $4309.

So, if you would like to support her and help her to reach her goal, then PLEASE send a check or use the following paypal link…https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=CZYN3ADB9UDM4&lc=US&item_name=Assam+Foundation+of+North+America&item_number=2000&currency_code=USD&bn=PP-DonationsBF%3Abtn_donateCC_LG.gif%3ANonHosted

 
Thank you to all who believe in social justice and helping the underserved…

 

It will only make a few minutes of your time and could make the difference in the life of a woman.

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“The Keep it Real Challenge”: A Plea to Magazines for Real Images of Women

These statistics are mind boggling and frightening.
42% of six, seven and eight year olds want to be thinner!? 81% of 10 years olds are afraid of getting fat!? What kind of world are we living in?

The Keep It Real Challenge, which runs from June 27th – 29th, 2012, is designed to start a media revolution and help girls, women and their allies realize the power of their individual and collective voices to create positive change. SPARK Movement, MissRepresentation.org, I Am That Girl and LoveSocial have joined forces to host this three-day social media campaign to urge print magazines to pledge to use at least one non-photoshopped image per issue.

Tell magazines to drop photoshop! Inspired by 14 year-old Julie Bluhm’s petition of Seventeen Magazine, we’re promoting a 3-day social media campaign to challenge photoshopped beauty standards and empower women and girls to use their voices to create change. We’re making a simple request of magazines:

Pledge to print at least one unphotoshopped picture of a model.

Day 1: Wednesday, June 27: Tweet it. Twitter users will use hashtag #KeepItReal, directly asking magazines to pledge to change their practices around photoshopping bodies.

Day 2: Thursday, June 28: Participants will create a blogging firestorm – personally reflecting on how unrealistic images of beauty have impacted them.

Day 3:  Friday, June 19: On the final day, via Instagram, users will post their own photos of “real beauty” to be entered in the #KeepitRealChallenge – with selected photos to be featured on a billboard in New York City later this year.

SPARK is a girl-fueled activist movement working collaboratively with girls, activists, scholars, parents and educators to challenge and end the sexualization of girls. The SPARK network is creating a cultural “tipping point” where the sexualization of girls is unacceptable, intolerable, unthinkable and unprofitable, while simultaneously building support for girls’ healthy sexuality. www.sparksummit.com

MissRepresentation.org is a cross generational movement organizing millions of small actions to awaken people’s consciousness to recognize the true value of women; change the way women and girls are represented in the media; interrupt and stop patterns of sexism; level the playing field; and ensure a tipping point that will lead to gender parity in leadership throughout the United States and the world. Learn more about the campaign at www.missrepresentation.org

Lovesocial was founded in 2009 with a vision of creating authentic and creative communication strategies through the channels of social media. With a motto of, “keep it simple, find the value and communicate it well,” Lovesocial quickly became what is now dubbed an “anti-agency”. With a commitment of not further cluttering or saturating an already crowded online space, Lovesocial works to create clarity and value for their clients to help accomplish their goals.www.lovesocial.org

I AM THAT GIRL aims to be the definitive voice on the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of millennial girls by building an online and offline community devoted to inspiring and empowering girls to discover their innate worth and purpose. This community provides girls with a safe space to have honest conversations, consume healthy content, and collaborate with other girls seeking to be confident in their own skin. www.iamthatgirl.com

http://www.facebook.com/MissRepresentationCampaign
http://endangeredbodies.org/
http://www.pitchengine.com/keepitreal/spark-movement-missrepresentationorg-lovesocialorg-and-i-am-that-girl-launch-the-keep-it-real-challenge

What do we want for our girls? Does the media help us decide?

Image

On a blog somewhere, Jane Quick said “I saw a very interesting documentary the other night about US media and how it portrays women. Among other things it talked about how the media (run mainly by men) pits women against each other to further their own misogynistic agenda.”

I want to see this movie. The way we are as women, and how we are with each other, will affect how we raise our girls. How the media portrays women and young girls affects how our girls view themselves and how we as women view ourselves.

As consumers of media in a very media-heavy period in the history of the world, we as mothers need to be particularly careful about the messages our young girls take in and how we as mothers might also buy into the messages and images the media has to sell.

If we don’t like what the media is selling about what it means to be a girl or a woman we need to teach our girls something different.

From the website of the film Miss Representation:

http://www.missrepresentation.org/the-film/

About the film

“Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min; TV-14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.”

If anyone has seen Miss Representation, tell us what it’s about. Tell us what you learned. Tell us how we can join in to fight against the media pitting women against women.

On a different, yet similar note, let’s take a look at what the March 2012 issue of Parenting puts forth as the ideal for very young girls. (In the image above you’ll find a full page devoted to one girl who poses as three different mini Suri Cruise look alikes.)

On a side note, I recently read online that Suri Cruise’s wardrobe consists of several very expensive purses totalling over $100,000. Here’s a link to her carrying one of her expensive handbags. What kind of precedent is being set for other young women when the net total of a toddler’s purses is more than most women’s entire wardrobes?

The Suri Cruise page in Parenting is titled “The Perfect Princess.” What does this say to mothers reading Parenting Magazine? Is it a forum to pit toddler against toddler or mother-of-toddler against mother-of-toddler? Who has the cutest clothes? Who is wearing the most expensive shoes? I can’t say that I’m immune from being caught up in dressing my child up in cute clothes, and part of it is about clout and status. I, too, need to take a look at my own behavior as a mother of a young girl.

But what is the source of it all? Where do we get out ideas about what a toddler NEEDS? Where do we get out our ideas about what it means to be a girl or a woman? There is a larger issue at hand and that involves the media.

The media…yes…did anyone happen to see that Time article called “Are you Mom Enough?” with the picture of the sexy woman breastfeeding her child? Of course, I jest. If you didn’t check it out here. It seems like it is a perfect example of the media throwing out some sort of inflamatory statement to get women arguing with each other and putting each other down. Does that create a situation where men can then sit back and watch while the women go at it? Divide and conquer, right? Oh, and by the way, Parenting is owned by Time Inc. Hmmm…..

So not only are girls well-dressed and sexy, but the women, their mothers, are also putting each other down and are in battle. If that was Time’s goal, mission accomplished.