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Monday, March 31, 2008

Empowering Girls: Princess Culture Examined

Ever wonder how and why the Disney Princess Culture distorted and minimized girlness, leaving girls as the extra character or one that desperately needs to be saved?

My film-maker friend, Aaron Lea, sent me this rejection letter to a Mary V. Ford from Disney dated 1938. It states that she should not bother sending her portfolio because the creative talent is, by company policy, men.

Which does help explain how the Disney Princess Girl Culture became so distructive and minimizing to girls.

Dear Miss Ford:

. . . .

Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that work is performed entirely by young men. For this reason girls are not considered for the training school.

The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink and filling in the tracings on the reverse side with pain according to directions.

In order to apply for a position as "Inker" or "Painter" it is necessary that one appear at the Studio, bringing samples of pen and in and water color work. It would not be advisable to come to Hollywood with the above specifically in view, as there really are very few opeinings in comparison with the number of girls who apply.

Yours very truly,

Walt Disney Productions, LTD.



Aaron explained how during World War II Disney was put in a position, like most companies, to need women artists, which is how one of his creative idols was given some creative power. Here is a story on Mouseplanet about how women came to work at Disney.

"Mary Blair was an art supervisor and designer at Disney when they were at their highest level of brilliancy. Disney optioned to use her artwork for storybooks versions of certain films in place of stills, said Lea.

"Blair's influence can still be found today (she inspires a lot of us creative types). The opening credits for Monsters, Inc. is definitely an homage to her, as well as Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends," Lea pointed out.

To illustrate Blair's influence Lea shares a sample of Blair's work and a sample of his own.
blair art.jpg I Can Fly illustration Mary Blair.

aaron pink carriage.jpgClaudia Carey illustration Aaron Lea.

There is an article In New York Entertainment examining whether things are that much different at Disney in 2008 than they were in 1938. "The IMDb credits for Disney's latest No. 1 movie, Ratatouille, list 26 separate animators — of whom exactly zero appear based on first names to be women," they cite. To check the fact, here is a link to the entire credits. Two female story participants were given the glorious titles of "additional story material," indicative of their involvement.

Over a rainy weekend my daughter and I rented Enchanted. Disney's newest version of it's own princess tales. Tune in tomorrow for analysis of Disney's new generation of Princess film.

The main premises of the Geena Davis Institute is that when there are more women involved in the creative process of film and television it results in more empowering girl characters.

What can YOU do to ensure more girls are included in children's media?

  • Make a video. The GDIGM has a YouTube project asking for people to get behind a camera and notify the film and media industry,

    I Want To See Jane! 

  • Donate money to the GDIGM so they can wine, dine and educate the film makers who do influence our daughters.
  • GDIGM is running a contest for girls. They invite all girls/women 13-26 to make a Video Ad citing the organizations research points. Someone has to win - why not your daughter? Go to the < site to learn more.

Cinderella Should Have Saved Her Self

Ariel - The Little Mute

Belle - Battered Codependent

Over a rainy weekend my daughter and I rented Enchanted. Disney's newest version of it's own princess tales. Tune in tomorrow for analysis of Disney's new generation of Princess film.
Image of Mary Ford's Disney rejection letter.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Empowering Girls: MissBimbo.com


A new Internet game marketed to little girls called Miss Bimbo asks girls to compete to have the "hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo in the whole world" encourages them to "do anything" to win including pop diet pills and buy breast implants. The site originates in Europe.

Can you imagine my head exploding at this news and then the ensuing rage? What about the quiet sadness afterwards as I realize this really isn't all that surprising?

Doesn't it sometimes seem that this the overall message message to girls anyway? You are your appearance, your sexual appeal is your value, do anything to be the best bimbo ever?

The misogynistic moron who invented this game say outraged parents - who obviously care about the message this sends to girls - are "ignoring the positive aspects" of his blatantly anti-girl website like that "girls can send their bimbo to college."

Where I'm sure they can go to frat parties, drink too much and pass out allowing the all the frat boys to date rape them. Everyone knows college isn't for learning - not for bimbos anyway.

"It is not a bad influence for young children. They learn to take care of their bimbos.The missions and goals are morally sound and teach children about the real world", says Nicolas Jacquart, the creator a 23-year-old male, who obviously has a taste for young bimbos, said. The "real world" in which girls are bimbos. Right.

Really, what better way to make girls an easier lay than to convince them they're bimbos before they even grow breasts or start their periods? Hell, it's a wonder more parents don't encourage their daughters to embrace their inner bimbo.

Girls are given a free taste when creating their own Miss Bimbo. But, eventually they run out of Internet money and have to send a text message for around 1.50 pounds or around $3 or add money to a paypal account so they can afford more plastic surgery.

The Guardian, a British newspaper, reports that there are already 200,000 players. France's version has 1.2 million players.

One parent in France threatened to sue when her child ran up a 100 pound bill playing the game without his knowledge. Only one?

Because it is not illegal, or even socially unacceptable, to convince children they should be bimbos or encourage them to have plastic surgery or even be a misogynistic girl-hater, parents in the UK have taken the creators to task through the phone company, claiming they have violated laws with the text messaging money aspect of the game. Parents were encouraged to contact the phone company to file a complaint if they wanted to see the game shut down. I tried to contact them, but their contact page wasn't working properly.

Interestingly, all my attempts to log into Miss Bimbo failed.

Perhaps the creator of this game has already been escorted into Hell where he belongs.


Read The Guardian article.

Watch the video of the BBC World News discussing the obvious dangers ofMiss Bimbo.com.

UPDATE: This note has been added to the home page of MissBimbo.com:

Due to unforseen worldwide interest in Miss Bimbo we have had difficulty in maintaining our game in the manner players have become accustomed. We are sorry for this inconvenience and can assure you that our game will be up and running as soon as possible.

As a result of this rather surprising media attention we have decided to remove the option of purchasing diet pills from the game. We apologise to any players whom this may inconvenience but we feel in light of this weeks proceedings it is the correct action to take.

We would also like to sincerely apologise to our players for the media comparison of Miss Bimbo and Paris Hilton. We feel that this does a dis-service to the players whom send their bimbos to university, tea parties or chess tournaments.

At this time we would also like to remind players that the Miss Bimbo team assume no responsibility or liability for any fashion faux pas, hair style disasters or boob jobs incurred in real life as as a result of playing the Miss Bimbo game.

Wait, HE'S offended at being associated with Paris Hilton? Bimbos are too good for Paris?

He's removing diet pills as a Bimbo-perfecting option but not SURGERY? Hello?!?

Oh, he's written a disclaimer - I guess that takes care of his responsibility as a terrible and outrageous influence on our girls. NOT!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Empowering Girls: Abstinence Only Failure


By Tracee Sioux 

Abstinence Only Sex Education, the news has recently come out, has been a complete and utter failure.

Why? Because though we've poured $1 billion into these programs kids kept having sex.

Unprotected sex.

Turns out not educating children about prevention against sexually transmitted diseases has translated into an STD epidemic leaving one out of every 4 American teenagers infected, according to the Center for Disease Control. That's 3.2 million girls. Nearly half (48% of all African American girls are infected, compared to 20% of white young women.

That's a big huge consequence for not properly educating them about disease and pregnancy prevention.

These teenagers, 25% of all girls, are now at risk for cervical cancer, Cesarean section to avoid transmission during the birth of a baby, transmitting herpes or HPV to future marital partners, infertility, self esteem and self worth issues, blindness, and death.

The numbers of teen pregnancy did not decrease during our abstinence-only experiment either.

Because we didn't want to tell them about condoms?

Who is ignorant in this picture? Them for not knowing due to innocence or us for being too afraid to educate them about prevention?

As parents we have to grow some guts to challenge the flawed-logic of generations past. No one wants their kid to have sex. No one thinks teenagers should be sexually active. But, the reality is that it's not our decision. We can influence their decision by talking about sex as much as possible, leaving an open door for dialogue about sexuality and its consequences, we can even brain wash them with a strong expectation of abstinence as the very best and safest way for them to mature. I'm highly in favor of all that.

But, ultimately, we have to face the fact that it's a choice we, as parents, have limited control over. We should love them enough, however, to arm them with enough prevention education that we minimize the permanent consequences should they choose to have sex anyway. It's evident that they are.

There should be 5 goals in sex education in public schools in America.

1. Encourage abstinence as the safest route. 
2. Prevent pregnancy.
3. Prevent contraction and spread of STDs.
4. Educating girls about the biological facts of their own bodies. (By avoiding sex education we've also left girls ignorant of their own human biology of which they have a right to know.) 
5. Educate both girls and boys about sexual assault, date rape, sexual harassment and coercion tactics. We must arm girls with enough knowledge and tactics to demand respect. We must also educate boys about what is offensive and what will not be tolerated in their behavior toward their girl counter-parts. We should at least try to reduce the number of rapists and woman beaters in our society. Studies show that males develop this type of behavior in their youth and continue to escalate during adulthood.

Up before congress is a Prevention First Act (S.21/H.R. 819) which would expand access to contraception and preventative health care services that help reduce unplanned pregnancies, abortions, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases while improving access to women's health care. It would also provide a federal funding stream for comprehensive sex education in schools. Currently, there are three separate federal programs that fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, but no federal funding exists specifically for comprehensive sex education. States can only receive funding if they agree to teach abstinence-only-until-marriage while excluding information about the health benefits of contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The Prevention First Act includes a comprehensive approach to sex education - age appropriate education that promotes abstinence but includes information about contraception.

The consequences of teenage sex very obviously falls more heavily on girls. Girls are more at risk for exploitation, harassment, rape, and prostitution. Girls are at risk for pregnancy. Girls can die of cervical cancer and pass on STDs through the birth canal and shared blood. Girls are at risk of being labeled "sluts" or "whores" trashing their self image, girls are more at risk for quitting school to become mothers, girls are more at risk of becoming dependent on welfare programs, girls are at risk for infertility.

It's morally wrong to keep putting our girls at risk by not arming them with an expansive education that relates to the issues they face today. We should not pour another single penny into Abstinence Only programs that have failed our girls.

Take action right now by following the Two Minute Activist link at the American Association of University Women encouraging the representatives that work for us to require schools to incorporate comprehensive and effective sex education.

See the press release issued by the Center of Disease Control on March 11.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Empowering Girls: Roles We Play - A New Earth Community


by Tracee Sioux

Oh the roles we play. . . Is this news to anyone? I've always known that I play roles and even been aware of them when I'm doing it. Some of my most common roles:

When I was a teenager and young adult I played "cute flirty blond girl with a little attitude." It worked for me. Got me attention from the opposite sex. Allowed me to blend in the newsroom. Allowed me to get away with what I wanted to do. I recall having gained quite a bit of weight and being next to the next generation of "cute flirty blond girl with a little attitude" and seeing quite clearly that this role was not going to work for me anymore. Oddly, I was okay with seeing her go.

Other roles I play are Mean Mommy and Fun Mommy. I vacillate between these two depending on the result I want from my children. I put on Mean Mommy so that I can punish poor behavior even though I really don't want to. I put her on like a costume because inside I'm usually laughing my head off and thinking, Who hasn't done that? Fun Mommy comes more naturally to me, it's closer to who I inherently am. But, I still see that I'm motivated by a future "My mom was the coolest mom" scenario.

There is also the many roles of wife. I've been a pissed-off wife, a put-upon and fed-up wife. I've been a loving wife, a sacrificial wife, an affectionate wife. A wife like my mother. A wife like my friend. A wife like the Christian stereotype says I should be. I'm trying to learn to be a happy wife. A conscious wife.

I play a different role in church than I do other places. I feel it's safer to go with the flow and the cultural norm. Maybe I come off as fake?

Black sheep who left the fold. I obviously play this role. It's more circumstantial than anything. They love me, I love them, but they are deeply invested in a very specific religious ideology that comes with a whole culture and collective conscience that I have opted out of. Sometimes I feel it's more a role they put me in than one I play.

I frequently play the role of feminist. I write a lot about feminism, so obviously I'm identifying with the group ego of "women who aren't treated equally." I think it's a role I will continue to play. But, with consciousness, hopefully I'll be able to do it more effectively.

Writer is a role I deeply identify with. And I realize this is only what I "do." But it feels so integral to who I AM that when I have experimented with "doing" other things I become unhappy and disconnected from myself. I think I will also strive to do it consciously and reap the benefits of increased awareness and passion.

What roles do you see in yourself?

Are you aware of them when you're playing them?


Again, tune into Lisa.fm today at 1 pm central to hear more about roles and consciousness.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Empowering Girls: Tracee on Lisa.fm


Don't miss me on the radio tomorrow at Lisa.fm. We'll be discussing A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

That's March 25th at 5 p.m. Central. If you miss it, I'll post a podcast for you.

(Come back in a few hours - it's 5 not 1. Oops Sorry.)

Empowering Girls: Spring Break Fun Mommy










You're the best Mom ever. That's the kind of praise I live for. 





Friday, March 21, 2008

Empowering Girls: Teasing Tooth




I told you your teeth would fall right out of your head if you didn't brush well.


I hope you brush your next set better.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Empowering Girls: Anti-Climactic Birds & Bees

by Tracee Sioux 

"Olivia said she had sex with a boy," my six-year-old daughter Ainsley reported. Sex has been coming up a lot lately. Her friends are a year older and all have older siblings. 

"What do you know about sex?" I asked. 

"It's about boys and girls and taking off their clothes and kissing and stuff," she said.

"That's very good. They do take off their clothes and kiss and stuff. But, that's not all," I told her. "Sex is how mommies and daddies make babies," I said as nonchalantly as possible while pouring cereal.

"Oh." 

"You can see Zack has a penis and you have a vagina right? Well grown ups do too. Daddies put the penis in the Mommy's vagina and some stuff called sperm comes out and Mommies' have an egg in their uterus. When the sperm and the egg meet in the Mommies' uterus the woman gets a baby in there. And you already know how Zack came out," I finished.

"Oh, and there's kissing and stuff," she said. 

"That's right, but the kissing and stuff is called 'making out' and it's part of sex but it's not sex. Children should never have sex. I don't think Olivia had sex and I don't think that's a nice thing for she or you to say. She may not understand what sex is," I said.

"Sex is sacred and you should talk about it with respect. It's not really for joking. It's special and it's for Mommies and Daddies who love each other," I went on. 

"I want you to remember the safety rules."

"Nobody can touch my body except for me. Just like hugs and stuff but no touching my bottom or vagina and stuff," Ainsley recited.

"Right. When anyone talks about sex I want you to come and get me so we can talk about it together," I added a rule. 

Flash forward to afternoon when Olivia has come back to play.

"Girls were you talking about sex last night?" I asked with a neutral blank tone

"No, but the boys were," says Olivia.

Ainsley blushes. I think back to the night before when we had families from church over for dinner. We had left the children playing outside alone, the boys were a few years older than the girls. Maybe 10.

"What did the boys say?"

"They said, 'have you ever had sex?' And we said 'no.' And they said 'you probably don't know what it is.' And we said, 'it's like kissing and taking off our clothes and stuff,'" informed Olivia.

"It's when mommies and daddies," Ainsley started. . .

"Ains we have to let Olivia's mom tell her that," I said.

"Sex is nasty!" Olivia said.

"When mommies and daddies do it it's not nasty, it's special. But remember it's not something children or teenagers do," I replied.

"Listen girls, when anyone like those boys start talking about sex I want you to come and get me so we can all talk about it together," I said again. 

"Yes Mam. Yes Mam."

"Those boys are lots older than you and we only kinda know them," I reminded. "I want you to remember the safety rules. There's no touching, kissing, holding hands or showing each other your bodies, right?"

"Right. Right."

Overall, I felt the sex talk was a little anti-climactic considering the anxiety my husband and I had leading up to it. We consulted the experts, read informative books, even spoke to a sex educator/marriage counselor and realized that we didn't want to be the only two people in her life not talking about it. 

We wanted to make sure she understood the facts, rather than the misinformation from friends, television, advertisements, etc. We wanted to apply our morality to it and make sure she understood that it was special, not something to be shared with everyone, nothing to be taken lightly and nothing she should be concerning herself with now. We also wanted to prevent and avoid any psychological shaming damage. 

More sex talk: 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Empowering Girls: Dogma & Ego, Radio & 1001Petals - A New Earth Community


****1001Petals is the winner of a copy of A New Earth for subscribing to So Sioux Me during the 5 Minutes for Mom Ultimate Blog Party.

*** Don't miss my debut discussion of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61) on Lisa.fm Book Club, online radio at 3 PM Pacific next week on March 25.

by Tracee Sioux

In church this Sunday I became more animated than usual. My belief system is not always consistent with typical Christian surface beliefs. I live in the deep South and people in these parts aren't known for their open minds, so out of self-preservation I generally make surface comments and keep my real feelings to myself.

But the glamorization of suffering came up. We must suffer like Jesus.

Suffering is highly over-rated and glamorized,I said. I frankly, think there is very little value in the suffering itself. I'm intimately familiar with fear and suffering and I have no high regard for it as a moral or religiously good concept. The overcoming of suffering, the joy, the transcendence - this is life.

I have always found the scriptures both difficult to understand and offensive. By offensive I mean, I get upset, frustrated and angry when I read them. Perhaps I'm not alone in this reaction.

Since reading A New Earth, however, I find them coming alive for me. I read a passage that I normally would have found very little meaning in and it's speaking to me, easy for me to translate and understand. It's like this book, A New Earth, serves as a sort of translation of The Spirit for me. You know, as in The Spirit or Holy Ghost frequently referred to in The Bible and all other spiritual works.

I believe it's because before I was always hindered by dogma and ideology and the Church's collective ego.

I always knew this attitude of "rightness" was offensive and missed the mark of the true intention of scriptural works. But, the "rightness" would produce so much anger in me that it was best not to delve to deeply.

Dogma and ideology and politics and close-mindedness was in my way. I had no real tool to get passed it.

I've been to churches that tout domestic violence as acceptable. Churches that claim Jesus came to set everyone free - except the half of the population that's female - who should let their husbands make all the decision because he has a penis which is synonymous with authority.

I've sat through sermons shouting about the whorishness of women who seek abortions - damning them to hell without compassion for their lack of access to healthcare. I've sat through homophobic gay-bashing as straight couples refuse to take responsibility for the decline of their own institution caused by being bad at marriage. It's not us, it's the gays endangering the family, they claim.

I've listened to calls to arms against all other faiths - they are wrong because we know we're right - Muslims, Mormons, Nation of Islam, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists - all claim the truth as their own and tout the need to defend their own ideologies and dogma from the others who are so wrong they might be lead by Satan. It's enough to turn me off to the whole thing.

Thanks to this book I now know it's the collective ego of these religions that are distorting the sacred and truthful message with their own intolerance.

Even more profound is the knowledge that it is my own ego that knows they are wrong in their judgement of others that produces anger in me. That knowledge somehow makes their egoic righteousness easy to forgive and overlook.

Somehow the knowledge of how my ego reacts to their ego releases me from all the dogma and ideology and now reading Scriptures feels enlightening.

Genesis Ch. 1 - Let there be light.

It truly is an awakening.


If you missed any of the online classes you can download them for free at Oprah.com.

Please share how you've awakened since reading the book. I would love to hear your experiences.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Empowering Girls: Short Skirts


Are there shorts under your dress?

Why do I always have to wear shorts?

Because, it's no fun to sit like a lady.

"Sitting like a lady" sucks. It pretty much rules out swinging, running, climbing trees, jumping on trampolines, summersaults, cart wheels, and sitting indian-style during circle time at school.

If you let your daughter wear a dress or skirt without shorts and still participate in all these activities - just think of all the people who have seen her panties.

Ainsley often skirts the shorts by wearing pants. Which is way funky cool.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Empowering Girls: School Picture Irony

by Tracee Sioux

Mom! Look at this picture, it's hideous!

What's the onomatopoeia for cackling at irony? I responded with that.

Stop laughing!

I'm sorry. I had no idea it was picture day. I wouldn't have made you wear it, if I'd known. Heeheeeh HAAahhaaaHAahaha!

Stop laughing!

One of the greatest joys of mothering Ainsley has been to see what she's going to wear.

Her translation of fashion is always ground-breaking and clever. Amusing even at it's worst. She'll wear an entire package of headbands at once and I'll think, Man, I bet designers wish they had that kind of creativity because that looks fantastic. She often wears pants under skirts and it's pretty funky cool.

I have only 3 rules

  • modest
  • clean
  • appropriate

But this day, she couldn't decide. I got fed up with her I have nothing to wear mantra and went into her closet and grabbed the first thing that went with the new pants my mother bought her.

I said something like, Who cares? It's one day. Wear it!

It's ugly.

I don't care. You're wearing it.

Considering how nonrestrictive I've been about her clothing choices I thought she should get over it pretty easily.

Her dilemma wasn't really her fault either. She had sprouted up a few inches, making all her shirts too short and her pants were kind of low-riders. She couldn't find anything to wear because she was trying to obey the modest rule.

One of the few times I pull the, "I don't care you're wearing it" mommy card and of course, it's picture day. Figures.

Heeheeeh HAAahhaaaHAahaha!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Empowering Girls: Take Survey


Please help my advertisers out and take this survey.

Empowering Girls: True Price of Abercrombie


Who doesn't need a corporate sponsor for their project?

Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH does, of course.

According to Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, they plan to rename their ER The Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center in exchange for a $10 million donation.

The CCFC has made this statement in a letter to the hospital asking them to keep the money and refuse to advertise.

Research links sexualization and objectification with some of the most pressing and common health problems for girls including depression and poor sexual health. It is also distressing that a children's hospital would promote a company that features impossibly thin and idealized body types in its advertising when 10 million girls and young women in the United States are struggling with an eating disorder.

We understand that it is common for public health institutions to seek gifts from the business community. We are not asking that the hospital return the money. But gifts that include a quid pro quo like naming rights cross the line from philanthropy to advertising. Given that this company has built its brand by sexualizing and objectifying children, no public health institution should be advertising Abercrombie & Fitch.

I had to agree I looked at some of Abercrombie & Fitches' advertising, Thongs (pictured) for 10-year-olds that say "eye candy." Shirts with slogans like "Who needs brains when you have these?" (pink shirt pictured) and "Do I make you look fat?" Ads touting group sex to sell clothing to teens and preteens. When it comes to sexualizing children, Abercrombie & Fitch is among the worst corporate offenders.

Send a letter telling the hospital you think it's a bad idea to let our kids associate Abercrombie and Fitch with their health and well-being. You can do it quick as night at this link.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Girl-Empowering '09 Budget


Send "this letter to your Representatives encouraging the Senate and House of Representatives to add $7.1 billion for education, training and social services that will empower girls (and boys) to the 2009 Federal Budget.

"A budget resolution is a statement of a nation's priorities. To meet the demands of the 21st century workforce, I believe it is crucial that the federal government maintain its commitment to funding quality education programs at all levels.

The additional $7.1 billion for education, training, and social services provided for in the proposed budget resolution will allow Congress to improve No Child Left Behind programs, fund the Higher Education Act, and improve U.S. global competitiveness. These and other vital education programs are critical to America's role and position in the world.

While the president’s budget would eliminate dozens of education programs and create new voucher programs, I believe these are the wrong priorities for our nation. Now is the time to invest in education and training programs that prepare students for a competitive 21st century economy."

American Association of University Women makes it simple - just follow this link and send the letter and take action to empower your daughter. It takes two minutes to be an activist for education.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Empowering Girls - Parenting Presence - A New Earth

While technical difficulties (on my computer) kept me from watching most of the broadcast live last night I did get something out of the 30 minutes I saw.

What parent can't identify with the difficulty of staying present with their kids?

I struggle with this daily. The truth is, playing Legos with Zack or Barbies with Ainsley isn't that fun for me. It's a little boring, so I amuse myself by thinking about something else. I spend time that I'm physically present with them, thinking about what I'm going to write about and what else I need to do.

Of course the fact that I'm distracted is no secret to them. Even the smallest child is aware that you're not really paying attention to them.

One of my goals everyday is to spend at least a few minutes every day to be present with them and hear what they have to say and do the things they like to do.

It's really, really a challenge.

Any other parents relate to this lack of focus?

Empowering Girls - Juno Review By Therapydoc


Previously I printed an Op-Ed piece from the NYTimes about the film Juno. Caitlin Flanagan had a valid point.

Therapydoc from Everyone Needs Therapy, a shrink in Chicago, printed an Op-Ed piece on the film as well.

Therapydoc writes, She knows that she doesn't have to be sure of anything at sixteen. She doesn't have to know what kind of girl she is, exactly. She's in process.

Such an enviable position, no? Why would anyone want to hurry that, choose to prematurely skip out of that license to grow, that license for silliness and abandon, introspection and exploration? Why do anything that could blunt that freedom?

What did she say? "I wish I hadn't had sex with you."

THAT'S the message you want to send to your teenagers.

Therapydoc recommends watching the film with your teens to make sure that message gets across.

I still have not seen the film. Someday I'm not going to be so cheap.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fat Wonder Woman?


I came across a blog: The Big Beautiful Wonder Woman Blog. It's entirely cartoon sketches of larger versions of Wonder Woman.

Seriously.

On the sidebar the artist explains, I am in no way making fun of ladies (or anyone) who are considered 'big'. I'm no toothpick myself, and admire and enjoy the female form in all its sizes, especially ladies with some meat on them. Thus, my idea for collecting art of a bigger-sized WW happened. I have always felt like for someone who's supposed to be an amazon, she's pretty thin.

I have no idea how to interpret this as a hobby.

Anyone know what to make of this?

Pictured above an illustration by Antonis Theodorakis.

Don't forget our A New Earth discussion tonight/tomorrow morning!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Empowering Girls - 5 Minutes for Mom Party


I'm Tracee Sioux and So Sioux Me is a blog to inspire mothers to empower their daughters.

We focus on deconstructing the media and the culture and how it impacts girls. We discuss new gender research and bounce around ideas about parenting daughters.

My ultimate dream is to get one million people to care about empowering girl issues.

So Sioux Me is also an official A New Earth small community running simultaneous with the Oprah online class so feel free to come by and expound on the book and it's impact on your personal life.

Please browse around the contents, subscribe, bookmark me, and put me in your RSS Feed. I've been waiting for you my whole life.

Thanks to 5 Minutes for Mom to sponsoring this party.

Oh, and I'd love to give something away . . . how bout a copy of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)by Eckhart Tolle? There is nothing more empowering than discovering your own life's purpose and passing that on to your daughters (and sons).

Sign up for an email subscription to So Sioux Me (left sidebar) during the week of the 5 Minutes for Mom party and you're entered to win.

Empowering Girls: Girls-Only Public School


There is a fascinating piece in the New York Times Magazine, Teaching Boys and Girls Separately by Elizabeth Weil, about separating genders in a public school and how that's working well for a few schools.

The segregated classrooms are decorated differently and use different materials. Blue for boys, yellow for girls, cold for boys, warm for girls, cool white light for boys, warm yellow light for girls, snakes for boys, no snakes for girls.

From the article: In the first year of Foley’s single-sex program, a third of the kids enrolled. The next year, two-thirds signed up, and in its third year 87 percent of parents requested the program. Principal Mansell reports that her single-sex classes produce fewer discipline problems, more parental support and better scores in writing, reading and math. She does, however, acknowledge that her data are compromised, as her highest-performing teachers and her most-motivated students have chosen single-sex.

David Chadwell, the coordinator of Single- Gender Initiatives at the South Carolina Department of Education states in the article, You need to engage boys’ energy, use it, rather than trying to say, No, no, no. So instead of having boys raise their hands, you’re going to have boys literally stand up. You’re going to do physical representation of number lines. Relay races. Ball tosses during discussion.”

For the girls, Chadwell prescribes a focus on “the connections girls have (a) with the content, (b) with each other and (c) with the teacher. If you try to stop girls from talking to one another, that’s not successful. So you do a lot of meeting in circles, where every girl can share something from her own life that relates to the content in class.”

Leonard Sax, a family physician turned proponent of single-sex education offers up the two extremes for each gender: He opens “Why Gender Matters,” a book he wrote on the subject, with two cautionary tales: one about a boy who starts kindergarten at age 5, is given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. and depression and ends up on a three-drug cocktail of Adderall, Wellbutrin and clonidine; the other about a girl who transforms “from chubby wallflower to outgoing socialite” in middle school, seems to have it all — friends, academic success — and then shocks her parents by overdosing on Vicodin and Xanax.

After presenting the Adderall-doped grammar-school boy and the suicidal middle-school girl, Sax offers a possible cause of these sad stories. “The neglect of gender in education and child-rearing has done real harm.” These tragedies “might have been averted if the parents had known enough about gender differences to recognize what was really happening in their child’s life.”

Of course the opponents of gender-segregation say Sax is cherry-picking gender studies that date back to the 1960s.

The article goes on to say that gender segregation is in response to the failure of No Child Left Behind, Despite six years of No Child Left Behind, the achievement gaps between rich and poor students and white and black students have not significantly narrowed. “People are getting desperate” is how Benjamin Wright, chief administrative officer for the Nashville public schools, described the current interest in single-sex education to me. “Coed’s not working. Time to try something else.”

Here's some pretty sad statistics about the nature of educational pitfalls for boys: Nationwide, boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to be suspended, and more likely to drop out of high school than girls (65 percent of boys complete high school in four years; 72 percent of girls do). Boys make up two-thirds of special-education students. They are 1.5 times more likely to be held back a grade and 2.5 times more likely to be given diagnoses of A.D.H.D.

The Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem is widely considered the birthplace of the current single-sex public school movement. This position of eminence stems from both its early beginnings and its success: since opening in 1996, every girl in every senior class at T.Y.W.L.S. has graduated and been accepted at a four-year college.

As the Supreme Court would rule in June 1996, just three months before T.Y.W.L.S. opened, the legality of single-sex schools depends on context,

The A.C.L.U. opposes gender-segregation in public schools.

The article goes on to talk about the sexualization of girls in public schools and the fact that dating culture has been replaced by hook up culture. Nearly everyone at T.Y.W.L.S. acknowledges that often parents’ most pressing concern when enrolling their 11-year-old daughters is sheltering those girls from sexualized classrooms and sexualized streets.

“Boys at boys’ schools like Old Farms in Connecticut, or Saint Albans in Washington, D. C., will call up girls at Miss Porter’s in Connecticut, at Stone Ridge in Maryland, and they will ask the girl out, and the boy will drive to the girl’s house to pick her up and meet her parents. You tell kids at a coed school to do this, and they’ll fall on the floor laughing. But the culture of dating is much healthier than the culture of the hookup, in which the primary form of sexual intimacy is a girl on her knees servicing a boy,” Sax is quoted as saying in the article.

I think it's a fascinating subject. I'm undecided. Like the Supreme Court, I think it's a matter of context. I can see where there is potential for benefit for both genders, but I want to avoid any type of discrimination.

Anyone have a concrete opinion about the issue? Anyone ever go to an all-girls' school or have a single-gender classroom and want to share their experiences?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Favorite Female Blogger


Please vote for Tracee Sioux at Women's Voice's Women's Vote. You can also register to vote there.

As always, please subscribe, add to your RSS Feed, bookmark, Stumble, sk*rt and click around on the ads to show your support for So Sioux Me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pennsylvania Watch This!

Pro-Ana Suicides


Anorexics are definitely suicidal reports a new study, to be published in Journal of Affective Disorders later in the year.

A blog exploring girl issues can't ignore eating disorders due to this statistic: 10 million women and 1 million men are anorexic in America today (NEDA).

Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. But, it's not because they're starving to death - they're actually killing themselves with other very violent means, literally.

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)reports that Females between the ages of 15 and 24 are 12 times more likely to die from anorexia than all other causes of death.

That study of about 250 women suffering eating disorders showed the risk of death by suicide among by anorexic women to be as much as 57 times the expected rate of a healthy woman, according to the article in Time.

The article also looks at the drastic and violent ways anorexics use to kill themselves. They do not quietly swallow pills, as other women tend to do. The methods point to the hatred of themselves that anorexics experience.

It's not really about a BMI. It's about self-hatred. Physical thinness is only the manifestation of self-loathing. Self esteem isn't just a nice thing for girls to have - it's imperative for survival.

Visit MamaVISION for more information about the dangerous pro-ana movement sweeping the web, putting girls at risk. Mama is a former model who knows first-hand the drastic measures she took to maintain the beauty ideal. Now recovered from anorexia, she is a grass-roots fighter against the pro-ana movement.

If you haven't heard, the "pro-ana movement" is the addictive thinking where anorexic girls defend their right to starve themselves for asthetic appeal. They meet on public pro-ana websites to trade starvation tips, share ever more skeletal photos, pass around purging tips and support each other in keeping their mental illness.

Mama is currently chatting with Shelly, from an HBO documentary, Thin. Thin has a compelling and educational website to help people understand the addiction behind eating disorders.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Oprah Webcast


Okay so there were some technical difficulties with Oprah's online course last night. I gave up around 9:15 and went to bed. This morning, they don't have the podcast up.

But before I did I got something out of it.

A few big things - for me.

1)Different places have their own frequency and vibe. I've had an increasing urge to MOVE out of East Texas for over a year now. This place - the local culture, the vibe of the evangelical religious right - just feels oppressive to me. I feel an undeniable pull toward an ocean and a city - I always feel more connected to my self, the planet, and God when I am near a beach. I feel creatively and emotionally fulfilled surrounded by the metropolitan conveniences. My ideal culture would also be more open-minded. I've lived in other oppressive cultures before and I just don't feel I can live up to my full potential and fully express myself in places that are narrow-minded and oppressive. I feel like I'm creatively oppressed here, like I'm holding myself back with the mental and emotional energy field here. I think my husband feels the same way, but he's more resistant to change than I am. I've been praying and meditating that we'd get the perfect job offer in a large coastal city with open-mindedness and forward thinking in the culture.

Eckhart Tolle described his NEED to move when writing the book A New Earth and his other book The Power of Now. He described it as the energy field in a city or place. He articulated what I'm feeling in a way that made my feelings of wanting to move more legitimate and valid.

Having lived in lots of different places I can tell you for sure that New York City has a different vibe than East Texas, Brooklyn has a different vibe than Manhattan, Morro Bay, California has a totally different frequency than Tooele, Utah and Salt Lake City has a different vibe and frequency than Lithuania. That there is a different energy field in different locations on the planet is undeniable.

None of these places are bad or wrong. They are just different on a fundamental level and they effect people's thinking and emotional-live's differently. I yearn to be in a place that feels more friendly and accepting of who I am.

To tell you the truth I'm tired of being such a gypsy - but, the thought of making this place my permanent residence makes my soul revolt. I'm praying for the perfect opportunity to gracefully move to the perfect permanent residence for our family.

2) The second major insight I got was that all creative endeavor is born of stillness.

This is huge. It's not necessarily news to me now, but it brings me back to a time after Zack was born when I realized my mind was taking on a life of it's own and it just never shut up! Shut up! I would yell to my own mind. I can't sleep, I can't focus, I can't make decisions! I can't have any peace!

I started taking yoga to combat what Tolle calls incessant thinking- the constant and repetitive background noise of our minds.

It has taken me about two years to accomplish more a discipline in my mind. I'm meditating every day and taking yoga and feeling more centered and feeling more peace and stillness in my mind. It truly is making me feel more creative. Prior to this experience I'm not sure I ever really saw the value in stillness. I think all that thinking was sort of like - self-stimulation - mental masturbation is the best way I can describe it. Activity that's not really producing a truly gratifying result for cheap entertainment.

The third thing is that I noticed was my emotional response to the Christian question. Can I believe in consciousness and in Jesus too? Since reading A New Earth I have had my eyes opened to the true meaning in the Bible. I truly feel awakened when I read it now. Previously inconceivable passages now have meaning.

If you don't think there is any way to experience God than through your rigid plan - fine, stay invested in your rightness. But, for me - I know that I do not get closer to God by invalidating or minimizing anyone's spiritual experience. That applies to Mormons, Evangelicals, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Yogis, any one else on the planet.

Did anyone else have any personal insights while watching Oprah's online course about A New Earth? Please share - I would love to hear about your personal insights.

Fishy Dad

When raising a strong, confident daughter it is helpful to have a good dad to
teach her how to cast a line.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Human Consciousness Tonight

A New EarthWho is putting the kids to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight to make time to attend Oprah's online class?
Me, of course. I hope you'l join me.

Are you too going to make time to discuss the Flowering of Human Consciousness as Eckhart Tolle describes in chapter 1?

If so, please join me here at So Sioux Me where I'll be discussing the online course simultaneously over the next 10 weeks.

Awaken tonight at 8 pm Central time at Oprah.com and So Sioux Me.

Taekwondo for Girl Power


Does it strike anyone else as odd that girls and women are most commonly attacked by both strangers and significant others - but least likely to be taught self-defense?

The more I think about it, it's not just odd, it's absurd.

I think my daughter is most empowered if she is learning how to protect and defend her own body versus jumping up and down cheering for the athletic excellence of the boys playing football.

I've got Ainsley taking a Taekwondo class and I can't say enough about the benefits.

It's completely gender neutral, a sport where girls are as likely to excel as boys and instructors are both men and women.

It's focused on discipline and respect, which I find useful as a parent who struggles to get my kids to obey.

It's centered around personal excellence. In other words, you aren't necessarily competing with other athletes as much as you are trying to push your own self to the next belt level.

It is confidence building in that she's learning something new and achieving levels of excellence.

I think she'll carry her physical body in a more assertive way. Studies have shown that girls tend to try to disappear or shrink as they get older, feeling less worthy of taking up physical space. I hope Karate will make her feel entitled to all the space she wants.

Also I hope it will make her feel her body is a source of action and strength instead of a just an ornament meant to look pretty for male approval.

They are encouraged to use their voices and their bodies to defend their own persons. Like any parent my worst fear revolves around someone feeling they have a right to physically over-power my daughter and attack her. I hope that Taekwondo will improve her chances of escape and survival should that happen.

I recently started taking a kick-boxing class and I think it's the first time I've been given carte blanc to be physically aggressive. It feels good. It feels powerful. It feels a forbidden to me. I want Ainsley to know the feeling of aggression, which I assume is familiar to boys and men, and be okay with it.

At the very least I hope it will instill an identity as confident and strong person, as opposed to a physically weak victim.

Also, it's very reasonably priced at only $15 a month for 8 classes.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Empowering Girls: Princess Culture Examined

Ever wonder how and why the Disney Princess Culture distorted and minimized girlness, leaving girls as the extra character or one that desperately needs to be saved?

My film-maker friend, Aaron Lea, sent me this rejection letter to a Mary V. Ford from Disney dated 1938. It states that she should not bother sending her portfolio because the creative talent is, by company policy, men.

Which does help explain how the Disney Princess Girl Culture became so distructive and minimizing to girls.

Dear Miss Ford:

. . . .

Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that work is performed entirely by young men. For this reason girls are not considered for the training school.

The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink and filling in the tracings on the reverse side with pain according to directions.

In order to apply for a position as "Inker" or "Painter" it is necessary that one appear at the Studio, bringing samples of pen and in and water color work. It would not be advisable to come to Hollywood with the above specifically in view, as there really are very few opeinings in comparison with the number of girls who apply.

Yours very truly,

Walt Disney Productions, LTD.



Aaron explained how during World War II Disney was put in a position, like most companies, to need women artists, which is how one of his creative idols was given some creative power. Here is a story on Mouseplanet about how women came to work at Disney.

"Mary Blair was an art supervisor and designer at Disney when they were at their highest level of brilliancy. Disney optioned to use her artwork for storybooks versions of certain films in place of stills, said Lea.

"Blair's influence can still be found today (she inspires a lot of us creative types). The opening credits for Monsters, Inc. is definitely an homage to her, as well as Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends," Lea pointed out.

To illustrate Blair's influence Lea shares a sample of Blair's work and a sample of his own.
blair art.jpg I Can Fly illustration Mary Blair.

aaron pink carriage.jpgClaudia Carey illustration Aaron Lea.

There is an article In New York Entertainment examining whether things are that much different at Disney in 2008 than they were in 1938. "The IMDb credits for Disney's latest No. 1 movie, Ratatouille, list 26 separate animators — of whom exactly zero appear based on first names to be women," they cite. To check the fact, here is a link to the entire credits. Two female story participants were given the glorious titles of "additional story material," indicative of their involvement.

Over a rainy weekend my daughter and I rented Enchanted. Disney's newest version of it's own princess tales. Tune in tomorrow for analysis of Disney's new generation of Princess film.

The main premises of the Geena Davis Institute is that when there are more women involved in the creative process of film and television it results in more empowering girl characters.

What can YOU do to ensure more girls are included in children's media?

  • Make a video. The GDIGM has a YouTube project asking for people to get behind a camera and notify the film and media industry,

    I Want To See Jane! 

  • Donate money to the GDIGM so they can wine, dine and educate the film makers who do influence our daughters.
  • GDIGM is running a contest for girls. They invite all girls/women 13-26 to make a Video Ad citing the organizations research points. Someone has to win - why not your daughter? Go to the < site to learn more.

Cinderella Should Have Saved Her Self

Ariel - The Little Mute

Belle - Battered Codependent

Over a rainy weekend my daughter and I rented Enchanted. Disney's newest version of it's own princess tales. Tune in tomorrow for analysis of Disney's new generation of Princess film.
Image of Mary Ford's Disney rejection letter.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Empowering Girls: MissBimbo.com


A new Internet game marketed to little girls called Miss Bimbo asks girls to compete to have the "hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo in the whole world" encourages them to "do anything" to win including pop diet pills and buy breast implants. The site originates in Europe.

Can you imagine my head exploding at this news and then the ensuing rage? What about the quiet sadness afterwards as I realize this really isn't all that surprising?

Doesn't it sometimes seem that this the overall message message to girls anyway? You are your appearance, your sexual appeal is your value, do anything to be the best bimbo ever?

The misogynistic moron who invented this game say outraged parents - who obviously care about the message this sends to girls - are "ignoring the positive aspects" of his blatantly anti-girl website like that "girls can send their bimbo to college."

Where I'm sure they can go to frat parties, drink too much and pass out allowing the all the frat boys to date rape them. Everyone knows college isn't for learning - not for bimbos anyway.

"It is not a bad influence for young children. They learn to take care of their bimbos.The missions and goals are morally sound and teach children about the real world", says Nicolas Jacquart, the creator a 23-year-old male, who obviously has a taste for young bimbos, said. The "real world" in which girls are bimbos. Right.

Really, what better way to make girls an easier lay than to convince them they're bimbos before they even grow breasts or start their periods? Hell, it's a wonder more parents don't encourage their daughters to embrace their inner bimbo.

Girls are given a free taste when creating their own Miss Bimbo. But, eventually they run out of Internet money and have to send a text message for around 1.50 pounds or around $3 or add money to a paypal account so they can afford more plastic surgery.

The Guardian, a British newspaper, reports that there are already 200,000 players. France's version has 1.2 million players.

One parent in France threatened to sue when her child ran up a 100 pound bill playing the game without his knowledge. Only one?

Because it is not illegal, or even socially unacceptable, to convince children they should be bimbos or encourage them to have plastic surgery or even be a misogynistic girl-hater, parents in the UK have taken the creators to task through the phone company, claiming they have violated laws with the text messaging money aspect of the game. Parents were encouraged to contact the phone company to file a complaint if they wanted to see the game shut down. I tried to contact them, but their contact page wasn't working properly.

Interestingly, all my attempts to log into Miss Bimbo failed.

Perhaps the creator of this game has already been escorted into Hell where he belongs.


Read The Guardian article.

Watch the video of the BBC World News discussing the obvious dangers ofMiss Bimbo.com.

UPDATE: This note has been added to the home page of MissBimbo.com:

Due to unforseen worldwide interest in Miss Bimbo we have had difficulty in maintaining our game in the manner players have become accustomed. We are sorry for this inconvenience and can assure you that our game will be up and running as soon as possible.

As a result of this rather surprising media attention we have decided to remove the option of purchasing diet pills from the game. We apologise to any players whom this may inconvenience but we feel in light of this weeks proceedings it is the correct action to take.

We would also like to sincerely apologise to our players for the media comparison of Miss Bimbo and Paris Hilton. We feel that this does a dis-service to the players whom send their bimbos to university, tea parties or chess tournaments.

At this time we would also like to remind players that the Miss Bimbo team assume no responsibility or liability for any fashion faux pas, hair style disasters or boob jobs incurred in real life as as a result of playing the Miss Bimbo game.

Wait, HE'S offended at being associated with Paris Hilton? Bimbos are too good for Paris?

He's removing diet pills as a Bimbo-perfecting option but not SURGERY? Hello?!?

Oh, he's written a disclaimer - I guess that takes care of his responsibility as a terrible and outrageous influence on our girls. NOT!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Empowering Girls: Abstinence Only Failure


By Tracee Sioux 

Abstinence Only Sex Education, the news has recently come out, has been a complete and utter failure.

Why? Because though we've poured $1 billion into these programs kids kept having sex.

Unprotected sex.

Turns out not educating children about prevention against sexually transmitted diseases has translated into an STD epidemic leaving one out of every 4 American teenagers infected, according to the Center for Disease Control. That's 3.2 million girls. Nearly half (48% of all African American girls are infected, compared to 20% of white young women.

That's a big huge consequence for not properly educating them about disease and pregnancy prevention.

These teenagers, 25% of all girls, are now at risk for cervical cancer, Cesarean section to avoid transmission during the birth of a baby, transmitting herpes or HPV to future marital partners, infertility, self esteem and self worth issues, blindness, and death.

The numbers of teen pregnancy did not decrease during our abstinence-only experiment either.

Because we didn't want to tell them about condoms?

Who is ignorant in this picture? Them for not knowing due to innocence or us for being too afraid to educate them about prevention?

As parents we have to grow some guts to challenge the flawed-logic of generations past. No one wants their kid to have sex. No one thinks teenagers should be sexually active. But, the reality is that it's not our decision. We can influence their decision by talking about sex as much as possible, leaving an open door for dialogue about sexuality and its consequences, we can even brain wash them with a strong expectation of abstinence as the very best and safest way for them to mature. I'm highly in favor of all that.

But, ultimately, we have to face the fact that it's a choice we, as parents, have limited control over. We should love them enough, however, to arm them with enough prevention education that we minimize the permanent consequences should they choose to have sex anyway. It's evident that they are.

There should be 5 goals in sex education in public schools in America.

1. Encourage abstinence as the safest route. 
2. Prevent pregnancy.
3. Prevent contraction and spread of STDs.
4. Educating girls about the biological facts of their own bodies. (By avoiding sex education we've also left girls ignorant of their own human biology of which they have a right to know.) 
5. Educate both girls and boys about sexual assault, date rape, sexual harassment and coercion tactics. We must arm girls with enough knowledge and tactics to demand respect. We must also educate boys about what is offensive and what will not be tolerated in their behavior toward their girl counter-parts. We should at least try to reduce the number of rapists and woman beaters in our society. Studies show that males develop this type of behavior in their youth and continue to escalate during adulthood.

Up before congress is a Prevention First Act (S.21/H.R. 819) which would expand access to contraception and preventative health care services that help reduce unplanned pregnancies, abortions, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases while improving access to women's health care. It would also provide a federal funding stream for comprehensive sex education in schools. Currently, there are three separate federal programs that fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, but no federal funding exists specifically for comprehensive sex education. States can only receive funding if they agree to teach abstinence-only-until-marriage while excluding information about the health benefits of contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The Prevention First Act includes a comprehensive approach to sex education - age appropriate education that promotes abstinence but includes information about contraception.

The consequences of teenage sex very obviously falls more heavily on girls. Girls are more at risk for exploitation, harassment, rape, and prostitution. Girls are at risk for pregnancy. Girls can die of cervical cancer and pass on STDs through the birth canal and shared blood. Girls are at risk of being labeled "sluts" or "whores" trashing their self image, girls are more at risk for quitting school to become mothers, girls are more at risk of becoming dependent on welfare programs, girls are at risk for infertility.

It's morally wrong to keep putting our girls at risk by not arming them with an expansive education that relates to the issues they face today. We should not pour another single penny into Abstinence Only programs that have failed our girls.

Take action right now by following the Two Minute Activist link at the American Association of University Women encouraging the representatives that work for us to require schools to incorporate comprehensive and effective sex education.

See the press release issued by the Center of Disease Control on March 11.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Empowering Girls: Radio Podcast


Click here to get your own player.



Listen to my radio podcast on Lisa.fm discussing A New Earth on talk radio. I'm on Chapter 4, the Roles of the Ego.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Empowering Girls: Roles We Play - A New Earth Community


by Tracee Sioux

Oh the roles we play. . . Is this news to anyone? I've always known that I play roles and even been aware of them when I'm doing it. Some of my most common roles:

When I was a teenager and young adult I played "cute flirty blond girl with a little attitude." It worked for me. Got me attention from the opposite sex. Allowed me to blend in the newsroom. Allowed me to get away with what I wanted to do. I recall having gained quite a bit of weight and being next to the next generation of "cute flirty blond girl with a little attitude" and seeing quite clearly that this role was not going to work for me anymore. Oddly, I was okay with seeing her go.

Other roles I play are Mean Mommy and Fun Mommy. I vacillate between these two depending on the result I want from my children. I put on Mean Mommy so that I can punish poor behavior even though I really don't want to. I put her on like a costume because inside I'm usually laughing my head off and thinking, Who hasn't done that? Fun Mommy comes more naturally to me, it's closer to who I inherently am. But, I still see that I'm motivated by a future "My mom was the coolest mom" scenario.

There is also the many roles of wife. I've been a pissed-off wife, a put-upon and fed-up wife. I've been a loving wife, a sacrificial wife, an affectionate wife. A wife like my mother. A wife like my friend. A wife like the Christian stereotype says I should be. I'm trying to learn to be a happy wife. A conscious wife.

I play a different role in church than I do other places. I feel it's safer to go with the flow and the cultural norm. Maybe I come off as fake?

Black sheep who left the fold. I obviously play this role. It's more circumstantial than anything. They love me, I love them, but they are deeply invested in a very specific religious ideology that comes with a whole culture and collective conscience that I have opted out of. Sometimes I feel it's more a role they put me in than one I play.

I frequently play the role of feminist. I write a lot about feminism, so obviously I'm identifying with the group ego of "women who aren't treated equally." I think it's a role I will continue to play. But, with consciousness, hopefully I'll be able to do it more effectively.

Writer is a role I deeply identify with. And I realize this is only what I "do." But it feels so integral to who I AM that when I have experimented with "doing" other things I become unhappy and disconnected from myself. I think I will also strive to do it consciously and reap the benefits of increased awareness and passion.

What roles do you see in yourself?

Are you aware of them when you're playing them?


Again, tune into Lisa.fm today at 1 pm central to hear more about roles and consciousness.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Empowering Girls: Tracee on Lisa.fm


Don't miss me on the radio tomorrow at Lisa.fm. We'll be discussing A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

That's March 25th at 5 p.m. Central. If you miss it, I'll post a podcast for you.

(Come back in a few hours - it's 5 not 1. Oops Sorry.)

Empowering Girls: Spring Break Fun Mommy










You're the best Mom ever. That's the kind of praise I live for. 





Friday, March 21, 2008

Empowering Girls: Teasing Tooth




I told you your teeth would fall right out of your head if you didn't brush well.


I hope you brush your next set better.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Empowering Girls: Anti-Climactic Birds & Bees

by Tracee Sioux 

"Olivia said she had sex with a boy," my six-year-old daughter Ainsley reported. Sex has been coming up a lot lately. Her friends are a year older and all have older siblings. 

"What do you know about sex?" I asked. 

"It's about boys and girls and taking off their clothes and kissing and stuff," she said.

"That's very good. They do take off their clothes and kiss and stuff. But, that's not all," I told her. "Sex is how mommies and daddies make babies," I said as nonchalantly as possible while pouring cereal.

"Oh." 

"You can see Zack has a penis and you have a vagina right? Well grown ups do too. Daddies put the penis in the Mommy's vagina and some stuff called sperm comes out and Mommies' have an egg in their uterus. When the sperm and the egg meet in the Mommies' uterus the woman gets a baby in there. And you already know how Zack came out," I finished.

"Oh, and there's kissing and stuff," she said. 

"That's right, but the kissing and stuff is called 'making out' and it's part of sex but it's not sex. Children should never have sex. I don't think Olivia had sex and I don't think that's a nice thing for she or you to say. She may not understand what sex is," I said.

"Sex is sacred and you should talk about it with respect. It's not really for joking. It's special and it's for Mommies and Daddies who love each other," I went on. 

"I want you to remember the safety rules."

"Nobody can touch my body except for me. Just like hugs and stuff but no touching my bottom or vagina and stuff," Ainsley recited.

"Right. When anyone talks about sex I want you to come and get me so we can talk about it together," I added a rule. 

Flash forward to afternoon when Olivia has come back to play.

"Girls were you talking about sex last night?" I asked with a neutral blank tone

"No, but the boys were," says Olivia.

Ainsley blushes. I think back to the night before when we had families from church over for dinner. We had left the children playing outside alone, the boys were a few years older than the girls. Maybe 10.

"What did the boys say?"

"They said, 'have you ever had sex?' And we said 'no.' And they said 'you probably don't know what it is.' And we said, 'it's like kissing and taking off our clothes and stuff,'" informed Olivia.

"It's when mommies and daddies," Ainsley started. . .

"Ains we have to let Olivia's mom tell her that," I said.

"Sex is nasty!" Olivia said.

"When mommies and daddies do it it's not nasty, it's special. But remember it's not something children or teenagers do," I replied.

"Listen girls, when anyone like those boys start talking about sex I want you to come and get me so we can all talk about it together," I said again. 

"Yes Mam. Yes Mam."

"Those boys are lots older than you and we only kinda know them," I reminded. "I want you to remember the safety rules. There's no touching, kissing, holding hands or showing each other your bodies, right?"

"Right. Right."

Overall, I felt the sex talk was a little anti-climactic considering the anxiety my husband and I had leading up to it. We consulted the experts, read informative books, even spoke to a sex educator/marriage counselor and realized that we didn't want to be the only two people in her life not talking about it. 

We wanted to make sure she understood the facts, rather than the misinformation from friends, television, advertisements, etc. We wanted to apply our morality to it and make sure she understood that it was special, not something to be shared with everyone, nothing to be taken lightly and nothing she should be concerning herself with now. We also wanted to prevent and avoid any psychological shaming damage. 

More sex talk: 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Empowering Girls: Dogma & Ego, Radio & 1001Petals - A New Earth Community


****1001Petals is the winner of a copy of A New Earth for subscribing to So Sioux Me during the 5 Minutes for Mom Ultimate Blog Party.

*** Don't miss my debut discussion of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61) on Lisa.fm Book Club, online radio at 3 PM Pacific next week on March 25.

by Tracee Sioux

In church this Sunday I became more animated than usual. My belief system is not always consistent with typical Christian surface beliefs. I live in the deep South and people in these parts aren't known for their open minds, so out of self-preservation I generally make surface comments and keep my real feelings to myself.

But the glamorization of suffering came up. We must suffer like Jesus.

Suffering is highly over-rated and glamorized,I said. I frankly, think there is very little value in the suffering itself. I'm intimately familiar with fear and suffering and I have no high regard for it as a moral or religiously good concept. The overcoming of suffering, the joy, the transcendence - this is life.

I have always found the scriptures both difficult to understand and offensive. By offensive I mean, I get upset, frustrated and angry when I read them. Perhaps I'm not alone in this reaction.

Since reading A New Earth, however, I find them coming alive for me. I read a passage that I normally would have found very little meaning in and it's speaking to me, easy for me to translate and understand. It's like this book, A New Earth, serves as a sort of translation of The Spirit for me. You know, as in The Spirit or Holy Ghost frequently referred to in The Bible and all other spiritual works.

I believe it's because before I was always hindered by dogma and ideology and the Church's collective ego.

I always knew this attitude of "rightness" was offensive and missed the mark of the true intention of scriptural works. But, the "rightness" would produce so much anger in me that it was best not to delve to deeply.

Dogma and ideology and politics and close-mindedness was in my way. I had no real tool to get passed it.

I've been to churches that tout domestic violence as acceptable. Churches that claim Jesus came to set everyone free - except the half of the population that's female - who should let their husbands make all the decision because he has a penis which is synonymous with authority.

I've sat through sermons shouting about the whorishness of women who seek abortions - damning them to hell without compassion for their lack of access to healthcare. I've sat through homophobic gay-bashing as straight couples refuse to take responsibility for the decline of their own institution caused by being bad at marriage. It's not us, it's the gays endangering the family, they claim.

I've listened to calls to arms against all other faiths - they are wrong because we know we're right - Muslims, Mormons, Nation of Islam, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists - all claim the truth as their own and tout the need to defend their own ideologies and dogma from the others who are so wrong they might be lead by Satan. It's enough to turn me off to the whole thing.

Thanks to this book I now know it's the collective ego of these religions that are distorting the sacred and truthful message with their own intolerance.

Even more profound is the knowledge that it is my own ego that knows they are wrong in their judgement of others that produces anger in me. That knowledge somehow makes their egoic righteousness easy to forgive and overlook.

Somehow the knowledge of how my ego reacts to their ego releases me from all the dogma and ideology and now reading Scriptures feels enlightening.

Genesis Ch. 1 - Let there be light.

It truly is an awakening.


If you missed any of the online classes you can download them for free at Oprah.com.

Please share how you've awakened since reading the book. I would love to hear your experiences.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Empowering Girls: Short Skirts


Are there shorts under your dress?

Why do I always have to wear shorts?

Because, it's no fun to sit like a lady.

"Sitting like a lady" sucks. It pretty much rules out swinging, running, climbing trees, jumping on trampolines, summersaults, cart wheels, and sitting indian-style during circle time at school.

If you let your daughter wear a dress or skirt without shorts and still participate in all these activities - just think of all the people who have seen her panties.

Ainsley often skirts the shorts by wearing pants. Which is way funky cool.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Empowering Girls: School Picture Irony

by Tracee Sioux

Mom! Look at this picture, it's hideous!

What's the onomatopoeia for cackling at irony? I responded with that.

Stop laughing!

I'm sorry. I had no idea it was picture day. I wouldn't have made you wear it, if I'd known. Heeheeeh HAAahhaaaHAahaha!

Stop laughing!

One of the greatest joys of mothering Ainsley has been to see what she's going to wear.

Her translation of fashion is always ground-breaking and clever. Amusing even at it's worst. She'll wear an entire package of headbands at once and I'll think, Man, I bet designers wish they had that kind of creativity because that looks fantastic. She often wears pants under skirts and it's pretty funky cool.

I have only 3 rules

  • modest
  • clean
  • appropriate

But this day, she couldn't decide. I got fed up with her I have nothing to wear mantra and went into her closet and grabbed the first thing that went with the new pants my mother bought her.

I said something like, Who cares? It's one day. Wear it!

It's ugly.

I don't care. You're wearing it.

Considering how nonrestrictive I've been about her clothing choices I thought she should get over it pretty easily.

Her dilemma wasn't really her fault either. She had sprouted up a few inches, making all her shirts too short and her pants were kind of low-riders. She couldn't find anything to wear because she was trying to obey the modest rule.

One of the few times I pull the, "I don't care you're wearing it" mommy card and of course, it's picture day. Figures.

Heeheeeh HAAahhaaaHAahaha!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Empowering Girls: Take Survey


Please help my advertisers out and take this survey.

Empowering Girls: True Price of Abercrombie


Who doesn't need a corporate sponsor for their project?

Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH does, of course.

According to Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, they plan to rename their ER The Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center in exchange for a $10 million donation.

The CCFC has made this statement in a letter to the hospital asking them to keep the money and refuse to advertise.

Research links sexualization and objectification with some of the most pressing and common health problems for girls including depression and poor sexual health. It is also distressing that a children's hospital would promote a company that features impossibly thin and idealized body types in its advertising when 10 million girls and young women in the United States are struggling with an eating disorder.

We understand that it is common for public health institutions to seek gifts from the business community. We are not asking that the hospital return the money. But gifts that include a quid pro quo like naming rights cross the line from philanthropy to advertising. Given that this company has built its brand by sexualizing and objectifying children, no public health institution should be advertising Abercrombie & Fitch.

I had to agree I looked at some of Abercrombie & Fitches' advertising, Thongs (pictured) for 10-year-olds that say "eye candy." Shirts with slogans like "Who needs brains when you have these?" (pink shirt pictured) and "Do I make you look fat?" Ads touting group sex to sell clothing to teens and preteens. When it comes to sexualizing children, Abercrombie & Fitch is among the worst corporate offenders.

Send a letter telling the hospital you think it's a bad idea to let our kids associate Abercrombie and Fitch with their health and well-being. You can do it quick as night at this link.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Girl-Empowering '09 Budget


Send "this letter to your Representatives encouraging the Senate and House of Representatives to add $7.1 billion for education, training and social services that will empower girls (and boys) to the 2009 Federal Budget.

"A budget resolution is a statement of a nation's priorities. To meet the demands of the 21st century workforce, I believe it is crucial that the federal government maintain its commitment to funding quality education programs at all levels.

The additional $7.1 billion for education, training, and social services provided for in the proposed budget resolution will allow Congress to improve No Child Left Behind programs, fund the Higher Education Act, and improve U.S. global competitiveness. These and other vital education programs are critical to America's role and position in the world.

While the president’s budget would eliminate dozens of education programs and create new voucher programs, I believe these are the wrong priorities for our nation. Now is the time to invest in education and training programs that prepare students for a competitive 21st century economy."

American Association of University Women makes it simple - just follow this link and send the letter and take action to empower your daughter. It takes two minutes to be an activist for education.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Empowering Girls - Parenting Presence - A New Earth

While technical difficulties (on my computer) kept me from watching most of the broadcast live last night I did get something out of the 30 minutes I saw.

What parent can't identify with the difficulty of staying present with their kids?

I struggle with this daily. The truth is, playing Legos with Zack or Barbies with Ainsley isn't that fun for me. It's a little boring, so I amuse myself by thinking about something else. I spend time that I'm physically present with them, thinking about what I'm going to write about and what else I need to do.

Of course the fact that I'm distracted is no secret to them. Even the smallest child is aware that you're not really paying attention to them.

One of my goals everyday is to spend at least a few minutes every day to be present with them and hear what they have to say and do the things they like to do.

It's really, really a challenge.

Any other parents relate to this lack of focus?

Empowering Girls - Juno Review By Therapydoc


Previously I printed an Op-Ed piece from the NYTimes about the film Juno. Caitlin Flanagan had a valid point.

Therapydoc from Everyone Needs Therapy, a shrink in Chicago, printed an Op-Ed piece on the film as well.

Therapydoc writes, She knows that she doesn't have to be sure of anything at sixteen. She doesn't have to know what kind of girl she is, exactly. She's in process.

Such an enviable position, no? Why would anyone want to hurry that, choose to prematurely skip out of that license to grow, that license for silliness and abandon, introspection and exploration? Why do anything that could blunt that freedom?

What did she say? "I wish I hadn't had sex with you."

THAT'S the message you want to send to your teenagers.

Therapydoc recommends watching the film with your teens to make sure that message gets across.

I still have not seen the film. Someday I'm not going to be so cheap.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fat Wonder Woman?


I came across a blog: The Big Beautiful Wonder Woman Blog. It's entirely cartoon sketches of larger versions of Wonder Woman.

Seriously.

On the sidebar the artist explains, I am in no way making fun of ladies (or anyone) who are considered 'big'. I'm no toothpick myself, and admire and enjoy the female form in all its sizes, especially ladies with some meat on them. Thus, my idea for collecting art of a bigger-sized WW happened. I have always felt like for someone who's supposed to be an amazon, she's pretty thin.

I have no idea how to interpret this as a hobby.

Anyone know what to make of this?

Pictured above an illustration by Antonis Theodorakis.

Don't forget our A New Earth discussion tonight/tomorrow morning!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Empowering Girls - 5 Minutes for Mom Party


I'm Tracee Sioux and So Sioux Me is a blog to inspire mothers to empower their daughters.

We focus on deconstructing the media and the culture and how it impacts girls. We discuss new gender research and bounce around ideas about parenting daughters.

My ultimate dream is to get one million people to care about empowering girl issues.

So Sioux Me is also an official A New Earth small community running simultaneous with the Oprah online class so feel free to come by and expound on the book and it's impact on your personal life.

Please browse around the contents, subscribe, bookmark me, and put me in your RSS Feed. I've been waiting for you my whole life.

Thanks to 5 Minutes for Mom to sponsoring this party.

Oh, and I'd love to give something away . . . how bout a copy of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)by Eckhart Tolle? There is nothing more empowering than discovering your own life's purpose and passing that on to your daughters (and sons).

Sign up for an email subscription to So Sioux Me (left sidebar) during the week of the 5 Minutes for Mom party and you're entered to win.

Empowering Girls: Girls-Only Public School


There is a fascinating piece in the New York Times Magazine, Teaching Boys and Girls Separately by Elizabeth Weil, about separating genders in a public school and how that's working well for a few schools.

The segregated classrooms are decorated differently and use different materials. Blue for boys, yellow for girls, cold for boys, warm for girls, cool white light for boys, warm yellow light for girls, snakes for boys, no snakes for girls.

From the article: In the first year of Foley’s single-sex program, a third of the kids enrolled. The next year, two-thirds signed up, and in its third year 87 percent of parents requested the program. Principal Mansell reports that her single-sex classes produce fewer discipline problems, more parental support and better scores in writing, reading and math. She does, however, acknowledge that her data are compromised, as her highest-performing teachers and her most-motivated students have chosen single-sex.

David Chadwell, the coordinator of Single- Gender Initiatives at the South Carolina Department of Education states in the article, You need to engage boys’ energy, use it, rather than trying to say, No, no, no. So instead of having boys raise their hands, you’re going to have boys literally stand up. You’re going to do physical representation of number lines. Relay races. Ball tosses during discussion.”

For the girls, Chadwell prescribes a focus on “the connections girls have (a) with the content, (b) with each other and (c) with the teacher. If you try to stop girls from talking to one another, that’s not successful. So you do a lot of meeting in circles, where every girl can share something from her own life that relates to the content in class.”

Leonard Sax, a family physician turned proponent of single-sex education offers up the two extremes for each gender: He opens “Why Gender Matters,” a book he wrote on the subject, with two cautionary tales: one about a boy who starts kindergarten at age 5, is given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. and depression and ends up on a three-drug cocktail of Adderall, Wellbutrin and clonidine; the other about a girl who transforms “from chubby wallflower to outgoing socialite” in middle school, seems to have it all — friends, academic success — and then shocks her parents by overdosing on Vicodin and Xanax.

After presenting the Adderall-doped grammar-school boy and the suicidal middle-school girl, Sax offers a possible cause of these sad stories. “The neglect of gender in education and child-rearing has done real harm.” These tragedies “might have been averted if the parents had known enough about gender differences to recognize what was really happening in their child’s life.”

Of course the opponents of gender-segregation say Sax is cherry-picking gender studies that date back to the 1960s.

The article goes on to say that gender segregation is in response to the failure of No Child Left Behind, Despite six years of No Child Left Behind, the achievement gaps between rich and poor students and white and black students have not significantly narrowed. “People are getting desperate” is how Benjamin Wright, chief administrative officer for the Nashville public schools, described the current interest in single-sex education to me. “Coed’s not working. Time to try something else.”

Here's some pretty sad statistics about the nature of educational pitfalls for boys: Nationwide, boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to be suspended, and more likely to drop out of high school than girls (65 percent of boys complete high school in four years; 72 percent of girls do). Boys make up two-thirds of special-education students. They are 1.5 times more likely to be held back a grade and 2.5 times more likely to be given diagnoses of A.D.H.D.

The Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem is widely considered the birthplace of the current single-sex public school movement. This position of eminence stems from both its early beginnings and its success: since opening in 1996, every girl in every senior class at T.Y.W.L.S. has graduated and been accepted at a four-year college.

As the Supreme Court would rule in June 1996, just three months before T.Y.W.L.S. opened, the legality of single-sex schools depends on context,

The A.C.L.U. opposes gender-segregation in public schools.

The article goes on to talk about the sexualization of girls in public schools and the fact that dating culture has been replaced by hook up culture. Nearly everyone at T.Y.W.L.S. acknowledges that often parents’ most pressing concern when enrolling their 11-year-old daughters is sheltering those girls from sexualized classrooms and sexualized streets.

“Boys at boys’ schools like Old Farms in Connecticut, or Saint Albans in Washington, D. C., will call up girls at Miss Porter’s in Connecticut, at Stone Ridge in Maryland, and they will ask the girl out, and the boy will drive to the girl’s house to pick her up and meet her parents. You tell kids at a coed school to do this, and they’ll fall on the floor laughing. But the culture of dating is much healthier than the culture of the hookup, in which the primary form of sexual intimacy is a girl on her knees servicing a boy,” Sax is quoted as saying in the article.

I think it's a fascinating subject. I'm undecided. Like the Supreme Court, I think it's a matter of context. I can see where there is potential for benefit for both genders, but I want to avoid any type of discrimination.

Anyone have a concrete opinion about the issue? Anyone ever go to an all-girls' school or have a single-gender classroom and want to share their experiences?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Favorite Female Blogger


Please vote for Tracee Sioux at Women's Voice's Women's Vote. You can also register to vote there.

As always, please subscribe, add to your RSS Feed, bookmark, Stumble, sk*rt and click around on the ads to show your support for So Sioux Me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pennsylvania Watch This!

Pro-Ana Suicides


Anorexics are definitely suicidal reports a new study, to be published in Journal of Affective Disorders later in the year.

A blog exploring girl issues can't ignore eating disorders due to this statistic: 10 million women and 1 million men are anorexic in America today (NEDA).

Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. But, it's not because they're starving to death - they're actually killing themselves with other very violent means, literally.

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)reports that Females between the ages of 15 and 24 are 12 times more likely to die from anorexia than all other causes of death.

That study of about 250 women suffering eating disorders showed the risk of death by suicide among by anorexic women to be as much as 57 times the expected rate of a healthy woman, according to the article in Time.

The article also looks at the drastic and violent ways anorexics use to kill themselves. They do not quietly swallow pills, as other women tend to do. The methods point to the hatred of themselves that anorexics experience.

It's not really about a BMI. It's about self-hatred. Physical thinness is only the manifestation of self-loathing. Self esteem isn't just a nice thing for girls to have - it's imperative for survival.

Visit MamaVISION for more information about the dangerous pro-ana movement sweeping the web, putting girls at risk. Mama is a former model who knows first-hand the drastic measures she took to maintain the beauty ideal. Now recovered from anorexia, she is a grass-roots fighter against the pro-ana movement.

If you haven't heard, the "pro-ana movement" is the addictive thinking where anorexic girls defend their right to starve themselves for asthetic appeal. They meet on public pro-ana websites to trade starvation tips, share ever more skeletal photos, pass around purging tips and support each other in keeping their mental illness.

Mama is currently chatting with Shelly, from an HBO documentary, Thin. Thin has a compelling and educational website to help people understand the addiction behind eating disorders.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Oprah Webcast


Okay so there were some technical difficulties with Oprah's online course last night. I gave up around 9:15 and went to bed. This morning, they don't have the podcast up.

But before I did I got something out of it.

A few big things - for me.

1)Different places have their own frequency and vibe. I've had an increasing urge to MOVE out of East Texas for over a year now. This place - the local culture, the vibe of the evangelical religious right - just feels oppressive to me. I feel an undeniable pull toward an ocean and a city - I always feel more connected to my self, the planet, and God when I am near a beach. I feel creatively and emotionally fulfilled surrounded by the metropolitan conveniences. My ideal culture would also be more open-minded. I've lived in other oppressive cultures before and I just don't feel I can live up to my full potential and fully express myself in places that are narrow-minded and oppressive. I feel like I'm creatively oppressed here, like I'm holding myself back with the mental and emotional energy field here. I think my husband feels the same way, but he's more resistant to change than I am. I've been praying and meditating that we'd get the perfect job offer in a large coastal city with open-mindedness and forward thinking in the culture.

Eckhart Tolle described his NEED to move when writing the book A New Earth and his other book The Power of Now. He described it as the energy field in a city or place. He articulated what I'm feeling in a way that made my feelings of wanting to move more legitimate and valid.

Having lived in lots of different places I can tell you for sure that New York City has a different vibe than East Texas, Brooklyn has a different vibe than Manhattan, Morro Bay, California has a totally different frequency than Tooele, Utah and Salt Lake City has a different vibe and frequency than Lithuania. That there is a different energy field in different locations on the planet is undeniable.

None of these places are bad or wrong. They are just different on a fundamental level and they effect people's thinking and emotional-live's differently. I yearn to be in a place that feels more friendly and accepting of who I am.

To tell you the truth I'm tired of being such a gypsy - but, the thought of making this place my permanent residence makes my soul revolt. I'm praying for the perfect opportunity to gracefully move to the perfect permanent residence for our family.

2) The second major insight I got was that all creative endeavor is born of stillness.

This is huge. It's not necessarily news to me now, but it brings me back to a time after Zack was born when I realized my mind was taking on a life of it's own and it just never shut up! Shut up! I would yell to my own mind. I can't sleep, I can't focus, I can't make decisions! I can't have any peace!

I started taking yoga to combat what Tolle calls incessant thinking- the constant and repetitive background noise of our minds.

It has taken me about two years to accomplish more a discipline in my mind. I'm meditating every day and taking yoga and feeling more centered and feeling more peace and stillness in my mind. It truly is making me feel more creative. Prior to this experience I'm not sure I ever really saw the value in stillness. I think all that thinking was sort of like - self-stimulation - mental masturbation is the best way I can describe it. Activity that's not really producing a truly gratifying result for cheap entertainment.

The third thing is that I noticed was my emotional response to the Christian question. Can I believe in consciousness and in Jesus too? Since reading A New Earth I have had my eyes opened to the true meaning in the Bible. I truly feel awakened when I read it now. Previously inconceivable passages now have meaning.

If you don't think there is any way to experience God than through your rigid plan - fine, stay invested in your rightness. But, for me - I know that I do not get closer to God by invalidating or minimizing anyone's spiritual experience. That applies to Mormons, Evangelicals, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Yogis, any one else on the planet.

Did anyone else have any personal insights while watching Oprah's online course about A New Earth? Please share - I would love to hear about your personal insights.

Fishy Dad

When raising a strong, confident daughter it is helpful to have a good dad to
teach her how to cast a line.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Human Consciousness Tonight

A New EarthWho is putting the kids to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight to make time to attend Oprah's online class?
Me, of course. I hope you'l join me.

Are you too going to make time to discuss the Flowering of Human Consciousness as Eckhart Tolle describes in chapter 1?

If so, please join me here at So Sioux Me where I'll be discussing the online course simultaneously over the next 10 weeks.

Awaken tonight at 8 pm Central time at Oprah.com and So Sioux Me.

Taekwondo for Girl Power


Does it strike anyone else as odd that girls and women are most commonly attacked by both strangers and significant others - but least likely to be taught self-defense?

The more I think about it, it's not just odd, it's absurd.

I think my daughter is most empowered if she is learning how to protect and defend her own body versus jumping up and down cheering for the athletic excellence of the boys playing football.

I've got Ainsley taking a Taekwondo class and I can't say enough about the benefits.

It's completely gender neutral, a sport where girls are as likely to excel as boys and instructors are both men and women.

It's focused on discipline and respect, which I find useful as a parent who struggles to get my kids to obey.

It's centered around personal excellence. In other words, you aren't necessarily competing with other athletes as much as you are trying to push your own self to the next belt level.

It is confidence building in that she's learning something new and achieving levels of excellence.

I think she'll carry her physical body in a more assertive way. Studies have shown that girls tend to try to disappear or shrink as they get older, feeling less worthy of taking up physical space. I hope Karate will make her feel entitled to all the space she wants.

Also I hope it will make her feel her body is a source of action and strength instead of a just an ornament meant to look pretty for male approval.

They are encouraged to use their voices and their bodies to defend their own persons. Like any parent my worst fear revolves around someone feeling they have a right to physically over-power my daughter and attack her. I hope that Taekwondo will improve her chances of escape and survival should that happen.

I recently started taking a kick-boxing class and I think it's the first time I've been given carte blanc to be physically aggressive. It feels good. It feels powerful. It feels a forbidden to me. I want Ainsley to know the feeling of aggression, which I assume is familiar to boys and men, and be okay with it.

At the very least I hope it will instill an identity as confident and strong person, as opposed to a physically weak victim.

Also, it's very reasonably priced at only $15 a month for 8 classes.