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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You Brought the Whoop Ass on Child Rapists and Pornographers

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In the battle over our children - parents versus child rapists and child pornograhers - who would you place your bet on?

It seemed child pornographers and clubs like NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association, whose declared "hobby" is to rape children were winning. With 300,000 known predators the FBI was monitoring, but not arresting or prosecuting it seemed the only rational response was to run and hide.

But, hide where? They wear "good guy" camouflage and mingle among us, volunteering to coach soccer teams, lead the youth Sunday School, and play the part of the perfect step-parent or boyfriend to get close to kids.

But, after being exposed on Oprah a few weeks ago - Half a million, that's 500,000 Moms and Dads brought the Can of Whoop Ass on Child Pornographers in the way of the Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act that passed last week!

That's right America. You emailed and called enough of your congressional leaders to say THERE ARE JUST SOME THINGS WORTH SPENDING MONEY ON and arresting rapists and child pornographers is one of those things!

While they were all gathered to debate the economic crisis. Oprah and I were nervous that they would overlook this very important bill to protect kids from sexual violence. Instead they took the opportunity to vote for the bill. (Ever noticed how much more likely they are to listen in election years?)

I am so proud of us.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has."-Margaret Mead

To the 300,000 child rapists and child pornographers out there - I am so very sad that your families - your wives, children, parents, siblings and friends - will be devastated by your arrest. It is profoundly tragic that they will suffer so much.

Please, God don't let any of those 300,000 people about to be arrested for child pornography be in my life. And Please God, don't let the FBI arrest innocent people.

Oprah - Porn Ain't What It Used To Be.

I agree with Bill O'Reilly (SCREAM!!!)

Sexual Urban Legend

Cross Posted on Blog Fabulous.

I am so proud of us.

Give yourself a standing ovation!





Monday, September 29, 2008

Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me: So Sexy So Soon, Sexualized Childhood

Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me: So Sexy So Soon, Sexualized Childhood

So Sexy So Soon, Sexualized Childhood

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By Tracee Sioux

"Kids close your eyes!"

How many times do you find yourself trying to protect your children from harmful and destructive images while watching family television?

Two years ago, while watching television, I was assaulted with an image of a woman wearing a see-through nightgown, nipples protruding and visible, erotic soft lighting, floating in a bathtub. It was intentionally erotic, except that she had been violently and bloodily murdered and this erotic woman was, in fact, dead.

"What the heck is going on?" I thought. "Why are my children and I being subjected to this kind of sexually violent imagery in a commercial?"

So, I wrote the FCC. The Federal Communications Commission used to be the people who governed our airwaves. They used to control when and what was allowed to air during times when children were expected to be viewing television. Remember when they wouldn't let radio stations play George Michael's, I Want Your Sex?

Many months later they wrote back.

"Each network or television station has control over what it airs during commercials. You'll have to write each network to complain about every commercial you feel is inappropriate," they informed me.

"What? Who made that stupid rule?" I wanted to know.

And now that I've read So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids, by Diane Levin Ph.D and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D, I know who made that stupid rule.

As a point of fact and matter of record it was specifically: Ronald Reagan who got the "deregulation of the media" rolling. George H.W. Bush furthered the problem with the telecommunications act of 1996.

The euphemism for more sex and violence on TV is "deregulation of the media."

Sounds innocuous doesn't it?

Essentially, deregulation means fewer laws. Fewer laws governing what? What companies can sell and who they can sell it to, when they can run an ad, and what the ads' message can contain.

The motive? To stimulate the economy allowing telecommunications companies more freedom to make more money.

To that end, deregulation has been a fantastic success.

Companies spend about $17 Billion annually marketing to children, a
staggering increase from the $100 Million spent in 1983, according to Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Unfortunately, their freedom to make more money by advertising whatever they like in front of whichever audience they buy airtime for - is infringing on my freedom and my children's freedom to not be subjected to sexualized violence and objectification of people on television.

This is especially upsetting to me in regards to commercials where I, and children who don't know better, are a CAPTIVE AUDIENCE and there is no implied consent, as there is when choosing to watch a sexual or violent movie or TV show.

Did Ronald Reagan mean for deregulation of the telecommunication industry, including children's television, to result in hyper-sexualized and all-too violent advertising for children? Was this his intention?

Was it the intent of the George H.W. Bush and Congress in Telecommunications Act of 1996 to further open the floodgates for marketers to legally target children, instead of targeting their ads at parents?

WHO CARES?


This is the result. This is where we're at.

I know for a fact the religious conservatives who voted for them would not have been in favor of such legislation if they had understood the kinds of sexual and violent imagery which would be coming at children from every direction. But, again, who cares?

It is from here we have to make a choice. Do we want to allow this kind of thing and all its consequences on our culture, our children and our own minds to continue?

I was just reading in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles" by Marriage Williamson, this morning, the definition of one of the most beautiful miracles - Changing Our Mind.

The fundamental change will occur with the change of mind in the thinker.

We can change our minds.

Right now. There are numerous bills before Congress that would re-regulate our children's media and make parents, as opposed to marketers the primary influence over our children's minds. Visit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for direct links to find out about the bills and send letters directly to representatives.

Stay tuned we'll get into the ideas presented in So Sexy So Soonand the practical steps to change our own minds, our schools, our culture and our media's influence over the role of sex in our children's lives.

Subscribe to this RSS feed so you're sure not to miss the So Sexy So Soon Series on Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me.

More details about my contact with the FCC in Misogynistic Violence for Breakfast


Friday, September 26, 2008

ACLU Interview Same-Sex Education

ACLU BLOGGER CALL ON SEX-SEGREGATED EDUCATION - Share on Ovi

The ACLU is suing a school in Kentucky which divided its middle school math students by gender. The girls whizzed by the boys so they stopped teaching the girls.

I'm torn on gender-divisions in public schools, as you'll hear in the podcast.

I'd love to hear what you have to say after listening to this energized conversation.

Other participants on the call include Veronica from Viva La Feminista Jaelithe Judy from The The State of Discontent and Momocrats, Catherine Morgan from The Political Voices of Women and Sarah from Goon Squad and an editor from BlogHer and myself, and Stephanie from LawyerMama Tracee Sioux from Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me,


Cynthia Samuels from Don't Gel Too Soon and 50 Something Moms organized and moderated the call

Rosalind Chait Barnet, Senior Scientist, Women’s Studies Research Center, and Executive Director, Community, Families & Work Program, Brandeis University was on the call to address the science behind gender segregation.

Emily J. Martin is the Deputy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project and shares the ACLU's perspective on how gender segregation is currently being practiced in public schools.

Empowering Girls: Girls-Only Public School

Please let me know what you think after you listen to the call.

Please Leave Comments.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kate Gosselin Makes Woman's Day

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Either you love Kate Gosselin and are amazed that she can keep it together in the face of twins and sextuplets or you're a judgmental heartless hag. At least, that's my personal exerience with Kate-haters judging from my Kate Gosselin, Time's Person of the Year
post.

There's an article in Woman's Day by Jennifer Rainey Marquez called How She does It: Kate Gosselin.

She's lived her unique motherhood experience on reality television and she's let you see all her flaws.

Her children have grow from babies and toddlers into full-on children at 4 and 7 years old.

Six 4 year olds people.

I find my one 6 year old daughter so challenging to raise that I actually have a blog to talk about it.

No wonder she needs a TV show.

The Gosselins have become our family experience and my children love their children. My 2 year old is as invested in those Gosselin Babies - yes, we still call them The Babies - as he is in Barney.

My daughter L-O-V-E-S those kids.

They love our family time watching them. Seriously it's about the only G rated thing left on television during prime time.

From the article: "This is a big year for you—the first that all eight kids are in elementary or preschool. Can you describe your typical routine getting the kids ready for school?"

"I’m all about planning ahead. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would function in the morning, because I am not a morning person! I pack the twins’—Cara and Mady’s—lunches the night before, so that everything’s ready to go the next day. I also lay out the little kids’ lunches in my mind. I’m always thinking: Can I turn that roast turkey into a turkey sandwich tomorrow morning? We live an hour from the preschool, so the little kids and I have to get a very early start."

"Who the hell drives their kids one hour away to attend preschool?" Not me. I'm annoyed that I live 15-20 minutes from Zack's preschool and as soon as there's an opening at the one in town I'm switching him. I don't care who's teaching it - it can't be worth 2 hrs a day in the car with 6 four year olds paying $3.50 a gallon for gas.

I'm not a Kate Gosselin kind of mother in a lot of ways. I'm not a germaphobe, I'm not anal-retentive or compulsive. I care what I eat and what I feed my kids, but I don't have the financial luxury of having an "organic-only" rule.

She makes the kids fun foods by turning them into checker boards and buys alphabet cookie cutters to make their initials out of food, according to the article. Yeah, I don't have time for that - I'm writing this blog. I also am wary of raising my children's expectations.

But, we do have one similar rule: I am not a restaurant. You eat what I make. I also throw in "I am not the maid. I am not your waitress."

Oh, well, watch the show and go read the magazine article yourself.

Photo source: Woman's Day

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 11, The Perfect You

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It's been my pleasure to share Ainsley, Perfect You with my Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me readers.

You may have different ideas about religion or God or the nature of the Universe. You may have alternative views about education. Your child will have different attributes and characteristics, and your worries about your children and their development may be different from my own.

Still, with editing and creativity you can make a book for your own child that will counter the onslaught of negative media and marketing our kids face today.

you have plenty of time to create a book of your own for Christmas using your favorite digital photo website like Mypublisher.com.

Sign up for the Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me RSS Feed and bookmark this website so you don't miss more great tools to empower girls.

We'll be discussing some difficult and complex issues shortly, as I've recently finished So Sexy So Soon, the new book about why our kids' media has suddenly become so inappropriately hyper-sexual. I've also interviewed Rosalind Chait Barnett, PhD a nationally recognized expert on the impact of gender on work, school and other environments, and Emily J. Martin, a principal in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit charging same-sex public schools with discrimination.

Please leave comments so I know you're out there. I often wonder what everyone else thinks and comments are the only real indication I have of who you are and what you believe. What you think is important to me. I don't have all the answers. I have some ideas and a lot of questions.

Here's the rest of Ainsley, Perfect You:

Steal This Christmas Gift Please, Pro-Girl Book Part 1

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

Pro-Girl Book Part 4

Pro-Girl Book Part 5

Pro-Girl Book Part 6

Pro-Girl Book Part 7

Pro-Girl Book Part 8

Pro-Girl Book Part 9

Pro-Girl Book Part 10

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 10, Good for Self Esteem

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Pages from Ainsley, Perfect You, a book I wrote for my daughter. Steal this idea for Christmas, Please!

Subscribe to my RSS feed and/or email subscription. You don't miss the rest of this series.

"Boogie Shaka Saka" was a phrase she made up and said over and over and over for about a year. She wanted to name the Baby "Boogie Shaka Saka" when I was pregnant. Fortunately, we prevailed and named him Zackary Elliott Cole instead.

Steal This Christmas Gift Please, Pro-Girl Book Part 1

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

Pro-Girl Book Part 4

Pro-Girl Book Part 5

Pro-Girl Book Part 6

Pro-Girl Book Part 7

Pro-Girl Book Part 8

Pro-Girl Book Part 9

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oprah - Porn Ain't What it Used to Be

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Today Oprah issues an urgent call to her viewers to take action against child predators in an all-new episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” “What you are going to see is going to shock you to the core, but I'm asking you to please not turn away because this is happening in our country, to our children, in the United States every day,” says Winfrey.

During the episode, Oprah implores viewers to help put a stop to child predators by contacting their Senators in support of U.S. Senate Bill 1738. Called the PROTECT Our Children Act, U.S. Senate Bill 1738 has bipartisan support and is currently before the U.S. Senate. Oprah.com will feature information and links to connect viewers with their Senators.

Seriously, I don't want to watch this show. I know I will be beyond disturbed.

Reading a mommy blog one day I clicked a link that said, "Sex Stuff." As it was a mommy blog I figured it was an innocuous link to instructions on "the cat position" or ways to trick my husband into getting off the computer to do it more.

What I found was an extensive free pornography web that has disturbed me in a profound way ever since. It was all free. It all involved children and teenagers and it all tied sex to violence. A great deal of it was written in the first person of the victim professing how much they loved the heinous acts being done to them.

Porn ain't what it used to be.

Today's pornography is not innocuous photos of consenting adults having sex.

America we have a problem. It begins with our laws and making excuses for people who have no interest in controlling themselves. "He didn't mean it, he's a good guy except, but I've known him my whole life and the devil must have possessed him, she came onto him and he couldn't help himself." You've heard the lines, maybe you've said the lines, that excuse a 40-year-old man from preying on a 12-year-old child because she has budding breasts.

Well, now our children are budding breasts at 8, 9 and 10 and sometimes younger.

Are we, as a society, just going to keep reducing the age of "he couldn't help himself" to apply to elementary and primary school children who have no control over early puberty, which now affects half our girls? Or are we going to rear up like Mother Lionesses and protect our young?

Every year I see more families retreat inside their homes and create what is essentially their own self-made prisons.

They stop associating with their neighbors, they no longer meet new people, they quit going to school, they don't let their children play outside anymore, they don't let their kids ride bikes down the street, and slumber parties are out. I vacillate between thinking they are the only people with any damn sense to thinking they might have gone over the edge into crazy. My opinion of them is generally related to whether I have recent seen a show like Oprah's today or watched the news.

We're living in a society where every male is a suspect from fathers to brothers to grandparents to uncles to cousins to neighbors to friends' dads.

Why?

Because we don't have the integrity or the guts to put the people who are violating our young in prison and not let them out again.

In effect - we're creating our own prisons inside our houses because we don't feel its "fair" to put sexual predators in prison for life.

Not a good choice America. Change your mind. Watch the show and join me in sending letters to our representatives to pass Senate Bill 1738 - PROTECT Our Children Act.

PROTECT would:

* Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.

* Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.

* Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

Oh and if you think it's not political - you're mistaken.

Grier Weeks, Executive Director of the National Association to Protect Children, testifies before Congress on Oct. 17, 2007. Weeks discusses the U.S. government's failure to act on information that could interdict hundreds of thousands of sexual predators and rescue hundreds of thousands of children.

"Now, the 110th Congress has the opportunity to do what the 109th, and this administration, did not: Fight back. Pay what it costs. Disrupt this market. Go get these children."

The Republican Congress and George W. Bush's administration failed to act. The FBI representative in the below video says their priorities were International Terrorism.

What it, the FBI and the Republican Administration who sets the FBI's agenda for the lat 8 years that this evil problem has grown exponentially, failed to recognize is the mass exploitation of children in violent pornography IS internal TERRORISM.

Some thing are just worth paying taxes for.


Read more on this issue:

I Agree With Bill O'Reilly (SCREAM!!!!)

Sexual Urban Legend

Photo Source: These are the Senators sponsoring the law to protect our kids: Sen. and Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Joe Biden (D), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R),
Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D), Rep. Joe Barton (R)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Steal This Christmas Gift Please!

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In everything we've been reading the damaging effects of media has been a central force.

APA Report on Sexualization of Girls, Girls Inc.'s The Supergirl Dilemma, You're Amazing, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media all cite exposure to media as a central force in the girls beginning to define themselves as less than they truly are.

While every one of these sources cite media as a potentially damaging influence, they also recommend fighting negative media with positive media.

We have the power to - not just passively ban negative media, which we should definitely do - But we have the power to CREATE positive media for our daughters about girls.

I can tell you this - my daughter thinks it's pretty cool that she's the Poster Girl for Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me. This is one of the reasons I'm inviting you to send photos of your daughter to be included as a Poster Girl on this site. It is one way to take media from outside of our world to a creative and positive medium that includes them.

I created a children's book for my daughter's 5th birthday titled Ainsley, Perfect You. I am practically begging you to STEAL this idea for Christmas (or birthdays).

We read this book before the First Day of School, whenever Ainsley makes negative comments about her self, whenever she feels insecure or whenever she wants. It's a special book that sits out on a shelf and we must wash our hands before reading it.

In the book I addressed issues of beauty, because Ainsley seemed preoccupied with what it was and exactly what criteria people were using to make the judgement about who was beautiful. I addressed school, education, intelligence and learning. I addressed self-worth and a feeling of wholeness and "enoughness." I addressed the meaning of God and her role as a Child of God. I addressed risk-taking and trying new things.

Your family may prize different characteristics or place different values as a priority. What's important, is that you can use this tool to teach her who she is, but also influence, mold and raise or define the bar of expectation for who she will become.

A-N-Y-O-N-E can do this if they have a computer, a camera, $30 and an imagination. You may be thinking you're short on imagination so, while Ainsley, Perfect You is copyrighted I give you permission to steal ideas, concepts, words, etc. Your daughter is every bit as cool as mine, but she may have different attributes and characteristics.

I encourage you to use my book for ideas, but personalize them for your daughter(s). (Of course, its good for your daughter, but don't forget your sons.)

I used www.MyPublisher.com because they were the only company who had a "storybook" feature at the time. Turns out my parents and grandparents were also interested in having a copy of this book (one project many gifts!) and My Publisher has coupons they'll send you frequently. Flickr now offers the feature, and Snapfish and probably all the other ones too.

There are 20 pages so I'll run Ainsley, Perfect You as a series, starting with this foreword. I had to scan the pages, so please forgive the quality.


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You'll want to get the RSS feed or an email subscription so you don't miss any of it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

1st PosterGirl - Hannah

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Our first Poster Girl, six-year-old Hannah, breaks boards at a friend's dojo birthday party! Thanks to her mother Jessa for getting this Poster Girl project started on the right foot!

Hannah says, she thinks "its cool to be on the Internet."

Send those photos to traceesioux@yahoo.com!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Hate Sarah Palin!

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As an advocate for girls let me make the following plea on behalf of your daughter:

Please, please, please speak respectfully of the one and only female candidate the Repubican Party has ever put on their ticket for Vice President of the United States - Sarah Palin.

What you say about Sarah Palin has the potential to translate to your daughters as your opinion of all women (including your daughter) seeking power.

Disrespectful criticism has the potential to translate, "I only respect other women if they agree with me." Your daughter may one day disagree with you. This moment, and your reaction, won't be forgotten by her.

Your example will also teach her how she should expect to be treated by those who disagree with her and how she should treat those who disagree with her.

In other words -

Mothers - don't be a mean mommy and you won't create a mean girl.

Fathers - don't reduce her to whether you'd have sex with her and you won't create a daughter who gets her self-worth from her sexuality or appearance.

I vividly remember asking my parents what the Equal Rights Amendment was as a child. I remember them telling me that it was a bill to make women equal to men. And they were voting against it.

Here's how that translated to a six-year-old girl: "My parents are voting against ME! Why would they do that?"

I also remember criticism of Geraldine Ferraro that went something like, "We'll never elect a woman president. God wants it that way."

What you might say instead of "I Hate Sarah Palin" (or worse) might be, "I think a woman would make a wonderful Vice President, I just don't agree with this particular woman's political views on ________."

It would be helpful, for your daughter, to avoid vague negative statements about Sarah's suitability as a role model for girls. Instead you could say, "I think it's wonderful that a female has gotten this far in American politics. It's wonderful that women are becoming more powerful and ambitious in both parties. I just don't agree with her views on ________."

If you minimize and criticize the significance of Sarah Palin's presence in this race, then you minimize and criticize your daughter's potential.

It is my hope, as an advocate for girls, that they will never see another election in their lifetime where there is not a woman on either ticket.

Thanks to women's adamant support of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin both Republicans and Democrats have included women this year. Our top politicians have finally realized they can't win without addressing women and women's issues.

For our daughters' sakes, let's pray the inclusion of women - on all political levels and in all political parties - becomes the norm.

To be absolutely fair I made the same plea on behalf of Hillary and your daughter right before Super Tuesday. You can revisit that story in I Hate Hillary! I also advocated voting for Hillary for the sheer reason that she would be an example to my daughter of women in power for 4 years in Shut Up John Mayer, Stop Waiting For the World To Change.

For more on my personal opinion of Sarah Palin visit Blog Fabulous, I've written plenty about her politics and the emotional conflict she's causing in me personally.

Image Source: http://gov.state.ak.us/official_portraits.php



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sexier 90210, BusRadio Ads

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The CW - same network that shows Gossip Girl - is remaking 90210, from Beverly Hills 90210, the 1990s teen drama.


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Only hotter, sexier, trashier. More today. More grown-up. More hot. In the 1990s, the girls got to wear jeans and sneakers. Now, very short skirts and very high heels.


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I haven't seen it. I don't know if it's trash-factor competes with Gossip Girl - which really, how can you out-trash Gossip Girl? I'm blushing from the idea of it.


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I got an email from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood asking me to send a letter so they would stop selling advertising to 90210 on Bus Radio. Bus Radio is the radio on school buses where they market to 1st graders as a captive audience on the way home from school. It's the same concept as Channel One. Marketing 90210 to Primary Schoolers.

Am I the only one who is wondering why I should have to send a letter to notify Bus Radio that this is inappropriate?

What's changed? Why is this allowed on Bus Radio in the first place? Where has good judgement gone?

Marketing and money. Evidently, we've given "The Market" carte blanc to advertise whatever they want, whenever they want, to whatever audience they want.

Great choice America.

This is deregulation in action.

I'm not a prude. If Gossip Girl was marketed to adult women on HBO, like Sex in the City, I might be a fan. But, Gossip Girl and 90210 is being directly marketed to children.

"Please take a moment to urge BusRadio to immediately remove all 90210 promotions from the website, including a trailer that teases several sex scenes and a banner ad, featuring the stars of the show in sexualized poses.

Your letter will be sent to BusRadio's Co-Founders, Steve Shulman and Michael Yanoff."

As parents, consumers and voters - it's wrong to allow this kind of marketing to children. Click this link to tell them so.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Face Off - Self Esteem vs. Body Dysmorphia

We went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

One particular exhibit had a disconcerting effect on me for days.

You sit in between two mirrors and look at your self.


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One is a regular mirror and show's you how you see yourself every day. The top photo is how I see myself.

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The other shows you what other people see every day. It shows you what you really look like.

Do you see a minute difference between the top photo and the bottom photo?

I've been fascinated by my own emotional reaction. Truly, it was unsettling to see my reflection differently than I do everyday.

The top photo, what I see in the mirror is more attractive to me.

My eyes are uneven in the second photo. The right eye, when looking at it, is slightly lower than the left one.

I find I hold my head slightly tilted in a way that makes my features more even. I think I also hold that eyebrow higher to make the eyes look more symmetrical. I compensate for the flaw I've really only noticed once in a photo when I was pregnant with Zack.

Since you are other people and it's not your face I really have no clue how you are perceiving the attractiveness of the two photos or whether you see the unevenness of my eyes at all. For all I know, everyone who sees me, may choose to make the same correction that I do for myself.

It strikes me as a kindness to myself that my subconscious mind chooses to correct my minor flaw so that I not only feel more attractive, but literally see myself as more attractive.

It also strikes me that people who suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia or the emotional disorder of body dysmorphia for some reason they aren't subconsciously fixing their features in their minds.

They are not only seeing their minor flaw - they are focusing on it and magnifying it.

Its also likely they are expecting the outside world, other people, to treat them the way they treat themselves. Did you see how I assumed that others would treat me with the same kindness as I show myself and that others would correct or overlook the minor flaw in their own perceptions, rather than focus on it and magnify it? This assumption is likely a result of my habit of doing such a kindness for myself and for others.

Were I unkind to myself, and if I made a habit of focusing on the minor flaws of other people, I would likely assume that others were also doing so to me.

That's my theory anyway, based on everything I've read about self-esteem, self-worth, and eating disorders and related emotional disorders.

It follows then that maybe we can teach our daughters to serve their own mental health and self-esteem.

Cutting ourselves, our daughters and others some slack for our minor physical flaws teaches, by example, our daughters this emotional skill vital to their self-preservation.

Treating ourselves, our daughters, and others - especially other girls and women - with kindness is also a teachable habit.

Self-love and self-acceptance is a skill. One we learn and one we can teach.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bikini Waxing Tweens & Early Puberty

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There was a story on MSNBC.com Today Show, Too young? Preteen girls get leg, bikini waxes, about how 20% of bikini wax customers at one Hollywood salon are tweens - pre-teen children.

"Nearly 20 percent of the clients that Nance Mitchell sees for bikini waxes in her Beverly Hills, Calif., salon are tweens, she says. . . 12 is the new normal."

"But nothing prepared her for being asked by one client to book a bikini wax appointment for her 8-year-old daughter."

{{{{{GASP}}}}}

Did you share my first reaction?

But, then I thought - wait, why is it the waxing that is making me gasp in shock?

Isn't it more alarming that 8 year olds have enough pubic hair to wax?

The sub head of the story is inaccurate: Moms are bringing daughters to spas for hair removal before puberty

The fact is that 50% of girls are getting their periods by age 10 and doctors now consider it within the "range of normal" for girls to develop outward signs of puberty, including breasts and pubic hair, by age 8. It's not that even medically alarming for 6 or 7 year olds to begin puberty, and many do begin developing breast buds or pubic hair.

Isn't it more emotionally alarming and worthy of a {{{{gasp}}}} that we're seeing a dramatic shift in girls' puberty development and no public health official is coming on the nightly news declaring,

"We're going to find an answer to this most disturbing development in girls, who hold the future reproductive burden for our entire species. In the meantime, don't let your daughters drink the water full of pharmaceuticals. Stop injecting milk and meat cows and other animals with hormones. Be wary that extra weight causes girls to make estrogen and develop pubic hair and boobs early. Avoid plastics. We're going to outlaw high fructose corn syrup in foods directly marketed to children. We understand the reproductive future of our entire nation depends on it!"

Instead, we hear about the early pubic hair trend in the fashion and beauty section of MSNBC's Today Show with a sexualization of girls slant.

Shouldn't those mothers be ashamed of themselves? the story basically asks.

Should they?

The story includes a quote by Philadelphia aesthetician Melanie Engle who says the 8 year old request for a bikini wax, "was about the mother's obsession with her daughter being a supermodel."

OK. I can buy that. I've seen mothers primp their daughters as a photographer and photographer's assistant. There is definite maternal beauty pressure.

Yet, if there was nothing to wax, if she were hairless, then her mother wouldn't be thinking her daughter needed to have anything removed to "look like a supermodel." Right?

Last year I did a story about Nair directly marketing to tween and teen girls with a "new" line of hair removal cream, Nair Pretty.

"It's profoundly disturbing," I wrote. It's also disturbing that Nair caught onto this early pubic hair trend and marketed to it, before I, as a parent, caught up with it.

I also went off on some radio DJ who was bashing Lordes, Madonna's young daughter, for having a unibrow and a slight mustache. I was appalled at the DJ's lack of class and placing all this beauty pressure on a young girl.

One brave mother, Athena of 1001 Petals, wrote in the comments section of that post, "I feel kind of bad now for telling my husband yesterday that if our daughter turned out to be as hairy as me, I'd start taking her to an esthetician for waxing as soon as it became evident -- unless she said she didn't care for it. This is because if you wax regularly at such a young age, you're saved a lifetime of regular waxing later on down the road. I had to take myself starting at 12 yrs of age, and now at 30 it is still practically a daily maintenance routine. . .I spend hundreds a year and a lot of time bothering with it."

Athena's right. The more I consider this hairy subject, the more I realize that I will likely assist my daughter, in some way, with her pubic hair and if she developed a mustache or side burns, for goodness sake, I'd help her eradicate it. Like I'm going to throw her to the Mean Girls and hope she survives?

Swim suits are not designed to cover the pubic area. They haven't been for about 40 years.

In "Clean" Bikini Line I wrote about my own struggle since my teen years with various methods of shaving, Nairing, one excruciating episode with Neet and a vicious chemical burn.

I'm amused by Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS), but I still keep my bush rather trimmed, as a courtesy to my husband. I wear swim shorts rather than show off my all my private hairs when we go swimming. The itching always gets to me mid-grow.

But, is my daughter really going to be into wearing one of these modest suits that would cover her bikini area? Am I going to make her be the only kid at the swim party or pool to do so?

I shave my pits and my legs. I pluck my eyebrows. I search for stray hairs on my chin and pluck them immediately.

It is only my budget that keeps me from getting all this hair waxed off. When I lived in NYC there was hair & waxing salon on every corner and it was a mere $30 to get my bikini and eyebrows done. I did it whenever I could afford it.

It's the least painful than other methods, it lasts longer and it was the ONLY thing that prevented razor or chemical burn - in other words waxing was the only solution that I didn't trade unwanted hair for an unwanted rash.

It seems to me a young daughter growing early pubic hair is an even bigger motivator for waxing.

Certainly, the minute girls develop breasts or pubic hair society treats her with less respect and she hears more negative and sexual comments about her body. The more she looks like a teenager or woman, the sooner she will be seen as an object for male entertainment, instead of the three-demensionable little girl, the young child, she really is.

What bigger incentive is there to hide pubic hair, keep it as private as possible, or have it removed?

Does the removal of hair further sexualize girls, because the latest fashion is for adult women to remove hair and get a Brazillian wax? Ironically (and a little disturbingly) making them look more like children.

Or does the removal of a symptom or sign of puberty buy a little girl some more time to be a child?

Please comment, I really am interested in exploring this issue further.

Empowering Girls: Hootchy Clothes

Second Generation Mean Girl

Empowering Girls: Ho'oponopono for Girl Fights

Empowering Girls: Breast Cancer Risks

Empowering Girls: Early Puberty

Precocious Puberty

Image Source: Ohana Swimwear

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You Brought the Whoop Ass on Child Rapists and Pornographers

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In the battle over our children - parents versus child rapists and child pornograhers - who would you place your bet on?

It seemed child pornographers and clubs like NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association, whose declared "hobby" is to rape children were winning. With 300,000 known predators the FBI was monitoring, but not arresting or prosecuting it seemed the only rational response was to run and hide.

But, hide where? They wear "good guy" camouflage and mingle among us, volunteering to coach soccer teams, lead the youth Sunday School, and play the part of the perfect step-parent or boyfriend to get close to kids.

But, after being exposed on Oprah a few weeks ago - Half a million, that's 500,000 Moms and Dads brought the Can of Whoop Ass on Child Pornographers in the way of the Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act that passed last week!

That's right America. You emailed and called enough of your congressional leaders to say THERE ARE JUST SOME THINGS WORTH SPENDING MONEY ON and arresting rapists and child pornographers is one of those things!

While they were all gathered to debate the economic crisis. Oprah and I were nervous that they would overlook this very important bill to protect kids from sexual violence. Instead they took the opportunity to vote for the bill. (Ever noticed how much more likely they are to listen in election years?)

I am so proud of us.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has."-Margaret Mead

To the 300,000 child rapists and child pornographers out there - I am so very sad that your families - your wives, children, parents, siblings and friends - will be devastated by your arrest. It is profoundly tragic that they will suffer so much.

Please, God don't let any of those 300,000 people about to be arrested for child pornography be in my life. And Please God, don't let the FBI arrest innocent people.

Oprah - Porn Ain't What It Used To Be.

I agree with Bill O'Reilly (SCREAM!!!)

Sexual Urban Legend

Cross Posted on Blog Fabulous.

I am so proud of us.

Give yourself a standing ovation!





Monday, September 29, 2008

Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me: So Sexy So Soon, Sexualized Childhood

Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me: So Sexy So Soon, Sexualized Childhood

So Sexy So Soon, Sexualized Childhood

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By Tracee Sioux

"Kids close your eyes!"

How many times do you find yourself trying to protect your children from harmful and destructive images while watching family television?

Two years ago, while watching television, I was assaulted with an image of a woman wearing a see-through nightgown, nipples protruding and visible, erotic soft lighting, floating in a bathtub. It was intentionally erotic, except that she had been violently and bloodily murdered and this erotic woman was, in fact, dead.

"What the heck is going on?" I thought. "Why are my children and I being subjected to this kind of sexually violent imagery in a commercial?"

So, I wrote the FCC. The Federal Communications Commission used to be the people who governed our airwaves. They used to control when and what was allowed to air during times when children were expected to be viewing television. Remember when they wouldn't let radio stations play George Michael's, I Want Your Sex?

Many months later they wrote back.

"Each network or television station has control over what it airs during commercials. You'll have to write each network to complain about every commercial you feel is inappropriate," they informed me.

"What? Who made that stupid rule?" I wanted to know.

And now that I've read So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids, by Diane Levin Ph.D and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D, I know who made that stupid rule.

As a point of fact and matter of record it was specifically: Ronald Reagan who got the "deregulation of the media" rolling. George H.W. Bush furthered the problem with the telecommunications act of 1996.

The euphemism for more sex and violence on TV is "deregulation of the media."

Sounds innocuous doesn't it?

Essentially, deregulation means fewer laws. Fewer laws governing what? What companies can sell and who they can sell it to, when they can run an ad, and what the ads' message can contain.

The motive? To stimulate the economy allowing telecommunications companies more freedom to make more money.

To that end, deregulation has been a fantastic success.

Companies spend about $17 Billion annually marketing to children, a
staggering increase from the $100 Million spent in 1983, according to Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Unfortunately, their freedom to make more money by advertising whatever they like in front of whichever audience they buy airtime for - is infringing on my freedom and my children's freedom to not be subjected to sexualized violence and objectification of people on television.

This is especially upsetting to me in regards to commercials where I, and children who don't know better, are a CAPTIVE AUDIENCE and there is no implied consent, as there is when choosing to watch a sexual or violent movie or TV show.

Did Ronald Reagan mean for deregulation of the telecommunication industry, including children's television, to result in hyper-sexualized and all-too violent advertising for children? Was this his intention?

Was it the intent of the George H.W. Bush and Congress in Telecommunications Act of 1996 to further open the floodgates for marketers to legally target children, instead of targeting their ads at parents?

WHO CARES?


This is the result. This is where we're at.

I know for a fact the religious conservatives who voted for them would not have been in favor of such legislation if they had understood the kinds of sexual and violent imagery which would be coming at children from every direction. But, again, who cares?

It is from here we have to make a choice. Do we want to allow this kind of thing and all its consequences on our culture, our children and our own minds to continue?

I was just reading in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles" by Marriage Williamson, this morning, the definition of one of the most beautiful miracles - Changing Our Mind.

The fundamental change will occur with the change of mind in the thinker.

We can change our minds.

Right now. There are numerous bills before Congress that would re-regulate our children's media and make parents, as opposed to marketers the primary influence over our children's minds. Visit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for direct links to find out about the bills and send letters directly to representatives.

Stay tuned we'll get into the ideas presented in So Sexy So Soonand the practical steps to change our own minds, our schools, our culture and our media's influence over the role of sex in our children's lives.

Subscribe to this RSS feed so you're sure not to miss the So Sexy So Soon Series on Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me.

More details about my contact with the FCC in Misogynistic Violence for Breakfast


Friday, September 26, 2008

ACLU Interview Same-Sex Education

ACLU BLOGGER CALL ON SEX-SEGREGATED EDUCATION - Share on Ovi

The ACLU is suing a school in Kentucky which divided its middle school math students by gender. The girls whizzed by the boys so they stopped teaching the girls.

I'm torn on gender-divisions in public schools, as you'll hear in the podcast.

I'd love to hear what you have to say after listening to this energized conversation.

Other participants on the call include Veronica from Viva La Feminista Jaelithe Judy from The The State of Discontent and Momocrats, Catherine Morgan from The Political Voices of Women and Sarah from Goon Squad and an editor from BlogHer and myself, and Stephanie from LawyerMama Tracee Sioux from Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me,


Cynthia Samuels from Don't Gel Too Soon and 50 Something Moms organized and moderated the call

Rosalind Chait Barnet, Senior Scientist, Women’s Studies Research Center, and Executive Director, Community, Families & Work Program, Brandeis University was on the call to address the science behind gender segregation.

Emily J. Martin is the Deputy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project and shares the ACLU's perspective on how gender segregation is currently being practiced in public schools.

Empowering Girls: Girls-Only Public School

Please let me know what you think after you listen to the call.

Please Leave Comments.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kate Gosselin Makes Woman's Day

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Either you love Kate Gosselin and are amazed that she can keep it together in the face of twins and sextuplets or you're a judgmental heartless hag. At least, that's my personal exerience with Kate-haters judging from my Kate Gosselin, Time's Person of the Year
post.

There's an article in Woman's Day by Jennifer Rainey Marquez called How She does It: Kate Gosselin.

She's lived her unique motherhood experience on reality television and she's let you see all her flaws.

Her children have grow from babies and toddlers into full-on children at 4 and 7 years old.

Six 4 year olds people.

I find my one 6 year old daughter so challenging to raise that I actually have a blog to talk about it.

No wonder she needs a TV show.

The Gosselins have become our family experience and my children love their children. My 2 year old is as invested in those Gosselin Babies - yes, we still call them The Babies - as he is in Barney.

My daughter L-O-V-E-S those kids.

They love our family time watching them. Seriously it's about the only G rated thing left on television during prime time.

From the article: "This is a big year for you—the first that all eight kids are in elementary or preschool. Can you describe your typical routine getting the kids ready for school?"

"I’m all about planning ahead. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would function in the morning, because I am not a morning person! I pack the twins’—Cara and Mady’s—lunches the night before, so that everything’s ready to go the next day. I also lay out the little kids’ lunches in my mind. I’m always thinking: Can I turn that roast turkey into a turkey sandwich tomorrow morning? We live an hour from the preschool, so the little kids and I have to get a very early start."

"Who the hell drives their kids one hour away to attend preschool?" Not me. I'm annoyed that I live 15-20 minutes from Zack's preschool and as soon as there's an opening at the one in town I'm switching him. I don't care who's teaching it - it can't be worth 2 hrs a day in the car with 6 four year olds paying $3.50 a gallon for gas.

I'm not a Kate Gosselin kind of mother in a lot of ways. I'm not a germaphobe, I'm not anal-retentive or compulsive. I care what I eat and what I feed my kids, but I don't have the financial luxury of having an "organic-only" rule.

She makes the kids fun foods by turning them into checker boards and buys alphabet cookie cutters to make their initials out of food, according to the article. Yeah, I don't have time for that - I'm writing this blog. I also am wary of raising my children's expectations.

But, we do have one similar rule: I am not a restaurant. You eat what I make. I also throw in "I am not the maid. I am not your waitress."

Oh, well, watch the show and go read the magazine article yourself.

Photo source: Woman's Day

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 11, The Perfect You

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It's been my pleasure to share Ainsley, Perfect You with my Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me readers.

You may have different ideas about religion or God or the nature of the Universe. You may have alternative views about education. Your child will have different attributes and characteristics, and your worries about your children and their development may be different from my own.

Still, with editing and creativity you can make a book for your own child that will counter the onslaught of negative media and marketing our kids face today.

you have plenty of time to create a book of your own for Christmas using your favorite digital photo website like Mypublisher.com.

Sign up for the Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me RSS Feed and bookmark this website so you don't miss more great tools to empower girls.

We'll be discussing some difficult and complex issues shortly, as I've recently finished So Sexy So Soon, the new book about why our kids' media has suddenly become so inappropriately hyper-sexual. I've also interviewed Rosalind Chait Barnett, PhD a nationally recognized expert on the impact of gender on work, school and other environments, and Emily J. Martin, a principal in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit charging same-sex public schools with discrimination.

Please leave comments so I know you're out there. I often wonder what everyone else thinks and comments are the only real indication I have of who you are and what you believe. What you think is important to me. I don't have all the answers. I have some ideas and a lot of questions.

Here's the rest of Ainsley, Perfect You:

Steal This Christmas Gift Please, Pro-Girl Book Part 1

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

Pro-Girl Book Part 4

Pro-Girl Book Part 5

Pro-Girl Book Part 6

Pro-Girl Book Part 7

Pro-Girl Book Part 8

Pro-Girl Book Part 9

Pro-Girl Book Part 10

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 10, Good for Self Esteem

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Pages from Ainsley, Perfect You, a book I wrote for my daughter. Steal this idea for Christmas, Please!

Subscribe to my RSS feed and/or email subscription. You don't miss the rest of this series.

"Boogie Shaka Saka" was a phrase she made up and said over and over and over for about a year. She wanted to name the Baby "Boogie Shaka Saka" when I was pregnant. Fortunately, we prevailed and named him Zackary Elliott Cole instead.

Steal This Christmas Gift Please, Pro-Girl Book Part 1

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

Pro-Girl Book Part 4

Pro-Girl Book Part 5

Pro-Girl Book Part 6

Pro-Girl Book Part 7

Pro-Girl Book Part 8

Pro-Girl Book Part 9

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 6, Best B-Day Gift

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Pages from Ainsley, Perfect You, a book I wrote for my daughter. Steal this idea for Christmas, Please!

Subscribe to my RSS feed and/or email subscription. You don't miss the rest of this series.

Steal This Christmas Gift Please, Pro-Girl Book Part 1

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

Pro-Girl Book Part 4
Pro-Girl Book Part 5

Pro-Girl Book Part 5, Great Girls' Gift

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Pages from Ainsley, Perfect You, a book I wrote for my daughter. Steal this idea for Christmas, Please!

Subscribe to my RSS feed and/or email subscription. You don't miss the rest of this series.

Steal This Christmas Gift Please, Pro-Girl Book Part 1

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

Pro-Girl Book Part 4

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 4, Best Gift Ever

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Pages from Ainsley, Perfect You, a book I wrote for my daughter. Steal this idea for Christmas, Please!

Subscribe to my RSS feed and/or email subscription. You don't miss the rest of this series.

Steal This Christmas Gift Please, Pro-Girl Book Part 1

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oprah - Porn Ain't What it Used to Be

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Today Oprah issues an urgent call to her viewers to take action against child predators in an all-new episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” “What you are going to see is going to shock you to the core, but I'm asking you to please not turn away because this is happening in our country, to our children, in the United States every day,” says Winfrey.

During the episode, Oprah implores viewers to help put a stop to child predators by contacting their Senators in support of U.S. Senate Bill 1738. Called the PROTECT Our Children Act, U.S. Senate Bill 1738 has bipartisan support and is currently before the U.S. Senate. Oprah.com will feature information and links to connect viewers with their Senators.

Seriously, I don't want to watch this show. I know I will be beyond disturbed.

Reading a mommy blog one day I clicked a link that said, "Sex Stuff." As it was a mommy blog I figured it was an innocuous link to instructions on "the cat position" or ways to trick my husband into getting off the computer to do it more.

What I found was an extensive free pornography web that has disturbed me in a profound way ever since. It was all free. It all involved children and teenagers and it all tied sex to violence. A great deal of it was written in the first person of the victim professing how much they loved the heinous acts being done to them.

Porn ain't what it used to be.

Today's pornography is not innocuous photos of consenting adults having sex.

America we have a problem. It begins with our laws and making excuses for people who have no interest in controlling themselves. "He didn't mean it, he's a good guy except, but I've known him my whole life and the devil must have possessed him, she came onto him and he couldn't help himself." You've heard the lines, maybe you've said the lines, that excuse a 40-year-old man from preying on a 12-year-old child because she has budding breasts.

Well, now our children are budding breasts at 8, 9 and 10 and sometimes younger.

Are we, as a society, just going to keep reducing the age of "he couldn't help himself" to apply to elementary and primary school children who have no control over early puberty, which now affects half our girls? Or are we going to rear up like Mother Lionesses and protect our young?

Every year I see more families retreat inside their homes and create what is essentially their own self-made prisons.

They stop associating with their neighbors, they no longer meet new people, they quit going to school, they don't let their children play outside anymore, they don't let their kids ride bikes down the street, and slumber parties are out. I vacillate between thinking they are the only people with any damn sense to thinking they might have gone over the edge into crazy. My opinion of them is generally related to whether I have recent seen a show like Oprah's today or watched the news.

We're living in a society where every male is a suspect from fathers to brothers to grandparents to uncles to cousins to neighbors to friends' dads.

Why?

Because we don't have the integrity or the guts to put the people who are violating our young in prison and not let them out again.

In effect - we're creating our own prisons inside our houses because we don't feel its "fair" to put sexual predators in prison for life.

Not a good choice America. Change your mind. Watch the show and join me in sending letters to our representatives to pass Senate Bill 1738 - PROTECT Our Children Act.

PROTECT would:

* Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.

* Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.

* Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

Oh and if you think it's not political - you're mistaken.

Grier Weeks, Executive Director of the National Association to Protect Children, testifies before Congress on Oct. 17, 2007. Weeks discusses the U.S. government's failure to act on information that could interdict hundreds of thousands of sexual predators and rescue hundreds of thousands of children.

"Now, the 110th Congress has the opportunity to do what the 109th, and this administration, did not: Fight back. Pay what it costs. Disrupt this market. Go get these children."

The Republican Congress and George W. Bush's administration failed to act. The FBI representative in the below video says their priorities were International Terrorism.

What it, the FBI and the Republican Administration who sets the FBI's agenda for the lat 8 years that this evil problem has grown exponentially, failed to recognize is the mass exploitation of children in violent pornography IS internal TERRORISM.

Some thing are just worth paying taxes for.


Read more on this issue:

I Agree With Bill O'Reilly (SCREAM!!!!)

Sexual Urban Legend

Photo Source: These are the Senators sponsoring the law to protect our kids: Sen. and Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Joe Biden (D), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R),
Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D), Rep. Joe Barton (R)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 3

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Pages from Ainsley, Perfect You, a book I wrote for my daughter. Steal this idea for Christmas, Please!

Subscribe to my RSS feed and/or email subscription. You don't miss the rest of this series.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pro-Girl Book Part 2

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Pages from Ainsley, Perfect You, a book I wrote for my daughter. Steal this idea for Christmas, Please!

Subscribe to my RSS feed and/or email subscription. You don't miss the rest of this series.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Steal This Christmas Gift Please!

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In everything we've been reading the damaging effects of media has been a central force.

APA Report on Sexualization of Girls, Girls Inc.'s The Supergirl Dilemma, You're Amazing, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media all cite exposure to media as a central force in the girls beginning to define themselves as less than they truly are.

While every one of these sources cite media as a potentially damaging influence, they also recommend fighting negative media with positive media.

We have the power to - not just passively ban negative media, which we should definitely do - But we have the power to CREATE positive media for our daughters about girls.

I can tell you this - my daughter thinks it's pretty cool that she's the Poster Girl for Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me. This is one of the reasons I'm inviting you to send photos of your daughter to be included as a Poster Girl on this site. It is one way to take media from outside of our world to a creative and positive medium that includes them.

I created a children's book for my daughter's 5th birthday titled Ainsley, Perfect You. I am practically begging you to STEAL this idea for Christmas (or birthdays).

We read this book before the First Day of School, whenever Ainsley makes negative comments about her self, whenever she feels insecure or whenever she wants. It's a special book that sits out on a shelf and we must wash our hands before reading it.

In the book I addressed issues of beauty, because Ainsley seemed preoccupied with what it was and exactly what criteria people were using to make the judgement about who was beautiful. I addressed school, education, intelligence and learning. I addressed self-worth and a feeling of wholeness and "enoughness." I addressed the meaning of God and her role as a Child of God. I addressed risk-taking and trying new things.

Your family may prize different characteristics or place different values as a priority. What's important, is that you can use this tool to teach her who she is, but also influence, mold and raise or define the bar of expectation for who she will become.

A-N-Y-O-N-E can do this if they have a computer, a camera, $30 and an imagination. You may be thinking you're short on imagination so, while Ainsley, Perfect You is copyrighted I give you permission to steal ideas, concepts, words, etc. Your daughter is every bit as cool as mine, but she may have different attributes and characteristics.

I encourage you to use my book for ideas, but personalize them for your daughter(s). (Of course, its good for your daughter, but don't forget your sons.)

I used www.MyPublisher.com because they were the only company who had a "storybook" feature at the time. Turns out my parents and grandparents were also interested in having a copy of this book (one project many gifts!) and My Publisher has coupons they'll send you frequently. Flickr now offers the feature, and Snapfish and probably all the other ones too.

There are 20 pages so I'll run Ainsley, Perfect You as a series, starting with this foreword. I had to scan the pages, so please forgive the quality.


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You'll want to get the RSS feed or an email subscription so you don't miss any of it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

1st PosterGirl - Hannah

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Our first Poster Girl, six-year-old Hannah, breaks boards at a friend's dojo birthday party! Thanks to her mother Jessa for getting this Poster Girl project started on the right foot!

Hannah says, she thinks "its cool to be on the Internet."

Send those photos to traceesioux@yahoo.com!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Hate Sarah Palin!

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As an advocate for girls let me make the following plea on behalf of your daughter:

Please, please, please speak respectfully of the one and only female candidate the Repubican Party has ever put on their ticket for Vice President of the United States - Sarah Palin.

What you say about Sarah Palin has the potential to translate to your daughters as your opinion of all women (including your daughter) seeking power.

Disrespectful criticism has the potential to translate, "I only respect other women if they agree with me." Your daughter may one day disagree with you. This moment, and your reaction, won't be forgotten by her.

Your example will also teach her how she should expect to be treated by those who disagree with her and how she should treat those who disagree with her.

In other words -

Mothers - don't be a mean mommy and you won't create a mean girl.

Fathers - don't reduce her to whether you'd have sex with her and you won't create a daughter who gets her self-worth from her sexuality or appearance.

I vividly remember asking my parents what the Equal Rights Amendment was as a child. I remember them telling me that it was a bill to make women equal to men. And they were voting against it.

Here's how that translated to a six-year-old girl: "My parents are voting against ME! Why would they do that?"

I also remember criticism of Geraldine Ferraro that went something like, "We'll never elect a woman president. God wants it that way."

What you might say instead of "I Hate Sarah Palin" (or worse) might be, "I think a woman would make a wonderful Vice President, I just don't agree with this particular woman's political views on ________."

It would be helpful, for your daughter, to avoid vague negative statements about Sarah's suitability as a role model for girls. Instead you could say, "I think it's wonderful that a female has gotten this far in American politics. It's wonderful that women are becoming more powerful and ambitious in both parties. I just don't agree with her views on ________."

If you minimize and criticize the significance of Sarah Palin's presence in this race, then you minimize and criticize your daughter's potential.

It is my hope, as an advocate for girls, that they will never see another election in their lifetime where there is not a woman on either ticket.

Thanks to women's adamant support of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin both Republicans and Democrats have included women this year. Our top politicians have finally realized they can't win without addressing women and women's issues.

For our daughters' sakes, let's pray the inclusion of women - on all political levels and in all political parties - becomes the norm.

To be absolutely fair I made the same plea on behalf of Hillary and your daughter right before Super Tuesday. You can revisit that story in I Hate Hillary! I also advocated voting for Hillary for the sheer reason that she would be an example to my daughter of women in power for 4 years in Shut Up John Mayer, Stop Waiting For the World To Change.

For more on my personal opinion of Sarah Palin visit Blog Fabulous, I've written plenty about her politics and the emotional conflict she's causing in me personally.

Image Source: http://gov.state.ak.us/official_portraits.php



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sexier 90210, BusRadio Ads

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The CW - same network that shows Gossip Girl - is remaking 90210, from Beverly Hills 90210, the 1990s teen drama.


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Only hotter, sexier, trashier. More today. More grown-up. More hot. In the 1990s, the girls got to wear jeans and sneakers. Now, very short skirts and very high heels.


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I haven't seen it. I don't know if it's trash-factor competes with Gossip Girl - which really, how can you out-trash Gossip Girl? I'm blushing from the idea of it.


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I got an email from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood asking me to send a letter so they would stop selling advertising to 90210 on Bus Radio. Bus Radio is the radio on school buses where they market to 1st graders as a captive audience on the way home from school. It's the same concept as Channel One. Marketing 90210 to Primary Schoolers.

Am I the only one who is wondering why I should have to send a letter to notify Bus Radio that this is inappropriate?

What's changed? Why is this allowed on Bus Radio in the first place? Where has good judgement gone?

Marketing and money. Evidently, we've given "The Market" carte blanc to advertise whatever they want, whenever they want, to whatever audience they want.

Great choice America.

This is deregulation in action.

I'm not a prude. If Gossip Girl was marketed to adult women on HBO, like Sex in the City, I might be a fan. But, Gossip Girl and 90210 is being directly marketed to children.

"Please take a moment to urge BusRadio to immediately remove all 90210 promotions from the website, including a trailer that teases several sex scenes and a banner ad, featuring the stars of the show in sexualized poses.

Your letter will be sent to BusRadio's Co-Founders, Steve Shulman and Michael Yanoff."

As parents, consumers and voters - it's wrong to allow this kind of marketing to children. Click this link to tell them so.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Face Off - Self Esteem vs. Body Dysmorphia

We went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

One particular exhibit had a disconcerting effect on me for days.

You sit in between two mirrors and look at your self.


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One is a regular mirror and show's you how you see yourself every day. The top photo is how I see myself.

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The other shows you what other people see every day. It shows you what you really look like.

Do you see a minute difference between the top photo and the bottom photo?

I've been fascinated by my own emotional reaction. Truly, it was unsettling to see my reflection differently than I do everyday.

The top photo, what I see in the mirror is more attractive to me.

My eyes are uneven in the second photo. The right eye, when looking at it, is slightly lower than the left one.

I find I hold my head slightly tilted in a way that makes my features more even. I think I also hold that eyebrow higher to make the eyes look more symmetrical. I compensate for the flaw I've really only noticed once in a photo when I was pregnant with Zack.

Since you are other people and it's not your face I really have no clue how you are perceiving the attractiveness of the two photos or whether you see the unevenness of my eyes at all. For all I know, everyone who sees me, may choose to make the same correction that I do for myself.

It strikes me as a kindness to myself that my subconscious mind chooses to correct my minor flaw so that I not only feel more attractive, but literally see myself as more attractive.

It also strikes me that people who suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia or the emotional disorder of body dysmorphia for some reason they aren't subconsciously fixing their features in their minds.

They are not only seeing their minor flaw - they are focusing on it and magnifying it.

Its also likely they are expecting the outside world, other people, to treat them the way they treat themselves. Did you see how I assumed that others would treat me with the same kindness as I show myself and that others would correct or overlook the minor flaw in their own perceptions, rather than focus on it and magnify it? This assumption is likely a result of my habit of doing such a kindness for myself and for others.

Were I unkind to myself, and if I made a habit of focusing on the minor flaws of other people, I would likely assume that others were also doing so to me.

That's my theory anyway, based on everything I've read about self-esteem, self-worth, and eating disorders and related emotional disorders.

It follows then that maybe we can teach our daughters to serve their own mental health and self-esteem.

Cutting ourselves, our daughters and others some slack for our minor physical flaws teaches, by example, our daughters this emotional skill vital to their self-preservation.

Treating ourselves, our daughters, and others - especially other girls and women - with kindness is also a teachable habit.

Self-love and self-acceptance is a skill. One we learn and one we can teach.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bikini Waxing Tweens & Early Puberty

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There was a story on MSNBC.com Today Show, Too young? Preteen girls get leg, bikini waxes, about how 20% of bikini wax customers at one Hollywood salon are tweens - pre-teen children.

"Nearly 20 percent of the clients that Nance Mitchell sees for bikini waxes in her Beverly Hills, Calif., salon are tweens, she says. . . 12 is the new normal."

"But nothing prepared her for being asked by one client to book a bikini wax appointment for her 8-year-old daughter."

{{{{{GASP}}}}}

Did you share my first reaction?

But, then I thought - wait, why is it the waxing that is making me gasp in shock?

Isn't it more alarming that 8 year olds have enough pubic hair to wax?

The sub head of the story is inaccurate: Moms are bringing daughters to spas for hair removal before puberty

The fact is that 50% of girls are getting their periods by age 10 and doctors now consider it within the "range of normal" for girls to develop outward signs of puberty, including breasts and pubic hair, by age 8. It's not that even medically alarming for 6 or 7 year olds to begin puberty, and many do begin developing breast buds or pubic hair.

Isn't it more emotionally alarming and worthy of a {{{{gasp}}}} that we're seeing a dramatic shift in girls' puberty development and no public health official is coming on the nightly news declaring,

"We're going to find an answer to this most disturbing development in girls, who hold the future reproductive burden for our entire species. In the meantime, don't let your daughters drink the water full of pharmaceuticals. Stop injecting milk and meat cows and other animals with hormones. Be wary that extra weight causes girls to make estrogen and develop pubic hair and boobs early. Avoid plastics. We're going to outlaw high fructose corn syrup in foods directly marketed to children. We understand the reproductive future of our entire nation depends on it!"

Instead, we hear about the early pubic hair trend in the fashion and beauty section of MSNBC's Today Show with a sexualization of girls slant.

Shouldn't those mothers be ashamed of themselves? the story basically asks.

Should they?

The story includes a quote by Philadelphia aesthetician Melanie Engle who says the 8 year old request for a bikini wax, "was about the mother's obsession with her daughter being a supermodel."

OK. I can buy that. I've seen mothers primp their daughters as a photographer and photographer's assistant. There is definite maternal beauty pressure.

Yet, if there was nothing to wax, if she were hairless, then her mother wouldn't be thinking her daughter needed to have anything removed to "look like a supermodel." Right?

Last year I did a story about Nair directly marketing to tween and teen girls with a "new" line of hair removal cream, Nair Pretty.

"It's profoundly disturbing," I wrote. It's also disturbing that Nair caught onto this early pubic hair trend and marketed to it, before I, as a parent, caught up with it.

I also went off on some radio DJ who was bashing Lordes, Madonna's young daughter, for having a unibrow and a slight mustache. I was appalled at the DJ's lack of class and placing all this beauty pressure on a young girl.

One brave mother, Athena of 1001 Petals, wrote in the comments section of that post, "I feel kind of bad now for telling my husband yesterday that if our daughter turned out to be as hairy as me, I'd start taking her to an esthetician for waxing as soon as it became evident -- unless she said she didn't care for it. This is because if you wax regularly at such a young age, you're saved a lifetime of regular waxing later on down the road. I had to take myself starting at 12 yrs of age, and now at 30 it is still practically a daily maintenance routine. . .I spend hundreds a year and a lot of time bothering with it."

Athena's right. The more I consider this hairy subject, the more I realize that I will likely assist my daughter, in some way, with her pubic hair and if she developed a mustache or side burns, for goodness sake, I'd help her eradicate it. Like I'm going to throw her to the Mean Girls and hope she survives?

Swim suits are not designed to cover the pubic area. They haven't been for about 40 years.

In "Clean" Bikini Line I wrote about my own struggle since my teen years with various methods of shaving, Nairing, one excruciating episode with Neet and a vicious chemical burn.

I'm amused by Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS), but I still keep my bush rather trimmed, as a courtesy to my husband. I wear swim shorts rather than show off my all my private hairs when we go swimming. The itching always gets to me mid-grow.

But, is my daughter really going to be into wearing one of these modest suits that would cover her bikini area? Am I going to make her be the only kid at the swim party or pool to do so?

I shave my pits and my legs. I pluck my eyebrows. I search for stray hairs on my chin and pluck them immediately.

It is only my budget that keeps me from getting all this hair waxed off. When I lived in NYC there was hair & waxing salon on every corner and it was a mere $30 to get my bikini and eyebrows done. I did it whenever I could afford it.

It's the least painful than other methods, it lasts longer and it was the ONLY thing that prevented razor or chemical burn - in other words waxing was the only solution that I didn't trade unwanted hair for an unwanted rash.

It seems to me a young daughter growing early pubic hair is an even bigger motivator for waxing.

Certainly, the minute girls develop breasts or pubic hair society treats her with less respect and she hears more negative and sexual comments about her body. The more she looks like a teenager or woman, the sooner she will be seen as an object for male entertainment, instead of the three-demensionable little girl, the young child, she really is.

What bigger incentive is there to hide pubic hair, keep it as private as possible, or have it removed?

Does the removal of hair further sexualize girls, because the latest fashion is for adult women to remove hair and get a Brazillian wax? Ironically (and a little disturbingly) making them look more like children.

Or does the removal of a symptom or sign of puberty buy a little girl some more time to be a child?

Please comment, I really am interested in exploring this issue further.

Empowering Girls: Hootchy Clothes

Second Generation Mean Girl

Empowering Girls: Ho'oponopono for Girl Fights

Empowering Girls: Breast Cancer Risks

Empowering Girls: Early Puberty

Precocious Puberty

Image Source: Ohana Swimwear