Hardy Girl’s Spark a change at Seventeen Magazine!

BettyJean Downing

Last year on The Majority United was honored to have a representative from Hardy Girls on TMU Radio to discuss their work on stopping the sexualization of girls. I am proud and please to bring you the following update about what they have achieved.

We have also had a former writer from Seventeen Audrey Brashich http://www.audreybrashich.com/

Author : All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty who left Seventeen to make a difference – serving on boards dedicated to fostering critical analysis of media messages, and consulted with national organizations such as Girls Inc. on their programming and policies for girls.

We are all exciting to read the following and look forward to continuing progress I the future. Please reach out to Seventeen and let them know that you approve of the change and by all means  support hardy Girls and the wonderful work they do.

If you don’t already have Audrey’s book – it is available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/All-Made-Up-Celebrity-Celebrate/dp/0802777449

The Next Feminist Movement is Girl-Powered

In our

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May e-news, we talked about the SPARKTeam’s activism, and Julia Bluhm’s Change.org petition, asking Seventeen magazine to commit to just one photoshop-free spread per month to celebrate real girls.  As a founding partner of SPARK, we are excited about how the SPARKTeam is taking action to end the sexualization of girls and women in the media.  While staging a mock photo shoot in front of Seventeen’s New York City headquarters, Julia was invited to speak directly to Seventeen‘s Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket about her concerns.  Julia hadn’t heard back from Seventeen, so she was left to think that while they had listened to her and the almost 86,000 people who signed her petition, they weren’t going to make any changes.

However, that assumption was proven wrong when the August issue of Seventeen magazine arrived on her doorstep.  In her Editor’s letter, Ann Shoket discussed their “Body Peace Treaty” where they pledged to “always feature real girls and models who are healthy” and to “be totally up-front about what goes into our photo shoots.” We believe that the activism of Julia, Izzy Labbe, and the entire SPARK team has brought the issue of the negative effects of the hyper-sexualization of girls and women to the public’s attention.

Read more on our blog, including a link to the story about SPARK that was on the front page of the Boston Globe on July 11, 2012.

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Father: “I realised something horrible today, my little girls are being diminished”

BettyJean Kling

Somehow I wandered into a gaming site where a father posted the following realization about what he is up against being the father of daughters in such a sexists climate as this. I also read the comments of other gamers who responded. I was curious  as to the amount of support he would get – it was mixed for the most part. 

I just had to post this man’s piece. I also had to post one idot’s reply. I say idiot because he was not even smart enough to realize he was one of the dummies he was recognizing and so opposed to exposing.

As long as I’ve politically aware, I’ve been broadly supportive of the aims of feminism without ever worrying myself about the details or indeed about the effects that feminists catalogue of discrimination on the lives of women. “This is bad”, I would think. “Something ought to be done”. But in terms of actually doing anything well, I left that to the feminists.

Since becoming a father to first one, then two, daughters, this perception has slowly changed. As I read “girls” books with them, or play “girls” toys with them or watch “girls” TV with them I have become aware, and saddened by the subtle way in which these things diminish the expectations and lives of little girls. There are few enough stories and stereotypes that feature females as the main characters. And when so many of them that are ostensibly about girls actually end up carrying the implicit message that what they should be worrying about is how their actions end up affecting the men in their lives, what hope is there for them to grow into strong, independent young women?

This makes me very sad. I’ve tried to treat it in a sensible fashion. Alongside the Disney things and traditional toys that they desire I do a little research and try to ensure that at least some of the things they get to play with have more central, adventurous female role models. Push it too far, start banning stuff, and you run the danger of bringing them up as social freaks or, worse, making them hate the messages that you’re trying to get them to take notice of.

As I’ve slowly grown into this realisation it’s struck me that more and more men who have daughters – especially those who, like me, have no sons to dilute their attention – must notice the same thing. It’s not like it requires a massive level of perception of intelligence to distil – it’s obvious once you, as a man, get exposed to all these “girls” things that you’d probably never otherwise notice or hear about. And so it made me wonder why it was that more and more middle-aged men aren’t, as a result, sticking up for at least the moderate sections of the feminist cause, aren’t helping the women to make a fuss about this stuff, get it noticed.

I was listening to the radio this morning, to a segment about stalkers who are almost inevitably men stalking, threatening, damaging both psychologically and physically, women, when the answer struck me. The reason is because a lot of fathers accept this stuff. They think it’s right and good and proper that their little girls grow up to be attendant to the needs and desires of men, and to put those needs and desire secondary to their own, believing that the men will handle things for them, and handle them better, just because they’re men.

That realisation has made me feel quite profoundly depressed.

Now for  a smart comment: Jorge Montero (hibikir)

There are movies presenting positive female role models for little girls, if younlook. I have no daughters, so I wonder instead about why there are so many men on TV that seem to be intellectually inadequate. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/734765/i-realised-something-horrible-today

My Comment: BettyJean Kling (The Majority United)

RE: There are movies presenting positive female role models for little girls, if younlook. I have no daughters, so I wonder instead about why there are so many men on TV that seem to be intellectually inadequate.

I am stunned with your comment. Obviously, you have missed the point of this piece completely. In fact even the writer should have provided the following visual demonstartional evidence for the viewers perusal.

I suggest you view the trailer known as MissRepresentation. It can be seen as a 3 or 8 minute video at the following link. Perhaps this will open your eyes to the point! http://vimeo.com/28066212.

If the link is not accepted here – google ‘video for MissRepresentation’ – every father of boys or girls needs to see it! Every teacher needs to make sure this is seens by young people. Get it in your colleges, Libraries and high Schools.

Amber Cole Alert: She’s 14

BettyJean Downing Kling
Reporting the one-woman crusade of AnnaBelle of Peacocks and Lilies

Excerpt:

At some point in the early morning hours of October 17, 2011 “Shes 14” and “Sketchers” (WARNING: Highly Offensive) began to trend on twitter and I explored it as I do many trends. Shortly I found out that the hullabaloo was over a young 14 year old African-American girl from Memphis, TN who had been videotaped performing oral sex on a male at what looked like a school. Apparently whoever posted the video posted the girl’s name as well–Amber Cole. I found the #AmberCole hashtag (WARNING: Highly Offensive) and began to follow it. It became evident rather quickly that this video was real and was being passed around on twitter. Amber Cole may have even created her own account in response to the video being posted. Her account is @DaRealAmberCole….

I was certainly offended by the crass level of humor being tweeted about this poor girl, but it is Twitter after all, and that’s par for the course. It’s still a free country and people can talk. What they can’t do is distribute child pornography, which is what people were doing every single time they posted the link to the video. They were so blase about it. Here’s a 14 year old giving head! As if it were perfectly normal and it hadn’t occurred to them that it might be illegal, let alone immoral. …

Update2: I’ve decided I’m not stopping until this video is off Twitter. I’ve also contacted Sketchers to make sure they know that their brand is being associated with child porn. I don’t know if my one message will get through, though, so you might consider contacting them yourself. Here’s the link. I know you’re reading. I can see the blog stats shoot through the roof. Will you stand idly by while this happens? While more and more people victimize this young lady?

So far this is a one-woman crusade to stop the distribution of a child porn video that trending worldwide on twitter and virally finding its way onto myriad other sites, I can’t catch it all. Does anyone care about child pornography anymore? Or is it the girl’s race or economic status that is stopping you from acting? Gave head when you were 14? Got head? Well, you certainly didn’t sign on for someone to videotape it and post it to the internet with your name, for goodness sakes.

I could really use some help here, folks. I’m tracking #AmberCole and #Sketchers for people posting the video and then replying to them with this message: “Please remove the #AmberCole child porn video from your timeline or I will have to report you. #Sketchers Shes14”

Read full text here:
http://peacocksandlilies.com/2011/10/17/ambercole-child-pornography-on-twitter/

Read updates and to join the effort: http://peacocksandlilies.com/2011/10/17/action-alert-how-you-can-help-ambercole-and-fight-child-pornography/

Female: What is she? Not easily defined even by herself.

Another Rant by: BettyJean Kling

What is a female? A Female is depicted by others everyday all day long all over the world. Does anyone anywhere even know who or what a female is anymore? Does a female even know who she is? Ask her – she will tell you who she is to someone else no doubt! Lately it has become vogue to brag about being a mother. ‘As a Mom’, ‘Proud to be a mom’, ‘A Million Moms’ ‘Just a Mom’.

I am one of those and belong to every one of those online groups and darn happy to be a mom a grand mom and a great grand mom and proud to belong to all of the mom groups as well.

I am also a US citizen and proud to be one – and a wife and proud to be one a daughter and proud to be one but I am ultimately a female and when I take away all the other labels –I remain far and away a female. I need to know that as one of 52% of civilization – and of all of the population, I am something unique unto myself as well as a part of something and someone else!

How many of us unique females have no children, husband, siblings, or parents alive. What does that make us– nothings?

I dare say we had damned well better wake up and recognize that we are so much more than someone else’s something, subordinate only to them. As proud as we are to be part of a family, a marriage, and as parents we have forgotten we are in the end individuals.

If you are a religious or God fearing individual- God made you in his image – you are responsible to him for what you do about you too.   Religious or envirionmentalists — as females we are the majority on this earth and as such we have a responsibility to be lights and good stewards and responsible to teach our daughters and our sons by example.  As an example we should not be turning our backs  away from what is wrong but we need to turn against it.

 The time is now! There is a war on woman all across this world and it is up to every woman to stand up and say NO! Sadly, we spend less time on the community of women and to helping each other, which would strengthen our causes then we do on fighting each other. Indeed, it takes a village and yet we fight against other never realizing we are our worse enemies when we should be our best warriors.  Think again!

It is up to women to teach our sons and daughters that females are to be highly respected and we are to be accepted just as we are! We are not second-class citizens- not here – not anywhere around the world – let us stand up and start acting like it! We are woman first – not black women – not Hispanic – not gay- not straight – not someone’s wife or daughter first – to our own selves we need to be true!

Ask yourself — What is a female? Make sure you know your worth and be prepared to teach it to others – to your chidren!

Look at your daughters – know what a female is. When you look at your little girl – do you airbrush her perfect? Doesn’t she deserve to be a first class human being or are you raising her to be someone’s something? When you see a report of a wife missing or found dead at the hand of her husband – do you realize that could be your daughter you gave to a husband in marriage? Did you give her as a peice of property? Do you think those parents ever dreamed of such horror? In many religions, men are reared to treat their women this way and  these customs are coming here. Not that our men have not been bad enough here all along.

We are faced with two extremes regarding the treatment and condition of women right here in the US. There is a liberal or a conservative view – Sexualization or Religion both render her less than! Neither extreme is acceptable and we have no right to decide which box is right for your daughters! Human rights belong to every female and each of us is born with inalienable rights. These rights are being abrogated by man and government and it is being tolerated by the majority of our citizens in this the US an otherwise free country.

We the women of the US are not subjects of the government- slaves to our husbands nor are we subject to the churches. We are free human beings, brainwashed into submission by men who we can simply out vote by uniting against them and demanding our civil and human rights!

WHY? Because we women have not stood, up and said NO! We have hidden our eyes from the truth! Women in our society are disrespected and we can stop it now.

Reported in the US http://www.feminist.com/antiviolence/facts.html

4-5 women a day are murdered by their husbands in the US
1 in 4 women a day are beaten – only half are reported so 1-2 are feared to be harmed
1 in 4 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years

http://www.wisechoice.net/porn-statistics/

100,000’s a day have a Tiger Woods for a husband
Over 50% of men accessing the internet are using internet pornography on purpose
Internet Porn is the fasting growing cause of divorce in the United States

Pornographic websites 4.2 million (12% of total websites)
Pornographic pages 420 million
Daily pornographic search engine requests 68 million (25% of total search engine requests)
Daily pornographic emails 2.5 billion (8% of total emails)
Internet users who view porn 42.7%
Received unwanted exposure to sexual material 34%
Average daily pornographic emails/user 4.5 per Internet user
Monthly Pornographic downloads (Peer-to-peer) 1.5 billion (35% of all downloads)
Daily Gnutella “child pornography” requests 116,000
Websites offering illegal child pornography 100,000
Sexual solicitations of youth made in chat rooms 89%
Youths who received sexual solicitation 1 in 7 (down from 2003 stat of 1 in 3)
Worldwide visitors to pornographic web sites 72 million visitors to pornography: Monthly
Internet Pornography Sales $4.9 billion

Women appear to be brainwashed, given only two choices, Conservative or Liberal- Madonna or the whore. It’s only natural to fear the antithesis of the box we were forced into. If we break out of these boxes and stop fighting for the same booby prizes we can achieve the main goal. Why settle to be with a big wig who can at any time toss us aside when we can be the big wig ourselves? I would rather be in control than behind someone in control of me!

1.) Jessica Alba

Have you wondered how some celebrities manage to keep their seemingly perfect figures after pregnancy? Is it the personal trainers and private chefs that do the trick? Not entirely or perhaps not at all.  It’s the airbrusher! The real Jessica Alba , months after giving birth, is seen airbrushed, note the trimmed waistline and hips.

2.) Beyonce

I wonder why Vanity Fair digitally altered Beyonce’s image to appear several shades lighter on their cover.

3.) Kate Winslet

Although denies any retouching was done for her 2008 Vanity Fair photo shoot, a professional airbrusher interviewed by the Daily Mail disagrees:  “There is no real detail in her face. Any detail or wrinkles have been removed. There are no eye bags, contours and smile lines. Her bottom has been rounded off so it looks nice and pert. I would be very surprised if her bottom was like that naturally.”

4.) Britney Spears

These side-by-side photos were taken within days of one another.

5.) Julia Roberts

The Redbook editors plucked Roberts head from a paparazzi shot taken at the 2002 People’s Choice Awards while her body was borrowed from the Notting Hill movie premiere four years ago. The clipped-together photo is accompanied by a headline that blares, without a trace of irony, “The Real Julia.” 

6.) Jennifer Aniston

Wish you could have washboard abs like Jennifer Aniston after the age of 40? America’s favorite Friend does as well. When asked by host Barabara Walters what happened to the modest girl next door we used to love, Jen laughed, “She’s there! Photoshopped!”

7.) Sarah Palin

The body belongs to a 22 year-old woman known only as Elizabeth. An unemployed web site designer from New York City found the four year old pic on Flickr and pasted Gov. Palin’s head on it as a spoof for her Facebook page. And the rest has become as much a part of political yore as Swift Boat and Dukakis in a tank.

 

8.) Kelly Clarkson

Apparently Kelly Clarkson grew tired of Howard Stern making cracks about her ass and did something about it, or shall I say had her airbrusher do something about it.

The airbrushing later became so pronounced on her new album cover that Clarkson barely recognized herself. On a blog entry she wrote: “Its very colorful and they have definitely Photoshopped the crap out of me . . . Whoever she is, she looks great, ha!”

9.) The Women of the Israeli Cabinet

In a move straight out of Pravda, the Israeli ultra-Orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman airbrushed two female cabinet members out of a picture of the Israeli Cabinet and replaced them with two men not even in the cabinet.  The newspaper claims picturing women violates their laws of modesty but here in the States it simply violates our laws of common decency.

 
 

10.) The Dove Soap Women

Remember the Dove Soap campaign featuring “real”, full-figured women instead of the airbrushed, fake supermodels we’ve grown so accustomed to? Even when Madison Avenue ad executives try to keep it real, their itchy airbrush fingers get the best of them.

According to retoucher Pascal Dangin, these ladies were just as fake as the supermodels we so love to poke fun at. “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” he asked. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”

 

Gentlemen, next time your lady tells you the Hollywood ideal of beauty is impossible to live up to, believe her. And Ladies next time you think only a trollop posses for these things – think of the Israeli Cabinet members who disapeared.

Please do not write me comments about the women who pose for these- it is easy to blame women and leave the men blameless or to blame men but the truth is this: Sex sells because we have been selling women forever. For all of history we have been selling women- there are more of us then there are of them – let’s just stand up and stop it now when and where we can! ? Start with the advertisers. ‘Boycott them – but do it collectively so one gets hurt badly at a time- one at a time money talks!

What is a Female – do you know? How will you explain it to your 3 year old? Do you want to tell her she must grow up to be a mother even if her body will never make her one? Do you want to teach her to submit to a man who may beat her to death? Do you want to teach your 3 year old boy not to believe what his lying eyes tell him to believe ? She is not what he thinks she is – she is not what you think she is either!

She is a total work of art- she is every bit as valuable as the son you may have bore — act like it- fight for her right to be treated as the whole – human being she is! Do it Now!

Terry O’Neil does NOW proud

BettyJean Kling

 I know Terry, I helped get her elected and believe me – she is much less radical than her predecessors. She is however, presiding over NOW the National Organization of Women or as it should be named more appropriately, NODW the National Organization of Democratic Women and is therefore obliged to tow the party line. And tow the party line she has as was evidenced by her latest comments this week.

When Terry ran, I had high hopes that NOW , under her leadership, would open up to all women and so those of us who voted for Sarah went to Terry’s side and voted for her over Kim Gandy. Terry the presidency by a slim eight votes and everyone there knew it was the Sarah voters that took Terry over the top. It was no secret , in fact it was the talk of the weekend culminating in the election of  June 20, 2009.

We hoped Terry would remember the moderates who helped put her in and open NOW to all women but apparently the good ol Gals and the single issue ideology that keeps women from uniting has prevented Terry from taking NOW up a notch or back in time to era when the organization’s true goal is to serve and empower all women nationwide.

 My heart skipped a beat when I heard Terry on behalf of NOW come out in support of Michelle Bachmann this week over the Newsweek cover.

“It’s the combination of they snap the photo of her with her eyes very wide – people call it ‘crazy eyed’ – plus that huge label they slap on her as the Queen of Rage,” O’Neill told ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe in a phone interview. “As much as I disagree with everything she stands for, she is a serious viable candidate for the United States presidency and there is no male viable candidate who has ever been treated this way.”

Terry hit the nail on the head, we need more women to run and they will not unless we stand up and force fairness in the media. Men are not treated the same way. Hillary, Sarah,and now Michelle—there is a pattern of sexism preventing women from holding the highest offices.

As of 2011, there were 72 women out of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 17 women out of 100 members of the U.S. Senate. That’s just 89 women, or a mere 16.6 percent. Only 268 women have served in Congress since it was established some 222 years ago.

I applaud NOW for stepping up however, how is it Terry’s job or NOW’s to defeat conservative women?

“The main reason why we would stand up for Michele Bachmann and defend her against these kind of misogynistic attacks is we want women to run for office. Of course my job is to defeat Michele Bachmann and I intend to do so. But good women will not run for office if Newsweek magazine can do this to such a prominent politician and get away with it.” http://dailycaller.com/2011/08/08/the-national-organization-for-women-defends-bachmann-against-newsweek/#ixzz1Ud9M9O6l

Perhaps it is time to change NOW into NODW?

Italy: Millions demand respect and dignity for women

Contributed By: Lisa Thompson

Silvio Berlusconi faces nation's women as a million protesters take to streets

Italians are the first country worldwide to stand in defense of the human rights of women. While the rest of the world takes weeks to amass a nearly a million (mostly men) to their squares to demand political freedom, Italy amasses a million on Day one – most of them Women demanding RESPECT for women!

The aim of the rally was for women to protest at how their dignity and the image of the country had been offended by the media tycoon’s obsession with young girls.

Mr Berlusconi was said to have watched the rally on TV but made no public comment.

Mariastella Gelmini, the education minister, said: “It’s just a small protest from trendy radical chics,” while another minister Daniele Santanche said: “It’s a shame there is so much hatred towards one man.”

Dear Friends:

Here is an update on the scandal involving Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. You may recall that he is accused of buying sex from a minor.

The reporting indicates that there were widespread protests in as many as 230 Italian cities, as well as locations in Japan and France! The Telegraph reports that, “Demonstrators, including prostitutes and nuns, carried banners saying: ‘Berlusconi resign now’ while another said ‘No prostitutes, no Madonnas, just women.’”

This is a stirring uprising. May this be the beginning of new era of respect and dignity for women in Italy!

Abolition!

Italians Protest Over Berlusconi Scandals
By RACHEL DONADIO and ELISABETTA POVOLEDO

Published: February 13, 2011

ROME — With signs reading “Enough!” and “We want a country that respects women,” thousands took to the streets across Italy on Sunday in coordinated demonstrations against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, but their outpouring of frustration did not look poised to bring about political change.

The demonstrations — called “If not now, when?” after a Primo Levi book about the Holocaust — captured the frustration of Italians angered at the role of women in Mr. Berlusconi’s Italy, as well as a deep pessimism about the future and what they see as a growing divide between the country’s ills and the government’s concerns.

Repressive Female Sex Culture

“After I’ve just gotten laid, the first thing I think about is that I can’t wait to tell my crew who I just did. Omigod, they’re not going to believe I just did Kristy. They’ll all be high-fiving me.”

Guys routinely celebrate having sex. The messages they give each other pretty much translate to, “Sex is great! And more is better!” 

But what do women hear? 

After anticipating “high-fives” for his sexual success, the young man above adds: “And Kristy? She’ll probably ask me not to tell anyone, to protect her reputation.” 

Men and women receive very different messages about sex. 

In fact, the term “hookup” is deliberately ambiguous. It can mean anything from kissing to intercourse. So if a guy says he hooked up, he’s hoping other guys think he went “all the way.” But if a girl hooks up, she hopes her friends hear, “I kissed him.” 

At one northeastern college, men returning to the fraternities after a night at the dorms are said to be strolling the Walk of Fame. But women returning to the dorms from a frat are taking the Walk of Shame. 

A few years back a fraternity at Dartmouth published the names of all of the women the brothers had had sex with, making disparaging comments about them. 

Is sex something to avoid? Something dirty? Or something to pursue with a vengeance? It all depends on whether you’re male of female. 

When it comes to sex, men are celebrated but women risk punishment. 

Many think sexual repression is not a problem in our society – that these notions never reach the subconscious. Yet women can come to turn off sexual feeling, whether they realize it or not. Not feeling can be safer. 

Sex therapist, Lonnie Barbach, says that highly repressive societies create women who have difficulty climaxing, while women in non-repressive societies have regular and satisfactory orgasms.  

In 1972, when women were more penalized than they are today, a Playboy foundation survey found that more than half of single women under age 25 found their first sexual experience neutral or unpleasant. Only 20% found sex highly pleasurable.

Things may not be as bad today. Indiana University’s recently released sex survey found that 58% of women in their 20s had had an orgasm the last time they had sex. But when that compares with 96% of their male counterparts, we see the tell-tale signs of continuing repression.

But really, should we be surprised?  

Men who slut-shame don’t seem too worried that women won’t enjoy sex with them. After watching sex-craved porn stars, and thinking that accurately reflects women’s sexuality, perhaps they assume women can’t help but come back for more. No matter what.  

Some will interpret my observation that men are more sex-positive and more promiscuous as prescribing male behavior to everyone. As one reader put it“But I don’t want to run around like a tart!”

Actually, I want to have a conversation about the positives and negatives of so-called men’s and women’s ways of doing sex. It is certainly not better to treat people like currency – the more you bang the higher your status. But what can women learn from men, and what can men learn from women? 

Georgia Platts 

Sources: (quotes edited for length and clarity)
Lonnie Barbach. For Yourself. Anchor. 2000; Michael Kimmel. Guyland. Harper. 2008