Posted in feminism on January 19, 2011 |
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That’s the title of New York Times journalist Peggy Orenstein’s new book. I have not read it yet but am looking forward to it after reading a review, ”Female desire and the princess culture.” Basically the book details how the color pink and toys such as baby dolls became gendered toward girls.
Not surprisingly, such intense marketing can have a negative effect. As Orenstein says, “Segregated toys discourage cross-sex friendships. … This is a public health issue. It becomes detrimental to relationships, to psychological health and well-being, when boys and girls don’t learn how to talk to one another…Part of the reason we have the divorce rates we do, domestic violence dating violence, stalking behaviors, sexual harassment is because the lack of ability to communicate between men and women.”
She also pionts out that this “princess” culture is being directed at girls precisely when their brains are growing and most vulnerable–ages 2-6. Ideas and images embedded then are likely to last a lifetime. And if variety is the spice of life, girls’ lives run the risk of being bland if they aren’t exposed to many different colors and toys.
I don’t necessarily think your daughter is at a disadvantage if she’s been around princess culture. I myself spent part of my childhood in a pink-and-purple bedroom playing with Barbies and My Little Ponies, but I didn’t turn out to be much of a girlie girl. That may be because I spent a larger part of my childhood buried in books, so I’ve always loved words and knew I wanted them to be part of my adult life. However, not every girl knows she can be an astrophysicist or civil engineer instead of traditionally feminized jobs such as a nurse or teacher.
“It’s not that pink is intrinsically bad, it is such a tiny slice of the rainbow,” Orenstein says. Indeed. So if you know a little girl, go out of your way to give her a green sweater or an astronomy book or a chemistry set. Make sure she has every opportunity to learn about all the different choices she has.
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“Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”
Quite an unfortunate statement to make on your first day on the job. Sadly, I am not overly surprised anymore by such a pious and arrogant attitude.
The governor’s comments are a perfect example of the “holier-than-thou,” self-righteous beliefs held by many evangelical and conservative Christians. As a practicing Christian myself, I am appalled that so many of my fellow Christians harbor these arrogant feelings.
I am very proud to say I have good and dear friends who are Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, agnostic, and atheist. Frankly, when I see my Muslim friends fasting during Ramadan, I believe their spirituality is as great, if not greater, than that of any Christian.
Beyond the insensitive rhetoric towards non-Christians, the governor’s statement also raises other nagging political questions like:
- Whatever happened to inclusiveness?
- Whatever happened to representing all the people of the state of Alabama and not just those who have your religious point of view?
- Whatever happened to freedom of religion?
- Whatever happened to separation of church and state?
Hopefully, Monday’s speech by Governor Bentley was a rookie blunder and is not a sign of things yet to come in Alabama or elsewhere in the United States. It is the fact that you can peacefully assemble and practice your religious beliefs without disturbance that sets the United States apart from most other nations around the world. It was our openness that brought so many to this country in search of religious freedom in the first place. And it is our diversity of ideas, opinions, beliefs, and cultures that makes us a stronger nation than we would otherwise be.
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On October 14, 1960, then Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, first proposed the idea of the Peace Corps in a brief campaign speech made at 2:00 a.m. on the steps of the University of Michigan Union. The man who turned the future President’s dream into reality was its founder and first Director, Sargent Shriver. Sadly, Mr Shriver passed away yesterday at the age of 95.
In its 50+ years of operation, the Peace Corps has sent over 200,000 Americans to 139 nations around the world. A new historic marker has been installed along State Street across from the Michigan Union to honor the events of a half-century ago that became the foundation for such an important organization.
This country not only owes a giant debt of gratitude to Sargent Shriver, but also to his wife Eunice Kennedy Shriver. It is pretty amazing to think one couple were the founders of two of America’s greatest non-profit organizations; the Peace Corps and the Special Olympics.
Ms. Shriver’s efforts with the Special Olympics have grown to such an extent that according to Sports Illustrated, in 2008 more than 3 million athletes were training for the Special Olympics in 181 countries across the globe. The magazine felt her tireless efforts were so significant, that it awarded its first ever Legacy Award to her in 2008.
Ms. Shriver preceded her husband in death in 2009. May both of them rest in well-deserved peace. They have certainly earned their angel wings through their momentous good works here on Earth. Thank you for showing the rest of us how it is supposed to be done.
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