Should we teach toddlers about consent?

17 Nov

As many of you know, I nanny for the coolest 2-year-old ever. As someone who doesn’t plan on ever having kids of her own (which is a topic for another post), having this opportunity to watch the growth and development of another tiny human is, in all honesty, one of the most fascinating and rewarding things ever.

Obviously when I accepted the position as a nanny for a little girl I was concerned with making sure that I helped to raise her in a way that didn’t reinforce gender stereotypes and that encouraged her to be confident and happy.

What is he even doing?

What is he even doing?

Her parents feel very much the same way; they praise her bravery and strength along with her kindness and gentleness, they encourage her interest in her baby doll along with her fascination with the vehicles found at construction sites, and they’re way better than I am about not defaulting to “he” when talking about the genderless animals in her picture books (woohoo, internalized patriarchy).

However, when I took the job, I never thought that I’d be concerned with the idea of teaching a toddler about consent.

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Friday Listicle Round-Up: Girls Edition!

14 Nov

Today’s listicle round-up is centered around girls; I’m working on a post about working with toddlers, so today’s round-up is following that theme.

girls-elementary-school-300x225 Continue reading

Are you all about that bass?

4 Nov

Okay. So by now you’ve obviously seen the video for “All About That Bass” or at least heard the song on the radio.

In her video, Meghan Trainor sings that she’s “all about that bass” – a metaphor that I thought was pretty clever, as it points out that the “heavier” part of music is also the part that’s important in order for the music to have a good beat or be danceable. I’m not sure if that’s a common comparison, but I’d never heard it before. Yay for metaphors!

bassscreencap

As she sings about the fact that boys like heavier girls and about feeling good about herself, she and her non-skinny backup dancers dance happily in pastel-colored clothing.

Like many viral sensations that also carry a message, responses to the video followed a pretty familiar pattern from “OMG best thing ever!” to “Stop acting like the video is so great – it’s really problematic!”

I didn’t really have any strong opinions on the topic until I saw a response video titled “All about that bass (body positive version)”. By changing some of the lyrics, the artist attempted to “correct” the parts of the original song that many people had seen as less-than-positive.

bassbodypos

And while a lot of the criticisms of the original video are valid, I’m just not sure if they all need correcting.

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Monday listicle round-up

3 Nov

Happy Monday! Happy November!

Things here are still busy – I may have found a new place to live, I rocked a homemade minion costume this weekend at a Halloween party for a toddler, and I start training for at least one of my new jobs this week.

My minion costume

My minion costume

So, we’re just going to pretend that today’s listicle round-up is early for this week, instead of late for last week, k?

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Halloween Listicle Round-Up!

24 Oct

Hi all! You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything this week. It’s been a crazy busy one – I’m trying to find somewhere to live, so I’ve been emailing landlords like crazy and running around looking at rooms. On a more positive note, I’ve been offered (and accepted) three part-time jobs this week – when it rains, it pours! Or, really, passive-aggressively drizzles – this is England, after all. Add that to trying to plan for the holiday season (so far I’ve got three Thanksgiving dinners lined up) and my trip home to the US, and I’m mentally exhausted!

However, speaking of holidays, it’s only one week until one of my favorite holidays of the year – Halloween!

I’ve always loved getting dressed up for Halloween. One of the highlights of my high school career was the Halloween that my friends and I dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz (complete with lollipop kids and Toto!) and won the group costume award, beating out the senior girls who had dressed as the Spice Girls and performed a choreographed dance.

Can you guess which one I dressed up as?

Can you guess which one I dressed up as?

But of course I’ve also noticed how Halloween costume choices for women have, over the years, become more limited and more sexualized, prompting a flurry of articles every October that range from thoughtful to slut-shaming. And don’t even get me started on cultural appropriation!

mouse

While I’m not going to actually contribute to that flurry, I will round up a bunch of links that will be super-helpful in helping you talk about gender binaries and sexualization in Halloween costumes, and also give you some great ideas for alternative, feminist costumes.

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Friday listicle round-up

17 Oct

Good morning!

It’s been a crazy busy week here! Since returning from Munich, I’ve attended my very first high table, participated in a Wikipedia edit-a-thon in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, acted as a body double for my pole dance instructor in some intro sessions for interested freshers, and been interviewed for a job at the Bodleian Library.

LGBTyouth

Since October is LGBT history month, today’s listicles will focus on that theme!

1. Here are some nifty graphics on why LGBT history is important!

2. Check out The Advocate’s list of the 50 most influential LGBT people in media.

3. Intersectionality is important: here’s a list of 23 prominent black LGBT icons.

4. This one’s not a listicle, but find out which TV networks are the most LGBT-inclusive.

LGBTYA

5. Also not a listicle, but this study comprehensively looks at LGBT YA literature from 2003-2013. Incredibly interesting and informative!

Bonus Link: If you’re interested in LGBT YA literature, I’ve just updated my feminist reading list and gift guide with some great resources on that topic!

Have a great weekend!

Why I don’t love my body

14 Oct

Okay, so among other things, today is “love your body” day.

I’ve written before about some of the activism I’ve done relating to body image, and I know from my experience running the women’s issues club in a high school that body image is a huge issue for many girls, and from some of my everyday interactions that it’s still a huge issue for many women.

iheartmybody

(Click the image to go to one of the official “Love Your Body” Day websites)

It feels uncomfortable to say this after all of the work I’ve done on body image – I mean, I even have a t-shirt that says “I <3 my body” – but I don’t love my body.

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It’s a physics-defying space-dragon, not a choice.

12 Oct

Okay. Let’s talk about this week’s episode of Doctor Who, “Kill the Moon”.

This season has been slowly but surely restoring my faith in the series. We have a feisty and decidedly non-adorable Doctor, we’ve gotten some character development on Clara (which I personally find even more interesting since she’s a high school teacher and I can totally relate to making decisions through that lens), and we’ve even gotten some genuine creepiness.

Kill the MoonWe open with Clara telling the people of earth that “we have a terrible decision to make” – “An innocent life versus the future of all mankind”.

Now, personally I don’t think that’s a terribly difficult decision, but maybe that’s just me. I was a bit worried, from the way that Clara was looking at Courtney, that the “innocent life” that was at stake was Courtney’s herself; as a teacher, I understand how that would be a painful dilemma.

I thought that was a pretty standard setup, and I expected a pretty standard solution; the doctor would figure out a way for everybody to live, or the “innocent life” would sacrifice itself, or they would decide to sacrifice the “innocent life” and it would somehow end up not dying, or the “innocent life” would end up being not so innocent, and it wouldn’t be hard to decide to destroy it.

But oh, was I wrong.

Spoilers ahead. Also some stronger language than I tend to use. Also, rants. Lots of rants. Continue reading

Friday Listicle Round-Up

10 Oct

Running a little late today – I’m in Munich! Soaking up the sun and beer, marveling at the way that people obey the “don’t walk” signs, and getting asked for directions so often that I’m realizing I must look more than 1/8 German!

Anyway, obviously a huuuuuuge congratulations to Malala Yousafzai for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

inspiring-life-quotes-by-malala-yousafzai-3-1024x687I didn’t write anything up for today’s day of action in the 11 Days of Action sponsored by the International Day of the Girl (check out my posts for Day 3, Day 7, and Day 8)- partly because I’m traveling, and partly because I don’t think I could come up with any better way to complete the sentence “#IamaGirl and I deserve…” than with “a Nobel Peace Prize”.

So we’ll start today’s round-up with Malala’s seven best moments. Continue reading

International Day of the Girl: Day 8

8 Oct

Today’s partner in the International Day of the Girl is the Girl Scouts of America! This is an organization that is near and dear to my heart, as I was a girl scout for ten years.

I am very surprised that Peanut Butter Patties are not higher on this list. Also, I don't like Thin Mints. Never have. Probably never will.

I am very surprised that Peanut Butter Patties are not higher on this list. Also, I don’t like Thin Mints. Never have. Probably never will.

It’s always bothered me that Girl Scouting doesn’t get the same kind of respect that Boy Scouting does. For instance, boys in high school who earn their Eagle Award are celebrated, while girls in high school who are still involved in scouting try to keep it a secret.

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