11 Differences Between Dating A Girl And A Woman

“A girl uses her physical beauty as her currency and basis of value. A girl may be so used to feeling validated through her looks and sexuality, that she uses this as her primary tool to get what she wants in life. A woman, knows her worth is beyond her physicality. A woman bases her value on her intelligence, her strength, her integrity, her values, her contributions, her humanity.” -Huffington  Post

Recently the above quote appeared on the Facebook page of the Huffington Post. While the quote itself is an interesting perspective to ponder, I am going to have to disagree. We live in a society that places high value on the appearance of women AND girls.  Females of all ages have a difficult time navigating the media images and societal they are bombarded with on a daily basis. Honestly I feel this quote has a demeaning tone to it, as if women are not allowed to lack confidence. Confidence and maturity are not automatically co-existent.  From the time parents learn the sex of their baby they begin to genderize them into what society has said is appropriate. Pink and frilly outfits are bought. Cute purple onesies with flowers. Babies are admired “what a pretty girl.” Unfortunately, this event replays throughout a female’s childhood. They hear “what a pretty girl” “What a pretty dress” “I like your shoes” The focus on appearance begins from before day one even. Girls grow in awareness that their looks are a desirable feature to be attained to a standard set forth by society. Although the heyday of the “waif” supermodel seems behind us, thinness is still the standard promoted as the norm. This standard applies to females of all ages. It does not make one less woman and more “girl” if they lack confidence. Thankfully in our modern society there is a culture developing to encourage girls and woman to attain more than beauty. Beyonce sings “who Runs the World?” and her chorus answers “Girls!” Actresses of all body types are seen on television. Yet the pretty slender girl still get the handsome boy. We are making progress, but still have a ways to go as a society that embraces girls AND women in ALL forms. We all need to do our part to change this. We can start by saying “what a smart girl” when we compliment female children. We can praise their abilities, talent and intelligence from day one. Once we change this, girls AND women will feel validated. There will be no difference.

Peace & Prayers for Andy Lopez, for the police and for everyone

Today in Santa Rosa, CA there will be a rally in Courthouse Square with open mic for those wishing to express their views, condolences etc in regards to the shooting death of Andy Lopez.  I think peaceful protest, open mic and rallies are excellent ways for people to express themselves in this regard. Martin Luther King Junior & Mahatma Gandhi were both peaceful leaders who made an impact. While I am not going to be present at today’s events, I say prayers for all. I truly hope that people will gather, mourn, support one another & express themselves in a good way. There is an expected crowd of 1000 so its somewhat ironic police presence will be needed to ensure public safety. I implore all attendees to refrain from insults or any abuse of officers.  Please consider the safety of your fellow attendees as well as how your actions may affect the public perception of the entire group. Yesterday there was a small group of people protesting with plastic replica guns. This is not peaceful! This is not positive! It simply shows the entire thing just went over your head. As I type this, the first rally should be in full swing. I pray for everyone’s safety.  As a community, everyone is grieving for Andy. Everyone wants answers. Answers will come certainly, but please lets let the investigation take its course so facts can presented in full.

7 Cowardly Words from a Sexist Stranger

http://www.upworthy.com/7-cowardly-words-from-a-totally-sexist-stranger-sparked-this-courageous

Pages Matam “Pinata”
This is a video I saw on the interwebs this morning. Its a bit long but a powerful & pointed statement on sexual assault. Give this man some kind words & share this on your own blogs, Twitter, Facebook…
BIanca

Gone too soon…. Andy Lopez

Its been a very sad week in my hometown of Santa Rosa, in fact all of Sonoma County seems to be abuzz with news of the shooting of a 13 year old boy, by the name of  Andy Lopez.

There are facts that have come out but due to the high emotions and risk of officer safety and an ongoing investigation, not ALL of the facts have been disclosed. I dont know anyone involved but I will be referring to Andy Lopez by first name because I feel it reminds people that he was a real person.

In lieu of facts it seems all internet stories related  to this  turn into crazy accusations from both ends of the spectrum. I haven’t read any news article or internet thread that doesn’t dissolve into debate about cops, gun control, parenting. This is of course typical of the internet. Its easy for people to  have an opinion based on news clips and sound bites.  It would be  prudent to collect all of the facts before weighing in but I would like to address some of the bigger critiques I have read. But first would like to start with facts:  The police were driving through the neighborhood in question. They  saw someone carrying (what appeared to be) a (high powered very deadly) gun. If you can see an AK47, you’re already too close to it. They responded according to the situation as they would if you, me or the guy across the road had been doing the same.  Police are people too, and even in their line of work, they don’t actually want to get shot or killed. This does not make it anyone’s fault nor does it make the situation any less tragic. The officers in question I am sure feel incredibly remorseful. No matter what one might think of police, no officer wants to be the guy (or lady) that shoots a child. No one.

Per KRON4 news “A timeline released Thursday by the Santa Rosa police shows that only 10 seconds passed from the moment that the sheriff’s deputy and his partner called dispatch to report a suspicious person to the moment they called back to say shots had been fired.” Admittedly I don’t know much about police procedures but if only 10 seconds went by one wonders how they gave a command twice in that period. I”m not stating an opinion but merely putting a question mark on something I hope the official report will answer.

There’s unsubstantiated reports that Andy may have had on an IPOD and simply may not have heard the officers. Police stated that when they pulled up, Andy was in the opposite direction of them-which seems to imply they pulled up behind him. THEY have NOT said he purposefully walked away from them or ignored them. Regardless it seems their choice to pull up behind him was another unfortunate decision that could have changed the outcome.

There are people in this world evidently with the extreme view that any toy gun should not be allowed outdoors. Its a sad day when the lines between toy and real guns are so blurred one cannot tell them apart. If life or death weigh on that difference than this should concern us all.  The average toy store stocks dozens of varieties of toy guns. Children every day can be seen with Nerf, Super Soaker or Flying Disc guns.  There is no societal outcry from this. Additionally,  thirteen year old go places alone every day.  Andy was walking down his own street to a friend’s house unattended to return something that belonged to said friend. This is hardly the mark of bad parenting.

Evidently we now live in an age where its becoming harder to tell he difference between toy & real. This should be cause for concern. If a child walking down the street with a toy is cause for hysteria and his death then lets pause and consider the consequences of this. Toys should not look real. Real should also not look like toy. Recently I saw a photo a powder blue pistol marketed to women. My son’s friend saw the picture and leaned over to look at it then asked “is that real?” Enough said. This is not abut gun control. I don’t begrudge anyone the right to bear arms or defend themselves. However I do call into question how serious someone takes gun ownership when they feel the need to stamp Hello Kitty on a pistol or bedazzle it. Guns are serious business. They should not be “cute.”

Furthermore if the difference between a replica and a real gun is little more than an orange tip, this should be changed.

Many people have criticized a number of other things such as “why wasn’t Andy in school?” Frankly these things aren’t relevant.Police do not roll up and shoot children for being truant. For what it’s worth though the shooting occurred at 3:14pm. Andy’s character and parents are not on trial here. The POLICE have not given any indication that they were called because he was truant, or because Andy was doing anything with the replica in a threatening manner.  They were not called because he was a gang banger or any of the other myths that have sprung up in the internet rumor wheel. There are people out there claiming conspiracy theories and cover ups. Its a bit early in the investigation to call it a cover up. No mater what people want to believe about police, it’s far fetched to suggest they roll around looking for children to shoot.  Again, I remind people on BOTH sides of the fence  to stick with FACTS not conjecture.

It is a fact that police were called to respond to a report that someone was carrying a (very high powered, very deadly) gun. Police responded to said call. Police saw confirmation that someone was carrying (what they thought) was a high powered very deadly weapon. They responded according to the information they had at the time, which is no different than how they would respond to ANYONE carrying something of that nature.

It is also a fact that  it is against the law to carry a replica firearm or to sell one to a minor (CA Penal Code 12556) Its unfortunate that society in general takes some laws so casually. that we forget.  Its unfortunate that people don’t always know the law. Its unfortunate that a kid cant walk down the street to return what amounts to a toy without police being called. There are many unfortunate events at play here but lets call them what they are. NO ONE from the police department has stated Andy was at fault, so the internet jury should not be saying this either. NO ONE from the police department is saying the officers weren’t at  fault, so the internet jury shouldn’t either. It seems to me though, if we are basing opinions solely on fact  that this was all huge tragic misunderstanding. There are several agencies investigating what happened. The public will get facts once they are gathered. There’s no cover up here, there is caution, as well there should be.  I would like to know what happened in its entirety. The police need to gather those in order to present them, its that simple.  I trust that with so many agencies working on this that there will be a thorough investigation.

I always remind my own children to ask themselves first “does this make sense?” when trying to weigh information. There has been a lot of press regarding school shootings, and shootings in general. I understand that people are on edge about guns. But if you saw a neighbor kid in Santa Rosa calmly walking down the road casually carrying (what looked like) an AK47….does it make sense? If only Andy had not been seen that day, none of us would know who he is. I can only hope there’s some Greater Good that can come from this.

“The quality of the investigations that the Santa Rosa Police Department conducts is of the highest standard…I know we have strong working relationships with all law enforcement in Sonoma County, but we’re also professionals and we know what our task at hand is, and that’s to find out the facts.” – Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm

Note: if this seems like I’m bouncing around I apologize. I’m not taking sides. I”m searching for understanding. I will render a complete opinion when I have all the facts, and remind everyone to try and do the same.

Not a trick or treat…”Sexy Anorexia” costume.

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/07/sexy-anorexia-halloween-costume-controversy/

This morning a friend of mine posted a link to an article & accompanying photo showing a curvy pretty obvious model in a skeleton dress holding a tape measure. I was seriously at a loss for a response. Since then the internet gods have responded in many ways to the link: guys who don’t understand what the fuss is about and  girls who it triggers issues for….Unfortunately we live in a world where humor often blurs into grossly offensive. Unfortunately in this country even the offensive is covered by the First Amendment. However while no one can refuse the manufacturer the right to create such a  costume (quote/unquote) we CAN take action by way of calling the manufacturer to voice our displeasure at their choice of ideas (I mean my first thought was  how did this get tossed around a board room? “Hey guys you know what;d make a great costume idea….”??). Unfortunately my own bias crept into my assumption on how this idea came to fruition.

You see, the manufacturer, Dreamgirl, is a female run company. I will let that thought sit with you for a minute.

In further research I came upon a quote from the companies director of marketing, a woman. “While the costume is still being sold – albeit by scant few vendors – the manufacturer, Dreamgirl, discontinued it a couple of years ago. Anna Rexia was initially designed back in 2007 and Dreamgirl’s director of marketing, Alicia Brockwell, told CNN that the designer is no longer with the company.” Stating the designer is no longer with the company misleads consumers into thinking they let this person go or that it was a response to backlash. There isn’t controversy over a dusty unsold leftovers hanging out in the back of some store.  Halloween costumes are seasonal product.  The company made a choice to distribute it..  In fact the CEO defends it. “We understand that some people will not find the dark humor funny,” said Brockwell. “Or that they are sensitive to the topic it addresses. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and would never want to cause harm to anyone. Dreamgirl is a company run by women for women. Halloween is an eccentric and irreverent holiday for people to express themselves in a myriad of ways. While some people may not like a particular costume – it is a matter of taste and personal discretion.” The costume alone is not what most people likely find offensive. The outfit itself  could easily have been marketed as a sexy skeleton (sans tape measure) . Its the nonchalant attitude from female executives (FEMALE) & abhorrent consumers.

We can voice our opinion at the Halloween stores that choose to sell this. We can voice our opinion in not buying the costume. We can contact Dreamgirl  ( 1(800) 622-5686……5548 Lindbergh Lane, Bell, California…https://www.facebook.com/Dreamgirl.Intl)

Because yes, while we live in a country of free expression, no ones forcing YOU to partake in it. Bear in mind I’m not defending the manufacturer in ANY way. I don’t even want to look at the damn ad for the costume frankly. It makes me wonder how much the model got paid and what she was thinking as well. I mean REALLY?

On a deeper level, anorexia is a serious issue. It is not something to make light of much less imply is in any way “sexy.” Eating disorders are a mental illness with grave physical consequences. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, anorexia has  the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The repercussions of marketing it as “sexy” to girls and women are huge and horrible. But again let me restate: this is America. They can make it. They can sell it. YOU can call. YOU can not shop at stores carrying this costume. YOU can not purchase it . Let it collect dust on a store shelf & see how fast they decide it wasn’t a good idea.  Thankfully with this particular costume, I don’t think anyone will buy what Dreamgirl is selling.

LGBT Ally Week!

The text below is not an original piece from me but I feel its important to let people know that it is Ally Week. Below is a list of “FAQ’s” about Ally Week. I think with all that is going on in our nation today in terms of the rights of LGBT people it is important that they know who their straight allies are.

About Ally Week

What is GLSEN’s Ally Week?

GLSEN and students across the country, often as members of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar student clubs, will organize Ally Week on October 21-25, 2013 in schools and communities nationwide.

Ally Week is a week for students to engage in a national conversation and action to become better allies to LGBT youth. This doesn’t only mean straight and cisgender allies, but everyone! Read further to find out more about how anyone can be a better ally against anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language, bullying and harassment in America’s schools.

What is an Ally?

We refer to Allies as people who do not identify as LGBT students, but support this community by standing against the bullying and harassment LGBT youth face in school. Allies can be straight or cis gender identified youth and adults, or LGBT identified adults! Anyone who takes a student against anti-LGBT bullying and harassment can be an ally.

What if I’m an Educator Ally?

Educator allies are great! So great, in fact, we have a whole page, just for you! We have a educator guide to Ally Week to ensure that you’re all set when Ally Week arrives!

Click here to get taken to your awesome Educator Ally Week page!

Who started Ally Week?

In 2005, members of GLSEN’s Jump-Start National Student Leadership Team came up with an idea to celebrate Allies committed to ensuring safe and effective schools for all and to encourage students to take action. The idea turned into the first Ally Week celebrated in schools nationwide in October 2005.

What is GLSEN?

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org. 

Why do we need an Ally Week?

The unfortunate truth is that anti-LGBT bullying, violence and harassment are commonplace in America’s schools. Actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender expression are two of the top three reasons teens report that students are harassed at their schools, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a GLSEN-commissioned report by Harris Interactive. In other words, all students – LGBT and straight alike – perceive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment as a serious problem in their schools. The vast majority of these same students said their schools would be better of if this issue was better addressed. GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey found that eight out of ten LGBT students report experiencing verbal harassment at school because of their sexual orientation, six out of ten because of their gender expression, and nearly 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. GLSEN’s Ally Week brings us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools. We want to ensure that all allies understand the important role they play in making schools safer for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

What do we do after Ally Week is over?

GLSEN’s Ally Week is one part of a larger effort to create safe schools for all students. There is much you can do throughout the year to help make your school safer. Start by visiting our Student Action page where you can get information on other organizing tools, GLSEN Programs, and ideas for ways you can make your schools safer!

And make sure to check out the other GLSEN Programs, including the Day of Silence (April 11, 2014), No Name-Calling Week (January 20-24, 2014), and Changing the Game, GLSEN’s sports project.

Key Resources:

Like the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook Page to connect with other student organizers, ask questions, discuss Ally Week ideas and get up-to-date news from Ally Week staff!

The GLSEN Store has all the cool Ally Week and other GLSEN gear like t-shirts, buttons, stickers, posters and wristbands.

GLSEN.org: is the supporting organization for Ally Week and other GLSEN Programs including the National Day of Silence.

The National Day of Silence (April 11, 2014) is a student-led action in which students take a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Hundreds of thousands of students across the country and around the world will take part to educate their schools and communities and to encourage others to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior in schools.

GLSEN Research: The 2011 National School Climate Survey, a survey of 8,584 middle and high school students conducted during 2011 found that 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the previous year because of their sexual orientation and 63.9% because of their gender expression. Find more research statistics to support your organizing by going to glsen.org/research and following them on Twitter @GLSENresearch.