Category Archives: girls

Guest Blogger: Maddie Carens

This clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live has to be one of the more creative ideas on a comedy show that I have seen in a while. This particular Jimmy Kimmel clip captures children at what seems to be the “end of the world” for them, but in retrospect it uncovers something that is a bit terrifying about todays youth.

The funny thing is, at that age I can totally see how their reactions are plausible. For them that candy is supposed to last for months. Getting the candy in the first place involved hours of their hard work, running around neighborhoods in costumes that are not always easy to maneuver in… But the sad thing is how small the issue of Halloween candy disappearing is, compared to other worldwide issues.

Now although this clip was extremely entertaining, lets get the serious part. How ridiculous is it that children in our country are so traumatized when their candy vanishes? There are children in America that can’t even have a Halloween; either costumes are too expensive, neighborhoods are not safe enough, or parents can’t afford to give their children the experience. There are people in the world starving to death, and we are upset about candy?

It is definitely something to think about, and a wake up call to those parents whose children responded in this way. It is the parent’s job to inform their children that they can’t always have everything their way, and that there are people in the world whose food situations are extremely different and challenging. This clip gives parents an incentive to step in and teach a good lesson to their children early on.

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I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world….

I was not a Barbie girl (big surprise?) I had one left over from my sister, who I don’t think was a Barbie girl, either. But I had my very own Skipper, the little sister of Barbie. She had a flat chest; this, I remember.

I suppose because Barbie was so curvy, Skipper was so much more relateable to me as a gawky kid.

I have written several posts on toys. You can read them here, here, here and here.

Contemporary toys fascinate me, especially the ones that have a history. Have you noticed that toys have changed rather drastically? We seemed tougher as kids of the 1970s. This was my Slinky:

And this is the new Slinky:

Notice a difference? The new Slinky is made of plastic. Plastic! Ours was the original, made of metal—cut your fingers when you popped open the last ring. We also had this wonderful outdoor horror, the metal slide:

Do you know what this did to the back of your legs on a sunny day? I think I still carry the skin scars from my childhood. And now, children have this pleasure:

Not only is today’s playground apparatus non-heat inducing but now it comes in bright colors! I am most surprised by the differences in relation to gender. The Easy Bake Oven, for example, looked like this when I was a kid:

And is now produced as this:

In a generation of young foodies due to Top Chef, and an entire cable network geared toward food, I wonder why Hasbro has gendered this product so strongly, limiting cross-gender possibilities. They aren’t the only ones. Here is my Big Wheel from when I was a kid:

And now, we can purchase this for the stylin’ contemporary girl:

I can tell you this: I was a total tomboy when I was a kid. This Big Wheel would have never seen my butt in its seat. Sadly, I destroyed my original Big Wheel jumping ramps in the woods with Chris K, my childhood partner-in-crime. Even the game Cootie (remember?!) has taken a huge turn. This was my cootie, once built:

And this is the new and improved Cootie:

um…wtf?

But no toy has made me turn my head as quickly as Barbie. Get this: here was my Barbie camper:

And here is today’s:

And my Barbie case:

And today:

This side-by-side comparison offers a fantastic comparison of the Barbie penthouse. If you notice, the contemporary penthouse has a hot tub. A hot tub? Really?

But I think this rattles me more than anything:

I’ll say it again: um…wtf?

The SPARK Summit

From the SPARK Summit on the sexualization of women and girls in the media and its effects on young women:

Whoa, Noah! Hold the boat!

Well, I know you all know Miley Cyrus. Let me introduce you to her little sister, Noah Cyrus:

Cute, huh?

She’s an aspiring actress, having already appeared on a few eps of Hannah Montana and taking the lead voice in last year’s English version of Ponyo.

She is a pro at walking the red carpet.

Of course, many child actors are, so I suppose this is not a big deal. Until she walks the carpet dressed like this on Halloween:

No, I don’t suppose this is a big deal to anyone. It’s a costume, right? I mean, really. She’s cute!

I mean, it’s no big deal that she poses with a bunch of other girls—that’s her on the left, in the back—hanging onto a stripper pole.

If you are still struggling with this notion about how problematic it is when we sexualize our little girls, you need to start getting critical, fast.

It should make you uncomfortable to watch a little girl singing Akon’s “Smack That” in front of a group of adults. Encouraged by a group of adults.

Especially with lyrics like this:

smack that all on the floor / smack that give me some more
smack that ‘till you get sore / smack that, oh-oo

Or dancing to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” and posting it to You Tube:

And yeah, I got those lyrics, too:

Before I leave brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack

You should wonder where her parents are when she leaves the house dressed like this:

That would be Noah in the middle. Wearing the push-up bra that is peeking out from under her shirt. And to be fair, I shouldn’t make you question where her parents are since I have given you the answer. Yeah, that’s Tish Cyrus, Noah and Miley’s mom right there on the left. Oh, I’m sorry. Did I mention that Noah is 10 yrs old?

She was only 9 when she made those videos. And posed on the red carpet. But hey, isn’t this how all 9 yr old American girls are behaving today? Think again.

Guest Blogger: Kathryn Bowering

My (7-year-old) Boyfriend’s Back??

Okay so here’s a little back story on this (ridiculous) video clip. This was posted on my facebook wall by a good friend as a joke. My reaction–laughter, disgust, disbelief–caused me to post this on the blog.

This sort of over-sexualized dance performance by very young girls is becoming alarmingly common in the competition dance world. Growing up a competition dancer myself, I can tell you that times have most certainly changed. When I was younger, it was unheard of to see 7 and 8-year-olds wearing such revealing costumes and performing movement that is potentially harmful to their bodies. Young dancers were often taught to look “cutesy,” but they were never objectified to this extent. Aside from the fact they they are basically wearing bras and underwear, these girls are grinding with each other, sticking out their flat chests, and shaking their tiny prepubescent asses like women in a music video. It’s out of control. And the craziest part of this whole scenario is that this dance won the top award/highest score at the competition. Now these girls are indeed talented, but what kind of message is that sending to other little girls, their dance teachers, and the general public?

Not to mention, some of the actual steps they are performing are downright unhealthy for growing bodies–pushing flexibility too far can damage the hips and overusing the spine at such a young age is harmful for growth and development. Whoever is training these girls is exploiting their talent to win awards at dance competitions instead of considering their best interests as dancers and training them properly.

Finally, let’s think about the song, “My Boyfriend’s Back.” Some of the lyrics are not only objectifying to women but also suggestive of sexuality way beyond the scope of a 7-year-old’s life (hopefully.) The entire song talks about telling another man to “step off” because he’s going to be in trouble when her boyfriend finds out. “My boyfriend’s back; he’s gonna save my reputation” is one of the lyrics. Of course, the female needs to be saved by the male, and her reputation as a “good girl” has been tarnished in his absence.

I can’t help but wonder about one question: Where are the parents? Are they crazy stage-moms who want to win awards regardless of the damage it can do to the child? Who knows. All I have to say is that while watching this video is certainly entertaining, it really left a bad taste in my mouth. The art form of dance itself has been degraded by such objectification and exploitation of young dancers, and this sends a terrible message about gender roles to society.

Not another one!

First, we had to say goodbye to Samantha. Now, we are losing Felicity!

my poor girlie heart cannot take this.

June Bride on a Feather Bed

I attended art school in Atlanta. This introduced a Cleveland-born-and-bred girl to a world of southern sayings. Some of my favorites:

Hotter than Savannah asphalt.
Higher than a Georgia pine.
Hornier than a ten-peckered owl.

And my absolute favorite:

Prettier than a June bride on a feather bed.

It’s such a loaded phrase. And it was on my mind all weekend. ‘Tis the season, you know. June Brides will be filling the salons and the Target Wedding Registry kiosks.

Let’s track this frenzy, shall we? It starts with the wedding porn, you know.

There is an entire section of bridal magazines at your local Borders. And brides-to-be need to buy these magazines new and not used because well, who wants outdated colors at their wedding? And all the effort into finding just the right cake

And bridal party gowns that will never be worn again

and making the choice between the veil or the tiara or both and how the hair should be worn

all moving toward the excitement of finding out that any bride—or those that can afford it—can wear a wedding dress just like a Disney princess!

Because, if you learn anything about weddings, you must learn this: It is all about the dress.

So this whole June Bride thing really hovered over me this past weekend. I drove out to Jersey to see my 8-yr-old niece receive her First Communion. For those of you that are not catholic, this is a pretty big deal in the Catholic Church. It’s when Catholics accept their role in the church as a parishioner and as a follower of Christ by receiving the Holy Eucharist.

There is a lot of symbolism in receiving the Eucharist, as with many religious ceremonies. But I am only going to focus on one thing here. While receiving First Communion is a sacrament within the Catholic Church, for many female Catholics: it is all about the dress.

Which is why June Brides were on my mind all weekend.

You’ll notice in this picture that the little boy is wearing a suit—not a tux. But the little girl is wearing something very akin to a wedding dress.

The shoes, the tights, the dress—and yes, the veil—is a huge focus for the female First Communicant. They even parade them down the church aisle like little brides linked with their male partner. At my niece’s ceremony, the church even played Pachelbel’s Canon, a song quickly becoming the most popular of wedding hymns.

(This happens again for nuns, btw. When they receive their vows, they essentially are “marrying” God. They even begin wearing a gold wedding band on their ring finger.)

My niece was so excited about her dress that it was a huge focal point the whole weekend. Her cousin, who received her First Communion the weekend before, belongs to a parish that is economically diverse so all Communicants wear a white robe—church provided—for their ceremony. But my sister-in-law’s sister told me that most of the girls had communion dresses on under their robes, anyway.

There is no way any female catholic is going to be cheated out of a chance to wear that dress and veil. My mother made my communion dress. It was the highlight of my entire second grade year—it had a baby-blue ribbon braided into the bodice and on that day, I felt like the most beautiful girl on the planet. Because that’s what we tell our brides, right?

Us girls. Always wanting to be the bride. Wonder where that comes from?

There’s a story here….

…and it’s dying to be told.

Ice Skating: OUT. Gymnastics: IN.

This afternoon was the Tyson American Cup. This is a pretty big deal for gymnastics—not only is it the major international meet on American soil, it is the first meet of the season when most gymnasts present their newest routines for the first time. What premiered today gave us an idea of who might end up in London in two years.

I won’t tell you who won—you can hit up the website and check out for yourself. And I am sure that the videos will be up on YouTube before the night is out. I just have this to ask: will the Romanians ever reclaim their brilliance? Check out 1984. ‘Cuz seriously, they really are the best gymnasts out there but this last decade and a half, they have pretty much faltered.

So the Romanians have two years to get their act together. Which is just enough time for me to start getting you all pumped with excitement.

Yes, I know I am going to hell. You all told me that when I posted my last round of athlete’s accidents before the 2010 Olympic disaster. For the record, there is not a gymnastic accident on video that I have never seen. Just so you know.





While not an accident or blooper, a bad-ass beam routine: