The Last Word:
Some Thoughts on Victim Blaming
As women, we are vulnerable to acts of violence because: we live in a violent and misogynist world and we are perceived as vulnerable, we are often physically smaller, we are not taught skills to defend ourselves or effectively prevent violent confrontations. ....
What About the Men…?
Less than 100 years ago, women in North America were not considered people under the law – they were in the same category with criminals, crazy people and animals. Some people may say things have changed - women have equality now. The "Women's Movement" is passé. A global "snapshot" of current conditions for women gives us a clear picture of how far we've come: In current times, women are burned in India, (the leading cause of death for women in India is "kitchen fires") mass raped in Bosnia, infibulated in Africa, robbed of their human rights in Afghanistan. ...
“Am I pretty, mummy?”
Building the Core-self of Female Children
I remember, as a child, hearing my mother sing this song:
“I asked my mother what will I be...? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Here’s what she said to me....(now I was really listening because I thought the song would offer me the answer – and I really, really wanted to know!). Que sera, sera whatever will be, will be....”
How disappointing! How unsatisfying! ...
Dying to be Seen
“If a woman walks into a room and there’s no man there to see her, does she still exist?”
Male Gaze Junkies
Girls live in a world where what they look like is paramount. The gender stereotypes, which are deeply imbedded in our society, dictate that both genders should strive for perfect bodies. Too much focus on physical appearance can be damaging for both males and females. However, the intense focus on appearance is far more pervasive for females and the effects of objectification are more potent for females. A male can get by on achievement, brains and personality whereas a woman, in order to be desirable, must have beauty. And to make
matters worse, too much success, brains or personality can weigh in against her as she may be perceived as being threatening to the stereotypical males need for dominance and higher status. The unrelenting focus on appearance which our girls are flooded with through the media creates a gender of male-gaze junkies. It is tragic to think that a teenage girl’s main goal in life might be, to be “hot”. ...
We Are the Fire Keepers
By Anita Roberts
As girls we are taught that being “nice” is paramount. We are rewarded for selfless behaviours, obedience, and helping actions. The rewards aren’t large or even concrete: an approving nod, a smile, or the encouraging phrase, “good girl!” Often, as we get older, the rewards get fewer and farther between. Our “good girl” behaviours are taken for granted. It’s our nature after all.
It’s true. Females are hormonally-wired to nurture life. That’s simple science. This combination of socialization and biology create a gender which puts others needs before its own and beings who have become so sensitized to what others need, we feel guilty when our own needs are being met. What about all the starving children after all!! ...
It’s not a Girl friendly culture:
Most world leaders, law makers, law enforcers, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Pope, baby Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Allah, the Creator, God - all guys! We live in a culture that makes a fortune out of sexual violence. Most of that violence is against girls and women. Pornography for example - If they showed pictures or films of
similar things being done to a particular race - or for that matter, animals - racial equality groups or animal rights activists would put a stop to it. In fact, we live in a culture where violence against women is considered “entertainment”. A culture that makes and watches "Slasher" movies where women run around screaming trying to get away from men with knives. It seems it is completely acceptable to use images of violence against women - in movies, music and in advertising...
The Broken Bowl
Always Hungry / Never Full
The topic of self-esteem building for children is very complex and elusive. It can be challenging for parents and educators to identify the concept of self esteem and even more difficult to define it for children and youth. The metaphor of the, “broken bowl” can help us understand the concept of self-esteem and in particular the dynamics of children who bully and children who are bullied....
THE INNER BULLY
Working with Negative Self-Talk
STOP BULLYING? How long is that going to take? And in the meantime, how are our children going to navigate the unrelenting, painful and potentially life threatening moments they are faced with every single day? We may not be able to stop bullying any time soon. What is required is a profound social/cultural shift and it will take a long, long time. And while we are
busy going out to WAR ON BULLIES, how many more kids will take their own lives? ...
BOYS OR MONSTERS?
By Anita Roberts
I’ve heard the word, “monster” over and over again to describe the two young men who committed the monstrous act, which ended the precious life of Kimberly Proctor. As an educator who has been working in the field of gender socialization and youth violence for over three decades, I have had many, many years to consider the question: Boys or Monsters? This is the question that I have found myself asking myself and the question that seems to be in the subtext of the media coverage on the ongoing coverage on the Proctor case. It’s been just over a year and it seems timely to open a discussion about the socialization of our boys. ...
ODE TO TEENAGERS
What is sullen then cheerful?
Is a handful, an ear-full
Can change on a dime
Plugged in or unplugged or always on line?
What makes us tearful
And at times fearful
Is both foolish and wise
And expert at pulling wool over our eyes?
Unwritten Rules on “How to be a Man”
Unwritten and never formally declared, a very precise code of manhood exists. It is passed down and taught by fathers, brothers, family, friends, media, the military, teachers, and coaches. The root of this code lies in the fact that males are generally stronger than females. The code defines power as an inherently masculine trait, and seeks to defile men and boys who exhibit a lack of
such traits. From a physical basis, power becomes defined as the ability
to control people and situations. Power then becomes economic, political, and sexual, in addition to physical.When unexamined at a conscious level, the code has the power to dictate male behaviors in an unceasing and life-long manner. Male Safeteen facilitators seek to bring young men's awareness to the existence of the code, and to both encourage and challenge them to consciously measure it, and step outside of it when it seeks to stifle their humanity....