All Articles Tagged "girls"

5 Things We Need To Stop Telling Girls About Sex

November 7th, 2014 - By TaMara Griffin
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Stop Telling Girls About Sex

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Mothers and big sisters are usually the first ones to tell their daughters about sex, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. As sensitive a subject as sex is, loved ones should definitely be the first ones to tell adolescents about it. However, our own biases and lack of knowledge can also taint impressionable youths’ vision of sexuality and reproductive health. So in the interest of not leading young girls astray, here are a few things we must stop telling them about sex.

1. Good girls don’t have sex!

Abstinence is great and we all wish that our girls practiced it, but in reality that’s just not the case.  So why turn a blind eye to the situation? It only adds to the problem.  We need to equip our girls with the truth so they can not only protect themselves but embrace and own their sexuality.

When we categorize sex as something that only bad girls do, we subconsciously send the message that “good” girls should not enjoy sex. The challenge this creates is that as our “good” girls grow up and become women who get married, and still are harboring the “good girls don’t” stigma. As a result, they are less likely to experience sexual pleasure with their partner; which can ultimately contribute to significant problems in their relationship. In addition, many girls who grow up with this belief may suffer from sexual dysfunction which may have been prevented if they grew up with a healthy view of sexuality.

2. Douching helps keep the vagina clean and healthy.

For years women have been told to douche in order to feel fresher, cleanse their vagina and keep it smelling spring time fresh. This belief has been passed down throughout generations and still remains a common practice today. The only reason we are still caught up in the belief that douching is relevant is because the media and companies like Vagisil and Massengill have a product to market and sell. It is their job to make us to believe that the vagina is dirty and nasty and in order to feel good about yourself and your vagina you need to use these products that will help the vagina smell like flowers. Having some vaginal odor and discharge is natural. However, if you notice a very strong or foul odor and/or a funny color discharge, it may be a sign of infection.

In recent years, many studies have shown that douching can actually be very harmful to the internal environment of the vagina. Douching can actually have adverse effects on the vagina by washing away healthy bacteria and pushing harmful bacteria further up into the vaginal canal. This can create an imbalance in the internal environment and make it much easier to get an infection.

The vagina is actually designed to cleanse itself. Washing the vagina with warm water is enough to keep it clean. Using perfumed bath and body products only irritate the sensitive lining of the vagina as well as the inner and outer delicate folds of the vulva, the labia minora and labia majoria. Utilize caution when using a face towel or luffa on the vulva, especially as they dry, because they can carry bacteria that may be harmful to the vulva as well. If you must use a soap, then stick to using a non-scented, alcohol-free soap only on the outside of the vulva area.

3. It’s not okay to call your vagina a vagina.

Vajayjay, twat, slit, p*ssy, beaver, kitty, punany, coota mama, coochie, black box, deep hole, down there, titties, watermelon, twins, boobs, and jugs are just a few of the slang names that we use when referring to our body parts. When you stop to think about it, many of these names are not cute at all! They are down right negative and derogatory. They send the wrong message about the female body. Not only that, some of these words are very uncomfortable to hear. When we teach our girls to use cutesy names instead of using the correct terminology for body parts and functions, it takes away the value. When we devalue something, we do not respect it and take care of it. This lack of respect or value of their body places girls at risk for sexually transmitted infections, HIV and pregnancy because they don’t value their body enough to protect it.

Using slang terms also limits girls’ ability to have an educated and informed conversation with their physician. Many physicians are not culturally competent. They do not understand the vernacular and slang terms that are sometimes used when referring to body parts and functions. This lack of understanding can lead to not receiving necessary treatment or appropriate quality of care. The bottom line is that if the physician cannot understand you, then how can s/he help you.

4. Don’t touch your body.

It’s important that we teach our girls that it’s OK to touch their bodies — after all they’re theirs. They must learn the body parts and functions, they must learn how to properly take care of their body, and they must learn what’s natural and healthy for their body. Teaching our girls not to touch their body only sends the message that their body parts and functions are something that is unnatural and nasty. It perpetuates stigma and helps create shame and guilt regarding the body. This negative view will ultimately contribute to unhealthy ideals about sexuality.

In order to fully discover, explore, and embrace their sexuality, girls must become intimately acquainted with their body. It’s essential to having power over of their sexuality and that begins by being comfortable enough to explore their body. Additionally it helps lay the foundation for learning to understand, respect and communicate sexual attitudes, beliefs, needs, wants and concerns, not only to their physicians but their future partners.

Lastly, by teaching girls to love and honor their bodies, it helps reduce body image issues and self-esteem challenges. Girls and women who love, respect and value their body are less likely to put themselves at risk.

5. Nothing 

In a day in age where sex sells everything from diapers to dog food and the media bombards us with oversexualized images of scantily clad women, we can’t afford to remain silent about sex. The danger of not talking to girls about their sexuality is that it doesn’t prepare them for becoming young women. Many adult women have shared horror stories about beginning their menstrual cycle and not having a clue about what was going on or how to take care of themselves. Imagine how terrifying that could be to a girl who has not been educated about her body.

Avoiding conversations about sex does not mean that girls aren’t going to do it. It only means that they are going to sneak and do it. We were created as sexual beings and we will be sexual beings until we die. Sex is a natural part of life. It’s who we are! It encompasses every dimension of our lives. The urge and desire to have sex does not go away. Not properly educating our girls with the knowledge, skills and tools is only creating a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, they will learn the information from somewhere and in most cases what they are learning is not accurate.

When should you start talking to girls about sex….as soon as they start asking questions. Everything should be done in a developmentally appropriate way. Be open and honest. Allow them to ask questions. If you don’t have the answers, find them! Also, please talk to them about all aspects of sexuality, not just about the physical aspects of sex. It’s important to make sure girls understand the emotional, spiritual, social, legal and economic repercussions of having sex. And while education about sex is great, you also need to take it a step further and teach them the skills. It’s great to say “use a condom” but if you don’t teach them the proper steps to use the condom, where to get the condom and how to negotiate safer sex, then it’s useless.

To all the men out there, please also talk to your daughters! Have a no-holds-barred conversation with her from the male perspective on sex and sexuality. Educate them on the qualities and characteristics men look for in a woman he is serious about.  Take your daughters out on a date! Become the standard of what she should look forward to from a man by demonstrating how a man should respect and treat a woman. Your actions will make the difference in the type of relationships and behaviors she engages in. It just might save her life!

While I do understand that having conversations about sex can be very uncomfortable, they are critical. If you are uninformed or uncomfortable talking about sex, then seek out the assistance of someone who is professionally qualified to have the conversation.

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Dr. TaMara loves nothing more than talking about sex! At the age of 13, she told her mother she wanted to be a Sex Therapist! Her passion is deeply rooted in spreading messages about healthy sexuality. Dr. TaMara is a sexologist, sex therapist, educator and motivational speaker with more than 20 years of experience speaking, writing and teaching about sexuality.  She travels the country helping individuals embrace and honor their sexuality. Dr. TaMara has published numerous books and articles. She is the owner of L.I.F.E. by Dr. TaMara Griffin Live Inspired Feel Empowered LLC-LIFE Follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, www.drtamaragriffin.com or www.projectcreatesafe.com.

Lena Waithe’s Show “Twenties” Is Coming To BET

July 2nd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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"twenties" is coming to bet

Source: YouTube

Last year around this time, we told you about the show “Twenties” a show pitched by Lena Waithe, the writer behind the hilarious YouTube video “Sh!t Black Girls Say” and the upcoming movie “Dear White People.” Tagged as something like HBO’s “Girls” but for black women, “Twenties” is  about “three black girls in their twenties who are trying to get their sh!t together.” As a black woman in my twenties trying to get my ish all the way right, I was ready for it. And when I watched the teaser or pilot presentation, I found myself saying yaasss and chuckling with familiarity. I love it.

So it is with great delight that I provide a follow up to that story.

According to Shadow and Act, Waithe has inked a deal with BET to write a pilot script for “Twenties.”

This is great news considering Waithe stated that while she posted a pilot presentation on YouTube last year, she didn’t want her show to have a home on the web but rather a network television station. But  when she went to speak to network executives, Waithe found that this was no easy feat. She said many networks loved the show but felt there wasn’t an audience for it or they thought a similar show already existed. Waithe knew that neither ones of those claims was accurate. And she shot the pilot presentation to prove it.

And after some time, it seems that Waithe’s work has captured someone’s eye over at BET. If you haven’t noticed BET is in the middle of a transition, moving more toward adult-centered programming with original scripted dramas, series and feature film showings.

Luckily, they feel “Twenties” will fit right in there. And personally, I can’t wait to see it.

What do you think about “Twenties”? If you missed the pilot presentation last year, take a look at it on the next page and let us know if this seems like something you’d like to see.

Where Is The Sexually Liberated Black Woman In Film And Television?

June 17th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Television has been pretty “ratchet” for years, it’s just that some of the supposed ratchetness gets called out and others get Emmy nominations…

What I’m talking about is the fact that recently I lifted my ban on HBO’s “Girls,” which was instituted because of Lena Dunham. (I detailed my concerns a while ago here.) During season three, I watched somebody ejaculate on somebody else. On television. More specifically Lena Dunham’s ex-boyfriend Adam made his new girlfriend Natalia, crawl to his bedroom on all fours before aggressively having sex with her and relieving himself on her chest. While we didn’t see any peen, we definitely saw its handiwork. The entire scene was awkward and, considering that the girlfriend didn’t seem to enjoy it, slightly degrading.

With that said it wasn’t pointless. Any former and current sexually active woman probably can tell you that it ain’t all great sex. Once in a while, particularly when you are younger and exploring boundaries, there are some really awkward and flat-out sexually humiliating moments, which makes us feel bad afterwards. Therefore being honest about what women experience during sex in itself is not inherently bad and can present itself as a learning (or unpacking) opportunity. My question though that knowing how prudish we sometimes tend to be about these sorts of discussions, how did it even make it on television?

According to this Slate piece from last year entitled, A Seminal Moment, Aisha Harris writes that it almost didn’t make it. In fact:

“The biggest fight we’ve ever gotten in with HBO was about a cum shot, a money shot. They thought it was really gratuitous,”Jenni Konner tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They begged us not to do it. We said, ‘OK, fine.’ Then the next year, we had a story-motivated, emotional money shot, and they let us keep it. It really felt like we all grew together.”

In the same piece, Harris also writes about how the “money shot” has been performed on television before, albeit it’s still quite rare. The short list includes: a late 90s, BBC documentary; HBO’s other hit show about sexually active women in New York City called “Sex and the City”; and on the Showtime series “Californication.” So in retrospect, the “Girls'” sex scene is not the groundbreaking television we might have thought it to be. At least not for white women.

Black women have yet to experience a true sexual awakening in film and in television. There I said it.

And it’s not like there hasn’t been a black woman in the history of black people, who hasn’t tasted semen? I mean, sex (if done right) is pretty out there. But in film and television, our sex lives are pretty conservative, if they exist at all. Sure, we may allude to it; and we may even have a scene or two where we see our ebony lovers intertwined and rolling around together in the sheets. But there are always sheets – you know, to hide all the secret parts. And the closest the viewers actually get to their actual love making is the follow-up scene where they awakened the next morning with hair tussled.

On television and in film, we are only supposed to be respectable people. At all times. Even in those instances when the show itself is produced by a black person, we are only supposed to show black relationships, which resemble Claire and Bill Huxtable, who never had sex even though they had a gang of children. Even with the majority of real life dark skinned consenting adults engaging in sexual relationships outside of the confines of marriage and/or procreation, on television the most we allow is a kiss with mouths closed and the family lip syncing about taboo topics around the Thanksgiving table. That’s what “Reed Between the Lines” was. That what “For Better or Worse” was supposed to be too. And then there was “The First Family.” You get no more Cosby-esque than that. And for the most part, those shows are boring, and they don’t last long. Mainly because the real The Cosby show is on Netflix…

And while the vast majority of television is swimming in large vats of debauchery and mayhem (also known as shows with plots and drama, which is normal of television), black folks’ scripted cinematically are still trying to maintain a morally righteous image of ourselves. Of course the exception are reality shows. But we shun those for the very reasons that many of us tune in to watch shows like HBO’s “Girls.”

And at whose expense does this happen? And how do we limit ourselves creatively if we shy away from images of ourselves, which are slightly perverse and subversive?

Often times it means that black centered film and television lacks the same level of openness and diversity meanwhile our mainstream counterparts’ with their vast expression of real life experiences become television shows, which everybody enjoys including black folks. Then we lament how black centered film and television lacks the same level of openness about human behavior. And realness. As such black folks can’t be “Breaking Bad” because that is just promoting crack. We couldn’t be “The Sopranos.” Nope that’s like promoting gang culture and y’all know we have that bad incarceration rate. We can’t do “Game of Thrones” either because…well don’t be disrespecting the ancestors like that. Even our beloved “The Wire” was created and scripted from outside of the community. It’s no wonder those shows, written and produced for mainly non-black audiences, become the stand-in for all, meanwhile our stuff becomes more niched to the after-church service crowds.

And it is not necessarily the fault our black filmmakers and writers, although folks could be a little braver in their own storytelling. But in spite of our political and social advancements including the election of the first black president, and proclamations by this younger generation of colorblindness, culturally “we” still care very much about how white folks see us – even when the odds are they can’t tell most of us apart. Even with the odds that since slavery, black women had to endure contradictory stereotypes like Mammy and Jezebel and no matter what we do, they still persist. To me that sucks and it is not how we should be forced to live.

Not just for film but because why are white girls the only ones who can f**k and suck on television while also maintaining legitimacy as feminine, good mothers and virtuous women? Why did we cheer for Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big in ways that we can’t for Mary Jane or Olivia Pope? Why must normal and healthy sex on black skin be seen as depraved?

And this is not a matter of doing something because white people do it. This is acknowledging that there is a remote possibility that someone black might do those things too. And white folks don’t have the monopoly on freaky sex. And this is also about the resentment, even envy, which comes from other women being able to publicly talk about all the joy and confusing proclivities around sex without having to worry about how such representation would affect her credibility, professional or romantic prospects. At some point we have to realize how much we (yes, including other black women) have become the guardians and gatekeepers of some of our own oppression.

 

CEO Of ‘Camp Diva’ Uplifts Young Women To Be Divine

May 14th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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BlackVoices

BlackVoices

 

From BlackVoices 

Beyoncè may have sung that “a diva is a female version of a hustler,” but Angela Patton, the founder and CEO of Camp Diva, has a new lease on the term.

“What our philosophy is, is that every girl who comes into our program is divine,” she told HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. “And what our vision is, is to help nurture that potential within each girl.”

The camp, which is based in Richmond, Va., hosts predominantly African-American girls from low income areas and strives to impart such skills as “healthy eating habits, financial management” and exercise practices like yoga.

Read more about this young women at BlackVoices.com

Artists Who Got Called Out For Not Having Black Women In Their Videos

February 26th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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white women in music videos

Last night Pharrell’s new album “Girl” streamed on iTunes radio, much to fans’ delight. By morning, though, any excitement for the producer’s new project was dimmed by concerns over his album cover and its lack of color — and by color we mean Black women. No matter how you feel about this particular situation, Pharrell is far from the first Black man to be called out on this issue. Check out this list of artists who offended plenty of fans by not featuring black women in their videos.

Idris Elba Tweets Lena Dunham Of ‘GIRLS': “Can I Come Do A Scene On Your Show”

January 23rd, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Instagram

Instagram

 

 

From EurWeb 

Idris Elba met Lena Dunham of HBO’s “Girls” while they both were guests on UK’s “The Graham Norton Show” earlier this month, and wasted no time in trying to cash in on their introduction.

The “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” star tweeted afterward:”@lenadunham Very funny woman. Can I come do a scene on your show?”

Joking about a topless photograph of himself which he accidentally tweeted recently, he added: ”i promise, NO selfies…:)”

Read more about Idris appearing on GIRLS at EurWeb.com 

Enough Is Enough: 2013’s Most Played Out Celebrities

December 11th, 2013 - By M A
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Overexposed Celebrities 2013

Brian To/WENN.com

The past 12 months have been chock full of celebrity news, intrigue, and downright absurdity. And while some celebrities have managed to become even more beloved, there are some that have become a) increasingly more annoying in 2013 or b) have transitioned from our hot list to our not list. So before we say goodbye to 2013, MadameNoire presents its most most played out, most just-get-out-of-our-face, most overexposed celebrities of the year.

Guess Who’s Coming To “Girls”? Danielle Brooks Of “Orange Is The New Black”

September 16th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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danielle brooks

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By now you know of our love for “Orange is the New Black” and “Girls.” So imagine our excitement when we learned that one of our favorite characters from OITNB is coming to our beloved “Girls.”

You may remember that last year, “Girls” creator, Lena Dunham, came under a lot of fire for lacking diversity on the show. In response she brought on Donald Glover for a hot second and now she’s tapped Danielle Brooks to come onto the show. In an interview with Ebony, Brooks talked about the popularity of her character, maintaining her morals as an actress and her new role on “Girls.”

EBONY: When Taystee described another inmate confusing “your” and “you’re” as “some ignorant Beyotch a*s Shyte,” I almost died. It was such a hilarious moment that still really underscored her character.
DB: [She laughs] That’s exciting as an actor to share with the world, the idea that until you get to know someone that maybe your opinion of them isn’t quite correct. People have ideas of what Black women in general are. I get to show people that we are just as complex and we are also relatable. These women are regular people.

EBONY: So did you have any reservations at all about playing a Black woman in a prison?
DB: Not really. I like to play people who are underdogs and misfits. People who are not on a straight and narrow path. That’s exciting for me. I know the rest of my career isn’t going to be playing inmates. I didn’t have any hesitations because working with someone like Jenji and Netflix; they’re not about following the trends of what we think television has to be.

EBONY: Okay, give me some of your favorite Taystee one liners.
DB: Oh boy. I had fun when I said, “You got a little something on your nip nip there.” I had a blast with the rap. I really thought it was fun to do “Mr. Healy, those cracker meth head Beyotches won’t let us change the channel and it’s our turn!” because that is something that I would never ever dare to say.

EBONY: Your father is a minister and a mother who is a deacon. Is it hard to maintain your moral center as a young actress?
DB: I think at first it is very difficult because you just want to work. So sometimes you feel like, ‘Well maybe I can compromise what my morals are.’ Luckily because of my background and because of my parents and the way they raised me, and the team I have, they all are helping me to realize that it’s OK to say ‘no’ to projects.

EBONY: Have fans been coming up to you left and right?
DB: Taystee is such a likeable person. A lot of people will come up to me as if they’ve known me for years. Yesterday I had a police officer stop me and ask me for a picture and that was kind of cool.

EBONY: What’s next for you?
DB: Of course you’re going to get to see a lot of Taystee in season two and I just shot an episode of ‘Girls’ for HBO. I will be the first Black woman to be on ‘Girls,’ so that’s exciting for me. Other than that I just don’t know. I’m hoping Melissa McCarthy will hit a sister up.

Great news! Can’t wait to see what Danielle does with her “Girls” character.

Read the rest of the EBONY interview here.

Lust Is In The Air: Sure Signs Cuffing Season Is Over For You

July 9th, 2013 - By Davisha Davis
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Everyone lives for cuffing season. It’s the time of the year when you know for certain 99% of singles are looking for someone to keep them warm in the winter months. But now that the weather is getting warm and summer is officially here, you might as well kiss your cuffing buddy goodbye. Here are some signs that this “relationship” is over for you.

Keisha, La Toya, And Other Names You Automatically Know Belong To A Black Woman

July 2nd, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Y’all know we can get creative when it comes to names, so know need to get uptight about this. Yesterday we went through the names that are inherently black and male. Now it’s time to look at the monikers you know belong to black women off the bat.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Mercedes

Mercedes may have a Spanish origin, but unless you’re around people of that heritage, when you hear someone talk about their girl Mercedes, you can be about 99.9% sure that woman is black.