All Articles Tagged "girls"
“I think I’m going to start cutting back on how much food I eat. My stomach is getting too big. I just don’t want to be fat, mom.”
These words weren’t from a pudgy teenager or even a chubby pre-teen. They came straight from the mouth of my rail-thin, 42 pound, eight-year-old. I frowned and asked her why she would ever think that she was gaining too much weight. Her response cut me to my core and made my jaw drop, “Mommy, you always talk about how you have to be careful what you eat because you think you’re gaining weight. I need to watch my weight too.”
That was the day that I learned that my daughter is watching everything that I do and say…and making mental notes. Like many women, I’m extremely critical of my body. Although I was a scrawny little kid, I’ve grown to have a petite (short!) but curvy figure. It’s the kind of body that looks great when I’m disciplined but is truly unforgiving when I eat too many sweets and don’t work out. I grew up around “voluptuous” women whose health has suffered because they weighed too much. I’ve witnessed first-hand how being at an unhealthy weight can diminish your quality of life, and I’ve always sworn that I will NOT let my curves get out of control.
I guess I’d been swearing this a little too loudly not knowing that my daughter was listening intently, but a poor self-image isn’t what I want to pass on to my daughter. I take such extreme care to speak positive words to my daughter. Every day I tell her that she’s strong, smart and beautiful and that I love her. I would have never guessed that the words that I was saying to myself were undercutting what I was saying to her!
But now I’m aware of the deep affect that my words can have on her body image. And I’ve slowly become aware that what I’ve been saying isn’t healthy for me either. While I’m not an impressionable child who’s in danger of developing an eating disorder, the words that I say can cause me to hate my body and feel insecure. And when I don’t feel confident in my own skin, it impacts my life and my daughter’s self-esteem. I can’t have that!
So for the past several months, I’ve begun a quiet campaign. I’ve started looking in the mirror with a loving eye and not a critical one. I’ve been celebrating my curves and loving me – right down to every dimple and jiggle. And my self-talk has been seasoned with self-love. I talk about how I’m proud to make healthy eating choices, and how strong I feel after I do my morning walks. I even talk about how I look great for my age!
Since I’ve changed my language, I’ve noticed that my daughter hasn’t mentioned wanting to lose weight. I’ve also noticed that she mimics my eating habits, and she often chooses healthier foods instead of junk. She loves being active and has fun going on walks with me. I think she may be on the path to truly knowing for herself that she is strong, smart and beautiful.
One of my favorite Sunday school songs as a child included the line, “be careful little mouth what you say.” These words have taken on a new meaning for me. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but I now understand that my words are not only shaping my life but shaping my daughter’s body image and self-esteem.
Yolanda Darville is a wife, mom and freelance writer focusing on issues that make a difference. To read more of her writings connect with her on Twitter at @YolandaDarville.
Ever had one of those moments when you realize exactly how much you don’t know about a topic? This happened to me the other day when a friend shared a post she’d written entitled ‘What 29,000 Girls Taught Me About Tech.’ I was shocked by the high number of girls involved in technology; and to be more honest, surprised that girls are learning tech. Not because they’re girls, but because I associated it with something that people learn in college. Perhaps it’s a world that I’m not privy to because my daughters are just four and six-years-old, but reading this article definitely opened my eyes and got me wondering at what age I should consider getting them involved? In this ever-changing society we live in no one wants to be the last one on the boat.
So to bring me up to speed, I decide to call Keesa Schreane, tech speaker, blogger, analytic marketer, friend and author of the above-mentioned article. Here’s what she shared. Consider it a mom’s guide to girls in tech or “Girls in Tech for Mummies.”
Mommynoire: What’s your experience with girls in the tech world?
Keesa Schreane: My primary volunteer work is with Black Girls Code and the Girl Scouts who are focused on Science Technology Engineering in Math (STEM) in their day-to-day curriculum in school. I feel like children should have strategies to understand the different careers, so I’m helping these girls to understand the options that are out there. I’ve been doing it for 5 years.
What should a mom know about STEM?
I would recommend doing your research in a particular city. Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code and she started this organization to make the world a better place for her daughter who was interested in the STEM area. There are also other organizations like Girls Who Code, Coder Dojo, which I’m learning more about, and the Girl Scouts.
What are the girls learning?
At one of the Girls Who Code events I went to over the summer the girls were learning how to build a video game. It was a full day event. We had the right materials, the right teachers with coding backgrounds, as well as volunteers who didn’t code, but are there for moral support. The girls may not build the biggest, best game in one day, but they have the foundation of how to build and even better than that they have exposure. They also learn teamwork.
What else can they learn?
There are different coding classes that are taught in high school and college. For example, Python coding, you can even learn online. What we do is help girls understand what a career looks like in a STEM field. Here’s a woman who has a PhD who chose the scientific field for her career, what is her day-to-day like at a company or as an entrepreneur? Learning coding is great, but the true value is exposing them to women who have chosen careers so they can determine if they like it for themselves.
At what age should we start exposing our kids to the tech field?
Children like playing with iphones, naturally, so they kind of expose themselves. If they’re playing with your phone, play some games. See what they find interesting.
Some moms are anti-game because of the addiction factor. How do we know which games are good for our kids?
I’d reach out to organizations like the Girl Scouts or Black Girls Code to see what steps they’d recommend you take given your child’s age. They’re experts in the field.
GoldieBlox believes that girls are capable of anything, and they deserve to see brave, smart, heroic women they can relate to. Their mission is to inspire girls to take the lead — that’s why we created Ruby and Goldie – strong, positive role models who solve tough problems, invent things, and prove that girls should be more than just sidekicks.
Only 12 percent of protagonists in major Hollywood films are female. In movies across the board – G-rated, family films included – male speaking characters outnumber female speaking characters three to one. And although we want to think this is getting better, it’s not: the ratio of male-to-female characters in film has remained the same for 60 years.
GoldieBlox, known for their award-winning construction toys and action figures for girls, launched today their new video that speaks directly to the current conversation surrounding the lack of strong leading female characters in Hollywood blockbusters. Recently fueled by commentary from Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Cate Blanchett and Geena Davis, this is a hot topic. The video features GoldieBlox’s newest action figure, Ruby Rails, as the hero in some of the most iconic action movies of our time – highlighting the fact that women, especially women of color, are underrepresented in these roles. On a list of the top 500 films of all time, ranked by box office success, only one percent of films star women of color.
That’s six in 500, and the only live action movie of the six, Sister Act, was released in 1992.
Think about that: It’s been almost twenty-five years since we’ve had a top grossing live action film that was led by woman of color.
And only one film – not one percent , but just one single film – out of 500 was directed by a woman of color.
The rest of the stats from behind the camera aren’t any better.
You might think that the editing room is a respite for women in film and entertainment, but that’s not the case. In 2014, 15 percent of films had female directors, 20 percent had female writers, and a mere eight percent had female cinematographers.
Our girls deserve action heroes with flowing hair and combat boots. Our girls deserve to see themselves onscreen as well as calling the shots behind the scenes. Our girls deserve more.
Malia Obama has a lot to celebrate this weekend. Not only has landed an internship with Lena Dunham on Girls, but she’s also celebrating her 17th birthday. Malia was spotted on the set of Girls earlier this week. Page Six reports.
President Obama’s elder daughter was spotted in Williamsburg on Thursday, casually sipping a soft drink while hanging out on the set of the raunchy Lena Dunham comedy.
The 16-year-old — who turns 17 on Saturday — spent about three hours on location in Brooklyn as the HBO show filmed at the Aurora Ristorante, a hipster haven on Grand Street.
Malia turned 17 yesterday. The time is flying by a little bit too fast for us.
By Christina Brown
I still remember stepping outside my house in my Queens, NY neighborhood and being excited about bike-riding, playing “Duck, Duck Goose” or jumping double dutch with my friends just steps away from my home. Recess was always my favorite time of the day. Outdoor play was always an integral part of my childhood and it scares me sometimes to think that my baby girl Cadence lives in a world where most child’s play now happens in front of a digital screen.
Today, more than 12.5 million American girls are overweight or obese. Millions more are physically inactive and missing out on sports which have been shown to contribute to higher test scores, less risky behaviors, increased likelihood of college attendance, higher earnings potential and reduced risk of chronic disease.
So I was really intrigued when a good friend of mine, Trina of BabyShopaholic, told me about this new campaign from the Play Like A Girl!® nonprofit organization. Her daughter Peyton is actually featured in it (she’s the cutie with the red shorts above!) and the campaign is committed to raising awareness about the importance of physical activity in the lives of girls—especially in the Deep South where obesity rates are highest.
The Play Like A Girl campaign’s mission is to inspire girls everywhere to live happier and healthier by promoting physical activity as a path to lifelong success. I mean, think about your own childhood. Where would you be without those group games, sports and bike-riding adventures you grew up on? Those childhood activities breed healthy habits that continue into adulthood.
I love the message behind it and I’m vowing to make sure Cadence has an active and playful childhood as well.
Read more at Baby Brown Sugar
Recently, I had the pleasure of taking my daughter to a brunch with a group of young, Black female actors in Harlem. What an experience it was. The interesting fact most all of these young ladies were “working actors.” Some, like Eden Duncan-Smith, had been in movies like “Annie” and others had been in Broadway plays. My friend deduced that all were divas. My daughter has enjoyed many things, but I’ve found that her desire to act is her only true passion to date. So, I told her…”lets go to work!”
When I came up, I always “worked” even as as kid. My dad offered me my first job and subsequently was the first person to fire me too. He was an industrial arts teacher that was a builder on the side. He would build onto existing houses and my brother and I were his helpers. Even though that was not my passion, it taught my a lesson that would thread through my life: you gotta hustle. It also thought me the importance of setting work ethic early on. Last, but definitely not least, it taught me that business-for-self was the way to go.
At the “Keep The Drama On The Stage” brunch, young ladies 18 and under celebrate their ability to work together in the business and not fight each other as they rise to the top. It seemed to be working. The girls were taking selfies, eating, and being openly mentored by other women. Olamide Faison, an extremely talented musician, even serenaded the girls. It was all great fun.
I had another agenda that lurked underneath the obvious.
I want my daughter to get to working now. It took me a long time to get myself going in life, but when I did, I went to work. I openly admit, I was not the best student. In college though, you couldn’t find a person “worked” harder than I did in college. I did the the Black student paper, the regular paper, was a DJ at the school’s radio station, helped book artists on campus, programmed events through several organizations, and even had a few hobbies. And then I had a jobs that paid me like stacking books at the library or being a camp counselor for kids. One thing is for certain, I went to work. In this day and age, we have to instill these values in our kids – that they must learn the value of hard work.
For me, I also want to teach my daughter the value of entrepreneurship and doing for self.
Over the past few years, I have taken my daughter with me to “work.” This means she attends some of my speaking engagements or is present when I have having meetings. She seems me working all the time. An odd thing happened when it came to the actual “Take Your Child To Work Day” last week. We really didn’t have anything to “do.” I could have taken her to my office, but I typically don’t go to the office my parenting days. Thanks to the internet, AllHipHop.com allows me to come and go as I please for the most part. I totally flipped the script on her. I put her to work.
She started to write her first script and I helped her lay down the foundation. I drew a clear line between this effort and the other mini-movies she’s done with her cousin and friends. After the script is done, we’re going to shoot this summer. I also let her sit in on my meetings and we talked extensively about business. This is important stuff. All the actresses at the KTDOTS brunch are little businesses within themselves. They may have parents that guide that business, but ultimately the guardians are only a part of the echo system around the business. We have to teach them business and their value in it.
Most of our kids are smarter than we were, but the world they are growing up in will be harder if we parent don’t do our job well. They need to start working now so they can get a head start on good habits, work ethic and maybe…just maybe…they will strike gold on the way to adulthood. I know the young ladies at brunch are betting on it.
Special shout out to clothing store RUUM clothing store in Tribeca and TweenGirlStyle.com
Makeup artist Marsha Page, CEO of Marsha’s Makeovers is paying it forward for Women’s History Month with a free night of empowerment. Scheduled for March 31, 6-8pm, Ballroom of Bric Arts Media House (647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn) will transform and celebrate Brooklyn history makers with an All-Star panel, uplifting stories and a live performance from the Grammy®-nominated ‘Afropean’ hip hop/rhythm and blues duo, Les Nubians. The event is titled: A Celebration of Phenomenal Women, Paving the Way for Our Girls. The purpose of the night is to showcase successful women/mothers/mentors to over 100 girls, ages 7-18 to dream big, embrace beauty, tap into their power, and walk in purpose and possibilities. Marsha’s Makeovers is the presenting sponsor and popular hair and beauty company, Shea Moisture will provide complimentary gift bags for all in attendance.
The diverse and phenomenal female hosts of Brooklyn Independent Media’s Flagship Television Show, BKLIVE! will share authentic stories on self-image, acceptance and overcoming odds. Panelists include: Charisma Troiano, Esq. (attorney/journalist); Tati Amare (journalist); Robin Cloud (comedian) and Andia Winslow (fitness activist and professional athlete).
“As a mother and entrepreneur, I want to inspire young girls to get motivated and think out of the box. I always tell my daughters to be honest, enjoy the journey of life, listen, learn and allow others to see you at your best. If this event changes a life, a young girl, it will be a certified platinum success, cries Page.
For additional information about Marsha Page and the Phenomenal Women Event on March 31, 6-8 p.m. in Brooklyn, New York, visit Marsha’s Makeovers.
“Oh, you’re so pretty for a black girl.”
“Do you speak good English?”
“She has a Jew nose.”
Though they might be unintentional, these offensive phrases — called micro-aggressions — are heard all too often in everyday conversation. And while they’re frequently said in a joking way, the meaning of those words can have lasting negative effects.
In a video created by SheKnows, a group of teen girls explained how micro-aggressions can be hurtful to their self-esteem.
“Because they’re micro, because they’re very subtle — they’re small — you feel like you don’t have a reason to be upset,” says one girl.
“We try to just use jokes to make this less awkward, ease social experiences,” adds another. “But… you need to aware of what you’re saying and who you’re speaking to.”
Read the full article on Huffington Post here.
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.
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.
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.
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.