"Today, most American adults can call up some memory of sex ed in their school, whether it was watching corny menstruation movies or seeing their school nurse demonstrate putting a condom on a banana. The movies, in particular, tend to stick in our minds. Screening films at school to teach kids how babies are made has always been a touchy issue, particularly for people who fear such knowledge will steer their children toward sexual behavior. But sex education actually has its roots in moralizing: American sex-ed films emerged from concerns that social morals and the family structure were breaking down." — Slut-Shaming, Eugenics, and Donald Duck: The Scandalous History of Sex-Ed Movies
This mom got fed up. Companies have been down-sizing their clothing for years as fashion trends call for "slimmer" cuts and silhouettes. Clothing sizing is an issue. Maybe there needs to be a mandated standard of clothing sizes? No cutting corners or skimping on measurements. [more inside]
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
Frustrated with the modern toy market's focus on female characters with uncomfortable costumes, uninspiring back stories, and unrealistic body proportions -- "most are created for the adult male collector, decidedly more Hooters than heroine" -- Wellesley alumnae Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau joined forces with the legendary creative team at EleventyPlex to crowdfund a new line of fierce, Joan of Arc-inspired action figures, designed to encourage girls to embrace their inner strengths and imagine themselves as self-made superheroes: I Am Elemental. [more inside]
At only thirteen years old, Tavi Gevinson was proclaimed the world's most famous fashion blogger. At the age of fifteen, she founded Rookie Magazine, an online magazine aimed primarily at teenage girls. Her newest project? Being a grown up. (Previously on Metafilter.)
Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
Laura is super passionate about girls fighting evil, creating collages with short stories about various groups of girls fighting off demons - from radio DJs and the interns at Night Vale, to Dorothy Gale, travelers, and of course Beyonce. Sometimes the girls are helping the demons: evil counterparts to Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White, the underwater orchestra, even the underlord's admin assistant. Sometimes they fight each other; sometimes they fight themselves. Some of these fighters are real. Sometimes they'll let you borrow their style.
Before the days of Roe v. Wade (and sometimes after) girls who got pregnant were sent away. Now one of the places that housed them is closing. [more inside]
When Nada Al-Ahdal discovered that her parents had sold her she ran away. She is 11 years old, and this is her message. [more inside]
An intriguing essay on how young women in Georgian England were able to do science by hiding in the pursuits of the domestic arts.
"Women didn’t find it easy to participate in late eighteenth century science. Experimentation and discovery were not easily compatible with the ideals of domestic femininity – but there were women who rejected these social expectations and became active and renowned."
One thing I am going to do differently as a parent is go easy on the ‘save sex for someone special’ rhetoric with my kids – both with my daughter and my son. Feminist and mother Blue Milk on the downside of encouraging young girls to "save themselves."
"Princeless" is a new comic book in the self-rescuing princesses genre (more page previews here and here) - perhaps a younger-audience example of women kicking back against comic-book sexism? (previously on MeFi - wik, alsø wik, alsø alsø wik)
In the summer of 2004 I [Jason Oliver Goodman] set out alone on my bike to make a photography project called A Girl's Bike. In roughly 4 months I documented close to 200 women and their bicycles around NYC, mostly on the street as I found them. In 2008 it was made into a book published by Partners & Spade. It also toured with the Bicycle Film Festival as a slide show before films and in the art show Joy Ride.
Frustrated by the limited costume ideas out there for women? Join in the increasingly loud backlash and ridicule for the "sexy" Halloween costume, now a major stock in trade at party stores. In a time when "Goldilocks, in a snug bodice and platform heels, gives the impression she has been sleeping in everyone’s bed" and "sexually active plaid children" are celebrated cultural icons, projects like Take Back Halloween are promoting costume ideas like Frida Kahlo and Hatshepsut as alternatives to the "skank suit." Bitch magazine chimes in with suggestions like Angela Davis and Peggy Hill. Voices in the feminist blogosphere are arguing for other approaches to the holiday that's all about alternate identity. Meanwhile, the Ms. blog wonders what sexy Halloween costumes for men might look like, and Jezebel solicits photo submissions featuring your least sexy costumes. Find and share more ideas via the Twitter hashtag #feministhalloween.
About-Face aims to provide women and girls with skills to critically examine media messages that affect their positive self-image. Their website is a one-stop shop for simple, direct, teen-friendly educational materials about female self-esteem and body image. [more inside]
Hidden World of Girls: Girls and the Women they Become is NPR's collaborative year-long, ongoing series between The Kitchen Sisters, NPR and listener submissions. The series explores "stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secet identities—of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide." [more inside]
After decades of selling tampons and "sanitary products" with ads containing nebulous, euphemistic images and language, Kotex launched a new product line, 'U by Kotex' and a 'Declaration of Real Talk Campaign' to encourage girls and women to speak about menstruation without embarrassment. Ironically, their ad was rejected by the major US television networks for mentioning the word 'vagina'. Here's the 'safe for the viewing public' version. / YT channel. [more inside]
The national record (PDF) for the most career points scored in high school basketball is held by a woman: Lynne Lorenzen from Ventura High School. Lorenzen and her sisters played six on six basketball, a fast paced and high scoring game. Six on six was a great tradition in Iowa, surviving until 1993, when Oklahoma became the last state to have games. There is both a documentary and a book detailing the nuanced history of the game in Iowa.
"Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil." Alex Graven, 9, has had How to Talk to Girls, the runaway hit of the Soaring Hawk Elementary School book fair, picked up by HarperCollins. How do you spot these oil-guzzling cars? ""It is easy to spot pretty girls," Alex writes, "because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry." [more inside]
What Girls Want - A series of vampire novels illuminates the complexities of female adolescent desire. (via) [more inside]
No gender differences found in math performance. None. Not on average, at least in countries where the sexes are treated equally. And no, not at the highest, outlier levels of mathematical ability, either, despite what some believe. And not in number of undergrad math degrees earned. And not in terms of complex problem solving ability. Just plain not.
Miss Bimbo invites users to become the "coolest, richest most famous bimbo in the whole world". Unsurprisingly, the site, which encourages girls as young as seven to give virtual dolls breast implants and put them on crash diets, has been widely condemned by parents and children's activists. [more inside]
Eight rules for writing a female comics character worth reading Karen Healey lays a cursory path for avoiding the major pitfalls of women in comics. Part of the larger Girl Wonder site (previously). Also good is Designated Sidekick's takedown of IGN.
The Girl Watcher Whether your scene is the kitten type, stalking the girl, or just straight-up girl collecting - this is the publication for you. Bail not included. (via filepile)
OK girls, what have you done to earn a merit badge? Learned about underarm hair or menstrual cramps? Made it through a preganancy test? And boys, what have you done to earn your merit badges?
Hookup vs. Dating Seems that the 'hook up' is gaining popularity with girls (it's always been popular with boys) in high school and college these days. More and more women are looking to expend their sexual energy in a manner that they perceive to be safe and committment-free. Why didn't this happen when I was in high school?
Good news for Lithuanian girls: ob-gyn tests no longer required in order to get a driver's license. Because, after all, an equivalent test isn't required for Lithuanian men.
Girls and Gaming Yes, there are women involved in the gaming industry but always behind the scenes. Does more social interaction through online games mean that more women will become leading game designers?
Novel Idea. But aren't the dancing tampons in the bottom left corner a bit much? I wonder what music they are dancing to. "Ragtime" maybe?