Sunday, March 30, 2008

Making fame out of nothin' at all

I’m about to really show my age, Mamas. How many of you remember this...

Fame
I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly
High
I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry
Fame
I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame
Fame
I'm gonna live forever
Baby remember my name….


Man, I loved that song! I also loved the movie and the TV show. Who didn’t want to go to NYC, enroll in the School of Performing Arts and spend lunch periods— or any other free moment— bursting into spontaneous song and dancing on the tables?

Alright, so maybe it was just me. But you still gotta give props to Debbie Allen and her big stick for: “You got big dreams. You want fame? Well fame costs. And right here is where you start paying…in sweat!”

Whooo! Goose bumps, Debs! Utter goosebumps!

The concept of fame certainly has changed hasn’t it? These days, "paying in sweat" is out the window. All you need to do for a bit of fame today is make a fool of yourself, humiliate your entire family, and turn yourself into a walking caricature on a reality TV show. Or you could sleep with a governor and any other guy with 4 grand to spare. You could also go the leaked-sex-tape or secret-nude-pictures-revealed route. (Those are classics.) And of course, there's always the fame-for-being-rich-stupid-and-beautiful tactic.

And we just keep feeding right into it...

Oh joy! Let’s see what’s on Jamie Lynn Spears’ baby registry!
(I hate to say it, but I told you so, Mamas.)

This site lets you compare your face to the faces of celebrities to see who you look like. Um....how about..…myself?

Across the pond, it’s bad enough that the #1 person kids want to be is Posh (as in Spice), but a recent survey of UK teachers has also shown that many youngsters have the impression that "academic success is unnecessary, because they will be able to access fame and fortune quite easily through a reality TV show".

Last and certainly least…Paris Hilton is a role model.

Where’s Debbie Allen and her big-ass stick when you need her?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let's talk about links, baby!

Why is bad news so easy to find?

In my daily headline-scan, I'm guaranteed to find tons of news stories about issues affecting our girls in a negative way. What's not so easy to find is good news. No one's really talking about all of the great stuff that girls and women are doing today.

That's about to change.

Starting this month on Reign, I'm going to shine a big old spotlight on some of the websites, blogs, companies, individuals or groups that are out there doing the damn thing for girls and women. Whether they're battling sexist stereotypes and inequality, offering great advice for parents, or providing a supportive outlet for girls to express themselves and get creative ... they deserve to be celebrated!

This month I'd like to start with a favorite site, a kick-butt magazine, and a recent story that appeared in my local newspaper that made me want to jump on a chair and holler "You GO, girls!!!"

Sticker Sisters This site was created by a young lady who came out of middle school wanting to do something to help other girls get through those difficult years of cliques and cattiness. She does it with stickers, shoelaces, magnets, posters, T-shirts and other products embazoned with empowering messages like Girls can do anything, My body is mine, and Girls Rock!. Her site also features one of the most insightful blogs I've seen.

Kiki Magazine This tween magazine gives new meaning to the term "fashion mag". You won't find skinny-mini models, pretentious fashion advice, or skimpy overpriced garments on Kiki's pages. Instead girls learn about fashion influences from around the world, fashion history (like the evolution of high heels!), cool careers in the fashion industry (not modeling!), and creative exercises that let girls know that real style doesn't come from simply following trends... but in creating them!

This newspaper article spotlights a group of teenagers in Long Island, NY who have been "lobbying for passage of the Healthy Teens Act, which would grant funding for age-appropriate comprehensive sex education in schools throughout New York State." These girls saw the problems caused by the lack of sex ed in their school and community and they're taking action to do something about it. You gotta love that!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March is Freaky Sex Scandal Month

Wow, Mamas.

I have to say, I'm feeling a little hurt today. I thought we were all starting to get pretty close here at Reign of the Girl-Child. But now, here it is, National Freaky Sex Scandal Month, and nobody even told me! No flowers. no card, no e-mails... no nothing! I feel like the last kid picked for dodgeball.

What?

It's not National Freaky sex Scandal Month? Well then, how do you explain all this...

Last week the governor of New York resigned after it was revealed that he engaged in illegal hooker-sex.

Also last week, the CDC came out with a disturbing study that says 25% of teen girls between the ages of 14 and 18 have an STD from unprotected sex.

This week the new governor of NY (who's replacing the hooker-sex guy) revealed that both he and his wife have had on-the-side sex.

Also this week, more dirty laundry from James McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey (who resigned in 2004 after having sex with an aide). A former driver for McGreevey alleges that he engaged in three-way sex with McGreevy and his wife years ago.

And on the non-political front, the family of a 15-year old Australian girl is pissed because someone caught her having school-house sex, recorded the act on their cell phone, then sent the video to a bunch of other people's cell phones.

So your still saying that it's not Freaky Sex Scandal month? I think you'd better check your calendars.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTERS!!!!

Once again, I should have just avoided the news today because I can feel my blood pressure slowly rising to a smooth simmering boil.

Have you Mamas heard about this?

A national study, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that 1 in 4 teenage girls (an estimated 3.2 million!) between the ages of 14 and 19 has a sexually transmitted disease. One in four!

That same survey found that nearly 50% of African American teens has an STD. Fifty percent? WHAT!?! THAT'S INSANE!

Ok ... deep breaths. Calm ... Calm ... Oooohhmmmm....

It's no shocker that teens are having sex at a younger age. Honestly, what do we expect? They're bombarded with sexual talk and imagery on television, on the internet, in magazines, in music, and you can be sure that it's the #1 topic in the halls at school. We KNOW this already. And please, I am in no way saying that we should excuse kids for having sex because they're surrounded by it and can't control themselves, but the point today is that they ARE having sex, and we already KNOW this, so the question I'd like to pose is…

WHY is NO ONE talking to these kids about protecting themselves?

This study only tested for 4 diseases: herpes, chlamydia, human papillomavirus or HPV, and trichomoniasis. It doesn't even account for diseases like, syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV.

The implications of this study are pretty damn scary. Young girls who are experimenting with their bodies in ways that they're simply not ready for, may end up suffering severe consequences for it. Chlamydia and HPV can be present in the body for years with no symptoms, and can lead to infertility and cancer. That's a HUGE price to pay for a few minutes of youthful ignorance.

Once again, I have to make the point that comprehensive sex-education programs in the schools starting in the elementary grade levels and continuing into and throughout high school is SO necessary. How many times do we need to get smacked in the head for it to sink in?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The secret is out...Victoria's that is.

The big wigs over at Victoria's Secret suddenly got a brain blast and realized that their merchandise is too sexy

The chief executive of the brand known for its provocative televised fashion shows and alluring stores made an admission yesterday. In her mind, the brand has become "too sexy" -- or at least the wrong kind of sexy.

I don’t know about the “wrong kind of sexy”, but I sure as sugar know that they’ve been pushing it to the wrong market. Or actually…it's probably the right market, because we all know that teenage and pre-teen girls are the most sought-after consumers in the world. And that's exactly who's been spending all their lunch money to get the sweatpants, totes and T-shirts from the "Pink" brand that Vicki's rolled out in 2002.

And hey, since the kids are already in the store buying school clothes, may as well sell ‘em some other stuff, too!

Take a stroll through your local Victoria’s Secret. You’ll probably be greeted with a tame display of Pink apparel. So a 14-year old coming into the store picks out a couple tubes of lip gloss and maybe a shirt. No biggie. But then she heads back to the register....What the heck? Things are starting to get a little funky in here! Girls that look like they should be at home skipping rope are browsing push up bras and thongs.

“Well, so what?” you might say, “This is the adult section of the store.”

Ooooohkaaay. But I can’t remember the last time I slipped into a pair of panties with rainbow stripes, a sheer heart-covered camisole or a polka-dotted bra. And I’m pretty much an adult. Hold on. Lemme check with some other adults … Nope. They said they don’t wear that candy-shop looking stuff either.

I guess the folks at Vicki’s didn’t realize they were peddling lingerie to kids.

“But they sell other stuff,” you might say.

That's pretty obvious. There's tons of kids testing make up, lotions, massage oils, and perfume. And how cute that these products have names like Love Spell, Pure Seduction, Play with Me, Keep the Lights On, Touch Me Gently, and (I kid you not) Massage a Trois. Oh, is that chocolate body paint? Great, I ran out.

But I digress. Vicki’s is at least making a change (even if it’s only because sales are in the tank). Maybe the new trend will be comfortable underwear and bras that won't lift one's girls to one's chin.
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