Friday, September 19, 2008

Who's in control of your health? Let your voice be heard right now!

In the immortal words of Florida Evans... Da-yum! Da-yum! Da-yum! It's simply too nice of a day for me to be swearing and getting worked up , but this did the trick!

Redefined birth control? Vague, wishy-washy language that could easily be interpreted as a way to deny women the information, contraception and health care they need to make vital decisions about their well-being? You like that idea? Hell to the naw, you say? Well let it be known...

We have only days left to speak out against this rule. Submit your comment here.

Also read the NY Times op-ed by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards that blasted this rule.

As a woman in my mid-thirties, I can't remember a time when women's health services were not readily available. As I teenager and a college student I relied on organizations like Planned Parenthood. There, I knew I could get affordable, safe contraception, medically accurate sexual information, and reliable health care. I've never not had access to these services. I've never known the horror of women like 29 year-old Adama Tall.

Let's not leave the door open for our daughters to be at the mercy of people who would withhold information, products or services to the detriment of their health. Submit your comment while there's still time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Drip Drip ....DRENCH!

When I was in middle school we got stuck with a sub in Earth Science for about a week. I remember absolutely nothing about that class (Slate? Sedimentary rocks? Whaaaat?), but this woman introduced me to an idea that would remain with me the rest of my life. She attempted to explain to us that much of our behavior is influenced by what's around us: society, peers, parents, media. Of course it had nothing to do with Earth Science. I think she got on the subject because all of the boys in the class had on similar sneakers. Or was it jeans?

At any rate, the whole class was quick to tell her she was nuts. We were 13 years old, after all. We had our own minds. No way in hell we were dressing, talking or behaving a certain way because of society. What did society have to do with us? We were cool! It was crazy-talk. She was insane.

Man, I wish I could remember that lady's name. Of COURSE she was right. The images we see, the messages we glean, the appealing looks and actions of others ... these things have a huge impact on our behavior. Why else would companies spend billions of dollars on advertising every year?

It's one thing when adults fall into the traps of advertising and media. Technically we shoulda known better. Caveat emptor and all that jazz. But it's another thing entirely when those traps are set for children. Especially when the messages are sexual in a way that kids don't really understand or aren't ready for.

Time Magazine took a deeper look at this issue last week in an article by Belinda Luscombe. In "The Truth About Teen Girls," Luscombe points out that the main problem with the messages aimed at girls is that there's just too many of them pushing the same thing.

"The real problems arise when the media unanimously suggest that hotness is the only identity worth trying on. And when they venerate physical desirability in young women without explaining how to use it responsibly. And when they define desirability in such a narrow fashion that many girls feel they have to amp up their sexual signals to measure up."

Luscombe also very smartly explains that it's not that girls aren't smart enough to make their own decisions (we know our girls are smart as hell), but when they aren't given alternate choices, how can decide which is best for them?

"...teens are less susceptible to media firestorms that galvanize the grownups, like those set off by a famous pregnant person or a seminaked tween star. But when most outlets say the same thing, the effect can be overwhelming. "We call this the drip-drip vs. the drench effect,"

Like I always say, give kids all the information they need to make good decisions and chances are...they'll make good decisions. Give them half the story (like abstinence only sex-ed) or bombard them with only one kind of limiting message (like today's sexyhotlook@me music and media) and they don't stand a chance.

Our girls deserve so much more. Check out some of the links on the nav bar for some examples of real-deal tween entertainment and education that empowers them from inside out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Food for thought: unusual blog traffic

Earlier in the year I added one of those web counters to Reign so I could get an idea of how many people were visiting the blog. I thought it would be interesting to see just how many people were actually stopping in because frankly, comments are few and far between. But as someone who likes to read other people's blogs, I know that comments aren't always a good indicator of your traffic. I mean there are blogs I visit every day--and sometimes multiple times in one day-- but I don't always leave comments.

So anyhoo, I installed a counter to tell me how many visits I get, what posts they read, how long they stay... blah, blah, blappity blah. I learned that Reign actually gets a fairly steady stream of traffic (nice!) and a lot of it is from regular readers. Thanks guys! Of course I have no idea who you are, but I'm glad to know you're tuning in. I'll try to keep it fresh for ya.

One of the interesting features of this counter is that it tells me where a visitor has come from. For example, I get a lot of hits from other blogs that I've posted on. When I leave a comment on another blog I always link back to Reign. Then if someone else reads my comment and clicks the link to visit Reign, the counter will tell me.

So now you're saying "Big deal! What is this, Blogging 101? Get to the point already!"

Alright, alright I'm getting to the point. Jeez!

Ok, I also get visits that come from Google searches on certain phrases. I get a lot of hits from searches on "preteen blog"-- which is good! That means I'm doing my job! And I get a few hits from other topics that I talk about like "teen pregnancy" and "tween birth control." All fine and good.

However (and here's where things get a little strange), because of the nature of the topics I cover, I'm finding that I end up with a lot of traffic from people searching phrases like: "sexy pre-teen babes", "hot sugar mamas", "school house sex" and the ever popular "pantiless girls." But thanks to this post, a good percentage of my traffic comes from people who have googled some variation of "freaky sex" which may include: "freaky sex girls" "teenage freaky sex", "sexy freaky girl" or "freaky sex moves."

Now I'm not one to judge. Maybe these folks are doing research for their own insightful blog that explores how young girls are exploited by a hypersexualized society ... but somehow I kinda doubt it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin, Pregnancy, Politics & A Pink Polka-Dotted Pig

Sheesh!

Take a break from the Internet for a long weekend and look what happens!! News up the wazoo! Between the Presidential race, the national conventions, back-to-back hurricanes, and the regular old news, I'm a news-site-reading-blog-feed-clicking-Googling-fool! I'll try to be brief while I touch on a few of the big points...but I can't promise anything.

First and foremost: when the heck did back-to-school become a major shopping event? A pack of paper, some pencils, and a pair of new sneakers used to be all that was needed to start the school year off right. Now I have to practically take out a loan to cover the cost of the supply list that the school sends home. Kleenex and hand sanitizer? What's that all about?

Now, on to the good stuff... NEVER have I been so glued to the television for political reasons. Last week the DNC was my favorite show. This week, I'll give the RNC the same attention. After all...McCain opened a big ol' can o'drama with his surprise VP pick. The race to the White House is hotter, juicier and more exciting than anything else on television right now!

Palin, a staunch pro-life advocate, pushed for abstinence only sex ed in her state and pimp slapped any funding for comprehensive sex education without a backwards glance. Now her 17-year old daughter is pregnant… The media and the blog world are having a field day.

Palin's nomination as VP may be a boon to women and another boost on the ladder to busting through the glass ceiling but damn, the commentary behind her nomination is as sexist and nasty as ever:

Shove it down our throats a little more that she's a former beauty queen, please. We enjoy choking on redundant filler.

Let's not forget that she's a milf and a babe

And... eeek!...who will care for her 5 children while she is off running the free world? (When's the last time you heard that question asked of a male candidate?)

On a less political note: America the Beautiful is getting more great reviews as it moves through the nation. Again Mamas, if this movie hits your town you do not want to miss it...take every girl-child and woman you know along for the ride.

And on a global note: A "Pakistani lawmaker defended a decision by northwestern tribesmen to bury five women alive because they wanted to choose their own husbands." --NY Daily News

Sort of makes me feel like all of our political bickering really ain't so bad.
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