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What My Heart Beats For Trumps The Heartbeat Bill

8 Dec

“It’s a new day, but it all feels old
It’s a good life, that’s what I’m told…”

To quote Good Charolotte, this is precisely how I feel with the controversy surrounding our next POTUS, mainly his stance on abortion, and silly government officials like Janet Porter who are encroaching on MY bodily autonomy.

Republicans would just love to defund planned parenthood, and voted last year that birth control should be available only OTC, and are also attempting to make abortions illegal except in cases of rape, incest and maternal mortality (oh wait, Janet Porter’s Heartbeat Bill even scoffs at those ‘exceptions’). This is taking away freedoms from women and making reproductive health less accessible.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me feel like a second class citizen in this patriarchal government. If you don’t like or support abortion…don’t have one! But please, do not think you can have the audacity to also make my choice for me.

To the men who think women shouldn’t have sex: sorry but some of us really enjoy sex, and protect ourselves against pregnancy. What about all the guys who bitch about condoms being uncomfortable? And it’s easy for a man to tell me to carry my baby to term and give it up for adoption. Is he the one paying for doctor visits? Missed days at work? Or hospital stays? Or the one forced to deal with the psychological trauma? I. Don’t. Think.So. But I know there are so many middle-aged males who will disagree.

I assume anyone who aligns themselves with the pro-life argument will never opt for an abortion, however if your leanings are pro-choice you do not wish to force your beliefs on other sentient human beings, you just wish for the opportunity to choose your own path. Current legislation allows for this, would it be better to allow an outspoken minority (according to statistics) to force their wishes on people they do not know, living through situations they probably have never experienced themselves?

Aborting a child is nothing to be proud of, but it is not in my mind something to be shameful of either. If you take every precaution to prevent a pregnancy and by chance end up becoming pregnant, why should you have to keep it? Just because it has the potential to become a living person? If someone is financially or emotionally insecure to care for a child how would it be fair to bring a child into the world that might grow up disadvantaged?

Medically speaking, abortion is not murder because the fetus is attached to the mother – if the mother dies, the fetus dies. Moreover, a baby has no consciousness until it is near 5 months of age. I understand it has a heartbeat at 8 weeks, but if no memories or self awareness can be formed while in utero I don’t see how damaging abortion can be to a child that is not aware of its own existence.

Are you republicans aware of the massive tax increases it would take and social programs to ensure these children become productive members of society? I don’t see ANY commitment from pro lifers to step up after the baby is born.

I do propose however that Trump Tower should be turned into a free daycare, and Janet Porter can spend her days serving apple juice and animal crackers to all the newborns she plans to help raise.

Why Fetal Fascist Carly Fiorina is a Threat to Women

17 Sep

“If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.”

– Sojourner Truth

 

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I wanted to keep this post professional, but there’s something about other people wanting to dictate what choices I am “allowed” to make for my own body that really makes my blood boil.

A universal sustainable development includes gender equality and ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights are protected. Unfortunately, it is issues that fall under this umbrella, such as reducing maternal mortality and birth control/abortion access that constrain female independence and freedom, control over their own bodies, sexuality and childbearing that deny personal life choices and opportunities regarding education and careers.

Not only in the United States, but around the world, women and girls face very real barriers concerning equality (wage gaps, gender-based violence, genital mutilation, etc.) but the poor and socially disadvantaged become further ostracized.

GOP candidate and pro-life advocate Carly Fiorina is a threat to eradicating poverty and achieving that sustainable development which I see as possible through gender equality including women’s rights, health and empowerment.

Fiorina’s plan to cut contraception access and limit it to over-the-counter would likely lead to higher, not lower abortion rates. And although she only believes in abortion for circumstances of rape, maternal mortality and incest, women who want to terminate pregnancies will find a way – and it will be detrimental and dangerous. I assume she wouldn’t want to be responsible for an underground abortion ring, but it looks like that’s what she could breed.

While I am pro-choice, I do not mind those who favor a pro-life stance, and I do have opinions on aborting a fetus over 20 weeks. However, reproductive rights ARE human rights and Carly nor anyone else should ever be able to dictate what another woman chooses to do with her body.

I just can’t seem to find any rationale on how limiting access to birth control and abortions will be beneficial. Fiorina also continues to blast Planned Parenthood as a callous and brutal organization, however many women depend on PP. Perhaps instead of defunding PP, maybe we should develop better ways of managing its practices?

All in all I think Carly is a woman who needs to feel important, yearns to be relevant and enjoys challenging the status quo just for the hell of it.

Why Women Are Spending Big Bucks on Athleisure

27 Aug

Every day, women spend hundreds of dollars on clothes they plan to wear only while sweating –- sports bras, yoga pants, skin-tight “breathable” tanks. But why? Business Insider reports that it’s all about the way retailers like Lululemon market their apparel – to appeal to women’s insecurities.

Companies like Lululemon capitalize on these instincts, providing workout gear that women can feel “stylish” in, even when they’re doing sun salutations.

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It’s not men they’re trying to impress with their high-end workout garb, it’s other women.

But female competition and insecurity can’t be the whole story here. Because single women are on the path to out-earn their male counterparts,  they’ve steadily become a more formidable consumer force. Women in their 20s and 30s aren’t just spending money on workout gear because they feel a need to impress their peers — they’re spending the money because they can.

Lululemon isn’t the first company to actively target young, single, self-sufficient women. Citibank and Hond notoriously pointed to the demographic’s financial successes and increasing independence. In the ad for Citibank, a young woman says: “My boyfriend and I were going on vacation. We talked about getting a diamond, but with all the ThankYou Points I’ve been earning, I flew us to the rock I really had in mind.” The rock she “really had in mind” happens to be a giant rock formation near Moab, Utah.

New commercials sell women the cars and financial products they can now afford by presenting those big ticket items as tools for celebrating their independence rather than attracting a husband.

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Advertisers are learning that the way to women’s wallets is acknowledging their strengths rather than exploiting their weaknesses, and by focusing on this demographic brands are appealing in part to their awareness of their own power — earning power.

 

What it Would Mean for America to Elect its First Female President

27 Mar

From the initial inception of society, the exclusion of women from institutional politics was an extension of their exclusion from the public space. Traditionally, women, even those who worked outside of the household, took care of the family, the domestic space and were in charge of “reproduction”, while men had the most important roles in society, especially those related to politics, religion and war. With time, however, this sexual division of labor became less marked, thanks to the mobilization of women themselves.

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Ever more present since her private meeting with President Obama on Monday, is the mounting speculation over whether Hillary Clinton will soon announce a presidential run. And of course there is discussion on whether a woman is equipped to run the country.

To begin, I would like to reiterate to my readers that Feminism is a practice, NOT a single person or outcome. Despite the views of some of my peers, feminists are not “women who want to become men.” Conversely, feminism is a scope, a lens if you will, for looking at the world, and aims for attaining even ground and destruction of any influencers that may exist which perpetuate unfair advantages favoring men over women. Feminism does NOT define women as victims. Feminism recognizes that men are biologically built for some duties better than women and vice versa. There is not contesting that. But what feminism yearns for is an equal consideration between women and men where gender should not be a bias. This applies to jobs and things as simple as purchasing a new car.

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For me, I think a female president would be able to finally mediate the tired, drawn-out arguments over birth control and abortion access. And while I don’t think anyone, man or woman should have the power to exercise an absolute decision over what a woman can and cannot do with her own body, a female president would be more empathetic than a man to rape culture and therefore better motivated to address and educate society’s acknowledgment to obvious and unobvious (normalized) forms of sexual violence.

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The good news is that most Americans find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership,

So why, then, are women in short supply at the top of government and business in the United States? According to the public, at least, it’s not that they lack toughness, management chops or proper skill sets.

It’s also not all about work-life balance. Instead, topping the list of reasons, about four-in-ten Americans point to a double standard for women seeking to climb to the highest levels of either politics or business, where they have to do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves. Similar shares say the electorate and corporate America are just not ready to put more women in top leadership positions.

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As a result, the public is divided about whether, even in the face of the major advances women have made in the workplace, the imbalance in corporate America will change in the foreseeable future. About half (53%) believe men will continue to hold more top executive positions in business in the future; 44% say it is only a matter of time before as many women are in top executive positions as men. Americans are less doubtful when it comes to politics: 73% expect to see a female president in their lifetime.

If Hillary was to win the 2016 election, I think it would be a catalyst in kick starting a new movement where women would feel more confident and empowered to succeed and inspired to become more politically active. Women have come so far, it would be very liberating, at least for me, to elect a female president. It is one of the last frontiers we have yet to claim.

Quick Facts:

Women are far more likely than men to see gender discrimination in today’s societyAbout two-thirds (65%) of women say their gender faces at least some discrimination in society today, compared with 48% of men who believe women face some discrimination. A double-digit gender gap on perceptions of gender discrimination is evident across all generations as well as across partisan groups.

Women and men are seen as equally good business leaders, but gender stereotypes persist. Most Americans (54%) say men would do a better job running a professional sports team, while just 8% say women would be better at this. And a 46% plurality also give men the edge when it comes to running a large oil or gas company. But the public is two and a half times more likely to say a woman, rather than a man, would do a better job running a major hospital or a major retail chain.

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Please share your thoughts; I love reading the different perspectives of my readers.

Gender Equality Campaign Erases Women From Billboards and Print Ads: Clinton Foundation teams with brands

24 Mar

This article was written by a former colleague of mine, Lauren Johnson, over at AdWeek. I think it really proves that major brands are in a power play with consumers,  harnessing their influence over a wide audience to push for societal recognition that change is needed.

Despite a longstanding effort to get women’s rights on par with men’s, women hold 58 percent fewer executive positions than men in Italy. And in Croatia and Argentina, 42 percent of women have fewer top-level jobs than men, according to new research from the Clinton Foundation.

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To coincide with International Women’s Day on Sunday, the Clinton Foundation (an initiative spearheaded by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton) released data that looks at how women’s equality has changed since 1995 as part of its No Ceilings initiative. Back in 1995, Hillary Clinton sparked the research during the U.N.’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. While the research shows that women’s rights are catching up to men’s, there is still work to do.

This weekend the foundation launched a campaign with Droga5 that underscores the fact women “still aren’t there” in gender equality. Unilever, iHeartMedia, Beats by Dre, Simon & Schuster, Kate Spade, the New York City Ballet, Under Armour, H&M, Zalla Pilates, Diane von Furstenberg, Snapchat and Condé Nast all teamed up with the organization with creative content that literally wiped women away.

For example, Kate Spade released billboards in New York last week for its spring 2015 campaign featuring fashion model Karlie Kloss sitting on a park bench.

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But on Friday, the brand replaced its billboards on 45th Street and the West Side Highway, and in Times Square with an almost identical picture of an empty park bench. The Web address not-there.org replaces Kloss—directing viewers to the No Ceilings campaign hub.

Check out the video below to see how other brands activated the campaign on billboards and on print ads.

“Empowering women is really at the core of our DNA—back in 1993 Kate Spade was frustrated that she couldn’t find what women were looking for in the marketplace, so she took matters into her own hands and formed Kate Spade New York,” said Mary Beech, Kate Spade’s CMO.

Here are some other eye-opening findings from the Clinton Foundation’s research:

  • Nine countries in the world (including the U.S.) don’t provide paid maternity leave. The eight other countries are: Palau, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Suriname.
  • In countries like Norway, the U.S. and India, women spend up to five extra hours on unpaid domestic work per day.
  • Globally, moms are 42 percent less likely to die of pregnancy complications than they were in 1995. • 71 percent of national constitutions entitle women to attend primary school, but only 32 percent protect the right to attend middle and high school.
  • One in three women suffer from physical violence, even though 76 out of the 100 countries studied have laws against domestic violence.
  • In developing countries, 200 million fewer women than men have access to the Internet.

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Will a woman replace Jackson on the $20 bill?

24 Mar

It may seem difficult to imagine that there is anything wrong with a crisp, delicious stack of cash. But a new campaign that seeks to change the face of the 20-dollar bill points out the problem: our paper money contains no depictions of women.

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As National Public Radio reports a group has launched a campaign to try to raise awareness to potentially change the bill that currently depicts Andrew Jackson. The campaign, Women on 20s, is asking voters to help them select what woman should be immortalized on greenbacks, according to NPR.

To vote in the campaign and learn more about the effort behind the change, go to Women on 20s.

In the current round of voting, get ready to select three candidates out of this group:

  • Harriet Tubman‎
  • Rosa Parks‎
  • Alice Paul‎
  • Betty Friedan‎
  • Barbara Jordan‎
  • Clara Barton‎
  • Eleanor Roosevelt‎
  • Sojourner Truth‎
  • Shirley Chisholm‎
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton‎
  • Patsy Mink‎
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Rachel Carson‎
  • Frances Perkins‎
  • Margaret Sanger‎

The Eventual Demise of “Shop by Gender” ?

5 Mar

Research has suggested that retailers should take note when it comes to gendered items. Clothes and toys don’t necessarily need to cater to either boys or girls. By focusing on a non-gendered audience, products will appeal to a wider market.

A report titled “Little Miss Understood” indicates that young girls prefer brands that empower them, rather than those which are specifically gender orientated. The research surveyed 1,070 girls aged 8-14 showcasing the brands they liked and disliked, and highlighting that the younger the child, the less they were influenced by gender. Gender is a social concept rather than a predisposed natural instinct.

Always’ advert ‘Like a Girl’ also struck a chord with retailers and consumers alike, identifying the negativity of stereotypically targeting children of different genders. The ad shows girls acting out ‘what it means to be a girl’, showing off the typical attributes that categorise them. Younger girls are seen running faster, whereas older girls run according to their gender’s stereotype, ‘girly’ or ‘ditzy’. Are products losing relevance with girls?

Danish toymaker Lego has already explored unisex figures, allowing its female characters to take on supposed masculine job roles. In 2014, three new Lego figurines were introduced, with a palaeontologist character, an astronomer and a chemist. The items were backed by a public vote and geoscientist Ellen Kooijman, who wanted to oppose the, ‘skewed male/ female minifigure ratio’. The toys were a success, selling out within a week of launching.

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The main category on Lego’s website splits toys by age rather than gender, allowing Star Wars items and the ‘Detective office’ to appeal to a wider demographic. The company’s sales increased by 13% to $4.4bn in 2014, seeing it named as the world’s most profitable toymaker and powerful brand. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of the Lego Group puts this success down to the company providing, “children with a tool to express their imagination”.

Brands such as GoldieBlox also strive for innovation. Though targeting only girls, the brand focuses on strong female character such as the ‘zipline action figure’. The brand lets girls know that it’s okay to aspire to be something that is deemed masculine, such as an engineer. Though founder Debbie Sterling was originally met with hostility and told that, “construction toys for girls don’t sell”, consumers backed her plan, raising $285,881 on her site. Further backing was provided by investor Kickstarter, allowing the company to expand. The toys are now sold in 500 independent stores in the US and Canada, with a spot in toy giant ‘Toys R Us’. You can check out the toys by clicking here.

‘ab’, a creative communications agency, emphasises that gender isn’t relevant to younger girls, finding that the main reasons girls will engage with a brand is if it ”helps them to have fun” and “allows them to be themselves”. ‘Let Toy Be Toys’ reported that the number of retailers using gender to categorise toys has dropped by 46%.

The results are reinforced with news of Mattel’s Barbie reporting disappointing financial results for its fourth quarter in 2014. Barbie suffered a 12% drop, while Mattell‘s net income fell 59% to $149.9m and sales dropped 6%. New CEO, Christopher Sinclair was less than happy with the situation, who said: “Our results were not acceptable,” and put the decline down to inconsistent product innovation, most probably the limited demographic Barbie targets.

Belinda Paramer, CEO of Lady Geek adds: “Successful brands that engage young women deliver on three things: emotion, reassurance and authenticity”.

It is no longer enough to target boys with blue and girls with pink. Successful retailers are subverting the idea of ‘hegemonic masculinity’, instead focusing on age groups for maximum exposure. AMEN!

I think the real question here is if the “pinkification” of toys for girls really adds to gender inequality in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or if this ideal is over exaggerated. One can argue that children learn through play; it’s how they develop skills and interests, and that the detrimental effects of this kind of marketing, though clearly only one factor in a mix of many influences on the young, may run broader and deeper. It polarizes children into stereotypes. It’s not just that vehicles, weapons, and construction sets are presented as “for boys” while toys of domesticity and beautification are “for girls.” Toys for boys facilitate competition, control, agency, and dominance; those for girls promote cooperation and nurturance. These gender stereotypes, acquired in childhood, underlie a host of well-documented biases against women in traditionally masculine domains and roles, and they hinder men from sharing more in the responsibilities and rewards of domestic life.

In my house, I do the dishes – my fiance will not touch them –  he takes out the garbage. I clean the floors and bathroom, but he washes, dries and folds the laundry.

Who does what chores in your house?