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Princess Goldie Blox

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By Kate Parsons

goldieblox

Today, girls and women are bombarded with advertisements that transmit an extremely narrow set of messages about girlhood and womanhood. At first glance, the advertisements for GoldieBlox seem as though they are pushing-back on the mainstream idea that girls should aim to be princesses or domestic goddesses when they grow up. The Oakland, Calif.-based company won a contest run by Intuit to launch the toy, which is aimed at a new kind of engineer: young girls. The advertisements are exciting because they aim to end the stereotype that all girls want to be princesses when they grow up. The toy really took off after their commercial during the Super Bowl. The commercial shows girls forgoing their usual toys for a more interesting and stimulating experience building and getting their hands dirty.

What I don’t get is why the infamous ad that appeared during the Super Bowl and the web and print versions of the advertisements do not match up. I applaud GoldieBlox and think that the toy is a great idea to replace domestic-themed toys with building toys for girls. But why is the print ad full of the girly colors the CEO first condemned when she walked down a toy aisle in a big-box store. Furthermore, there is actually a princess in the ad, even though the point of the toy is to move girls away from the princess dream. Will there ever be a toy that truly crosses boundaries and stereotypes? Or will girls’ toys always be purple, pink, and princess-y in order to sell?

Crying Double Standards

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Guest Post By Samantha Slotnick

A few hours before my last home hockey game, I stumbled across an article that was shared by a handful of my Facebook friends. The headline read: “Mocking the US Women’s Hockey Team for Crying Over Their Loss to Canada is Sexism, Pure and Simple.”

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 Members of the US Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team crying after losing gold-medal game

Baffled by the title of the article, I clicked on the link to learn more. The author calls people out on their responses via twitter to the women’s team for crying. Some of the tweets she referenced included (please note that I use italics to draw attention to the shocking things people had the audacity to say): “The US women hockey team are such ungrateful assholes. The damn Swiss team is so happy with bronze & you’re crying cause you won silver;” “The women’s US hockey team crying after they lost is exactly why women shouldn’t play sports. Grow some ovaries. #GetOverIt;” “To the US women’s hockey team: ‘There’s no crying in hockey.'” I was enraged.

I followed the US Women’s Ice Hockey team’s journey in Sochi and watched the entire gold medal game versus Canada–all the way down to the devastating overtime loss. I watched the medal ceremony that immediately followed too, and quite honestly I did not even think twice about the girls crying over their loss. To me, that was normal. These 21 girls had not only trained four years to win gold in these Olympics, they had been training their entire hockey careers for this. You don’t just magically become an Olympian–it takes hard work, dedication, and a drive to succeed that is built upon year after year after year.

It was not until I sat in the locker room before the last game of my college career that I realized what hockey truly meant to me and that it was almost over. Our coach, with whom I and the other seniors have a very close bond, gave a heartfelt speech about four “little girls” who began playing the game of hockey, and shared cute little tidbits our parents sent in advance. This was when it really hit me. I thought of the relationships I built with my teammates and family, and about how important hockey has been in my life as a necessary escape from reality from time to time. Something about realizing that this game–a game that played such a prominent role in shaping who I am today and the relationships I cherish–was coming to an end, brought me to tears.

There is in fact crying in hockey. We see it every year in June with the winning team of NHL players hoisting the Stanley Cup over their heads as the losing team exits the ice as fast as possible fighting back the tears in their eyes.

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 Henrik Lundqvist crying after losing Eastern Conference Finals–Keeps NY Rangers Out of Stanley Cup contention

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Ray Borque crying after winning the Stanley Cup for the first and only time in his 22-year career

Why is it okay for grown adult males to cry when losing in a professional competition, but it is not okay for a team of females representing their country, with an average age of 23, to cry when losing the gold medal to their long-time rival?  As a female hockey player, I am not naive to the fact that I carry some bias in my argument. This issue hits close to home. As a human being though, I cannot help but wrestle with this double standard. The American culture socializes us to believe that men don’t cry; women do. But in the case of sports, why is it okay for men to cry but women cannot?

This is just one of the many contradictions female athletes face. We are expected to be strong and intimidating on the playing field, but sweet and feminine off the court– “dolled up” with makeup or sexualized in the Sports Illustrated swim suit edition. As a society we tell girls it’s not only okay to cry, but expected of them, yet attack females for crying after losing in a sport? Where is the logic? So, now I ask the really tough question: how do we work on socializing generations young and old to understand that expressing our emotions is not only okay, but actually psychologically healthy for all human beings alike?

Ellen Page – LGBTQ+ Superwoman!

Author:

ellenpage

By Yas Necati

“And I am here today because I am gay,” she said, with no sense of triumph or glory. It was just a fact. It was just a part of her identity, and I salute Ellen Page for simply stating her sexual orientation like it was no big deal. Because it shouldn’t be a big deal. Ellen’s ‘coming out’ wasn’t flamboyant or dramatic, it was simple and honest. In that moment she gave us a glimpse into what the future will hopefully be like for LGBTQ+ youth. A future in which people could say they are gay just as easily as anyone else could say they were straight.

Ellen, I am writing this post because I am gay. Pansexual, to be precise. I’m far from heteronormative. Today I bought my first lesbian lifestyle magazine. Inspired by your speech, I marched into Foyles, picked up a copy of “Diva” and took it home. I wasn’t ashamed to pay for it at the till and I wasn’t even ashamed when reading it whilst waiting for my pumpkin Korroke (recommended!) in Yo! Sushi.

As you said in your speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Time to Thrive’ Conference, “There is courage all around us.” I see courage every day and I’m inspired by it. I hope, with tiny steps towards accepting who I am, I can harness that courage as well.

Thank you Ellen Page. You’ve inspired me to go out and make a change in my life today. You’ve inspired me to be strong and brave and face up to something I never would’ve had the guts to do before. I was not ashamed. You’ve inspired one young woman to buy one magazine and move towards accepting herself… and I’m sure you’ve inspired thousands more. You’re an absolute icon and the fact that you have been honest about who you are will hopefully inspire other young women to do the same. So thank you for that. You’re truly admirable.

Here are a few highlights of Ellen Page’s speech. Please listen to it in full on Youtube. It’s one of the most beautiful and heartfelt things you will ever hear.

“There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we’re all supposed to act, dress and speak and they serve no one.”

“The simple fact is this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another.”

“If we took just 5 minutes to recognise each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences, that’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way to live, and ultimately, it saves lives.”

“We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.”

 

‘Bubbleheaded Gurus,’ or Brilliant Media Moguls?

Author:

mota

By Suzanne Warshell

As evidenced by PBG, the media loves to hate on girls – teenage girls in particular. In a feature by The Guardian (that we can just tell was totally written by some grumpy-middle aged man), Youtube beauty guru Bethany Mota, better known as macbarbie07, is profiled … if you can even call such a condescending, and sexist review a “profile”. The article calls her “a highly successful version of ordinariness,” and “ the future of bubbleheaded consumerism,” reducing Mota and her hundreds of YouTube videos – which include cooking videos, makeup tutorials and honest vlogs on problems facing teenage girls today – into “a teenager who makes videos in which she discusses her latest purchases.”

I’ve followed beauty gurus on YouTube for years, and have always admired the way they have turned their passion into a career, especially at such a young age. These girls spend hours developing, filming and editing videos, only to send them out into a sphere where they are bound to receive extremely harsh criticism veiled behind anonymity. If you’ve ever read the comment section on one of these videos, you’ll know what I’m talking about. These girls are constantly barraged with hundreds of nasty comments insulting their voices, appearances and personalities on even the most non-controversial videos. Interspersed between the hate, however, is feedback from the gurus’ adoring fans. While The Guardian reduces these young fans to blind sheep following the ever-so-evil influence of “consumerism,” I, as a teenage girl, know better. These are girls trying to navigate their way through a culture in which everything they do, say, or care about is ridiculed. In the young beauty gurus of YouTube, these fans find girls “just like them” who are succeeding solely through their own merit. It’s a true self-made success story: Mota started with a camera in her bedroom, and has now landed a deal with a nationwide retailer.

While the most successful gurus often partner with global retailers and companies, these consumeristic influences were not what inspired the girls to begin making these videos. They began making these videos out of a pure love of beauty and fashion, not out of a passive submission to societal standards. Instead, they are now able to use the beauty industry to their advantage and play an active role within it. Thus, through these videos many girls have been able to manipulate the culture that tries to oppress them, becoming empowered in the process.

Finally, the piece completely ignores the sheer magnitude of Mota’s accomplishments. While it flippantly mentions the 40k-a-month paycheck Mota receives from the videos, the article intends for this number to be scoffed at, apparently insignificant because it came from YouTube beauty videos. What Mota and other gurus like her are doing is nothing short of astounding. These teenage girls are building empires at age 18 (and below!) and single-handedly setting themselves up for lives of financial stability by pursuing their passions.

Unfortunately, the YouTube beauty community is not without its flaws. Most (if not almost all) of the girls are white, conventionally attractive and come from extremely affluent backgrounds. It is misguided to teach young teenage girls that they are exactly like these gurus because chances are, they’re not. That being said, teenage girls finding inspiration in other teenage girls following their dreams, and doing it well, is everything but “bubbleheaded.” When the article remarks that “If you’re not a teenage girl, it’s not for you to get,” it proves its complete disapproval of teen girl culture. This profile is not some high-level cultural critique of “consumerism:” it’s blatant sexism. The piece finds itself among countless others, relentlessly mocking things that bring teenage girls joy. I applaud Bethany Mota, I applaud her followers, and I applaud teenage girls in general, for loving things fearlessly, whether it be makeup and fashion, or the countless other things teenage girls (as humans) choose to love.

Seriously?! A bra to advise your eating habits…

Author:

bra

By Christiana Paradis

How did you do it Microsoft? No seriously? How did you create EXACTLY what I’ve always wanted? My whole life I’ve been wondering how to stop myself from emotional overeating. I mean every time a boyfriend or girlfriend (gasp) would break up with me it was straight for the pint of ice cream, sometimes even with Cheetos for topping! Too much? I never thought so. Bring on the gluttony. This WHOLE time I just thought there was no hope, but now Microsoft has developed this beautiful piece of technology–and it’s even in a sultry red color for the feisty femmes like myself. It is so adorable that they make this product and offer it to females only. After all, we’re the only gender that emotionally eats.

This bra uses sensors to detect my heart rate and sweat signals. Then it magically takes that information and decides (in its brain), “Hmm…you’re appearing stressed or maybe bored…DON’T DO IT! DON’T EAT!” So then the bra tells my smart phone…DON’T LET HER EAT. Then…are you ready for this? My smartphone agrees, “She should not eat.” So it makes me play games or do some form of breathing exercise…it works to distract me from eating, because the bra and my smartphone know more than my body, and they know I shouldn’t eat.

Microsoft says it has to be form fitting to get vitals and there’s a study that says women emotionally overeat more than men, so… it only makes sense it’s a bra. I couldn’t agree more. Why should it be something like a wifebeater, tank top, or a wristband? I mean why would we want everyone to get help for this problem? I overeat more than annnny of my guy friends. PLUS, this bra is so awesome/heavy/uncomfortable that it only needs to be taken off every four hours so that it can recharge its monitors. So basically it’s really convenient for your work day. Just grab lunch at a place that you can charge your bra so that you don’t have to awkwardly walk around the office bra-less. It’s made to be convenient for the working woman, like that. They’ve literally thought of EVERYTHING!

I’ve always wanted technology to tell me that my body doesn’t need nourishment! Thank you Microsoft, what would a silly ol’ gal like me do without you?

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