By now you’ve probably heard that Abercrombie & Fitch is an exceedingly offensive company that aims to create clothes exclusively for the young people that CEO Mike Jeffries deems “cool.” But did you know that A&F has a long history of sexism, too? As The Huffington Post explains, back in 2005, activist Heather Arnet of the independent advocacy group, The Women and Girls Foundation, escorted 16 teenage girls to Abercrombie’s headquarters to protest a line of — surprise! – offensive T-shirts. The girls had decided to stage a boycott, affectionately named “girlcott,” of T-shirts which pit women against each other, baring phrases such as “I had a nightmare I was a brunette,” “Blondes are adored, brunettes are ignored,” and “Do I make you look fat?” Keep reading »
This past weekend, I spoke on two panels at the Civil Liberties and Public Policy’s reproductive rights conference. One of my panels, “Bringing Social Justice to the Family Table,” tackled how to combine an activist lifestyle with family life. Along with three other panelists/mothers, I spoke about how to foster awareness of the world around us and how to engage our children in social justice issues from an early age. We spoke about our pre-kid lives as activists and how we wove it all in when we became parents. For many on the panel, including myself, that involved work in the reproductive rights movement.
I’ve written before about how becoming a mother has only strengthened my pro-choice beliefs, and I made sure to reiterate that stance while on the panel. I think there is a fear surrounding motherhood, that the moment you pop out a baby, all other aspects of your identity cease to exist and you become solely “mommy.” While there was certainly a period of transition while I figured out how to connect this new aspect of my identity with what was already there, I eventually found ways to make it all work harmoniously together.
When my son was only a few months old, I placed him snug against my chest in a baby carrier and manned a table for Planned Parenthood during a sidewalk sale event in my town. I handed out condoms and pamphlets on birth control and STI prevention while discreetly nursing my son in his sling. I spoke with people about the best ways to schedule appointments while my gurgling baby babbled happily away. Nobody seemed to bat an eye at the fact that my son was with me as I volunteered. Keep reading »
Ladies, now’s the time to get vocal about what you believe in. Women around the world are wielding signs, donning body paint, and marching in parades in support of women’s rights and gender equality, against violence toward women, and to raise awareness for other important political and social causes. As we continue Women’s History Month, let’s look back at the evolution of female protesters. From the French Revolution to the women’s suffragist movement to civil rights, here are some memorable moments involving women around the world getting their protest on. Read more…
This holiday season, The Frisky staff is committed to giving back. Throughout the month of December we’ll be telling you about some of the charities and nonprofits that we support, why they’re important to us, and how you can support them too, if you’re so inclined. First up, Winona tells us why she believes in Girls Inc.!
Who they are: Girls Incorporated
What they do: Empower girls age 6 to 18 to achieve their full potential through mentoring and hands-on experiences.
Why I support them: Before I came to write full-time for The Frisky, I ran a program at Portland Community College that partnered with local high schools to get more teenage girls signed up in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) classes. I met some really amazing young women who were excelling in science and technology (including a particularly gifted robotics club member who I’m convinced will grow up to be either the best President we’ve ever had or the most fearsome dictator the world has ever known), but I also saw a lot of girls falling into familiar patterns of silence, deferring to male classmates, and opting out of high level math and science classes because they were uninterested or intimidated… Keep reading »
When 13-year-old Mckenna Pope asked her 4-year-old brother Gavin what he wanted for Christmas, he answered “a dinosaur and an Easy-Bake Oven.” Best Christmas list ever, right? But Mckenna soon found out that getting him a living, breathing dinosaur would be much less complicated than getting him an Easy-Bake Oven, thanks to the gender-specific way Hasbro markets the popular cooking toy. Boys, it seems, aren’t supposed to want Easy-Bake Ovens.
As Mckenna did more research, she “found it quite appalling that boys are not featured in packaging or promotional materials for Easy Bake Ovens,” and she found the implications even more disturbing: “I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work.” So she decided to do something about it… Keep reading »
When the women of the small African country of Togo want something, they truly take one for the team: in order to urge the president of Togo to resign, the women are holding a sex strike. A civil rights group called Let’s Save Togo is encouraging women to withhold sex from their husbands for one week in hopes it will push men to oust the current president. (At least one man already has suggested a shorter time period — two days — instead.) I confess to not understanding much about the culture of Togo but it seems that even withholding sex as part of a political protest might not be easy for wives: One woman told the AP it will be “easy for me to observe it” but she is “not sure” her husband would “accept” the strike; another woman told the AP that “I know my husband will not let me complete it … He likes that too much.” Sex strikes have had successes before, however: The leader of the women’s wing of Let’s Save Togo said the group is taking their cue from Liberian women, whose 2003 sex strike helped bring peace to the country. And of course there is the famous Greek play “Lysistrata.” Good luck, ladies. [San Francisco State]
The Leaping Bunny is the universal symbol of the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) reserved for brands and products strictly not tested on animals at any time during their preparation. As of the past couple of months and continuing through today, a number of companies that clearly took a stance in opposition to the practice have been forced to relinquish their Leaping Bunny, and not of any defection from their own creed — brands that allow their products to be imported to and sold in China will no longer be permitted to wear the Leaping Bunny as a cruelty-free claim.
Animal testing in the cosmetics industry is an all but familiar topic for consumers, manufacturers, and activists alike. It’s important to understand that the procedures extend far beyond slapping Chanel lipstick on a lab rat; rather, products and ingredients are often administered to the mucous membranes of the animal, including eyes, nose, and mouth, before the subject is euthanized. It’s a depressing reality, and it’s one that has persisted as the raw, bleeding truth behind the booming beauty business for time immemorial. Explicit awareness of this long-standing cruelty can certainly sap all the joy out of a Sephora binge in seconds flat.
Keep reading »
It all started–as many revolutions do–with a school librarian. Lina Ehrin, a 32-year-old librarian from central Sweden, was in the audience of a national Swedish singing contest when TV cameras captured a shot of her cheering wildly with her arms raised–armpit hair clearly exposed. A fan of the show posted a screengrab of Lina on Facebook, which quickly racked up thousands of angry comments declaring Lina dirty, ugly, and disgusting for choosing not to shave her pits. To combat the hate, a group of young activists created a Facebook event page called Ta Håret Tillbaka! (Take the Hair Back!), where people could voice their support for Lina and post photos of their own body hair. With over 15,000 members and hundreds of photos shared, the movement is quickly gaining momentum. Lina, for one, is shocked at the attention: “I mean, there are wars going on in the world, yet crazy people are sitting here commenting on this … I can’t believe a little bit of hair on a woman is such a big thing.”
So, what do you think of this personal grooming drama? Do you shave your armpits? How often? Would you ever put down your razor to make a statement? [Vice]