10 Finds for Saturday – 4/27/13

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I decided today to try to organize these a bit into categories so I hope that helps! Here are your ten finds!

Ten Things: A Roundup Worth Reading

Babywearing

“My baby does not like being in a sling!” Tips for parents that want to babywear

Playtime

Creative Sand Sensory Play

Pretend Campfire for Dramatic Play Camping Theme

General Parenting

10 Ways to Be a More Confident Mom

Appreciate Your Mom

Women’s Issues

It’s Not Just Domestic Violence: The Beginner’s Guide to 16 Types of Violence Against Women

Freebies

Free Wheat Thins Sample

Free One Year Subscription to Ladies Home Journal

Visually Appealing

10 Cool Office Spaces

Food

To Die For Pizza Dip

 

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10 Finds for You – August 15th

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Okay, so one thing that I do is that I love to share other people’s articles and content. Why? Because there are a lot of great things out there. So periodically, I’ll do what I’m doing today, which is leave you a list of things I recommend reading (or watching). Just a few notes because I’m just going to leave the links and not add any of my extra commentary, leaving a link here does not mean I agree with everything on the site – I just think the particular link is interesting whether or not I agree with it. If you want to discuss any one in particular, leave a comment and I’ll happily discuss it with you and what I think about it.

Ten Things: A Roundup Worth Reading

1. What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?

2. Couple to attempt 50-mile swim across Lake Michigan

3. Women Scientists Still Face Discrimination

4. College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equality

5. Sentencing Juveniles

6. ‘The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness’ Author Brianna Karp Offers Advice to Young People on the Streets

7. One-third of tween clothes are sexy, study finds

8. More Alaska Families Choosing Home Schooling

9. Sex and Self-Esteem: A Big Boost for Men, Not So Much for Women

10. Movies to Watch with Your Kids on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happy reading!

Melissa

On Women Becoming Priests and Pastors

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I was watching this old 60 minutes interview with the Archibishop of New York and he said an interesting thing about women priests that made me think, since I belong to a conservative Lutheran synod that does also not allow women to be  pastors. This is what he had to say.

“Jesus gave women positions of responsibility. The only ones at the foot of the cross except for St. John? Women. The people that discovered his resurrection? Women. The people that were with him on his journeys? Women. People say, ‘This guy was kind of a pioneer in women’s rights.’ So, if he were going to intend them for the priesthood, he woulda done it. And he didn’t.” – Archbishop Dolan

And I think a lot of that resonated with me. Full disclosure, when I was a high school sophomore and I was being young and rebellious and I thought cool. I really wanted to be a pastor. I thought it was unfair and sexist that God didn’t want women to be pastors.

After a lot of talks with a lot of people much smarter than myself, I realized that it wasn’t the case at all. God simply gives women and men different roles in the church. Some people think that because pastors are in a leadership role that it is a better, more important role. I would disagree with that. Look at all the important things that [i]only[/i] women can do. I mean, Mary was the mother of Jesus and only a woman could ever be a mother. Women are given the important role of bearing all children. We’re given unique roles by our personalities. And honestly, I don’t want to change that. I like being different. Not to mention, we can teach our kids about Jesus, which is just as important as a pastor teaching his congregation (not that men can’t also teach their kids, but sometimes I think moms spend more time with their kids – I’m not saying this is true in all cases, just a lot of the time).

Anyways, that’s how I see it. Let me know your thoughts!

Oh and if you want to watch the full interview (or parts of it I think because it’s overtime?) you can find it here.

Women at M.I.T. – Too Much of an Advantage?

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I read an interesting article today from the New York Times. A bit old but still conjured up a lot of thoughts.

In the late 1990s, women at MIT began to talk. And when they began to talk, they realized that they were getting the short end of the stick. Their lab spaces were smaller, their salaries were lower, and there were a lot less of them than they were of men. So they took it up the ladder, to someone who could do something about it. And things changed for the better.

But now, they face the problem that people are accusing them of only being successful because they’re a woman. For example, people think the college works too hard to recruit them, that women only win prizes because they’re women, and that male undergrads tell female undergrads that they’re only there because of affirmative action.  And accusations like that can really hurt when you’ve worked hard. They also face tight personality roles that there is a lot of pressure to conform to, that women professors have to act a certain way.

Additionally, there are parts that the women themselves don’t like. There’s a rule requiring a woman on every committee, but with less women, the women have to take on more committees, so they argue that they lose out on a lot of time they could be spending researching or doing consultancies. Additionally, women get a lot of invitations to speak on panels about work life balance – many more invitations to speak than the men do.

Then there are parts that are really great – everyone can have a year off (male and female) after a child is born, there’s day care available, and if you travel away on business, M.I.T. helps cover the cost of child care.  However, even this gets abused as some men take it and use it to work instead of taking care of their child.

I don’t think this is the case. In fact, at M.I.T. for a man or a woman to get tenure, they need to have 15 different outside recommendations – a hard standard for anyone to beat. I would doubt too that anyone would say that this girl, who I blogged about before, was let in just because she was a woman. And this graduate of M.I.T. was certainly a smart and talented women. They do exist, male scientists, they do. Don’t knock those awesome women! Girl power!

“To women in my generation, these residual issues can sound small because we see so much progress. But they’re not small; they still create an unequal playing field for women — not just at universities, and certainly not just at M.I.T. And they’re harder to change because they are a reflection of where women stand in society.” – Nancy H. Hopkins

Where are the Female Writers in Late Night TV?

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Okay, so sometimes I talk about very serious subjects on my blog. You know rape, abortion, child soldiers, things of that nature. But sometimes there are other important women’s issues that need to be talked about too.

For example, where are all the Female Writers in Late Night TV?

What got me thinking was this chart that I saw:

From http://statette.tumblr.com/post/4719501058/women-writers-late-night

Look at this chart. Even the female host has only half a staff of women. One (Bill Maher) has no women writers. And two hosts only have women writers who are related to them. This should be such a shocking picture.

And then I read that ‘The Late Show’ made history by hiring a second woman. And this was mere months ago. History. When you think of things that make history, should ‘The Late Show’ hiring a second woman make history in this day and age? Or should they have hired a second (or a third or a fourth etc) woman writer a long time ago?

That got me to try and figure out why this is. Some people just say it’s because there are not women out there looking for these jobs. “It’s harder; there are less women looking for work. It’s easier to have an all-white male writing staff,” is one quote from Dan Harmon on the matter. Are there really less women looking for work? I’m not sure. But it would seem that Laurie Kilmartin (the only female writer on Conan)would agree with him when she says, “This is a huge generalization, but I think guys get on stage to get laid, and women get on stage to get heard. For female comics, it’s such a personal thing. I hardly know any female stand-ups who talk about generic stuff: It’s always really what happened to you. It is sort of a big switch to go from that to writing for someone else. And I think that that stops a lot of female comics from making that jump over.” Others argue that it’s just too much of a boy’s house – crude and rude and lewd – and that limits women.

To be honest, I don’t know why there aren’t more women writers in late night tv. It’s probably not a simple answer. Are there more male comics? Possibly, but is that just because women have very few women role models to look up to in this area. Something should be done, because there obviously are funny women, the question is just, where are they?

Sources:

Are Young Women Overworked?

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So I stumbled upon this article, I’m not sure when, but it’s been awhile. And it’s had me thinking for a long while to. If I thought it was true. Whether or not I agreed with it. If I would splash waves by suggesting it was true.

Because the article 16 Hours a Week suggests that women are told to be and do everything and that they are pushed harder than their male counterparts and are largely overworked.

Do I agree? I think often times yes. I can not say or speak for every woman. I can only say and speak for myself.

But when I was reading phrases like,  “Young women today are increasingly likely to be over-worked, anxious, and beset by fears of failure” and “Of course, some of it is rooted in the contemporary cultural ideal that, as Courtney Martin says, tells girls that they ‘can be anything’ but implies that in order to do so, that they must somehow ‘do everything.'” they really struck a cord with me.

Because that was me. That was the life I used to (and sometimes still do) live. At one point in my sophomore year of college, I was working 3 jobs (4 if you counted being an exec board member for student government), involved in a host of extracurricular activities, and taking the maximum credits that I could.

And I was miserable. I was downright miserable. The stress and anxiety was way more than I could handle. I was crying a lot. But at the same time, I wasn’t showing this to most people. I felt like I couldn’t show this to most people. Because this was what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to work all those jobs to ease the burden of paying for a college education on the my parents. I was supposed to be involved in the extracurricular because that’s kind of how I had a social life and because (at one time) I actually enjoyed all of them. It was my choice to take all the credits, but I knew if I could that I would graduate early and that would have me better off in the long run.

But in the short term? It was killing me. I was trying to do everything and all it got me was burnout city. I was trying to achieve a perfect ideal that Christ has already told me I could never reach. And instead of turning to him to get myself through, I became my own Savior – because I could – and would – do it all.

Somehow, I managed to get out (that probably had a lot to do with my now husband who spent many hours talking to me when I would succumb to anxiety and when I was crying and also of course with our amazing Lord). Okay, I will admit, I am still not perfect, and I still sometimes find myself overworked and trying to do it all. But it has gotten a lot better since I realized that I don’t have to do it all. I can lean on other people to provide sometimes. It doesn’t make me any less good at what I do. It doesn’t make me any less human. It doesn’t make me perfect – but I was never meant to be perfect anyway. And I think, in some ways, I am a stronger person for realizing I don’t have to do it all. There is a strength in humility that is often overlooked.

So are young women overworked? I think that sometimes they are. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I think women need to break out of the lie that they are being feed by other people who I know mean well. Because you don’t have to do it all. I promise you that. The world will not fall apart if you don’t.

So what do you think? Are young women overworked? Are you overworked?

“We are not half human beings, we are human beings.”

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In America, women still have a way to go. For example, abortion is still legal (something that harms women), women don’t get paid as much, and women still do not represent a large part of the government.

But it’s nothing like it could be.

Let’s look at Saudi Arabia. What it’s like there. And how they’re trying to change that.

Women in Saudi Arabia can not

  • vote.
  • drive (the only country in the world where they can’t, by the way).
  • ride bicycles.
  • be elected to a political office.
  • socialize with non-related men (If they do, they can be charged with prostitution).
  • expose anything but their hands and their eyes. (Though this varies by region of Saudi Arabia.)

They also face harsh male guardianship laws and customs, which means that women can not do certain things without permission from a male relative. Even where laws have been repealed in these areas, the customs and institutions haven’t always followed suite.  These laws require them to have a male guardian, no matter what age the women are. The male relative can be a husband, father, brother or even her son if there is no other male. Imagine that. How humiliating to be a grown woman and needing permission from your son to do some of the following things:

  • work
  • travel
  • study (this is a key area to fight for many women, since education, even when attainable, is considered largely unequal)
  • marry
  • divorce (imagine an awful situation like needing your abusive husband’s permission to divorce)
  • access health care (like have a surgery)
  • rent an apartment
  • open a bank account

Some of the stories would surprise you – at least I hope they would surprise you. One woman reports how after giving birth to her daughter, she wasn’t even allowed to sign the papers to take her daughter home. They don’t even really have much control over their name for their male relatives will get angry if they are allowed to sign something without permission. One woman who wanted to marry outside her tribe was even mentally institutionalized by him. The women fighting these laws insist it’s treating them like children.

It is also a society where killing women for honor is not an unheard of thing. One woman, for example, was killed by her father for simply chatting with a man on Facebook.

Along with that, when women are raped or sexually assaulted, it is often seen as their fault for being alone with an unrelated male. But what we know, is that rape is never your fault, and punishing someone who has gone through such a traumatic event is way out of line and probably causes a lot of women never to report their rapes.

There is also heavy sex segregation. This segregation between men and women is similar to the kind of segregation seen in the United States when blacks were not fully integrated. Segregation occurs in

  • many institutions, such as banks and universities.
  • companies and business (If a woman can even find a job; they are hard to find even in places like lingerie shops).
  • public places like ice rinks and beaches.
  • public transportation.
  • restaurants.
  • some private houses.

And of course, that is not to say that these are all segregated, but that is the large majority.

Many people would cite Islam as a reason for these restrictive laws. But not so, many women would insist. “If all women were given the rights the Qur’an guarantees us, and not be supplanted by tribal customs, then the issue of whether Saudi women have equal rights would be reduced.” That’s the statement of journalist Sabria Jawhar. And indeed, they might be able to point to other Islamic countries where women fare better than in Saudi Arabia (like I said above, it is the only country in the world where women can not drive, but they are not the only Islamic country). Some even feel that with such restrictive laws, like laws against driving, that the image of Islam is being hurt. Women and Islam is certainly a complex issue.

And to be clear, things have been a lot worse in the past. The first male and female university was opened, for example, and laws were passed against domestic violence. But still, it’s not enough for the freedom that Saudi women want.

They’re fighting back by organizing the Saudi Women Revolution. They’ve taken to Twitter and Facebook – key tools in today’s revolutions, as is quickly becoming apparent. There is both a Saudi Women Revolution page and a page for Women2Drive. There’s the hashtag #women2drive.They post videos on Youtube. They keep at it, despite the fact that their pages are sometimes taken down, their accounts deactivated, or their videos just disappeared. They’ve protested in ways that almost seem mundane, because it’s very hard for me to imagine never having these rights. But these are not mundane things. In a society that has always put women’s rights less, even trying these small things is a huge pushback to their society. Things like, showing up at an election and asking for the right to vote. They also sometimes take to the streets and drive. They’ve collected petitions saying women should drive as well. They have to be very careful to skirt laws against organized protest, a fear of the government as they have watched other middle eastern countries’ governments topple. But it seems to me, the stories I have read about, that the married women have the support of their husbands – another crucial key to empowering women in Saudi Arabia.

It is important to note that they don’t want all the rights women have in the West either. Journalist Maha Akeel  explains, “Look, we are not asking for … women’s rights according to Western values or lifestyles … We want things according to what Islam says. Look at our history, our role models.” For another example, they don’t really want to change the way women have to dress. It’s sort of the least of their worries. And many women like to wear the veil, something many in the West seen as an oppressive thing (and which I’ve blogged about in the past).

(People) lose sight of the bigger issues like jobs and education. That’s the issue of women’s rights, not the meaningless things like passing legislation in France or Quebec to ban the burqa … Non-Saudis presume to know what’s best for Saudis, like Saudis should modernize and join the 21st century or that Saudi women need to be free of the veil and abaya … And by freeing Saudi women, the West really means they want us to be just like them, running around in short skirts, nightclubbing and abandoning our religion and culture. – Sabria Jawhar

In response to these simple actions, even though many women don’t want to be like the West completely, people attack their character. Saying they are anti-religion and immodest and being called harlots, for example. After one protest involving driving, pamphlets with whore and pimps were written next to their names, they lost their passports, and they lost their jobs. They have even been arrested for driving or posting videos of themselves driving. Female drivers have even been called female terrorists by some religious leaders. These women know the risks though and yet are still willing to take them. Those in the public sphere, like journalism, seek to always find a balance between speaking out and being labeled as anti-Islamic, something that will get them basically blacklisted. But it doesn’t stop them from speaking out.

There have even been other women pushing back against them, with campaigns such as “My Guardian Knows What’s Best For Me.” Polls have found that the majority of Saudi women don’t think they should be able to drive , work with men, or hold public office. The opinion is that things like driving and voting are Western values opposed to Islamic values and that by holding out on making these things legal for women, they are not giving into the West’s ways. Others feel that they already have a lot of independence. Some women feel the guardianship customs and laws are done out of love and caring, for their protection, not to oppress them. There have even been articles to this effect in the press, talking about how good it is that women can’t drive and what a privilege it is. On the extreme end of the spectrum, there have been Facebook pages, calling upon men to beat women who drive. Beat them! For driving!

But in the end, I don’t think these women are going away. Especially not with support of much of the Western community. Many have spoken up on behalf of allowing women to drive. 

“We are not half human beings, we are human beings.” – Khuloud al Fahad, member of the Saudi Women Revolution

“Women in Saudi Arabia see other women in the Middle East making revolutions, women in Yemen and Egypt at the forefront of revolutions, being so bold, toppling entire governments. The women of Saudi Arabia looked at themselves and they realized, ‘Wow! We can’t even drive!’ ” – Waleed Abu Alkhair

“Saudi Arabian women are going to have to fight for our rights, men are not going to just hand them over to us.” – Amira Kashgary

“This is the threshold; this is the point where we have to cross in order to ask for anything else. I can’t say I want to go into government buildings like male citizens or I want women to be recognized as a lawyer when I can’t even drive my own car.” – Al Nafjan

“The ban is much more about women’s identity and independence. Saudi women aren’t asking for the moon here: they’re simply asking for the right to drive to the market or to see their friends, or perhaps to pick up their children at school. They’re asking the all-male monarchy for a small helping of personal power.” – Farzaneh Milani

“Saudi Arabia is the biggest women’s prison in the world.” – Anonymous

Sources/Articles of Note:

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