Sexualization of Girls

APA’s (American Psychological Association) Public Interest directorate invited six middle school girls to sit down and share their thoughts about the images of girls they see all around them and how they feel about the way girls today are portrayed. 

The proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising and media is harming girls’ self-image and healthy development. This report explores the cognitive and emotional consequences, consequences for mental and physical health, and impact on development of a healthy sexual self-image. Several research studies have explored how girls of color are particularly effective in resisting mainstream notions of female sexuality, femininity, and beauty. Central to much of this research are feminist theories developed by and for women of color. For instance, Hill Collins (2000; see also Spillers, 1992) observed the significance of an oral tradition among Black women that allows women to be “bawdy, rowdy, and irreverent” and thus anchor resistance to oppressions including objectification and resistance. J. Ward (2002) researched the tradition of African American parents actively socializing their children to identify and resist racism. One strategy that J.Ward documented involves Black parents teaching children and teens to recognize the culture in which they live as being White culture and to critique it accordingly. Journalists, child advocacy organizations, parents and psychologists have argued that the sexualization of girls is a broad and increasing problem and is harmful to girls. The APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls was formed in response to these expressions of public concern. Parents can teach girls to value themselves for who they are, rather than how they look. Parents can teach boys to value girls as friends, sisters and girlfriends, rather than as sexual objects. With the help of the adults in their lives, girls and boys can gain media literacy skills, can learn to resist the message that how girls look is what matters and can learn how to advocate for themselves. 

It’s (Not) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s (Not) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


Well, here comes December….I have to admit I flinch a little at the thought of having to do Christmas yet again. Of course commercial spaces are already showered in red, green and gold and the insanity of Christmas shopping has already started. I thought I’d be over this by now, that I would be able to enjoy the holidays like everyone else seems to. I mean it’s not all doom and gloom, there are things I do enjoy. There is no denying that there is some type of magic in the air around the Holidays. For me though it also brings a certain sadness with it. I’m sure most people hear Christmas and right away think about family, gifts, decorations or what have you. I don’t. Those things are secondary in my mind and not what comes into my head right away.

Let me see if I can get to the crux of the problem here because I was trying to explain this to someone yesterday and as I said certain things out loud it revealed that I live with certain things in my heart that I just can’t let go of.

So, my memories of Christmas as a child consist of how I used to feel when we were new comers to Canada. I missed my family. I missed my grandparents, my cousins, my uncles and aunts. We came to Canada and all I had here were strangers. My mom and I were sponsored by my mom’s surrogate sister. We came here and lived in the basement of her home where she lived with her husband and my three cousins. They were tweens to early teens and I was a little girl. I was 5 years old. Anyways eventually my dad came a few months later and here we were. Immigrants in a country where we didn’t speak the language, the weather was a shock to the senses and I didn’t have my whole family anymore. We didn’t have much, eventually we moved into our own place. A bachelor apartment for my parents and I in one of the worst intersections in Toronto. One of my cousins kicked us out…a kid, but his parents didn’t say shit. They let him. So we had to leave that house like we were running from something. Our Christmas for the first few years here were provided to us by numerous agencies. I think our tree we had at the time was donated to us. Christmas mornings for me consisted of one solitary box under the tree that was sent for me by the Salvation Army. It would be a box with a pair of gloves/mitts, a couple of cheap dollar store type toys, crayons and a coloring booklet. charlie-brown-christmas-hea.jpgThere are pictures of me standing beside this tree and the one box under it. Pictures of me opening it and looking so fucking excited. Our Christmas meals came from Honest Ed’s turkey giveaway and from Scott Mission’s food bank in downtown Toronto. Obviously as a child I was completely ignorant to the struggle. I do remember my mom rushing to the Food Bank to get what she needed to make her dinner before they ran out of the ingredients she needed. It was like that for a while. Things got better for us. We moved to a much nicer area, bigger place and Xmas became more festive. But I still felt that nostalgia, that sadness.

Now fast forward to me as an adult and as a mother. I get it now, everything my parents did. Everything my mom did so that no matter how sad she felt and no matter what hardship we were going through, she did her best at that moment to make the most of our situation and whatever circumstances we found ourselves in.

Four years ago I hit rock bottom, the lowest point I have ever been at in my life. I was jobless and on social assistance for just over a year. I had CCAS (Catholic Children’s Aid Society) coming to my home once a month because of all the bullshit drama that had happened in my home due to my separation from my kids’ father. I was literally going hungry and having to make the choice of buying food or paying rent. I had no way of giving my kids Christmas. I did my best to make the most of the holidays and tried to keep it as festive as possible for them. The worker that was coming to see me and my girls monthly was wonderful, she was very supportive of me. On one of her visits we talked about the upcoming holidays and she knew I was struggling so she asked me if I would be OK with CCAS helping me out. She was careful with how she asked, she got to know how proud I am and she knew I didn’t take hand outs. But I said yes. I recognized  I needed the help. So CCAS created a family profile of my girls and I and we were adopted by another family for the holidays and that’s how I was able to give my kids Christmas that year. Through the kindness of others. They bought my kids toys, snowsuits and other items. They gave me a couple of gift cards so I could go grocery shopping and despite the fact that I didn’t ask for anything for myself there was a little self-care package that was put together for me that consisted of some aromatherapy candles and bath salts and a book I had mentioned in passing to my worker that I loved. To this day the feeling of gratitude I feel towards those strangers chokes me up. The memories of where I was in my life at that time and what I was going through with my kids saddens me and brings back that feeling of abandonment I had then. Maybe one day I’ll be able to put into words what my world was like back then. How I didn’t go crazy is my testament to how strong I can be.

55330-Charlie-Brown-Christmas-TreeAnyways, now we pay it forward. If I can’t find the joy of Christmas for myself, I can certainly try to offer it to others. The same way that family did it for me just a few years back. We adopt a family for the holidays every year and every year the parents never ask for anything for themselves so I take special care to put together a little self care package for them. No matter how broken we may feel at times or how alone, there is always someone out there willing to help. Even if they are strangers. Good people do exist.

Domestic Violence Is Not Just Physical Abuse, It’s Narcissistic Abuse Too


Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes:

Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
Celebrating those who have survived
Connecting those who work to end violence

These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Originally posted on RelationshiPedia:


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. When most people hear the words domestic violence they automatically assume it involves some type of physical abuse. But domestic violence may manifest in many forms. Even the United States Department of Justice includes emotional and psychological abuse as a form of domestic violence. One doesn’t necessarily need to have bruises or broken bones to be a victim of domestic violence. Many victims of domestic violence suffer invisible wounds caused by emotional and psychological abuse that can be just as damaging as physical abuse.

All abusers aren’t narcissists, but all malignant narcissists inflict severe emotional, psychological and sometimes even physical abuse upon their victims. Usually it’s directed toward the people closest to them such as their partners, children or family members. Although the damage isn’t visible to the naked eye, the effects are profoundly devastating and often take years to recover from. Many victims of…

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Today I will be a chingona

“A [chingona] is a female version of a hustler.” (Queue Beyonce’s Diva)

Being a chingona is both a choice and an honor. It is a constant state of mind, not to be taken lightly.

My mom has always told me to be a chingona. It never meant bitchy or anything negative in my house. It was always a compliment, an aspiration. Let’s establish this once and for all – being a chingona is a very, very good thing. Giving credit where credit is due, author Sandra Cisneros once reminded me to “own my chingonaness.” The word chingona is making a comeback.

I would like to thank Urban Dictionary for describing chingonas as “the most badass girls in the world.” Flattering, really. But how to describe a chingona to the unfamiliar? Let me describe the ways:

A chingona is dynamic.

A chingona hustles. She doesn’t sit tight. She makes it happen.

A chingona fights for what she believes in. Conviction through and through.

A chingona is passionate.

A chingona is powerful. She is strength, courage, and hard work.

A chingona is determined. She pushes and sprints and dives into everything she does.

A chingona sees no limits. Openminded and audacious.

A chingona does it for her gente. If you call yourself a chingona, you can’t forget the people who helped you become one.

A chingona attracts other chingonas. This is very important – there’s no way you’re doing this alone.

A chingona has no room for envy or insecurities. That fuels the haters but builds bonds with other chingonas. This dynamic creates a shared connection any real chingona can understand.

A chingona is true to herself and doesn’t let others change her. It’s hard enough being a chingona, don’t need to be one on anyone else’s terms.

A chingona is restless. She stays up at night, wakes up early, and still wants more hours in the day.

A chingona is loud. Introvert, extrovert, doesn’t matter. Her voice is heard.

A chingona defines success for herself. Others may not understand, perhaps because her own definition of success is bigger than herself.

A chingona wants to see more chingonas coming up. As a beloved mentor once told me, “It gets lonely at the top. Bring others with you.”

A chingona looks good. She wears confidence, humility and grace, and she makes it look great.

A chingona is full of mystery. You never really know what’s brewing behind her eyes, behind her story, but oh yes is it intriguing.

A chingona is up for adventures. The only way for a chingona to stay driven is to find out what else is out there.

A chingona trusts in the universe. “And when you want something, the universe conspires to help you achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho (a chingon in his own right).

A chingona sometimes gets stretched too thin. She’s working on that…

A chingona is inspired by those who push boundaries and live on the edge of passion for whatever they believe in.

A chingona is a dancer. In spirit or in heels, she lives to a rhythm all her own.

A chingona values quality people she can trust. Nothing less.

A chingona can put her hair up and get her hands dirty. She also cleans up well.

A chingona believes in the strength of bold black eyeliner. Making a statement.

A chingona sees a challenge and runs toward it. That’s just how it works – aim for what’s hard and you’ll thrive.

A chingona is tough, sincere, and kind. She is all juxtaposition.

A chingona is the definition of pride, ache, dreams, and strength.

A chingona may be a future president.

A chingona is my mom.

A chingona will be my daughter.

A chingona is here to stay.

Today I will be a chingona.

Sexual Consent Education in Schools

Sexual Consent Education in Schools


“Officials believe that because children are exposed much more readily to sex in today’s society, it is especially crucial to expose children to consent education before sexual assault is likely to occur.”

Originally posted on STM Learning, Inc.:

We have written before about the importance of understanding what does and does not constitute consent.  Not only does misunderstanding about sexual consent make instances of sexual assault more likely to occur, but it actually heightens the psychological effects of sexual assault by creating a feeling of isolation for the victim.  When a victim is assaulted and does not understand that what has occurred qualifies as assault, they endure the same damaging psychological effects of the assault without the validation that they have a right to feel that way or the motivation to pursue legal action against the perpetrator.

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30 Things To Do Instead Of Falling Back In Love

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:


When a relationship ends, we forget that the only objective available to us isn’t to get right back into another one. We see a huge, gaping hole waiting to be filled and we assume that it has to be someone else’s mind and heart and spirit that must fit perfectly inside of it. That we’ll just be a little bit empty or a little bit lonely or a little bit undone until we meet someone new – and even if we’re okay with that, it’s a problematic way of looking at things.

Because here’s the truth about that hole – it’s there. It’s real. It’s begging to be filled (spare me the innuendo). But it isn’t in the shape of someone else, it’s simply in the shape of what they offered us – be that stability, excitement, validation or understanding. There are an infinite number of activities, an infinite…

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