Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
A 9-year-old North Carolina boy who carried a “My Little Pony” lunch bag to school and was bullied has been prohibited from bringing the lunchbox back to school, calling it a “trigger for bullying.” The move has enraged the boy’s mother and other parents who feel the school is being too permissive to the bullying and punishing the boy for his personal style preferences.
WLOS.com reports on the case:
Grayson Bruce, the My Little Pony fan, said, “They’re taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen.”
Grayson picked a Rainbow Dash bag out this year, which he says has intensified the attacks against him. Grayson, “most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls, most of the toys are girlie, and surprisingly I found stuff like this.” Grayson has developed a following on Facebook after a friend made a support page for him.
Grayson stands by his favorite cartoon and the message he says it sends.
His mother says, why not?
Noreen Bruce, Grayson’s mom, “it’s promoting friendship, there’s no bad words, there’s no violence, it’s hard to find that, even in cartoons now.” But Noreen says Thursday the school asked him to leave the bag at home because it had become a distraction and was a “trigger for bullying.”
Noreen continued, “saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying, is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape. It’s flawed logic, it doesn’t make any sense.” Noreen wants punishment for the students involved.
Buncombe County Schools declined an interview, but sent us this statement, “an initial step was taken to immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom. Buncombe County Schools takes bullying very seriously, and we will continue to take steps to resolve this issue.”
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Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Girls who play with Barbie dolls–as opposed to Mrs. Potato Head doll–may see fewer career options for themselves in the future, according to an experiment that has been published in the journal Sex Roles.
Thirty-seven girls from the US Pacific Northwest, aged between four to seven years old, were randomly assigned to play for five minutes with either a sexualized Doctor Barbie or Fashion Barbie doll, or with more a more neutral Mrs. Potato Head doll, according to a statement describing the study. The girls were then shown photographs of ten occupations and asked how many they themselves or boys could do in the future.
The girls who played with a Barbie doll – irrespective of whether it was dressed as a fashion model or a doctor – saw themselves in fewer occupations than are possible for boys. Those girls who played with Mrs. Potato Head reported nearly as many career options available for themselves as for boys.
“Perhaps Barbie can ‘Be Anything’ as the advertising for this doll suggests, but girls who play with her may not apply these possibilities to themselves,” said researcher Aurora Sherman of Oregon State University, who suggests that Barbie and similar dolls are part of the burden of early and inappropriate sexuality placed on girls. “Something about the type of doll, not characteristics of the participants, causes the difference in career aspirations.”
Image: Girl, via Shutterstock
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Monday, November 18th, 2013
Boys are slightly more likely than girls to be born prematurely, a new international study on newborn health has found. Additionally, boys don’t tend to fare as well as girls world-wide. More from The Associated Press:
“This is a double whammy for boys,” said Dr. Joy Lawn of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who led the team of researchers. “It’s a pattern that happens all over the world.”
The gender difference isn’t large: About 55 percent of preterm births in 2010 were male, the report found. Nor is it clear exactly why it happens.
The finding comes from a series of international studies being published Friday that examine newborn health and prematurity. About 15 million babies worldwide are born too soon, most of them in Africa and parts of Asia where survival is difficult for fragile newborns. Globally, about 1 million babies die as a direct result of preterm birth and another million die of conditions for which prematurity is an added risk, the researchers calculated.
Friday’s report offers some of the first estimates of how many preemie survivors go on to suffer certain disabilities, and found that where these babies are born, and how early, determines their risk.
Overall, Lawn said about 7 percent of survivors have two of the most burdensome disabilities: neurologic-developmental impairment ranging from learning disabilities to cerebral palsy, and vision loss.
But the biggest risk is to the youngest preemies, those born before 28 weeks gestation. Worldwide, 52 percent of them are estimated to have some degree of neurodevelopmental impairment, the report found.
Moreover, the risk of impairment in middle-income countries is double that of wealthy countries like the U.S.
For example, China is saving more preemies’ lives but at the cost of their vision, Lawn said.
Middle-income countries are missing out on a lesson the U.S. learned the hard way several decades ago, that giving these tiny babies too much oxygen can trigger a potentially blinding condition called retinopathy of prematurity.
“Disability is not something that’s inevitable. It’s preventable,” she said, calling for improved quality of care including eye checks to prevent or reduce vision loss.
The March of Dimes reported this month that 11.5 percent of U.S. births now are preterm. That rate is inching down, thanks mostly to fewer babies being born just a few weeks early as standards for elective deliveries have tightened, but it still is higher than in similar countries.
Image: Newborn baby, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
A recent Gallup poll has found that they a majority of Americans believe that age 25 or younger is the ideal time for women to start a family, while men should wait until they are age 26 or older. More from Today.com:
The majority of Americans, 58 percent, believe the ideal age for women to start having children is 25 or younger, while the majority, 52 percent, said men should start having children at 26 or older, a recent Gallup poll found.
The average perceived ideal age for each gender to have children differs only slightly: 25 for women and 27 for men, Gallup found. Some 5,100 U.S. adults took part in the survey.
Gallup acknowledged “tension between biology and societal norms” in the results, noting young women may have the best odds of conceiving a healthy child but that rushing to become a parent “doesn’t square with modern Western sensibilities about pursuing higher education and career goals, finding the perfect partner, or simply relishing the experience of young adulthood.”
Gallup also found “significant differences by education and race” in the poll. The proportion of respondents saying the ideal time for a woman to have her first child by age 25 was greater among blacks and Hispanics than among whites.
Image: Expectant couple, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Toys ‘R’ Us stores in the United Kingdom have announced they will no longer stock toys according to gender, avoiding sections labeled “Boys” and “Girls.” The announcement is in response to an organization called “Let Toys Be Toys,” which advocates for gender-neutral toy marketing in order to encourage children to use their imaginations and find ways to enjoy all sorts of toys. More from The Huffington Post:
“We’re delighted to be working so closely with a major toy retailer and believe that there is much common ground here,” Megan Perryman, a Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, said in a press release. “Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are ‘for’ them, while others are not. This is not only confusing but extremely limiting, as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are and who they can go on to become. We look forward to seeing Toys ‘R’ Us lead the way to a more inclusive future for boys and girls.”
Toys “R” Us has attempted to put aside stereotypes in the past. In 2012, the U.S.-based company’s Swedish branch gained attention when images in its Christmas catalog challenged traditional gender roles.
According to the Let Toys Be Toys release, other U.K. retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, The Entertainer and TJ Maxx have agreed to remove “boy” and “girl” signs from their stores in response to the campaign.
Image: Stuffed toys, via Shutterstock
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