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Thursday, February 14th, 2013
A survey of more than 3,000 mothers conducted by The Today Show has revealed that 31 percent of moms use the word “hate” in describing their body image. The survey was conducted online, and is not a scientific finding, but it is an interesting window into how mothers see themselves and their bodies. More from Today.com:
Almost two-thirds of women say they worry their partner doesn’t like their body, according to our online, unscientific poll. Two-thirds of moms also say images of Hollywood moms looking super-fit after having a baby make them feel worse about themselves.
“We live in a culture of judgment, and a culture that really expects women to be perfect and have perfect bodies no matter what else you have going on in your life,” says Michelle Noehren, creator of the CT Working Moms blog and the mom of a toddler who bared her not-so-perfect tummy in a moms’ photoshoot that went viral last year. As the heaviest member of the group, she got grateful responses from many women – but she also bore the brunt of nasty criticism.
Some days, she’s her own worst critic.
“I think to myself, ‘I still can’t fit into any of the clothes that I had before pregnancy’,” she said. “Sometimes I just wish I could put those pants on and wear them to work and feel comfortable again. My husband tells me I’m beautiful all the time, but sometimes I worry that I’m not as attractive to him as I used to be.”
Image: Woman looking in mirror, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
A greeting card discovered by an American writer traveling in the United Kingdom had mothers–particularly mothers of girls–up in arms, prompting Hallmark to issue an apology. The card read, according to The Huffington Post, “You’re 13 today! If you had a rich boyfriend he’d give you diamonds and rubies. Well, maybe next year you will – when you’ve bigger boobies!”
After a Twitter photo and comment about the card generated massive social media buzz, Hallmark UK issued a statement that read:
This card was produced by Creative Publishing prior to Hallmark Cards acquiring the company in 1998. We are as surprised and horrified as anyone else to have discovered that there are still copies in circulation. The card has not been produced for over 15 years and would never pass our own strict guidelines of taste and appropriateness. We would like to assure all our customers that we will do everything in our power to track down remaining copies.
Image: Surprised woman holding greeting card, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 31st, 2012
The amount of time children spend in front of television screens, their self-esteem is affected…unless the child is a white male. These are the findings of a new study published in the journal Communication Research by Nicole Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications at Indiana University, and Kristen Harrison, professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan.
Martins and Harrison surveyed 400 pre-adolescent children of different races in the Midwest over the period of a year. From a release announcing their findings:
“Regardless of what show you’re watching, if you’re a white male, things in life are pretty good for you,” Martins said of characters on TV. “You tend to be in positions of power, you have prestigious occupations, high education, glamorous houses, a beautiful wife, with very little portrayals of how hard you worked to get there.
“If you are a girl or a woman, what you see is that women on television are not given a variety of roles,” she added. “The roles that they see are pretty simplistic; they’re almost always one-dimensional and focused on the success they have because of how they look, not what they do or what they think or how they got there.
“This sexualization of women presumably leads to this negative impact on girls.”
With regard to black boys, they are often criminalized in many programs, shown as hoodlums and buffoons, and without much variety in the kinds of roles they occupy.
“Young black boys are getting the opposite message: that there is not lots of good things that you can aspire to,” Martins said. “If we think about those kinds of messages, that’s what’s responsible for the impact.
“If we think just about the sheer amount of time they’re spending, and not the messages, these kids are spending so much time with the media that they’re not given a chance to explore other things they’re good at, that could boost their self-esteem.”
Martins said their study counters claims by producers that programs have been progressive in their depictions of under-represented populations. An earlier study co-authored by her and Harrison suggests that video games “are the worst offenders when it comes to representation of ethnicity and gender.”
Image: Boy watching television, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, September 2nd, 2011
A T-shirt for girls sold by JC Penney caused an online uproar this week for its message suggesting that pretty girls don’t do homework.
Sold in sizes 7 to 16, the shirt said, “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me.” The description of the shirt read: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”
But many bloggers and others saw the shirt as anything but cute, decrying what they viewed as an unhealthy message for young girls.
“I have three bright, funny nieces who are 7, 5 and 5 and I never want them to believe the message on this shirt is true,” Jessica Wakeman wrote on TheFrisky.com. “Its sale price ($9.99 down from the original $16.99) seems to indicate that people may be too smart to buy into such girl-undermining messaging,” Jen Doll wrote on The Village Voice blog. Jenna Sauers on Jezebel.com said that the tee “explicitly associates intelligence with being a boy, and looking pretty with being a girl.” An online petition demanding that JC Penney stop selling the shirt quickly gathered more than a thousand signatures.
JCPenney reacted within hours of the first complaints Wednesday, removing the shirt from its website, and issuing a statement. From The Village Voice:
J.C. Penney is committed to being America’s destination for great style and great value for the whole family. We agree that the “Too pretty” t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale. Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect.
Kate Coultas, spokeswoman for JC Penney, told The Voice:
“One of the reasons we’re so outraged is that this is not what we stand for. We’ve facilitated over $100 million [in donations] over the past 10 years to support after-school programs in local communities. That’s a key important message for us.”
What do you think of the T-shirt? Would you let your daughter wear it?
(image via: http://www.thefrisky.com)
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Friday, August 5th, 2011
Fame and other individualistic values, such as financial success and physical fitness, top the list of values most important to “tweens” between ages 9 and 11, according to a new study conducted by UCLA researchers and published in the Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace.
In 1997, fame ranked 15th on the list, researchers told CNN.com, suggesting that the past decade has reshaped the way young people set goals, and how they expect their lives to unfold.
“(Tweens) are unrealistic about what they have to do to become famous,” Patricia Greenfield, Ph.D from the Department of Psychology at UCLA and co-author of this study told CNN. “They may give up on actually preparing for careers and realistic goals.”
“With Internet celebrities and reality TV stars everywhere, the pathway for nearly anyone to become famous, without a connection to hard work and skill, may seem easier than ever,” said Yalda Uhls, a UCLA doctoral student in developmental psychology and lead author of this study. “When being famous and rich is much more important than being kind to others, what will happen to kids as they form their values and their identities?”
Greenfield advises parents to talk with their kids as much as possible about the television and other media they are consuming, helping tweens keep the images they are seeing in healthy perspective.
(image via: http://www.visualphotos.com)
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