Thursday, May 29th, 2014
In the wake of yet another mass shooting of young women and men in Isla Vista, the hashtag #YesAllWomen took off, as a way for women to share stories about the ways that male violence and harassment have impacted their lives. Odds are, you’ve probably seen this in your Twitter and Facebook feeds—and the stories I’ve read were harrowing. Horrific stories of domestic abuse, rape, even murder—and even the more typical tales of girls groped on the subway, women who don’t feel safe walking around alone at night, women who are told they should feel flattered when they get catcalled on the street. And really—should it be considered “typical” for a woman to feel like a walk around the block is too dangerous to risk? (If you want to just get the Cliffs Notes version of this debate, check out this list of some of the most thought-provoking #YesAllWomen tweets.)
But even though the tweets themselves are scary, scarier still is the backlash and comments these statements have provoked from a few men, who have harassed and even threatened women who chose to speak out. Because what we all should be doing is coming together and figuring out how to solve this issue—not intimidating people who are brave enough to share their stories. And who better to start on the path toward solving this than parents like us, who are raising daughters and sons.
I want my daughters to be smart and strong and kind and loving. But because I also don’t want them to be victims, they’ve been taught stranger danger, instructed not to trust adult men, and sent for years of karate and jiu jitsu lessons, so they can fight back if something does go terribly wrong. These are not the lessons I want to be teaching my daughters.
I’m hoping that my friends with sons will be teaching them a different set of lessons—how to honor and respect the women and girls they meet. That no means no, no matter what a girl is wearing or whether she’s had a few margaritas. That women aren’t conquests—that their opinions, thoughts and feelings matter more than their level of hotness. That sometimes, “manning up” means stepping in when your friend is crossing the line with a girl—and not staying silent. Because that silence means that you’re supporting whatever actions your friend is taking.
But I’m worried, because I can already see it starting. Lately, the girls in my daughter’s fourth grade class have been complaining nonstop about the boys, who keep trying to boss them around and put them in their place. Right now, it’s “kids’ stuff,” fights over kickball games and whose turn it is to lead the line. My daughter comes home angry about the latest boy-related slights to her and her friends, and tries to work with me to come up with strategies to deal with it. I’ve been telling her to just ignore the boys and they’ll probably stop. But maybe that makes me part of the problem, by teaching her to stay silent and not speak up about the issues, like we’ve all been doing for far too long. Maybe we should be supporting our daughters as they fight to be treated like equals.
Tell us: What do you think of the #YesAllWomen movement? What lessons and values are you hoping to instill in your kids?
Image: Loving hands by CHAINFOTO24
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#yesallwomen, domestic abuse, Facebook, harassment, isla vista, lisa milbrand, parenting, parenting style, rape, Twitter | Categories:
News, The Parents Perspective
Friday, October 25th, 2013
Ah, pregnancy. A time of wonder. A time of excitement. A time of creepy strangers thinking it’s fully acceptable to put their paws all over your stomach.
I’ve never understood why it seems that the moment a woman becomes visibly pregnant, her body ceases to be her own anymore. It’s suddenly public property, and everyone from the checker at the supermarket to the local school principal not only has an opinion on what she’s eating, how much she’s resting, and how the baby should be born—they also feel they have the right to feel the new mama up.
If you’ve ever fantasized about pushing away a particularly handsy well-wisher and yelling, “Get your hands off of me!,” you’ll be excited to hear about new legislation out of Pennsylvania. The state has made it a criminal offense to touch a pregnant woman’s bump without her permission. That’s right, it’s illegal for randoms to man-handle your bump.
Some people are defending the Preggo Petters, saying they don’t mean any harm, and that they’re just excited about a new baby coming into the world. But um, since when has “just being excited,” been an excuse for unwanted touching? Not. Okay.
I don’t think this law will be all that easy to enforce (I mean, unless you carry handcuffs around with you and do a citizen’s arrest until the cops can arrive on the scene!) but I’m hoping it’ll act as a sort of public awareness campaign—knocking some common sense into some very clueless people.
Did random strangers rub your baby bump? How did you react? Tell us in the comments.
If you’re pregnant now, see just how big you might get as the weeks go by!
Image of angry pregnant woman via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
From the Star Shots of Star to the Hot Pics of US Weekly, from the Startracks of People to the News in Photos of OK! magazines compete to get their hands on the best snapshots of celebrities and their families. Photos of celebrity children are in demand because readers nationwide clamor for them.
We want to know that stars are just like us, juggling kids and diaper bags and carpools. (In fact, US Weekly dedicates a whole page to the callout “Stars—they’re just like US!” and now a full page to “Kids Stars—they’re just like US!”) But do we stop to think about how the paparazzi that feed into these publications managed to snag these shots?
Halle Berry described one situation during her custody battle that bordered on a verbal assault of her 5-year-old daughter Nahla, “[The photographer] said, ‘How do you feel, Nahla? You may not see your father again. How do you feel about that?”
Now pregnant with her second child, Berry is taking action by supporting strict amendments to a bill known as SB606. The existing law states that it is a misdemeanor crime to “harass a child due to the occupation of his or her parents or guardian.” The proposed amendments to the law would allow the attempt to photograph or record a child without parental consent to be classified as such harassment and would escalate the punishment of these crimes (from an up to $1,000 fine to an up to $10,000 fine and increase the maximum imprisonment from six months to one year). The new law would also allow the parents to file a civil action against perpetrators.
Of course, the media is up in arms waving First Amendment rights and Freedom of the Press. Motion Picture Association of America and other organizations oppose the bill for these reasons and for the unintended consequences that could result: What if you take a picture of your kid at soccer practice and Suri Cruz just happens to be in the background?
But, in truth, the MPAA need not worry about this. The law, as it is currently proposed, bans harassment. Taking a photo of a child in public in and of itself is not harassment, but can be considered harassment if the act “seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the child” to the point of “substantial emotional distress.”
Listening to the stories of these celeb parents, the paparazzi’s behavior is not just an invasion of privacy it is potentially harmful to these kids. On August 13, Jennifer Garner—actress and mom of three—testified to the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento, “Large aggressive men swarm us causing a mob scene, yelling, jockeying for a position, crowding around the kids. My 17-month-old baby is terrified and cries.” Berry stated that her daughter is afraid to go to school because photographers are always jumping out of the bushes.
The bill passed the Judiciary Committee and now awaits judgment by the Assembly Appropriations Committee before becoming official law. While Berry and Garner are the public supporters of the bill, I can only imagine that other actors and actresses feel the same way. One could argue that along with their career choice, they have opted in to a life in the public eye. But should their children’s daily lives be fodder for our daily entertainment by default?
Garner nearly burst into tears as she pleaded her case, “I don’t want a gang of shouting, arguing, lawbreaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are all day every day to continue traumatizing my kids.”
Since much of the intention behind these pictures is to show that celebrities are just like us, perhaps we should consider if us average Janes would put up with the constant camera flashes and provocative shouting every time we went to the grocery store or school or piano lessons or T-ball. Do the kids of stars have a right to the same treatment as our children?
Let us know your thoughts below!
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Celebrity, The Parents Perspective