Archive for the raising daughters Category

Mother’s Day Approaches…

Posted in blended families, Mother's Day, Mothers, Parenting, parenting after divorce, raising daughters, single moms, single parenting with tags , , , , , , on May 5, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Mother’s Day is Sunday and the retail circus is in full-court press when it comes to trying to increase sales. I, of course, start thinking about what I want to do for my own mother, as well as the other mothers in my life. How can I honor them?

That led to wishing I had a partner who would help the kids do something sweet for me…or buy me flowers…or take me out to lunch. Before I knew it, I’d gotten myself in a funk. I thought about the time when my kiddos asked me what special thing I was going to make for dinner and dessert to celebrate Mother’s Day (which is actually kind of funny), because they got the concept that Mother’s Day was about celebration, but they were too young to understand what that meant. I was always the person who planned celebrations, so why wouldn’t I be the one to make this special too?

So, on a PMS low and still smarting from some recent ugliness, I got in a feel-sorry-for-myself funk.

It lasted for about an hour, long enough for me to ask my other single and divorced mom friends if they ever had Mother’s Day sadness. Everyone who answered came back with “yes”. As usually happens when I talk to friends, not only did I feel supported, but it also allowed me to take a step back and see things a bit more clearly.

The truth is, I’m amazingly lucky. I’ve got two children who are healthy and gifted with so many wonderful things: Intelligence, creativity, humor, beauty. They have a father who wants to be a part of their life and who assists me financially. They have a stepmother who tries to be a meaningful, positive presence in their lives. I have a tribe of family and friends who are there for us when we need them. My own mother is still alive and healthy and a constant presence in my life.

Not everyone has these blessings.

There’s my friend who lost her firstborn to cancer when he was a very young boy. I know she has a constant ache in her heart that will never leave.

There’s my coworker who had two miscarriages within a year, who still grieves those losses. She’s still dreaming of the day when she’ll become a mother.

There’s my friend who is a divorced mother of three, two of whom were diagnosed with Autism. Not only does the father not provide any financial support, he also makes no effort to be a part of his children’s lives. This mother does whatever she has to do to support her kids and give them every advantage she can, while also being the one daily who cares for their needs. She’s stated before that she’d be grateful if her one child was even able to verbalize “I love you”.

There are the women who’ve lost their own mothers and every Mother’s Day is a remembrance of grief.

Then there’s me. Two living, healthy, amazing kids. An ex-partner who despite our many differences still supports his children and wants to be a good parent. A mother I get to talk to daily if I want. Yet I grieved for the breakfast in bed or flowers I wouldn’t get. I felt sorry for myself that Mother’s Day ends up feeling like every other day.

Perspective is a wonderful thing and I went from sad and feeling sorry for myself to grateful within a very short span of time. I’m blessed and I need to realize it every single day.

Being a mother is amazing…and hard…and very often a job where the recognition of all the effort put in can be scanty. A day that honors mothers is nice, but it’s only one day. It’s the unexpected look of gratitude and the soft “Thank you” that comes with a hug that recognizes me. It’s the surprise cards, poems, and acts of thoughtfulness that touch my heart. It’s the sincere, “I know you do so much for us and we appreciate it.” that I get once in awhile that gives honor to the effort I put in. Most importantly, it’s watching them grow and become lovely, strong, capable young women. It’s knowing that if I do my job well enough, they’ll get to a point where they can stand on their own.

To all the mothers out there putting their heart and soul into raising kids into healthy, happy, competent adults: You are amazing. You are worthy of breakfast in bed and flowers, gifts and cards; I hope you get them. You are worthy of honor, respect, and gratitude. No matter how you came into being a mother, you are special. So happy early Mother’s Day, Sunday and every other day of the year.

 

 

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Mean Girls and Motherhood

Posted in awakening, blended families, dealing with ex's, Mothers, Parenting, parenting after divorce, raising daughters, single moms, single parenting with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Tonight I got cyber-slapped and it stung.

Noticing my blog views were crazy, off-the-charts high, I wondered what was going on. So I opened up my app and looked at some of the referring websites. One in particular seemed strange to me, so I followed it. What I found was a nasty surprise.

Mean girl syndrome can, apparently, last into middle age. I won’t go into a lot of detail about what I found there, except to say that it was a nasty critique of my blog and even worse, what they perceived as my failings as a human being and as a mother. Followed by lots of others jumping on the bandwagon. The person who began this has a slanted, peripheral, yet weirdly connected view of my life. They also clearly have a lot of issues with me personally.

Ironically, you might even say I got the ball rolling in the mean girl cyber world. Approximately 4 years ago, I posted something in my blog that reflected my most petty thoughts. They definitely weren’t a reflection of my best self, nor the person I wanted to be. However, despite removing them as soon as I found out the subject of the blog had read it, the damage was done. The hurt could not be apologized away.

Today, I’m the recipient of petty thoughts and meanness and it feels bad. Yet…hard to cast stones when I had to learn that lesson myself. I can wish all day long it was different and that the individual hadn’t chosen to perpetuate the cycle. But in the end, the words we put out into the world move in ways we can’t always control and can sometimes have ramifications we can’t predict.

So today, rather than continue on with the she said/she said drama game, I would like to offer an apology again. That thinking my blog, years ago, was anonymous enough that she wouldn’t find out and it allowed me to post things I’m not proud of. N0 excuse for putting it out there, but it was a powerful lesson to relearn. Once we put it out there, we can’t control it anymore. I’m sorry for the pain it caused and for the ways in which it is still living today, despite removing it from cyberspace years ago. I’m not proud of it and I wish I hadn’t done it.

The truth is, I’m flawed and I’m continually trying to battle those flaws. As anyone who’s read this blog will clearly know. Those who know me and read it see such a fuller picture and so my flaws are forgiven by them.

They see a mom who has been honest about her struggles with depression and the ways in which heartbreak has sometimes triggered that. They also see a mom who never lets it prevent her from taking care of her kids. They see kids that can witness a mother struggle with depression and sadness, a mom who cries sometimes, and realize that it’s okay to struggle. The victory is in the ability to continue doing your best, day after day, and getting up to face the world. They’ll see a mother who never gives up, who is always there for them and who works through her feelings rather than stuffing them. Do I lean on my kids too much? Perhaps if you only know me through my blog, you might read about my wise twelve year old who says something profound about love and life and think she has to constantly care-take me. If you know ME and my children, you’ll absolutely know that I’m teaching them that empathy and compassion are vital in human relationships and that sometimes we need people and sometimes we are needed. Is my child giving me a hug or telling me I just haven’t found the right person wrong if she finds out a relationship ended? Is she care-taking and having to be the adult? Have I overshared if she knows I’ve been involved with someone and that it’s ended? As I found out tonight, clearly there are some who think so. That’s ok-they get to make those decisions for themselves and their kids. Or maybe they’ve not been single, with kids. Who knows?

I know I’ve never dragged men in and out of my children’s lives. I know that in eight years of being single, they’ve met one of my significant others that I was involved with for two years. My children are sacred and so is my time with them. When I have them, it’s their time. When I don’t, they have known that I date.

And yes, I perhaps talk about my feelings a lot in this blog. That’s sort of why I started it. 🙂 It was a place for me to process and be vulnerable about things I struggle with. Clearly, the problem with vulnerability is that it leave you…well…vulnerable.. That’s ok too. There’s been plenty of times when I read something vulnerable someone posted and felt so soothed, because I could say “Hey! We’re all human beings. We all go through shit sometimes.”

As a single mom, I don’t have all the answers. There are days that I feel like my girls and I could take the world by storm, because I feel like as a mother-daughter team, we’re invincible. There are other days I sit and cry at the end of it, because I’m scared I’m screwing it all up and I just wish I had some support.

That’s the thing: I don’t have all the answers. I don’t expect other mothers, birth or step, to have all the answers either. We’re in this because we have been granted the amazing, terrifying, exciting and sometimes heartbreaking privilege of guiding amazing human beings into adulthood. The most beautiful and difficult challenge one could ever take on. Whether you carried the child in your body for nine months or you fell in love with the child’s father and the child and became part of their lives later.

What would it be like if we actually supported each other? Instead of cutting each other down with petty criticisms designed to make one person superior and the other inferior. Everyone needs to vent sometimes. But maybe…just maybe…if you tried to see that person as a human being who is doing their best, instead of as an adversary you need to have others rally around you to tear down, we could do an even better job parenting these amazing kids we’ve managed to have brought into our lives.

So…I’m going to keep writing my blog. Which is scary, because I’m making myself vulnerable. By doing that, I know you may use the opportunity to try make me appear small or one-dimensional to others. You may use the chance to pick apart my flaws–trust me, you’ll find them. You may mock me and use it against me. I’m still going to keep writing my blog. I hope you don’t. I hope that perhaps we can just band together to work on behalf of the human beings in our lives, who love us both.

However, that is up to you. It’s up to all of you. Be the light or be the darkness…which, yes, one of my flaws is a tendency toward the melodramatic when I write. Sue me. 🙂 I was part of the cycle and I’m really hoping the cycle ends with me. Mothering is hard, whether the babies came from your body or not. Amazing…and hard. Why don’t we try building each other up?

Podcasts and Vibrators

Posted in Masturbation, raising daughters, single moms, single parenting, women's liberation with tags , , , , on April 24, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

So, something different and interesting happened to me the other day: I got interviewed for a podcast. I was a little nervous when he showed up at my house with very official looking equipment (soundboard, microphones, headphones and lots and lots of wires), but I managed to relax and enjoy the experience.  The interview questions and organic conversation led to discussion of my blog, as well as several fairly explicit subjects. Not a problem for me, but it will make it a bit awkward if friends who knew about the interview want to have the link for the podcast.

This is the same scenario that led to one of the most frank and, for my daughters at least, mortifying conversations over lunch ever.

They both knew I was being interviewed. Over a lunch out at one of our favorite local restaurants, they asked me how it had gone. I described the equipment and what it was like in detail and they both seemed excited.

“So, we’ll get to listen to it, right?” Asks my twelve year old, her face beaming with excitement over what she probably imagines is my famousness.

Awkward pause as I quickly think back to the some of the topics of choice: My recent purchase of a vibrator, butt plugs and anal sex.

“Uhm…” I stall, trying to think quickly. “Probably not. It has a lot of bad language in it.”

“Mom.” The fourteen year old looks at me with the sort of disdain only a teenager can manage. “We’ve heard lots of bad language.”

“Yeah, but this was excessive.” I insist.

“We don’t care, we just want to listen to you.”

“I talked about several things I don’t think you guys would want to hear about and you wouldn’t really understand.”

Another eye roll from the teenager. “I’m sure I would.”

I take a deep breath and say, “Well, do you guys know what vibrators are?”

Much to my surprise they both nod.

“Oh.” I’m a bit stumped now. “Well, I told a story about one.”

“What sort of story?”

“Well, I told a really funny story about the last time I bought one.” I take a sip of my tea and watch their faces carefully. They just look at me with no expression, then suddenly I watch a look of horror cross the face of the fourteen year old.

“What?” She exclaims loudly. “You bought one??”

“Well, yeah.”

She stares at me in mortified horror. “Do you keep it in the HOUSE?”

“Of course I keep it in the house. Did you think I’d keep it in the storage shed out back?”

The twelve year old pipes up: “Because then spiders might crawl on it and it would get spiderwebs and stuff.”

Keeping a very straight face, I nod. “That probably would be bad.”

Fourteen year old: “YOU KEEP IT IN THE HOUSE???”

“It’s really not a big deal.” I reply calmly. “When you get a few years older, we can go and get you one if you want. It’s a normal thing and I’ve already told you that if you were curious about your body then you could…”

“Oh my god!” She moans, burying her face into her hands. “Please just, just stop talking.”

“Okay, okay.” We sit there for a moment. “But when I was your age…”

“Stop. Talking.” Hissed at me from behind her hands.

I can’t resist. “But you certainly don’t need a vibrator, you could just use your hands.”

Let’s just say that if looks could kill, I would be very, very dead.

Perhaps it’s strange to have a mother-daughter lunch that involves discussion of vibrators, but I always want them to be comfortable with their bodies and sexuality. Growing up, every time I touched myself I was certain I was doing something unholy and wrong. I want my kids to know I won’t judge them for something natural.

Still…perhaps over burgers and fries at lunchtime isn’t the best timing. And the podcast, for them at least, will have to wait a few more years.

The Illusion of Beauty: Part 3

Posted in body image, objectifying women, raising daughters, self-esteem, women's bodies, women's liberation, women's rights with tags , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” ~ Dr. Steve Maraboli

“Health makes good propaganda.”  ~Naomi Wolf “The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women”

In 2013, the cry amongst the media is for “healthy” bodies. Of course, what is healthy? Who decides what is healthy and what is their incentive/motivation when doing so? The doctor attempting to sell yet another diet book? The companies trying to convince you their product will make all your body image woes disappear? Once again the ideal body for a female is slender, but with rock hard abs, defined arms and large breasts:

Perfect body

Victoria's Secret

perfect-female-body

Of course, this look is completely impossible for most women to achieve. Others will come close with serious food deprivation, hard physical training and sometimes surgery. It’s not enough to just be “thin” anymore, unless you are on the runway.

In the fashion world, skeletal thinness is still used by runway models who have become the perfect human clothes hanger:

thin model 1

thin model 3

There’s another place and time this look was seen:

concentration camps

Concentration Camp Inmates

How is it that there are people who favor a look only attained by torture, starvation and near death? The rise of anorexia and bulemia (in girls as young as 8!), the increase of hospitalization and even death among young women has made some people sit up and take notice. The efforts of specific organizations who attempt to raise awareness about the havoc being wreaked on our young women is slowly shifting the consciousness. A rising tide of rebellion is beginning and although still not enough to completely infiltrate and break down the cult of beauty that has our culture in it’s grip, it is creating cracks in the foundation. Today, more people are recognizing that beauty comes in many shapes and sizes. Better yet, marketers are starting to realize (finally) that showing size 0 models to the average size 10-14 woman is not serving them well. Slowly, slowly, we are starting to see women that, although still almost impossibly beautiful, look more like women who don’t starve themselves into an unnatural state.

Plus sized model 2Ford Models Celebrates The Publication Of Crystal Renn's "Hungry"Plus sized model 3

It’s a start, a good one, to showing women that it’s okay to be human beings…healthy, happy human beings who don’t have to fit into a mold created by society. There are women who are naturally thin and women who are not. There’s nothing wrong with being thin, athletic and toned…just as there’s nothing wrong with having breasts and hips and thighs and a stomach. Finally, the designers and industries that cater to women are starting to realize WE are the consumer; we’re just not going to take the abuse anymore. It’s still a slow road: These mannequins, used by a Swedish store, have sparked much controversy. While many have reacted very positively and praised the use of  mannequin models that resemble the average woman, some have claimed it encourages obesity.

Swedish mannequin pic

Of course, the use of size zero mannequins and models, some with legs hardly larger than a person’s arm, has encouraged anorexia and bulemia for years. It’s encouraged depression and low self-esteem in women and, increasingly, in very young girls. Showing only women who look like prepubescent girls with large breasts has perpetuated an unrealistic fantasy for men, who begin to believe that is how all women SHOULD look, when very few women will be able to attain it. It has equated “thin” with “good” and “healthy” and anything over a size 8 (and sometimes that’s considered too big) with “bad” and “unhealthy”. Plus sized models start at a size 8, when the average  American woman is a size 12 or 14. And yes, there’s an argument to be made that the average American diet is unhealthy, thus leading to a problem with weight. Setting up unrealistic, unattainable and in some cases, unhealthy, standards for women to look to is NOT the answer. Even very thin women can be heard lamenting about the few ounces of extra weight they have on their bodies…despite a predisposition toward thinness, healthy eating and diligent exercise. How do women learn to feel comfortable in their bodies when they are being sent constant messages that say they are unacceptable?

Plus size vs straight size

A “plus” sized model compared to a “regular” model

How can we get to a place of acceptance that we are more than our bodies, when we are constantly being told that our bodies are all that matter? On top of that, the constant message is our bodies are NOT acceptable unless they are starved and exercised into a form that is often unnatural. Even our little girls learn from an early age that beauty has a specific size:

woman object 4

How do we teach our young women (and our young men), that the female body can be beautiful in many shapes, many sizes? When do we stop acting like we all need to resemble barbie dolls in order to be acceptable, beautiful…good?

I want a different world for my daughters (and myself), yet sometimes am unsure how to effect change in such a rampantly superficial world. What can a single individual do to promote a healthier, more diverse culture of body image? Here are the things I’ve come up with that I CAN change:

  • Avoid negative talk about weight or shape. No more talk about “fat” or “skinny” and no more judgement language about bodies. Bodies are bodies, neither good nor bad.
  • Don’t use food as reward or punishment and avoid negative statements about food. Provide healthy food, then let your child make their own choices about it.
  • Compliment my child on accomplishments, talent and effort. Children should feel they are valuable and valued for more than their appearance. Only complimenting girls (or boys) on the way they look (“You’re so pretty!” “What a cutie.”) links their self-esteem to their looks. Teach my children from an early age they are so much more than just their bodies or faces.
  • Restrict media images. From the Disney Channel to the Victoria’s Secret catalog that comes in the mail. Discuss the media images with my daughters.
  • Help them to understand what is normal and healthy, especially during changes that may naturally involve their bodies changing. Keep communication open.
  • Write to designers/clothing stores/magazines and inform them of what you like and what you don’t. Use my dollars to reinforce my values. If I really dislike the way “American Apparel” or “Guess” uses images and models and I don’t feel they support healthy body image, then I won’t buy their clothes. A single consumer won’t make a huge difference, but change starts with one person, right? If a company DOES promote positive body images, then let them know that too.
  • Finally…love and accept my own body. My children will follow my actions more than my words. Work hard on accepting that I am not defined by my body, then realize that my body is beautiful. Let my children see that it’s okay to not look like Barbie and still take joy and pride in my appearance. It’s fine for them to see me making healthy food choices and exercising…that’s just modeling good health. What’s not okay is for them to constantly hear “I can’t eat that–it’s got too many calories” or “I need to stop being lazy and workout”. What’s not okay is for them to constantly be hearing about the latest diet or technique for losing weight. They learn from me, so I need to make sure I’m teaching them the right things.

Finally…realize how ridiculous it all is. Women spend a large chunk of their lives as slaves to the beauty ideal…which can’t even stay constant! We are slaves to something that shifts with political culture and socio-economic changes. We’re letting people who run the fashion industry (and let’s be honest: Should gay men really get to decide what a woman’s body should look like??) tell us what we should look like. We are starving, running, body-building, tweezing, waxing and even cutting ourselves open in an attempt to be “beautiful” and “sexy”, when those words could be/should be defined in many different ways! Realize the ridiculousness of it all and refuse to participate.

Tiny Fey, who is quickly becoming my hero, sums it all up nicely.

funny-Tina-Fey-body-image-quote

The Illusion of Beauty: Part 2

Posted in body image, objectifying women, raising daughters, women's bodies, women's liberation with tags , , on April 17, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

“Beauty is in the eye of beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye”

The notion of female beauty is a fluid one, subject to rapid shifts depending on culture and who’s running the fashion industry. Beautiful, sexy, healthy: These words all shift with the decades. Yet they greatly influence how we perceive ourselves and how we feel we measure up with others in our society. The obsession with female beauty and the ideal body is not a new concept. Throughout the ages, artists have been attempting to capture the curves, grace and mystique of a woman. Men pursue beautiful woman; women want to be beautiful. But what is beautiful? How has our perception of beauty changed?

From artwork of the Middle Ages, which showed women with hips and breasts and a rounded stomach:

Birth_of_venusrubenesque

To artwork and images of the 1800’s:

Pierre-Auguste_Renoir_-_BaigneuseExotic-Dancers-In-1800s-8

In fact, being “thin” was not a lasting trend that was considered beautiful or fashionable until the 1920’s, when the flapper styles came into vogue. There were exceptions to this rule: Before the Civil War, tuberculosis ravaged the nation; called the ‘wasting disease”, one of the side effects was severe thinness. This look gained popularity for a brief time, until the antebellum era, when voluptuousness was again on the rise. Lillian Russell, a theatre actress who was around 200 lbs, was considered a great beauty. Curves ruled the scene until the Roaring 20’s, when women began to push for more independence. A boyish figure was the look of the decade…

flappers

Until the 30’s and 40’s, when Marilyn Monroe and other actresses brought curves back into the spotlight:

Marilyn

curvy vs skinny 1

Then came Twiggy: A British teenager who was part of London’s “Swinging 60’s”, Twiggy’s ultra-thin, androgynous look changed the fashion industry overnight:

twiggy

The 90’s brought a mixture of body styles, from the curvaciousness of Cindy Crawford, who was once dubbed “too busty” to be a runway model:

cindy crawford

Juxtaposed with the “waif” look of Kate Moss:

kate-moss-calvin-klein-obsession-4

In 2013, where are we with body image? What is it that we’ve determined is the ideal beauty?

To be continued…

The Illusion of Beauty: Part 1

Posted in body image, objectifying women, raising daughters, self-esteem, women's bodies, women's liberation, women's rights with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

My youngest child has cheeks that are rosy with color and she loves to don a swimsuit or shorts and bare her skin to the sun. She is a lovely, sensitive, smart, artistic, incredible little girl. She is also quite chubby.

Three and a half years ago, she looked like a little ghost: Pale, with dark circles under her eyes. She was constantly sick and would be doubled over with stomach pain nearly every time she ate. After taking her to doctor after doctor, she was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease: Ulcerative Colitis. Freqeunt bleeding and a 106 fever even landed her in the hospital; it was a scary event for her father and I. This resulted in a massive dose of steroids to try to manage the severe symptoms. It worked. It also left her with raging emotions and a wicked appetite. Her weight gain was so fast and so significant, that I commented to someone once that it looked like this child had eaten the child she used to be. After awhile, we were able to wean her off the high dose of steroids and begin a more long-term approach.

Today, she looks like a healthy kid. A kid that plays and colors and sings and makes it to school. A child that looks at me and sometimes my breath catches, because she is so amazing, inside and out. Yet…

As a woman who has struggled with body image, I am concerned. As an adult who knows the way this superficial world works, I feel trepidation. When she reaches for seconds at meals or wants to have a big slice of bread for a snack, I struggle with how to react. I don’t EVER want her to feel like she is less than the beautiful, amazing girl she is. So when her pants don’t fit anymore, I simply buy new ones. I never disparage or comment on her body and I only use positive language. I stopped calling myself words like “fat” in front of my children long ago. Still, I know the way the world is; as she moves into adolescense, if the weight issue hasn’t resolved itself, I fear she will suffer the consequences. So I feel a bit sick inside: How do I meet this situation? To treat her differently than her sibling (who looks like a wraith no matter what she eats) around the subject of food will bring an awareness of her own body that I really don’t want her to have. To not take any action feels like setting her up for failure. I have been struggling with this dilemma for months…

And I’m angry. I’m angry at a world that punishes us for how our bodies look. I’m furious at a culture that believes objectification is okay. And I’m not certain that the average person is aware of how insidious, how prevalent, it is. Let me help put it in perspective:

 

woman object 1woman object 7woman object 5woman object 6woman object 8woman object 11woman object 2woman object 10woman object 9

woman object 3

What do these images convey about women? They are nothing more than the sum of their parts: Breasts, thighs, ass and legs. Because of this they are interchangeable; we don’t even need to show their faces! They are vapid, empty vessels waiting to be filled by men. Merchandise, to be used and displayed as desired. If the female model’s face is even shown, it is often void of expression. Afterall, she is simply an object and objects don’t think or feel. She is a coat rack, a fantasy, an apex of thighs, a valley of breasts, a hole (while the guy fantasizes about his real passion, as exemplified in the ad for the car), a product…not a human being.

As if those ideas weren’t degrading enough to women, there is also the implied violence and oversexualization present in the majority of the photos. A man between a woman’s thighs as other men look on, a man possessively clutching a bare breast with one hand while grasping a woman’s head with the other, text reading “NOW OPEN” above a photo of a woman’s spread legs. The apathy and bared breasts of a model who looks to be barely out of her teens, selling riding pants.

Do we really need to wonder why we live in a culture of violence toward women? These images were a few culled from thousands just like them. The message that women are the sum of their sexual parts, they are objects, they are prized only for their beauty and sexuality…this is the daily message blared at us from magazines, billboards, television and the advertising industry.

Women: Is this what we want for ourselves? For our children? Men: Is this the norm you’d want for your mother/sister/daughter?

How did we get here?

To be continued