stories of empowered girls and women |
One woman paves her path to happiness with forgiveness
Little girl, big smile
Stop postponing your life until you lose weight
Tips to make sure youâ€™re nobodyâ€™s fool when it comes to love
A legacy of love and healing on wheels
The Power of Compassion
In This Issue
pg 4 - Deanne Mathew’s remarkable tale of compassion and forgiveness
pg 12 - Andi Kezh brings a smile to children suffering with cleft lip / cleft palate
pg 9 - One woman’s legacy of love & caring for women - with a little help from her friends
pg 18 - Why you should start living your life now, and not wait until you’ve “lost the weight”
pg 2 - Our Contributors pg 3 - Editor’s Letter pg 14 - You the Man! Dr. Scott Lukas helps us examine sexism in advertising pg 19 - Heads Up: Politics - Shara Krogh on the dangers of the National Defense Authorization Act pg 22 - Diary of a Tech Startup Gal: Monica Birdsong decides against the winning flow pg 25 - The Princess Factor: Priya Kumar Bradfield’s view on purported dangers of tiaras & princes pg 27 - Nobody’s Fool: Keep from playing the fool in your own love life pg 29 - A+ Ads: Praise for Positive Marketing from Kashi pg 31 - Viralize This: Inspired ideas worth sharing far & wide pg 33 - The Goods: Our roundup of good stuff to inspire and empower girls and women Back Cover Art: Hilda, by Duane Bryers
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Contributors “Heads Up: Politics” Columnist Shara Krogh is an attorney and mother of two young children. Born in New York, Shara attended law school in Los Angeles and served in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. She is also a former prosecutor in Sex Crimes Special Victims.
“Diary of a Tech Startup Gal” Columnist Monica Birdsong is a software developer turning into an entrepreneur. She’s written software for several Fortune 500 companies and dot coms. She recently left the corporate world to pursue her dream of being an internet entrepreneur. She loves her family, friends, traveling, and food. She also loves that her internet businesses give her the freedom of working from home or wherever her and her laptop land.
Priya Kumar Bradfield is a stay-at-home mom to two wildly smart and crazy girls and has been married to her best friend for 17 1/2 years. When she’s not playing chauffeur or lounging on the couch eating bon-bons, she loves to travel and go to public pillow fights. Her background is in print journalism and has worked in the entertainment industry (music and online games). Priya has lived in Los Angeles for 22 years, and lived in Seoul, South Korea for 3 years. She is also a die-hard USC Trojans fan. Fight on!
Amber Karnes is a 30-year old yogi, yoga teacher, web developer, designer, and recently, farmer - living and working on 31 acres in rural northern Virginia. Along with her husband Jimmy, she’s embarking on an experimental year of growing her own food, living off the land, learning to farm, and chopping her own firewood. Follow her adventures at My Aim Is True, read her musings on yoga and body image at Body Positive Yoga, or follow her on Twitter.
Linda Spinelli-Lewis is Editorial Advisor, friend and mother to Lori. Born and raised in Manhattan, migrated to Brooklyn and eventually Staten Island, NY. Loves to read and dabble in writing while holding an addiction to television, theater and movies. Presently retired and loving it.
Editorial Advisor Melissa Algaze is a native Angelino with deep family roots in NY (which is why she and Lori get along like a house on fire). After graduating from Syracuse University, she moved back to sunny LA and works in Advertising and Publishing fields. Her life motto is “when the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object” and she is vastly inspired by Lori’s vision and dedication to See Magazine. www.seemagazine.org | pg 2
Spring is well underway now, and my neighborhood is bursting with vibrant hues and fragrant scents. It’s getting darker later (which I LOVE) and the days keep lengthening into the promise of summer. Like a springtime garden, this issue of See Magazine is flush with variety and beauty, and our hope is that it will inspire you and remind you of the power that you and all girls and women possess. This month we share the story of a Deanne Mathews, a woman who - despite a youth filled with abuse and the untimely death of her young husband - has managed to let her past make her better, not bitter. We’ll show you how the memory of a friend has driven a group of women to take to the road to deliver urgently needed cancer screenings, and how young Andi Kezh has brought smiles to the faces of dozens of underprivileged children in need of medical help. We profile Dr. Scott Lukas, whose passion for gender portrayals in media has yielded an invaluable resource for media literacy studies. Amber Karnes tells us why we shouldn’t put our lives on hold until we lose weight. Shara Krogh examines the National Defense Authorization Act, and shares why we should be concerned - VERY concerned. Monica Birdsong shares how walking away from what you have always wanted could be the best choice, and Priya Kumar Bradfield reflects on how Disney princesses impacted her own daughters. Our regular features (A+ Ads, Viralize This, The Goods) round out our April issue, which we hope you’ll love. Enjoy, and have a beautiful month. With love always,
Lori Lewis Founder/Editor, See Magazine
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From a childhood marred by abuse to a path driven by purpose and passion, one woman’s compassionate journey to the life she’d always longed for
Once in a while you hear a story that simply astounds you. That makes you wonder at the resilience of the human spirit and the breadth and depth of the figurative human heart. Deanne Mathews’ story is one of them. We first read about Deanne via a newsletter from the website AmazingWomenRock.com. We’ll let you read her story in detail there (and we recommend that you do), but in short – after being sexually molested by her stepfather from the age of three for over a dozen years, and physically & emotionally abused by her mother - she stood up to them at age sixteen and moved out. For the next few years she worked on herself, getting counseling and pursuing the kind of life she’d always dreamed of. She moved from Canada to Australia and a short time later, fell in love and married, later having a child. After just a few short years of marriage, her young husband lost his battle with cancer, leaving her alone to raise their child. 20 years after walking out of her home as a teen, she reached out to her family and expressed forgiveness and compassion to her stepfather and her mother. Months later, her stepfather took his own life. Deanne traveled from Australia to Canada to deliver a compassionate eulogy at his funeral. Most anyone who experienced even half as much hardship and challenge would have been embittered, at least to some degree. The remarkable thing about Deanne’s story is that not only did she not allow those experiences to harden her or send her and her life down a negative path; she used it to propel herself toward a life she always imagined for herself – one infused with self-love and empowerment. How does someone reach that degree of forgiveness and healing after such traumatic experiences and loss? We reached out to Deanne to find out – our questions, and her answers, follow.
by Lori Lewis
See Magazine: What do you think it was about
you that allowed you to turn your horrific experiences into an instrument of growth and empowerment, as opposed to being stifled by what had been done to you? Deanne Mathews: “There was a deep desire to want a better life for myself. I felt this desire from a young age. As a child, I saw my life as very strange and felt that I didn’t belong in my family. Within the family, I saw anger, violence and abuse every day. Deep down, I carried so much shame, guilt and anger about being associated with them. I was embarrassed. I also knew that if I didn’t take responsibility for my life then I would continue to be like them and this meant living my life in pain, worthlessness and fear – hiding from myself and the world. When I reached my teenage years, I saw only two options: either I continue down this road and blame them for my life or I take steps towards looking at everything painful residing deep inside myself and focus on healing from my experience. I knew the first option would be the easier one, however, it would leave me feeling dead inside. How could I live like this? The second option would be much more challenging but somehow I knew this was the path I had to choose. I had to clear all of my
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emotional debris in order to know how it felt to be happy to be alive. The idea of being a survivor of some sort felt incredibly limiting to me. It was important for me to know what it was like to like myself and thrive from that perspective. Most importantly, I wanted to experience love. I saw love expressed in the world and wanted to know what it would be like to give and receive it in a wholesome way. I wanted good, healthy relationships, particularly with myself. (I may have not articulated this as a child but the feeling of desiring this was certainly there). So to answer your question simply: Pure desire of wanting something different and a willingness to do whatever it took to move towards a life of love and wholeness.”
SM: Were there ever times when you felt overcome with feelings of guilt, worthlessness, etc.? If so, how exactly
did you (particularly at such a young age) process and move past those feelings so that you could become your own advocate and go on to live a healthy and fulfilling life? DM:: Yes, for sure there were times when I experienced these feelings, particularly anxiety, shame, and worthlessness. When I look back at how I processed these feelings, I would say through physical action…. movement. I played a number of sports and was very active. This liveliness seemed to help move and shift my feelings. I was also a very independent child which worked to my advantage as no one really cared where I was when I wasn’t being abused. This was a true blessing for me. So when these feelings would surface (which were often), I would spend a lot of time alone and just sit with them to the best of my ability. There has always been a natural instinct in me to spend time alone, even now when I am processing an emotion. As a child I always met these feelings with the hope of a better existence. I would simply focus on what that would be like. There was a quiet determination in me to move towards a healthy and fulfilling life.
SM: What ultimately gave you the courage to stand up to your abuser at the age of 16 and say “no” and move
out of your home to begin your own life? DM:: I simply knew it was time. I had finished high school and completed the agreement with myself to graduate from secondary school. I had found a great counselor at the time and we worked out a strategy in how I would approach my stepfather and what it would mean to me and my life to act in such a way. We looked at all of the resources that I needed in order to make this statement loud and clear to myself and to my stepfather. And then we worked on developing that. This was a huge turning point in my life. The courage came from the decision that I had made to leave this part of my life and create something better for myself. Knowing that’s what I was moving towards, the steps of courage that I took just seemed like the work I had to do. It was truly a confronting part in my life. It was scary and my anxiety was at it’s greatest at that point. I had to see and feel everything in a way that I had not allowed myself to before. I was truly going into the unknown. This outweighed everything because I had genuinely sensed another possibility of life that existed for me.
SM: Did you speak with anyone about what was happening
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to you during the period of time in which you were being abused? If not, what stopped you from doing so, and would you do it any differently, in hindsight? If so, how did they
react, and did it help or inhibit you from reaching the point in which you put an end to the abuse? DM: “No, I didn’t speak to anyone because of the shame I felt and I simply didn’t feel safe to talk to anyone, particularly with the sort of people around me at the time. I also felt that my stepfather had a strong sense of control over me especially when I was younger so I always felt pulled into his manipulation and control. I was in a constant state of fear. I felt incredibly dependent on him in a dysfunctional way. I suppose I felt that in exposing him and the ‘dirtiness’ of it all, I would be exposing myself on that level and that terrified me. I thought people would think it was my fault and find disgust in me. My mother was also very jealous of the relationship that I had with my stepfather and even at one point, accused me of having an affair with him. I was 12 at the time. I had no reference point in trusting women (or men). In truth, I simply didn’t trust anyone – not even myself. Would I do anything different in hindsight? Probably not, given my circumstances. I think I did the best that I could. “
SM: With regard to your mother, you mentioned
eventually reaching a place of compassionate understanding relative to her inability to protect you against your stepfather’s abuse – but what was your relationship with her like as you were growing up? Do you feel that her disempowered approach to parenting you contributed to, or hindered your ability to advocate for your own safety and recovery? DM: “My relationship with my mother was a very hostile one. She was an alcoholic and used drugs. There was a lot of cruelty from her in the way she spoke to and treated me; along with physical abuse and fighting. I remember her being drunk and angry and tipping a pot of boiling water over my head. It was chaotic and this was typical in my life. I always saw my mother as someone very sad, angry and broken. Perhaps through this perspective, I never felt afraid of her and would always stand up for myself (I was very angry growing up myself so always felt prepared in meeting the fight with a fight). I definitely feel that she contributed to shaping who I became as she was the epitome of who I didn’t
want to become. I couldn’t imagine myself turning into the woman that she was. I would say this was a determining force for me. “
SM: You mentioned a brother – was the abuse
confined to you, or did other sibling(s) suffer it as well? If the latter, how did they fare in terms of their own recovery? DM: “Yes, my brother was abused as well. This was by our next door neighbor who was friends with my mother and stepfather. He was abused for years and no one knew until he started trying to take his own life. It was at this point that my mother and stepfather sat me down and said I needed to do something about this. It was my job to go and talk to this person (yes, this is indeed true and I remember almost falling off of my chair due to the complete disbelief that I was in at being told something so absurd!). My brother went through a lot of pain and has had to go through his own healing which has been very independent of mine (as I moved to Australia quite young). He is doing really well considering what he endured. He now lives a quiet life with his family. “
SM: Particularly after you were widowed, how were
you able to keep the tragedy of your husband’s death from dealing a deadly blow to the life and emotional health you had created for yourself? DM: “I can only answer with ‘acceptance’. My experience with Michael has been part of my life path and I accept that. I’m not saying that this experience was easy. It was certainly a struggle after he died. I felt very alone at that time. In the same breath, I knew he was a gift to me and I decided to focus on that instead. He had shown me what it was like to receive love without wanting anything in return. This was something that I wanted to know as a child and I feel that I was able experience what it was like to really love. My faith in my spirituality has been a great driving force for me. I didn’t know the reasons why he was taken from me and thought to myself that it wouldn’t be useful focusing on this because it would take me away from living my life, one that I thought was worth living.” www.seemagazine.org | pg 6
SM: What drove your decision to deliver your stepfather’s eulogy? Did you see that as a result of, or an
instrument for, your own healing? DM: “At this point in my life I had come to a deep place of love for myself. It simply felt like it was the right thing to do and certainly it was an instrument for my own healing. In hindsight, it was final closure for me. I felt into the pain and dysfunction of my family and knew I could step in with compassion and care. To me, it was the only answer. My mother had asked me to deliver his eulogy and I said I would share other’s experience with him and it wouldn’t be appropriate to share my own (she was in denial at that time of my abuse). From my knowing, we all have light and dark in us and when we embrace another’s darkness, then we can truly embrace our own and move into a place of wholeness and forgiveness within ourselves. This is what it means to really heal.”
SM: This is probably going to be one of those difficult questions... Given the timing of your step-father’s suicide
(shortly after you reconnected with the family), do you feel any degree of responsibility for his decision to take his own life? Does your family see any connection? If so, how have you dealt with that, both in terms of your own emotional needs and your family’s? If not, how do you think you were able to keep yourself from feeling guilt over his death? DM: “(Great question by the way). I certainly feel like I was a catalyst for my stepfather taking his own life. I sensed I was a reminder for his terrible behavior. And I tend to think the way that he conducted himself in life in which he didn’t feel good about eventually caught up with him. In regards to feeling responsible, I don’t. It’s my feeling that we are all personally responsible and accountable for how we live our lives and the choices we make. The consequences, whatever they may be, will unfold naturally. We all have to face ourselves at some point and make choices from what we see. And our choices are always our own. We can never point the finger at anyone but ourselves. He chose to take his life in quite a horrific way. I feel compassion for him because he saw that as his only option. I never got the feeling that my family felt I was responsible. They were still in denial of the abuse that had happened in the past and only came to terms with it in the months after I arrived back in Australia. My mother dealt with it by sending an email stating that she thought it was odd that I had spent so much time with my stepfather when I was young and it was all making sense now. She ended it by saying she didn’t want to know or talk about it. I didn’t expect any more from her so I told her that was ok. It had felt completed with me. “
SM: So many people fall into traps of feeling guilt, anger and worthlessness when they are abused, and it mars their entire life. What is your advice to someone who is stuck in this self-destructive cycle, not just in terms of practical steps to take (get a counselor, etc.) but in terms of how to begin to actually effectively think differently about their history and how it does or doesn’t define their future? DM: 1. I’ve always approached what has happened to me as an experience in my life (and life is all about experiences). And from here, I get to choose how I embrace and deal with my experiences. An experience allows me to take complete responsibility for how I respond. It’s important not to go into a place of labels such as survivor, abuser, Deanne Mathews
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rescuer, etc. I don’t think these are particularly helpful because they still define us as something that needs fixing or is incomplete. This can keep us limited and contracted. We can become addicted to labels and unconsciously feed them. 2. I think it’s important to connect with, on some level, the life that you want for yourself even if it seems impossible. Ask yourself: if this could be possible (even for a moment), what kind of life would I want….give it a fraction of your attention. When we start doing this, we are opening to a different way of being, and a more positive way of relating to ourselves. I would suggest then we feed this new little vision. This is where we look at finding someone solid that can help work with us on this level. It might take a few attempts to find the right person but we must stay willing, open and persistent. 3. It’s so, so important to start talking to ourselves even in the smallest ways from a place of compassion and care. I can’t emphasize this enough! From my experience - compassion, tenderness and kindness with yourself, heals yourself. 4. Forgive! Forgive! Forgive! Learn to forgive yourself and others. Forgive yourself for feeling you are to blame for what happened. Forgive everything with your self. Because when you forgive, you are able to come into the present moment clean and clear without baggage. This is where you can fully experience being alive, peaceful and joyful. 5. It’s ok to be afraid, it really is. Don’t push away your fear, feel it, embrace it, love it and heal it. Finally, I would finish off by saying that it has to be a decision. We have to decide to stand for ourselves in the best way we know how and get support if we don’t know how to do it. We have to have desire (even if it’s a tiny flame of desire) to want a better life. Desire and decision are the keys.
SM: Anything else you would like to add? DM: “I would like to say that healing yourself is a constant process and commitment just like it is to exercise your body. It takes time to get to where you want to go. It’s wise not to put any expectations on yourself and where you should be within a certain timeframe. We are always in the process of peeling off another layer that wants our attention. The deeper we go, the more we grow. And as we grow, we become more aware of our interior so this process happens more gently and subtlety. The gift in this is we give ourselves back to ourselves. Self-love becomes evident within. We come into a place of softness (not to be mistaken with weakness). We move from a place of force to surrender. It’s a place of stillness and our inner wisdom speaks to us from this locality. We then share this with others and the world. This is true healing. It’s also important to know that we are not perfect and we are going to make mistakes and slip up. This doesn’t mean that we give up on our healing path; we just get back up and continue on doing the best we can.“• Contact Deanne via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website, http://www.deannemathews.com. Counseling/Coaching is also available via Skype. www.seemagazine.org | pg 8
The Ultimate Life Coach A woman’s lifesaving legacy of love keeps on rolling - with a little help from her friends by Lori Lewis
There are these women in Indiana - eighteen thousand of them. They spend time with their loved ones, they laugh, they dance, they eat, they enjoy sunsets and rainy days and sleeping in and favorite songs and all of the great things, big and small, that life has to offer. They do these things at least in part because of the dedication of a group of their neighbors, a small but powerful army who call themselves “Francine’s Friends”.
From left to right: Sharon Eisbart, Irene Walters, Francine Schubert (after who the program is named) and Sharon Simmons. Sharon, Irene, and Sharon are founders of Francine’s Friends and actual friends of Francine, and Sharon Simmons is current board president.
Francine Schubert beat cancer in her 30’s. She charged on, continuing to live her life with the strength and passion she became so well known for among her ever-widening circle of friends. It struck again in her 40’s, bringing with it a grim prognosis Francine was advised to get her affairs in order.
on the wheels of the Francine’s Friends mobile mammography motorcoach. After her death, some of Francine’s closest friends got together to figure out a way to honor her memory and help others. What started as a plan for a fundraiser to raise money for a few underprivileged women to receive cancer screenings eventually blossomed into a mission to help any local woman who needs it to get the screening she needs. Francine’s friend and current board president Sharon Simmonms says, “We were intent on honoring Francine’s spirit and drive. The further we looked into possibilities and options, the more we were drawn to providing the means for women to be screened, no matter what the barrier might be. Visiting mobile mammography programs and talking with the Director of a successful program in Cincinnati gave us the courage to develop a business plan. The rest is part history and part a continuing work in progress.” A business plan, grant proposals and fundraising yielded enough money for Francine’s Friends to purchase and outfit a coach with state-of-the-art screening equipment. The women negotiated with
Francine disagreed, to say the least. And so she continued to live her life with her signature verve - becoming a breast cancer advocate, staying active in community causes, traveling, and spending precious time with her loved ones. Eleven years later, the cancer took her. Her spirit, however, remains and it takes flight on a daily basis, Patients enter the coach to receive a mammography
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local hospitals to provide an avenue of care for any woman whose screening in the coach revealed a diagnosis of cancer. Sharon shares, We knew that, statistically, a successful program would result in discovering 6 to 8 cancers for every one thousand mammographys. We didn’t want to be in the position of telling a woman she had breast cancer and having no help to offer her.” Francine’s Friends labors are making an impact. Sharon reveals, “...according to a recent local community health survey, the number of women receiving screening mammography has increased 10% since the inception of Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography Program. While not every woman counted in the survey was screened by Francine’s Friends, we do believe our coach raises awareness as it travels the area reminding women of the importance of early detection in the fight against breast cancer, and the important role mammography has in that detection.”
Francine’s Friends’ annual fundraising event - 500-600 women each October, raising over $750,000 to date to cover the cost of mammograms.
In addition to daily trips to business and community sites to provide screening services to women, Francine’s Friends also offers breast cancer survivors who screen through the coach with a hair, makeup and wardrobe makeover. After the stress and other physical struggles involved with cancer treatment, the makeovers help provide a much-needed fresh new start for them. Run by an entirely volunteer staff and board of directors, Francine’s Friends rely on donations and fundraising events such as their annual “Lunch With Friends” event to keep the coach running and visiting sites to provide lifesaving cancer screenings.
Future plans for Francine’s Friends include breaking in the new motorcoach they purchased after their original one finally began to show its age. Sharon adds, “2012 will be a year for Francine’s Friends to address long range strategic planning. With the arrival of a new coach that should take the program well into 2030, we will be focusing on the recruitment of younger women Two breast cancer survivors diagnosed on the coach receive makeovers at last year’s event - and results are revealed with the help of MC and friend, Colleen Murray (left) of Chicago’s Second City.
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who share our commitment and enthusiasm for continuing to make Francine’s Friends a successful organization with a large presence in our community. With over 18,000 women screened (including over 5,000 who had their very first mammogram with Francine’s Friends) at over 1,500 locations within the community, Francine’s loving legacy has helped save 75 women who were diagnosed with early stage, treatable breast cancer after being screened Arrival of new coach in 2011 after successful capital campaign - Board president Sharon Simmons aboard her coach. Saving those (center) shown with community partners Debi Kennedy (left) and Marita Dwight-Smith (right). women - and helping to keep thousands of other women healthy - is something Sharon knows Francine would be very proud of. “If Francine was still with us, I think she would be the biggest supporter of the program – it is exactly the kind of initiative that would arouse her enthusiastic presence, since she was all about helping others. As I said in accepting the Athena award [a prestigious leadership award from the Greater Fort Wayne, Indiana Chamber of Commerce which Francine’s Friends recently won] I feel that Francine is looking down and giving us all her signature “high-five” for our good work, and urging us to continue expanding her circle of friends.” •
How YOU can help Francine’s Friends Francine’s Friends is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization. They have no paid employees or staff. Volunteers who are able and willing to help are always welcome. Most of their funds are derived from individuals or local organizations that see first-hand the real benefits of their contributions - they do not solicit or recieve government funding at every level. Donations in any amount are most welcome and can be made on their website at FrancinesFriends.org, or by mail to Francine’s Friends, 709 Clay Street, Suite 300, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802.
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LIGHTING UP THE WORLD WITH HER SMILE by Lori Lewis
11-year old Andi Kezh is determined to help other children born with cleft lip and cleft palate have their own beautiful smiles restored Ask most people what the first thing they notice about another person is, and a popular reply will be “their smile”. Smiling spreads joy, lifts spirits and communicates happiness, bemusement, approval, love, and so much more. But imagine if you were self-conscious about your smile, or worse yet, you couldn’t smile? For as many as 1 in 500 children born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate, that is their reality. A congenital deformity caused by the body’s failure to properly fuse during gestation, a cleft lip consists of an opening in the top of the mouth which is usually visible from the outside of the face, and may extend from the upper lip into one or both nostrils. If the cleft is inside the top of the mouth (between the mouth and the skull), it’s known as a cleft palate. A child can be born with one or the other of both of these conditions, which can usually be corrected with one or more surgeries in infancy or youth. 11-year-old Andi Kezh was born with both a cleft lip and palate. In her short life, she’s undergone 10 surgeries to correct her condition - painful procedures - and several more lie ahead for her. She was in PreK when she noticed the other kids staring at her and when they asked what was wrong with her lip, she didn’t know how to answer. “I had
Andi beams with the smile that ten surgical procedures helped create by correcting her cleft lip and palate. Due to issues with her nose, she requires several more surgeries.
never thought anything was wrong. I mean, I knew I had to have surgeries. I think I thought everybody had to,” says Andi. Being different made her feel a somewhat anxious. “I knew I could not change it, and they thought I was different. It was kind of hard knowing I couldn’t do anything about what they thought.” Still, Andi knew she was lucky. As she shares on her website, “In some cultures around the world, cleft lip and palate is believed to be a curse. In these cases, the kids are hidden away and are not allowed to go to school or even go outside and play. Sometimes, families are forced to move away from their villages because others think the whole family is cursed.” Andi’s medical insurance and access to quality medical facilities made her treatment and progress possible. One day, when flipping through a magazine with her Mom, Laurie, she saw an ad for Smile Train, which featured a photo of a baby with an unrepaired cleft lip. That day Andi learned that many children are not nearly as lucky as she, and she decided to make a difference in the lives of those children. “I looked up Smile Train to see how I could help, then I came up with the idea to www.seemagazine.org | pg 12
start a “cause” page on Facebook to spread awareness. I raised one surgery ($250) in about two hours, and then I just couldn’t stop! I didn’t get to see or meet the child who got the surgery but I knew that somewhere in the world a little child was getting a surgery because of something I did.” To date, Andi’s efforts have helped nearly fifty children get treatment for their cleft lip / palate. These treatments restore a child’s ability to eat and drink normally, become more active, and, of course, smile without the fear of looking different. Even though she’s done so much already, Andi remains determined to help as many children as possible. “I want them to know they are not alone. There are thousands or more of us out here and we will help! I want them to know they can do anything!” The Andi’s Smile Facebook page is an incredible testament to the spirit of Andi and all of the children afflicted with this condition. Each day Andi and her mother Laurie feature a “Smile of the Day” on the page and offer encouragement and prayers to children undergoing surgeries and
Dr. Williams sees Andi through a recent procedure in which a stint is inserted into her nostril (inset, upper right) to keep it from closing up as she grows.
other treatments, with Fans of the page lending their support as well. Andi also chronicles her own treatment on the page, with messages and photos which are met with dozens of “Likes” and encouraging comments. Families of other children with cleft lip / palate also post on Andi’s page to share their story and are greeted with the same love and support from Andi and her many fans. It’s always so inspirational to learn of a young while with the presence of mind and heart to want to help others in the world who are in need - particularly when they themselves are afflicted. We asked Andi what her advice was to other children who wanted to help in some way: “DREAM BIG! When I first started my goal was to raise just one surgery, but once I raised enough for one surgery I wanted to help even more. Now I have helped almost fifty children get surgery and I want to make it to one hundred! No dream is too big when you help somebody! There are so many people and organizations out there who need your help. Kids can make a big difference in the world and you should remember that helping just one person is awesome! If you find something you feel strongly about, then go find a way to help!” • To connect with and donate to Andi’s Smile, visit: • Andi’s Smile Facebook Page • Andi’s Page on Smile Train • Andi’s Website
Andi flashes her smile on her 11th birthday.
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You The Man! Spotlighting men who stand up for women by Lori Lewis
While most people flip through commercials, skim over magazine ads and only give billboards a passing glance, Dr. Scott Lukas has an entirely different approach to advertising. His analytical interest has fueled the creation of one of media literacy’s most valuable online tools - GenderAds.com. What started out in 2002 as an in-class PowerPoint handout containing fifty images has grown to an index, annotated and cross-referenced online database of nearly 4,000 advertising images, fueling a website dedicated to studying negative representation of both women and men in media. Dr. Lukas, who created and curates the site, is an awardwinning professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Lake Tahoe Community College. He has authored and edited multiple books, has served on the Ratings Advisory group of the national advocacy organization Dads & Daughters and has presented his GenderAds. com to audiences nationwide, including the National Women Studies Association. We posed some questions to Dr. Lukas to explore the history of this extraordinary project and to learn more about the trends and concerns he sees around advertising’s increasingly sexualized and negative representations of gender.
See Magazine: What made you want to get into
Much of my interest in gender studies stemmed from coursework in college. At the University of Iowa, I was influenced by a number of faculty in gender studies and courses in the feminist anthropology track at the university. I also took part in many political efforts in Iowa, such as the Iowa Women’s Equality campaign, that helped develop my political consciousness in terms of gender issues. Also, as I studied more popular culture, it became evident that there were major disparities in terms of how women and men were portrayed in advertising, film, video games, and other forms of popular culture. My interest in popular culture, and political positions that developed as a result of this interest, ultimately directed me to the study of gender and advertising.
How did you get the initial idea to compile a Gender Ads directory?
Over 10 years ago, I was teaching a segment on gender and advertising in an anthropology course at Lake Tahoe Community College. I recall that a few students asked for copies of the PowerPoint. At that time, the “gender ads project” had about 50 images. After I received numerous requests for copies of the presentation, I decided that it would be more practical to set up a Web site and feature these ads and the ideas associated with them. Little did I know that it would grow to such a large database.
SM What has been the most rewarding aspect of owning/ operating the Gender Ads directory? SL:
I believe that the biggest reward has simply been the fact that the Gender Ads Project has been helpful in an educational sense. I get requests from all over the world, from men and women, from educators and community activists, and all seem to share a genuine interest in understanding gender and advertising and, ultimately, directing their efforts to helping chart a new www.seemagazine.org | pg 14
and more progressive course for our popular culture. They, like me, believe that these negative images do impact people and that if we do something (whatever that might be) about them, we might see real changes in other areas outside of advertising—rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, homophobia, sexism, various forms of discrimination, etc.
SM: In your experience, is negative genderization in advertising growing more or less prevalent? SL: About 5 years ago I would have said less prevalent, but I was mentioning to my students last week that I think it’s now the reverse—the stereotypes and negative representations are becoming more prevalent. Consider the popularity of Go Daddy ads as an example. In another recent example, I just heard of this controversy related to the Philippines version of FHM (Editor’s Note: learn more here). In this case, we see examples of sexism and racism that are quite retrograde. In fact, we might expect such representations would have occurred 15, 20, 30 years ago. We must be diligent and remember that these forces—sexism, racism, homophobia—are omni-present and institutional. They won’t just go away overnight. So while I am surprised to see images like the ones from FHM, I am also aware as to why they continue to exist in a world that, at times, is represented to be more progressive.
In your mind, what are the more damaging themes in advertising relative to girls and women specifically?
The Gender Ads Project has a number of exhibits that illustrate many damaging themes. Some of the most troubling ones include images focusing on young girls (no doubt a continuation of trends that we see in TV shows like Toddlers & Tiaras in which a young girl was famously dressed up as the Julia Roberts prostitute character from the garbage-of-a-movie Pretty Woman), ads celebrating death (shooting, strangulation, stabbing) of women (a further continuation of trends that we saw in America’s Next Top Model Cycle 8 in which models were “asked” to pose as crime victims), and ads advocating rape (a continuation of the trends of domestic assault and rape that we see in many cultures). What’s equally disturbing is the fact that we see so many versions and variations of these disturbing representations. For all of the doubters out there—and there are, unfortunately, many—you cannot deny the real-world impacts of these representations. As one case in point, I was recently screening Sut Jhally’s excellent documentary The Codes of Gender (Media Education Foundation) in a class and was conducting a follow-up discussion. One female student expressed the idea that people (women and men) should be OK with the fact that they are sex objects. People want to feel good about themselves, she offered. In contrast to this student, it turned out that another student, who had been particularly silent in the class discussion that day, had given me before class a form indicating that she had been discharged from the hospital. She had been a victim of sexual assault. I think we have to be constantly aware of the fact that the images and themes we see in popular culture do not exist in a vacuum. You don’t have to be a social scientist to figure this out…just talk to people in the real world who, unfortunately, have felt the real damage that popular culture can have on us. So, the most damaging aspects of all of this are the real-world effects of it all.
SM: Are there any encouraging trends to report in terms of increases in positive advertising? SL: I believe that the presence of more groups that are focused on increasing positive representations of women
in advertising is a great sign. More people—everyday consumers—are getting involved in boycotts of offensive advertisers. The fact that the FHM Philippines cover controversy got so much attention can be attributed to some sensitivity about gender that we do find in the media. Also, people have become more and more aware of the impacts of the media on our lives, so this would be cause for hope. Your magazine is a great example of a resource that more people should read so kudos to you for it! •
Visit the GenderAds.com directory and/or contact Dr. Scott Lukas.
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Stop postponing your life until you lose the weight I spent years of my life totally disconnected from my body. Either I was at war with my body, trying to control it by dieting or I was punishing it through disordered eating, or just ignoring it altogether. I felt as if my body was wrong and somehow had nothing to do with the “real me”. I was waiting until I lost weight to live my life. Waiting for my ideal body to show up one day and rescue me, and give me permission to live out loud. I probably don’t have to tell you that living like that is pretty miserable. I’ve been fortunate; yoga, hiking and being in nature, and learning to stay present have cracked open a whole different way of life. Lots of us feel as if our bodies have betrayed us. They don’t do what we say. Plenty of us are postponing “living our real life” until we lose weight. I want you to stop doing that.
You look fine How many times have you heard someone say, “Ugh, I’d kill to be the weight I was in high school,” only to be directly followed by, “… but I thought I was so fat and hideous back then, too.” They weren’t fat and hideous then. They aren’t fat and hideous now. In ten years they will probably look at pictures of themselves now and think, “Jeez, I thought I was fat and hideous, why did I waste time worrying about how I looked when my body was clearly slammin’ hot?!” All along, they looked fine. Guess what else? You look fine.
by Amber Karnes
If you’re not living out loud because you think you’re going to look hideous in a bathing suit at the beach or that you’ll clear out a room if you walk in wearing a pair of shorts that actually show a bit of cellulite, then why is life worth living at all? If everyone waited until they looked perfect to go outside, the streets of your city would be more deserted than an episode of The Walking Dead. Let me ask you – when you’ve gotten naked in front of someone new, has that person ever looked at you in disgust, gotten up, and left the room? No. Seriously, you look fine.
The past is a real jerk Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’. -Eckhart Tolle Stop and think about it – really and truly, the only reason any given sucky moment, day, or situation feels miserable or bad is because you are comparing it to a past moment, day, situation. Now I know this thinking can get a little woo-woo – of course if you’ve just been in a car accident and you are in physical pain from broken bones, or you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer – yes… clearly, that sucks. But if some jerk on the street just called you fat or you are having a bad hair day or your skin just broke out before your big date, or you stammered www.seemagazine.org | pg 16
a bit when you gave that speech and you’re beating yourself up over it, STOP. Get some perspective. • This moment is just one flash in a series of a million other moments. • This too shall pass. • No feeling is final.
A surefire way to make yourself miserable is to live in the past or in some future fantasy in your head. You can stop making yourself miserable by coming to this moment. Being present. Staying. Yoga has taught me how to get out of the past and stay present, but over and over, thousands of times a day, I have to remind myself. I have to pull myself out of comparing today to the past, out of a fantasy conversation in my head (well if I said that, she would come back with this, then I’d have to say that) and pull myself into the present moment. How to stop living in the past and return to the present moment: stop what you are doing. Close your eyes. Start to notice your breath. What does your body feel like? Don’t tell a story about it, don’t judge it, just notice. What sensations are there? Give them a name. Do you feel a black, deep hole in your heart? Is your stomach on fire? Are there colors? Does it hurt? Do you actually notice that your body feels fine? Breathe. Feel the feeling in your body. This feeling is not final. It will move through you. For me, almost every time I actually let the feeling in (not the memory, or the thought about the feeling, but the actual feeling in my body), it feels awful for a moment, but then almost immediately, it dissipates. It’s kind of magical.
Please, stop postponing your life This moment is all that I own. -Most Precious Blood Please stop waiting for some magic moment (that may never happen) to come around. Some magic moment where you are tall, thin, have smooth skin, no cellulite, have a voice that doesn’t sound annoying when you hear yourself recorded. pg 17 | www.seemagazine.org
Please stop waiting to go live your life, put on a swimsuit, dance at a club, give that hot guy your phone number, buy a pair of shorts, join a book club, show up for that exercise class, start practicing yoga, start lifting weights, start moving your body. Just show up. Just go do what you love. Stop worrying about whether or not you look cool or nerdy or fat or stupid. You look fine. Your body is fine. You are the only one judging yourself as harshly as you are.
Meet Holley Mangold
Holley Mangold successfully snatches 110 kilograms during Sunday’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Weightlifting. Photo credit: SIPhotos
Holley is 5-foot-8 and weighs 374 pounds. She is a weightlifter and now will be competing as a 2012 Olympian. Here she is snatching 242 pounds over her head. If you don’t know what a snatch is, it is an Olympic lifting move that takes an amazing amount of technical prowess, speed, strength, and flexibility. Holley doesn’t “look” like an athlete. I’m sure she gets harassed on the street just like every
fat person has been harassed. She has to wear the stupid unflattering weightlifting outfit. But Holley isn’t waiting until she loses weight to do what she was born to do. Holley is showing up. She’s living her life. She’s doing what she loves. She’s inspiring the heck out of me, knowing that my personal best on the snatch is a measly 45 kilos. Holley rules.
Take the first step Don’t get caught up in planning. “I want to start lifting weights so first I need to get stronger. I want to be a yogi so I need to get more flexible first.” Do you know how people get strong? They lift weights. Do you know how yogis do backbends? They practice yoga.
That’s me in urdvha dhanurasana
Stop planning and just start doing. Please don’t wait until you’re thinner or have the perfect outfit. Don’t wait for motivation, just show up. Go outside. Start walking. Get on your bike and pedal. Go to the beginners yoga class. Call the gym and ask for a tour. Text your friend and invite her to go dancing with you. Give the hot guy your phone number. Laugh. Be loud. Louder, please. When you’re on your deathbed, I guarantee you won’t wish that you did more situps or worried a little more about your fat thighs. Go live your life. You totally deserve it. • Amber Karnes is a 30-year old yogi, yoga teacher, web developer, designer, and recently, farmer - living and working on 31 acres in rural northern Virginia. Along with her husband Jimmy, she’s embarking on an experimental year of growing her own food, living off the land, learning to farm, and chopping her own firewood. Follow her adventures at My Aim Is True, read her musings on yoga and body image at Body Positive Yoga, or follow her on Twitter. www.seemagazine.org | pg 18
Heads Up: Politics What is the National Defense Authorization Act and How Does It Impact You?
by Shara Krogh
On New Year’s Eve 2011, while many of us were celebrating with champagne, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a federal law that outlines the annual Department of Defense expenditures and budget. It has been passed by our Congress each year for almost 50 years. However, this year the NDAA contained some unique provisions that are causing quite a ruckus. This article will review the most controversial provisions of the NDAA and explain what impact they may have on American citizens. The most contentious provisions of the NDAA are contained in Section 1021 of Subtitle D, entitled “Counterterrorism,” which authorizes the United States military to detain “covered persons” under the “law of war.” Pursuant to this Section, ANY individual can be detained by our military, without trial, until the “end of the hostilities.” “Covered persons” may include any person who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, or “harbored” those responsible for the attacks, or a person who “substantially supported” AlQaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces” that are engaged in “hostilities” against the United States. Here’s the gambit: unlike subsequent sections of the NDAA, Section 1021 does NOT contain language that exempts American citizens! Thus, any American citizen can be indefinitely detained if they meet the criteria outlined in Section 1021. The federal government need only accuse a citizen of “aiding” or “substantially supporting” the “associated forces” of Al Qaeda in order to detain them...indefinitely! Although most Americans approve of our government having the authority to investigate and apprehend terrorists, most do not approve of granting our military the authority to imprison American citizens indefinitely, without charging a specific crime. In order to understand the potential dire consequences of these clauses, we must analyze the fundamental principles rooted in the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights. Our Constitution limits the authority of our federal government by enumerating specific powers while simultaneously affirming the “natural rights” of citizens through the Bill of Rights. Even though the federal government is only authorized to exercise certain powers, the Bill of Rights further delineates areas where individuals possess rights that can never be infringed upon by federal laws. According to our Founders, such rights are universal, inalienable and should never be encroached upon by the federal government. The language used in Section 1021 of the NDAA is exceptionally broad, such that it could include any American citizen that the government claims “substantially supported” the “associated forces” of terrorism (however these terms are defined by law enforcement). Moreover, the plain text allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens, thereby nullifying many of the rudimentary rights outlined in the Bill of Rights. Specifically, the “due process” rights afforded to us by the 5th Amendment, which states that “no pg 19 | www.seemagazine.org
person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” In addition, some of the rights afforded to us under the 6th Amendment, such as our right to a speedy trial, a public trial, legal counsel, a jury of our peers and other “rights of the accused” have potentially been annihilated. Section 1021 may also violate Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, which limits Congress’ power to suspend habeas corpus – the legal method by which prisoners can oppose unlawful detainment. All of this comes after the Patriot Act, which significantly pushed the limits of the protections afforded to us under the 4th Amendment. The Patriot Act was signed into law by President George Bush in October 2001, in response to the 9/11 terror attacks. It was later extended by President Obama. Our Congressional representatives took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Our President also took an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” In light of these oaths, the NDAA in its current form should never have been on the
floor of our Congress, nor should it have been signed by our President. This is not a partisan issue, but rather, a demonstration of how politicians from both parties can annihilate fundamental rights while American citizens remain apathetic and disengaged. Why was Section 1021 included in the NDAA? The controversial language was inserted by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich) and John McCain (R-AZ), after they drafted the legislation in late 2011. Senator Levin claims that the original version actually contained language that excluded American citizens from the detention provisions. However, according to Senator Levin, the Obama Administration specifically requested that the exclusionary language be removed, thereby permitting the indefinite detention of American citizens. President Obama issued a “signing statement” along with the NDAA, which professed his “interpretation” of the controversial provisions. In his statement, the President said, “the fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.” The President also stated, “I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens...my Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.” Yet according to Democratic Senator Levin, the President specifically requested that the language excluding American citizens be removed from Section 1021. Although the President’s signing statement sounds admirable, it has no legal significance and is completely unenforceable in a court of law. Nor does it have any impact on how future Administrations might “interpret” the NDAA. This does not bode well for the fundamental rights of Americans. Our nation is uniquely predicated on the principles of limited federal authority and the protection of natural, unalienable rights. With passage of the NDAA, our government has abandoned many of the principles that distinguish America from tyrannical www.seemagazine.org | pg 20
regimes. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have neglected to fulfill their Oaths of Office by passing this offensive legislation in direct violation of our fundamental rights. Fortunately, there are some remaining options to invalidate the unconstitutional provisions contained in the NDAA. American citizens simply need to demand that they are utilized. First, Congress can repeal Section 1021. Though it is difficult to imagine that the Congressional representatives who enacted the provisions would be willing to repeal them, it is their duty to support and defend the Constitution. If citizens express unified disapproval of Section 1021, Congress might just repeal it. If it is not retracted in accordance with the wishes of the majority of Americans, the sitting Congressmen who voted for the measure can be voted out of office. Second, states could pass legislation codifying noncompliance with Section 1021, meaning that local agencies would be prohibited from cooperating with the federal government to enforce that specific section of the NDAA. The Commonwealth of Virginia recently introduced such a bill and it passed both houses of the state legislature. If the bill is signed into law by the Governor, it could effectively nullify Section 1021 within the state of Virginia. Other states would need to pass similar legislation for a nationwide effect. Finally, Section 1021 can be challenged and brought before our Supreme Court for a decision on its constitutionality. However, in order to establish legal standing, this option might require that an American citizen be detained first. The unilateral expansion of military power via the Executive branch of government should concern all American citizens. Being opposed to the trampling of our constitutional rights is not a “left” or “right” position. Both Democrats and Republicans have appropriated the destruction of our Bill of Rights by codifying Section 1021 into law. Our Congress and our President are to blame for passing the detention provisions, as well as the American people for not paying enough attention to this brazen constitutional violation. No matter which party occupies the White House, expanding authority in this manner while simultaneously nullifying civil rights makes a mockery of our Constitution. Americans of all political affiliations have found common ground in opposing Section 1021 of the NDAA. This legislation is a reprehensible attack on established constitutional rights and civil liberties. It’s time for citizens to speak out against both political parties, or otherwise pick our poison. • Next month’s article will highlight the plight of women in Afghanistan as American troops withdraw from the region.
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HEADS UP: In Other News The Department of Defense announced that it will relax regulations which restrict women from serving in “combat support” positions in the military. In the past, females were prohibited from serving in such positions solely based on gender. Now females may be assigned to combat-related positions, so long as they are physically qualified. The Combat Exclusion Policy, which prohibits women from serving in infantry, special-forces and other “combat” positions, will remain in effect. However, approximately 14,000 combat support job opportunities will open up for women. In the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, women made up approximately 11% of the total forces deployed. Surprisingly, many female soldiers have already served in combatrelated roles during both wars, without ever receiving official recognition for their duties. Commanders would simply attach women to combat units, without officially “assigning” them. Hence, females have been unofficially serving in these positions for years! Women will now be permitted to serve in an official capacity and they’ll be eligible to receive recognition for their accomplishments while serving in combat support roles.
Diary of a Tech Startup Gal Deciding Against The Winning Flow
“I think you guys might be the dark horse,” Chris declared on Sunday morning as he checked out my team. Turns out he was right... We won Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour competition where 100 people turn ideas into companies. Here’s how it works: on Friday night, everyone that has an idea pitches. Then, we vote and slash the ideas to around 12, and form teams. The teams work their booties off until Sunday night, building a prototype and validating the market. On Sunday night, the teams pitch to the judges, a panel of successful entrepreneurs and investors. Winning is a big deal. Zaarly won a year ago and is now in Fast Company as one of the “Most Innovative Companies”. The top three winners from last Startup Weekend, Look.io, Skilloop, & Omaze have all raised money and two are available to the public. LA Startup Weekend winners excel, so people in the startup scene pay attention. In August last year, I stressed, cursed, cried, and learned through my first Startup Weekend. My team placed fourth. Since then, I’ve started my company, Mooshpay, with Ben so I didn’t even want to go to this weekend. Ben talked me into it, saying I’d learn something. Oh my, was he right. Friday night, Gregg pitched an idea for a visual shopping cart widget that would go on a single shopping site. Yawn. He asked me to join his team and I said yes only because we are friends. The rest of the team was Scott, a marketing/biz guy, Jake, another developer, and Nina, a 17 year-old with her own fashion site. To the whiteboard! As we were talking the idea out as a team, both Nina and I were adamant that cross-site shopping was how we really shopped online. I whipped out my “Kristi’s Wedding” doc that had multiple outfits and accessories from multiple sites to show the guys how women really shop.
by Monica Birdsong
Thinking of the best user experience, Jake established that he could build a bar at the bottom of the screen where you drag images and create outfits. Then we came up with the ‘dressing room’ concept to create outfits visually and share them with our friends. The changes to the idea made me want to Hokey Pokey and turn myself around! THAT’S what it’s all about! Saturday morning Gregg came in with the name, Snazzy Room. To everyone’s relief, we loved it. Jake and I coded away and he taught me some cool new technology called MongoDB. It’s not as dirty or drummy as it sounds. Scott, Gregg, and Nina designed the site and validated the market. People typed their opinions into surveys. Tweets tweet-aleeted. People clicked “Notify Me” on the shiny new landing page. Research backed our idea. Sweet! Saturday evening we paused to watch Alec Baldwin deliver my favorite scene in Glengarry Glen Ross. “Put that coffee down! Coffee’s for Closers Only!” “ABC – Always Be Closing!” Love it! That’s the Startup Weekend vibe, fun chaos. Eye of the Tiger blares at random and is stuck on repeat in your mind when it’s not actually blasting through the speakers. Camera crews are around filming for a documentary. Investors glare, grill, and sometimes grin as they chat with every team. Teams help other
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teams. Nerdy fun all around. On Sunday, Gregg, Scott & Nina polished the presentation while Jake and I hacked up the rest of the demo. At 5 pm, they kicked us out of Coloft to set up for the presentations. We trotted off to a nearby diner to practice our presentation. Gregg and I practiced. I had two slides to present and the rest was Gregg. 10 minutes before our presentation, we decided I would also present the demo of the site since I was the target user. Nothing like a little Startup Weekend pressure to make your mind whirl. Did I mention there are 100+ people in the room and 10,000 people watching online? My in-head dj spins up a mix: Under Pressure!... Yo! VIP! Let’s Kick it! Damn you Vanilla Ice for sampling Under Pressure. The songs mix in my mind as I remind myself that I don’t really have to pee, I’m just nervous. We get up to present and our computer dies. What the WHAT?? Ok, deep breath. A bathroom break gives us time to fix it. Then, one of the event people switches the cables and it broke again! Now the screen showed but with a stretched display. Jeez oh Pete! We try to fix it but they start the 5-minute timer - so, weird screen and all, ready or not, our time is running out. Gregg kicked off the presentation and handed it off to me. “Right” became my favorite word as I ate up all our time on the demo. Gregg had to pretty much kick me out so he’d have time to make points about monetization and marketing. You can see how that played out because TechZulu recorded and posted all of the presentations. Here’s the link to ours. When we finished, people in the room congratulated us on a great job, saying we were the best so far by far. I had no idea because all the late presentation prep translated to me missing most of the other team’s pitches. The last two teams presented, one of which was some serious competition. I hoped the others weren’t as good as them. The judges chatted for only a few minutes. When they came back, they announced only two winning places. Second place went to Marked Up. First place… SNAZZY ROOM!!! O! M! G! Then, the insanity level hitched a ride on a skyward bullet. We won tickets to demo in the pit at the Launch Festival, a huge startup competition that had over $1M in prize money. But even bigger than that, we won a spot in an accelerator, Start Engine. The offer includes seed money of $20,000. This kind of award is a first in the history Startup Weekend. I hope it becomes the norm. Then, even more offers started coming. Other investors and accelerators set up meetings with us. Several people offered jobs to me and the other team members. I personally got a lot of attention because I presented. That made me a little uncomfortable because it really is the team that made Snazzy Room a success. I wonder if this is how official spokespeople feel? With all this attention, we had to figure out the plan. We met on Monday night and discussed who was in and who was out. Gregg and Scott are determined to make Snazzy Room a success. Nina is on her way to an Ivy League college. Jake and I weren’t sure. Jake has a full-time job and I have my other businesses. After talking to my business partner, Ben, he encouraged me do Snazzy Room. He clearly saw the opportunity. I felt guilty, like a partner that was cheating with a shiny new business. I talked to my best friend and she said pg 23 | www.seemagazine.org
she’d work with Ben and take over the tech. That was a huge relief and meant I was 100% committed to my new shiny business without the sticky guilt. Over the next week, we repeated our preso with several accelerators and investors. We didn’t know what we were doing. Meeting with all these people is a first for everyone on the team. I had more questions than answers. It was very exciting and moving very quickly. It was stressful but in good ways. A week later, the guys went up to the Launch Festival. I decided to stay in LA and wrap up some things so that I could work on Snazzy full-time. This time gave me space to think and reflect. That little, quiet inner voice started whispering in my ear. I didn’t want to give up the life I worked so hard to create. My travel plans this year are extensive, including flitting all over the US for five weeks and almost a month in Australia and New Zealand. My teenage cousins are visiting me in LA for a week and I want to play with them. I can’t do these things if I’m in an office working crazy startup hours. If you read last month’s article, you know I’ve been working on getting my life where I can work from anywhere and pretty much do what I want for a long time. I’m there and I like it! It was a difficult decision but I chose to not move forward with Snazzy Room. People that don’t know me well think I’m crazy. I felt terrible knowing that I told my team and investors I was in and then changed my mind. Plus, being at the beginning of a startup that could be huge and get lots of funding is a dream of mine. Here is an idea I love, personally want to use, could see almost everyone I know using, and investors are calling us. Everything seemed to be coming together on a silver Startup Weekend platter. Nevertheless, I knew in my heart that Snazzy wasn’t what was best for me personally. It may be a professional dream, but it wasn’t the right time. And that is my main lesson from this Startup Weekend. When everything seems right but I know in my heart it is wrong, I have to follow my heart and say no. •
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The Princess Factor by Priya Kumar Bradfield
Many parents rail against the Disney Princesses because they dislike the message they see in those movies. That message that a girl is only validated by the man she marries or by the color of her gown. It is easy to see those themes in the movies after people rant and rave about it, but I will be perfectly honest – I never saw those themes as I watched those movies with my daughters. The general debate over Disney Princesses is that of gender roles. The movies all seem to have the same generic roles for girls and boys. Girls get themselves into situations that they need to be saved from. The boys are the ones who fix those girls’ problems. Think Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella. These girls have to be rescued by the man of their dreams. Some of the other girls in the Disney universe do fix their own problems: like Ariel, Belle, and Mulan. Notice, however, how these are not as popular as the first three. Now, I love Disney. I lived for a few years when I was growing up in Orlando, Florida, and went to Disney World a lot. I had every single Disney movie, even before I had children. I was an avid Disney collector – I have Disney plates, figurines, and illustrated books. I collected all the movies, had Collector’s Editions that came with sketches and other extras. So, there was no question that my girls would watch Disney movies. The first one we watched, when Maya was 2 years old, was Snow White. And she loved it. But not for the reasons you would think: she didn’t want to dress up like Snow White and play with woodland animals or the seven dwarves. No, she loved it because it was scary. I never realized until that day how scary the movie could be to a young child. The evil queen, poisoned apples, trees coming alive and trying to catch Snow White as she ran through a dark forest trying to escape death! Holy cow! As I was watching this with my oh-sopg 25 | www.seemagazine.org
young daughter, I cringed about the nightmares she would have that night - only to be shocked when Maya asked me to rewind the scary parts so she could watch it again! She, indeed, found a true love that day after watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that has stayed with her to this day: her love of scary movies. But it never occurred to her to start acting like Snow White or to wish for a prince to save her. I attribute that to a couple of things: her own personality, and my husband and I not making a big deal about gender roles in the movies we watched. That is what I see as part of the problem: some parents’ strong reactions to this seemingly evil brainwashing of our daughters by Disney.
One way that I’ve seen parents react to Disney princesses is to try to ban them completely from their households. Of course, that is their prerogative and I wish them luck with that. But this often causes issues at home. As with almost anything, banning something raises the interest in that very thing. Always saying no to anything princess pink will make that child want it even more. It’s like saying no to the computer or electronics use or relegating it to only special times or as rewards – it can then become an obsession and backfire on the parent. The other problem that I see with this is that you then have to explain your reasons for the ban. Have you ever tried to explain gender issues to a toddler? Most toddlers have a small tolerance to a social issues lecture. This is not to say that I never talked to my kids about the movies they’ve watched. What we did talk about was how these movies are only entertainment and that they are not real. The lesson that we wanted to teach, with Disney movies and with other movies and television shows, was there is a big difference between reality and what you see on the screen. That is the lesson that I think is often missing from discussions between parents and their children. There is no magic mirror as in Snow White or magic fairy godmothers as in Cinderella. The stories told in the movies and on television are someone else playing make-believe. This is an especially important lesson that goes untaught our daughters AND our sons. Although I have a lot of love for Disney and their movies, I will not say that these issues that other parents see are invalid. Of course Disney could make their stories more gender neutral. Of course it would be great to see Disney movies about a whole family and not one where one parent or another is missing or evil. (To see such stories check out the movies that are by Hayao Miyazaki that are distributed by Disney, such as “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away”.) But the one thing that I’ve always loved about the Disney movies, especially about the princesses, is the happy endings. The hope that, no matter what you’re battling, you can find happiness. After all, it seems like my girls are growing up way too fast, so I don’t mind if they wish upon a star for a little while longer. •
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Keep from playing the fool in your love life by Lori Lewis
Let’s face it: no matter how smart, selfassured, emotionally stable, savvy and “together” any woman is, love can still knock us babbling incoherently to our knees. Echoes of “I’d never do that” and “How could anyone tolerate that” from days of yore echo hollowly in our ears as we do - and tolerate - just that. How does this happen? Can we stop it? It happens because we forget OURSELVES and yes, we can stop it. Here’s how...
Proceed with caution
The best way to avoid playing the fool is to never audition for the part. Many of us have been in that place where we know we’re about to make a mistake, and even though we know better, we hope against hope that maybe we’re wrong this time and we take the leap anyway. Here are some tips to help you break that cycle.
If someone tells you who they are (or what they DON’T want), believe them If he plays the part of “the playa”, guess what? He probably is one - or at least he seeks to emulate them (which is the next worst thing). If you’re in it for real love, you’re not going to find it in him - or anyone who reveals that they are in any way opposed to, intimidated by, allergic to, or even unfamiliar with the concept of commitment. Keep looking. The amount of times anyone has actually successfully changed fundamental aspects of their lover’s character can be counted on less than a hand’s worth of fingers. It may happen in Hollywood constantly, but in real life? Not so much. Listen to your gut (and, to your best friend) If something feels off, it needs to at least be addressed and resolved - with conversation. If this is a person you’re thinking you are going to deeply share your life with for any real measure of time, you need to be able to say anything to each other, and feel heard. If it can’t be resolved, carefully consider the cost of living with it. And then ask your best friend her or his opinion. If they are someone who knows and loves you deeply, they will tell the truth. No matter how much you hate what you hear, you owe it to yourself to at least carefully consider the possibility that they are right, and whether you can live with the consequences. If the answer is no, the best thing to do is end it and free up both of you to move on toward finding who you both ARE supposed to be with. Sleep on it - for a couple of nights If despite all available input dictating otherwise you’re determined to move forward , at the very least you owe it to yourself to take a couple of days to center yourself and think through best and worst possible outcomes. This will also afford you a cooling off period of sorts to possibly reconsider your decision to pursue something that probably isn’t in your best interests. There comes a time in all of our lives where we know good and well what we should (or should not) do - we
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can enumerate the reasons, we agree with them intellectually, we even WANT to be able to feel good about making that choice - yet our heart just won’t permit us to turn and walk the path we really should. This is one of the most difficult struggles people have in the pursuit of romantic love. Why do smart people continually ignore what are clearly the right choices and instead do things they know will ultimately bring them pain? Because hope springs eternal - and so we take the leap, hopingthat everything WILL work out, even if we know in our hearts that the odds are against it. Also - consider the possibility that there is a lesson forthcoming that, if you aren’t truly ready to receive it, will be wasted. If every experience holds a lesson and we miss the lesson, it requires another experience to learn it - this is why we repeat mistakes and acquire harmful patterns in our lives. So, we go for it and experience some pain and learn a lesson - most likely escaping an even more painful learning down the line. It’s like being in a hurry and missing a green light - frustrating, to be sure. Not so much, however, if you consider that maybe there’s a reason you didn’t make that light. Perhaps there was something much more menacing in your path than running three more minutes late, and the red light (a lesson in patience in disguise) helped you avoid it.
Oops, I did it again...
So, sometimes you WILL charge ahead and pursue something even though you know you shouldn’t. This doesn’t make you a fool - as long as you can come out of the situation truly wiser and with a deepened love for yourself, you’re not a fool. If you’re not able to keep yourself from making the leap, with the right frame of mind. even the most awkward and painful love story gone bad can be a vehicle of pride and growth - for you and your newly-ex’d partner. The key is to extricate yourself gracefully from the situation with your dignity and spirit (and that of your partner) intact. Here’s how:
It’s not easy to let go when you want so much for something to work out, but if your instincts are leading you away from a situation, that isn’t likely to change. And any time you spend just treading water is time lost toward finding the person or situation which IS right for you. Clearing a path Speaking of finding what’s right for you - if you care about the person you’re involved with and you know in your heart of hearts its not right - letting go is the kind thing to do for BOTH of you. It frees you up to enter into another, more beneficial scenario - and it does the same for them, too. Win/Win. Walking away is definitely easier said than done, but it’s decidedly less difficult once you realize that it’s beneficial to you both. The sooner you move on, the sooner you’re available for either healing, or moving into something that will be really good for you. If you can’t feel good about the situation or the person, feel good about the LESSON Sometimes, things - and people - just suck. It’s a rock and a hard place, or they’re being a monumental jerk. This is stressful and stress is bad for you, so you’ve got to figure out a way to at least gain back some peace. Take a deep breath. Ask yourself, “what is this going to teach me?” And when you get your answer, ponder for a few moments exactly how that lesson is going to help you improve and grow as a person, as well as how it’s going to help you in the future. Feel that satisfaction - dwell on it. Let THAT be at least part of the feeling you take away from that ending. Even when you aren’t able to keep from sliding down a slippery slope, and even if you find yourself knee deep in a wrong fit and needing out - it’s possible to emerge from a misstep with a stronger sense of what you want and who you are - and the knowledge that you are, ultimately, nobody’s fool.
Majority rules If your gut is telling you something’s not right, AND your closest friends seem to echo that sentiment, it’s probably time to cut your losses and move on. www.seemagazine.org | pg 28
A+ Ads Praise For Positive Marketing by Lori Lewis
As a major part of media, advertising also plays a role in helping formulate public opinions around beauty and in doing so, body image and self-esteem among the general public - particularly young girls and women. It’s vital to highlight and encourage those who choose to market their product in a responsible and uplifting way relative to the self-image of their audience. This month we’ll take a look at Kashi’s campaign, which focuses on eating for optimal health and making small changes to improve overall well being - ideas which are expressed by a fairly wide variety of ages, ethnicities and body types in their ad creative. The beautiful thing about Kashi is that even though they have a product which is renowned to be a booster for weight loss (Kashi GoLean Crunch Cereal is all the buzz online in places like the Weight Watchers Message Boards), they don’t make what
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many consider the cheap sell, touting or promising a melt-away of dress sizes. Instead, Kashi focuses on the healthful benefit of their food line, which is built around a 7-grain base. They talk about the things they do to create food that’s both healthy and delicious, and how their products make it easier for you to integrate healthier eating into your lifestyle. Here’s a look at some of the brightest spots in Kashi’s campaigns. Click on the image to view the video or to see the print ad in larger size. “Eat a little better, feel a little better” We love this ad for Kashi GoLean Crunch because it dispels the myths that age = loss of physical vitality and that eating healthy takes a lot of work and sacrifice.
The “Balance” print ad (next page) is wonderful because even though it features a thinner woman, there’s no clear emphasis on weight loss (in fact, her body is purposefully not objectified - her strength is the focus). It promotes the idea of balance (she’s dressed professionally & elegantly, yet is clearly very strong and there’s also a parallel between being a professional but still taking time to exercise and eat right). It’s a great message. The ad for Kashi snacks (next page) is positive in that it depicts a muscular, healthy woman and rather than a deprivation approach, it promotes snacking in a healthy way, which is a much more realistic approach for attaining and maintaining good health. The ad promoting their “Two Bites” campaign shows children being active in the background, has nice gender & racial diversity and centers on a mom who looks healthy but isn’t impossibly thin.
It emphasizes that healthy food can be delicious, and the company even puts its money where its mouth is, offering up free samples. Finally, the “Food For Change” television spot (below, right) is an upbeat branding play based around changing your life for the better by virtue of eating healthier food. Nice diversity in this spot, and the music and editing gives it an upbeat, feel-good vibe. It’s a nice change from the usual soul-crushing fare dished up by food companies with products that lend themselves to weight loss. Kashi’s advertising is a great example of how a brand can be healthy and affirmative in their marketing and still generate robust sales. If you agree, be sure to tell them via their Facebook, Twitter and other social portals. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, even with big companies!
Have you seen any ads which you feel are positive in their portrayal of women, and deserve the be featured in this column? Please email us at email@example.com. www.seemagazine.org | pg 30
Inspired Ideas Worth Sharing Far & Wide by Lori Lewis
One of the beautiful things about the Internet and social media is the way it empowers people to create a platform and become agents of positive change. To celebrate that, each month we’ll share videos, images and stories we feel should be seen by as many people as possible. We hope you’ll use your own social circles to share and help others see anything that moves you. Click on the images to view the videos.
Slideshow: Beautiful Plus Sized Women We Admire
This slideshow is definitely worth clicking through and sharing because it shows a wide array of images of glamorous, bigger but healthy women - along with a poll for each slide. The polls, which overwhelmingly resulted in “Yes” votes for the question “do you find this celebrity attractive” beautifully illustrate that there IS a wider definition of beauty at play than most media would have us believe. Of course, it’s important to note that physical attractiveness should not dictate someone’s worth - and the fact that athletes, singers and actresses whose work and talents are revered are included in this list drives that point home nicely. A good one to go through with your young daughter to drive home these critical points.
Cause & Effect: How The Media You Consume Can Change Your Life From Miss Representation, this highly shareable video illustrates how much media consumption young girls engage in, what the negative effects are and how you can combat it. Don’t miss it.
Unbreakable music video by 8 manitoba teens to illustrates the importance of empowering girls and women - and it’s a cool song, too.
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A Portrait of a Girl and Her Art
This is basically an ad for a book, but WOW - the artwork, all created by girls aged 7 - 17, is breathtakingly beautiful. Definitely worth sharing to help fuel sales of this book which chronicles and celebrates the process and work of young female artists.
UN Secretary General Says ‘The Time Has Come’
His speech made headlines when many UN delegates walked out on it. AllOut.org’s beautiful and inspirational edit of this speech. PLEASE share this is the direction our world needs to take, one of equality for all.
Become Your Value
It’s a tiiiiny bit long but it’s so lovely (really well done artbased animation) and the message is so strong, clear and actionable toward helping strengthen self-esteem - this one is definitely worth watching with your child(ren) and sharing in social media just to give everyone you love a boost. Very good stuff!
More next month but for now - go forth, watch, enjoy, smile and share! Want to suggest a video for Viralize This? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Goods Feel-Good Treasures From the Bounty of the World Wide Web by Lori Lewis
On My Own: This month’s Power Play celebrates the single ladies who are just fine on their own.
At long last, the film turned movement, “Miss Representation” is being released on DVD on April 10, 2012. This important work makes a GREAT gift for any woman - a very eye opening and empowering film.
Oil For Your Lamp Sweet reminder of all that makes us amazing, and what we need to do to tend to that spirit.
Q&A with crusading feminist Gloria Steinem “Our Taliban has taken over one of our two great political parties and these politics are being played out over the bodies of women. ....If I look laterally at average people as I’m traveling, I feel good. If I look at Washington, not so much.”
LOVE YOUR BODY
Black Women Heavier (And More Body Positive) Than White Women “I can never be mad at this thin person. I say, ‘You’re sexy, you’ve got it going on. But don’t think for one minute that I don’t feel the same about myself.’ ” Shining A Light On Body Image “Controlling body image is a clever avoidance technique for existential questions.”
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Body Image Is Still A Thing Apparently Love this reminder about what REALLY makes people attractive, and how we should never allow the bombardment of media images which idealize a very narrow standard of beauty to define how we think of ourselves. UN Discusses Body Image In the Media Interesting look at how something many say is NOT a factor in self-esteem development is getting attention from the United Nations.
Kathryn Budig on Body Image And The Myth Of ‘The Yoga Body’
“My body has looked it’s best when I’m eating healthy but also kicking back and drinking beers. The key is that I’m most beautiful when I’m happy so I work on blending my happiness with a sense of adventure and health.”
Teens Talk Now: Airbrushing and body image Interesting perspectives on the media and body image, from a group of Ottawa teens
Shut Up & Cope With Bad Body Image Days
Despite its title, this article is a great read, listing out some bad and good coping mechanisms for bad body image (the former being something of a “symptoms” guide - useful!).
Imagine Me Beyond What You See
Super cool mannequins expressing various art therapy interpretations of body image.
Already Pretty - Lovely Links
This link features a list of GREAT resources around achieving and maintaining a positive body image.
How to Help Girls See Through the Cover Girl Culture and Reclaim Their Self-Esteem
Unique insights from a model turned body image activist and documentary filmmaker (“Cover Girl Culture”) Israel Bans Ads Featuring Underweight Models Encouraging news from Israel, the first government to pass legislation against using underweight models in advertising and requiring advertisers to disclose when models’ bodies in images have been digitally manipulated.
Lose 20 Pounds In Two Hours
Great expose on how anyone could easily achieve dramatic “before and after” weight loss photo results with no digital manipulation of the photos. Makes you think twice about all the “incredible” results we see in weight loss ads!
Yoga Channels Mind To Fight Obesity and Binge Eating
Interesting and promising study about the positive impact of yoga on overweight women’s self-esteem, body image and binge eating.
Got some good stuff you’d like to see us feature? Email us at email@example.com.
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We first discovered Hilda while happily pinning away on Pinterest - and we fell instantly in love with her exuberant, unabashed charm, verve and her rocking, curvy body! You can view an extensive gallery of mid-20th century Hilda art by Duane Bryers here. We just love Hilda and we hope you will, too. Love,