Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment, Social Action

Fierce Fridays: Acceptance and Tolerance

feminist writers, learn about feminism, teaching girls feminism, Fierce, Generation of female empowermentWelcome to week fourteen of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for any age female who needs a reminder of how fierce they can be. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. Share these posts with all the girls and women in your life.  Enjoy!

Acceptance and Tolerance 

  We live in a world with billions of people with different views, personalities and beliefs. It is important for all people to be treated with respect. Hating and judging people is not healthy. You don’t have to like everybody, but hate is a waste of time and a poisonous feeling to share.  It is okay when others believe different than you. They have every right to think, feel, and express those beliefs. It is not up to you or me to restrict anyone from being themselves. You can be any skin color, sexual orientation, or believe in any religion and create positive change. You cannot create positive change based on hate. Judging others is silly. If everybody on this planet had the same beliefs we would stagnate. Our differences inspire creativity.

Our survival as a species relies on working together to share new ideas so we can solve problems. If we refuse to work with people who have different beliefs, than we cannot present a unified front against problems. This means that we cannot work to alleviate poverty, end wars, or stop discrimination. Civil and human rights are not won by a single group of people who are oppressed, but rather by reaching out to others who are not oppressed to use their voices as well. To use a rather corny cliché, “We are all in this together”. As the great social worker and activist Jane Addams said “Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.”

  • Why do we think our skin colors affect our knowledge or abilities?
  • Do you have a particular stereotype about someone based on their skin color?
  • Does everyone in the world with the same skin color have the same tastes in politics, entertainment, food, etc.?
  • Is the area you grew up in filled with people who are mostly one skin color or shade similar to yours?
  • If so, how do you feel when you go to an area where your skin color makes you the minority?
  • If it makes you feel uncomfortable is it because of a stereotype you have of the majority of people with that skin color?
  • Why would it bother anyone what your sexual orientation is?
  • Does one sexual orientation make someone good or bad?
  • How do you know for sure what another person feels about their sexual orientation?
  • What would it be like if you grew up in a man’s body and always felt like a woman?
  • Would you feel scared to be yourself?
  • Would you believe the people who tell you what you feel is wrong?
  • Would you have the guts to tell people your true nature or have a sex change operation?
  • Who says that one religion is better than another?
  • Who says that a lack of religion is right or wrong?
  • Which parts of religion are not accepting of others beliefs or lifestyles?
  • Do you feel that your family, culture, traditions, or the media enforces specific stereotypes?
  • How do you feel when someone tells you or implies that something about you is wrong?

What can you do to stamp out stereotypes that cause fear about certain people or certain beliefs? Start by not using them yourself. When family and friends voice negative opinions of a person’s race, religion, country or disability they give you an opportunity to calmly share how that makes you feel bad and ask them why they feel that way. Start a dialogue because even if you do not change someone’s point of view, it gives you a chance to reevaluate how much time you spend with that person. In our families and in tight knit circles of friends it can be impossible to ignore or never see someone that we don’t like, but we can always choose to limit the time we spend around that person. We can instead spend our time to grow relationships with those we do love and get along with.

  LGBTQ! It’s okay to love someone of the same sex or both sexes equally. It is okay to feel like a man in a woman’s body or vice versa. It is okay to have an operation to change your sex so you can be who you truly feel like whom you are inside. It is okay to dress up and make yourself look like someone of a different gender or even both genders at once. The ability to express ourselves is a natural trait.

It is NOT okay to bully or harass a person because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. None of these sexual orientations are wrong. Having a non heterosexual orientation does not make a person evil or a sinner. It is simply the way that person was born. When angry people hurt someone because they are uncomfortable with their orientation, it is a problem they need to fix. The person who is different is not at fault. We cannot be blamed for expressing our true self. It is not okay to try and “cure” someone’s sexual desires. There are clinics that attempt to cure homosexuality. These hateful scams are a way of forcing people to deny their basic humanity and that is not what a change maker does.

  Religion! It’s okay to believe in and worship a God or group of deities of your choosing. It is okay to NOT believe in any God. It is okay to be unsure about religion. It is okay to not believe in any religion. It is okay to believe religion is wrong. It is okay to feel that those who don’t believe in your religion are wrong. It is okay to disagree.

It is not okay to use violence because you think another belief is bad. It is not okay to force your faith onto anyone else. The only reasons for being hateful are ignorance and fear. Look at any particular religion in different countries and you will see how that culture has created differences than other countries. That is because the culture where we live influences how and what we believe. There is a differing opinion across the world that in the cases of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam; Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed were both gods and prophets OR philosophers and teachers. Where you live and what your culture says tends to define the answer.

Race!  It is okay to be biracial and not be forced to choose between one color and another. It is okay to be proud of the contributions that people who look like you have given the world. It is okay to notice different skin colors. It is okay to talk to someone about what it is like to be a certain color in our society.

We all have different skin colors, deal with it. It is not okay to hate based on the color of someone’s skin. It is not okay to spread hate about a race of people. It is not okay to encourage racism. It is not okay to use violence against someone because you feel “their kind” should not be allowed to do something or be somewhere. It is not okay to act superior to someone else because of your skin color…Continue reading at Bookemon.com

 

Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment, Self Defense

Fierce Fridays: Emotional Self Defense

feminist writers, learn about feminism, teaching girls feminism, Fierce, Generation of female empowerment Welcome to week thirteen of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for any age female who needs a reminder of how fierce they can be. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. Share these posts with all the girls and women in your life.  Enjoy!

Emotional Self Defense

 You are capable of standing up for yourself. Even with precautions and smarts, anyone can be a victim. If you do all that you can and you are still abused, it is not your fault. Abusers come in all sizes, colors, and cultures, they choose to hurt and that is their fault, not the people they hurt. Victim blame is a popular phenomenon of making those who suffer feel as if they did something wrong.  Do not fall into this line of thinking. Yes if you juggle saws and cut your arm, then it is your fault, but getting hurt by someone else after you went into a situation that may or may not be dangerous is still not your fault. We each choose and are responsible for how we treat others. We cannot blame someone else if we hurt them or say they were asking for it.

There are three main keys to prevention.

  • Learn to follow your intuition.
  • Be aware of warning signs
  • Have a strong sense of self worth so you can stand up for yourself and fight back.

Intuition is not some magical quality that only certain people are endowed with. EVERYONE has it. You simply need to be aware of your inner guidance system. Intuition is also called “following your gut” or “listening to your heart”.  Label it however you want. You have it and you have the ability to use it.

  • Do you ever get that feeling in the pit of your stomach or those thoughts in your head that something is not quite right?
  • Have warning bells gone off that are telling you to get out of a situation as soon as possible?
  • Do you think maybe this person has an ulterior motive?
  • Does a story you are being told sound untrue?

Ask your intuition “What should I do in this situation? What will be the best first step?” These answers are all feelings of intuition and you can follow those feelings to keep yourself, your friends and your family safe. Sometimes intuition can also feel like nerves. So until you are really in tune with your inner guide you can look for warning signs.

Record your intuitive decisions in a journal. When you encounter an important event write down what happened, how you felt, what your intuition told you and what action you took. Did you follow your instincts? Did you ignore your instincts? What was the outcome? You can later return to your journal to look for patterns and to see how often you do or don’t listen to yourself and whether something turned out to be a good or bad decision.

!Warning Signs! When you are with new people it is important to listen to what they say and be aware of what they want from you. You can get warning signs from people and places. So be aware of your surroundings too.

  • How do they treat you? If someone treats you with respect you are not as likely to be used or abused. However even than there are warning signs from people who suddenly or slowly change their attitude around you. Do they act different around their family or friends compared to when you are alone?  Like a friend that turns into a bully they begin to put you down maybe as a joke at first and slowly become crueler.
  • Are they being more friendly than usual? A manipulator will often charm you into doing what they want without considering how it may affect you. A popular example of this is when someone you admire asks you to do something that you are not comfortable with, but you do it anyway to prove your worth. Often the asker knows very well that you are going against your gut, but feel they can make you do what they want anyway.
  • Did they just guilt trip you? A manipulator will use guilt as a tool to make you feel as if you should do what they want. They usually cry “poor me” or insist that you always get your way.  Guilt is used when someone feels bad about what they did, to deflect blame, or to get revenge. When you are assaulted with guilt turn the tables. Ask the other person if they are purposely trying to guilt trip you. Ask if they are feeling bad and would like to talk about it. These questions let the person know that you are not visiting guilt town with them. You can then try and find a solution together.
  • Do they say disparaging or negative remarks about others, about gender or race? If your date puts down your gender than they probably will not respect you later on in the relationship.  If your friend has prejudices that you personally find offensive, their view is not likely to change. People often have this idea that we can change someone else so that person is more like us and thus easier to get along with. The flaw in this idea is that real change must come from each individual.

Strange Places and Faces! If you are in an unfamiliar area be aware of your surroundings. Only you can decide if this new place is safe.

  • Is it clean or dirty? If the area you are in is in disrepair or very dirty than the people who are there may not have respect for that area, neighbors, or visitors. This is not a safe place to be. If the place is clean, but the people have a negative attitude it can also be unsafe. So it is important to pay attention to the people and your surroundings.
  • Are you in a well lit or public area with lots of people milling around?  If you are in an isolated area and something happens to you such as an injury, harassment or an attack there may not be anyone to help you.
  • Are other people friendly and polite?
  • Do you feel ignored or are people rude towards you?
  • What will you do if a problem arises?
  • Do you see a place to go for help such as a police station, hospital or welcome center?
  • Are you with someone you trust to stay with you and stand up for you?

Communicate! Use your voice. A lot of problems can be prevented when we clearly communicate what we want, need, and do or do not like. People are not mind readers. You may feel like your attitude is telling people what you think, which is often true but this is a dangerous idea. Saying one thing and acting in an opposing manner will give other people a chance to take advantage of you or think that you want something you don’t.  Keep your words and actions in sync.  Be brave and stand up. Don’t let fear keep you from protecting yourself.

When someone is harassing you tell them that you do not like it and ask them to stop. It is important to use an even tone of voice. Sometimes when we get upset we use a mocking or angry tone. This tone will only escalate the situation by creating a defensive feeling in the other person. Staying calm is also important if you need to report harassment to the authorities or a supervisor. There are occasions where letting your anger shine through can protect you, but this is generally in the face of immediate physical danger, not emotional abuse.

Emotional abusers want to rile you up and make you do something that looks bad on your part. Keeping calm and speaking in an even tone prevents your abuser from holding the power. If they cannot get a reaction out of you they will most likely leave you alone. I have had several instances of harassment where I ignored the person and they left me alone. Here is a list of what you can say to an emotional abuser.

  • I don’t appreciate that sort of talk about women (people/race/religion/orientation).
  • I don’t feel that is funny.  That is not funny to me.
  • Please stop doing that. Please stop saying that.
  • You do not have a right to harass me.
  • This school or job is not an appropriate place to say those things (act that way).
  • I will report you to a supervisor if you continue to harass me.
  • I will call the authorities if you continue to harass me.

It is imperative when dating or in a relationship to communicate your wants and needs in the beginning. From violent break ups and stalkers to date or acquaintance rape some situations can be (but not necessarily will be) avoided by simply communicating and being up front about your feelings, expectations and limits. If you are not looking for a serious relationship than tell your partner from the start. If you do not want to have sex with someone tell them before you go to their apartment. Share your boundaries with them and also with family and friends. This way those you are close to can confirm that you had in fact previously communicated what the other person should expect from you.

  • I like you and want to get to know you, but I am not ready for a sexual (physical) relationship.
  • Kissing does not mean that we will have sex.
  • I don’t want to see you anymore.

If the other person refuses to let you go or leave you alone yell for help.  It is said that yelling the words Fire or Police are more likely to bring help than Help or Rape. If you are in a familiar place than seek help from an authority figure. If they cannot help you find the next person in charge and so on until you can find someone to help you. Communicating your distress is important if you need help. If someone continues to bother you, constantly texts, emails and calls you, or follows you than report them right away. This is basic stalker behavior. They get obsessed with you and can become violent.

Be Strong! Doubting your own strength and capabilities turns you into a victim. Each and every one of us has specific talents and qualities that allow us to solve problems and adapt to new situations. By focusing on those skills you will feel competent and not be afraid to take action.

  • How do you react to stress?
  • How do you naturally respond to stress and pressure from others?
  • Do you become so upset you lash out?
  • Do you get flustered and have a hard time clearly communicating?
  • In what way can that reaction be turned into a positive action?
  • Practice, practice, practice!  Teach yourself to react in a way that does not escalate negative emotions or violence. Remember what you learned in the Stress and Anger Management section. Use those suggestions to train yourself how to react in a healthy way when anyone hassles you …Continue reading at Bookemon.com

 

Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment, Self Defense

Fierce Fridays: Physical Self Defense

feminist writers, learn about feminism, teaching girls feminism, Fierce, Generation of female empowerment  Welcome to week twelve of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for any age female who needs a reminder of how fierce they can be. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. Share these posts with all the girls and women in your life.  Enjoy!

Physical Self Defense

  Awareness = Prevention: Whether you are walking alone or with a group, day or night, in “good” or “bad” neighborhoods you have to BE AWARE!  If someone gets too close that’s when you make noise. Pull out your phone and make a call, put distance and space between you and them, wave and yell “Hi, Sarah” in the direction of an imaginary friend, cross the street, go inside a store, or start acting crazy and scare them off. If someone get too close firmly and loudly tell them to stop, yell NO, GET BACK, POLICE or FIRE and move away from them. If someone is less than 3 feet from your body that is your personal space and you have the right to fight back.

Legally you can physically fight back once someone touches you.

Freeze Stance: Create a firm position by standing with your legs shoulder length apart. Put your arms up as if you were doing push ups to put space between you. This is classic stance that allows you to deflect any blows to your body. Either extend and straighten your arms with your palms facing out to put distance between you OR bend your elbows and keep your hands closer to your body. Yell or in a firm clear voice say, “NO”, “STOP” or “GET BACK”. If you need to draw attention from others yell “POLICE”, “I NEED HELP” or “FIRE”.

Once you have created a physical boundary with your arms you can use one or all three of the following moves in a combination to stop the attacker.

Palm Strike: Use the heel of your palm to strike the attackers nose, eyes, cheek or forehead. Your goal is to disable the person so you can get away, so when you strike use all your strength. Step forward towards them to give yourself extra momentum. Continue to yell for help as you strike your attacker.

Groin Kick:  Kick as hard as you can. Kick with your foot or use your knee to hit the target. Use all your might to cause enough pain so they cannot hurt you. Remember, if someone is physically attacking you they want to hurt you. Don’t hesitate to hurt them so you can get to a safe place. This is a classic defense move against men because it works!

Knee Strike: This move works best if your attacker bends over from a previous hit. Grab their head or shoulders and pull them down while at the same time lifting your knee up to hit their stomach. Once you have kneed your attacker push them away from you and run to safety.

Wrist Twist: If they grab your arm use your free hand to grab and twist their wrist. Twist it as hard as you can. This will

Backwards Attack: If you are grabbed from behind stomp your foot down and dig your heel into their foot and twist your body back and forth to get out of the hold. Stomp onto their feet as much as possible. You can also propel yourself forward to knock off their balance. Throw your head back into their face. Your skull is heavy and will cause pain. Once your hands are free use the palm strike. Use your leg to kick, and your knee to hit. Run to safety.

Scratch or Bite: Scratch your attackers face, neck or arms to cause pain. Draw blood. Not only does it cause pain to be scratched, it also gives you DNA under your fingernails so if you want to report the crime you will have some proof of who attacked you. If they put a hand over your mouth keep moving your head around until you can bite their hand. You do not need to draw blood, but biting hurts and will help you get away. Don’t freak out about catching germs, if you get blood in your mouth spit it out.

Get AwayNever let an attacker bring you into a car or a building. Once they get you in a car or in their house you will most likely be beaten, raped, tortured, and killed. Smart girls and women do not get in a car with a boy, a man, or a group they barely know. Even if they have a gun or knife you are more likely to survive if you stay in public. Gang rape happens. Sex trafficking happens. Murder happens.  This information is not meant to scare you. It is meant to educate you so you are aware that danger exists and YOU have the power to protect yourself.

BE AWARE, DON’T LIVE IN FEAR.

A combination of moves allows you to immobilize your attacker so they cannot run after you.  Just one hit may not be enough, so practice these combo moves.  Practice with a friend. Have them hold up a thick cushion or pillow and try different combinations of the above moves.  Remember to be aggressive. If you are attacked, use all your strength and anger to fight back and be a survivor not a victim…Continue reading at Bookemon.com

Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment

Fierce Fridays: Drama, Gossip, and Bullies

feminist writers, learn about feminism, teaching girls feminism, Fierce, Generation of female empowerment   Welcome to week eleven of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for any age female who needs a reminder of how fierce they can be. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. Share these posts with all the girls and women in your life. Let them know the book can be read for free online or that a soft cover book is available for sale at Bookemon.com. Enjoy!

Drama, Gossip, and Bullies

  To put it bluntly if you want to be happy don’t be a bully, don’t gossip about others and don’t let drama consume your life. It is easy to get caught up in drama at school, home, or work. There are as many reasons that enforce this behavior as there are to not participate in it. School can be boring so drama gives you something to look forward too. It also can make you popular by keeping you in the eyes and ears of the school. Gossiping about drama is also an easy way to make friends wherever you are. The downside is drama adds stress and usually involves someone getting hurt.

You don’t have to be big to become a bully. Anyone, even someone with a low IQ can do it, so there is nothing special about being one. Bullies are not better than us, they are emotionally spent with anger, sadness, or fear and bullying is how they learned to make others feel the same as them or to feel a sense of control and order.

A long time ago those who were bullied had a respite at home, but with the rise of technology, cyber bullying allows us to go home and still be bullied via our phones or computers. It is so simple to bully someone without being aware that it is what you are doing. Forward a gossipy or mean text or a tacky photo to a friend who in turn sends it on to another friend and suddenly it spreads like fire. It is also just as simple to stop a bully. If your friends send you a sexy or mocking photo of someone whether a peer or adult, refuse to send it on.

If you took the photo or wrote the text and sent it then own up to it and apologize. What goes around comes around, and you could be the next target. Gossip becomes more hurtful or spiteful as it goes from one person to the next. If you have problems with someone tell them. Remember that your words change depending on whose mouth they exit.

Do you want to put an end to bullying?  Take action. The “It Gets Better” project was started by two men who wanted to put an end to teens who were bullied based on their sexuality. They are both gay and were tormented in school. You can visit ItGetsBetter.org to find support, hear stories and inspirational advice from those that have survived bullying, and to sign their pledge to never be a bully. IGB “…wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone and it will get better.” *(12)

You can also encourage your school to become a bully free zone with The Bully Project. This campaign goal is to send 1 million students to see a filming of the movie “Bully” and than facilitate a discussion about the bully problem and what can be done to end it at their school. Learn more at TheBullyProject.com and get involved by writing a letter to the project leaders on advice for stopping bullies, getting adults to sign the anti bully pledge, posting a video about your bully experience, planning a bully awareness event and getting your school involved.

As an individual, you can also speak up and stand up to bullies. If you see someone get bullied than help them. If you do not want to face the bully alone, gather your friends and lead them to confront the bully as a group.. Explain to the bully that they are no longer allowed to bully anyone at your school or in your neighborhood. Do NOT use violence when confronting the bully because that could get you into a lot of trouble if they get hurt. Many bullies are abused at home so it is important to never physically attack a bully or to act like them. Lead by example and be one of millions who will no longer stand by and watch a bully hurt someone. If possible try to make friends with the bully. It may be that they are mean because that is all they know to get attention. Even if you don’t become best friends by not being enemies you can create a more peaceful and safe environment.

Are you a mean girl? Have you ever been negatively attacked by a mean girl or group of mean girls? You can take action against the cruel act of gossip and drama. For a long time popular culture has encouraged the idea that it is natural for girls to be catty and mean towards each other when they go through puberty. It feels great to fit in, be popular and have everyone think that you are the coolest and prettiest. But why do we like someone who puts others down and why in the world do we put up with it?

  • Is it natural to be mean?
  • Is it natural to hurt others?
  • Does being feminine mean that you must go through a “mean girl” phase?
  • Is it natural to feel good because you made someone else feel bad?

In 2009 two college women Molly Thompson and Laura Parsekian traveled the country and created a documentary about the problem with girl versus girl bullying. That documentary turned into The Kind Campaign with the goal of ending the “mean girl” type of bullying. They now travel the country hosting assemblies and starting discussions with girls to address this problem.  According to the website, FindkingKind.IndieFlix.com,  “…the root of so many of our problems is a lack of human connection and respect for others…. Although we have all been victims, we also share responsibility. None of us can say that we never said or did something wrong to another female. It’s important to recognize that we all need to change our habits.”

Change is up to you and you have the power to make it happen. Rally your friends together and discuss how you can stop mean girl behavior.

Use your words to stop bullying before it gets out of hand. Some people are ignorant or do not understand how hurtful teasing is because that person thinks they are just goofing around. Oftentimes confronting a harasser causes them to go on the defensive. Be aware of these responses to your complaint. The following is a sample of what a bully will say when you tell them they are being a jerk and need to stop. Below that are sample responses you can use in return.

  • I was only joking.
  • Why can’t “you people” ever take a joke?
  • Just because you don’t like to have fun doesn’t mean the rest of us have to suffer.
  • You are being overly sensitive.
  • You can’t tell me what to do.
  • You are such a prude.
  • Oh you are one of those “feminist” women.
  • What are you like a (fill in the ignorant term)? Do you hate (the bully’s gender, race or orientation)?
  • You’re a loser and should get lost.

Retorts like the ones listed above are aggravating and are said with the intent to embarrass you or make you second guess yourself. They are not valid, but rather immature and mean spirited. You can reply with the following responses.

  • It’s not a joke if it makes other people feel bad.
  • Jokes are funny; it is not funny to “tease” somebody about their race, gender, or beliefs.
  • I do not appreciate that you are trying to make me into the bad guy here. I am simply expressing my discomfort at your negative attitude towards my skin color/religion/ nation of birth/ gender/ homosexuals.
  • Just because you have a limited sense of humor doesn’t mean I can’t take a joke.
  • I am not being sensitive. You are being rude.
  • I am not telling you what to do. I am asking you to be respectful at school/work. You can say whatever you like on your own time.
  • Being a prude has nothing to do with it. I do not like what you are saying/doing and I am asking you to stop because it makes me feel uncomfortable. Would you like it if I made jokes about the size of your penis or intelligence?
  • Feminism is simply a movement that says women are equal to men. Why do you feel so insecure towards that idea?
  • Calling someone a lesbian or man hater is not a good comeback.  We are not in elementary school anymore. You have the choice to act like an adult.
  • We all have a right to be here and be safe. Your bully attitude is making people feel unsafe.

Anti-Harassment Bill of Rights

I have a right to not be harassed at work or school.

I have a right to fight back against harassment.

My gender, race, and culture are not a joke.

No other person has a right to harass, threaten or abuse me.

It is not okay for my teacher, other students, supervisor, or coworkers to harass me.

I respect myself and will respect others despite our differences.

I will not gossip about other students or coworkers.

I will not gang up on anyone else for fun, to feel like a part of a group, or to protect myself.

I will stand up for anyone who is harassed at school or work.

I will report any harassment to a teacher or supervisor.

If nobody at school stops my harassment, I will contact the OCR Office of Civil Rights) ocr@ed.gov or 1-877-521-2172

If nobody at work stops my harassment, I will contact the EEOC(Equal Employment Opportunity Center) http://www.eeoc.gov or 1-800-669-4000…Continue reading at Bookemon.com

 

Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment

Fierce Friday: Let’s Talk About Sex

feminist writers, learn about feminism, teaching girls feminism, Fierce, Generation of female empowermentWelcome to week eight of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for any age female who needs a reminder of how fierce they can be. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. Share these posts with all the girls and women in your life. Let them know the book can be read for free online or that a soft cover book is available for sale at Bookemon.com. Enjoy!

Let’s Talk About Sex

  Some people argue that teenagers should not have sex. The issue with this argument is that because of hormonal changes and puberty our bodies are wired to want sex at early ages.

Some schools and organizations offer sex-education classes while others offer abstinence only programs. The goal of sex-ed is to reduce pregnancy and venereal disease. It encourages safe sex practices such as birth control pills, condoms and other contraceptives. Students are also educated about the different type and risks of STD’s.  The goal of abstinence only programs is to discourage sex all together. It tells students not to have sex and is usually based on religious or personal moral objections. These abstinence only programs do not prepare teenagers for sexual encounters, but instead encourage waiting until marriage or a more mature age to have sex.

  • Do you know about the different kinds of birth control pills?
  • Do you know how to put on a condom?
  • If you decide to have sex without protection, forget to take your birth control, or the condom breaks do you have access to emergency contraceptives (also called the morning after pill)?

Sex is not a terrible thing. It will not ruin your life. You will not go to hell because you have sex. However it does require some emotional maturity to engage in sex, and sexual activities. As you mature and become wiser, it will be easy to see that once that pre sexual innocence is gone life is never quite the same. Sex doesn’t have to be a bad experience though.

It is up to you to be the next generation of women who are neither afraid nor irresponsible about sex and can confidently say Yes or No when and only when YOU are individually ready and prepared. That means not having sex to rebel, to be popular, or just because everyone else is. They’re actually not, but some people will gladly lie and say they are to seem mature or sexy. The responsible person knows that having sex exposes themselves to STD’s and STI’s (sexually transmitted diseases/infections), pregnancy, and sometimes an emotional rollercoaster.

  • Do you feel pressure to have sex or perform oral sex on boys or girls?
  • Do you want to have sex to keep up with your friends?
  • Do you feel pressured to have sex?
  • Are you ready for the emotional effect sex often causes?
  • What do you feel makes someone ready to have sex?
  • How do you feel about having sex or giving/receiving oral sex with multiple partners?
  • How do you feel about having sex or giving/receiving oral sex) with someone you are in a relationship with?
  • What is your opinion of girls your age who have sex?
  • What is your opinion of boys your age who have sex?
  • Is there a double standard in your circle of friends, family, neighborhood, or school of boys being a stud when they have sex and girls being called a slut?
  • If you became pregnant what are your options?
  • How do you feel about abortion?
  • How do you feel about adoption?
  • Do you have access to contraception?
  • Do you have access to a doctor or clinic for abortions?
  • Do you know how to use a condom?

Yes, you can get pregnant the first time you have sex.

Yes you can get an STD even if you wear a condom.

Yes you can get an STD from giving or receiving oral sex.

No the pull out method is not safe birth control…. Continue reading at Bookemon.com

Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment

Fierce Fridays: Sexual Assault

feminist books, books about feminism, books for girls, books for teens, books for women

Welcome to week six of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for any age female who needs a reminder of how fierce they can be. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. Share these posts with all the girls and women in your life. Let them know the book can be read for free online or a a soft cover book is available for sale at Bookemon.com. Enjoy!

Sexual Assault

Are you tired of being called a victim just because you are a woman? Women and men(and boys and girls) who are assaulted are not to blame. It doesn’t matter what we wear or say or do. When rape occurs there is often an undertone of how that person should have known someone had intent to hurt them or that it isn’t safe to go anywhere alone. Does that mean we should accept a belief that all people are dangerous in the wrong circumstances? What exactly are the wrong circumstances? If assault happens at home, school, work or at a party are we really supposed to believe those are wrong circumstances? Yes you can use prevention to lower your risk (more on that later). However since rape is a violent crime committed by another person, it is completely and only the perpetrators fault.

For a long time women have been told to keep quiet about sexual assault and that has only caused it to grow. History shows us that when we ignore violent problems they escalate because if nobody stands up for themselves or another, they are giving the offender a chance to hurt more people. Millions of girls and women and boys and men have been sexually assaulted. It is a crime that hurts all genders, though it is mostly females that are sexually assaulted. This is because many cultures enforce a gender biased belief that girls are sexual objects, and inferior to or only alive to obey and serve a man.

You can fight sexual assault by starting conversations about why we must put an end to it. Ask your male friends and family members about sexual assault, harassment and rape. Since rapists are mostly men, it is important that men take the steps to end rape. We cannot continue to ignore when a person is molested, raped or assaulted. Rape is bad. Sex is good. It is an undeniably important part of life and not something bad. Sex is an act you should enjoy when and only WHEN YOU ARE READY. Sex should never be an act that hurts.

Words can cause as much harm as violence. There is a disgusting trend of calling a girl a slut, a whore or easy when she has sex. This is a terrible act of verbal abuse. When you use these words you are perpetuating a gender bias that punishes girls while rewarding boys. We have a completely opposite view of boys and sex. Boys are called a stud or manly and considered to be cool when they have sex. This double standard is one reason girls are wary of admitting to sexual assault. In the case of sexual assault, girls are often blamed for being a tease or dressing in revealing clothing. Girls are told that they “were asking” to be assaulted or raped because of how they acted or dressed. This is just not true! It’s called victim-blame and it is wrong!

The only person to blame in a case of sexual assault is the attacker. Sexual assault happens because the predator is violent. Women are assaulted and raped wearing head to toe coverings like burqas or sweats that are not considered sexy, so this belief that how a woman dresses causes rape is illogical. It also doesn’t matter if you flirt, have had sex before or even say you want to and then change your mind. If you say no or stop, and your partner forces you to have sex, that person is a rapist.

It’s very plain and simple, NO MEANS NO! You have a right to fight back!

You have a right to protect yourself from sexual predators and you have the right to be protected if you report an assault. There are trained emergency responders who can assist you in reporting a crime. After an assault there are steps you can take to help police identify and arrest your attacker. While it may seem scary to admit to being assaulted or raped, your report can help police prove someone is dangerous and keep them from hurting someone else. Even if you decide not to press charges, reporting a rape can help police find serial rapists and keep them off the streets. If you are assaulted there are actions you can take to get help. Counseling and the tools to continue living as a survivor are available.

If you are assaulted, do not take a shower. Stay in the clothes you wore during the attack. If you are raped you need to have a physical exam. You need to be tested for STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). A nurse or doctor will collect any DNA such as hair or blood samples off your body and clothes for what is called a rape kit. This will be used if you decide to press charges.

Do not waste your time in a relationship with someone who disrespects you. Whether you date a boy or a girl, your partner should treat you with respect. You should feel safe and loved when you are in a romantic relationship. If your partner pressures you into activities or puts you in situations that make you uncomfortable tell them. Communication is vital to a healthy relationship. Other people cannot read your mind, so it is important to speak up about sex in a relationship. If your partner refuses to change, leave them. Their behavior will only become worse. You are too important to date someone who does not truly care about you.

Your feelings are equally important. Your partner should never make you feel inferior or control you. Whether your relationship is romantic or platonic, you have the right to say NO! You deserve to be loved.

It is always your choice to say yes or no to sex, drugs, smoking, drinking, shoplifting, teasing or hurting others and any activity that causes you to be scared or uncomfortable. YOU HAVE THE POWER to surround yourself with people who treat you well. Free counseling and supportive services are available to survivors and victims of sexual assault.

Call the Sexual Assault National Hotline at 1-800-656-4673

You have a right to change your mind and can say NO even if you said YES last time.

You have a right to change your mind in the heat of the moment.

You have a right to wear what you want and not be harassed or assaulted.

You have a right to drink alcohol or use drugs and not be raped.

You are capable of deciding for yourself about when is a good time to have sex and when is not.

You are capable of not bowing down to pressure to have sex or perform sexual acts.

You are capable of telling someone their actions or words are not appropriate.

You deserve to be treated with respect… Continue reading at Bookemon.com.

Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment

Fierce Fridays: Reproductive Rights

Welcome to week five of sharing excerpts from the book, Fierce: A New Generation of Female Empowerment. This book is for those who have a desire to get the most out of life. Those who want to make positive change, but are not sure how to make it happen. It is for young women who will soon be out of high school and on their way to college or some other adventure. It is also for women of any age who needs a reminder of how fierce she can be.  My hope is that you will share these posts with all the girls and women in your life. Let them know the book can be read for free online or a a soft cover book is available for sale at Bookemon.com. Enjoy!

“I do not wish them(women) to have power over men, but over themselves.” -Mary Wollstonecraft

Reproductive Rights

   The right to decide to have children or not is a human right. For women it determines our health, our opportunity for education, and income. If we cannot choose to use birth control or have an abortion than we are not in control of our bodies. Pressure to give birth to and raise children comes from religion, conservative politicians, culture, and old school tradition. Laws that don’t allow insurance coverage of contraception and pharmacists that deny selling contraception or morning after pills can also be a barrier for birth control.

Reproductive rights affect men. When a woman gets pregnant she will most often rely on her partner to help care for the child.  This means that men have to change their lifestyles, may leave or not attend school so they can work, and even raise his child alone or in shared custody.

In the issue of health we may not survive child birth or be able to bring a baby to full term. If a woman dies during childbirth and the baby survives than the father is expected to take care of her or him. If women are refused the option to terminate a pregnancy for health reasons then we are not considered equal to men. We are in fact second class citizens who are seen as disposable and unable to care for our own bodies.

It is harder to get an education when we are pregnant. Childcare is time consuming, financially and physically draining, we face discrimination, and our access to school is limited. When we have a choice to wait or not have children at all we give ourselves more time to attain a college degree and then afford the cost of childcare if we choose motherhood.

Not everyone can rely on their partner or parents to assist with raising a baby. These are question for men and women because either parent can change their mind after realizing what it really takes to be a parent.

Childcare is very expensive so pregnancy affects our opportunities to rise above or keep from falling into poverty. In 2011 the USDA reported that middle class parents of “a child born in 2011 can expect to spend about $234,900 to raise that child over the next 17 years.” *(4) Even in a good economy that is a lot of money. Most families would have to go into debt to spend that much. With the rise of single parent homes and shared custody agreements that would be impossible.

Currently women in most countries have access to abortions because of the law. Should reproductive rights be controlled by the government or is that reaching too far into your personal life? Is it fair that a man who cannot become pregnant is in a position of power vote on women’s reproduction? In a 2011 report by Save the Children, countries were studied to see who had the best and worst maternity care. “A typical Norwegian woman has 18 years of formal education and will live to be 83 years old; 82 percent are using some modern method of contraception, and only 1 in 175 will lose a child before his or her fifth birthday. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in Afghanistan, a typical woman has fewer than five years of education and will not live to be 45. Less than 16 percent of women are using modern contraception and 1 child in 5 dies before reaching age 5. At this rate, every mother in Afghanistan is likely to suffer the loss of a child.”

In early 2012 Sandra Fluke a Georgetown law student made the news twice. The first time was because she had attempted to speak at a congressional hearing on women’s reproductive rights, but was not allowed. She wanted to speak about the lack of birth control available for women in college. The hearing didn’t include any women at all. This was outrageous and she made a point of letting women know how our rights were being discussed behind closed doors with no women allowed.

The second time was immediately after her first story went viral. People were outraged to hear a famous radio host   Rush Limbaugh, who is bigoted and only famous for spreading hate, call Sandra a “SLUT” after she spoke out about her attempt to testify in congress.*(5) Thousands of people spoke up and signed petitions asking for a boycott of Limbaugh’s radio show with the result of 12 sponsors pulling their advertisements. While the attack was simply another attempt to take power away from women, it created discussions and brought to light the reality of how women are treated and how underrepresented we are in government office.

If this pisses you off, you can get involved in the fight for women to have reproductive rights by volunteering with an organization like Planned Parenthood. This global non-partisan, non-profit organization is an advocate for millions of women, men, teenagers, and families by providing healthcare that includes sexual and reproductive healthcare, and sexual education. You can be a changemaker at PlannedParenthood.org.

You can find a variety of statistics online and in books to find out the affects of reproductive laws. They all boil down to the fact that when we restrict a woman’s right to choose contraception or abortion, and do not educate women about reproduction, than we increase the chances of unwanted pregnancies and dangerous health conditions for women and babies. Making abortion something we need to have government permission for shows that women are not seen as equal.

  • Is your sexual partner willing to care for a baby?
  • Are you prepared to be the sole provider for childcare?
  • How many people do you know are raising a child alone?
  • Why do you think someone else should control your choice of pregnancy, abortion, or birth control?… Continue reading at Bookemon.com