YWCA Hamilton: Voices

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Too much, too soon.

Our sister YWCA in Montreal and the National Film Board of Canada produced an excellent documentary about the hypersexualization of teen and tween girls. At YWCA Hamilton we’ve hosted facilitated screenings of the film for both social service providers and the public. It’s an eye awakening documentary about the extreme pressure on young girls to be “sexy”. The documentary looks at ways in which the media spurs on this idea of sexiness and girlhood and today I stumbled across this article via feministing.com about a “sexy” child spread in French Vogue. This is inappropriate on so many levels. Children have become objects.

The website appears to be down for Vogue Paris but when it’s up and running again I will post the address in case you’re interested in writing a letter expressing your concern. While this issue is happening on the other side of the world the impacts are still felt here at home. The way the media depicts girls is become a global phenomenon. Instead of posing children in “come hither” poses, let’s instead teach them to be confident, to be strong and independent girls, to be generous and adventurous.


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YWCA Canada is a great source of inspiration when it comes to issues that are of interest to many women. Are you their friend on facebook? Because they share a lot of awesome resources.

Here are two great videos recently passed on by the incredible women at YWCA Canada:

Jean Kilbourne continues to uncover and analyze media messages to women and girls. Her videos Killing Me Softly are often a staple in many intro Women Studies courses and were an important aspect of my own “coming to awareness”.

Also, an excellent commercial from First Nations youth responding to violence against Grandmothers:

Be sure to check out YWCA Canada (and MANY YWCAs across the world on twitter

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New Year, New You?

I was standing in an unnamed big box store this morning in a long line of consumers eagerly awaiting to purchase their goods. The lines were long and the wait felt even longer. With nothing to do but look around, my eyes fell on the magazine rack. The majority of the covers of the women’s magazines on the shelf (let’s be honest they were ALL “women’s” magazines…) had women in tiny bikinis on with words like “get skinny now” or “how she got her body back” or worse yet “lose 10 lbs in 2 months- no calorie counting!”

It makes me sad that we’re bombarded by messages of body hate. That on the first day of a new year so many of us want to look thin. Don’t get me wrong- I think it’s great to FEEL and BE healthy. I love that about working out at the YWCA-There is a beautiful emphasis on feeling great, on confidence and on having health that allows you to do all of the other wonderful things in your life.

So this year, I hope you are not hoping for a new year, a new you. Why? Because YOU is already good enough. YOU are already beautiful and powerful. Sure, you might want to spend some time at the YWCA working out with other beautiful, real women just like you…but not to change who you are. Because who you are is already just right.

Image source

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Operation Beautiful


Three small words, written on a Post-It note by Caitlin, a woman from Orlando, Florida, started a huge phenomenon called Operation Beautiful. The purpose of this movement is to get women to accept themselves and to end, as Caitlin calls it, fat talk.

Since we already wrote about Operation Beautiful a month ago on our blog, I’ll just skip to the newest update from the Operation Beautiful blog and announce the release of their own, new book; Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-It Note at a Time.

Just because the movement is THAT awesome and THAT inspirational, they’ve brought their idea into print.

You can order your copy of the book, here, today.

(photo of book cover via)

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Never Enough


I was shocked when I recently saw an ad on t.v with Brooke Shields promoting a new eyelash growth drug recently approved by the FDA. Apparently this drug (made by the makers of Botox) can help people (read: the ad was clearly targeted at women) who have hypotrichosis, a condition in which no hair grows on the eyelid. Another possible market for this new drug is people who have undergone chemotherapy and have not had their eyelashes go back.

And while those two reason might be good and well, I couldn’t help but think, having short eyelashes myself, that this drug was just another giant reminder about the objectification and microscopic criticism that women face every day. As if cankles month wasn’t bad enough, now we’re being told that our eyelashes need even MORE attention than the  hundreds of dollars of eye makeup products that many women purchase to make their eyes look “sexier”.

Sigh. Imagine if rather than thinking about ways to use drugs to grow eyelashes that only rich women will be able to afford, the brilliant scientists channeled more energy in finding cures for cancer or HIV/AIDS.


(photo source)