Give our daughters healthy women to look up to

March 19, 2014 – Last Wednesday, I wrote about the petition to ban the word ‘bossy’ and how I didn’t believe banning a word could make a difference.

This week, my sister sent me a petition that I signed with gusto because I do believe it will make a positive change for young  girls. It also impacts the ‘War on Women’, another topic I’ve written about recently.

Shannon Bradley-Colleary, a mother of two (daughters), and a blogger at thewomanformerlyknownasbeautiful.com, is on a mission to stop advertisers from using anorexic models in their ads. She spotted the photo below in the March issue of a magazine from a Yves Saint Laurent campaign, and decided she didn’t want one more woman or girl to be damaged by believing starvation is the beauty standard. Shannon wrote a letter directly to Francesca Bellettini at Yves Saint Laurent, and started a petition on change.org to invite others to join her cause.

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To date, the petition has more than 32,000 signatures, and many have said they have signed to make the world a better place for their daughters.

“I signed because I’m a doctor and a father of an impressionable young lady,” said one visitor.

“Why promote a standard of beauty that isn’t healthy or beautiful? I would be broke hearted to see my daughter looking this sickly,” said another.

Other countries have already made steps to make a difference. In Israel, for example, a law effective in 2013 requires models to produce a medical report showing they have maintained a healthy BMI for three months before a shoot. Earlier, countries including Italy, Spain, and India banned underweight models from working. The U.K. and the U.S. have guidelines, but the industry is self-regulated.

This is a great example of when a ban can make a difference. If enough women stopped buying the publications that feature unrealistic models, or better yet, the products that they advertise, change will come. If you agree, sign the petition and let your voice be heard. 

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Banning the ‘B’ word

downloadMarch 12, 2014 – If we’re going to ban a word, several cringe worthy choices come to mind before the word ‘bossy’.

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s quest to give girls more confidence and help them gain leadership skills is a noble one, and I applaud her for the effort. I fully support any intelligent campaign that empowers young girls to strive for their best. However, when I read that she and her female power team plan to achieve this goal by asking the public to ban the word ‘bossy’ and sign an online petition agreeing not to use it, they lost me.

Sandberg believes that many young girls (and grown women) are afraid to voice their opinions because they fear the label bossy. Has bossy become a word associated only with the female population like the other ‘B’ word? Does this ban mean words like pushy, overbearing, and forceful are next on the chopping block?

When was the last time you heard the word bossy used, anyway? I don’t frequent school yards, where it’s often used according to Sandberg, nor do I have daughters. However, I was once one of those awkward girls who lacked confidence (sometimes I still do), yet I find it difficult to believe using the word is that common, or banning it would make a difference.

A ban isn’t likely to empower young girls to overcome their fear, but teaching them to face adversity and continue to pursue their goals should someone call them a negative name, may help them succeed.

The campaign encourages everyone to sign the pledge at banbossy.com. I’m not sure if only those who use the word and agree to stop should sign, or if all signatures are welcome. I think I’ll let this one pass.