Monthly Archives: January 2014

This Little Candle of Miiiiiine: I’m Gonna Share it Onliiiiiine

Well, folks…I just hit “send” on an email, signaling that it’s that time of year again: preparation season for International Women’s Day 2014! Woot woooot.

Last year’s collective sporting of a pro-women t-shirt was the best yet: 87 women, men, & youth ordered shirts from 15 states & 4 countries and raised $650 for The Girl Effect. See our shirts from 2011, 2012, and 2013. 🙂


The 2014 Design
My work in youth development this year has sparked interesting dialogue about inclusion and what it means to be an “ally.” Because of that, I wanted this year’s shirts to promote an incredible woman’s message that can both honor the progresswomen have made (and continue to fight for) AND speak to struggles and causes many of us hold dear to our hearts that perhaps aren’t defined solely by our biology.

The powerful words that 16-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai used to address the UN General Assembly in fall 2013 have brought this year’s IWD t-shirt vision to life:

We realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. – Malala Yousafzai

The 2014 IWD T-Shirt Designs are here!

The 2014 IWD T-Shirt Designs are here!
Option 1: Fitted Next Level Jersey T-Shirt


The 2014 IWD T-Shirt Designs are here!
Option 2: Non-Fitted Anvil Ladies Jersey T-Shirt

 Order your shirt now using this Google Order Form.
Shirt orders AND payments must be received by Monday, February 10!
Click each fit
to view sizing charts: fitted and non-fitted

Our 2014 Non-Profit
This year’s beneficiary takes action for inclusion and using people’s voices to call attention to something that is broken. The Representation Project launched a 2011 campaign that called attention to the unfair portrayals of women in media through its film, Miss Representation. It has since expanded its own mission, aiming to get “all of us working together, girls and boys, women and men, to ensure equality and justice for all.” True to their word, the upcoming The Mask You Live In documentary will explore hypermasculinity and the perpetual harm that one-dimensional, stereoptypical media portrayals cause youth (and society at large).

Ordering Yours (Or a Friend’s!)

  • DEADLINE: Some of our sisters didn’t receive shirts in time for March 8 last year because of tight deadlines and late payments. I am asking that everyone place their orders AND have money to me by no later than Monday, February 10. The earlier, though, the better!
  • ORDER FORM: This year, we’re streamlining things and asking shirt-wearers to place their orders using this Google Form. You can fill out your name, all fits/sizes, your payment method, and any shipping information in one convenient place!
  • PAYMENT: I ask that you pay upfront. I gladly take cash and check payments in person. Online payment services (PayPal, Chase QuickPay, PopMoney, etc.) save you time/stamps, and I can send instructions for any new users.
  • DELIVERY: If you don’t live in Chicago, I’m happy to ship a shirt your way! I ask that anyone wanting shirts shipped to them add $3 to the cost of each shirt. Nothing is cooler than having people WORLDWIDE wearing identical shirts on March 8; I’d love to hit even MORE cities this year!

Happiness, Us & Them

“Making yourself happy is the most rewarding experience one can strive for. Set a goal, and work towards it. Do not let anything get in your way. I’m not telling you to abandon your responsibilities, but if a change needs to happen…systematically make your way towards it. When you love something, it should be pursued relentlessly.” – Fox Clearing

Yeah, but…when do we decide if our happiness is selfish and detrimental to the happiness of others? When we follow impulses and revelry rather than long-term and well-sustained, intentionally-crafted happiness?

Read Fox’s full article and help me sort out my thoughts about others’ expectations of our happiness and how to liberate ourselves from those chains without stunting our own growth or deferring our personal dreams. (Please.)

My Most Favorite Favorite

She: (looking at snow pouring down outside on Monday night) It would be so nice to be snowed in somewhere in Maine or something. I just love being cozy inside!

He: Do you like being outside?

She: (thinking) Yes.

He: It sounds like you just like being alive. That’s a good thing.

Bookin’ It

That’s it– I’m making a return to the #26books movement and making time for pleasure reads this calendar year. And I’m taking a page (haHAAAAA!) out of Jack Whitty’s book (read: Tumblr) by keeping a book list of my own on here as well as on #26books (provided that I or someone else can still recover the password from somehwere; MF? Delames? Kel? Al Hal?).

I hope I don’t embarrass myself by not following through on this. 😉 And I also hope that this guilts me just enough that I end my 2013 habit of picking up a book, reading 40 pages, feeling unentertained by all content everywhere, and putting it down with its enclosed bookmark to start another book, only to return to the initial book 5-8 months later and wonder where to/if I should pick it up again.

1) The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri (291 pgs)

Boom shaka! It was awesome, by the way. Special thanks to the awesome woman whose little boys I babysit on the reg who lent me the delicious novel.

You’ve Got to be Manly

I’ve been thinking a lot about masculinity lately.

Well, let’s be honest, I’ve been thinking a lot about masculinity since high school, when I was first bitten by the women’s studies/gender studies bug, but something in the past few months has caused a resurgence in me.

Maybe it was the office Lunch & Learn one of my colleagues hosted, having us read this article, this article, and this article to discuss the gender spectrum and how we are (and are not) being inclusive enough in our field of work to those who identify outside of the dichotomy that is currently engrained into all people from day one.

It could’ve started when I heard the re-airing of the NPR story highlighting inner-city Baltimore youth’s slang that, for once, absolves the highly-divisive (in my opinion) use of gender-neutral singular terms…and perhaps also inadvertently could provide a non-masculinized plural alternative to “you guys.”

Then again, there was an old friend/role model whose blog has become one of my favorite regular reads, who works in higher ed right in my backyard, whose mid-November post called into question how we nurture & embrace young men (specifically, young black men) to step outside of those expectations and into the skin they actually feel comfortable in.

Perhaps it is the anticipation I felt when I first discovered and watched the trailer for the other (boy-centered) side of the MissRepresentation coin that will hopefully open the dialogue to more diversified, honest, intentional depictions of all people in our sources of media and everyday life. Or, along the same lines, this video campaign to men to get their “masks off” and be who they really are.

Or, most recently, maybe it was two of the internet contributions I checked out today: a poet’s ironic depiction of masculinity which ends with a call for togetherness, and a post about 7 ways men can challenge and redefine what it means to be “masculine” in their daily interactions & relationships. (I’ve listed a VERY abridged version of the article below– mostly just listing out the 7 points– but highly encourage you to read the whole thing if you have a few minutes. And, full disclosure for my ladies out there, I think all of these things are habits that wouldn’t hurt us tuning more into in 2014, too!)

Regardless, I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue (and I very deliberately choose that word over “topic”) because of the impending bombardment of posts on my various social media platforms regarding the International Women’s Day shirts I help produce each year, and I’ve got some thoughts about how these items above might just cause me to start singing a slightly altered tune for 2014’s efforts. Perhaps I’ll try something in the keys of F and M.

– – – – – –

From “#BeThatGuy: 7+ Everyday Ways Men Can Transform Masculinity” by Jamie Utt:

1. Listen More – “When we are constantly asserting ourselves into space, we are constantly in a state of vulnerable power, one where we exert power over others to hide the fact that silence and listening can be terrifying.”
2. Show More Loving Affection – “We don’t really show affection to women who we are not in a relationship with or who are not immediate family members, and we almost never show loving affection for other men. Thus, men have a responsibility to change this.”
3. Make Enthusiastic Consent a Daily Value – “As I came of age in my sexuality, I was taught that consent was something very specific: If she (because it was never taught in a gender-neutral way) says no or stop, that (probably) means you don’t have consent and (probably) should stop. Needless to say, my consent education was—well—lacking.”
4. Cultivate Nonviolence – “Though violent crime has been steadily declining in the United States and Canada, men are more likely to be victims of every form of violent crime except sexual assault, and men are three times as likely to be murdered than women…Though it’s not often framed this way, violence is a men’s issue.”
5. Be More Inclusive – “Though it might look a bit different from iteration to iteration, the politics of male social order been built upon exclusion.
6. Giggle More – “When’s the last time you saw a man that you admire and respect fall to the floor in a fit of giggles (especially that wasn’t induced by someone else’s pain, getting hit in the nuts, or because of some humor that excludes other people)?”
7. Teach Our Youth – “If we want to transform masculinity and if we want to offer men agency in how they express their full selves, we have to start with our young people.”