Gender issues

Women Flex Their Purchasing Power Muscles

86% of the purchasing power in the U.S. is in the pockets of women!

Two weeks ago MissRepresentation launched a campaign to get our help in calling out sexist and degrading advertisements and products during this holiday shopping season.

Use hashtag #NotBuyingIt on Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail

#NOTBUYINGIT CampaignWith the hashtag #NotBuyingIt on Twitter, Facebook, and through e-mail, thousands of people have been tracking the way women and girls are constantly misrepresented on billboards, in commercials, in magazines, and in stores.

  • Alex: if your product was any good, you wouldn’t need #sexism to sell it. #NotBuyingIt
  • Mary Lu: The Real Housewives of (fill in the blank). We are #NotBuyingIt @RepresentPledge
  • Cullie P: One company that never fails to degrade women, both its owner and its ads is American Apparel, I’m never buying it. I walk by American Apparels all the time and I see a topless woman only wearing jeans, with her butt sticking out. What are they selling exactly?
  • Rosemary C: Pretty much all Kay and Jared jewelry commercials bother me. The message they send out seems to be that if a man doesn’t buy his wife/girlfriend jewelry, he messed up big time. Not every woman wants jewelry as a gift.

Check out this page for more of the called-out products.

Finally, let’s use purchasing power to discourage sexist media images

Let’s keep it going! Continue sending the campaign information about the products you are not buying, as well as those that you are. With your suggestions they’ll put together a list of positive and negative products to help guide women’s purchases in 2012.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in descriptions and photos of products thus far. Collectively the campaign is raising awareness about the power of the consumer voice and what can be accomplished when we band together!

**This information provided by email from Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the team

Are You Seen, Heard and Valued at Work?

The Value of Women’s Work

The Value of Women at WorkWomen often complain about feeling invisible, ignored and dismissed in their workplaces. A wonderful new article posted by Charmaine McClarie on W2Wlink describes four common traps and how to avoid falling into them.

1. Blindly oblivious at work. This person has no idea what it takes to get ahead in their workplace. To avoid this, notice at least two people who get seen and heard and two more who labor without recognition. Analyze what they are doing. Now ask yourself, which category do I belong in? What behaviors will bring you more credit and advancement?

2. Tooting who’s horn? Women are often criticized if they try to take credit for their good performance, which causes many to sit quietly and wait to be noticed. Instead, find a way to praise your team or organization, pointing out the solutions and value you contributed.

3. Busy bee. Too much focus on your many tasks can obscure your true value to the organization. Read six questions you should ask yourself to clarify your important contributions to the company’s bottom line.

4. Be prepared to take credit. Too many women deflect praise when it is offered.When you work hard to get noticed, make sure you accept credit when it is offered. Be prepared to build on it, too, by bridging to the next challenge you’d like to tackle. Say thanks you, summarize the great thing you accomplished, and point out the related project you’d like to take on.

Charmaine McClarie, head of McClarie Group, leads executive development programs that build competitive advantage for organizations, who is often quoted in publications including the New York Times, Harvard Management Update, the London Financial Times, Forbes, and People magazine. is a terrific source of helpful information for working women.

Build Your Self-Esteem with Positive Thoughts and Nine Crucial Actions

Build Sef Esteem with Positive ThoughtsMany women have told me they grew up hearing messages that greatly harmed their self-images. These messages continue to influence how they see their reflections in the mirror today, and it often does not match up with the way they think they should look. What do you think when you look in a mirror? Do you think you are too fat, too short, too tall, not pretty, or not like other women?

We think this way because the images we see on magazines at the newsstand or at the grocery checkout counter offer a distorted view of reality. The covers either feature girls smiling because they are young and beautiful or hideously unflattering pictures of stars hiding from the camera because they look fat and ugly. There are never any pictures of ordinary human females women who look like us and feel just fine, thank you very much!

Self-esteem is how a person feels about the inside and the outside. Women who have poor self-esteem have heard messages while growing up that said, “You do not measure up to all the other pretty, thin, smart girls.” These messages can have lifelong consequences. Women in focus groups told me they heard many of these messages and also felt their mothers had a hard time with age and really worried about losing their looks.

Although coping with society’s external views of older women can be annoying, women have devised a number of coping strategies. Susan tells her age proudly, knowing that she looks healthy and strong. Marla shrugs it off, ignores it, then vents by laughing and complaining with her friends. Kathy refuses to tell anyone her age because she refuses to be categorized that way. Carol answers questions about her age by replying, “That is only relevant if we’re talking about age discrimination.” How old are you? If it bothers you to be asked, say: “Old enough to know better; Young enough to want more; Oh, about your age; What’s it to you?” That way you can leave your age to the imagination of the perceiver.

A fear of aging is not a rational response. It’s just an emotion. Even if you were once embarrassed to tell your age or admit you are past menopause, you can take back your personal power.

First, be aware of––and don’t be manipulated by––media messages. Next, identify and face what you are really afraid of. You may want to work with a therapist or a focus group of trusted girlfriends to do this.

Identify the negative messages you learned growing up and replace them with positive statements about yourself.

Positive Thinking Tips:

  • I have a great smile and eyes, not — I’m just not pretty.
  • I look good for my age, not — I look old and decrepit.
  • My knowledge, wisdom, and skills increase daily, not — I am too old.
  • I am a valuable human being, not – I am worthless.
  • I succeed at many things I try, not — I’m a failure.
  • I’m a lucky to grow older, not — I hate growing older.

Body image issues and perfectionism add up to problems for young girls and women including eating disorders. A woman who has a distorted body image sees her body primarily in terms of some imperfection that she constantly thinks and worries about. Often these women perceive themselves as out of proportion or damaged in some way. This misperception, along with low self-esteem, can lead not only to eating disorders, but also to depression, anxiety and other types of phobias. These conditions all warrant medical and psychological treatment as soon as possible.

Nine steps to begin improving your self-image without plastic surgery

  1. Surround yourself with beauty, artwork, bright colors, good music and healthy foods.
  2. Get exercise and feel your body move.
  3. Surround yourself with happy, fun, loving people.
  4. Get rid of toxic people in your life, the ones who bring you down, belittle you, or criticize you.
  5. Do not allow anyone to abuse you or neglect you.
  6. Send out love and people will flock to you.
  7. Be what you want to be.
  8. Act “as if” you are beautiful and you will be beautiful.
  9. Your thoughts and actions will make the world a beautiful place to live.

Women can learn to find a positive self-image within themselves. Changing your environment, both on the inside and on the outside, will bring you in touch with your own positive self-esteem, dignity, and worth.

You know a woman hiding domestic violence

I wish everyone was happy and safe this holiday season, but sadly many are not. Our associate Shirley Osborne asks us to send positive energy and thoughts to one group of women.

~Dr. Nancy

Native American Women – Highest Rates of Abuse and Sexual Violence

Stop Domestic ViolenceNative American women suffer the highest rates of domestic abuse and sexual violence of any group of women in the United States.

Many Americans choose Sharing during the holidays, as a means of giving thanks for what they have. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that, in this spirit of giving and giving thanks, they also show some gratitude to these Native peoples upon whose lands they find their fortune. We can give thought specifically to the plight of Native American women who endure such pain and despair, and who suffer so deeply the tragedies of their sons, daughters, men and parents.

My experience is that thought often becomes action. My hope is that there is enough right thought to create right action that will right some wrongs. For even one, I give thanks.

In advance.

Browse the latest FA SO LA Editorial.

Keeping up with the women of ALL the world

Shirley Osborne

What do media images tell us about women?

Girls need to see women in power in order to believe they themselves can have power. The problem is, our film industry isn’t cooperating! Learn how you can help change the equation. According to, research shows that:

What is the Ratio of Males to Females in Family Films?

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films.
  • In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States.
  • Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.

Are Females in Sexy Attire More than Men?

  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire.
  • Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline.
  • Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.

What is the Representation of Women Behind the Camera?

  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera.
  • Across 1,565 content creators:
    • 7% of directors
    • 13% of writers
    • 20% of producers are female.
  • This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.

Are Females in Any Leadership Roles in Family Films?

  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics.
  • In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.
All facts are supported by research conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith, Ph.D. at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media

Women In Media: Fair Representation?

Just returned from a screening of the indie documentary MissRepresentation and Oh boy, what wonderful discussions and conversations followed as the audience mingled after the film.

Think how women are portrayed in the media these days.

Missrepresentation trailer screen shot
Tired of the heavily made-up stereotypes displaying their DD bust lines on emaciated bodies? Tired of the bimbo catfights? Sick of seeing women putting all their energies into competing for the man who will make their dreams come true? Up to here with violence against women?
How did it get this way?
What you can do to change it?

Find a screening of the fantastic documentary MissRepresentation.

It connects these dots and more:

  • How women fired after World War II to open jobs for returning soldiers were lured back into the home with a major PR campaign.
  • How buying and tending  gleaming appliances became the be-all and end-all for middle class women.
  • How the women’s movement caught fire then gradually lost strength until now feminism is no longer about equal opportunity for women but has become a dirty word that right-wing pundits have made synonymous with baby-killer.
  • How luring men aged 18-34 to the TV set is a primary advertiser goal, hence the use of women’s bodies to keep their eyeballs glued to the set.
  • How the networks think one women’s channel was plenty, while 22 sports channels isn’t enough.
  • Understand that the United States ranks 90th among nations in percentage of women in government.
  • See the percentage of women in board positions in major media conglomerates and TV studios.
  • See the studies that for the last 30 years have linked media violence against women with the rise of violence in our nation.
  • Why this situation is not just bad for women and girls but cruelly endangers boys and men as well.
  • And so much more!

Women control 86% of the purchasing decisions in this country.

This film sets out many action steps all women can take to change this situation. We have the power, women. Let’s use it!

Women and War

Women Have to Empower ThemselvesWar Redefined is the capstone of a 5-part series on public television. Many interviews are available on the PBS website as transcripts or podcasts.
Interviews with female Secretaries of State and others “reveal how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualty rates.
Simultaneously, they describe how women are emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict.”

Women and children are the primary casualties of war in today’s world

In previous generations, most casualties were men.

“Women themselves have to empower themselves,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a PBS interview. She described the many ways women are changing the course of war in their countries. “They can’t wait for somebody to point to them and say, ‘Now you must be a leader and you must go forth and try to end this conflict.’ It has to come from within.”

What has changed about war today?

A recent 5-part PBS series explores what’s changed about war today and how women have and can change the situation.

  • Read Hillary Clinton’s interview
  • Read Gloria Steinem’s podcast on rape as a weapon of war.
    Rape was only defined as a war crime a decade ago.


Avoid gender stereotypes in Halloween costumes

What kind of Halloween costumes will you put on your kids this year?

bunch of grapes halloween costumeWhat will you wear yourself? What messages will these costumes say about girls and women’s roles, and about men’s relationships to women?

It’s worth thinking about! is a growing movement to change the way women and portrayed in the media and in society.
Our girls deserve a fair chance to view themselves as something other than sexy kittens while young boys are pushed towards hyper-masculinity and aggression.

Halloween costumes for women depict sexy stereotypes

Adult costumes are just as bad! On the Halloween page features a “Sexy Costumes” section. There are only women’s costumes in this section. There’s a clear imbalance here: is Halloween now for girls to dress sexy for men? The way we adults approach this holiday has a direct effect on how our kids view it. And with more and more of us participating in Halloween each year, it becomes critically important for us to think about that effect.
This Halloween I urge you to consider carefully how you dress yourself and your young ones. has started a campaign to collect positive and non-gendered Halloween costumes online. Post pictures or videos of your outfits on their Tumblr page and leave a sentence about why you chose it! Together we can start new trends and make Halloween a little less disconcerting for parents.

Women Who Aren’t Kids Speak Out

Founder and Publisher of The Three Tomatoes

Cheryl Benton

Cheryl Benton created The Three Tomatoes e-newsletter to share information with a few women friends who weren’t kids any more. After 30 years living and breathing the New York City advertising business, Cheryl stepped away and started her own marketing firm, 747 Marketing. She realized that most marketing in NYC is directed at 20-somethings and size zeros. That leaves a lot of us out!
Feeling ignored and invisible, she wanted to speak to women like herself. What started as a little hobby acquired a life of its own and became an empowering force for women. is now a go-to lifestyle guide with events, contests and wonderful, practical information and lots of advertisements targeting chic, successful women. The site’s e-newsletter has thousands of friends. It’s lighthearted and fun to read, and whether or not you’re in New York, you’ll love this website.
Listen to Cheryl’s insightful views about how marketers are missing the mark in speaking to women and even more important, how to become a tomato yourself.



Soar As Iron Butterflies

World leadership is undergoing a quiet revolution

Author of Iron Butterflies

Birute Regine

You won’t find out about it in the headlines or on the chatter of morning talk. But it’s there and it’s happening in waves among women who are slowly recognizing their power and how they can work together to find the balance that has been missing from world leadership.
One of the most resonating voices reporting on the progress of the revolution is Dr. Birute Regine. This amazing author, educator and developmental psychologist spent eight years on a labor of love interviewing women from all walks of life: from world political leaders to dancers, CEO’s and even a wise aboriginal elder. Then she coined the phrase, “Iron Butterflies,” to describe women who understand their strengths as women—their flexibility, vulnerability and knowledge of cooperation and collaboration to lead others and achieve balance and success themselves.
Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and The World promises to be a landmark book charting women’s progress in the 21st century.  Listen to this inspirational Conversation with Dr. Nancy to learn how women are evolving and revolutionizing world leadership and how you can take your place among them.


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