9-Year-Old Girl Challenges Sexist Advertising | Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

Hey Smarties, allow me to introduce Adair Mahoney from North Carolina. Yeah, she may only be 9 years old, but this girl is taking action against hyper-gendered advertising and we think it’s totally awesome. While shopping online at Vineyard Vines with her Mom, Adair noticed a difference in the description of boys vs. girls pajama pants. The boys’ pants were called ‘Lounge’ pants, while girls’ pants were called ‘Lazy’ pants. This discrepancy, naturally, didn’t sit well with her. In an interview with ABC News, she said,”I thought, uh, did they really just call me lazy? Why do boys get to ‘lounge,’ but when girls just want to spend the day chilling on the couch in pajamas after a trying week of third grade, they’re lazy?” So, Adair took matters into her own hands. She wrote a letter to Vineyard Vines pointing out that, “boys and girls and men and women should all be treated the same. I don’t want to wear lazy pants because it makes me feel bad. Can’t we all just wear comfy pants?”

Source: 9-Year-Old Girl Challenges Sexist Advertising | Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

WCW: Cleopatra


Cleopatra VII Biography
Queen (c. 69 BCE–c. 30 BCE)

As queen of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is one of the most famous female rulers in history.

“I will not be triumphed over.”
—Cleopatra VII

The last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty, the stories and myths surrounding Cleopatra’s tragic life inspired a number of books, movies and plays. Cleopatra has become one of the most well known ancient Egyptian.  Cleopatra’s family ruled Egypt for more than 100 years before she was born around 69 B.C.

Cleopatra’s father was King Ptolemy XII. Little is known about Cleopatra’s mother, but some speculation presumes she may have been her father’s sister, Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Debate also surrounds Cleopatra’s ethnicity. While it was believed for a long time that she was of Greek descent, some speculate that her lineage may have been black African.

In 51 B.C., Ptolemy XII died, leaving the throne to 18-year-old Cleopatra and her brother, the 10-year-old Ptolemy XIII. It is likely that the two siblings married, as was customary at the time. Over the next few years Egypt struggled to face down a number of issues, from an unhealthy economy to floods to famine.

Political turmoil also shaped this period. Soon after they assumed power, complications arose between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII. Eventually Cleopatra fled to Syria, where she assembled an army to defeat her rival in order to declare the throne for herself. In 48, she returned to Egypt with her military might and faced her brother at Pelusium, located on the empire’s eastern edge.

Around this same time, the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey was consuming Rome. Pompey eventually sought refuge in Egypt, but on orders by Ptolemy, was killed.

In pursuit of his rival, Julius Caesar followed Pompey into Egypt, where he met and eventually fell in love with Cleopatra. In Caesar, Cleopatra now had access to enough military muscle to dethrone her brother and solidify her grip on Egypt as sole ruler. Following Caesar’s defeat of Ptolemy’s forces at the Battle of the Nile, Caesar restored Cleopatra to the throne. Soon after, Ptolemy XIII fled and drowned in the Nile.

In 47 B.C. Cleopatra bore Caesar a son, whom she named Caesarion. However, Caesar never acknowledged the boy was his offspring, and historical debate continues over whether he was indeed his father.

Cleopatra eventually followed Caesar back to Rome, but returned to Egypt in 44 B.C., following his assassination.


In 41 B.C., Marc Antony, part of the Second Triumvirate that ruled Rome following the murder of Caesar, sent for Cleopatra so that she could answer questions about her allegiance to the empire’s fallen leader.

Cleopatra agreed to his request and made a lavish entrance into the city of Tarsus. Captivated by her beauty and personality, Antony plunged into a love affair with Cleopatra that would eventually produce three children, including twins named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene.

Just like Caesar before him, Antony was embroiled in a battle over Rome’s control. His rival was Caesar’s own great-nephew, Gaius Octavius, also known as Octavian (who became the future Emperor Caesar Augustus). Gaius Octavius, along with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, rounded out the Second Triumvirate. Antony, who presided over Rome’s eastern areas, detested Gaius Octavius and saw in Cleopatra the chance for financial and military support to secure his own rule over the empire.

Cleopatra had her own motivations, as well. In exchange for her help, she sought the return of Egypt’s eastern empire, which included large areas of Lebanon and Syria.

In the year 34 B.C., Antony returned with Cleopatra to Alexandria with a triumphant flair. Crowds swarmed to the Gymnasium to catch a glimpse of the couple seated on golden thrones that were elevated on silver platforms. Beside them sat their children.

Antony antagonized his rival by declaring Caesarion as Caesar’s real son and legal heir, rather than Octavian, whom the revered Roman leader had adopted. Octavian, however, fought back, declaring he’d seized Antony’s will, and told the Roman people that Antony had turned over Roman possessions to Cleopatra and that there were plans to make Alexandria the Roman capital.

In the year 31 B.C., Cleopatra and Antony combined armies to try to defeat Octavian in a raging sea battle at Actium, on Greece’s west coast. The clash, however, proved to be a costly defeat for the Egyptians, forcing Antony and Cleopatra to flee back to Egypt.

Antony soon returned to the battlefield, where he was falsely informed that Cleopatra had died. Upon hearing the news, the despondent Roman leader committed suicide by stabbing himself. Cleopatra followed her lover’s demise by ending her life as well by being bitten by an Egyptian cobra. She died on August 12, 30 B.C. The two were buried together, as they had wished, and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire.


Photo Journey: Toys

In celebration of my few weeks as a stay at home Mom… I am focusing my posts this week on the gender-ization of toys.rachel_giordano_hed_2014

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I took a journey through the toy aisles with my son the other day.  I didn’t take pictures during our trip but wanted to share some of my observations in a visual format.

I put together some pics of toys from 20 or so years ago and then today.  The gender-ization of toys is apparent when looking through these pics:

4 6

Lego treehouse for boys and Lego treehouse for girls

images Unknown

Strawberry Shortcake


Candy Land


Rainbow Bright

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My Little Pony



As I walk through toy aisles…

I have a few weeks off from work and I am loving spending my days with my son.  We plan little adventures every day but also make sure to take time, slow down and spend one on one time doing art and reading books.


Today we took a trip to … Toys R’ Us…and oh my…SENSORY OVERLOAD.  We don’t frequent toy stores and I try to keep the stuff in our house to a minimum.  I have always believed in owning fewer quality toys as opposed to loads and loads of inexpensive toys.  Thankfully, we have also been blessed with hand me downs and haven’t had the need to do much shopping.

With that being said I was totally overwhelmed with trying to shop in Toys R’ Us with C.  Holy cow, there is so much junk!  We walked through the store and it was hard to navigate the isles.  I was also shocked by the amount of plastic.  Everything was plastic, it was difficult to find any wooden toys.

Of course, I couldn’t resit taking a stroll down the gender aisles.  Everything was as expected, overly feminine dolls, babies, and dress up clothes and hyper masculine action figures, cars, and sports for boys.  I was interested to see that the majority of the toddler and infant toys were fairly gender neutral; kitchens, learning toys, stackers, blocks, etc… there wasn’t a lot of pink and blue designated toys.  It was the older kids toys that really started the separation.  I made a point to walk C down both the boy and girl isles.  Honestly I think he was so overwhelmed by everything around him that he couldn’t take it all in.

We won’t be taking a trip back anytime soon.  I only wish I had thought to take photos!

WCW: Tina Fey


Comedian, writer, producer and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey on May 18, 1970, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, to parents Donald and Jeannec Fay. Jeannec Fey worked in a brokerage firm and Donald Fey wrote grants for the University of Pennsylvania. At the age of five, Fey was in her front yard when a stranger approached her and slashed her face with a knife, leaving her with the signature scar she still carries today. But Fey did not allow this incident to define or hinder her. Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Tina recalls a dorky adolescence filled with unplucked eyebrows and perms. In lieu of dating, Fey would have friends over to play party games like Celebrity. This self-proclaimed supernerd went on to study drama at the University of Virginia.

After graduating from college in 1992, Tina Fey moved to Chicago to pursue a career in comedy. She enrolled in the comedy training ground Second City, a renowned program where many Saturday Night Live (SNL) comedians got their start. In 1995, SNL writers came to Second City looking for new talent and were encouraged by Tina Fey’s aptitude. When SNL producer Lorne Michaels read Fey’s sketch ideas, she was offered a job as an SNL writer. It may be hard for some to imagine Tina Fey prior to stardom and her trademark sexy librarian image, but husband Jeff Richmond remembers dating a Tina who wore “mismatched frumpy clothing” on a heavier, Rubenesque frame.

After several years in New York, Fey became the first female head writer in SNL history. However, when critics were apprehensive of casting her because she didn’t have the looks, Fey realized she needed a diet and a makeover.

It was during the show’s 25th season when Fey was able to transform her image and establish a fan base. Fey was cast as a news reporter on the regular “Weekend Update” sketch with Jimmy Fallon, where she wrote many of the segments’ most popular biting jokes.

Love this woman… perhaps my favorite Fey video is below 🙂 Enjoy!


Source: Tina Fey on Update | Saturday Night Live – Yahoo Screen

PBS Parenting Now: On Princess Culture


Tips for raising well-rounded girls in a princess dominated world
BY PEGGY ORENSTEIN May 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM EDT

The princess culture can be overwhelming to parents who worry about raising their girls to become strong and confident women. Illustrations by Getty Images

Tutus, tiaras, princess dresses and storybooks selling “happily ever after” line the children’s aisles at every major retailer. The “Frozen” soundtrack from the latest Disney fantasy starring two sister princesses, has topped the charts for nearly three months. The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and Snow White are bound to come calling at your door on Halloween. The princess culture — fueled by Disney’s multi-billion dollar stake in it — has a tight grip on mainstream girlhood and it’s not going away.

parenting now logoParents may wonder how all of this will affect their daughters as they navigate the tricky path through to their teens and even beyond. Will they become fixated on looking perfect? Will they have unrealistic expectations for what it means to be a woman? Or is it all just a phase, leaving little long-term effects on their child’s self-image?

Peggy Orenstein, author of “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture,” has written for several years about these questions and navigating the princess culture. She will be on the PBS NewsHour Tuesday and she’s shared some tips for parents of both girlie-girls and non-girlie-girls on how to approach the princess culture while raising healthy, confident daughters. — NewsHour reporter/producer Sarah McHaney

Cinderella Ate My DaughterPeggy Orenstein: You will never convince your daughter that you are giving her more choices about how to be a girl by saying no to everything. So while it’s important to limit your daughter’s exposure to the princess culture, you must also find things you can say yes to: books, toys, clothing, activities that will broaden her idea of what it means to be female — and, ideally, unhook it from an obsession with appearance. Obviously, science, music, art and being outside are important. But to directly disrupt the princess industrial complex try some of the ideas below:

Take a break from “Frozen” and “Snow White” by watching the early films of Hiyao Miyazaki: “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” I guarantee they will become favorites. You might also try his films, “Nausica,” “Castle in the Sky,” “Ponyo” and “The Secret World of Arietty.” Best Alternative-Princess Disney films: Mulan and Mulan 2, which contains the subversive, catchy, princess-questioning song, “I Want to Be Like Other Girls.” Shrek and its sequels also offer a fairyland world with a distinctly atypical princess.

Don’t take away the pink tutus and tiaras just yet. There’s nothing wrong with loving the rosy color, but introduce other hues to your daughter’s wardrobe.

Sick of pink clothing? Have a dye-in with your daughter: Get a package of cheap, white t-shirts and customize them. Dye them a rainbow of colors. Get a fake batik look using Elmer’s glue (look it up online). Extra points for tie-dye.
Check out the Laura Ingalls Wilder picture book collection and try some girl pioneer crafts: Melting and pouring soap is easy, not too messy and a big hit.
Attitude is all: Express a lot of enthusiasm about the choices for your daughter that excite you.
Early media literacy: Without condemning or belittling your daughter’s interests, start asking questions. “I wonder why they never show Cinderella when she’s in her rags or playing with her animals?” Point out that ads are trying to sell something. Children don’t know that. Notice that, at grocery stores, they have the Little Mermaid Dixie cups at eye level to a child in a grocery cart. I wonder why?
Have a pow-wow at the preschool: Talk as a community about broadening girls’ interests. Again, this is not about putting down the princess-obsessed. It’s about offering more. Sponsor a parent-education evening about princess culture and media literacy.
At the beginning of the school year, suggest that your preschool head send around a friendly list of birthday party ideas that are fun and inclusive of both boys and girls.
Got princess-obsessed grandparents? They just want their granddaughter to feel she’s special — and that they are, too. Try telling them in advance what she’d really like (hint: not more princess gear). Maybe a science kit? Or better yet, suggest special time with Grandma and Grandpa — at the zoo, at the beach, or an overnight.
Physical activity and girliness: Girls want to do ballet in preschool. And that can be fine. But most of them won’t want to do it anymore once it gets “real.” So in addition to (or instead of) ballet, how about yoga? Try the books “Babar’s Yoga for Elephants” and “Yoga Bear.” There are also some good DVDs for 3-6 year olds: “YogaKids,” “YogaKids ABCs” and “Rodney Yee’s Family Yoga.” Martial arts, especially for Mulan fans, is another option.
Praise your daughter for what she does and who she is, not just how she looks. That doesn’t mean you can never tell her she’s pretty. Just balance it out; be sure she knows that’s not the main thing you value.
Surround your girl with a wide array of images of women that expand her idea of beauty and strength. We know beauty comes in all shapes and sizes: be sure she does too.
Ladies, now’s the time to deal with your own body/beauty issues: Don’t run your own appearance down in front of your daughter (or, hey, how about at all?). If your thighs feel big today? Keep it to yourself. Your girl is watching you.
And guys, no commenting on women’s appearance or weight either! The men in a girl’s life have a special role in reinforcing that a woman’s value is in who they are, not in how they look.
Peggy Orenstein is the author of The New York Times best-sellers “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture” and “Waiting for Daisy.” She is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. Her commentaries have also appeared on NPR.