It's been a wild week in nearly every avenue. Here's what I've seen that might intrigue, interest, disgust, enthrall and/or appall you:
Earth Day ramp up has motivated some really fantastic things.
At Moms Speak Up, I joined The Nature Conservancy's campaign to Plant a Billion. One tree, one dollar...and every dollar counts. Click over here to check out the information and join in the campaign!
Aimee Greeblemonkey launched a project near and dear to my heart (for those of you who know how I feel about art, kid art, and art in school, as well as the environment). Inspired by her son who hosted a backyard art auction and a reader suggestion, she launched Kid Art Auction for Earth Day 2008.
Izzy asked if I would take on Moms Speak Up as Editor-in-Chief, which I agreed to do. I'm currently seeking motivated writers who are passionate about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern. There is no minimum requirement for submissions, but since I'm looking to keep the site moving and growing, I do prefer a degree of prolific. Cross-posts welcome. :)
Also, did you see that Izzy was mentioned at the Wall Street Journal, along with other "moms who blog?" We're a force, who I think mainstream media are beginning (finally!) to reckon with! Sue Shellenbarger says so in her article, "The Blogger Mom, In Your Face."
It has finally happened: a book has been published that I think is so dreadful it ought to be burned.
I know. I did not think it possible either.
I've seen some questionable topics published, read some really badly written books, and passed over some books that made me go, "WTF?!?!"
But I've never, ever advocated burning a book. Until now.
A book for moms (moms! Just moms? Not dads?) to explain the cosmetic surgery process to their little girls (girls! Just girls? Not boys?).
This book also caused me to utterly suspend my normal "endeavor to be open-minded and fair and balanced." I went straight to outraged feminist moralist motherist.
Cosmetic surgery to "perfect" one's self makes me sad. There. I said it. It does. Modeling it to one's daughter, to demonstrate why dangerous elective surgery is necessary so Mommy can appear closer to Barbie-slut-ho perfection through a book that is supposed to normalize it makes me shudder.
In the book, Mommy explains to her little girl how pregnancy ruined her sexy and gorgeous looks (I'm paraphrasing in a really pejorative way, as I am sure you guessed). She tells her daughter that in order for her skin-tight pants and belly-revealing shirts to look better, in their land of palm trees (Miami? LA? Houston?), she needs a breast augmentation (that means bigger boobs, sweetheart), a tummy tuck (to remove that unsightly bit of post-pregnancy puckering), and a nose job (not sure how that's related exactly but Mommy feels the strong need to fix her nose).
Mommy and Sweetie meet with Dr. Michael, who strongly resembles a rejected Hall of Justice hero, who, failing the superhero gig, turned to plastic surgery instead. Hey, at least he's using his powers for good...right?
The real Dr. Michael (Dr. Michael Salzhauer) was inspired to write the book when a large number of his patients came to appointments with children, who were confused and worried about the surgery.
Clue: BECAUSE THAT'S RATIONAL. One SHOULD BE scared of surgery, especially unnecessary surgery. It carries RISKS. As one who has been through a number of surgeries, I can't imagine ever opting to do it unless it was absolutely medically necessary.
But instead of teaching children to value themselves and their bodies as is, and to trust their instincts, Dr. Michael believes it is relevant to teach them to be hunky dory with Mommy going under the knife to (and I quote the book), come back not just, "...different, my dear---prettier!"
Because, of course, that should be every woman's goal.
Unfortunately, the Newsweek article I read about this quoted a child expert who agrees that Dr. Michael is on the right track. Elizabeth Berger, psychiatrist for children and author of "Raising Kids With Character," said she didn't want to seem anti-cosmetic surgery and thought the book was a good idea because if women do plan to have cosmetic surgery, it's important that they talk about it with their children.
Hey, Dr. Berger, it's okay to appear to be against something, especially if your career is to advocate, protect and help children.
Hey, moms, if you feel compelled to get cosmetic surgery, who am I to say otherwise. I get it, each to her own.
But please, if you can't do other than downplay what it is, really, then please, hide it from your kids. I fight every day to keep my kids from thinking they need to reach some arbitrary state of physical perfection in order to be worthwhile. I hope you'd want to do the same. If not, at least please keep it to yourself, okay?
You guys know I'm vain. But you also know that I halt my vanity as best I can at the "making the choice to be healthy" line. Usually.
But when I ponder that elective cosmetic surgery is reaching record numbers, I feel disheartened at the state of esteem and how women view themselves. How can I ever teach my children, in the face of such a culture, that it's not how you look that is most important but who you are and what you do?
For more about what I think we need to make of the natural changes in our bodies, click here.
The MOMocrats have been busy as bees. And it's paying off with lots of national attention from the Democratic presidential candidates' campaigns and keystone journalists such as Jay Rosen. We've covered everything from personal appearances by Obama (at the now infamous "bittergate" fundraiser in San Francisco, where MOMocrat Glennia heard it first-hand) to live blogging the debate. Now we're collecting the questions ABC should have asked at the debate. Come read and add your voice.
Speaking of "bittergate" my own Senator, John Cornyn, chapped my hide royally by telling me that I'm not bitter. Oh yes I am, Senator, and here's why: you don't get to tell my I'm just dandy when my bank statement tells me otherwise.
Who is to say what art is or isn't? But can we really call this art? I call it...well, unethical and immoral sounds too milquetoasty. Horrific. There. It's not art, it's a horror show. I hate to give it more attention, but now and again (in two cases in this very post) my Self-Righteous bone gets poked.
The mad awesome
I want to leave this post on a good note, as it began.
Whymommy got some great news: no evidence of disease. So happy for you, Susan!
The EPA tightened the ozone levels allowed. One step closer to cleaner air! This was, in part, I think, due to the enormous public response at their hearings. Maybe using my words added to this.
Patience keeps moving up the reading levels. I caught her reading a chapter book to her little sister, who was listening, rapt. It has inspired Persistence to learn to read, or try to. The two of them are growing ladybugs for our garden. Next week is our consultation about how to convert our yard into a wildlife habitat.
Last but not least, I survived a day in the nursery at the school/church. Yes, me in charge of over a dozen kids (with another parent). And we all came out fine.
Have a great weekend!
Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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