Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership
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Archive for January, 2011


Originally posted to my blog ReelGirl on January 20.

Lots of comments on my last post about Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and that no matter how no matter how hard parents try, girls and boys adamantly refuse to be nudged out of their prescribed (marketed!) gender roles.

Orenstein elaborates on this challenge in her book: right around ages 2 -3, kids begin to understand that there’s something called a ‘boy’ and something thing called a ‘girl ‘and that something important differentiates between them. The problem is, they’re not sure what that is. Orenstein writes, “The whole penis-vagina thing does not hold quite the same cachet among the wee ones as it does among us.”

Orenstein recounts a story about a kid, Jeremy, who wore his favorite barrettes to school and was taunted by another kid who said, “You’re a girl!”

Jeremy denied it, arguing that he had a penis and testicles. The classmate replied, “Everyone has a penis, only girls where barrettes.”


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog
Originally posted to my blog ReelGirl on January 18th.

Thank you Peggy Orenstein for writing the brilliant book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Every parent should read this new, excellent analysis of the ubiquitous princess kid-culture and its various mutations in the world of grown-up women.

Orenstein, a NY Times journalist, mom, and writer takes on and deconstructs two (so annoying!) messages every parent hears if she dares to challenge the monarchy of these frothy creatures.

Myth number one: we’re just giving girls what they want!

Orenstein responds with a brief history of marketing and information on child brain development– some major points paraphrased here:

Pink Children were not color-coded until early twentieth century. Before that, babies wore all white, because to get clothing clean, it had to be boiled. Boys and girls also used to all wear dresses. When nursery colors were introduced, pink was more masculine, a pastel version of the red, which was associated with strength. Blue was like the Virgin Mary and symbolized innocence, thus the girl color. When the color switched is vague. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland all wear blue. Sleeping Beauty’s gown was switched to pink to differentiate her from Cinderella.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

Hello, my name is Jessica Lyons and I am from Long Island, New York. Currently, I am a Junior at Hunter College  double majoring in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies. My interests include human sexuality, gender roles, and identity. In my spare time I enjoy reading, yoga, and riding my bike. I am very excited to be part of this inspirational organization!

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Blog

Originally posted to www.barbaravictor.com on January 13th.

Back in the 1980s, during my first decade living in Paris, France, I remember the constant terror attacks that happened on an almost daily basis. At the time, I wrote that women walked into upscale shoe stores on the Champs Elysees, only to be carried out without legs. These attacks happened in department stores, government buildings, airports, airline offices, museums, restaurants, and every possible place imaginable where French nationals and tourists gathered on any normal day or evening. And, France wasn’t the only targeted country. American civilians and diplomats, as well as citizens of those countries or other visiting tourists were murdered in attacks in Italy, Pakistan, Greece, England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Tunisia, Lebanon, Austria and many more. International airlines were not exempt as seen by attacks on KLM, TWA, El AL, Alitalia, Pan American, and many more. Back then, in the heyday of terror attacks, the perpetrators were known internationally by almost everyone who watched the news or read every caliber of magazine or newspaper. There was Abu Nidal who traveled the world and was even interviewed by journalists, their meetings immortalized by photographs that appeared with the stories. There was George Habash, Abu Abbas, Yasser Arafat, Abu Iyad, Abu Jihad, and countless others whose names have gone down in terrorist infamy. Believe it or not, all were accessible to the press and I remember spending many days with Abu Iyad and Abu Jihad at their provisional PLO headquarters in Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Blog

by Suzanne Grossman, Woodhull Alumna
Originally posted to LJY: Love Your Job on January 12th.

Will 2011 be the year of your new job? After working with 7 cohorts of women jobseekers and dozens more individually, I’ve come to see what separates those who arrive at that magical moment of receiving an offer from those who don’t. Make sure the following are part of your job search this year:

1. Focus: It’s much easier to target companies and jobs when you know what you’re looking for. By spending time upfront making sure you’re clear and excited about your career path and targets, you’ll produce much better results. Sharpen your focus by using exercises in career books, working with a coach, or contacting your alumni career office.

2. Prioritizing your job search: Many of us have competing goals. We want to lose weight, find the love of our life, visit the south of France and find our dream job all in the next 6 months. The women I work with over the course of my 5-week class start to see results because they are focused and active for an extended period of time on a daily basis. Some receive offers amazingly fast, and I believe this is in part because they’ve upgraded their efforts. I have a handout called One Thing a Day, based on an earlier blog post, which outlines daily steps people can take toward their goal.


Category : Careers | Community Member Projects and Updates | Blog

Hello, my name is Natalie Gratkowski and I am senior at the College of Staten Island, majoring in English Literature and minoring in Italian. My interests lie in women’s empowerment and leadership, social work, and education. In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing, crocheting, yoga, being outdoors, and traveling. After going on a retreat during my junior year I knew that I wanted to become involved in the fantastic work that Woodhull was doing by becoming an intern and by spreading the word about this great organization on my campus.

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Blog

The Woodhull Institute extends its deepest sympathies  to all of the victims and families of the tragic shooting this past Saturday in Tucson, Arizona. To those that lost their lives, to those that were wounded and to the families that must now deal with the aftermath of this horrible tragedy, our thoughts, hearts and prayers go out to each and every one of you.

Representative Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital fighting for her life.  Christina Green born on the day of another unfathomable tragedy, September 11, 2001, only nine years old, her heart and mind stilled by a rifle shot.  Six people killed, 14 others wounded.

While the motives of the shooter, alleged to be Jared Lee Loughner, are still unclear – the nation is coming to terms with the understanding that the vitriolic political rhetoric that seems to have taken over the internet, print media and airwaves can not continue.

The Woodhull Institute supports every person’s right to voice their opinions, every person’s right to try to move their agenda’s forward, to try and convince others that their goals are the right goals.  But to do so as part of civil discourse, as part of an open and informed debate, not by initiating personal attacks, name calling, or using imagery and verbiage that invokes violence.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | News | Blog

Today we are experiencing a powerful Solar Eclipse. Well all eclipses are powerful, however this one is happening in the constellation of Capricorn. The energy of an eclipse can create intensity in our lives, and an opportunity to do some accelerated transformation.

What does this mean for you? Well Capricorn is the Mountain Goat, the Goat that climbs up steep slopes, steadily moving to reach its goal. To climb in such a way, even for an animal, takes a certain kind of planning. I imagine for the goats that planning ability is hardwired into their instincts, and nervous systems. They seem to automatically know where to place their hooves so that they can continue on their climb. For humans, planning is an action, or a series of actions that may lead to a goal.

Continue reading—>

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Living | Blog

Originally from Feministing.com’s January 3rd “What We Missed”

“One New Yorker subscriber is demanding her money back after a recent edition of the magazine only included two bylines by women, out of 76 pages of content. She plans to return every edition of the magazine that contains fewer than 5 female writers.”

Category : Fellows Media Watch | Women | Blog
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