Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Jen Welter August 3, 2015

welter

One of my favorite memories from college was the year that my girls and I hosted a little Superbowl party in our dorm’s suite. That year, I became close to Kelly, who is now a lifelong sister. We had met freshman year, but it wasn’t until we lived together sophomore year that I really got to know her. I was amused and surprised when I discovered that she was a big football fan. While I consider myself an athlete, I don’t come from a family of sports fans, so being raised with football culture was complete foreign to me. So, it was an awesome sight to see when little 5’3 Kelly plopped herself on the couch between two 6’0 dudes to hold court and talk informed smack about the game on the screen. Classic!

So Kelly popped into my head when I heard the news that Jen Welter was recently hired by the Arizona Cardinals as the first female coach (intern) in NFL history. Check out Welter’s unique set of qualifications for this role:

  • She played rugby in college
  • She was on the Dallas Diamonds team in the Women’s Football Alliance (as a linebacker) for more than a decade
  • Last year, she was recruited to play running back for the minor league (men’s) indoor team, Texas Revolution
  • She became part of the coaching staff (assistant coach) of the Texas Revolution

Bonus: she’s looking forward to being a role model for little girls who as passionate about sports as she is. The New York Times quoted her:

“I want little girls to grow up knowing that when they put their mind to something, when they work hard, that they can do anything regardless [of the expectations of others]”

Good luck, Jen, you’re going to kick some butt! I look forward to following your career. 

 

LizzLoves the Semicolon Movement July 25, 2015

I’ve been a writer and editor for over 15 years now. Through the years, I’ve learned from some crackerjack editors, and serious grammar queens, so I think I have a pretty good handle on structure, punctuation and such. However, there is one little mark that remains troublesome: the semicolon. The cute lil’ guy can mean so many things! It can mean “but,” it can indicate a list, it can almost replace “for example.” One thing all its meanings seem to hold in common, though, is a continuation.

semicolon

That must have been what Amy Bleuel thought, too, when she chose this symbol as the unifying image when she created a campaign, Project Semicolon, for bringing awareness to mental health issues. As an open display of a personal connection with mental health issues—whether with themselves or loved ones—Bleuel asks people to draw or tattoo semicolons on their bodies. Sadly, she too has had mental illness touch her life: her father committed suicide in 2003 and she has her own struggle with mental health issues. She told USA Today:

“I wanted to tell my story to inspire others to tell their story. I wanted to start a conversation that can’t be stopped, a conversation about mental illness and suicide…It’s impacted people who struggle with self-harm, addiction and suicide, as well as people who have lost people from suicide and addiction. It’s attracted everyone.”

Project Semicolon opens a much-needed dialogue for a community that needs support and affirmation, a group that has survived, healed and even those that still struggle. Creating this platform works to help them to remember that they aren’t alone.

“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

To read more about Amy Bleuel’s amazing work and to see pictures of semicolon body art from across the globe, visit Project Semicolon’s site here

 

LizzLoves Carol Rossetti July 13, 2015

Say what you will about the evils, annoyances and oddities of social media, but more often than not, I find some fabulous and inspiring women by being plugged in to the matrix. About a year ago, I stumbled upon some thought-provoking drawings created by Carol Rossetti, Brazilian illustrator and graphic designer. Now I look forward to when her work pops up in my Facebook feed every week. Honestly, there hasn’t been one drawing that I haven’t fallen in love with for a variety of reasons.

All photos courtesy of carolrossetti.com.br

All photos courtesy of carolrossetti.com.br

You see, Rossetti’s work is all about empowering women of all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, orientations, lifestyles, and ways of thinking. On a first glance, her vibrant artwork is almost whimsical, but when you look again, and read the captions and stories she adds to each picture, you will see she is doing a lot more than just capturing a diverse collection of women. Rossetti’s focus is on women’s freedom to truly be themselves and not be defined by others. She says on her website:

“I feel very disturbed by the world’s attempts to control women’s bodies, behaviors and identities; so I’ve started a series of illustrations in a friendly tone hoping to reach people about how absurd this really is.”

Not only is Rossetti helping to show the beauty and strength of all women with her drawings and words, but with some help, she has had her stories translated into several languages, like English, Spanish, Arabic and more. If you scroll through her work and find that many of them resonate with your experience or those of your sisters, that’s because the artist makes sure careful research goes into each woman’s story.

I already know I need one of her prints framed in my home, but it’s so hard to choose JUST ONE! But there are worse problems to have, right? :-) So, yeah…if you’re trying to think of a cool gift to get Lizz, you know where to go! (Start shopping here!)

Check out these examples of her work below — a woman who rocks her afro with confidence, a lesbian who won’t be judged by her family, a little girl who happily kicks some butt in karate instead of ballet, a woman who flaunts her grey hair, a Muslim woman who’s proud of her hijab, and a full-figured woman who embraces her size by showing it off in a bikini. To take a look at more of her awesome drawings here.

Rossetti understands the impact of her work, to the extent of even offering black and white versions of her works for free when they will be used in public spaces to educate and highlight women’s stories.

Obrigada, Carol, for your beautiful drawings,

but even more for your generous celebration of diversity! 

 

LizzLoves Samar Minallah Khan July 6, 2015

Photo courtesy of samarminallahkhan.com

Photo courtesy of samarminallahkhan.com

More and more these days, I’ve been hearing both women and men say that feminism is not a women-only movement. It’s been interesting to see how men have added their voices and influence to the movement, and how women have engaged them and leveraged their involvement to fuel progress.

One such woman is filmmaker Samar Minallah Khan who has focused her work on bringing an old Pakistani practice to the spotlight — swara, where a daughter is given away as payment for a crime. After several years of studying the practice and its victims, Khan, who is an anthropologist and documentarian, produced a documentary in 2003 called Swara—A Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Her work initially addressed all sides of the practice, incorporating all voices just to give the full picture to educate viewers. However, what struck her most were the men who had the courage to refuse to give their daughters away. She told NPR:

“Men, too, face hurdles for speaking up and for challenging norms,” she says. “Standing up in the face of society and country expectations, that takes a lot of courage.”

And their bravery paid off. In 2004, Pakistan outlawed swara, making it illegal to give away daughters to compensate for crimes.

Khan was recently honored as one of five women honored with a Global Leadership Award by Vital Voices, a group founded by Hillary Clinton after the World Conference of Women in Beijing in 1995.

Thank you for your activism, Samar. I look forward to following your work that challenges norms and gives voice to untold stories!

 

LizzLoves Black Barbie Petition July 4, 2015

Filed under: activism,culture,education,girls — lizzloves @ 1:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Photo courtesy of Change.org

Photo courtesy of change.org

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find change.org petitions addictive. I get a few of them a week via email and, let me tell you, they can be a bit hard to ignore. There are so many great causes and the people behind them pull you in with their passion. But I like to be genuine and committed to things I sign, so I’ve managed to resist the urge to become too sign-happy. However, when I saw this recent petition about bringing diversity to the Barbie line, my mouse finger instantly started to itch to join the others who believed in this cause.

This new petition really resonated with me because I felt like Tessa, the young woman who started it, was telling a little bit of my own childhood story. I, too, was a little brown girl who grew up searching for dolls and images that looked more like me. Not only was I a Latina growing up in a predominately white town, but I was also adopted by a white family. My mom recalls me constantly looking for dolls that looked like me — the closest matches became Snow White with her black hair, a limited edition Hawaiian Barbie, and a “My Child” doll who looked like me…save for her green eyes. Needless to say, especially in the ’80s, it wasn’t easy to find a doll that looked like Little Lizz.

So, in some ways, it shocks me that this petition brings to light that diversity is still an issue with the Barbie line. How can it be, with such a long history and large profit, that Mattel has not made their dolls more ethnically diverse? While it could make a lot of little girls very happy, and that should be the priority…wouldn’t it also make them a lot more money? Even the “American Girl” line is way ahead of them. Come on, Mattel, get with the times!

I happily signed this petition for the little girl in me, and for all of the little girls who deserve dolls that look like them so their playtime imaginations can feature women of color in successful, adventurous roles. Will you sign, too?

Did you have dolls that looked like you when you were a little girl?

 

LizzLoves Women Coaching in the NBA August 8, 2014

Photo courtesy of WNBA

Becky Hammon, Photo courtesy of WNBA

Did your jaw drop yesterday when you heard the news? Did you think this day would ever come? I have to be honest…I didn’t! As cool as I knew it would be for a woman to be a coach for an NBA team, I just couldn’t see it truly happening. But, yes folks, this week it was announced that Becky Hammon was hired as the first full-time female hire for an NBA coaching staff — as assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. In her own basketball career, Becky has been a standout — with nearly 16 seasons under her belt in the WNBA, and seven times as an All-Star. So the woman knows her stuff…and then some!

We can do air high-fives and hat tips to Becky, we should definitely also give shout-outs to a few women who paved the path for her to step into this prestigious role:

  • Most recently, Natalie Nakase, who coached the L.A. Clippers summer league this year, and cut her teeth 3 years ago as head coach of the Saitama Broncos in Japan, as the first female head coach in Japanese men’s professional basketball.
  • Nancy Lieberman, who coached the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League team in 2009
  • Lisa Boyer, a volunteer assistant on Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff in 2001-02.
Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

But Becky Hammon said it best:

“There’s women that have trail-blazed much bigger paths and really trail-blazed the path for things like this to happen. There’s a lot more important things going on, in the bigger things, CEOs of companies. Women are really in every area. They’re in the surgery rooms. They’re doctors. They’re lawyers. They’re COOs. So even me sitting here today to be able to have the playing experience that I had as a professional basketball player, women went before me to pave that trail. So I’m really just reaping benefits of all their hard work and labor.”

Much respect to Becky for acknowledging her sisters who have made it possible for her, and other women in the future, to use their skills, experience and passion for the game to lead other talented athletes to success.

 

LizzLoves Danica McKellar March 6, 2014

ImageRecently, I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of returning to school for a graduate degree. Yet, whenever I start to warm up to the idea, I suddenly remember…I have to take the GREs, and that means…MATH! Eeek!

Just the thought of taking any sort of Math test makes my stomach start to do flips like it did in AP Calculus in high school. Wait, let’s be clear, in no way am I bragging that I was in Calculus. I barely made the cut and, sadly,  I think I was the lowest performing student in that class. I tried my best, though! In my eyes, anyone who can rock a Math test or a sail through a word problem is kind of a hero to me.

So I was floored when I found out that Danica McKellar  is a Math geek and education advocate who swoons over solving equations and loves making math fun. Yes, that’s right, Winnie from the ’80s/’90s TV series, “The Wonder Years.” But she doesn’t just dabble in the digits—this doe-eyed actress studied mathematics at UCLA and graduated summa cum laude. Shoot, Danica even co-authored a mathematical physics theorem called The Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem!

Danica spreads her love for Math through her handful of books, which have a special focus on encouraging middle-school girls to dive in. Some of the whimsical titles include, Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail and Kiss my Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss. I’m loving her fun and creative contribution to encouraging girls to pursue STEM passions.

However, if you’re not down for some geometry or trigonometry, then maybe you just want to support Danica as she counts her steps…as one of the newest competitors on “Dancing With the Stars.” Who wants to bet that she’s already crunching the numbers about her odds for winning?

Hmm, maybe I should see if she’d be down to be my tutor when I start studying for the GREs…

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 376 other followers