Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

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

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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?