For two years, I worked in a bookstore that was aimed primarily at children and teenagers. It was a job I quite enjoyed, but I quickly discovered that when you work near books, people always want to tell you their opinions on said books. That's fine most of the time. But I noticed a pattern when parents or adults would refer to The Hunger Games series. They would express dismay over a child wanting to read the book, wondering what they saw in it, and either implicitly or explicitly stating that they thought the book was not good for youth to be reading.
What struck me about these conversations was that ninety-nine percent of the time, the adult in question had not even read the book they were criticizing. They dismissed it, either as inappropriate trash or as mindless fiction without ever actually seeing what it had to say.
Our societies are chock full of norms and ideals of beauty, and we all run up against them eventually. These norms and expectations often have a hand in shaping how we feel about our own bodies. When you're a teen and trying to sort out how to feel comfortable in your changing body, these messages can be very potent indeed.
So, what can you do - and what shouldn't you do - to help teens feel at home in their own skin?
I saw a young woman the other day who was in her late teens.
I'm 15. Okay, so I do swimming squad, and sometimes it's embarrassing wearing bathers, cause of pubic hair. I don't know how to get rid of it. Like once I was at my friends house, and she is obsessed with sex, so she watches porn, and I saw some too, and the women have no pubic hair whatsoever! And I get really bothered about that....
I really wanted to love Lily Allen’s new song and video, “Hard Out Here."
It’s about time for an empowering, feminist response to “Blurred Lines” in the mainstream music industry. As much as I wish Allen’s song was the answer we’ve been waiting for, it’s truly not.
This woman’s body just produced a tiny, squirming human being—we should celebrate it for this incredible feat! Instead, the media chooses to focus on presumed “flaws" of a person's body post-pregnancy, encouraging Kate—and women like her—to return (and immediately: do not pass go, do not collect $200) to the body she inhabited before she gave birth.
For many young people, Robin Thicke’s hit single "Blurred Lines" has become the anthem of the summer. Recently topping the Billboard Hot 100 list and rising to the position of most-downloaded song on iTunes, “Blurred Lines” seems to be thumping out of every stereo speaker on the planet. And for good reason -- it’s a very catchy song, with a strong beat and ostensibly fun lyrics.