behavior

Innocence and Sensibility: A Child’s Innocence vs. A Parent’s Comfort

by Lanae St.John, a.k.a. The MamaSutra, board-certified sexologist with the American College of Sexologists and professor of human sexuality at City College of San Francisco. Originally published here.

Let’s examine an example of a position I hear often as it relates to childhood sexual education:

“Childhood is a protected state where they can learn new things slowly, once they’re mature enough to handle them.

That’s why I think a child has the right not to know some things. I think they have a right not to know about the horror of war, except in general terms, until they enter the teenage years. I think they have a right not to know about sexuality inside and out. I think they have a right to be told only in vague terms about their parents’ neuroses, marriages or love lives.

Once you open that door into the adult world, you see, children have a difficult time just being children. Childhood innocence has been taken from them.” (
Source: https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2014/08/childhood-innocence/)

Yes, children are innocent but here’s the problem with keeping them ignorant:

Adults are not innocent. So far trying to teach men not to rape isn’t working. We tell women how to lessen their chances of being raped, but even then they cannot avoid it completely. Which is a sad statement.








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Students Win 1st Place at International Ocean Film festival

by Daniel Polk, Director of Public Relations and Global Citizenship Program Coordinator of The Hamlin School. Originally published here.

On March 11, four dynamic Grade 7 filmmakers [of The Hamlin School] won first place in the middle school student section of the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival held in San Francisco, California. Allie, Avery, Dani, and Helena were recognized for their film, "Strawbucks." 

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Not Only a Pipeline: Schools as Carceral Sites

by Connie Wun, Founder/Director of Transformative Research: An Institute for Research and Social Transformation. Originally published here.

In this article, I argue that schools operate as multilayered sites that do more than funnel students into prison or prime them for incarceration. Schools are part and parcel of a US logic of punitive carcerality, positioning Black and Brown bodies under constant observation and scrutiny through the school’s architecture, policies, and practices. I examine the relation-ship that this logic has to Black girls and their experiences with school discipline, including their resistance to the conditions of schools as carceral sites.

Drawing from Black feminist theory (Richie, 1996) and critical prison studies (Rodriguez, 2006), I collected data via participant observations and in-depth interviews at Foundations High School, located in northern California.1,2 Based upon a qualitative study of 20 Black and Latinx girls and their experiences with school discipline, this paper focuses on three girls whose narratives exemplify the experiences that they and their peers have with school discipline and punishment.

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Let's Welcome Alena, our Impact Development Director 

by Alena, Impact Development Director of Willpowered Woman. Originally published here.

My name is Alena and I’m from Russia. I joined Willpowered Woman as Impact Development Director last month. I have more than 5 years of experience in nonprofit organizations and have a diploma in social psychology and economics. Unfortunately, intimate partner abuse is paid very little attention in my Country. There aren’t any crisis centers or women’s shelter to help survivors. Recently, a law was passed by our Government that decriminalizes intimate partner violence. If a woman involves the Police for the first time, a man will not suffer any punishment. Growing up in Russia, women are brought up under different stereotypes: women should cook, clean the house and care for children, but men need to rest after work; the message is frequently communicated that if a woman isn’t married and doesn’t have children, she will be unhappy and have a sad life. There are a lot of women in Russia who think it’s normal if their husband hurts or humiliates them.

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Teen Stealing Alcohol From Parents—And What You Can Do About It

by Dr. Carol Langlois, originally published on Your Teen Magazine here

Teen Caught Stealing Alcohol From Parents

Dear Your Teen:

My 17-year-old stole alcohol from our home to drink with her friends. This is the second time she’s done this. How should I respond?




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Real Talk: On Empowering Girls & Women

by Emily Frost, Founder of Love Your Nature, originally published on Youth Passageways blog here


Take a moment to remember your teen years. Think back to your first sexual encounters. Remember your body, your environment, the people you were with. Paint the picture. What did it feel like? How do you feel now, trying to remember? 

If you’re a woman reading this, you’re probably connecting to some awkward if not terrible memories. Most of us had mostly not-great sex before we were 20, have been coerced, assaulted, raped, or don’t remember our first sexual experiences because of substance use. Any of this sounding familiar? You are not alone. In fact, you’re a lot like almost every other woman on this planet. Perhaps you are man reading this, with daughters, sisters, or women in your life you love dearly, who already share or may come to know these same experiences. 

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Machismo's Vicious Reign in my Latinx Community

by Abigail Miranda, Youth Council Advisory Council member of That's Not Cool, a project of Futures Without Violence. Originally posted on ThatsNotCool.com

What is Machismo?

Machismo is a predominant “traditional” belief in Latinx communities that women are inferior to men. Machismo takes forms in various ways and often is culturally ingrained within Latinx communities. Machismo within our Latinx communities is most commonly presented in sets of heavily enforced gender norms and expectations. Often coming from “La mujer tiene que atender su hombre, porque es la mujer” (“The woman has to attend her man because she is the woman”) to “No seas lloron! Sos hombre!” (“Don’t be a crybaby! You’re a man”) Machismo has established oppressive standards that are harmful to both women and men. Machismo sets a strong practice that of which “hombres” have to comply to machismo and are expected to be hyper-masculine, intimidating, aggressive, and dominant. It is a strongly practiced and harmful belief system that not only maintains sexism as a habitual practice, but also ventures into violence, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia.


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Vague feedback of “Lacks Executive Presence” is blocking senior women’s advancement

by Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, Executive Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. A version of this article was first published in the Huffington Post here.


Two years ago, when Sheryl Sandberg launched the campaign to “Ban Bossy” for young girls, women also cheered. Many women have been called bossy, or the adult version of the word, at some time. While some women receive direct feedback to act differently, more often, they are just told they lack the executive presence or influence to advance to the C-suite. In many instances, that criticism reflects stereotypes about who makes good leaders. While a long-term solution is to block the reliance on stereotypes when speaking about and evaluating senior women, we need immediate action. My solution? A new campaign to advance women leaders: Ban “Executive Presence.”

“Executive Presence” is often defined as commanding a room, having gravitas or communicating decisively. This critical leadership characteristic is rarely based on demonstrated behaviors, but instead on whether others perceive you as having it.


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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Post by Smruti Aravind, former Video Editor of Career Girls. Originally published in Career Girls' blog here.


It’s National Women’s Health Week, and a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that our physical and mental health should be a priority, despite all our other responsibilities. It’s pretty straightforward to remember to schedule a checkup with your gynecologist, but navigating the maze of mental health can be more daunting.

The Alliance for Girls’ 4th Annual Conference featured a workshop that discussed tools you can use to make it easier. Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL, is an important component of academic and life success. SEL Tools can be put into practice beginning in grade school to help both girls and boys thrive, and are useful at any age.

You can practice the 5 core competencies of SEL by yourself, or in a small group:



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Menstruation in the 4th wave: How my period helped me find my (feminist) voice

by Emma Sachat, sophomore at Wheaton College and intern at the Red Web Foundation

In most cultures, a girl’s first period is emblematic of womanhood. Her first period not only indicates that she is fertile, but welcomes her into the world of women rather than girls. For me, my first period was not so sacred. I began to realize I was a woman not because I was met with admiration and respect, but because my body and my ability to menstruate were regarded as vulgar and obscene. My period marked my coming to womanhood in that I learned how I was meant to feel about being a menstruating woman. And it was because I was so angered by the old-world attitudes towards my period that I began to grow into my feminist-self and develop my feminist thought. My period marked the beginning of a new awareness of unjust attitudes and language regarding women.

Despite being slightly embarrassed when I came home to the raspberry-topped cupcakes my mother had made to commemorate my coming into “womanhood”, my period was not initially a source of shame. I did not share the horrific first-period story as do so many women--bleeding through white pants onto a classroom chair, staining a bathing suit. Rather, my first period was uneventful, almost, it seemed, of no consequence at all. I did not regard my period as a great source of shame, nor did I see any reason to. I did not question my own body and my right to menstruate and talk about menstruation openly until I found myself in the presence of boys at my coed high school.

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STOP

by Robin Weathers, Jenna Cheli, Jessie Marshall, and Soli Tays, students of Cloverdale High School who won Best High School Film at the Alexander Valley Film Society for their film, STOP


Insecurities are something that everyone faces no matter the age, race, or gender. This unifying theme connects us all together throughout generations and will continue to connect us. Then why do we target these insecurities within other people? Why are they one of the most frequently used topics to hurt others with? People throw words at each other that target these insecurities whether they know it or not. Friends even make comments to them as jokes. These jokes are sometimes the ones that hurt the most.


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The Duck Syndrome (Anxiety and Perfectionism Among Young)

by Carol Langlois, Teen Advocate: Youth, Culture & Self-Esteem Expert at Dr. Carol


Recently, I learned about the duck syndrome from a friend of mine at Stanford University. The duck syndrome is apparently running rampant at many colleges (and from my research) at many high schools as well. What is the duck syndrome? Well, think of the duck gliding along the water. She looks very serene, calm and pleasant. Then, look under the water and s/he is paddling frantically. That is the duck syndrome. Too many students on the outside are appearing calm, cool and collected while on the inside they are completely stressed out. As women, we want to see ourselves being able to have it all. To be the great student, great athlete, and well-liked by her peers, which typically means being social. But what price do we pay? Proving we can do it all has transformed into an ugly state of unattainable expectations and extremes, which are unhealthy for any girl of any age. It’s a recipe for disaster that goes against what feminism truly stands for.

I believe high school is where this syndrome starts to formulate. Many of the girls that suffer from the duck syndrome in college were probably “big fish in small pond” at their high school. Most teens want to be popular, and to be popular these days means that you can do it all. I see high school students staying up ridiculously late doing homework, always wanting the A, playing on one if not two sports teams, and also expecting to go out every weekend. All this can lead to anxiety, depression, and unhealthy habits. When they get to college, which could have 12 to 20,000 students, being big fish is not so easy anymore so the stakes get higher.



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From Body Hatred to Self-Love

by Connie Sobczak, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Body Positive, originally published in Media Planet


At age 19, I was forced to drop out of college by a life-threatening eating disorder, dashing my plans to become a computer engineer. Thankfully, I conquered bulimia and graduated from college. My sister Stephanie was not so lucky. Her obsession with thinness led to her death in her mid-30s, leaving two young children without a mother and our family shattered and grieving.

A Dangerous Path




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The "Crowding Out" Effect

by Michelle Wong, Alumna of Lowell High School and of AAUWSF's Tech Trek Science Camp


As my AP Physics C teacher begins to explain a problem, the classroom of six female students and twenty ­three male students is attentively listening.

A mistake!

I had noticed that my teacher had skipped a line of work on the whiteboard. I thought to myself, did anyone else catch that? I looked around the room. Why hasn’t anyone else spoken up?

I kept asking myself these questions until one of my male classmates, who is a particularly frequent participant in the class, raised his hand and pointed out the mistake I had noticed before.





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Title IX: A Perspective

by Keasara "Kiki" Williams of Equal Rights Advocates, reposted from her original post


Today is the 43rd anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that has opened up more doors for me than I ever could have imagined.  Title IX gave me the opportunity to start playing sports at a young age and all the way through college, providing me with invaluable opportunities and experiences that have shaped the woman and advocate I have become, as it has for countless other girls and young women.  And now, Title IX has become the focus of my work at Equal Rights Advocates, where my passion for working with young female students has been reignited and fuels all the exciting work we are doing to achieve the gender equity goals set by Title IX more than 40 years ago.

I have been particularly inspired by our work with BHS Stop Harassing, a student group from Berkeley High School that formed after multiple complaints of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault were inappropriately handled by Berkeley Unified School District.  By coming together and taking a stand, BHS Stop Harassing succeeded in getting the district to change its harassment and discrimination policies, all while spreading the word about Title IX through teach-ins with their fellow students. Check out this moving film about their valiant efforts!

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Practicing Self-Love

by Sara Cerami, Senior at Berkeley High School & President of the school's Body Positive Club


In high school, the pressure to fit in intertwines with stigmatization, creating an experience of body shame and guilt for far too many students. Unfortunately, many do not escape the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy created by our culture’s narrow perception of beauty. High school serves to amplify this cultural toxicity. Judgment and constant comparison permeate my high school’s atmosphere, making it difficult to see and declare one’s authentic beauty. I experienced this type of judgment and internalized it, which led to body hatred and self-deprecation.

However, I thankfully found The Body Positive and learned that it was possible to be free to love myself holistically; in a way where I no longer needed to try to fit a malleable, ever-changing beauty standard. My confidence grew and I started being authentically myself without shame. Learning about intuitive self-care made me recognize how important it is to treat myself kindly and with care in order to be able to accomplish all that is possible in my life. I am a strong feminist, and I realized that if I could not respect my own body and mind, I could never help other women find empowerment. This awareness motivated me to create a foundation of self-love, and to reach out to those who have not yet developed theirs.

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Why do girls apologize for everything? Stop saying you're sorry!

by Carol Langlois of Dr. Carol


When a person says they are sorry, they are telling someone that they are remorseful. The message sent is that they feel badly for what they have done. The word sorry isn’t hard to say for many people, but for some people, mainly young women, they seem to say sorry way too often. The big question is: Why do young girls feel it is necessary to say sorry for things that don’t require an apology?

Generally speaking, girls are typically more apologetic than boys, but it doesn’t mean they are any more remorseful. Girls seem to give out apologies within the broader context of a conversation, where boys typically do not. There is also a cultural expectation that girls will be more accommodating than boys, and sadly many girls live up to that expectation. Overtime, apologies become repetitive, habit-forming and expected by others. Girls can lose sight of why they are even apologizing.



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