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Letting Go of False Perceptions

By Julia Blue

Three years ago, life served up a massive dose of serendipity when I happened to end up seated next to McArthur Krishna and her husband while flying home from work.   You know how sometimes you meet someone and right away, you know you are in the presence of an extraordinarily special person? That’s how …

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Dressing down the dress code

By Shelah Miner

A few days before school started, my daughter Annie and I joined the kids and their parents who filled the school auditorium for seventh-grade orientation, excited and expectant, as the principal and assistant principal prepped us on school policies. They spent a lot of time on the dress code: “Girls, listen up, because our dress code violators are almost always girls. Nothing sleeveless at all. Even if it’s not a tank top. If it doesn’t have sleeves, you’ll be wearing the scrubs. If your skirt or shorts are more than five inches above your knees, you’ll be wearing the scrubs. Some girls last year used to think that it was okay to walk around looking wearing leggings, looking like Kim Kardashian or Buddy the Elf, but if you wear leggings this year, you’ll be wearing the scrubs. Same with sheer tops, even if you wear a tank top underneath. ” Cheerleaders (in tank tops and tiny skirts) shared the stage with the administrators as they explained the policy.

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She had her first day of school outfit planned weeks in advance– a black skater skirt measuring exactly three inches above the knees, a colorful t-shirt, and ballet flats. They sat on the chair in her room, a signal that summer was drawing to an end.

I greeted her at the door when she got home after school, “How was your first day?”

“Fine.”

She was quiet. Too quiet. Something was up.

“Was it good to see your friends again?”

“Yeah. . . . But I think I almost got in trouble.”

Annie isn’t a girl who gets in trouble. She would probably do just about anything to avoid being in trouble. “Really? What happened?”

“I was walking down the hall, and this guy, a teacher but I don’t know which one, called out to me and said that my skirt looked too short.”

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Oh, Girls Camp

By Sarita Rich

As that time of year approaches again, (or, because it may have happened already, depending on your stake/location) I fondly recall my first Girls Camp as a green YW counselor… I thought there might be body odor and ticks, greasy hair and flatulence, and unflattering color-coordinating t-shirts designating our ranks and unit numbers. There might …

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A Girls’ Game

By Marilyn Bushman-Carlton

The fathers think of soccer as the usual battlefield. They expect to see warriors where little girls were. From beside the sweet crushed grass by the equator of the field where they watch their own daughters hesitate, lend a hand to another who is down, and hear, Oh, sorry! No, YOU go ahead! rise like …

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Beauty In The Age Of Plastics

By Leslie Graff

legsI didn’t have many Barbies growing up. The ones I did have were gifts from friends at birthday parties because my mother was never especially keen on Barbie’s exaggerated, oversexed proportions (part of my parents larger plan to do their darndest to teach me to fill my head more than my closet).   As a mother of all boys, (none of whom have recieved them as birthday gifts) I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve had much time with Barbie.  A few months ago, while chatting with a friend and picked up two of the Barbies, bereft of clothing, which had been strewn across the floor by her house full of daughters.  I eyed the two denuded Barbies.  One was traditional Barbie, the Barbie of my youth, and the second was Barbie plus… Barbie plus Dr. 90210 that is.

Pairing the two for closer inspection it was obvious Barbie plus had been nipped and augmented at every curve from her decidedly Brazilian derriere to her obviously silicone “amendments”. Her calves and ankles were skinnier,  her brows lifted.  Normal Barbie has always been freakishly disproportionate, but this doll had no resemblance to normal womanly features. No supple, subtle gracious curves like those of  the nude marble Greek sculptures I used to draw in my art musuem classes, simply an awkward conglomeration of classically fake “plastic surgery” features.  Don’t get me wrong plastic surgeons can do amazing things.  I have witnessed first hand over 1000 reconstructive plastics procedures on medical missions.  I’ve sat with a 17 year old boy as he looked in a mirror for the first time following a cleft lip repair and cried with relief because he said someone would marry him now. I’ve seen it at it’s height of  transformativeness and it excessive lows of shallow vanity. 

Over vacation, I watched an old Sinatra flick, Pal Joey, with my sister.  I stared at the curvaceous women, a stark reminder of where we’ve come in our lean idealization of the female form, no more glory for the Rubens-esque. My sister then commented on her recent observance of Linda Carter’s very womanly Wonder Woman physique.  Wow, my legs would’ve fit right in, I could’ve made it in a late 50’s nightclub or better yet as a lassoing superheroine.  Still today as a decidely confident woman, I feel some apologetic twinges of self consciousness as I peel down at the beach.

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