Let’s rethink what it means to do something “like a girl.”
By: Analiese Long
The United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world. About 16 million women 15–19 years old give birth each year, about 11% of all births worldwide. Half of all adolescent births occur in just seven countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and the United States. The United States is considered a high-income country where the rest of these countries are considered low to middle-income countries. Higher income countries tend to have lower rates of teenage pregnancy.
Why does the Unites States break this cycle? My theory is lack of information about pregnancy with young adults is a huge factor. Mississippi has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country at 90/1,000 teens. If you then review the educational laws of the state you will find that Mississippi does not mandate sex education in schools. This state also does not mandate HIV education. Texas is the state with the second highest teen pregnancy rates in the country with 85/1,000 teens. The sex education laws in Texas do not mandate sex education in schools just like Mississippi nor does it mandate HIV education. If you then go to the third state with the highest rate of teen pregnancy, which is Nevada, you find some abnormalities. Nevada’s state sex education laws mandate sex education and HIV education in schools. There is a catch; although the state does mandate this education it is not given set requirements for content being taught. I believe these findings definitely say a lot about our teens’ levels of education.
Do not forget that it is incredibly important to educate yourself, ask questions, and be curious about your body and everything else that comes along with healthy relationships. Learn as much as you can to avoid being just another statistic!
By: Sierra De La Garza
“If she’s not pretty, she’s a tomboy/nerd”
“If she is really pretty, she’s empty headed.”
“If she’s not married, she’s a loser.”
These are just some examples of social stigmas–or: stereotypes/labels that females are societally forced to “live up to” or put up against. Social stigmas are based on assumptions, labels, and discrimination. Of course these are not true, but unfortunately, there are a lot of stigmas that revolve around females. For instance, there’s the stigma of girls on their periods, that implies they are really dirty. There are studies on this, and one study, in Uganda, says a lot of girls miss school, aren’t allowed to go into religious facilities, and are sometimes confined to home, all because they are perceived to be “dirty.” But this is not true! We all know that menstruation is a natural process of the body. Luckily some groups go to these schools to educate girls about menstruation and give out sanitary pads.
Another controversial stigma revolving around women is that females don’t masturbate. There is actually a movement about this, claiming there is a double standard. In male culture, it is done and talked about often, which is mostly accepted, yet with females, masturbation is a taboo subject, or a topic that would be shameful to talk about. Like menstruation, masturbation is a natural response of the body and desires.
So, if you caught on, stigmas are based on ignorance and used when encountering differences. One great example comes from the popular musical “Wicked.” The character Elphaba was born green, and the citizens of Oz labeled her as evil. All through her life she had social challenges, obstacles, and faced rejection because of the social stigma people put to her. She was not evil, but in the end because of that generalization and how people treated her, that was who she came to be.
So, with females there are many social stigmas including whether or not a woman is married, is overweight or underweight, is sexually active or not, is intellectually stimulated or not, and so many others. But there are ways to break them! One way is to simply talk to people about social stigmas and create awareness of the issue. Eventually, you will start to make a change!
By: Sierra De La Garza
We’ve all heard of stereotypes. Stereotyping happens when people overgeneralize a certain type of person due to their race, religion, gender, sexuality, age, etc. But what is social stigma? It is a stereotype that is thrust upon a person socially in a community; whether it’s done subconsciously or consciously. Simply put, it’s prejudice and discrimination.
One racial example of social stigma would be to automatically assume that Asians naturally excel in their studies. Following this line of thinking would lead people to be surprised if Asians did not excel in their studies. Social stigmas attempt to force people into “fitting into” or “living up” to certain stereotypes.
Scientists don’t know exactly why social stigmas are generated, but there are hypotheses that suggest it’s instinctual for our human brains to try to make social sense of our place in society. By doing this, our brains are attempting to subconsciously take some form of control. Maybe if we “put a label” on people, it instinctually helps our brains put together order about our surroundings. This also ties in with instinctual protection of one’s self esteem.
In fact,“Stigmatized individuals may deliberately avoid comparisons with advantaged group members because they know such comparisons would have painful consequences for self-esteem.” Comparing ourselves with a “better” or “cooler” group is avoided because our shortcomings, or “lameness,” would painfully stand out.
Ultimately, social stigmas employ stereotypes and assumptions, which aren’t necessarily true, and usually negative. It is our subconscious brain trying to make sense by organizing people into categories.
For more information, see below:
By: Skylar Ozoh
Word of advice ladies, being sleep-deprived is not attractive–literally! Sleep deprivation can cause wrinkles, dark circles and breakouts–and I know many women prefer to keep their flawless skin. For those of you who don’t care about your outward appearance, then hopefully you care about your inward appearance. Losing a lot of sleep for a long period of time can lead to all kinds of chronic diseases–heart disease being the most common in women. Just think–eight hours of beauty sleep each night can decrease your risk for heart disease! I know a lot of women and teens have commitments that keep them from getting eight full hours of sleep each night, myself included. So here are some tips to getting more sleep so can maintain your beauty, both inside and out.
- Set a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time every day: Your body needs a schedule to follow. By adjusting your body to go to bed and go to sleep at the same time, even on weekends, you’ll be able to get into bed and fall asleep faster.
- Nap to make up for lost sleep: People do not know how amazing napping is! Just thirty minutes of shut eye and your body can do a quick recharge. Just make sure you don’t nap too long or you’ll wake up even more tired than before.
- Fight after-dinner drowsiness : Feeling sleepy after eating is natural, but you have to fight it ladies! You don’t want to fall asleep too early and then when it’s time to go to bed you lay in bed wide-awake.
- Get things done earlier: Procrastination can be a big issue for many people. A lot of hard working women and teens have had their fair share of all-nighters to get things done. Let’s try to get things done in advance so you can lower your stress level and get more sleep.
- Visit the doctor: If you’ve tried everything to go to sleep but nothing is working, go to your doctor, it may be the cause of different sleep disorders that need to be diagnosed and treated.
So what are you waiting for? Throw on your cute pajamas and get your beauty rest on!
By: Nushrat Jahan
Title IX was incredibly essential in increasing female participation in school sports programs. Title IX allowed for equal participation in sports from both genders and was important in a time where only 1 in 27 women were involved in athletics.
TIME recently released a video in honor of the 42nd anniversary of Title IX, criticizing the bill for some of its more contemporary repercussions. In the video, Christina Hoff Sommers admired the original law. However, she’s wary of the additions made to it by the National Women’s Law Center and the Women’s Sports Foundation that concern quotas. There’s many ways for schools to make their athletics programs equally accessible to both genders, but Sommers claims that “The regulations are murky and ever-changing, leaving most schools to scramble to the only safe harbor: Proportionality.”
There are many other alternatives to the quota system. The amendment to Title IX states that “Nothing contained in subsection (a) of this section shall be interpreted to require any educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to the members of one sex on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of that sex participating in or receiving the benefits of any federally supported program or activity, in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons of that sex in any community, State, section, or other area.” Subsection (a) includes national Boys and Girls conferences that are under university funding, which does give more leniency to schools in how they distribute their funds.
The issue here is that in the attempt to accurately represent the female population in an athletic program, schools often have to allocate their funds from male athletic programs. Sommers also brings up how there is not enough expressed interest from women to actually reach the quota they need. Many men believe that they’re getting cut from sports and that their sports are losing resources as well because of a school’s efforts to include women. It is unfortunate that there are not enough funds to satisfy both sides of the coin and men have had some of their funding taken away from them to develop women’s athletic leagues. However, the question still stands: are women not entitled enough to have a well-developed athletic league of their own?
By: Nushrat Jahan
The topic of sexual assault on college campuses has recently become a huge issue. Recently, the U.S Department of Education released a list of 55 universities that are currently being investigated for sexual violence.
Title IX, while mandating that educational programs do not discriminate against students based on gender, also requires schools to take the action necessary in cases of sexual harassment or sexual violence and treat the situation as a crime. However, the list released is indicative of how there is a possibility that many colleges have not been treating cases of sexual violence with the proper care victims deserve. A school being on the list does not mean the school is actually in violation of federal law; for now they are only being investigated to make sure that they are indeed in compliance with Title IX.
RTI International surveyed 5,446 undergraduate women at two different public universities and statistics show that of that group, only 96 of them have never experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault. With something that so many students all over the country experience, it is essential that schools handle the situations appropriately with counseling, actually treating the case as a crime, not excusing the actions of the accused perpetrator, and above all, doing whatever is necessary to help the victim continue his or her education.
Joining social activism groups on college campuses is a great way to raise awareness of social issues such as sexual harassment and sexual discrimination and also pushes schools to improve their social services for victims of sexual harassment. Many schools have created task forces to address the sexual assault policies they currently have, such as Harvard University’s student based group “Our Harvard Can Do Better.” Many other universities have similar programs and getting involved means hearing the stories of sexual harassment victims and banding together to fight for an improvement to school policy. There are nationally recognized groups such as “End Rape on Campus” that are also working to help colleges with sexual assault complaints.
Know that sexual assault is recognized as a crime, and it is a damaging crime at that. Many victims of sexual assault require counseling and professional help to overcome the trauma of their situation, and might even need medical attention. If you, or someone you know, is a victim of sexual assault, report the case to a law enforcement official. The National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE, is available to help victims through the legal process or provide professional help.