Sexy…Cecil?

I’m pretty sure that when Cecil the Lion was murdered by illegal poachers headed by an American dentist, it wasn’t for his sex appeal.  And yet with months to go before Halloween, the first Sexy Cecil the Lion costume is yours for  a few bills….

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….with a cut to go to animal conservation of course….

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which makes it all okay. No, not really.  Please, Halloween responsibly.

Here, Ladies, Don’t Spend It All on Shoes

I came across this super cute ad from Australia’s ANZ Bank where little girls detail a world that seems weighted on their failure.  The depressing facts are spoken in sweetly by girls in some fantasy room, drenched with sunbeams and piled with books.  To top it off, there’s one tough little grasshopper who wants youth know how strong these girls can be.

Nice, right?  The ad is a part of a campaign by ANZ Bank to address the gender wage gap.  In addition to the ad, their announced they will be adding and extra $500 to the annuity funds of each of their 12,700 Australian female employees. That’s 6.3 million dollars  for the ladies: bonus!

Now I love free money as much as the next, and the bank is clearly articulating that they know the wage gap exists-soooo with you! As a woman that earns a wage, I’d rather be paid fairly–every year–than receive a lady-boys to make up for it.  That seems like a booby prize to me.  I wager I’m not the only woman who wants  wage equity, not a handout.

 

The Lavender Aisle

This week mega-retailer Target announced that it will be doing away with gender signage in the children toy,entertainment, and home goods department.  The move comes after parents complained about the pink aisle, a pink fluffy princess zone full of all things sugar and spice and everything nice.  How do you grow up to love math, or science, or reading, or adventure if the only toys and goodies you see are focused on looking pretty and dressing up?  You can’t.

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I grew up with three brothers and I never wanted to be left behind because I was a girl.  Seeing my older brothers as role models meant I saw worlds of possibility blocked from the view of the pink isle.  Now all girls, with brothers or not will see a world of play more like the real world that they will grow into.  Boys likewise will be freed from early training in hyper masculinity and have new opportunities for play and imagination–like this sweet easy bake oven.

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Let’s hope target is just the first of many stores that open up the traditionally binding boundaries of gender in boys and girls play and products.  Here’s to more lavender!

A Year Without Sleep

This week marks the one year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown.  The recent graduate was walking down the street when he encountered former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.  Three minutes later he was dead.  Within hours of his death the first protests formed on the very street he was shot on.  The protests have not stopped since.

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Nor have the deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of the state.  The last year has seen the largest number of people killed by police, even as the nation has paid more attention to the issue, and the calls for action have been the loudest  in decades. For anyone passing through America’s race problems unaware, this year provides an answer to a question that floated gently over America on the night of Obama’s first election–is racism over?–with an emphatic no.

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From streets echoing with cries for justice to politricks and cable news echoing with old school racism, this past year has served to shake the sleepy giant of the American masses from their slumber  and awaken it from its dream of racial harmony.  Americans wake to find some of we the people are suffering the outrageous slings and arrows of white supremacy.  They wake to see young leaders of the new civil rights movement taking up the arms of protest against a sea of troubles.

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Even as republican presidential candidates bemoan the rise of political correctness, we sail past the tipping point, unlikely to make a full return to times when it is acceptable–and sometime good fun, wink, wink–to disparage blacks openly in the media. Significant because behind the battle over the words we use floats the scepter of power, hanging in the balance as the country moves towards a majority minority population. Make no mistake, this new world we find ourself in is not the promised land, but the wide murky territory between what we used to be and what we ought to be, a land full of deadly mines, traps and open warfare.

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photo credit: Tim Pierce, https://www.flickr.com/photos/qwrrty/15353495103/

Being awake this year has been difficult at some times, soul-crushing others.  Bearing witness and speaking truth and two heavy burdens born by the conscious.  It does not alway feel good to be awake, but to close your eyes to the reality of the world you pass through isn’t really living.  To ignore the oppression of the people of your own nation stands as treason to the dream of a people created equal. So stay up, and pay tribute to the life of Michael Brown with eyes that stay open.