New York Times Opinion Pages

To the Editor:

Re “To Stop Violence, Start at Home” (Op-Ed, Feb. 4):

The data-driven position laid forth by Pamela Shifman and Salamishah Tillet creates a powerful case for empowering girls from a young age to embrace their role as catalysts for change at the individual and societal levels.

When a girl understands and recognizes her right to be safe, respected and supported in all relationships, she is a direct challenge to the threat of violence. Investing in education to help girls understand that they have value and that women and men have the same rights increases the likelihood that they will be able to recognize and extricate themselves from risky situations, and advocate for education and resources for others to do the same.

This does not take the responsibility away from boys and men to do their part; rather, it reflects the potential for a greater shift in society. It is only when women and girls are seen as fully equal and deserving of opportunity that the biases too often at the root of gender-based violence will cease.

The presence of strong, independent women, and particularly minority women, in more lives is critical to the internalization of gender equality as the norm and violence as unacceptable.

JUDY VREDENBURGH

President and Chief Executive Girls Inc.

New York

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/opinion/women-girls-and-violence.html?_r=1

It doesn’t come out until February 9, but the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is getting a lot of attention, and plus-sized models are stealing the show. But not everyone is happy with the way these women are being portrayed.

WREG asked women what they thought of the picture of plus-size model Ashley Graham.

Erin Perry said, “I think this looks like a regular woman.”

Nikki Lassiter added, “She is a normal, everyday girl, in a bathing suit.”

Robyn Trujillo said, “That’s not plus-size to me at all.”

Graham is modeling for a bathing suit company stressing that bodies come in every shape.

Folks with Girls Inc. are focused on healthy body images, and they work with girls to teach them how to read through the advertising.

Lindsey Stanfill said, “They look at this and say what is the underlying message? Who are we trying to sell things to? They can recognize what is realistic and what is unrealistic.”

Stanfill says girls are bombarded with images of unrealistic women every day, and it can affect their self-esteem when they don’t see that same image looking back at them in the mirror. But through efforts like Girls Inc., they learn that every body is beautiful, and the images in Sports Illustrated echo that.

“When they see images like that, they know how to react to them,” she said.

Women we talked to say this one ad is a step in the right direction.

Lassiter said, “At least they are moving in the direction of putting normal looking women in magazines.”

She says models like Graham should be who we see splashed on the pages of these magazines every day instead of the Photoshopped girls who tend to land on the cover.

Source: http://wreg.com/2015/02/05/regular-sized-women-cause-a-splash-in-sports-illustrated-swimsuit-edition/

Testimonials

I was very shy and didn’t speak to anyone or interact with others much. I love to read, have natural hair, have been called weird. I came to Girls Inc. and because I was accepted the way I am, I came out of my shell. I tried new things, I have found my voice. - Rahni


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