Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Make a New Start Week!

Hey, girls! It's Make a New Start Week at By the end of this week, we'll have welcomed the year 2009! It's the perfect time to make goals for the next year and to think about everything that happened in 2008.

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? What will you always remember about 2008? Leave a comment here or at to share your thoughts with us!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Joyous Kwanzaa!

Today is the last day of Winter Holidays Week at, but the first day of the celebration of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a seven-day festival honoring African culture, values, and history. You can learn more from this write-up on And if you celebrate Kwanzaa or know some interesting facts about it, stop by to leave a comment here or on the article on!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Moon Girls bring hope for the holidays!

Hey, girls! Today, a website for women that has 25.5 million visitors every month, is running an inspirational slide show with quotes from YOU! Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts about the holidays. You can see the slideshow here.

And don't forget that it's Winter Holidays Week at, featuring YOUR holiday stories and traditions all week!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

It's Winter Holidays Week at, and today we're celebrating the first full day of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrating the Jews' victory against persecution from the Greeks thousands of years ago. You can learn more about this holiday and celebrate with us here.

Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Review: The Year The Swallows Came Early by Katherine FitzMaurice.

Hey, girls! Two of New Moon Girls' Launch Board Members, Pammy and Alexa, got their hands on advance copies of The Year the Swallows Came Early by Katherine FitzMaurice, which will go on sale February 3rd, 2009. Here's what they had to say about it!

Book Review: The Year The Swallows Came Early by Katherine FitzMaurice.

Book Review #1

Groovy Robinson is not fortunate enough to have what she considers a normal life for an 11-year-old. When Groovy watches as her father is taken away in a police car, she is stunned. Later, she is even more astonished when she recalls this scene for her mother, and her mother reveals that she's the one who called the police. As it turns out, Groovy’s dad had stolen $25,000 from a bank account that was left for Groovy by her great-grandmother, Eleanor, after whom she was named. (Groovy is her nickname.) She is utterly devastated: that money was rightfully hers; she even knew what she was going to do with it--go to cooking school.

She begins to make chocolate-covered strawberries to earn the money to make sure her dreams can still become a reality. Eventually Groovy’s dad is put on probation, and he begins to plan how he will be paying her back. This book brings out important concepts and ideas that from which we can learn. We learn the beauty in our dreams and the power of friendship and family. And we understand that women are strong enough to survive hardships, and support themselves and each other.

- Review by Pammy, Launch Board / Luna's Online Board member

Book Review #2

Eleanor Robinison--usually known as Groovy--has a best friend named Frankie, a famous late great-grandmother, a dad who can't seem to hold down a job, and a passion for cooking. A lot changes with all of those things one year--the year the swallows came early, as it's later called. The Year the Swallows Came Early, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, is a witty tale, narrated by Groovy herself.

Groovy lives in a town where a large group of swallows pass every year. It is the highlight of her small village. Year after year, the swallows come up to the local mission, and many tourists come to see them as well. There's even a local restaurant called the Swallow, which Frankie's stepbrother Luis owns. Groovy helps cook there often and hopes to go to a real culinary school when she's grown. Frankie lives with Luis, as his mother and stepfather left for a short "trip" many years ago. Groovy is very close to her father, who gave her her nickname when she was a toddler. She lives with her father and mother, who don't really get along. He mother works in a hair salon and lives by her horoscope.

As the story begins, Groovy is out with her father, when he is taken away by a police car, and Groovy doesn't know why. That question is answered, but many others are also formed. Groovy learns that her great-grandmother (who she was named for) was a very famous science fiction writer. There are many exciting plot twists that keep the story moving. Groovy, Frankie, and some new friends embark on a quest to find out the truth about who a person really is, both together and by themselves.

The Year the Swallows Came Early is a clever, sweet story with many metaphors and relations to family today. I recommend it to anyone, particularly girls ages 9 to 13.

- Review by Alexa, Launch Board / Luna's Online Board member

You can read more about the authors on the Spotlight page at

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Thoughts from Girls

Recently, some of the editors at, a website for women, visited and were impressed by what girls had to say about the holidays. They said they'd love to run a short piece on their site about girls "thoughts about the holiday season," and I invite you to share your thoughts with them if you'd like. It's a great way to let more people know what girls REALLY think.
Some questions to get you started: what winter holiday do you celebrate? What about this holiday is meaningful to you? What are some of the special things about the holidays that can't be bought? If you could ask for ANYTHING this year (like an end to hunger, peace on earth, etc.), what would you ask for? The TV commercials would have us believing this time of year is about "buy buy buy!", but what does it mean to you?
If you're interested in sending a response, please leave a comment on this post, along with your age. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Hey, girls! Today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. Go ahead and indulge today by adding chocolate to your normal snack foods--you can dip pretzels, crackers, or fruit in melted chocolate or chocolate sauce. For those of you health nuts, dark chocolate has even been shown to have health benefits such as antioxidants.

Leave a comment over at with what your favorite chocolate-covered treats are and get ideas for new combinations from other girls.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Caroline Kennedy: Future New York Senator?

It was announced today that Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former president John F. Kennedy, is hoping to fill the New York Senate seat left vacant by Hilary Clinton. A native New Yorker and democrat, she has previously worked for the New York City Department of Education and is currently the Vice Chair of The Fund for Public Schools, a non-profit that raises money for New York City schools. Her uncle, Robert Kennedy, filled the Senate seat for New York in the 1960s.

What do you girls think about Ms. Kennedy's bid for Senator? Do you think that her family's history in politics will play a large part in whether or not she is chosen for the position? Give your opinion on The Great Debate board over at!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights

It's Human Rights Week! The UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights is the highest human rights prize awarded by the UN and is handed out every five years. This year, the prize was awarded to 7 people, with 4 of the recipients named being women.

Louise Arbour
Ms. Arbour is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice for the Canadian Supreme Court, and former Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.

Dr. Carolyn Gomes
Ms. Gomes is a medical doctor and co-founder and executive director of the activist organization Jamaicans for Justice.

Sister Dorothy Stang
Dorothy Stang was a nun who spent her life working for equality in Brazil and the Amazon region. Besides working with the poor people living in those regions, she also supported environmental stewardship. She was killed in 2005 by people who opposed her views

Benazir Bhutto
Ms. Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who died earlier this year. She was the first, and currently only, woman to hold the position of prime minister in Pakistan.

What extraordinary woman have had an impact in your life? Visit this week to read more about Human Rights.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today is Human Rights Day!

December 10 is Human Rights Day, and it's Human Rights Week at!

Human Rights are fundamental rights to which every human being is entitled. These rights are meant to let people live happy and safe lives. Here is a video produced by the Youth for Human Rights Campaign:

Worldwide, many people's basic Human Rights are often compromised. Today, check out the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Know what your rights are as a human, and speak up whenever you see any other person' rights being compromised.

Check out the Spotlight Hub at this week to read more Human Rights and what girls like you are doing to protect them!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Earth Day Photography Competition! Earth Day Photography Competition!

Do you recycle? Compost? If you're involved with environmental activism in your community and enjoy taking pictures, enter the Earth Day Photography Contest!

Earth Day is on April 22, but is planning ahead. Submit your own photos of environmental activism, and we'll post them on A few might even get published in New Moon Girls Magazine!

You can read all of the rules as well as how to submit your photos here at Also, discuss ways to improve the environment with other girls at the "I'm the Change" message board at

Friday, December 5, 2008

Vote for! needs your support! Click the above banner to nominate for The Crunchies 2008 Awards.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saving Money

It's Money Week at! Personal finance management is an important topic to think about, especially since women have traditionally had a more difficult being financially independent from men. It's important to develop good saving habits and strategies early on in your life, so that you can be financially secure later on! Here are a few tips for saving and spending:

1. Keep track of where your money comes from, and also where it's going. Each time you are about to make a purchase, ask yourself if it's something that you really need or want.

2. Make saving money a priority. Every time you get an allowance or receive money from a relative for a holiday or birthday, choose to save a percentage of the total amount (such as half) and put it aside.

3. Open up a savings account. Many banks offer free accounts for students and kids under the age of 18. Having an account allows you to track your money, as well as earn interest on the money you put in. Also, this will put you on the track to developing financial independence!

How do you girls manage your own spending? Do you have any strategies for saving or avoiding impulse purchases? Post your money saving tips on the "How To" shout-out board at!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vote for a former New Moon reader!

Hi girls, my name is Jenny Chen and I am 17 years old. When I was younger, I was a New Moon reader, just like you! I was inspired by the magazine to do something about the youth apathy and rising cases of teen depression in my community. I started a children's magazine called JJ Express with my brother that showcases comics and cartoons illustrated by artists around the world to inspire youth to build a movement that creates lasting change in the global community.

We received a $1,000 grant from Youth Venture to publish the magazine and got help and advice from New Moon staff. Since then we've published 3 issues and are working on our 4th issue. We've worked with artists of all ages and skills, from all around the world from Brazil to Ireland! We've received letters from kids all over. It's just been an amazing experience.

JJ Express Magazine is now one of the finalists for the Best Buy @15 Competition and if we win, our project will receive $10,000 funding to expand our project. We are so excited for this opportunity to spread our message and put the magazine in the hands of more youths. But to win, we need your votes. Vote today and everyday and you'll also get a chance to win an iPod shuffle from Youth Venture.

To vote, go to or text BBYV13 to 32075. Want to learn more about JJ Express Magazine? Go to

Thank you New Moon Girls and keep dreaming big!

Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day. AIDS is caused by the HIV virus and affects millions of people worldwide. Although currently there is no cure, developments in medicine have resulted in longer life-spans and a higher quality of life for those who are infected with the disease.

Show your support for AIDS research and help raise awareness of this worldwide health problem by wearing a Red Ribbon.

You can read more about the causes of HIV and AIDS at

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

How does your family celebrate today? Do you have any unique traditions?

Visit the Arts and Culture Message Board at to discuss what people and things you're thankful for in your life!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stop Violence Against Women Day

Today is Stop Violence Against Women Day. Worldwide, 1 in 3 women will experience some sort of abuse in her lifetime. Abuse, physical or emotional, often comes from someone the victim already knows.

The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) is an effort by the US to decrease abuse against women worldwide. You can watch an informative video clip about violence against woman below, produced by Amnesty International.

Read more about the International Violence Against Women Act at the Amnesty International Website, or check out the "Safe Schools: Every Girls' Right" comic. You can also visit the Stop Violence Against Women Day Spotlight feature at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stereotypical costumes?

With Thanksgiving only a couple of days away, you may be learning about the history behind this annual holiday in your classroom. However, the holiday has sparked some controversy in the California city of Claremont.

A LA Times article today discusses the current divide in opinion present in one school district over a yearly tradition in Kindergarten classrooms. Each year, kids have created and dressed up in costumes depicting Pilgrims and Indians, and gotten together to reenact the first Thanksgiving. Some residents of the city have expressed outrage about the costumes, viewing them as a racist stereotype of Native American heritage.

What do you think? Should the school district allow the children to wear the costumes? Should the stereotypes that the costumes represent be discussed with the children? Do you think that it's possible for the children to dress up as Native Americans without being stereotypical or offensive?

Discuss this issue over at The Great Debate discussion board at

Monday, November 24, 2008


It's Thanks and Remembrance Week at! There are many different ways to give thanks this week. Giving back to your community is just one way to show your appreciation and help out those in need.

Some organizations require that you be 18 years or older to volunteer, but there are many places that welcome help from younger people and families. You can search out volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood and pick a cause or organization that interests you. Some good places to look are your local library, a soup kitchen, and nursing homes.

Do you already volunteer in your community? If so, what do you do and how did you become involved? What ideas do you have for giving back? Talk about it on the Changing the World discussion board at (sign-in required).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Youth Internet Usage

You've heard about the possible negative consequences of spending too much time watching TV, but what about all of those hours spent in front of a computer?

According to a New York Times article, the time that adolescents spend socializing on the computer and using new media may actually be time well spent. By interacting online and learning how to use new technologies, you are learning skills which are likely to be valuable down the road and help you to succeed.

How much time do you spend online each day? How involved are you in new media, such as watching or making your own videos and blogging? Do you think that there's a point when Internet usage could become problematic? Discuss the impact that new media has on society over at the Arts and Culture discussion board at!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Loriene Roy

It's Native Peoples week at!

Loriene Roy is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, as well as the current president of the American Library Association. Hoping to increase literacy among indigenous children, she has started and overseen a number of educational initiatives, including the national book reading club "If I can read, I can do anything."

You can watch part of the of a celebration in her honor which took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The video clip shows a native Honor Dance and a short speech given by Loriene.

You can check out Loriene's blog here. Also be sure to check out the Spotlight hub at this week to read writing that has been submitted by other girls about Native cultures.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Susan La Flesche Picotte

It's Native Peoples week at! Visit this week to read about several other outstanding native woman.

Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American female physician. She was born in 1865 into the Omaha tribe in Nebraska. The daughter of a chief who stressed the importance of education, she received her schooling through homeschooling and an all-girls school in New Jersey. She later graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, making her the Native American woman to earn a medical degree, as well as the first person in America to receive federal aid for education.

After receiving her degree, she worked on her tribes reservation as a doctor. On the reservation, she was confronted with the challenges that the changing lifestyles associated with American culture had on her tribe. She also spent her life studying health and bringing knowledge back to her tribe.

She died when she was 50 years old, in 1915. Two years before her death, she opened a hospital which now stands as the Susan La Flesche Picotte Center, celebrating her life work as a doctor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

American Indian Heritage Month

November is American Indian Heritage Month, and we're celebrating "Native Peoples" Week at!

What do you think of when you hear the term "American Indian?" Maybe you imagine someone who wears feathers and lives in a Tipi. Unfortunately, the word "Indian" often brings to mind a stereotypical image for many people. In fact, there are many unique Native cultures and tribes in America which all have their own characteristics and customs. For example, not all Indians live in Tipis (these were used by the Indians of the Great Plains). In our media culture, Indians are often stereotypically portrayed as violent, savage, and exotic. In contrast to this portrayal of Indians, Americans of European descent appear dignified and civilized.

This theme of Indians being violent and relentless is prevalent in professional sporting teams as well. Take for example baseball team the Cleveland Indians and football team the Washington Redskins. Many people oppose the use of these names and the team mascots for being racist.

What do you think about how you've seen American Indians portrayed in media? Do you think that pressure should be put on these professional sporting teams to modify their names or mascots? What implications do you think these portrayals have for those people who identify with a Native culture?

Join the discussion about this issue over at the Spotlight board at (sign-in required).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Guest Post: Beauty

It's Pride and Predjudice week at!Beauty is on the inside as WELL as on the outside, and it's important to recognize that beauty isn't always what society defines it to be. Gabrielle of blog/webzine Innovative wrote the following post on the idea of beauty.

You do not have to be a certain shape to be beautiful.
You do not have to be beautiful.
Those two sentences have taken the longest time to sink into my head. I've always been a reader and writer who hates sports, meaning I spent (and spend) a lot of time on the couch. I was a chubby kid and a chubby tween in a city where everyone was thin. Consequence? I dieted constantly and hated how I looked.
Scratch that. I was never comfortable with my weight, not comfortable with how I looked in shopping room mirrors or how I moved. I couldn't get it right.
Body image is something we struggle with constantly and I can't offer an end-all solution. I wish I could. But there are a few things that have helped me, as a senior in high school, appreciate what healthy body image can do and accept the way I look. See if this makes sense.

Think about images. Part of my problem was the images I saw in my halls and in magazines. There is this definition of beauty that I saw, with few alternatives. But look at pictures of gorgeous "plus-size" models in gorgeous clothes-look at them-my brain tells me, they're beautiful too.
Say yes to your mirror. Something I try to do is look in the mirror and stop criticizing. Look and say, this is what I look like and be okay with it. My body gets me places: it takes me to school, lets me breathe, helps me dance, shows off fabulous outfits.
Health is good. If you eat bad and feel bad, change how you eat and change how you feel. Unless you have a serious health problem and are on doctors' orders, you girls should not be on diets. Recognize that caring for your health and trying to fit in with a certain stereotype (and yes, it is a stereotype) are way different. Eat fruits and veggies not to change shape, but because it will give you more energy and it's good for your thumper. Drink herbal tea. Take dance lessons. Dress for your shape. It's fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Club Libby Lu Closed

Hey, girls. Did you hear that Club Libby Lu is closing its doors in May? Club Libby Lu was a retail store where girls ages 6 - 12 could have parties and get "makeovers" with various themes, such as rock star or princess. There were a LOT of pink dresses and glitter makeup involved.

Some people criticized Club Libby Lu because it encouraged girls as young as 6 to focus on being "pretty," and it stressed that girls could "be their unique selves," through shopping. It played to a lot of stereotypes about girls being delicate and obsessed with their looks and shopping. At first, I wondered whether Club Libby Lu was losing business because of this criticism, and whether that was why it was closing. But Saks 5th Avenue, the company that owns Club Libby Lu, says the reason for the closing was that Club Libby Lu didn't fit with the "direction" they'd like to take with Saks 5th Avenue (whatever that means).

So, what do you think? Have you ever had a makeover party at Club Libby Lu? Is it harmless fun, or does it add to girls feeling like they have to look perfect? Will you miss Club Libby Lu, or are you among those saying, "Good Riddance!" I'd love to hear from you!

Lacey, adult editor

Join in the discussion about this topic on the message boards at! (Sign-in is required to participate and view).

New Moon Girls Wins Three Awards

New Moon Girls was recently awarded three Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association (MMPA) awards! Girls Web Editorial Board member Holly (pictured) was there to accept the awards on behalf of New Moon Girl Media.

NMG received "Gold" awards in three different categories:

Overall Excellence
Best Regular Column (Body Language)
Best Single-Topic Issue (25 Beautiful Girls: Toot Your Own Horn)

You can read a full account of this event at

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Official launch of! Official Launch!

Today marks the official of the online community! After sixteen years of publishing the award-winning New Moon Girls magazine, we’re proud to bring the “New Moon experience” of self-discovery, creativity, and community, to girls 24/7.

You can read more about the launch of on the website, or check out NMGM founder Nancy Gruver's blog about the launch and other media issues affecting young girls.

To start taking advantage of everything has to offer, you will have to register for an account.

See you there!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TeenSpace Retreat

Our lives this time each year can get especially busy, and it can be easy to forget to take off to concentrate on ourselves. However, it's important to dedicate time each day to relax and do something you enjoy, such as yoga, reading, or writing in a journal.

The TeenSpace retreat for teens and parents is taking place Saturday, January 31st (2009) from 8:30– 4:30 in Sedona, Arizona. At the retreat, teens and and adults will explore how to be more self-aware and live life with more self-care and make better choices for themselves and the world around them.

Facilitators of the event will include author Debra Beck, yoga teacher Maura Mark, and meditation instructor Sarah McLean. You can visit for more information about the event and how to register.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Real Beauty

It's Pride and Prejudice Week at, and this week we're celebrating the differences that make you proud to be YOU!

The Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" is one of my favorite ad campaigns. We are constantly presented with media-created images that influence our perception and expectations of what physical beauty is. Watch one of Dove's commercials below, titled "evolution," which shows the creation of a beauty advertisement from start to finish. You can see for yourself how many advertisements are the result of stylists and computer editing.

Have you seen any of the other Dove "Real Beauty" commercials? What do you think about this campaign? Do you think that the commercial above is effective at communicating the editing involved with creating the advertisements we see in magazines and billboards?

Friday, November 7, 2008

ASYMCA Essay and Art Contest

November is Military Family Month!

The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) launched their annual essay and art contest this month and all children of U.S. active duty, National Guard or Reserves are invited to enter. If eligible, you're encouraged to write an essay about your military hero or illustrate your military family. Winners will receive a U.S. Savings Bond and the winning artwork and essays will also be displayed around the country.

The deadline for the art contest is February 20, 2009 and the deadline for the essay contest is March 20, 2009. Visit for entry forms and for more information about Military Family Month.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results!

It's hard to believe that the 2008 election season is over! Barack Obama was the clear winner of yesterday's election with 349 electoral votes, making him the 44nd president of the United States.

I thought Obama's victory speech was incredible, but I was almost more interested in McCain's speech. After realizing he had lost the election last night, John McCain gave a concession speech in Arizona to a dismayed and booing crowd. The crowd booed at points while he was talking, such as when he stated that he had called and congratulated Obama prior to the speech. However, McCain remained poised throughout his speech and was graceful in discussing his loss. You can watch his concession speech below:

What are your thoughts on the election? Did you watch either Obama's or McCain's speech on television last night? How do you think McCain handled losing the election?

The election may be over, but it's still election week at! The election may be over, but you can still cast YOUR vote in our Mock Election.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

It's Election Day! Be sure to head on over to and cast your vote in our mock election!

Vote for our Kids

It's Election Day - finally!

As I drive voters to the polls today I'll be thinking about how important this election is to our children. Whether they are still infants or they're already tax-paying adults like my daughters, this election will have a huge impact on their lives.

With our nation's deep economic and environmental woes, no matter who is elected, we're facing a time when Americans will all need to step up and defer some of our "wants" to make sure all of us get what we truly need. Luckily for parents, sacrificing our wants for our childrens' needs is something we already have some practice at! The part that will be different is how we define what our children truly need (as opposed to what they want).

One other thing on my mind is that whichever ticket wins today, there will be girls living in the White House or the VP's residence. That's exciting and will engage many kids in following what happens in national politics. It's already been wonderful in the campaign to see the genuine and expectant faces of Malia, Piper, Sasha & Willow as they accompany their parents at some appearances.

For me it's a reminder of the hopes of our children and the ways we as parents are responsible to their hopes.

I hope you all are voting today for our kids.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How do YOU vote?

It's election week! While you have to be eighteen years old to have your vote count officially in the United States, and many schools are holding mock elections this week!

However, many people question the purpose of these mock elections. Do kids, especially those who are younger, really understand the issues on which they are pretending to vote? With less information about the policies, it's easy to end up voting for the same candidate as your parents. While this emulation is often criticised, it makes sense--you vote based on your own personal values, which are often passed along and taught by your family.

Do you think that you will grow up to vote like your parents? What about if your parents vote for different parties? What can be done to help kids become independent and thoughtful voters?

You can read more about and discuss this issue here at Also visit this week to read about the different political parties and have your voice heard in our unofficial election.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We've been celebrating Things that Go Bump in the Night all week at Hopefully you have enjoyed celebrating the fall season this past month. If you celebrate Halloween or plan to go trick-or-treating tonight, we hope that you have a safe, fun AND healthy time.

According to this article, Halloween doesn't even have to necessarily be an unhealthy holiday in terms of consuming sweets. According to dentist Dr. Mark Helprin, how often you consume candy is more important than how much you consume. You're much less likely to develop cavities if you eat candy at mealtimes, for example, because of acid created by your mouth when you eat.

For those of you who go trick-or-treating, do you or your parents set any limits on your candy consumption?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flu Shot

Do you girls hate getting shots? I know that I do. I just read that the University of Minnesota attempted to set a record for flu shots given in a day at their St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses this past Tuesday--they gave around 11,538 shots in nine hours!

While getting a shot isn't a fun activity, it's better than getting sick later on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children older than 6 months of age up to nineteen get a flu vaccination each year, since the flu virus is constantly changing.

Does your school promote getting the flu vaccine? What factors or fears do you think stop people from getting vaccinated, knowing the benefits? Visit the Body & Feelings discussion boards at to talk about this issue and others. (You'll need a NewMoonGirls login to participate).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Video the Vote!

Election day is just one week away! With McCain and Obama running such a close race, either candidate could potentially get elected.

Voting issues and problems at the polls from the last election are still fresh on everyone's minds. Video website Video the Vote is dedicated to monitoring and protecting the process of voting. Through its website, the organization encourages ordinary citizens to document voting problems in their own communities and to upload their own videos on the site. Video the Vote works closely with their partner sites such as PBS, YouTube, and Rock the Vote, to distribute the videos across the net.

Many of you may not be old enough to vote yet, but this is a great opportunity to still get involved with the election and politics, as well as join in on an initiative that helps to protect your right to have your vote-and voice-heard in the future! If any of you create your own videos, send them in to and we'll feature them here on the New Moon Girls blog as well! Need inspiration? You can watch the Video the Vote trailer below:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween or Fall Festival?

The spookiest holiday of the year is coming up this Friday, and we're celebrating Halloween all week at!

Does your school or community celebrate Halloween--or is Halloween replaced by an alternatively named Fall Festival? With both Christian and Pagan roots, Halloween is considered by some people to be a controversial holiday because of its negative links to characters such as witches and ghosts. However to most kids, Halloween simply means a chance to dress up as one of their favorite characters and eat more candy than usual.

What do you think about Halloween as a holiday? Should schools not be allowed to host Halloween events because the holiday's historical background has the possibility to offend? Visit the Spotlight Hub at and discuss this and other issues on the Spotlight message board.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gender and Language

You may not even realize it, but many common phrases and elements of the English language have sexist and gender-role implications. The use of sexism in our language is subtle and unintentional, but is deeply rooted in our culture.

An organization of 100 journalists in Argentina set out to create a list of rules to decrease usage of sexist language when gender-based crimes are covered in the news. The Argentine Network of Journalists for Non-Sexist Communication, the group responsible for creating the document, plans to publicly release their list of ten suggestions on November 25. This is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

What do you girls think about sexism and American language? Head on over to The Great Debate message board at New Moon You must be logged in to visit, but if you don't have a membership you can go here to sign up!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Woman leads Muslim Prayer in Britain

Feminist blogger Fatemah Fakhraie posted an entry yesterday on the Religion Dispatches blog about the first woman to lead a mixed-gender congregation in Muslim prayer in Britain.

It was the second time Dr. Amina Wadud had lead a Muslim prayer (the first being in NYC). Many Muslims protested this second sermon, believing that Islamic law doesn't allow for women such as Dr. Wadud to lead prayer.

You can read Fakhraie's commentary on this event here. Fatemah Fakhraie also runs Muslimah Media Watch, a blog that discusses how Muslim women are portrayed in the media.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It's politics week at! Women have started to be powerful political players this election, with Hilary Clinton nearly gaining the Democratic presidential nomination and Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. As the only female currently on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is another example of a powerful woman in politics.

Ruth is the second woman to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the country, made up of a Chief Justice and eight justices, all who are appointed by the President. Once appointed onto the Supreme Court, the justices serve life terms. They are only removed from their position by extreme situations such as death, or if they choose to retire or resign.

Ruth attended Cornell University for college, and then attended Harvard Law School. She transferred to and received a law degree at the Columbia Law School, where she later became the first tenured female professor. An influential voice of the Women's Movement,  she has been involved with several initiatives to advance women's rights and reduce gender bias during her career. She founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter, which was the first law journal to focus exclusively on public policy in relation to women's rights. She also wrote a law school case book on sex discrimination and served as the chief litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) women's rights projects. President Bill Clinton appointed Ruth to be a justice on the Supreme Court in 1993, where she has served for the past 15 years.

Check out this week to watch an interview with a female news journalist and read a girl's account of the Democratic National Convention. You can also read what qualities all of YOU want in a president and what questions YOU would ask the presidential candidates!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A private high school that focuses on character-building

Although the Wall Street crisis is still on everyone's minds, there is still a young generation of kids who are hoping to eventually land jobs that will make rich at any cost. One private high school offers a solution to the cheating-fueled climate that's present in our society by teaching kids integrity and building positive character.

Hyde School, a private high school located in Maine, operates with an "Attitude over Aptitude" policy. With so much emphasis usually placed on how well a student performs academically, the school wants to redirect more focus on building ethical responsibility as well. The school hopes to inspire students to take risks with choosing courses that interest them, to become leaders, and to be concerned and involved with their peers around them.

What do you girls think about the educational culture in America? Do you think that students are more interested in getting a good grade than they are with the process of learning? Do you think that people learn to cheat at an early age in environments like schools?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hawaii Ends Universal Child Health Care Program

It's politics week at! We're only weeks away from electing our next president. Each candidate has been discussing their views on a variety of controversial issues, and the subject of health care in the U.S. is just one of them.

Although it does sponsor some health care programs, the U.S. government is one of the only western countries that doesn't offer its citizens universal health care. Universal health care offers health coverage to ALL citizens in a government, although often at the cost of higher taxes. Many Americans live without health care and can face high medical costs.

Until recently, the state of Hawaii offered universal child health care for its young residents. According to an article published by the Associated Press, the state dropped the plan less than a year after it was launched due to budget concerns and wealthier families taking advantage of the state's program.

What are your thoughts about health care? Should the U.S. follow the lead of other countries and offer universal health care, even if it would require a raise in taxes?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bottled water: what are you drinking?

Many people buy bottled water thinking that it's better or healthier than tap water. But did you know that about 45% of bottled water comes from the same place as the water that comes out of your faucet? Just how pure is bottled water anyways?

According to an article, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group tested different brands of bottled water and found the presence of multiple contaminants. One contaminant was present in a few of the brands tested in quantities that exceeded standards for one U.S. state. Although not necessarily representing a safety risk, the group is currently pushing for the FDA to require bottled water companies to list contaminants on their labels.

Do you prefer to drink bottled water over water from the faucet? Do you think that companies should be required to list contaminants on bottled water? What strategies do water bottle manufacturers use to make you think that drinking bottled water is better than drinking tap water?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dr. Temple Grandin

It's Differing Abilities Week at This week, we're recognizing the unique and different abilities that people live with. Despite setbacks, many of these people are able to accomplish great successes in their lifetimes. Dr. Temple Grandin is an example of a woman who was able to apply her autism to provide an insight into how animals experience the world.

Dr. Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and didn't begin learning how to talk until the age of four. Although she had a difficult time in grade school socially, she went on to graduate from college and received a p.h.D in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Grandin is the author of several books, designs livestock facilities, and is an advocate for animal welfare. She believes that her autism allows her to have a unique understanding of animal behavior and also greater empathy for how they perceive the world. While our society often views animals as property, she believes that that they still deserve to be treated ethically. Through her work designing livestock facilities, she creates animal-handling equipment that is more humane and thoughtful.

As an advocate for autism, she believes that early intervention as well as supportive teachers are important in leading autistic children on positive life paths.

Visit this week to read more about women who live with differing abilities.

Photo copyright Joshua Nathaniel Pritikin and William Lawrence Jarrold

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Get Outdoors, It's Yours

Yesterday in Baltimore numerous organizations pledged their support for a new national campaign that hopes to encourage youth to get outside.

"Get Outdoors, It's Yours" is a national campaign developed by the Departments of the Interior, Army, and Agriculture. Once a staple of childhood, playing outdoors has been replaced by computer and television in recent years as a source of entertainment. The campaign was designed to encourage young people to get outdoors and appreciate the opportunities that nature offers.

From biking to hiking to fishing, there are countless activities that you can participate in outdoors. Visit the campaign's web page to read more about the campaign and learn about a few of the numerous activities that you can engage in outside and in nature.

How much time do you spend indoors compared to the time you spend outdoors? What are some of your favorite activities to do outside?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Differing Abilities Week

October is National Disability Awareness Month, and it's Differing Abilities Week at! Today we're profiling a woman who was both deaf and blind, but was still able to lead an accomplished life despite these obstacles.

Helen Keller was born in 1880 in Alabama. At nineteen months of age, she contracted an illness which left her both deaf and blind. Because of her condition, she was unable to communicate with other people.
When she was seven years old, her parents hired Anne Sullivan to be her tutor. Anne was able to teach Helen how to hand spell and read. Helen went on to graduate from Radcliffe College, making her the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college.

She spent her life working as both a writer and political activist. She supported many progressive causes, including women's right to vote and socialism. As an advocate for the visually impaired and deaf, she developed support programs for people living with disabilities and travelled the world giving speeches about her own experiences. At the age of 22, she published her autobiography The Story of My Life. She wrote a total of over twelve books during her life!

Read about other extraordinary girls who live with unique challenges this week at

Friday, October 10, 2008

Profile: Marie Collins

It's space and astronomy week at!

As the first female to pilot a space shuttle, female astronaut and pilot Marie Eileen Collins is an example of a woman who achieved her dreams despite childhood obstacles. Born in upstate New York, her family often struggled to make ends meet while she was growing up. Inspired by early woman pilots such as Amelia Earhart inspired her, she dreamed of one day becoming a pilot herself.

After completing high school she attended and put herself through a local community college and then graduated from Syracuse University with an undergraduate degree. After graduation, she entered training to become an Air Force pilot. Like fellow astronaut Sally Ride (who we featured earlier this week!), she later earned a graduate degree from Stanford University.

Marie has travelled to space four times during her career at NASA. She became the first female pilot in 1995 aboard shuttle STS-63 and on a later mission aboard STS-93 she became the first female commander of a space flight. Her most recent and last trip into space was in 2005. She retired from NASA in 2006.

Marie has received a long list of awards for her accomplishments from the U.S. Military and NASA. She was also awarded the French Legion of Honor and has been inducted into the women's hall of fame.

This week, check out stargazing tips, read stories written by other girls, and articles about other women who have worked with NASA at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Female medical students less confident than male students

According to a recent study, female medical students tend to be less confident and more anxious than male students of equal education when interacting with patients. The male students also tended to over estimate their own competency, while the women underestimated their competency. The study also found that the females appeared less confident to the patients they were treating, and that the male students better identified with the role of being a doctor than the female students after graduating.

Why do you girls think this gender difference might exist? What are some reasons you think the female students might feel less confident than the men? Do you think that gender expectations influence how medical students think they might be perceived by their own patients? Do you think there's more pressure (self or external) on female medical students to live up to expectations because of their gender?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Radical Women Conference

Feminist organization Radical Women, based in the California Bay Area, hosted their 41st annual conference this past weekend. The theme of this year's conference, which took place at the historic Women's Building in the Mission district of San Francisco, was "the Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism."

We interviewed Marit Knutson, a former New Moon reader who works with Radical Women. Read on to learn more about the organization and conference.

New Moon: How did you get involved in this organization?
Marit: I was familiar with Radical Women since in my hometown, Seattle, there is a very large and active branch. However when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I met up with organizers at the branch in San Francisco and found it to be the perfect place to organize around many, many issues of concern for me. There was something empowering and special about an women-led, women-organized group. For the last two years, I've been organizing and learning leadership skills and it's been AMAZING!

What is the background on the conference and what is its mission?
The conference is 41 years in the making - Radical Women came out of the 1960s student movement and has lasted throughout the decades. We are very proud to be hosting the conference, titled "The Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism," in San Francisco, at the historic Women's Building. The building is completely covered in a beautiful mural of historical freedom fighters and feminists. We hope that after the conference, women and men will leave feeling prepared to build a strong feminist movement, that has young women of color in the leadership.

What issues does the conference discuss?
We will be talking about a lot of issues, and are delighted to have international feminists from China, Australia, Costa Rica, Israel, as well as Lynne Stewart, who is an activist lawyer. Mainly we'll be looking at women's leadership, how to organize across racial and ethnic lines, organizing around reproductive rights issues, discussing the election, how to stop the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, how to help support immigrant communities as they are under increasing attack, struggles around gender and sexuality, and much much more!

Do you have any advice for young New Moon readers?
The world is a little chaotic so it's important for young girls to be involved in shaping their futures, by keeping plugged in to what's happening. Also, keep reading New Moon. It was an extremely empowering tool for me when I was 10 years old, up until I was a teen! I felt like I was part of something big. As girls turning into young women, we have a lot of challenges in front of us, with sexism and racism, people telling us what we can or can't do with our lives, others trying to tell us what sort of jobs we SHOULD have. But ladies, we CAN do anything! I encourage all of you to learn more about feminism and its impact on the lives of your mothers and grandmothers. We have all benefited from its gains, and we still have a lot of work to do!

Do you have any advice for girls who want to become more involved with feminist issues?
Consider finding some books about strong women who really rocked! For example, Girls Who Rocked the World : Heroines from Sacagawea to Sheryl Swoopes by Amelie Welden (Author), Jerry McCann (Illustrator). Or girls know best By Michelle Roehm, which has a few volumes now. These books help us realize, just like New Moon, that we have a lot of work to do together, working together and sharing stories, but also organizing so that we can band together and fight back if we need to. Also please check out Radical Women's website, ! We have a lot of articles and resources available for use.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Profile: Sally Kristen Ride

It's Space and Astronomy week at!

Today we're profiling an outstanding woman in science and technology, Sally Kristen Ride. In 1983, Sally became both the first American woman and the youngest American to travel into space.

Born and raised in California, Sally went on to complete all of her education in-state. After high school, she briefly attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania but graduated from Stanford University with degrees in English and Physics. She continued on to receive her PhD in physics from Stanford as well.

Sally joined NASA in 1978. She traveled as a crew member aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7 in June of 1983, and rode into space again in 1984. During her years at NASA, she worked on numerous projects and also founded NASA's Office of Exploration. She has been inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame as well as the Astronaut Hall of Fame for her many accomplishments and contributions to science.

Currently retired, she founded and is the president of the Sally Ride Science program which she designed to encourage and empower young girls who are interested in science, math, and technology.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Harley dealer sued for gender bias

According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Harley-Davidson dealer Dudley Perkins Co was recently sued by one of their former employees for gender discrimination. Female mechanic Bowen Dean had dreamt of being a motorcycle mechanic since a young age, and after completing a year long mechanic training course got hired by the dealer as an entry-level technician.

However, instead of working as a mechanic, Dean was assigned to tasks such as book keeping and customer service. The dealership proceeded to hire two less-qualified men to work as mechanics at the company. Dean filed a discrimination complaint in response, which prompted the company to fire her. Although she has applied for mechanic positions at other Harvey-Davidson dealers, she has yet to be hired anywhere.

What are are your reactions to this article? What initiatives should be taken to raise awareness for women working in male-dominated professions?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Myra Sadker Student and Teacher Awards

Hey girls! The Myra Sadker Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting gender equity. Each year they had out monetary scholarships and awards to support educational initiatives that promote the goals of the organization. Student, teachers, undergraduates, and doctoral students are all eligible to apply.

Visit if you're interested in learning more about this opportunity or applying for one of the awards.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Banned Book Week is September 27-October 4

Did you know that the books Winne-the-Pooh and Charlotte's Web have been banned from some libraries in the past? This week marks the 27th anniversary of Banned Books Week. According to the American Library Association, over 1,000 books have been challenged since 1982. You can find a list of the most commonly challenged books in 2007 here on the ALA website--there were nearly 400 of them! Other books that have been banned or challenged in the past include classics such as Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. More recently, popular books such as Harry Potter have been challenged as well.

Books are banned or challenged for many reasons. One of the main motivations is to protect children from being exposed to difficult subject matter. Content that often causes a book to get challenged includes topics such as racism, profanity, homosexuality, and other controversial issues.

Banning books is a form of censorship that impacts our right to choose. During this week, celebrate your right to choose what books you read and what issues you expose yourself to.

What are your thoughts on this week? Do you support censorship of some book titles in libraries? Do you think it matters who the library's main audience is. For example, do you think that elementary school libraries should be more conscious of what books they have available? Have you read any of the books that are listed as having been challenged or banned?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hey, girls. Do you have a question for Barack Obama or John McCain? Well, here’s your chance to ask it! Send your questions for the presidential candidates to us at by noon on Wednesday, October 1. We'll forward your questions to The Women’s Media Center (WMC), which has been accepted to submit questions to the final Presidential debate on October 15.

This is a wonderful opportunity to speak up about issues that affect you—we can’t wait to hear from you!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Heels for babies?

Have you ever played dress-up with your mom's or older sister's clothes? Many young girls are excited about growing up, but it's not usually a topic facing new-born babies. A new company recently released high-heeled shoes for young babies, a form of footwear usually reserved for the feet of older girls.

Heelarious, a company started by two mothers from Seattle, sells soft imitation high-heeled shoes for babies to wear. While the shoes are mostly for decoration (the heel of each shoe is soft and will collapse if stepped on), we have to question what message this sends girls at such an early age about beauty and gender expectations.

What do you girls think of this product? Do you think that it's just a cute and kitschy accessory? What do you think this product says about our societies expectations of females?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Election Time!

Hey girls, the first presidential debate is on for tonight! Republican nominee John McCain had originally called to postpone the debate due to the recent financial problems on Wall Street, but just announced this morning that he still plans to attend.

You may not be old enough to make your vote officially count yet, but you can still be involved and have your voice heard as the election date draws closer! Check out virtual social site Woogi World™, where you can learn more about the candidates running for election, and even cast your own e-vote on the site. We'll also be holding a Mock Election during election week at!

In the meantime, be sure to check out one girl's report of the democratic convention at You can also tune into tonight's live debate on television, which will begin at 9 pm eastern time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Racism Study

Hey, girls. Did you hear about the new study about racism that was just released? The study was started because of this year's presidential race, where racism might play a part in people's voting decisions. The study focused on attitudes and feelings about racism between White people and Black people. White people and Black people reported VERY different ideas about racism, including the following:

Only 10% of White people said that Black people still face "a lot" of discrimination, but 57% of Black people said they face " a lot" of discrimination.

The study also asked how much racial tension was "caused" by Black people. 30% of Whites said "most" or "all," while only 3% of Black people said they caused "most" or "all" racial tension.

Another finding was that about 20% of Whites surveyed admired black people often, while 70% of Blacks reported admiring White people often.

When I read this study, I was troubled, especially by the fact that 30% of Whites said that Blacks caused "most" or "all" racial tension. That's like saying it's girls' or women's fault when people are sexist! I think it's pretty unfair to blame racism on the group that faces more discrimination.

What do you think about this study? Does it seem fair to you? Was anything surprising? Why do you think White people and Black people have such different ideas about racism? And how can we continue to fight racism? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This week at!

The topic at this week is "hobbies." Hobbies are all of the activities that you love to do for fun, such as drawing, writing, playing sports, and reading.

One of my favorite hobbies is scrap booking. I save ticket stubs, programs, and postcards from everywhere I go, and later paste them into a blank book. I think that scrap booking is a great way to record memories of trips and events. It's also a great activity to do with friends. You can create scrapbooks of memories you have and of experiences that you all shared together.

What are some of your favorite hobbies? Also, be sure to visit to read about what other girls like to do for fun!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumnal Equinox!

Happy first day of fall everyone! Today's autumnal equinox officially marks the end of summer and the start of the fall season. What are some of your favorite things about fall?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Are you pulled in by marketing?

This afternoon I was at the grocery store when a display of Halloween-themed boxes of General Mills cereals caught my eye. I don't usually eat cereal, but it was hard to resist the box of Trix cereal with a brightly colored picture of the rabbit wearing a mask on the front.

The Federal Trade Commission has reported that the food and beverage industries pull in their greatest profits from marketing to kids. Most of the money they spend goes to marketing soda, fast food--and breakfast cereal. Companies market their products through television ads, websites, online games, and promotions, all designed to make you want their product.

While many companies (including General Mills) have recently pledged to limit how they market their products to children, it's still important to be more aware of how companies try to sell their products to you. Do you girls often find yourself wanting a product after seeing an advertisement for it? Do you visit company websites (such as General Mills)? What features on these websites do you spend time looking at? Are you often attracted to a product because of its packaging?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friendship Week at!

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." Helen Keller

We're celebrating friendships this week at! True friends celebrate your accomplishments, are there for you when you're feeling down, and inspire you to be the best that you can be. Many of you also have someone you consider to be your "best friend." How do you girls define a best friend? Do you think that you can have more than one best friend?

We'd love to hear YOUR thoughts! Also visit friendship week
at New Moon to read poems and stories written by other girls about their own friendships.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Featured News: UN Says Eat Less Meat to Curb Global Warming

Green Living

Everyone seems to have green (environmentally-friendly) living on their minds. Dr. Ragendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently stated that people should make an effort to eat less meat to help reduce global warming. He suggets that people should avoid consuming meat for one day each week.

Meat production can harm the environment in several ways. The activities involved with rearing animals are responsible for almost one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions (according to the UN) and also leads to global warming and habitat destruction.

What do you girls think about this topic? Do you think that there are ways for farmers to reduce their environmental impact, such as using free-range and organic farming techniques? What do you do to decrease your personal impact on the environment?

Be sure to check out the "I'm The Change" message board at, where girls are currently discussing what they can do to help the environment!

Talking with friends

Friendship Week

This week's topic at is friends. Friends play an important role in our lives. I know that whenever I'm confused and need to make a decision, I often turn to the people who know me the best-my family and friends.

However, sometimes I have the tendency to talk about some situations too much with my friends. It turns out that talking too much about issues may actually be a bad thing! An article published in last week's New York Times discusses how research has found that constantly talking about everday issues with friends may make you stressed and more anxious about those issues.

How do you decide to move from just talking about an issue to actually taking action to improve the situation? Talking is the first step in problem solving, and sometimes it can be enough. However, talking too much about certain issues can actually keep them constantly on your mind and increase your uncertainties or worries. It may be helpful in this situation to figure out positive ways to get the subject off of your mind, such as reading a book, going for a walk, or playing a game with friends.

Talking about things is a positive and healthy activity, but dwelling on the issues can end up causing you more stress. Who do you girls talk about your everyday problems with? Do you or your friends have a tendency to over discuss issues? Do you think that this is a good or bad thing?

Also, be sure to visit this week to read what other girls have to say about their friendships!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Review of!

Common Sense Media recently gave a 4/5 star rating! You can read the whole review here on their website, and also find reviews of other media as well. Way to go girls; is truly a team effort!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Most Beautiful People in America

An article on mentions that Miami is the city in America with the most beautiful people. This is according to an online survey put out by the magazine Travel + Leisure. The survey also ranks cities in categories such as most friendly and most intelligent.

We question how this survey generalizes people's personalities based on their region. It's easy to rank a region based on factors such as the number of restaurants and museums it has, but how can you quantify a personality trait such as friendliness or an objective physical characteristic like beauty?

What do you girls think about this survey? Do you think it's wrong to rank cities based on these characteristics? Do you think that the people living in the cities are impacted at all by rankings such as this one?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Profile: Ballet Folklorico de Mexico

You're likely to encounter many different languages when you travel to other countries, but there is one language that is universal-the language of dance. Today, we present an introduction to a dance company in Mexico that embodies Mexican culture through the fusion of dance, music, and costume.

The Ballet Folklórico de México was founded in the 1950s by Amalia Hernández, who was a dancer and is also credited with helping to pioneer folk dance in Mexico. She wanted to establish both her own company and school of dance in Mexico City, and managed to accomplish both goals with success during her lifetime.

The essence of the company’s dance repertory is traditional Mexican folk dance, but the company uses classical and modern dance elements in its choreography as well. The company reflects Mexican culture not only through its choreography and dancers, but also through the use of costumes and music. They perform weekly at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico, and have also toured internationally which have earned them widespread acclaim. You can visit their website to see pictures of the dancers and costumes, and learn more about the background of the company.

Given that America is made up of many different cultures, do you think that music or dance here can reflect American culture? Do you think that there are any unifying elements in American culture?

Also, be sure to check out for more of Latina heritage week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Profile: Frida Kahlo

Latina heritage week continues here at New Moon! Today we present a profile of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo who lived in the first half of the 20th century.

Frida was born in 1907 in Mexico. Often known as the wife of fellow painter Diego Riviera, she gained widespread recognition for her work in the 1980s after her work began to get published in books.

Frida faced a difficult childhood. After surviving the polio disease, she intended to study medicine and was enrolled in a prepatory school. However everything changed after she was in a tragic bus accident which left her body shattered. She taught herself to paint while in recovery from the accident, beginning her life as an artist.

She primarily painted brightly colored self-portraits and still lifes. Her work is often connected to surrealism, which uses the elements of surprise and the unexpected. Frida was also influenced by traditional folk art, which is evident through her use of bright colors and flattened form in her paintings. She died in 1954 at the age of 47.

You can read more about Frida here at You can also see examples of her artwork at!