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 submissions@newmoongirls.com 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 NewMoonGirls.com!

In the meantime, be sure to check out one girl's report of the democratic convention at NewMoonGirls.com. 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 NewMoonGirls.com!

The topic at NewMoonGirls.com 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 NewMoonGirls.com 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 NewMoonGirls.com!

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

We're celebrating friendships this week at NewMoonGirls.com! 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 newmoongirls.com, where girls are currently discussing what they can do to help the environment!

Talking with friends

Friendship Week

This week's topic at NewMoonGirls.com 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 newmoongirls.com this week to read what other girls have to say about their friendships!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Review of NewMoonGirls.com!

Common Sense Media recently gave NewMoonGirls.com 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; newmoongirls.com is truly a team effort!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Most Beautiful People in America

An article on yahoo.com 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 newmoongirls.com 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 NewMoonGirls.com. You can also see examples of her artwork at fridakahlo.com!

New Moon Cakes!

Most of you have probably seen or eaten a half-moon cookie before--but what about a New Moon cake? We just read that luxury hotel Sofitel Plaza Saigon in Vietnam bakes and sells new moon cakes in one of their shops. We don't know if it's possible to try one of these cakes since we're in the U.S., but they sure look yummy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Profile: Michelle Bachelet

This week is Latina heritage week at newmoongirls.com! Today we are profiling a strong Latina leader. Read on to learn about Michelle Bachelet, the first female president of Chile in South America. Ms. Bachelet has been the president of Chile since 2006, and prior to her current position, she also held roles as Minister of Health and Minister of Defense for the country.

She was born in Santiago, the capital of Chile. Her mother was an archaeologist, and her dad was in the Chilean Air Force. She spent her childhood moving and living on different military bases. A fun fact: she spent almost two years living in Maryland in the US during her high school years!

Ms. Bachelet is a member of Chile's socialist party, and during her early adult years this affiliation led to her being kidnapped and tortured at a time when the government in power was persecuting socialists. After being freed, she lived in Germany and continued her studies for awhile before returning to Chile. Trained as a doctor, she began working for health organizations back in her home country, which eventually propelled her into politics.

After being elected president on January 15, 2006, she named an equal number of men and women cabinet members. She also appointed people from a wide variety of different parties, keeping consistent with the idea of balanced power. You can read more about Michelle Bachelet in New Moon's September/October 2006 issue, "Politics and Leaders," or you can read about other strong Latina women at http://www.newmoongirls.com/.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Contest Opportunity!

Hey girls! Ever finish a book and imagine what happens to the characters next? I know I do! Well get your thinking caps on and check out this neat writing contest from Lynn Brittney, author of the Christmas book Christine Kringle. She’s interested in finding out where the readers want to see the story and characters go next. To find out, she's asking people between the ages of 10 and 100 to come up with a one page plot synopsis for the next book in the Christine Kringle series.

What are the perks of winning you may ask? The winner of the contest will receive both $5,000 and their name on the front of the next book!

Entry forms can be found at the book’s website. If you haven’t read the book, you might want to check it out from your local library so that you can become familiar with the characters and plot line. The deadline isn't until January 31st 2009, so you still have plenty of time!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wanted: Girl to Write about Republican Convention

Hi, girls! It's an exciting election year in the U.S., with all of us waiting on the edge of our seat to see whether we'll have our first Black president or our first woman vice president. Recently, I received a journal about the Democratic National Convention written by a 12-year-old girl who attended. We'll be featuring the journal at NewMoonGirls.com. I'd love to include coverage of the Republican Convention as well. If you or a girl you know attended, please consider submitting something to NewMoonGirls! You can get in touch with me at laceyl@newmoongirlmedia.com to learn more!

Are women facing a glass ceiling?

It's been exciting to see two strong women in this year's U.S. presidential race, first Hillary Clinton, and now Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Some people still judge women harshly for focusing on their career, thinking they should focus on family instead or fulfill more traditional gender roles. Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is an example of a powerful woman in politics who has been able to have both a successful career and large family.

Ms. Palin gave a speech this past Wednesday at the Republican National Convention. In her speech she made the statement “women can walk through any door in America,” referring to the opportunities that they are able to pursue. If this is true, why do you think there are so few women in politics and top positions in business? Are women less interested in these positions, or are they still facing a "glass ceiling" in these fields?

The idea of a glass ceiling is that there are invisible barriers that prevent someone from advancing into higher-level positions in their career field. These “invisible barriers” include factors such as age, race, and gender. Men are often paid more and favored for promotion over women. Many women also feel that they face stereotypes in the professional world, such as unfair doubt about their ability to lead and persuade.

Do you agree with Ms. Palin's statement? Do you think that women and men have equal career opportunities in America? Is a glass ceiling still present? Does a woman’s desire to pursue a family play a large role in whether or not she can have a successful career? What can women do to continue moving forward?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sports And Dedication-What's Too Much?

Following up on the sports-related post from yesterday, I ran across an article today questioning whether or not starting children in intense sports training at an early age is a good idea. Growing up, I had a friend who started learning ballet at a young age in a pre-professional program. Ballet is a physical art that demands a huge time and mental commitment starting at a young age, and by fifth grade she was required to attend classes almost every day. By sixth grade she had quit the program to pursue other interests and spend more time with friends.

With the Olympics still a fresh topic on everyone’s minds, the article mentioned young gymnast Shawn Johnson,who began her gymnastics training at the age of three. Without her early dedication, it’s hard to know if she could have become as talented at the sport as she is today. However, the intense training required of female athletes such as Shawn puts a lot of stress on their growing bodies. Spending so much time on the same physical activity can also get in the way of girls' studies or friendships.

While it’s good to be passionate about something, do you think that you can spend too much time on an activity? In the competitive world of sports, how much is too much? If someone shows potential to excel in a sport, do you think that their parents should still encourage them to pursue other interests? Do you or girls you know feel the need to be perfect or "the best" at something at any cost? Let's talk about it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

High School Girl Banned From Playing On Her School's Team

Football is the quintessential American sport, and the traditional view of the sport is that boys play the game while girls cheer them on from the sidelines. Most sports have a male team and a female team, but football is one of the few sports for which there is only one team—and it’s almost always all-male.

We were upset to read that last week, a 14-year-old girl in Georgia was banned from playing on her private school’s high school team because of her gender. According to this article on ESPN, the Georgia Football League, which oversees the private school teams for the state, dismissed Kacy Stuart from playing on her school’s team. Kacy had played throughout middle school for her school and would have been allowed to continue playing at a public high school had she not attended a private Christian school instead--which is exempt from Title IX since they don't receive federal funding.

We hope that Kacy finds a way to continue playing football, and we applaud her for pursuing her love of the sport despite gender barriers! We were also excited to find out that The National Women's Football Association is hosting football camps this fall to teach interested girls how to play the sport. If you want to do something, gender should not be the factor stopping you!

Do any of you girls know of stories like this one? Do you know any girls who play on a team that is otherwise all-male?