August 31, 2011

"I'm Too Pretty To Do Homework" JC Penney T-Shirt

JC Penney Ad
For those of you who may have missed this ad (to the right), this is how one major outfitter, JC Penney is styling our girls for back to school!

As you can see this discounted shirt reads, "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me."  What?!?

The shirt is then marketed with the following copy, "who has time for homework when there's a new Justin Bieber album out?  She'll love this tee that's just as cute and sassy as she is." 

Are you kidding me?! Of course, when I first saw the link to this ad by a friend of mine on Facebook I thought this was a joke. Alas, it was not!

First thing this morning I called JC Penney to do some investigative social activism (that means call to question them until their heads explode) but Diane, the woman I spoke with (who was only a supervisor at the call center in Pittsburg), really didn't have much to say in the way of my specific questions.  What she did share with me was that her daughter recently graduated as valedictorian from her high school (sans brother to help her) and she found this shirt offensive too.

What I did learn was that Diane was unaware of who the buyer for such products are and wasn't sure how I could find out.  However, what she did note was that much of the clothing comes from overseas (read: sweatshops in China) or the screen print itself (such as the words and images on this shirt) and are then sent to the U.S. for printing.  So, two things then came to mind - 1) is this how the global market perceives our American girls? And 2) is there anyway for big corporate giants to be socially responsible? Well, I can't answer the first one without a long and speculative dissertation, but I am glad to report that JC Penney did in fact remove this item from their website.  As TODAYMoms reported this morning:
UPDATE: Well, that was quick. JC Penney is apologizing and pulling the shirt from shelves. The retailer issued this statement:
"jcpenney is committed to being America's destination for great style and great value for the whole family.  We agree that the “Too pretty” t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale.  Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect." 
Here are some other links to women's organizations, social media outlets and bloggers who too were outraged: The Consumerist, Care2Jezebel, and The Village VoiceGood work everyone! 

August 29, 2011

A WCC Event - Sponsored by MAC Cosmetics and Nordstrom!

WHO: M.A.C Cosmetics and the Women's Collaborative Circle.

WHAT: A FREE 2 hour workshop! Come out to relax, have fun, play and receive a free makeover! Learn and share how to bring out your inner and outer confidence, power, beauty and sassiness.

WHEN: Thursday, September 22, 2011. Arrive at 6:00pm for socializing, food and raffle prizes courtesy of Nordstrom!

Workshop will be from 6:30pm-8:30pm.

WHERE: Nordstrom at the King of Prussia Mall - 190 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA19406.

WHY: Because we love you!

*** Please RSVP to by September 19th.  
Space is limited to 15 women, so act fast! ***


My mother's vanity. Photo by Yael Glick.
My mother, Jane, died a year ago this past August.  With the many wonderful memories, great sadness and life lessons she left with me, she also left her deluge of empty M.A.C cosmetic containers.

She used to tell me that she came out of her mother's womb wearing a full face of makeup!  I never doubted this. One part artistic expression, one part profession, but mostly a way to "show face" even in the midst of grave illness, my mother loved her makeup.  Rarely would a day would go by that I did not see her artistically and with verve put on her makeup and get dressed to perfection.  Rarely would a day go by when I would see her and she wouldn't comment, "Don't you want to just put on a little more lipstick?"  The answer for me was almost always a resounding, NO! While I did and do wear makeup, it is not at all in the same spirit as my mother.
My mother reaped much joy from spending hours at the M.A.C counter at Nordstrom, often buying something that I deemed she didn't need. What she needed more, however, was what went with the purchase: striking up a conversation with another customer, listening to her life story and telling her that there isn't anything a great new lipstick couldn't fix! These impromptu M.A.C-counter-therapy-sessions were just what Jane ordered.

So, here I am last week with several bulging bags of half-used and empty M.A.C containers.  I know that M.A.C has a recycling program - bring back six empty containers and get a free lipstick.  What was I going to do with twenty new lipsticks?! I mean I got one (Lady Bug - a tomato red) but more than one would take a lifetime to wear.  So, in the spirit of my mother I spontaneously gave away her empty containers and gave nearly 20 women (mostly mothers and daughters this past Sunday) all new lipsticks! It was bittersweet but mostly sweet.  

This impromptu act caught the attention of the makeup artists at the M.A.C counter that morning and in the spirit of paying it forward, they offered to give me and a group of women free, private makeovers!  I was touched and wanted to take things one step further.  I thought, what better way to share in the spirit of giving than to offer the WCC community a FUN and EXCITING night out! 

Don't miss out on this fantastic event! 

RSVP by 9/19 to reserve your spot to 

{While this is a free event, donations would be greatly appreciated! The WCC thanks you for your support!}

August 27, 2011

Lesbians of Long Island - A Short Documentary

Hey there WCC community!  I wanted to share with you a shout out we received from Beryl Fine.  Beryl is a New York City based photographer and filmaker who contacted the WCC in the hopes of us sharing her newest endeavor - a short documentary film called Lesbians of Long Island.  Here is what she told us:

Lesbians of Long Island is a short documentary by yours truly Beryl Fine. The film centers around my aunt Lisa, her partner Lois, as well as their sidekick pooches Paddy and Abby (do you see how we love poetry?).

My exploration of my aunts began in August of 2010 when I moved from San Francisco to New York in hopes of expanding proverbial horizons (artistically and metaphorically). My aunt Lisa opened her home to me as I transitioned to a New York state of mind, (I grew up on the left coast in Santa Cruz, California). My family is not a traditional one bound by deep seeded ties. Growing up we rarely visited, moving in with Lisa was an introduction, but also developed into my first real experience getting to know her as a relative and friend. Soon I began to realize that Lisa and her partner Lois where quite the dynamic duo of smart ass antics and abrasive crass humor. They are two peas in a pod that complimented one another in perfect symmetry. I was living under my aunt’s roof for two short months before realizing I should begin to record my time spent in Long Island. What began to manifest was that these lovely ladies where not only totally normal (I use that phrase loosely) but also companions who are in love.

There is a prescribed notion in the media that love is bound by some kind of struggle and a battle which must be fought. What I want to communicate with Lesbians of Long Island is that love is not an intangible beast that must be conquered. Instead I pose the idea that it is normal and so essential that it fits seamlessly and effortlessly into the lives of Lisa and Lois. 

These lovely ladies don’t fit cultural personification of “gay”, actually that’s the furthest adjective anyone could use to describe their lives. My aunts are typical Jews living in Long Island. They posses no flamboyant qualities. They shop at Sam’s club and they watch CSI and King of Queens EVERY NIGHT and on the weekends they go to Carvel for chocolate soft serve ice cream. Paddy (a pit-bull mix) and Abby (a king Charles Cavalier Spaniel) act as their partners in crime following them at their heels and completing the equation of their amore.

I’m a believer that talk is cheap and that seeing is in fact believing. I have launched a fundraiser for my project on Kickstarter. I’m asking the world at large for help with the financing of this short. The money will be used to spread the love and joy that is Lesbians of Long Island. It will help pay for international and domestic film festival admission fees, it will also help with production costs, distribution and other miscellaneous fees that generally get racked up when producing a film. I’m asking the world to help me raise $3,500, a small feat which I know I can accomplish with your help. 

Check out her project and support the film!

August 22, 2011

Vacation Time!

Hey WCC community!  We will be away for the next week on a much needed vacation! Check back next week for new posts and exciting announcements about events at the WCC.

As always, for more information about the WCC please visit our website at and feel free to contact us at anytime!

August 11, 2011

Behind the Scenes at the WCC - TEDx Philadelphia Coming Your Way!

Well, what can I say - I am TED obsessed (as you can see by the various posts here on this blog with TED speakers)! Then, I was invited by TEDx Philadelphia committee member E Bond of rough draft books (a totally amazing, creative and awesome woman and bookbinder) to share my ideas for the upcoming TEDx Philadelphia event.  Well, I was honored.  I never have a shortage of ideas so I couldn't wait to meet with like minded folks and brainstorm.  This idea hour did not fail!  There were so many amazing men and woman from various walks of life in Philadelphia.  I wanted to share with you a sneak peak of the behind the scenes look of the making of the November 8, 2011 event at Temple University's Performing Arts Center!

August 10, 2011

Telling The WHOLE Story About Our Uterus and Other Girlie Parts

Ok, so this one is not nearly as bad (or bad at all for that matter) as the Psychology Today blog post I wrote about earlier in the week, which you can read more about here.  But, I had to comment on this one.  Dr. Lissa Rankin founder of wrote for her Psychology Today blog, Owning Pink about  "How to Have the Talk With Your Daughter."  I was happy to see that this was a post and an important one at that, however two things stood out for me: 1) there was only mention of meses or a period in the context of having babies and 2) no discussion of how getting your period and having a regular cycle is  about keeping your body healthy and in balance.

So, in true blog post reader reaction form, here is my comment to Dr. Rankin's blog post:

Dr. Rankin,

First, let me say that I love your site and book (which I look forward to getting).  Second, I am glad to read such a positive post encouraging open communication with girls about their bodies and especially around their periods.  However, the one thing that I would personally and professionally like to add to the conversation of menses with girls, is the message that getting your period is not only about having babies, but also keeping your body healthy and in balance.

Often, I hear the conversation with girls around getting their periods connected to the process of "having babies," as you too suggested.  The problem is, while this is true - socially, culturally, and at times biologically not every girl can or will want to have a baby.  Sending a message to girls at a very young age that their bodies are absolutely and inextricably connected to making babies, only seems to perpetuate the pitfalls of socially constructed gender roles.  This message that we often unknowingly and without ill-intent send to our girls through conversations around periods, does not leave much room for choice around what they will and will not do with their bodies when they are older.

I agree with you that you can not start too early having age appropriate conversations with girls and boys about their bodies, especially giving them language with which they can speak of and make sense of their bodies.  I do however, think that it is also our duty as parents and professionals (doctors, social workers, teachers, etc.) to give them the full picture and be conscious of how seemingly simple messages we send have more profound meanings.   This is a topic that I write frequently about on my organization’s website and blog – and would love for you and your readers to check out! Thanks! 

Just when you think you can let your guard down and breathe easy for a moment... alas, you can not! ;) 

Despite this snafu in a grander conversation we often have with our girls around their bodies and was reinforced by Dr. Rankin, this post here "15 Crazy Things About Vaginas" may totally have made up for it! Thanks, Dr. Rankin! 

August 09, 2011

So I Had a Baby, Can I Get a Job Too?

Image from

Domestic Goddess

Domestic Diva

Mommy on Duty

Or the boring title Stay-At-Home-Mom

Whatever you choose to describe the incredible work we do, either of those titles listed on a resume or cover letter is a sure fire way to get your application tossed into the wastebasket (or recycle bin).  So what do you do when you are a Domestic Diva seeking to re-enter the work place? 

Like many first-time parents, it was important for my partner and I to have one of us remain at home and provide full time care for our daughter during her first year of life.  The reason I was solicited to serve as the Domestic Goddess was due to my stunning post-natal figure and the fact I made a series of poor employment choices and at that time had a totally crap job.  

Things were going splendid for us and I began to re-think that whole Women’s Liberation thing, and then one day I glanced at our bank account and determined it was time to go back to work – STAT!  After all, we reside in the heart of one the of the Nation’s most expensive cities and Domestic Diva’s are only for the brilliantly rich (not moderately poor).   

Time to find a job!  No sweat, I have an MBA and years of work experience, this should be a piece of cake.  I’ll just go back to work… during the worst economy or country has known in over a generation. 


Now what to do about that year gap on my resume?  Should I just state that I have been home with my beautiful baby? NO! NO! and NO!

Here is why I learned never tell a potential employer you were home with a baby:

1) It literally translates to: You care more about your personal choices than you would our company.  

2) You will take time off from work to tend to a sick child, losing site of your bottom line.

3) If you are able to land an interview, employers may inquire about your child care and how it may affect your availability

So what should you do?

1) Volunteer:  If you are able to volunteer one evening or weekend, this could aid in explaining your work hiatus, while retaining your skills

2) Virtual Assistant:  This is the best fit for a domestic goddess, allows you to retain work experience at your own pace and keeps your resume current with employment

3) Add Mom on duty to your resume:  If you have been an at home parent for several years, consider adding those skills to your resume, i.e.: managing home budget, planning events, etc.

I hope this help all those Mommies on Duties facing the daunting task of finding employment during this economic crisis, when many employers are not considering reviewing the skills of the unemployed.

Guest blogger, Chanda is a 30-something former community organizer, turned free-lancer and part-time blogger ( I am a true east-coaster, meaning; I have lived in six states between North Carolina and Maine. Currently, I reside in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with my partner and amazing daughter.

August 08, 2011

Intersecting Identities: How I Navigated Feminism, Yoga and Dieting

I’ve been a feminist since before I knew that word existed.  And for most of that time, I hated my body.

Ironic much?

I spent most of my twenties living, breathing, marching and signature-collecting feminism.  To say I wore it as a badge of honor is about the most understated way I can say it.  I didn’t get in people’s faces about it so much as have it inform everything I did, including my career choices.

As I attended meetings and participated in consciousness-raising, the topic of body image would come up occasionally.  And every time it did, I rolled my eyes to myself and hoped for the conversation to be over soon.  If I knew ahead of time that the topic of a meeting was body image, more likely than not, I skipped it.

I didn’t dislike talking about body image, exactly.  It’s more like I didn’t see the point of it.  “The media socializes women to hate their bodies,” blah, blah, blah.  When were we going to get to the real injustices women faced?

Concurrent to all of this, I was on diet after diet after -- literally.  I rarely discussed this with my feminist sisters.  I thought it would be uncouth to talk about being on a diet (although I certainly wouldn’t have been the only one to do so), so I didn’t.  Also, dieting, body shame, and disordered eating are usually pretty private behaviors, and I fit right into that mold.  I figured if I didn’t say it out loud (at least much), I wouldn’t give other people the chance to agree that, yeah, I really did need to go on a diet.

Surprisingly, what ended up bringing together my feminism and body image struggles was yoga.  I started practicing yoga in this same several year span that brought me feminism and the depths of my dieting despair.  Similar to dieting, I often kept my yoga a secret.  I thought people would be embarrassed for me if they knew a curvy gal like me was practicing yoga, so I kept hoping for the day I’d be thin enough to both enjoy my practice and share it with others.

As I continued to develop my sense of how I wanted to live in the world and who I wanted to be, I started to cast off other people’s expectations about who/what/how I should be.  I also desperately wanted a yoga practice that met the needs of my body and made me feel safe, comfortable and empowered rather than crappy about how my belly was getting squished in forward bends or my boobs were about to suffocate me in Shoulderstand.  I made the decision to not wait any longer for that to happen.  I became a yoga teacher and started my own business, Curvy Yoga, teaching and writing about body positive yoga for people of all shapes and sizes.

It is in Curvy Yoga that these seemingly disparate parts of myself join and find voice.  Through the freedom of moving in ways that are tailored for curvy bodies, I’ve found space for both feminism and body positivity.  I’ve seen that body image isn’t a trivial issue; rather, it’s something that all of us live in in one way or another, every day.  I’ve also learned how much getting bogged down in dieting instead of eating intuitively and moving joyfully robs us of our happiness.  And not only that, it keeps us limited in what we imagine we can do, which is pretty much the opposite of what I want as a feminist.  

So here I am today: a curvy feminist yogini.  And it doesn’t feel ironic at all.

Guest Blog Contributor Anna Guest-Jelley is the Founder of Curvy Yoga, which is all about lovin’ the body you have today. Through Curvy Yoga, she offers yoga designed to fit the bodies of people of all shapes, sizes and abilities as well as messages of body positivity and meeting yourself where you are--both on and off the mat. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.  

August 07, 2011

Emergency WCC Blog Post!

Image from Luscious Lactivist
Hello WCC community!  I am not sure I ever wrote an "emergency" blog post, but I thought this was warranted.  The lovely Karen Kleinman over at The Post Partum Stress Center brought this blog post from the Psychology Today website to the Facebook community (thank you Karen, oh and here is her response to this post on the PT website). The post, "Did you get last week's message? Pushing Formula is Evil" written by Dr. Darcia Narvaez, has been one of the most outrageous and ethically irresponsible pieces of writing I have read in some time (ironic, since her professional work is centered in ethics - see her bio here).

Here was my response:

As the subject heading suggests, I am not even sure where to begin.  I thought this post was possibly intended for The Onion or an equally satiric online news magazine but alas, it is not.  To make matters worse, PT blogs are typically not a platform for propaganda, so this leaves me wondering, are you interested as a psychologist and one who seemingly specializes in ethics, to actually help women realize their full potential as mothers or perpetuate the multiple manifestations and experiences of shame and oppression already experienced by women and mothers on a daily basis?  In fact, as I am writing this comment, I think this post is antithetical to your so called professional efforts and engagement in ethics and quite unprofessional to boot.  In your numerous publications, is there anywhere that states as a therapist the ethical thing to do when you think your client may be headed down a path that you subjectively perceive as being “wrong” or disagree with is to tell them what they are doing is “evil”?  Is that what you were teach your university students? 

As a mother to a beautiful, healthy, happy and immensely smart formula-fed 5 year-old, therapist, feminist activist and researcher my work on a daily basis centers around advocating for the health and well-being of both women and children nationally and globally.  Among many of my professional and personal efforts is to offer education and advocacy around the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as the benefits of knowing your own personal physical and psychological boundaries and what works for you as a mother and woman in the environment that you live.  While I have no problem with bluntness, as you suggest you feel you need to be, I too believe in bluntness.  So, not to consider women in their social, political, physical and psychological environment and to flat out say with such seemingly lack of consciousness and naiveté “Moms, if you hate to touch and be touched, you can change. If you, like me, developed an avoidant attachment style, you learned to shun intimacy. With a loving partner, you can change.  You can learn to cuddle and enjoy it.”  Really?!  Do you have a magic silver bullet treatment to work quickly with adults who have an avoidant attachment style in time for women to feed their kids before they starve to death, because since formula is risky, evil, junk, they shouldn’t eat until their mom’s attachment and relational style is repaired, right?

If this is sounding like a personal response, that’s because it is.  I take very personally the messages that are sent specifically by women on behalf of other women that functions to take away any opportunities for choice and agency, let alone women who are in positions of power.  While there is definitely a time and a place to offer women, new moms and moms-to-be objective information, as well as supportive and encouraging words and resources to implement this important and life-giving information so that they can make the best decision for themselves and their families, this is not what you did.  You used terror tactics.  I didn’t know we as therapists were in the business of needing to cure individual’s misgivings with terror and hurt? What you did was more like providing an environment of shame, fear, hurt and indignation.  Was this really the only option of communicating the importance of breastfeeding? I really hope that you are able to reflect on your post and see if you can not reconsider your approach in working with women around breastfeeding and maternal mental health, we really need each other to support, nurture and care for one another’s overall well being without fear of attack, shame and guilt.

I really personally and professionally needed to share this with you loyal WCC community members and blog readers... hope you will feel free to comment, share your voice here an on the PT website! 

August 06, 2011

Behind the Scenes at the WCC

What motivates us to do all the hard work we do at the WCC? You!  That means you in all your unique and multiple identities and experiences of self.  Without it and without your stories,  I am certain our world would be a really boring place.  Sometimes, though, all of these unique parts of ourselves and our numerous life roles can get very confusing and overwhelming, and at times we can feel lost.  But at the WCC we recognize that navigating multiple identities is a fact of our 21st century global and interconnected lives.

So what does this all mean exactly?  Well, take a look at the following videos from TED, for example.  TED is a global platform to share and spread ideas worth knowing about.  The WCC thinks that YOU and your stories are worth knowing about.  Sharing pieces of ourselves with each other may help us feel more comfortable in our own skins and generate greater clarity and purpose in our lives.  I love these TED videos where actress Thandie Newton and novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speak about their stories, identities, and experiences within a larger cultural context.


What is your story?  How do you experience your self and your multiple and complex roles? Do you at times feel overwhelmed?  Share your thoughts with us; we would love to hear them.

August 05, 2011

Behind the Scenes at the WCC - Latch On America Event

As promised, I am reporting back from the Latch On America event.  In full disclosure, this is my second time writing this post.  I wrote this post immediately after coming back from the event, all charged up to tell you about it and then with a one mistype, I erased the whole thing! Here is take II.

{University of Pennsylvania, College Hall}
Upon arriving at the event, I was able to put my judgments aside once I inquired about the location and motivation for this particular event stop.  I was told that each city on the campaign trail had an opportunity to put in a bid for the location of the parked bus and accompanying event.  Since one of Milk for Thought's calls to action is education and research around breastfeeding, the University of Pennsylvania won the bid for Philadelphia, as the university apparently plays a big role in breastfeeding research and advocacy.  Despite the obvious academic setting it appeared that there were many community members participating.  There were a lot of moms, babies, and older kids from a cross-section of Philadelphia's diverse communities.  Additionally, I learned about MANY resources in the Philadelphia area to support first-time as well as seasoned mothers and families from all socio-economic backgrounds whose needs vary greatly (FYI - many of these resources will be added to the WCC website resource section in the coming days).

{Me at the Latch On America Event}

Among the many fantastic women (and men) in attendance were representatives from Belly Pilates, Penn Medicine, Choices in Childbirth, Breastfeeding Resource Center, Nurse-Family Partnership, MotherBorn, and Nursing Mother's Alliance.   

What I began to think about during the event were the larger feminist, socio-political, and psychological implications of breastfeeding.  Amie Newman wrote about these issues, including perpetuating the "mommy wars," work place safety, family planning, and reproductive health, in the Huffington Post in 2009 here. As a matter of fact,  I learned that the University of North Carolina holds a yearly symposium on feminism and breastfeeding.

However, there is the flip side of this conversation that demands attention: what if for medical reasons you cannot breastfeed or you simply don't want to?  I love this post over at the Crunk Feminist Collective blog speaking directly to this issue.  So, what do you think - is it ok to simply not want to breastfeed?  

In my opinion, breastfeeding is a relationship between you and your child, just like any other relationship.  For many women, breastfeeding may not be the right fit.  No matter what the reason, I really don't think that it is another woman's place to judge.  I think that while mother's milk may be "best," that does not mean that formula is inherently bad.  This particular argument often gets ignored and in part leaves mothers who formula-feed their babies feeling bad, wrong, ashamed and villainized.  This for me is part of the larger feminist conversation.   

What are your thoughts on feminism and breastfeeding?  Want to share your story with us? Leave a comment!

August 03, 2011

Behind the Scenes at the WCC

I am about to head out in a bit to attend the Milk for Thought campaign stop here in Philadelphia! Check out their website - Milk for Thought and this video:


To be quite honest, I am concerned that this stop on the tour may not reach the most vulnerable of Philadelphia's moms who need the most support and education around breastfeeding.  It is being held on the University of Pennsylvania's campus though I wish it was being held in a more vulnerable part of the city, say North or Southwest Philadelphia.  Before I totally judge, I will head out and certainly report back with an update, information and pictures! Stay tuned!