I’m so incredibly honored that Gretchen, my oldest childhood friend, would agree to contribute to Fabulous Mom Blog when she can. Gretchen has her Masters in Humanities with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies and plans on sharing her thoughts of how women are portrayed in the media, gender roles and stereotypes. I’m really looking forward to her presence here at FMB.
I first met Gretchen when I was 11 and my family moved cross-country from California to the little railroad town of Boykins, Virginia. The principal of the local Elementary school called Gretchen’s family to ask her to walk down the road and introduce herself before school. We sat up in my room playing “Guess Who”. That was over 20 years ago. It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies. Gretchen is a true hero in my eyes, and we need more women like her so our daughters don’t have to be discriminated against or made to feel less superior than their male counterparts.
You can find Gretchen on her own blog grrrlwithboys.blogspot.com where she talks about gender roles and stereotypes and trying to raise her two little fellas to be good men.
I’m excited to introduce the newest contributor to join Fabulous Mom Blog. Here’s Gretchen. She’ll tell you a little bit about herself and her background with Women’s Studies and how her passion for gender equality began.
Hi ya’ll, my name is Gretchen and I was raised in a very small country town in Virginia. My mom always taught me that I could do and be anything I wanted. When I got to college to major in Photography (something I still enjoy doing) I took my first Women’s Studies course as a social science elective. I immediately felt at home and realized that my mother had raised me from a feminist perspective but had never labeled it. I was especially intrigued when discussing body image in class. I was introduced to one of my favorite poems by Lucille Clifton called “Homage to My Hips“. I then decided to switch my major to Women’s Studies and focused a lot of my research on the portrayal of women in the media, gender roles and stereotypes. After finishing my Bachelors, I went right on to get my Masters in Humanities with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. As luck would have it, I was able to get a job in the Women’s Center at my University and I now work as their Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator supporting and empowering women students and engaging men to be allies in achieving gender equality. I even teach my own Introduction to Women’s Studies course now!
I married my high school sweetheart Bill. He is super awesome and supportive and we now have two sons, Jackson (4 1/2) and Myles (18 months). I am very conscious of how I am raising my sons because I want them to be good men. As my mother did for me, I encourage them to be and do what interests them. I do not limit the toys they are allowed to play with by prescribed gender roles. I introduce them to a variety of toys and all the colors. In fact, Jackson’s favorite color is pink. He chose that color as his favorite all by himself when he was 2. I also attempt to shield them from toys, TV shows and movies that portray violence because of the gender roles aimed at boys/men. However, sometimes that’s impossible so I engage them (mostly Jackson at this point, since Myles is only talking a little bit) and help them to understand why violence is bad and how to avoid it.
My goal in life is to empower women, help reduce/eliminate negative body image among girls and women, and promote healthy masculinity and gender equality. I am aware that is a tall order, but I know that every little bit helps. My favorite part about my job is to see peoples’ eyes open and their self-confidence rise.
Please, follow Gretchen on Twitter @GrrrlWithBoys.
Have you given much though to how gender roles are portrayed in the media?