Thursday, July 17, 2014

What We've Been Reading- July 18th

Nadine Gordimer, an acclaimed writer, past away on Sunday, July 13th. The Nobel Prize-winning author, was also known for her anti-apartheid activism. She was an inspiration in fighting for peace and equality, as reflected in her novels. "A Guest of Honour" (1970), the Booker Prize-winning "The Conservationist" (1974) and "July's People" (1981) are three of her notable works, cited by the Nobel committee as "giving profound insights into the historical process (and) help(ing) to shape this process," as further discussed in this article. She was also friendly with Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa. Gordimer truly never backed down from voicing her opinions and speaking out on important issues for the sake of equality in South Africa.

Gordimer was born and raised in South Africa, and at an early age, she understood that there were huge issues regarding racial and economic inequalities within the nation. She said, "I early
on began to realize how artificial our life was,” referring to her sheltered childhood as a student at an all-girls, all-white Catholic school. She managed to speak out eventually and express her views through her many works of literature. Gordimer will be remembered and cherished as
an incredible author, activist, and woman.

Fitspo, short for "fitspiration" is an online community consisting of blogs and social media mediums that  are meant to encourage weight loss, diet and exercise through the sharing of success stories, diet and workout tips, and photos. Considered to be harmless by some, it has come under scrutiny in an article by Huffington Post titled "Why 'Fitspo' Should Come With A Warning Label." The problem lies in the fact that the content, which are meant to be encouraging mantras and tips, are actually GIFs that include photos of women with unrealistic figures. Author Rebecca Adams also delves into the frustrations of tedious calorie counting and dietary restrictions quoting one user as stating "There were just too many numbers in my head...I didn't want to look at an egg as being 70 calories. I needed to look at it as something that's nourishing and good for my body." Fitspo gained popularity around the same time as First Lady Michelle Obama launched her advocacy for a healthier America, and while the cause to battle the obesity epidemic is admirable, it is essential that while we promote healthy eating and exercise habits, it is done through positive messaging and motivates these women to strive for a body that is healthy rather than thin.
You may remember Jill Abramson's very public firing from her position as Executive Editor of the New York Times. Her firing, and the way it was handled by the famous publication, drew sharp criticism on social media claiming the Times treated her unfairly, particularly when her publisher cited the reason for her termination being her "brusque" style of management . Jill recently sat down for an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine to discuss what she learned from the incident and her experiences with sexism throughout her career. She also offered some great advice for young women- to be authentic. Admitting that she took the interview to speak candidly to a young female audience, Abramson goes on to say " I did lose this job I really loved -- you have to be an authentic person,"  And after reading a cruel article by Politico, "I did cry. That is my authentic first reaction. I don't regret sharing that."  The day that her termination became public, Abramson posed for an Instagram photo with her trainer in boxing gloves to show she didn't plan on sitting in a corner moping. She believed that message would be important to her kids and others. The full article can be read on Cosmopolitan's website. It is certainly an inspirational must-read.

There are over 10,000 firefighters that serve all five boroughs of New York, and 41of them are women (which is the highest number of women in 30 years). In exciting news that broke this week, one of those women made it into this year's sexy FDNY Calendar of Heroes. Danae Mines, or Miss March is the only woman to pose in the much-loved annual FDNY calendar. The 2015 calendar costs $17.95 and the proceeds go to the FDNY Foundation which trains firefighters, and educates New Yorkers on fire safety.