Archive for April, 2010

welfare

The history of welfare programs in the U.S. includes the fact that originally the program was designed for war widows.  Most of these women were white and the program was meant to tide the woman, usually a mother, over until she could marry a new husband and be supported by him.

Today the image of a welfare mother is far different and usually is of a woman of color instead of a white woman.  Women today are also more likely to have children outside of marriage and welfare is less likely to be for war widows.

How do you think these changes in recipients have affected the public opinions about welfare and about the recipients?

I think that very few recipients of welfare understand the history of the system. They don’t know how the system was created and what its purpose was. Realizing that the program was designed for war widows makes me view the system completely differently and it also angers me because of how the welfare is today.

I leaned on the welfare system when I was pregnant 5 years ago. I was ashamed and embarrassed to fill out the application and to meet with a worker and to get my EBT card. I was embarrassed when I went into the supermarket to purchase groceries and did my best to shield my card from the cashier and others in line. Why? Personally, I felt it was a failure that I couldn’t provide for myself. But what I also did know is that as soon as I was able to go back to work, I would and I would get off of welfare. I never looked at the program as a long term. It was there to help those in need and I was not going to take advantage.

The problem I see now in my community is that welfare is some type of game that people need to beat. They receive assistance, but have a job on the side they don’t report. They claim they don’t have money to pay rent or buy toothpaste and toilet paper but they have an Iphone, new Nikes, and their nails painted. Every.single.week. Welfare recipients tend to have a variety of resources available to help recipients get back on their feet. From job training programs to parenting classes to apartment help. The idea is that ok, people need help and we need to help them. Though some recipients take advantage. Welfare is not a career. So now the public opinion is that welfare is a crutch for people. It’s viewed as a means to help people become more dependent. And the fact that most recipients now are of woman of color only reiterates stereotypes within our society. Those women of color need help, that they are needy, and poor. It’s a sad sad reality based on why the program was designed. Of course not all recipients are devious, and like myself I appreciated the help, but also worked extremely hard to get off the system and did so in a year.

 Lets keep the dialouge open, what is your take?


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cheer up sunshine

A couple of months ago I was feeling pretty down on myself. Wasn’t feeling like I was doing all that I could to be the best me, the best mom, the best woman I could be. I felt alone, felt like no one understood me…I didn’t even understand myself. So I reached out to my friends. And I asked them if there is one piece of advice you could give me what would it be? The responses I got are below:
-Live, Laugh, Learn 
-Be brave enough to be true to yourself and love yourself more than you ever thought possible.
-Live, love, laugh, and don’t let anyone kill your happiness!
-Learn to relax
-Stay strong, remember each choice you make holds not only your future walk in life but also respects your daughter life choices. Children learn by following.
-Wake up every morning appreciating something because we aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow
-Don’t give a F what other people think of you
-Love Solana and give her everything you wish you had and wanted
-Stay focused, the light is at the end of the tunnel
-Stop procrastinating and do your homework
-Always keep your glow
-Live, love, and laugh to the fullest, letting no one and nothing keep you down

I was overwhelmed by the responses I received from my friends and family and I was so glad they took the time to respond. I was so down on myself and feeling so negative that I wasn’t able to see all the goodness in and around me. As a young single mom, I feel like I’m racing to catch up most of the time. Like I’m so much further behind other 24 year olds. I have a child, I mean, I’m not dead! My daughter is happy and healthy and a ray of sunlight in my life and in the life of those we love.

I adore her and she looks up to me. Just the other day she told me when she was older she wanted to cut her hair off when she gets older so she could be ‘pretty just like mommy’. And me, well I’m fighting the fight because that’s all I know how to do. I’m taking damn good care of my daughter, working, and putting myself through school. And you know what, I’m damn proud of myself.



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my 1st acknowledgment!

A few days ago I was delighted to receive an email from Tiffany Stephens. Tiffany authors the blog, Young Wife and Mom, a place where she and her readers can talk about freebies, deals, scrapbooking and relationships. (I suggest you check it out!)

Mrs. Stephens was honored by Shanna over at The Autry Family blog. And in honor of her being a recipient of, she passed the award on to 10 fellow bloggers…one of them being myself!! She said we were awesome bloggers!!!

So Tiffany…thank you very much for the acknowledgment. As a new and younger blogger its great to get recognition from fellow bloggers.


You made my week!!

Check out the other honorees: http://youngwifeandmom.blogspot.com/2010/04/ive-been-honored.html


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IMAGE-IMAGE-IMAGE 2

In part 1 of IMAGE-IMAGE-IMAGE I used the term everyday woman freely  without describing what my definition is.
An everyday woman is:
·         Of any race, ethnicity, or culture
·         Working, underpaid, unemployed
·         A mother, aunt, or daughter
·         Not necessarily content with her body image
·         Self-conscious
·         On average about 140 pounds
Where did our negative body image come from? Our mothers? Our friends? Media? While media takes the cake with persuading American women that beauty means to be thin, your culture also plays a part. Latin women are known to be curvaceous as well as confident. Latin men love their full figured Latino women. So, should all American’s relocate to Latin communities or countries? I think not.
Like the new Lifetime show,  How to Look Good Naked, we as a society need to redefine what beauty truly is and remember that true beauty comes from within. We need to teach ourselves to self-love rather than self-loathe. While bypass surgery and crash diets may seem appealing, it won’t change your mind or your heart.
American women, what is so wrong with accepting your bodies?
I challenge you. Whether you are 15 or 55, black, yellow, or pea green. I challenge you to love every part of yourself. If you wake up in the morning and don’t like what you see in the morning like me, change what you see. Take out that red lipstick you were always too shy to wear and use it for once. Write on your mirror ‘I AM BEAUTIFUL!’ Yes, women for once, do something for you. And post this saying all around your house. If your husband asks what you’re doing, tell him, I’m beautiful and clearly you don’t tell me enough! And if you’re single like me, it’ll be that added umph you need when you’re feeling down. 

Research what works well with your body type. Don’t know your body type? Do a little google search and I think you’ll be able too. Find out if darker jeans work best or a wrap dress. Trust me, when you find something that works with what you’re working with, it’s magic and it’ll boost that inner self-confidence. Once you’ve found that perfect outfit, go get your hair down, nothing crazy though. And when you get back in that mirror, get out that lipstick and write on the mirror then put a little on.

And when life has you down remember the following:

LAUGH! Hahaha. Remembering you have a sense of humor is important.

Eat healthier. Yes, fast food seems oh so convenient, but it also isn’t the best for your health. Snack smart and sensibly. Throw a bag of mixed nuts in your purse or snag a few of those cheerios!

Get Moving! Yes exercise people! Instead of driving, walk to where you have to go. Take the stairs instead of elevator. Trust me; your thighs will thank me.

Express Yourself. Bottling up your emotions is a no-no. Let it out. Not comfortable talking to someone? Start a journal, or draw what you’re feeling.

Think Positive. If you think today’s going to be a good day and it’ll be a good day. Think it’s going to be a bad day and it’ll be a bad thing. The mind is a powerful thing.

It’s crazy how small changes can make you feel so much better.

So, self-conscious American women, up for the challenge?


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IMAGE-IMAGE-IMAGE

PART ONE:
Weight + Image:
America’s fall into the world of all this
Superficial + Unhealthy
America, home of the thin and superficial
America, home of the super-thin and materialistic
Amerca, home of the obese and extremely self-conscious
Sooo, whats up with American women feeling like they don’t measure up when it comes to weight and image? Could it be because the average American woman is 5’4’’ and weighs 140 pounds? It could be. It could also be because plastered on billboards, in magazines, and on TV are super-thin and mostly Caucasian women who look nothing like the everyday woman. Could it be because the average American model is 5’11’’ and weighs 117 pounds? Could be.
In the movie Shallow Hal, the main character, Jack Black, views overweight women as beautiful and thin. He views their “inner beauty”. He is deemed an outcast by his friends and thought to be crazy to be attracted to a woman who wasn’t 110lbs.
Society urges women to try this diet pill and try that. From hip-hop abs to nutrisystem, it seems like society cannot get away from the thin-craze. In one magazine I was reading I found 6 ads for ‘magic’ diet pills. And even saw an ad for plastic surgery. Clearly these ads wouldn’t have been created if there weren’t overweight people. Knowing that is that case, why feature stick then makeup packed women who look nothing like the everyday women?
 The Dove Campaign for real beauty caused a lot of outrage worldwide. Why are those kind of women now on billboards? They’re not attractive, they’re not pretty! News flash: those women dressed in white bras and panties, well they’re you’re wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters.
Dove began the campaign because they like many women in society felt that beauty had a narrow and unchanged view. Their goal was to redefine what beauty is so it accepts all women and challenges them to accept and love every inch, roll, and curve.
Another organization encouraging women to accept who they are is the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA). Started in 1969 the NAAFA strives to banish discrimination based solely on body size. The NAAFA seeks to empower women through membership, education, and advocacy. It’s important to state that their goal isn’t to necessarily lose weight, but to get to a point where you are healthy and feel good about yourself.
When did image start becoming survival of the thinnest?

In a culture built on fast cars and sex appeal where does the average women fit in?



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