Self-Decision, Self-Confidence


There’s no denying the fact that more teenage girls are falling victim to the image of perfect bodies and looks of the women they see on TV every day.  Girls are constantly comparing themselves to the photo-shopped and highly-contoured women they see as role models.

Young girls are affected by the images they see on TV and often result in lack of self-confidence and self-esteem issues that affect them later in life.

Do Something, Inc., a nonprofit organization created to motivate young girls to love themselves, says that low self-esteem is more than just a stage in life, but a disorder.

“Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which an individual views herself as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view of self permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior.”

A recent study done by the Heart of Leadership nonprofit organization says that more than 90 percent of girls- 15 to 17- want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest.

There is no doubt that this issue is impacting our young girls. But not all fall victim to it. A student at Winthrop University, a school outside of Charlotte, N.C., says the images she was comparing her body to was not on the television, but in her own mind.

“I hated myself for being my size and I hated everyone else for telling me I was pretty. I hated anyone who was thin because I could never be thin,” Robin Joyner said. “I hated everyone who tried to help me because they didn’t understand what was going on in my head.”

Latoya McDonald, director at the Emmett Scott Recreational Center and founder of the nonprofit organization, CRAVE Inc., focuses on the importance of character, respect, attitude, value and education in her program. McDonald says that many girls in her program have admitted to have an eating disorder.

“Research shows that 13 percent of girls, age 15 to 17, are currently struggling with an eating disorder or have in the past,” McDonald said. “That kind of problem is serious for someone that young of age. Their lives really hasn’t even started yet and they already are struggling with serious issues.”

As a child, Joyner said she struggled with her body image and wanted so bad to be thinner than she was.

“I hated myself for wanting to eat and being thick. My body disgusted me, my face was too chunky, my hips were too wide and my waist was too large. I felt like my body played a cruel joke on me and everyone was laughing besides me,” Joyner said.

After a long time, Joyner is finally enjoying her life by simply being herself and no one else.

“After it all, I still love myself. I just look at it as something I had to go through to learn and love myself better. It helped me become who I am today,” Joyner said.

Unlike many girls, Joyner has taken her struggles throughout her childhood and used it as a means to encourage other students to be confident in themselves. Joyner decided to start a fashion and confidence club on her campus called IAM Undefined.

“I knew I wanted something to reach out further than just people who love fashion. I wanted to use this as a way to give people that inner confidence that I once lacked,” Joyner said.

Just as Joyner is trying to make an impact on the lives’ of other girls, businesses such as Dove, launch campaigns that support women and their natural beauty despite their size, shape or looks.

With the recent addition to her family, a baby boy, Joyner says she will teach her son to always be respectful to women.

“I honestly believe that confidence for girls truly start during childhood. Just by telling a little girl she is beautiful everyday can increase her chances of not struggling with self-esteem issues in the future,” Joyner said. “I will teach my son to be kind and respectful to the women in his life and always uplift them.”

Joyner stated her main purpose of starting this group was to create the atmosphere of positivity that she never had.

“My main goal is just to create a group where people can come together to be honest with themselves and other people. After I leave Winthrop, I want this group to continue on supporting people and helping them believe in themselves,” Joyner said. “Confidence is something we all need, even though it’s the hardest to get. Everyone is beautiful in their own way because God made us all in His image, and what better way is there to be?”

All Black Everything


This story is by Janelle Harris, a writer, blogger and editor, and the owner of The Write or Die Chick , a boutique editorial services agency. This story comes from Go read this story here!

I was raised by a Black family. I go to a Black church. I live in a Black neighborhood. I did my undergrad at a Black college—finishing my master’s degree at one, too. Teen Girl has been educated in schools where White students are welcome, but none ever enrolled. We are surrounded and cushioned by Blackness aplenty. I never saw anything wrong with it. I still don’t. We celebrate, enjoy and appreciate other races, cultures and communities but, when it’s time to come home, we revel in our own. The other day, however, she brought up an interesting point during an otherwise fruitless conversation about her plans for New Year’s Eve.

“Last year, I hung out with you and your friends like I was one of the ladies in Waiting to Exhale,” she snarked in her teenage drawl. “This year, I want to spend the night at Beth’s house. Like a cultural exchange.”

Beth is her one White friend, a girl she met at summer camp at a very ritzy and very privileged private school in a very monied section of the city. My child was there on a let’s-make-a-conscious-effort-to-be-more-diverse scholarship. That wasn’t the official name, of course, but it surely was the intention. Female. Check! African-American. Check! Single-parent household. Check! And, according to their old wealth and upper income bracket standards, we’re also considered po’ folks, so check for that too, thank you very much. The costs of camp are no joke, so if it wasn’t for that come-up, homegirl would’ve surely spent her days schlepping through the Janelle Harris You Gonna Be Anything But Lazy Internship Program. We were both thankful it didn’t come down to that.

Beth, on the contrary, was there on the strength that her parents could afford to send her on a whim simply because she decided at the last minute she wanted to go.

I don’t begrudge the girl her money or her privilege. She was unknowingly born into both. I do resent her effort to counter it by trying her darndest to pretend her way into Blackness based on what she absorbs on reality TV and World Star Hip-Hop. Between her fledgling Ebonics, her little colored, cornrow-wearing boyfriend and now a friendship with my daughter who, bonus! has dreads and lives in the ‘hood, she is a certified carrier of the storied Black pass. She’s all set.

Skylar thinks my apprehension about their new girlfriendom is the rearing of some sort of reverse discrimination. “You don’t like her just because she’s White,” she accused.

I sucked my teeth. “Oh, on the contrary,” I retorted. “I suspect she only likes you because you’re Black.”

That girl has my blessing to be friends with as many people who represent as many differences as the wide world offers. I just don’t want her to do it at the expense of being the token Negro friend for folks who just want to live the vicarious life for curiosity’s sake. Everybody wants to be Black until the cops come or the paychecks are cut. Then it stops being hip and trendy. It becomes an inconvenience.

Blackness is a finely woven silk garment. It’s a glorious, enchanting aria. It’s a struggle at times, but a lovely one. I made a very conscious effort to surround my daughter with the beauty of it until I felt like she was old enough to have a solid understanding of her greatness as a woman of African descent. That meant being careful about what she played with, what she read, what she watched on TV. There were no Disney flicks in our house until she was almost 10 because it doesn’t take much to internalize the not-so-subtle messages when a character’s name is Beauty and she doesn’t look a thing like you. I wanted her to love herself and her people before society beat her over the head with all of its ugly stereotypes and prejudices.

She doesn’t think about being Black. She just is. Maybe she’ll reflect on it more deeply when she gets older. She’s certainly been exposed to enough of the conversations between me and my “waiting to exhale” circle of thinking-and-analyzing sistagirls, her godmother and play aunties. There’s never too much of feeding, teaching and exposing our kids to their culture. A strong backbone holds a head up high. When I watch her in her most unsuspecting moments having a love affair with her skin, her natural hair—really, her whole Black self—I feel confident that she won’t just take whatever the world gives her as she steers her own course. She won’t let this Beth and the other ones she’ll encounter tell her who she is. She’ll already know for sure.

Daddy Day Care- Judged, Not Expected


After reading this article found on Yahoo, I quickly realized that everyone did not have a childhood like I did. My childhood very much involved my father playing an active role and doing a lot more than being a “deadbeat.” It is very sad to say, that like those who commented under this picture, that most of America thinks that black men are deadbeat fathers to their children. But there is only one way for us to fix that stereotype. And that way is for black men to step up and take care of their responsibilities. Taking care means more than just making sure the child support check arrives on time. It means making sure your son or daughter receives everything they need spiritually, mentally and physically. It means being there when they are hurting, when they’re happy, when they’re upset, disciplining them when they are wrong and helping them grow up to be a law-abiding citizen. Every child deserves a childhood like I had which consisted of two (mother and father) loving parents who were both there to support me. And this is the kind of family these two little girls were provided. And when their father tried to get his daughters ready for school and prove to his wife, their mother that “he could handle it,” he was scrutinized.

Doyin Richards took a month off from his corporate job to stay home and help his wife with their six month old and two-year old daughters. Getting more attention than he intended, the Los Angeles blogger got more than 5,000 shares and 3,000 comments in the matter of hours.  The comments, however, were not ones of admiration or support for a father taking the time to care for his little girls. They consisted of statements like “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him,” and “I would bet anything that you’re a deadbeat.” Is that really where we have come? Robbing a black man of the possibility of taking care of his children. Instead of challenging this, we should be expecting this. It just shows how much more work we, as African-American citizens and families, have to do to show the rest of the world who we really are. Read the story, in more detail, here on Yahoo.