Posted on

Are We Breast-Shaming Our Daughters?

Are we breast-shaming our daughters?

... if we insist she wears a bra when her breast buds start to come in?

... if our first bra-shopping trip is to a mainstream bra department, mainly populated by padded, cupped and underwire bras?

... if we insist she wears a bra around the house?

... if we tell her she'll get saggy breasts without constant bra-wearing?

... if we tell her that she's "asking for it" if the outline of her nipples shows through her shirt?

... if we comment about the size or shape of her breasts?

The above are all very common mother-daughter interactions.

Keith L'Amour

What would happen if we let go of the cultural notion that breasts need to be hidden? 

​Breasts are emblems of nature, little buds that grow into unique flowers. These flowers are part of a woman’s body for the rest of her life, and will change as she gets older.The impulse that these flowers should be tamped down, that breasts should be hidden by bras from a young age, is the same impulse that drives humans to disconnect from nature.

​... writes Meagan Murphy of The Breast Archives.

[While wearing  bra] is necessary to work within societal norms in some contexts, the home you share with your family can be a place of growth and comfortability.

So let's open up the option of going bra-free at home - and wherever else it's not absolutely mandatory.

Normunds Braslins

Breast-positivity for daugther and yourself

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid breast-shaming and embrace breast-positivity:

  • ​Listen to your daughter.  Respect her body's wisdom as the source for her wants and needs.
  • Encourage your daughter to experiment with different types of bras - and with being bra-free.
  • Support your daughter's choice whether or not to wear a bra at home and other times when it's not socially mandatory.
  • Encourage her to try different types of bras.  Avoid padded bras and underwire bras since they are designed to disguise breasts.  They are inherently breast-shaming.
  • Have you heard of Nippies, silicone nipple covers? Until we've evolved past believing that the nipple outlines are socially unacceptable, these covers allow one to go bra-free but without wearing a loose or thick top.
  • Speaking of tops! Help her try different types. Although we may reject the notion that breasts need to be hidden, we may find tops that allow for free breasts without trodding on cultural norms.
  • Cultivate a relationship with your own breasts, and pass this on to your daughter.  A very connecting and healthy practice is to massage one's breasts daily.  Learn more from Meagan Murphy here.
breast-shaming

Agnès Baillon

What's your experience with breast-shaming and breast-positivity?

What did you like (or loathe) about what your mother said or did about your breasts?

How did your father respond when your breasts "arrived"?​

What are some positive ways to respond to a girl who does not want to wear a bra? Do you believe that it's "Her body, her choice"?

How do we help our children honor and take charge of their bodies whilst navigating any trauma/shame that we may carry about our own bodies as well as the humungously negative cultural messages about breasts and bodies?

Faiza Maghni

Posted on

Help Girls Stop Comparing Themselves to Others

You can help girls stop comparing themselves to others.

Your best tools are your own inner work and your modeling.

Here's a simple practice:

  1. Notice when you are comparing yourself to others. Tune into this throughout each day.
  2. Interrupt it when it happens, kindly but firmly.
  3. Embrace that part of yourself with tenderness.
  4. Replace the comparing thought with a positive belief.

Let me unpack each of these steps for you.

1. Noticing when you compare

We all compare ourselves to others! For you, is it:

  • Breasts or other aspects of your body?
  • Clothing, make up?
  • Job or money?
  • Children?
  • How "natural" you are?
  • How feminist you are?

Knowing your special comparison topics will help you tune in with more consistency.

And now your task is simply to tune in and notice when you compare yourself to another.

stop comparing

Art by John Wesley


2. Interrupting

When you find yourself comparing, simply pause and breathe.

There, you've interrupted it! This is an accomplishment! 

It's important to be kind to yourself as you do so. Do not beat yourself up. You are doing work that requires energy, effort, determination, and courage. Bathe yourself in compassion.

stop comparing

Self-Compassion by Lisa Rough


3. Tenderly Embracing

You can come back to this step later if you're in the middle of something. 

To tenderly embrace the part of you that is generating the comparison, you first need to connect with her. At first, this may take a little time. 

Focus gently on the emotion behind the thought. Then, in your mind's eye, "go back in time" as far as you can until you find a memory or association holding that same emotion.

stop comparing

Tree of Becoming by Lucy Pierce

You may be a babe, a child, a teen or an adult.  What's happening?

And most importantly, what does she need in the moment? Offer that to her, and spend some time doing so. Notice how she responds, how you respond, emotionally and in the body. This is healing and wholing.


4. Replacing with a Positive Belief

What positive beliefs might you substitute for your thoughts of comparison? Try these, or adapt them, or create your own:

  • I am enough​
  • I am a unique, divine and amazing human being
  • I don't want to be anyone but myself.
  • My journey is toward my truest, deepest self.
  • I love and embrace my whole self, warts and all
  • I will treat myself with kindness and compassion.
  • Every day, I become more and more whole and healed.

One way to choose your positive beliefs is to consider which beliefs you'd love to have the girls in your life embrace.

Of those, choose for yourself the ones that resonate emotionally or energetically for you.

positive beliefs

Photo by Jodi Nemeth Photography


Again, dear reader, if you want to help girls stop comparing themselves to others, your best tools are your own inner work and your modeling.  Try this practice and see what positive changes unfold for you and for the girls in your life.

Please share your questions and ideas. 

And let us know how it goes!

Posted on

Walking in Two Worlds

Clarissa Pinkola Estés is a poet, storyteller, mythologist, Jungian psychoanalyst and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves (WWRWW). I met with Dr. Estés and about 100 other fortunate women last week at a WWRWW Facilitator Training in Colorado.

Women Who Run with the Wolves

Art by 16-year-old Dimitra Milan

Filled with ancient teaching stories (usually called fairy tales), WWRWW is in effect a manual of the initiatory journey from girlhood to womanhood. This is a book for every woman to read, savor, and return to again and again.

Few of us were initiated into womanhood. It our task is to seek out our rites of passage.

Coming of Age

Coming of Age - Apache Sunrise Ceremony . Photo: Rebecca Greenfield

At the same time, we must help our sisters (and brothers) embody their fullest, truest, most human selves – particularly children and youth. It is said that only an initiated adult can initiate others, but in this transitional time, we must magically do the “impossible.”

It is possible and it is essential to bring back mentorship and rites of passage.

Walking in two worlds is crucial to re-instating the adolescent rite of passage. To re-igniting all our rites of passage, from birth to death. To healing and wholing individually and culturally. To co-creating the world we want to live in.​

What’s most remarkable to me about Dr. Estés
and what lights the path of initiation -
is her practice of the art of walking in two worlds.

More than any person I’ve ever met, Dr. E. actively embodies this art, this very human way of being.

We all have the innate capacity for both rational thought and for finding truth, guidance and wisdom from that which is greater - call it Spirit, God, Goddess, one's wild instinctual self, one's higher angels, one’s deepest intuition.  

Whether the words point to within or without, they indicate the same source of universal Truth, Beauty, and Wisdom.

We are born with this capacity to receive truth and insight from the Greater All.

Children are magic

Art by Yan Nascimbene

Observe any child.  She is walking in two worlds everyday ... unless she's been taught not to.

We need both the rational and the non-rational to function in a complete, purpose-filled way, to realize our wholeness as humans and to serve this world and the holy in the fullest way. Only a tiny fraction of the information and support that is available to us is found in rational, consensual reality. The world as we know it today is the result of most of humanity being cut off from this magical birthright.

How does one cultivate the ability to walk in two worlds?

“Practice!” says Dr. Estés.

Walking in Two Worlds practices are straightforward, nourishing and accessible to all.  Incorporate these into your daily life to cultivate your natural capacity.

You don’t need to visit a South American shaman! You don't need substances (other than good, clean food). Everything you need is contained in your body, mind, soul and spirit.

Everything you need is contained in your body, mind, soul and spirit

Inspiration Flow by Valerie Sjodin

Simply attune to what is present
within and around you.

Bring awareness, responsiveness, expression and joy to your entire experience.  The sensations and perceptions of your body, mind, heart, soul and spirit.

Walking in two worlds

Soul's Journey by Freydoon Rassouli

Suggested Practices for Walking in Two Worlds

Choose what calls you and invite them into your life daily.

  • Remember, write down, and reflect on your dreams.
  • Cultivate those moments of altered consciousness such as when you are half-awake in the morning or when a reverie becomes a waking dream.
  • Pray.
  • Meditate.
  • Garden.
  • Sing or chant.  Make music!
  • Be creative – draw, paint, write…
  • Move your body expressively and/or intuitively.  Dance life!
  • Spend time outdoors. Connect with the natural world. For instance, observe trees. What is their gesture? Feel into them. What is it like to be that tree, right now? Listen to them. What can you learn?
  • Tune into Sister Moon. Follow Her cycles. What is She inviting? Gaze at Her. Sing to Her. Draw Her down into your body. Today (Tuesday, August 2) we have a Dark Moon in Leo followed by tomorrow’s New Moon, A potent time of possibility.
  • Honor the Wheel of the Year, the changing seasons. Today is Lammas (midpoint between Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox) in the northern hemisphere – a time to celebrate the early harvest, gratitude for what’s been received, and to ponder how to best serve life with these resources. In the southern hemisphere, it’s Imbolc (midpoint of Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox) – the quickening of new life. What are you growing this season?
  • If you have (or had) a menstrual cycle, you are blessed with an initiatory journey each month. Chart your cycle, noting how your intuition ebbs and flows, how your dreams evolve, how your feelings and what calls you changes throughout your cycle.
  • Learn from children. They are infused with this magic – until they are taught to ignore and suppress what they see, hear and sense what is not of this world. Let them be your teachers.

    And please, hold the space open for children to be the natural shamans they are.

How are you walking in two worlds?

What practices nourish your wild instinctual self?
How have you sought out or offered rites of passage?
Please leave a  comment!

Walking in two worlds

Photo by Treti Pivni

Mentoring Girls Certificate Training

JOYW's Mentoring Girls Certificate Training  is open for enrollment!

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support beginning in 2017.  Leadership roles are opening up.  

Deeper Partial Scholarships are now being funded by the Mary Krueger Scholarship Fund, named in honor of my dear mother who passed this past May.

Learn more here.

Posted on

Body Image: Positive Role Modeling

positive body image for girls

Art by Maya Burman

All humans learn by imitation.

Girls learn how to be a girl and how to be a women by observing and imitating the women in their lives.

Your own body image and your beliefs about your body have a strong influence on how the girls in your life feel about their bodies.

If you have poor body image, you can still convey positivity by being intentional about your speech and actions, and also doing your best to love all the parts of your body.

I struggle with body shame myself, but I did not pass it onto my daughter.  According to her! I believe this is because I worked consciously, on a daily basis, to feel great about my body and to speak only in positive ways about my body, her body, and all bodies.

Here are some tips. Which of these sound good to you? What would you add?

AVOID THESE

  • Asking "Do I look fat in this?"
  • Weighing yourself daily.
  • Speaking about "good food" and "bad food"
  • Talking about your muffin top, or your flabby or saggy anything
  • Commenting on the weight gain or loss of others.
  • Magazines and media with body shaming messages.
  • Frequent commentary about her appearance

DO THESE

  • Carry yourself with pride whether walking, standing, sitting, dancing...
  • Exercise and move your body in ways that delight you
  • Eat fabulous healthy food
  • Find a daily body-loving meditation, ritual or activity
  • Affirm that people come in all sizes and shapes

These Body Image practices are simple but truly powerful.

Pick one and try it for a week or two. Notice how your daughter responds. Notice how YOU feel.

Follow your body's wisdom as you continue to build your body positive role modeling. Your body knows. At some level, she is working to support your to break the cycle of generational body shame and to raise a daughter who is in love with her entire body.

WHAT WOULD YOU ADD?

What's worked well for you?  What pitfalls would you advise others to avoid?  Where are you struggling with body image issues?

Please share as a comment below. 

Thank you!  Together we rise!

Positive Body Image

Waiting by Tilly Willis


Mentoring Girls Certificate Training

JOYW's Mentoring Girls Certificate Training  is open for enrollment!

You'll enjoy new content, new resources and new collaborative opportunities in addition to an extensive interactive resource platform offering post-graduate support beginning in 2017.  Leadership roles are opening up.  

Learn more here.

Posted on

Mother’s Day Gift



We are all born to be a blessing, writes Rachel Naomi Remen.

As Mothers ....

~~~ and please remember that we do not need to be biological mothers to be mothers in the broadest sense ~~~

... when we gift ourselves by claiming our Beauty and "blessing-ness", we give those gifts to the world and particularly to our collective daughters.

Tania Wursig

Would you please pause and drink that in?  

For it is truer than true.

Then give yourself a Mother's Day Gift by repeating these lines to yourself:

I am a blessing to this world.

I am full of Beauty. Ravishing, astounding Beauty.

I delight the Universe.  My presence brings Joy.

I offer gifts to everyone in my life.

I am a blessing to this world.

Melissa Harris

Many of us did not receive this mirroring as children. The adults around us did not reflect back to us our indescribable Beauty, our limitless delightfulness, our unique gifts.

And then our Beauty becomes hidden and silent and unknown.

Tania Wursig

Often we unconsciously turn to other people, hungry for that mirroring and hoping (usually unconsciously) that they will heal us.  

We find, inevitably, that they can't heal us.

But we can heal and whole ourselves.

We can mirror back to our Young Selves
and our Whole Self
the breath-taking, heart-stopping Beauty
that is us.

Richard Davies

As your Mother's Day Gift to yourself: Take up the way of mirroring back your own Beauty to yourself. Daily. Seriously, spend 5 minutes a day, 10 if it feels good.  Use the phrases above or create your own.  Continue for 4 weeks - and keep going, if you like.  

Notice how you feel before, during and after this practice. Notice how the flow of your life evolves over time with this practice.  As well, how does your view of your Self and the World shift?

This practice can be truly world-shaking.  We return to our innate
Beauty and Blessing-ness.



May all mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, sons and brothers be blessed with these gifts.

Sisters, would you please share you respond to this?  That would be one more gift.

Donna Iona Drozda