Archive for the July Tag

Arlington National Cemetery..June 2011 …..item 1..Afghan war’s deadly toll on US forces hasn’t eased (July 02, 2011 ) …..item 2..Utah News-The Salt Lake Tribune (July 13, 2011) …

Arlington National Cemetery..June 2011 …..item 1..Afghan war’s deadly toll on US forces hasn’t eased (July 02, 2011 ) …..item 2..Utah News-The Salt Lake Tribune (July 13, 2011) …
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FILE – In this June 15, 2011 file photo, Amy Balduf, of Richmond, Tenn., is comforted by a Marine at the graveside of her husband, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Kevin Balduf, who was killed serving in Afghanistan, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Despite U.S. claims of success on the battlefield, American troops have been dying in the first half of this year at the same pace as in 2010, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The numbers indicate the war’s deadly toll on American forces has not eased as the Obama administration moves to shift the burden onto its Afghan allies. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) less

Associated Press…….5 hrs ago
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Despite U.S. reports of progress on the battlefield, American troops were killed in the first half of this year at the same pace as in 2010 — an indication that the war’s toll on U.S. forces has not eased as the Obama administration moves to shift the burden to the Afghans.
While the overall international death toll dropped by 14 percent in the first half of the year, the number of Americans who died remained virtually unchanged, 197 this year compared with 195 in the first six months of last year, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

…..item 1)….Yahoo! News….World….Afghan war’s deadly toll on US forces hasn’t eased

By DEB RIECHMANN – Associated Press | AP – Sat, Jul 2, 2011…

Americans have been involved in some of the fiercest fighting as the U.S. administration sent more than 30,000 extra troops in a bid to pacify areas in the Taliban’s southern heartland and other dangerous areas. U.S. military officials have predicted more tough fighting through the summer as the Taliban try to regain territory they have lost.

President Barack Obama has begun to reverse the surge of American forces, ordering a reduction of 10,000 by the end of the year and another 23,000 by September 2012. But the U.S. military has not announced which troops are being sent home, or whether they will be withdrawn from any of the most violent areas in the south and east.

Rear Adm. Vic Beck, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Kabul, said he couldn’t comment specifically on the U.S. death count, but noted that the casualties were unchanged despite the surge in forces. He attributed the overall decline in the international toll to coalition progress on the battlefield, including the discovery of a rising number of militant weapons caches. He also said Afghan security forces are increasingly taking the lead, although recent violence has raised concerns about their readiness to secure their own country.

Beck said insurgents were shifting their focus to attacking civilians, pointing to last week’s attack against the Inter-Continental, a luxury hotel in Kabul, that left 20 people dead, including the nine assailants.

"The enemy is taking the fight more to innocent Afghan civilians because we’re taking it to them pretty hard on the battlefield," he said.

According to the AP tally, 271 international troops, including the Americans, were killed in the first half of the year — down 14 percent from the 316 killed in the first six months of last year.

With the American deaths virtually unchanged, the decline reflects a drop off in deaths of troops from other contributing nations. In the first half of the year, 74 of these troops — from countries like Britain, France and Australia — died compared with 121 in the first six months of last year.

In the most recent deaths, NATO said two coalition service members were killed in roadside bombings — one Saturday in the west who was identified as an Italian, and another Friday in the south whose nationality was not available.

By contrast, a recent U.N. report found that May was the deadliest month for civilians since it began keeping track in 2007, and it said insurgents were to blame for 82 percent of the 368 deaths recorded.

The U.N. does not usually release monthly civilian casualty figures but said it was compelled to do so in May because of the high number.

The Taliban have denied targeting civilians and insist coalition claims that insurgents have suffered heavy losses at the hands of foreign troops are false.

Monthly death tolls of foreign forces have varied so far this year, but they fell dramatically in June.

Overall, 65 international troops, including Americans, died last month. That’s down 37 percent from the 103 who died in June 2010 — the deadliest month on record for foreign forces. More than 25 died last month in Helmand province in the south where fierce fighting continues in some hot spots, the AP tally showed.

"In the areas that we believe were pretty secure, there has been very little violence," U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. John Toolan Jr., the commander in Helmand province, said at a recent Pentagon briefing. He said he’s still concerned about northern districts like Gereshk and Sangin.

He said his forces are working with their Afghan partners to try to keep hold of security gains made in recent months.

"I’m pretty sure, pretty confident we’ll be able to do that, but it won’t be without a fight," Toolan said. "But it will not be as big a fight, in my estimation, as it has been in the past."

Underscoring the dangers, a roadside bomb ripped through a van carrying a family Saturday in southern Afghanistan, killing all 13 on board — the deadliest incident in a string of attacks since Friday that killed 18 civilians, according to Afghan officials.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks, saying in a statement that "bombings that kill innocent civilians are the work of people who don’t want the nation to have a life without sadness."
…..item 2)……Utah NEWS…TheSalt Lake Tribune…Parents of fallen Logan Marine were torn by his choice to enlist

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jul 13 2011 05:14PM
Updated Jul 14, 2011 10:32AM…

Logan • The father of the 22-year-old Logan Marine killed in Afghanistan on Sunday has just one question during these dark days.

"How many soldiers have to be shot in the back before they stop the war?" asked a somber Norberto Mendez on Wednesday as he and his wife, Maria Mendez Hernandez, tried to come to grips with their eldest son’s death. They spoke through an interpreter.

"I don’t want any other mother to suffer," said the Marine’s mom.

Lance Cpl. Norberto Mendez Hernandez, an infantryman in a battalion fighting to keep the Taliban out of the Sangin region of Helmand province, was shot in the back of his head while on foot patrol, the Department of Defense told the family.

He leaves behind his wife, Lorena, 2-year-old son Anthony and 8-month-old daughter Audrey at Camp Pendleton, Calif., as well as his parents and four younger siblings, Thomas, Itzel, Abraham and Aileen, in Logan.

The 2007 graduate of Logan High School and former production worker at Gossner Foods fulfilled a lifelong dream when he enlisted in the Marines in April 2010. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton.

His parents, both immigrants from Mexico, are now wondering what more they could have done to discourage their son from joining the military — from going to war.

"Every since he was a little boy, this is what he wanted," his mother said Wednesday as she reminisced, frequently breaking into sobs.

She told her son the uniform and Marine gear would weigh him down, make him shorter.

"I would tell him there are other ways to help your country," his mother said through the interpreter, her son’s friend, Carlos Rosales.

At one point, his father even threatened to join the military if his son did. So Mendez Hernandez put his dad in a headlock to prove he wasn’t fit enough.

In the end, the younger man prevailed by insisting he felt called to action by God and the Bible. He shared his favorite passages with his family, those with messages about bravery, justice and trust in God.

"He would say, ‘I’m not happy with just my family being happy. There are kids suffering in other countries, and I want to help,’ "his mother said. "He had a lot of faith in God."

He didn’t believe he would die, although they had discussed that possibility, she said.

And while they disagreed with his choice, his parents were proud.

His father said he awoke Sunday from a dream that his son had died. The family learned the news later that day while celebrating Thomas’ 17th birthday at Lagoon. Marines were waiting for them back home in Logan.

***** NEXT PAGE……

On Wednesday, Thomas was thinking about lessons his big brother taught him: about government and the military and its role; about how to never abuse the self-defense maneuvers the older brother taught him on the living-room floor.

"He used to take me out to run with him because he said I was lazy," Thomas said.

His mother remembered some of her eldest son’s tricks, such as the time he translated for his third-grade teacher, who came to their home to say he wasn’t doing his homework.

"He told me, ‘Hey, I’m doing great in school.’ "

His mother could read the teacher’s expression, however, and got a new translator.

When they visited Mexico, he would go to the grocery store for laundry soap and return with chocolate.

As a teenager, he put so many holes in his bedroom walls while wrestling with friends that his mother threw up her hands.

The Marine’s funeral will be held in California, where his wife and children now live and where there is extended family. No date had been set for the funeral as of Wednesday.

Before he died, his Logan family intended to move to Arizona or California to be closer to him.

"For sure they’re moving now," Rosales said.

They want to be close to his grave — and the young family he left behind.

Time Magazine..September 13, 2010 …..item 2..The New Anti-Semitism – What it is and how to deal with it (July 12, 2011) …

Time Magazine..September 13, 2010 …..item 2..The New Anti-Semitism – What it is and how to deal with it (July 12, 2011) …
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While this sounds like an episode in Germany leading up to the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws, it occurred more recently and much closer to home, at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work. Now, more details are emerging under the exceptional circumstance of two U of T professors publicly criticizing a colleague for facilitating classroom anti-Semitism and the university administration’s inadequate response.

…..item 1)……Anti-Semitism at University of Toronto….Jew-counting, racism and intimidation in U of T’s Social Work program.

July 12, 2011 / 10 Tammuz 5771

by Richard Klagsbrun….

Picture the following: A discussion in a post-graduate university class on the topic of Jews turns ugly. The professor is uncritical when one student says he doesn’t want to be around Jews. Another student complains about “rich Jews,” implying their excessive power. In a subsequent class, the same professor, as if to validate those points, says half her department faculty are Jews and with her approbation, students conduct a ‘Jew count’.

While this sounds like an episode in Germany leading up to the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws, it occurred more recently and much closer to home, at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work. Now, more details are emerging under the exceptional circumstance of two U of T professors publicly criticizing a colleague for facilitating classroom anti-Semitism and the university administration’s inadequate response.

The controversy began when some visible minority students in a Social Work Master’s program at the University of Toronto expressed discomfort about being around “rich Jews,” in Professor Rupaleem Bhuyan’s class, regarding a proposed outing in 2009 to the Baycrest Centre, an internationally renowned Jewish geriatric and research facility. They were undoubtedly confident of a sympathetic ear from her. The previous year, Bhuyan denounced Israel as a satellite of the United States, unworthy of distinction as a separate country.

The few Jewish students in Bhuyan’s Master’s Program class were intimidated into silence for much of the discussion by a classroom culture slanted against them. Finally, one young woman spoke up, protesting her grandparents had come to Canada with virtually nothing and she was proud her family could now afford the fees for them to reside at Baycrest.

That must have rung an alarm bell for Professor Bhuyan, because startlingly, she then admonished her students not to divulge what transpired in class to outsiders.

But her classroom was not Las Vegas and what happened there did not stay there. Some outraged Jewish students approached Professor Paula David, who in turn consulted senior professors Ernie Lightman and Adrienne Chambon.

“Students are in a vulnerable position and dread officially attaching their name to complaints against a professor in a program like Social Work,” said Lightman. “Aside from determining grades, they fear one bad word from a professor to a social agency can eliminate their employment prospects.”

In the face of such circumstances, Lightman assumed the voice of the Jewish students who endured the vitriol in Bhuyan’s class. He, with Chambon spoke to Faye Mishna, the Dean of Social Work about the incidents. A letter Lightman wrote to U of T President David Naylor about the matter also became public.

By way of response, Mishna, without specific reference to the incident or Bhuyan, sent out a pair of letters to the Social Work department generically condemning anti-Semitism.

Related Article: The New Anti-Semitism

Lightman believes the university’s response was absurd. “The department’s approach seemed to imply a widespread problem with anti-Semitism – which there wasn’t – and that everyone is potentially a racist when one professor promoted anti-Semitism and was never held publicly accountable.”

The Canadian Jewish Congress declined to participate in resulting seminars on anti-Semitism held for the Social Work Department. According to the CJC’s Bernie Farber, “We were not satisfied in the end with the entire process.”

Chambon, a Jewish professor who is Director of PhD programs in the Social Work department, was particularly pained by these events. Originally from France, she relates that “I am from Europe and of a generation with bad memories of the sinister results of Jew counts.” After hearing about the incident, Chambon arranged to meet with Bhuyan.

We have a responsibility to students to ensure faculty do not abuse the power inherent in their positions.
“I was flabbergasted” Chambon disclosed. “She told me ‘racialized’ students come from underprivileged backgrounds and were justified in not wanting to be around old Jews because they are rich and would make them uneasy. I couldn’t believe my ears. I took some paper and wrote down what she said in front of her. Bhuyan then said the donor plaques at the university were all from rich Jews, which she felt proved her point. Aside from being factually wrong, it reflects an attitude that polarizes groups and reinforces stereotypes that do not belong in the teaching of Social Work.”

Professor Bhuyan did not reply to a request to comment for this article and the University refused to add to Social Work Department Dean Mishna’s response that, “the Faculty took all steps to address the matter appropriately at the time of the incident and thereafter.”

Nothing could be more false in the opinion of Lightman, Chambon and others. While patiently waiting for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, they instead saw them go off the rails.

Bhuyan, an untenured Assistant Professor, who never offered a public apology for her behavior, was rewarded by the University with a contract renewal .

That development has frustrated a number of professors in a dysfunctional Social Work Department that remains divided in opposing camps. Lightman insists this matter must be exposed and wrote a recent article about it for The Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

Lightman asserts, “It’s ironic that a department purporting to teach anti-racism is incapable of dealing with racism in its own house. We have a responsibility to students to ensure faculty do not abuse the power inherent in their positions, and to the community-at-large to ensure all the Social Workers it graduates reflect and promote the values of the field. That hasn’t happened here."

Ontario’s Minister for Colleges and Universities is John Miloy. The Progressive Conservative Critic for that portfolio is Jim Wilson. Why not let them know what you think?

This article originally appeared on the blog: Eye on a Crazy Planet
…..item 2)……The New Anti-Semitism…What it is and how to deal with it.

by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

In January 2000, heads of state or senior representatives of 44 governments met in Stockholm to commit themselves to a continuing program of Holocaust remembrance and the fight against anti-Semitism. Barely two years later, synagogues and Jewish schools in France and Belgium were being firebombed, and Jews were being attacked in the streets.

The distinguished Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, advised Jews not to wear yarmulkas in the street. The French Jewish intellectual Alain Finkielkraut wrote, ‘The hearts of the Jews are heavy. For the first time since the war, they are afraid.’ Shmuel Trigano, professor of sociology at the University of Paris, openly questioned whether there was a future for Jews in France. Never again had become ever again.

Basing Jewish identity on memories of persecution is a mistake.

On 28 February 2002 I gave my first speech on the new anti-Semitism. Never before had I spoken on the subject. I had grown up without a single experience of anti-Semitism. I believed, and still do, that the whole enterprise of basing Jewish identity on memories of persecution was a mistake. The distinguished Holocaust historian Lucy Dawidowicz reached the same conclusion at the end of her life. She warned of the danger of a whole generation of children growing up knowing about the Greeks and how they lived, the Romans and how they lived, the Jews and how they died. I wrote Radical then, Radical now, specifically to focus Jewish identity away from death to life, suffering to celebration, grief to joy.

The return of anti-Semitism, after 60 years of Holocaust education, interfaith dialogue and antiracist legislation is a major event in the history of the world. Far-sighted historians like Bernard Lewis and Robert Wistrich had been sounding the warning since the 1980s. Already in the 1990s, Harvard literary scholar Ruth Wisse argued that antisemitism was the most successful ideology of the twentieth century. German fascism, she said, came and went. Soviet communism came and went. Anti-Semitism came and stayed.

It is wrong to exaggerate. We are not now where Jews were in the 1930s. Nor are Jews today what our ancestors were: defenseless, powerless and without a collective home. The State of Israel has transformed the situation for Jews everywhere. What is necessary now is simply to understand the situation and sound a warning. That is what Moses Hess did in 1862, Judah Leib Pinsker in 1882 and Theodor Herzl in 1896: 71, 51 and 37 years respectively before Hitler’s rise to power. To understand is to begin to know how to respond, with open eyes and without fear.

Today’s anti-Semitism is a new phenomenon, continuous with, yet significantly different from the past. To fathom the transformation, we must first define what anti-Semitism is. In the past Jews were hated because they were rich and because they were poor; because they were capitalists (Marx) and because they were communists (Hitler); because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they held tenaciously to a superstitious faith (Voltaire) and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing (Stalin).

Anti-Semitism mutates, and in so doing, defeats the immune systems set up by cultures to protect themselves against hatred.

Anti-Semitism is not an ideology, a coherent set of beliefs. It is, in fact, an endless stream of contradictions. The best way of understanding it is to see it as a virus. Viruses attack the human body, but the body itself has an immensely sophisticated defense, the human immune system. How then do viruses survive and flourish? By mutating. Anti-Semitism mutates, and in so doing, defeats the immune systems set up by cultures to protect themselves against hatred. There have been three such mutations in the past two thousand years, and we are living through the fourth.

The first took place with the birth of Christianity. Before then there had been many Hellenistic writers who were hostile to Jews. But they were also dismissive of other non-Hellenistic peoples. The Greeks called them barbarians. There was nothing personal in their attacks on Jews. This was not anti-Semitism. It was xenophobia.

This changed with Christianity. As was later to happen with Islam, the founders of the new faith, largely based on Judaism itself, believed that Jews would join the new dispensation and were scandalized when they did not. Jews were held guilty of not recognizing — worst still, of being complicit in the death of – the messiah. A strand of Judeophobia entered Christianity in some of its earliest texts, and became a fully-fledged genre, the ‘Adversos Judaeos’ literature, in the days of the Church Fathers. From here on, Jews – not non-Christians in general — became the target of what Jules Isaac called the ‘teaching of contempt’.

The second mutation began in 1096 when the Crusaders, on their way to conquer Jerusalem, stopped to massacre Jewish communities in Worms, Speyer and Mainz, the first major European pogrom. In 1144 in Norwich there was the first Blood Libel, a myth that still exists today in parts of the Middle East. Religious Judeophobia became demonic. Jews were no longer just the people who rejected Christianity. They began to be seen as a malevolent force, killing children, desecrating the host, poisoning wells and spreading the plague. There were forced conversions, inquisitions, burnings at the stake, staged public disputations, book burnings and expulsions. Europe had become a ‘persecuting society’.

We can date the third mutation to 1879 when the German journalist Wilhelm Marr coined a new word: anti-Semitism. The fact that he needed to do so tells us that this was a new phenomenon. It emerged in an age of Enlightenment, the secular nation state, liberalism and emancipation. Religious prejudice was deemed to be a thing of the past. The new hatred had therefore to justify itself on quite different grounds, namely race. This was a fateful development, because you can change your religion. You cannot change your race. Christians could work for the conversion of the Jews. Racists could only work for the extermination of the Jews. So the Holocaust was born. Sixty years after the word came the deed.

Unlike its predecessors, the new anti-Semitism focuses not on Judaism as a religion, nor on Jews as a race, but on Jews as a nation.

Today we are living through the fourth mutation. Unlike its predecessors, the new anti-Semitism focuses not on Judaism as a religion, nor on Jews as a race, but on Jews as a nation. It consists of three propositions. First, alone of the 192 nations making up the United Nations, Jews are not entitled to a state of their own. As Amos Oz noted: in the 1930s, anti-Semites declared, ‘Jews to Palestine’. Today they shout, ‘Jews out of Palestine’. He said: they don’t want us to be there; they don’t want us to be here; they don’t want us to be.

The second is that Jews or the State of Israel (the terms are often used interchangeably) are responsible for the evils of the world, from AIDS to global warming. All the old anti-Semitic myths have been recycled, from the Blood Libel to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, still a best-seller in many parts of the world. The third is that all Jews are Zionists and therefore legitimate objects of attack. The bomb attacks on synagogues in Istanbul and Djerba, the arson attacks on Jewish schools in Europe, and the almost fatal stabbing of a young yeshiva student on a bus in North London in October 2000, were on Jewish targets, not Israeli ones. The new anti-Semitism is an attack on Jews as a nation seeking to exist as a nation like every other on the face of the earth, with rights of self-governance and self-defense.

How did it penetrate the most sophisticated immune system ever constructed — the entire panoply of international measures designed to ensure that nothing like the Holocaust would ever happen again, from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) to the Stockholm declaration of 2000? The answer lies in the mode of self-justification. Most people at most times feel a residual guilt at hating the innocent. Therefore anti-Semitism has always had to find legitimation in the most prestigious source of authority at any given time.

In the first centuries of the Common Era, and again in the Middle Ages, this was religion. That is why Judeophobia took the form of religious doctrine. In the nineteenth century, religion had lost prestige, and the supreme authority was now science. Racial anti-Semitism was duly based on two pseudo-sciences, social Darwinism (the idea that in society, as in nature, the strong survive by eliminating the weak) and the so-called scientific study of race. By the late twentieth century, science had lost its prestige, having given us the power to destroy life on earth. Today the supreme source of legitimacy is human rights. That is why Jews (or the Jewish state) are accused of the five primal sins against human rights: racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, attempted genocide and crimes against humanity.

That is where we are. How then shall we respond? There are three key messages, the first to Jews, the second to anti-Semites, and the third to our fellow human beings in this tense and troubled age. As Jews we must understand that we cannot fight anti-Semitism alone. The victim cannot cure the crime. The hated cannot cure the hate. Jews cannot defeat anti-Semitism. Only the cultures that give rise to it can do so.

European Jews in the nineteenth and early twentieth century made one of the most tragic mistakes in history. They said: Jews cause anti-Semitism, therefore they can cure it. They did everything possible. They said, ‘People hate us because we are different. So we will stop being different.’ They gave up item after item of Judaism. They integrated, they assimilated, they married out, they hid their identity. This failed to diminish anti-Semitism by one iota. All it did was to debilitate and demoralize Jews.

We need allies. Jews have enemies but we also have friends and we must cultivate more. I have helped lead the fight against Islamophobia; I ask Muslims to fight Judeophobia. I will fight for the right of Christians throughout the world to live their faith without fear; but we need Christians to fight for the right of Jews to live their faith without fear.

The most important thing Jews can do to fight anti-Semitism is never, ever to internalize it.

The most important thing Jews can do to fight anti-Semitism is never, ever to internalize it. That is what is wrong in making the history of persecution the basis of Jewish identity. For three thousand years Jews defined themselves as a people loved by God. Only in the nineteenth century did they begin to define themselves as the people hated by gentiles. There is no sane future along that road. The best psychological defense against anti-Semitism is the saying of Rav Nachman of Bratslav: ‘The whole world is a very narrow bridge; the main thing is never to be afraid.’

To anti-Semites and their fellow travelers we must be candid. Hate destroys the hated, but it also destroys the hater. It is no accident that anti-Semitism is the weapon of choice of tyrants and totalitarian regimes. It deflects internal criticism away by projecting it onto an external scapegoat. It is deployed in country after country to direct attention away from real internal problems of poverty, unemployment and underachievement. Anti-Semitism is used to sustain regimes without human rights, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a free press, liberty of association or accountable government. One truth resounds through the pages of history: To be free you have to let go of hate. Those driven by hate are enemies of freedom. There is no exception.

Finally to all of us together, we must say: Jews have been hated throughout history because they were different. To be sure, everyone is different; but Jews more than most fought for the right to be different. Under a succession of empires, and centuries of dispersion, Jews were the only people who for more than two thousand years refused to convert to the dominant religion or assimilate into the dominant culture. That is why anti-Semitism is a threat not just to Jews but to humanity.

God, said the rabbis, makes everyone in His image, yet He makes everyone different to teach us to respect difference. And since difference is constitutive of humanity, a world that has no space for difference has no space for humanity. That is why a resurgence of anti-Semitism has always been an early warning of an assault on freedom itself. It is so today.

We must find allies in the fight against hate. For though it begins with Jews, ultimately it threatens us all.

This article first appeared in the Jewish Chronicle. Visit the Chief Rabbi’s website at

Girls Dormitory (1963) … How To Model Healthy Sexuality for Our Daughters — Insights for Raising Confident Women (July 7, 2011) …

Girls Dormitory (1963) … How To Model Healthy Sexuality for Our Daughters — Insights for Raising Confident Women (July 7, 2011) …
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It works exactly the same way the development of a personality works: She will incrementally take in what she sees, hears and feels—in effect, what she lives–and that will shape her understanding of who she is in the world. From the time she’s little, everything she takes in–whether it be a healthy message, a shaming message or a lack of information–will slowly accumulate into an understanding of her sexuality.

A daughter’s open dialogue with her mother will stand her in good stead to develop trust and confidence in her mother and in herself.

…….***** All images are copyrighted by their respective authors ……
…..item 1) … Ms. Magazine blog …

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img code photo … Your Daughter’s Bedroom … Joyce T. McFadden …

Insights for Raising Confident Women…


How To Model Healthy Sexuality for Our Daughters
July 7, 2011 by Meika Loe…

As a toddler, my daughter started asking about body parts. Pretty soon it became apparent that she was the only 2-year-old at her daycare who knew and used the word vagina. Even her teachers changed the subject. Was I supposed to feel guilty about teaching her about her body? Joyce McFadden, psychoanalyst and author of Your Daughter’s Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women, says no.

After surveying more than 1,000 women on their sexuality, McFadden concludes that, even with the best intentions, generations of well-meaning mothers have ended up reinforcing sexist messaging. To counter this trend for a new generation, McFadden says, we need to nurture healthy sexuality from day one.

As a mother, I found this to be an insightful, courageous book full of practical advice. Let’s face it: Schools aren’t doing much sex education. So parents have to step up. And as a professor teaching courses on gender and sexuality, I believe McFadden’s interviews and survey data can also help to model candid conversation in the classroom.

I had a chance to talk with McFadden, below–and received a response from her 15-year-old daughter, as well!

—–..What are some small things a mother can do for her daughter when it comes to nurturing a sense of confidence and bodily comfort?

Some of the things I’ve done to nurture healthy sexuality in our home have been:

…..teaching my daughter about her anatomy from the time she was little
…..answering honestly any question she’s ever asked me
…..explaining menstruation in the years before she would likely start
…..more recently, covering issues of safe sex and discussing the emotional components of sexuality–like mutual respect, an understanding that women’s pleasure is no less important than men’s, encouraging her to listen to her own instincts, and so on

I’ve also shared with her stories of my own mile markers—my first period, my first sexual encounter. In a lot of these conversations over the years I’ve explicitly conveyed to her that I want her to have a happy, healthy life that includes valuing her sexual vitality.

—–..How do these conversations continue throughout a child’s life and development?

I think the most important thing, by far, is beginning to talk about sexuality simply and naturally when she’s a toddler, so that right off the bat, she knows it’s part of a dialogue the two of you can have. Keeping her ignorant about the fundamentals of her own body will set the stage for shame and guilt over her sexuality as she ages. If she’s old enough to know what her earlobe is, then she’s old enough to know what her vulva is, because it’s all pre-sexual in her understanding.

As she gets a little older, move from teaching her the correct names of body parts to explaining how they work (intercourse, how babies are made and delivered, masturbation, menstruation and so on). Later the learning should become more sophisticated and include concepts like intimacy, mutual respect, privacy, and ownership over her body and her sexual feelings and choices. It’s about always leaving the door open for these discussions so you can access each other as needed, not only when your daughter is young, but when you’re adult women together.

It’s also imperative that you don’t critique her body, your body, or those of other women in front of her. We have to model body confidence and the value of sexuality in the living of a life. I also make a point of making it clear how much I value her mind, her heart and her abilities so she’s less susceptible to buying into the idea all she’ll be valued for is her physicality.

—–..How does having an open dialogue about sexuality at home shape a daughter’s sense of self?

It works exactly the same way the development of a personality works: She will incrementally take in what she sees, hears and feels—in effect, what she lives–and that will shape her understanding of who she is in the world. From the time she’s little, everything she takes in–whether it be a healthy message, a shaming message or a lack of information–will slowly accumulate into an understanding of her sexuality.

A daughter’s open dialogue with her mother will stand her in good stead to develop trust and confidence in her mother and in herself.

—–..Sometimes when mothers and daughters sit down and discuss sexuality, these moments can be quite awkward. How has this worked for you? Are there ways to cut the awkwardness? Or is that discomfort just part of growing up in the U.S. with a puritanical ethic?

I strongly believe that, through our reluctance to be open and truthful when our girls are little, and in our difficulty in answering their questions without looking like a deer in the headlights, we introduce the awkwardness. Our daughters don’t introduce it—they learn it from us when they’re very young, then come to expect it each time the subject arises.

That being said, I think much of the awkwardness between a teenage daughter and her mother is endemic to being a teen. It’s developmentally appropriate and necessary for her to separate from her mother. But it’s still my job to teach my daughter what I feel is important for her to know; in the service of supporting the development of skills she’ll need to listen to her own voice and make good decisions.

She’s often really uncomfortable with what I want to teach her about sexuality. But she’s also really uncomfortable when I talk about alcohol, drugs, or curfews, and I can’t let her awkwardness keep me from having those discussions either.

—–..What is your relationship with your daughter like?

We’re extremely close, but now that she’s a teenager she needs more space and independence, so I’m trying to shift accordingly. Sometimes in these moments when we’re navigating this new territory together, I feel like I just had a drink that was too stiff… a cocktail that’s one part excitement for her maturation and one part loss for all that’s past, and I get a little emotional hangover!

—–..Are there moments when you have identified internalized sexism in yourself? Can you give an example and how you worked through this?

Absolutely. Whenever I wrestle with anything connected to negative body image or sexual self-consciousness, I consider internalized sexism to be the source of that thinking.

For example, I love being 49. You couldn’t pay me to be back in my twenties. I love the self-awareness, directness and the clarity of my priorities being 49 brings. But my body is undergoing its own little reapportionment program. The way districts of my body are represented is shifting according to the demands of the normal aging process. And there are times internalized sexism makes this feel sucky.

When I do find myself in these spots I tend to process the feelings on my own, because hate it when women critique themselves in front of each other, and have made a rule of trying never to do it in front of my daughter. Instead, whenever the opportunity arises, I’ll point out to her older women who catch my eye because they command my respect, or are distinctive, vibrant, compelling or gorgeous. And I also remind myself that the woman I most admired and modeled myself after was my grandmother, and I take great comfort in that.

—–..Here’s what Joyce’s daughter had to say after reading this interview:

Joyce’s daughter (age 15): My mom and I disagree about stuff, but are very close. I know she loves me very much, and wishes us to always be the closest we can be. [An open dialogue at home] can help one to know the normality of sexuality, and help one to feel comfortable with it. Being able to talk about sexuality at home will help one to ask questions if curious, without feeling embarrassed to do so. I have always dreaded those discussions; there really is no way to cut the awkwardness in them. However, I do know I can talk to her about anything and that means a lot to me.

You can purchase your copy of Joyce McFadden’s book here.

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