Quick Takes

“Pet Vet” Barbie: Your Daughter is Better Than This

A few years ago I made a point to call out Mattel’s Barbie “I Can Be” series (the Barbie doll series that supposedly encourages girls to envision what they can accomplish professionally) for this depiction of a veterinarian:

mattel-barbie-i-can-be-pet-vet-20060875

Almost four years later it really hasn’t gotten much better. Then very recently I discovered through friends a reality show called The Incredible Dr. Pol which airs on the Nat Geo channel. Pol and his colleagues, one of whom is a young female veterinarian, are featured treating domestic and farm animals in Central Michigan.

Not being a veterinarian or anyone with experience in animal husbandry or farming, I can’t comment on the genuineness of what’s portrayed or how truly “incredible” Dr. Pol or his staff are. But I can say that the depiction of the women on Pol’s show, one a staff vet who is depicted training other young women who appear to be veterinary students or interns, is far more realistic and less offensive than anything Barbie suggests about how a veterinarian will dress and what her work environment will be like. The female vet on Dr. Pol’s show was identified as “Dr. Brenda.” Like most veterinarians, she appears to eschew four-inch heels and a dangerously high hemline. Instead she is seen literally wrestling distressed farm animals and stitching up injured ones in often sweat-soaked medical scrubs.

If you have a daughter who might be drawn to veterinary medicine, I’d ask you to consider introducing her to these kinds of depictions of the life of a highly educated, skilled, compassionate and tough woman who is also a doctor of veterinary medicine.

I’m not a parent myself, but this seems to me to be a better idea than encouraging your girl child to strive to be someone’s fetishized and insultingly sexist depiction of a professional. She’s better than that. Period.

Chris Anderson of MaleSurvivor: The Invisible Public Health Crisis

A public health crisis so pervasive it’s demoralizing to even consider. But that’s why it’s more important than ever to understand how important it is to know and own that all of us- every one of us- is a potential responder to child sexual abuse. No matter our age, no matter our profession, and no matter what company we keep or who we love.

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/public-health-issue-usa-affects-130000000-people-hesaid/comment-page-1/#comment-1667080

 

Iowa, and 47

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The Cedar River at sunset, Waterloo, Iowa, after a child abuse prosecution training last week.

The one (and perhaps only) important thing I didn’t have to learn the hard way is this:  Never fail to appreciate small moments and simple beauty.

A railroad crossing, a grain elevator, a farm stand, an AME Baptist Church.

At 47, ain’t that America?

If you’re listening, Lord, forgive me my petty complaints. It’s all a blessing.

 

 

For Rebirth in April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Many thanks to the Huffington Post Impact section for including me in an important series of testimonials and blog posts on sexual violence as we observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

One of the best ways you can discover how to make a difference (this month and beyond) is to visit www.startbybelieving.org. There are far more survivors of sexual violence than you’re aware of- the same is true for all of us. You are potential responder, as we all are. Please- respond gently.

Bigotry Is Bad. And Bad for Business

Anti-black bigotry in the American South, persisting with political cover well into the latter half of the 20th century, was an utter disaster for an economy already struggling to overcome unindustrialized, agrarian roots.

Anti-gay bigotry, led in part (again) by misplaced religiosity, will now further damage the same region, and perhaps with it parts of the Southwest as well.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’d tentatively add that it also bends toward intellectual growth and common sense. Environments where bigotry thrives will inherit the wind. And little else.