This week’s blogs celebrated a 14-year-old’s successful petition against impossible beauty standards; provided a defense of Singledom; took a nuanced look at “having it all”; and extolled the joys of creativity and compassion.

Campaigning for Real Beauty—And Winning

You might remember this scathing video by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty that showed how Photoshopping transforms and distorts beauty. While current headlines keep touting the “war on women’s bodies,” a different but equally significant battle was won this week by a 14-year-old.  Tired of unhealthy and Photoshopped images that portray warped standards of beauty, Julia Bluhm sparked an online campaign urging Seventeen magazine to print “one unaltered photo spread a month.” The magazine responded with a Body Peace Treaty promising that it will “never change girls’ body or face shapes” and will include only images of “real girls and models who are healthy.” Megan Kearns at Fem 2.0 reported on this as a turning point in the media’s portrayal of perfect beauty:

Society and the media polices women’s and girls’ bodies, telling us to not to be too fat or too skinny. We must wax, shave, pluck. Drink diet shakes. Sweat on elliptical machines. Smear on creams. Dye graying hair. Inject botox and fillers…. Girls grow up thinking they must change their bodies in order to achieve acceptance and happiness. But thanks to Bluhm that’s starting to change.

We at Women’s Voices believe that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages and aim everyday to portray real women. We are impressed with  young women like Julia Bluhm. They’re not fighting just for teenagers, they’re fighting for all women at all stages in their lives.

A Defense of Single People

While we are steeped in the “defense of marriage” debate, the folks over at Salon.com ask us to ponder defending Singledom. The article interviews Michael Cobb, author of the new book, Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled, who believes that “We live in such a couples-obsessed society that there really are no ‘singles’ out there—everyone is pre- or post-coupled. They’re either in the wings waiting or they’re past their prime . . .” It’s a fascinating interview that questions the possibility of a single president some day, as well as the effect of pop culture (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and HBO’s Sex and the City) on our perceptions of what being single means, and redefining singlehood. Be sure to check out our own Eleanore Wells, who has recently challenged—on her blog, on Women’s Voices, and in her book—the myth that a single woman with no kids must be living a pretty bleak existence. Nonsense. In the same vein as the campaign for real beauty, we sense another movement brewing here!

Having It All?

By now you’ve heard about The Atlantic article “Why Women Can’t Have it All,” by Anne-Marie Slaughter, that went viral, causing a huge of amount of controversy, debate, frustration, and outrage. Essentially, Slaughter’s conclusion is that  women really can’t have it all. “Not today,” she writes, “not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured.” (Frankly, we think diluting a woman’s desire to have a career and a family with the phrase “having it all” is inherently problematic and should be buried forever and ever, but that’s another rant for another time!)

So, instead we turn to five women featured in Makers.com for whom the subject of work-life balance came up frequently–and we noticed they never used the term “having it all.” Women like Sheryl Sandberg and Madeleine Albright weigh in on a complicated and nuanced struggle, but with new and multidimensional perspectives. (Click the image above to watch the video on Makers.com)

Great Songwriters Tracy Chapman, Patti Smith, Janis Ian, and Dolly Parton on the Art of Songwriting

The folks at Flavorwire are master listmakers at this point. Their recent hit involves looking at 25 great songwriters of our time and what they had to say about how they approach the process of writing. Making the list are phenomenal women like Tracy Chapman, Patti Smith, Janis Ian, and Dolly Parton who shares, “I love getting on a big writing binge and staying up a couple days working on song and knowing at the end of those two or three days that I’ve created something that was never in the world before.”

The Tipping Point

Most of us think of tipping as an accepted ritual in our Western consumer culture. But Roz Warren asks us to think of tipping as an act of compassion, as a marker of generosity, and as way to create a little bit of happiness in the world. We like that perspective very much. In “The Tipping Point,” published by Metropolis, Warren shares, “I like to tip. I’m not rich. I work in a public library. I drive a 10-year-old car. I’m frugal by nature. But giving somebody a generous tip always makes me feel like a million bucks.” What is beautiful about Warren’s take on tipping—even when the service is bad— is that she understands the personal value in expressions of gratitude–and, as she notes, the world could always use more of it.