Today we’re going to start off the category of the “Best of Editors” series with GAB Senior Editor Ashley Lauren (to read more about our “Best of Series,” click here). She joined GAB as a Senior Editor back in May of this year, but has been actively involved with the feminist blogging world for quite some time. Read her bio below.
My husband and I have given quite a bit of consideration to adopting a child. We’re not sure yet if we want children, but if we do decide to take on that immense responsibility, we know that we need to talk about giving a home to a child that otherwise wouldn’t have one. As teachers, we see all too often the effects on children within the foster care system, and the outcome can be heartbreaking. With the recent wave of natural disasters all over the world – hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes – not to mention ongoing global problems such as poverty, food shortages, and political unrest just to name a few, there is no shortage of heartbreaking stories about children ripped from their parents or parents with no other choice but to give up their children for adoption. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there has been a noticeable increase in discussions in the United States about international adoption, which, along with my husband and my potential desire to adopt children, has prompted me to explore this topic further.
Another great piece by Ashley that we think you should check out is about photoshopping and body issues called, “Warning: Models in this image may not be as thin as they appear“:
America might be ready for warning labels on images. After all, we’ve been putting warning labels on cigarettes since the 1960′s, and even now we’re engaged in a discussion on including gruesome images in cigarette labels to increase the rate of smokers quitting. In America, warning labels are everywhere; even McDonald’s coffee now comes with a warning label that the beverage may be incredibly hot. In short, we as a society are used to labels warning us of one thing or another. But do these labels work, or are we so inundated with warnings that we tend to just ignore them? There has been some serious discussion about whether or not cigarette labels are effective (hence the new ones with images), and I can’t tell you how many times I have lifted that cup of McDonald’s coffee to my lips without waiting for it to cool down, only to end up with a burnt tongue. It seems to me that warning labels don’t always have the effect that critical thought does. Seeing a warning label is one thing; critically thinking about how the product can harm you before proceeding is another.
Ashley is a teacher and has written often about the intersections of gender and education. In the last piece for this series, we’d like to include one of her pieces about this very matter called “Multiple Viewpoints on Single-Sex Classrooms“:
Similarly, then, we are left to assume that the same thing happens to girls [when in single-sex classrooms]: The pressure to be feminine is removed, they can participate in whatever sports and activities they want, and feel more free to pursue career paths in science and technology. It seems indisputable, then, that students graduating from single-sex schools have unique educational experiences that may not have been afforded to students in mixed-gender classrooms; however, regardless of the culture from which they came, when these students graduate, have they really learned important social values that mixed classrooms afford them? My male students now, who are in a classroom of equal male and female students, wouldn’t even think to whistle at a female runner coming in with a pass because they don’t want to look vulgar in front of the girls in the class.
Ashley Lauren is many things, but to start, she is a 27-year-old high school English teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature with a specialization in Creative Writing from Illinois Wesleyan University, and received a Master of Arts degree in English Studies from Elmhurst College in Illinois in May 2010. She kept her own site, Small Strokes, for many years about her personal experiences with feminism and how her feminist beliefs intersect with her marriage and her job. Now, you can find her occasional writing and book blogging at her personal site. She also blogs less formally on Tumblr. In January 2011, she also began the Chifems (Chicago Feminists) Book Club and has served as discussion leader for the group. Ashley is a feminist in the sense that she believes every person in this world deserves the right to live the life they desire without judgment. She believes that no one in this world should feel hate or discrimination or oppression, and works to eliminate oppression in her classroom, her relationships, and society.
When not battling oppression, Ashley is usually battling her husband, Tim, at MarioKart Wii, listening to music, devouring books of any kind, and cooking really delicious meals. You can follow her on Twitter @samsanator and email her at ashley [at] genderacrossborders [dot] com.