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#AtoZChallenge Librarians, Beyond the Stereotypes

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A-Z Blog Challenge Topic: Librarians, Beyond the Stereotypes

A common belief in the general public, especially in North America, is that librarians have the following characteristics or stereotypes:
1) Quiet
2) Mean or Stern
3) Single/Unmarried
4) Stuffy
5) In Glasses

Like the definition for “fangirl” that I mentioned in a previous post, a “librarian” can have many different characteristics than the stereotypes listed above. There are many of those who are educated in the library sciences, both male and female, that can label themselves as “librarians”, even if they never worked in a library for one reason or another. I am one of those who were educated in the library sciences, but have not been fortunate enough to work in a traditional library setting. This is part of the reason I created this blog, I wanted to go beyond the stereotypes, not only in my fandom, but in my chosen profession as well. Therefore, as a self-proclaimed fangirl, I am always on the lookout for fictional characters that go beyond these stereotypes including those that can save the world. Fortunately, there are several of these fictional “librarians” including:

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Name: Barbara Gordon aka “Batgirl
From: Batman Franchise
Characteristics: Has a PhD in Library Science, fights crime, has exceptional computer skills and may have glasses, but only uses it as part of her every day disguise.

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Name: Yomiko Readman aka “The Paper”
From: Read or Die Franchise
Characteristics: Can bend and manipulate paper into a variety of shapes including bulletproof shields and durable weapons. She is obsessed with books, but also fights evil and saves the world.

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Name: Rupert Giles aka “Watcher”
From: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Franchise
Characteristics: Not only a male school librarian, but has a side job training and fighting with Buffy Summers, The Slayer, against many evil creatures who want to destroy the world!

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Name: Flynn Carsen aka “The Librarian”
From: The Librarian TV Movie Franchise
Characteristics: Another male librarian, who is an awesome translator, a keeper and acquirer of ancient artifacts and can fight the bad guys like Indiana Jones!

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Name: Jedi Master Jocasta Nu
From: Star Wars Franchise
Characteristics: She may be the closest to the stereotype when she appeared in Star Wars: Episode II, but when she appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV Series she is seen wielding a lightsaber!

Fundraising for MS

I want to help raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society because my husband suffers from this disease. Therefore, I have signed up for a second year in a row to participate in the Walk MS 2013 event in Frankenmuth, MI. Participating in this event is important to me because many people suffer, including my husband, symptoms of this disease on a daily basis!

For those who are not familiar with this disease, you may be wondering just what is MS?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that creates a neurological condition that affects the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS includes the brain, the spinal cord, and the optic nerves, and it’s surrounded by a fatty tissue called myelin that protects the nerve fibers and helps them conduct electrical impulses. MS is NOT fully understood and is a highly unpredictable disorder that can cause a variety of different symptoms, which for many, can flare-up and then subside over the course of days, months, or even years. There are four recognized types of multiple sclerosis, ranging from those that cause periodic relapses or “attacks” that subsequently ‘remit’ or go away to types that progressively worsen over time. My husband has the relapsing remitting type of MS, which can cause a variety of symptoms that can flare-up and then subside over the course of days, months, or even year.

Some of the more common ones that my husband suffers from includes:
*Fatigue
*Difficulty in walking
*Vision problems
*Emotional changes
*Problems with memory, attention, and problem-solving
*Bladder/bowel dysfunction
*Dizziness and vertigo
*Numbness/pain

While MS is not contagious, its causes are not yet fully understood and researchers continue to search for answers daily. Here are some Facts About MS that are known:

*Every hour, someone is newly diagnosed with MS.
*More than 2.5 million people worldwide live with this unpredictable disease.
*MS is the most common neurological disease leading to disability in young adults.
*Many Celebrities have MS

The day after I posted this blog article, Annette Funicello, who also suffered from MS, passed away. She was a great advocate and will be greatly missed by many.

*Check out the latest statistics on MS here

The Importance of Long-Term Treatment

*At the present, approved long-term treatments are only available for individuals with relapsing forms of MS
*10 disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are now approved for relapsing forms of MS (as of March 2013)
*DMTs may: reduce the number and severity of symptom flare-ups; delay disease progression; reduce the number of active lesions; and potentially extend one’s lifespan
*DMTs have reduced or delayed the number of individuals who advance from relapsing-remitting MS to secondary-progressive MS

You can find out more information on my fundraising efforts here!

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My team and I at last year’s Walk MS event!

Tom Kelly, a Twitter friend of mine, is also raising funds for MS. He is participating in the Bike MS event in his area. You can find out more about his efforts here!

If you are unable to donate financially to either of our fundraising efforts, then you can help by spreading the word! Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

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#AtoZChallenge Fangirl of the Day initiative & Me

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A to Z Blog Challenge Topic: Fangirl of the Day initiative & Me

First in order to better understand the Fangirl of the Day initiative, I thought it would be important to define what is a Fangirl. I found many different definitions of a Fangirl using Google search. Many of these definitions look upon the term “Fangirl” in a bad light including:

From Urban Dictionary

fangirl
A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.

Found within the Fan_(Person) article on Wikipedia.

A fangirl is a female member of a fandom community (counterpart to the masculine “fanboy”). Fangirls may be more devoted to emotional and romantic aspects of their fandom, especially (relation-)shipping. However, it is commonly used in a derogatory sense to denote a girl’s obsession with something, most commonly a male teen idol or an aspect of Japanese pop culture. Fangirl behavior can vary in intensity. On one end of the scale are those that, while harboring a crush on a particular actor or character, are perfectly capable of understanding that the fulfillment of the crush is never going to happen. On the other end are the girls who are said to be obsessive in their claims on a fictional character, even fighting with other fangirls over who ‘owns’ the character in question.

From Oxford English Dictionary

“fangirl” (noun)
informal derogatory an obsessive female fan (usually of movies, comic books, or science fiction).

I personally do not agree with ANY of these definitions because they focus on the stereotypes and the negative or derogatory aspects of term. I am very disappointed that each of these definitions, especially the Oxford English Dictionary version, do not paint a true picture of what a fangirl is. Fortunately, one person is trying to change the stereotypes and negative aspects of the term “Fangirl”. Her name is Ashley Eckstein and she has started “The Year of the Fangirl” campaign through the Her Universe website. The goal of this is campaign is to highlight all kinds of Fangirls and show that they are not like the stereotypes at all!

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Each day throughout the rest of 2013, Ashley along with a team of writers, will highlight one “Fangirl” on the Her Universe blog every day. As Ashley mentioned in the video that introduces the campaign and the Fangirl of the Day initiative, The Fangirl Of The Day can be of any age from 2 to 80 and come from anywhere in the world. Each of these posts will then be shared on both the Her Universe official Facebook and Twitter accounts to let others, throughout the world, know that Fangirls do not fit into any of the common stereotypes or definitions.

Most importantly, these posts let other Fangirls know that there are many others, like them, that think and feel the same way they do! They, like me, can be inspired by the stories of these Fangirls.

How have these stories already inspired me?

Well, I was inspired to start talking online to the writing contributors and some of the Fangirls highlighted during the first week of this initiative. It was through these discussions, that I was encouraged to take the plunge and start a blog of my own. Therefore, this blog was born as a direct result of the Fangirl of the Day initiative! Thank you so much Ashley for starting The Year of The Fangirl campaign and the Fangirl of the Day initiative. You and all the others highlighted so far are giving all of us who consider ourselves fangirls an opportunity to proudly proclaim ourselves as such without worrying about the negative aspects or the stereotypes!

An Adventure in Stereotypes: Careers for Fan Girls

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Recently, a popular scientific blogger caused a stir when creating a Twitter account. The reason for the stir is because readers found out, through a picture attached to the new Twitter account, that this popular “scientific” blog has been created and maintained by a woman.

As a fan girl, I am surprised about the amount of negative response related to this reveal. This made me realize that there are still many stereotypes that exist on what types of careers are deemed “appropriate” or “typical” for women. What I did not understand is “why” these stereotypes still exist, even in the 21st Century. I did some quick research and found some interesting theories:

– A recent article on the time.com mentions that a recent study conducted indicated that it is the cultural stereotypes that lure women away from Careers in Science.

– Another theory suggests that young girls are not exposed to atypical career paths and if exposed this will give them more information to understand and encourage them to pursue one of these potential careers.

– Yet another theory suggests that women in general did not have the math skills to pursue these careers, but that theory was not supported by a recent study

– Finally, someone suggests that women are just too awesome at all kinds of skills and do not want “settle” for scientific, engineering or technical careers when they qualify for other exciting careers as well.

I am sure there are many more theories on why these stereotypes still exist. No matter what or how many reasons there are for these stereotypes. Efforts like the Her Universe Year of the Fan Girl are a great start on putting us on the path of a future where these stereotypes do not exist. I hope, as time passes, all women, not just fan girls like me, will be able to put these stereotypes behind us and can choose any career they want without causing a stir!

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