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Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

I’ve always said it’s easier for a woman in our golden years, or silver years, because we have always had certain routines. Centuries of domestic duties, child and elder care responsibilities. Maybe it’s just my generation, but for the most part we were the gardeners and the gatherers, we kept the home fires burning. Some men do, however, take up cooking and laundering once they retire, if they don’t find themselves “consulting” on a golf course.

Our last night in Nashville, I found myself frying up some catfish and shrimp for a crowd. And although I was in pain from a fall off a step, I was happy to be useful. Having a purpose, isn’t that the raison d’etre for woman and mankind?

But for young women today, the roles are not so clearly drawn. We raised our daughters to believe they too could be President one day (say this aloud again and again please); women could bear the babies and bring home the bacon. Anything. Was. Possible. I told the Bride again and again. Books advised them to Lean IN, and maybe their pay wasn’t quite up to par, but opportunities were endless! Of course, money helps…

And wealth, a staggering amount of wealth may not bring you happiness, but it certainly helps with childcare. Strangely enough, I understand how Ivanka Trump could praise her daddy at the Berlin G20 Women’s Summit. Next to the leader of the free world, Angela Merkel, Ivanka spoke of empowering women everywhere, and said she thought the media was giving her father a bad rap. It’s not his draconian policies or paternalistic pugilistic attitude toward women, it’s the big bad media.

“He encouraged me and enabled me to thrive. I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish,” Ivanka told a German panel. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39704840

She actually grew up in several houses, with many helpers, cooks and chauffeurs and a daddy who treated her like a real princess, in a tower. He left her mother when she was ten years old for a younger model and shipped her off to a boarding school five years later. Which is most likely why the German audience audibly groaned when she defended her father and her upbringing.

After all, how many women are struggling single-handedly to raise their children and put food on the table in our country? At least in Germany, parental leave is a tangible thing – 14 months of paid parental leave after having a baby, for both or even one parent… And once they go back to work? The German government is dedicated to provide childcare for its children, so that women and men can return to work. In fact, if there are no available kinder-spots, parents can actually sue the government! https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/01/german-childcare/512612/

Of all the president’s men, I am at least slightly optimistic about Ivanka. She talks a good game about empowering women, and I want to believe her. She has her father’s ear, though exactly what her role will be in the White House is anybody’s guess. Remember that FDR was born to the carriage trade, but had the courage to steer us through the Great Depression and understand the working class. Maybe Ivanka will help us pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which just passed in Nevada this March without much fanfare.

Or will Mr T, like King Lear, give away our kingdom to the highest bidders and his two sons, turning away from Cordelia/Ivanka in the end? I hope she comes back from Germany soon, to steer her aging father away from the precipice. And his Twitterfeed.

Here is Nana doing preschool pickup, #beforethefall.    IMG_0360

 

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Yesterday I met a woman from Maine, who came to Washington, DC on a bus with her service dog. She was a German Shepherd dog, and reminded me of Bones.

I met a family of sisters and their daughters from Boston, who wore black knit caps embroidered with “Nasty Women.” And they reminded me of my first march in Boston, when Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated.

I met a Grandmother from Oregon, and I saw women sitting on curbs nursing their babies in the cold. And I thought of the Bride marching in Nashville with her babies.

Because we were not allowed on the National Mall at first, we were herded into Independence Ave where we stood shoulder to shoulder. And we listened to speakers.

And we said their names.

We could not march because we had no room to march. There was precious little police or emergency personnel anywhere, although there were plenty of National Guard at the RFK Stadium where the sea of buses from all over the country were parked.

So we stood in solidarity for over three hours, between fences. And we listened to celebrities and politicians. And now we know what we must do.

We women must run for office. ANY local office. We need to call our legislators Every. Single. Day. We must support those who will speak for us, for the vast majority of people who did not vote for Mr T.

Like Tom Perriello, who is running for Governor of VA and rode with us from Cville yesterday. https://www.tomforvirginia.com

And coming home in the dark last night, after telling us that two women donated $25,000 to hire our buses, our bus captain mentioned a non-profit near and dear to their hearts: The Legal Aid Justice Center https://www.justice4all.org

It’s the morning after, and it’s time we took our country back. Resistance to this movement of strong, smart determined women is futile. The DC cops who gallantly opened side streets and allowed the Mall fences to come down were wearing pink pussy hats yesterday. Our little cat feet made a mighty roar in the fog of this inauguration weekend.

Women are the wall, and Trump will pay. c2ujs8wweaeo048

 

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“Do we have any plans?”

A simple question yes, but I’ve been hearing it alot lately. At the end of this month my husband Bob will retire. You heard me correctly, he will hang up his stethoscope for maybe the last time. And like most American housewives of the newly retired, I am beginning to wonder what the rest of my life will be like.

Our cousin Anita tells me that men who golf do much better in retirement. Her friends are not complaining so much. They don’t require lunch, they make dates with their friends and get their manly fix swinging sword-like putters on the golf course, returning home from their natural habitat conquering (or quivering) heroes.

Bob doesn’t golf. But he does fly.

Unfortunately, someone is flying up from Florida this weekend (we shall see how Hurricane Matthew affects this plan) to buy his little Arrow four-seater. It’s been on the market since his surgery last year; so hanging in the hangar so to speak will be off the table.

Our friend MJ tells me that when her husband retired, at about the same time her daughter’s family moved out of her second floor and into their new newly built home, she was trepidatious. After all, her husband was a businessman who travelled the world frequently. But men in the business world can remain as consultants, and that is exactly what her husband has done. Plus, he can drop in on his grand daughter anytime he wants.

Bob’s always been the leader of his pack, the director, the owner.

Bob’s grandkids are in Nashville with my grandkids and doctors rarely consult after retirement. When we visited his UVA doctor this past year for a check-up – a man about the same age who is cutting back on patients and teaching more – he swiveled away from his computer and looked Bob right in the eye, saying bluntly.

“What are you going to do? You’re not the kind of guy who goes to Lowe’s every day.”

True. And do doctors ever really retire? I’ve known some to work right up into their 80s, but these are usually Internists, GPs who sit and swivel mostly. Not ER docs who run around the clock moving all sorts of serious and semi-serious emergencies in and out the doors like a Roadrunner…24/7 every day of the year…

It’s hard to imagine my husband doing nothing, literally. And to be honest, there are a few new things he can dabble with in medicine. After all, he’s been doing telemedicine his whole life with our family and friends. Rashes are sent via text, foreign objects in the eye are discussed. But the cord to a hospital will be cut for good.

He doesn’t do laundry, even though he likes folding. He is an excellent sous chef in the kitchen, when asked. And strangely enough, I didn’t think this whole retirement phase would bother me. After all, he never worked a 9 to 5 job and often works weekends and holidays; I am used to him puttering around the house, mowing the lawn on good ole John Deere, editing medical journals in his office and catching up with charts. Once upon a time he would cut down trees for firewood and tend a garden…

Long ago I put my foot down – I don’t do lunch. So when Bob’s home during the day, we often go out to lunch, or just “pick.” That’s one of those generational things, like Ada makes lunch for the world should they stop by. That greatest generation would leave a cooked dinner covered in the fridge for the hubby if they happened to be out one night. Millennials order food online and cook it together.

My generation was stuck in the middle, fledgling feminists feeling the need to hunt and supply a “home-cooked” meal every night. Last night I made bangers and mash. WHY? Because sausages were on sale at Whole Foods, and I was thinking about those beer gardens in Eastern Europe since a friend is posting her travel pix on Facebook! Thank God I didn’t Instagram it.

Last night I politely asked Bob to stop asking me about plans. He said he thinks maybe he should get another job! Will we travel more? Take long walks on the beach? Talk? Make more vegetable soup? To quote Disney’s Chef Gusteau:   793759230-f6b3178ce351ee8f3901fe91febe95fb

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Are you watching? Do you gloat when Lilly wags her finger at that Russian swimmer who has been accused of doping in the past? In and around the Olympic pool, shaming a competitor is allowed. Go ahead and try to hack into our emails Moscow, we’ll show you a thing or two when the games finish up and the medals are counted!

Do you cringe when the bicycles crash? What about archery, or volleyball on the beach, in bikinis? My all time favorite is diving – guys, girls synchronized pairs, or alone. How in the world do they enter the water with a tiny ripple after somersaulting like birds in the sky?

I’ve been reminded that in 1972 the world experienced a seismic shift for women when Title IX was passed into law in our country. Sen Birch Bayh of Indiana said this on the floor of the Senate:

“We are all familiar with the stereotype of women as pretty things who go to college to find a husband, go on to graduate school because they want a more interesting husband, and finally marry, have children, and never work again. The desire of many schools not to waste a ‘man’s place’ on a woman stems from such stereotyped notions. But the facts absolutely contradict these myths about the ‘weaker sex’ and it is time to change our operating assumptions.”

Title IX was too late for me. Graduating from high school in 1966 – yes our 50th reunion is coming right up – my class was on the cusp of the feminist movement. My friend Lee is ten years younger, yet she experienced discrimination in law school, one of very few women. You had to be tough in those days to last, like Hillary!

At my girls camp every summer I had racked up athletic prizes. Basketball was my favorite, and I was the one lone player, the “roving” one, allowed to run the full length of the court because they didn’t think girls could play like the boys. There was no future for me in sports however. In high school I was always trying out for plays, the drama department had stolen my heart. I had compartmentalized any talent I thought I had, not consciously, but summers were for sports. Sure some girls played after school, but I returned to the “real” world, where the Flapper had to work and so I had to take the bus home every day.

I thought about dance, ballet had been a big part of my life. The one time I performed that wasn’t part of a musical on stage, was in the gym as part of the Girl’s Athletic Association annual award ceremony. I didn’t get a medal of course, but I did choreograph and dance an interpretive number to “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from Flower Drum Song. One PE teacher took pity on me, and encouraged me. Looking back, it seems ironic:

I adore being dressed in something frilly
When my date comes to get me at my place
Out I go with my Joe or John or Billy
Like a filly who is ready for the race

When I have a brand new hairdo
With my eyelashes all in curls
I float as the clouds on air do
I enjoy being a girl

I actually hate frilly. Moving on to my first year in college saw my first knee injury on a ski slope. Sitting on a chair at a law school mixer in a full leg cast, my first husband approached me. I should have known something was up; he didn’t dance himself. Washed up as a dancer, my dreams of being a super star on Broadway, a hoofer, were stalled.

So I did what every girl my age did, got married. The point is, we women of the late 60s couldn’t even dream of being super star athletes. Not then.

Today the “Final Five” USA Women gymnasts are super heroes, inspiring a whole new diverse generation of girls. And most importantly, all the women in Rio grew up with equal opportunities – Title IX was entrenched – whatever money went toward boy’s sports in public schools, had to be allocated to the girls too. In archery, tennis, golf, rowing, basketball, softball and of course swimming and diving.

Even though times they have changed, the media coverage of women in elite positions on the world stage hasn’t very much. I thought this was a provocative article – a little “sarcasm” if you will. Imagine covering a man the way some broadcasters talk about women. Maybe the world of male commentators thinks we are still waiting for our Joe or John or Billy?  It’s a good laugh if it doesn’t make you cry. “Congrats girl! Fiancé of former Miss California scoops his 25th medal” http://thetab.com/uk/2016/08/10/congrats-girl-fiance-former-miss-california-scoops-25th-gold-medal-13873     IMG_3652

 

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Ageism. It’s hard to avoid these days since many of us will live for nearly a century. Each “woman of a certain age” knows what I mean when I say there comes a time when we become invisible. Young people, after all, are walking around chasing invisible fictional characters on their ‘dumb’ phones. We, otoh, are trying to find ours!

So it came as no surprise that the Donald would malign my hero, the Notorious RBG, by saying on Twitter of course, “Her mind is shot – resign.” Not the best use of “shot” as a noun, the day after that Dallas Police memorial service. Still, 83 year old Justice Ginsburg said in an interview she thought the GOP front-runner was a “faker.”

“At first I thought it was funny,” she said of Trump’s early candidacy. “To think that there’s a possibility that he could be president … ” Her voice trailed off gloomily.
“I think he has gotten so much free publicity,” she added, drawing a contrast between what she believes is tougher media treatment of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and returning to an overriding complaint: “Every other presidential candidate has turned over tax returns.”  http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/12/politics/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-donald-trump-faker/

There’s something radical about a woman who speaks her mind. But a woman in a black robe, how dare she?

Bob has seen many a nursing home patient with little to no mind left, and it’s not pretty or something to hurl at a Supreme Court Justice. In fact, he once saw a woman who had forgotten how to cook. I asked him if that could ever happen to me; then I thought, would it be such a bad thing? Never to cook again?

But let’s leave women out of the kitchen for a minute and think about the GOP platform for 2016, it’s as if they are playing a game of one step forward, five steps back. They don’t want to play “identity politics” by ensuring the rights of the LGBT community, but the fetus still has an identity. “Personhood” should be protected. Oh, and just when women won the right to equal pay and to serve in the front lines of the armed forces, the GOP thought it better if we ladies stayed out of combat. Better yet, back in the kitchen. http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/republican-platform-continues-move-right-day-two-n608031

Since we are still without air conditioning, this is the fifth day, my mind is starting to melt. I left the house one day without my dumb/smart phone AND my glasses! I’ve been trying not to cook for the simple reason that 83 degrees is too hot to play with fire. Supposedly, the part will be in and the tech will fix our AC unit tomorrow…sometime tomorrow. Meanwhile the humidity has returned and today should see us nearing 90. Fingers crossed.

But back to the shot mind. I love following Glenn Greenwald on Twitter @gggreenwald. He is a reporter without an agenda. Here is what he had to say about the latest kerfuffle:

“Hard to take seriously court impartiality/Ginsburg furor after 5 GOP-appointed judges stopped vote-counting & made George W. Bush president”

Now that says it all! Yessiree, I will be voting this November with a mind to keep the Supreme Court on the right side of history. I think Bernie’s revolution has just begun, and it will start with our first woman President. And just so you know, I will be forgoing Snapchat and Pokemon Now. My mind can only tech so much.

Here we are at the Apple Genius Bar, trying to catch up. And ps, Bob actually installed 16 RAMs of memory in my MacBook Pro, so my hot messy mind has a fast laptop. Take that young’uns!!  IMG_4808

 

 

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I don’t know about you, but when I heard Ted Cruz’ wife Heidi say that the first thing he did after they were married was to buy 100 cans of soup, I was shocked. I knew this had to be some clue, some secret scientific device that would help us dig deep into his brain. We already know Cruz is an absolutist, you’re either on the dark side or the light side of his universe. But 100 cans of soup? http://gawker.com/after-his-honeymoon-ted-cruz-immediately-bought-100-ca-1770893594

When Heidi questioned her newlywed about his motivations, he said, “I know you. You won’t be making things.”

Now soup is a comfort food. For me it’s homemade soup, but hey what kid would pass up some tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich? And if you grow up into a man who doesn’t know a pot from a pan, who likes to stand in front of the refrigerator and eat whatever catches his fancy, standing up while swigging milk from the carton, well you might just worry about your future meals. Particularly if you marry a woman who avoids the kitchen.

But the more troubling part of the story is that Heidi took all that soup back to the store – then she called her mom who told her to go right back and buy that soup and replace it in the pantry! So, it’s like a lesson on being submissive, being a good God-fearing Christian wife who is dominated by her husband. Yessiree ladies. Make sure he knows he’s the boss!

Then I found out that early in their career they lived separately, for 7 years in Texas. And that Heidi had moved there for his political career but didn’t really fit in. That she was found wandering around a highway with her head in her hands one night http://theweek.com/speedreads/602452/ted-cruz-wife-lived-apart-first-7-years-marriage

Now I have some sympathy for this woman. The woman that Trump’s campaign smeared. I know what it’s like to move to a place for your husband’s career and though I never wandered onto a freeway exit ramp, I did have my existential moments. Wondering why I was surrounded by women who could only talk about their nails. Feeling like a duck out of water.

What I wouldn’t give to have a sit-down with Heidi. I’d tell her that it’s not all about the Lord and her job at Goldman Sachs. I’d tell her that her husband has no chance at winning the Presidency. It’s about what this country stands for, the freedom to do things our way, to forge ahead and make our own choices. I’d tell her that food is love, and she should start listening to herself and nobody else. You might want to keep a can of Cream of Mushroom soup around in case you need to make a casserole. But definitely, learn how to bake a killer meatloaf. This is my turkey mushroom meatloaf, wrapped in bacon and it doesn’t get much better than this!IMG_3806

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Do you stop to think twice? Or do you leap into new situations, never looking back? This is characteristic of the nature/nurture phenomenon, a temperament that is born-in IMHO. You are either a risk-taker, or a risk-avoider. Look at the baby Rocker. The first time he saw the ocean, he ran right into the waves. Remember he was called “The Boy who ran before he could walk,” so he probably wasn’t even walking yet!

Not every young adult would pack up all his earthly possessions in two cars, convince his girl this is a good idea, and move across the United States to find work in the film industry. Which he did – exhibit A: The new Tarzan trailer, Music and Sound Design by my boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91rm_G1xkU8

And then there’s the rest of us, we proceed cautiously – my psychologist brother Dr Jim was just telling me about the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM); “The transtheoretical model posits that health behavior change involves progress through six stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.” 

My first thought was, ‘this is so meta.’ Let’s think about how we think about changing our lives. But for behavioral psychologists, TTM is helpful when someone has been stuck in a habit, let’s say smoking, for most of his/her life and cannot seem to quit. Or they quit for awhile, and then start back down the road. It’s a way to break down the process of change into manageable, small steps. http://brainblogger.com/2009/01/25/smoking-behavior-and-the-transtheoretical-model-of-the-stages-of-change/

I’ve been thinking about this since returning to the states, and the full-frontal onslaught of political campaigns. We’d been invited to a fundraiser for Secretary Hillary Clinton and unfortunately couldn’t attend, but I’ve been listening closely to her words about the Supreme Court nominee. Lately she’s been tweeting us a very valuable history lesson:

  • At our best, America has united behind the ideal that everyone deserves a fair shot. At its best, the Supreme Court has defended that ideal.
  • In 1973, #SCOTUS ruled that women have the right to make intimate health decisions for ourselves. 
  • In 1954, #SCOTUS held that separate is not equal in our schools.
  • Last June, #SCOTUS ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land.

However her critics want to talk about emails, about trustworthiness, about her abundance of caution. She corrals the press, keeping a tight leash on reporters. She doesn’t want to debate in NY, but will in PA. She just has TOO MUCH confidence! This is what Huffington Post writer, Anna Kegler, said about Hillary’s problem:

While boys are raised to exaggerate their skills, take risks, fall down and pick themselves back up, girls are taught to think things through and second-guess, avoid risk and failure, and not raise their hand unless they’re sure they have the right answer. Lastly, girls absorb from the media that their real value [lies] in their appearance, at the same time that boys absorb the message that girls are not to be trusted.

Could this be the real issue? It’s not that Hillary can’t be trusted, it’s just that she doesn’t suffer from impostor syndrome. “By exhibiting confidence and publicly extolling their own virtues, female politicians running for office break the rules of the game and subvert existing power structures. As a politician, Clinton makes repeated asks for money and votes. Implied at the end of every ask is “because I deserve it,” and often, “more than that white man I’m running against.” http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/03/28/impostor_syndrome_is_expected_of_women_but_hillary_clinton_won_t_conform.html

Hooray for all those non-compliant women out there! Great Gma Ada used to give the Bride money for a report card that had that negative “Does not raise hand before talking” box checked! Good for you, she would say, make your voice heard! We not only wanna have fun, we want to bake and eat those cookies too! And the Rocker, well he wants to jump at the same time! Which is why he can work in Hollywood and still return to Jersey for gigs with his band, The Parlor Mob. 12418059_10154401166989316_7721114401111152149_n

Here’s to all the risk-takers, boys and those girls, the ‘tomboys’ out there who want to have it all. Don’t listen to the critics, climb trees, ride your bikes faster and faster. Reach for the stars, because you too can be President one day.

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