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Posts Tagged ‘Women’s Rights’

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations,”  Dr Mae Jemison, American physician and astronaut.     

Go to the Google Doodle today, you’ll be glad you did. https://www.google.com  Today is International Woman’s Day. Let’s see how far we’ve come, shall we? We know that menstruation can still end a girl’s education in some parts of the world, while in the 1960s it meant we could get out of gym class.

But did you know that so-called “honor killings” are still taking place around the globe?

Pressure group Human Rights Watch says the most common reasons are that the victim:

  • refused to enter into an arranged marriage
  • was the victim of a sexual assault or rape
  • had sexual relations outside marriage, even if only alleged

 

Five women are believed to have been killed by their families for clapping and singing at a wedding (where men were dancing) in Pakistan. Wearing the wrong clothes or acting in a “disrespectful” manner can also lead a father to kill his daughter. An Italian-Pakistani woman was lured back to her province and strangled when she refused to marry a Pakistani stranger just one year ago, her name was Sana Cheema, she was only 26 years old.

Activists believe there are approximately 1,000 dishonorable killings of women in Pakistan every year.

I wonder how many women have died from illegal abortions around the world?

“If other countries are a guide, abortion restrictions won’t reduce the number of abortions that take place: According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion rates in countries where abortion is legal are similar to those in countries where it’s illegal. In parts of the world where abortion is illegal, botched abortions still cause about 8 to 11 percentof all maternal deaths, or about 30,000 each year.” https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/10/how-many-women-die-illegal-abortions/572638/

You might ask how can that be, the same number of women die whether the law prohibits abortion or not? Whether a doctor in El Salvador or Brazil reports an incomplete self-induced abortion to the government, or whether a woman dies of septic shock in the comfort of her Florida living room after a legal abortion?

Well, it’s because some so-called “legal” countries, like the US, are still trying to restrict a woman’s access to reproductive services – and when I say “woman” I mean a poor woman. Because we all know that wealthy women will always find a way to acquire a safe, medical or surgical abortion.

Our local Planned parenthood has stopped providing abortions, and so Nashville women are forced to travel to Memphis. Women here donate money to help make those travel arrangements happen.

Yesterday, the TN House voted to join Georgia in passing a “Heartbeat Bill” Bill 77. Two Democrats joined Republicans voting for this bill by a large majority, 65 -21. I am embarrassed and amazed to say a Democratic woman was left standing on the floor, with her hand raised, to introduce an amendment for the exception of rape and incest. She was IGNORED by the Republican ChairMAN.

Since a fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 6 weeks, before a woman even realizes she may be pregnant, this restriction is perilous and punishing. In the future, will Southern women eventually have to develop an underground railroad, a network to help others travel North to the Democratic states that do NOT restrict access?

Today we celebrate our sisters, our mothers, grandmothers and daughters. My sister, who had to hide her daughter in order to work as a stewardess in the airline industry. My Grandmother, who wasn’t allowed to vote. My Mother who lost her home when my Father died. My Mother-in-Law, who received her doctorate at age 65 after a divorce. My Daughter-in-Love, who organizes and volunteers for Bernie. My Daughter, who helps women in pain every day she puts on her white coat.

And the Love Bug, who is currently learning how to tell time. Let’s not let our granddaughters down and fall back on our human rights. Our girls deserve a limitless future.

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Months ago, a friend’s daughter mentioned that she had stopped taking Adderal, a drug that was prescribed years earlier for Attention Deficit (ADD). She was proud of weaning herself off this stimulant and started looking at the world, and her career differently. I was happy for her, since as y’all know I am NOT a pill person – well except for vitamins – and I recommended she read this book, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman who won the Nobel Prize in 2002 for Economics, even though he is a psychologist.

A therapist friend recommended this book to me, and Bob just finished reading it on our Kindle App, so now it’s my turn. It’s easy enough to say that men are from Mars, but this non-fiction book doesn’t try to explain male vs female minds. In fact, gender has nothing to with it. Instead we find out that our instinctual, fast assessment of any situation is the hero of our cognitive world, and the slower, analytical mind is rather lazy!

System 2, in Kahneman’s scheme, is our slow, deliberate, analytical and consciously effortful mode of reasoning about the world. System 1, by contrast, is our fast, automatic, intuitive and largely unconscious mode. It is System 1 that detects hostility in a voice and effortlessly completes the phrase “bread and. . . . ” It is System 2 that swings into action when we have to fill out a tax form or park a car in a narrow space. (As Kahneman and others have found, there is an easy way to tell how engaged a person’s System 2 is during a task: just look into his or her eyes and note how dilated the pupils are.)  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/books/review/thinking-fast-and-slow-by-daniel-kahneman-book-review.html

When we speak about the “tone” of a conversation, as we have been doing about Mr T’s recent attempts at a Press Conference, we are engaging System 1. It is the nuanced way we communicate with others, the reason we may meet someone and feel an immediate kinship. I was actually thinking that System 1 may be a higher evolutionary adaptation to an increasingly complex and interconnected technological world. Making a diagnosis of ADD more of a plus, than a minus.

Now Bob’s opinion of an ADD diagnosis is that your environment isn’t sufficiently stimulating. As the student who sat in front of him in French class in the 60s, I know this to be true – his legs were always moving behind my desk, so much so that I felt as if I was on a Disney ride. I am positive he would have been medicated as a child. And our son had a similar level of energy in high school, similar to a race horse in the gate, one very hard to contain in a “normal” classroom. I can already see this fast level of relating to the world in the Love Bug. I can almost see her mind racing to keep up with us; at the age of two she was asking us to teach her how to read!

So the inner-linguist-in-me was delighted to read this morning that in fact, our thoughts may have been shaped by the kind of crops our ancestors grew! http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170118-how-east-and-west-think-in-profoundly-different-ways

 

Growing rice requires far greater cooperation: it is labour-intensive and requires complex irrigation systems spanning many different farms. Wheat farming, by contrast, takes about half the amount of work and depends on rainfall rather than irrigation, meaning that farmers don’t need to collaborate with their neighbours and can focus on tending their own crops.

This BBC article explains how so many social science experiments are biased toward the Western world, more specifically American graduate students who participate in these studies. The idea of Western thought being more frontier in nature, valuing the individual, John Wayne, self-directed approach, as differentiated from Eastern thought which values the whole, group achievement, socialist model over the individual is a narrative based in reality, and not alternative facts.  “…our social environment moulds our minds. From the broad differences between East and West, to subtle variation between US states, it is becoming increasingly clear that history, geography and culture can change how we all think in subtle and surprising ways – right down to our visual perception.”

And I would add Red and Blue states to this mix. I once asked a group of women knitting together in a room if in fact every US citizen didn’t deserve to have health care. This was early on, when President Obama was being blocked by every single Republican legislator from passing health insurance reform. And the one Republican knitter in the room said very defiantly “Absolutely not!” She was thinking like a pioneer, and not like someone on the Titanic.

The Flapper loved everything Eastern, including Buddhism, and believed in mindfulness before it was ever trending. Since I received the results of my Ancestry DNA, I realize that my cells are all Irish, with unfortunately no Asian influence. But ever since I was a girl, wearing my Catholic school uniform, my environment taught me to share and think collectively…and maybe now we need to think faster than ever. We need to be the first Jedi.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

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Don’t talk to me about your religious freedom. Mississippi and North Carolina, you will not get my vote, my money, or my sympathy. In fact, I can’t believe I must still fly into Charlotte in order to get anywhere from Central VA. I will purposely book flights through Atlanta in the future; at least Georgia’s governor had the decency to reject yet another “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.”

Let’s start with the whole public restroom issue. You want to be able to pee in a private stall? Great. You don’t want your daughter in the same bathroom with a transgender woman, what?

Believe me, a person who is born male, and feels like God played a trick on them because inside, in their soul, they feel female, that person is not going to violate your daughter’s bathroom stall. Remember, even in the men’s room there are separate stalls, with locks, so we can ostensibly sit on the pot. She (or he if you prefer, though whether or not they have gone through any surgery will hopefully NOT be a prerequisite for choosing a bathroom) will have spent most of their life being harassed and humiliated – unless it’s Caitlyn Jenner.

Wait, is that what you want at the women’s bathroom doors of Charlotte Airport – morality police? Like Iran, someone to make sure we women are acting and dressing accordingly; that we were born women? How will you check our femaleness? Maybe we should make transgender women wear a big “T” on their chest?

I have a revolutionary idea. Why not do what the rest of Europe has been doing for ages – put a big “WC” on every bathroom, short for “water closet,” and let the chips fall where they may! If you grew up female in the NY/NJ metro area, you never let a “Men’s Room” sign stop you from using it, since there was always a line to the Ladies! Yes, we Northeners are infidels aren’t we.

And marriage equality, still? Extreme religious groups are trying to pass bills in every state to chip away at the HUMAN rights of the LGBT community. Like the right to have an abortion if we so choose; first we saw TRAP laws to limit access to health care clinics that provide abortions, then “personhood bills.” Well guess what, the Supreme Court answered   that sticky question about abortion years ago, and the one about marriage equality? That happened last summer.

But hey, now it’s your religious right to not hire a gay person in MS because of HB1523, or sell condoms in your gas station, or use a bathroom without worrying who’s peeping through the stall! “Churches, religious charities and private business can use the law to legally not serve people whose lifestyles they disagree with. Governments must still provide services, but individual government employees can use the law to opt out.”  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35971038

Yes it is, only it’s not OK to pass a law saying we ALL have to agree with your religious beliefs, because in fact we don’t. The Law of the Land says we don’t!! You see your freedom is just another word for bigotry.

Once upon a time, women didn’t have the vote, and Black folk couldn’t sit wherever they wanted in theaters, buses, or public parks. Let’s remember that our country was founded on religious freedom – the freedom to NOT have any one specific religion make public policy – that is worth repeating since even Thomas Jefferson got this part, he built a LIBRARY in the middle of his academical village, and not a church!

We Americans have the freedom to NOT have any one specific religion make public policy ie we like to keep our church and state separate. Some of us don’t even go to church! This is not the New South I’ve come to love. Here is a picture I took at Cville’s Lee Park after the bill to relocate General Robert E Lee’s statue and rename the park was introduced. It’s time to pick sides America. IMG_4143

 

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After finishing up my Mother’s Day essay, I settled myself on a heating pad and read this: http://www.aww.com.au/latest-news/lets-talk/lesson-to-my-daughter-20482

Annabel Crabb, an Australian writer, gives her daughter the gift of an important life lesson. Now we all know, once our daughters have hit about age 16, there’s pretty much nothing we can do to influence them. OH we can try. We can bash our heads against a wall with cajoling and bribery, and occasionally they may listen. If I had a 16 year old today on social media, I’d pretty much raise my hands in surrender.

But a funny thing happens when they grow up and start a family of their own, they actually ask you for advice! It may not happen often, and sometimes it’s after all other friends and Google searches have left them needing more, let’s say, sage wisdom from the one person in their world who knew them when. And normally I’d say wait for this to happen. The one golden rule of grandparenting is never to offer advice, unless and until you are asked for it.

But there are times when your tongue just has a mind of its own, like after Happy Buddha Baby (let’s call him Happy Bud) was born. I remember leaving Nashville one time and telling my daughter that,

“…cleaning up just isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things,” on my way out the door.

Now for those of you who know the Bride, them’s fighting words. She is an organizational genius, a Type A+ personality who can make dinner, include the Love Bug in food prep, nurse the baby and do her patient notes all in the same evening.

I am the opposite. Multi-tasking was always beyond me, a dream that might happen at any second but usually, nah. The Flapper once told me that housekeeping skills usually skipped a generation, and now I believe her. But I think it’s because we grow up either in clutter chaos and can never find anything, or we grow up severely regimented under the thumb of a neat freak. And so we rebel, and become the opposite of our Mother in that regard. Once the Rocker’s friend came over to borrow a pair of his boots for Halloween in Middle School and was dumb struck when I replied i couldn’t find them. Seriously, she was one of six and her Mom knew where everything was, every single thing at every minute of the day!

And so I was prepared to like this essay from Australia about why a Mom wouldn’t change anything at all about her “untidy life.” Except for her premise – we should do less instead of “whining and moaning” because the men in our lives don’t pull their weight; “…women still do about twice as much housework as men.”

And guess what, in America we do three times as much housework as men! http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/22/women-better-at-housework-men-better-at-avoiding-it

But is doing less the answer to a happy marriage? Because if we start to do less and still expect him to do more, to pick up the slack, we might be surprised. So complain all you want ladies – and let his socks sit at the foot of the bed because they haven’t grown feet and walked themselves into the laundry basket. In fact, let that basket founder for a few days and see what happens. In other words, men cannot intuit what we want – we must tell them!

I am happy to report that the last time I walked in the door, after a 9 hour journey, the living room looked like a toddler fun house had exploded inside. I was so ecstatic!

"Cleaning up after a toddler is like trying to shovel snow in a snowstorm" Old Berkshire saying

“Cleaning up after a toddler is like trying to shovel snow in a snowstorm” Old Berkshire saying

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Long flowing hair…

“I want long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided
Powered, flowered and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled and spahettied”
Read more: Hair – Hair Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Here are the things my mother, the Flapper, told me about my hair:
“Get it out of your eyes.”
“Brush it every night.”
“It’s your crowning glory.”
“You have to suffer to be beautiful,” while pulling tight on my braids. A message I did not internalize.

She never told me to cover it, unless it was cold outside. I’ve been thinking about hair because of FLOTUS’ scarf-gate. Y’all knew I’d have to write about it, that place where feminism, culture and religion intersect. To simply say it’s much ado about nothing, another political prank, is the obvious reaction. After all, we see Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton sitting, heads uncovered, with the Saudi royals. Oh, and that time when FLOTUS did cover her head in Indonesia? She was inside a mosque; similar to going to the Vatican to meet the Pope with a doily on top of your head. You pay some respect right?

But even as a child in Sacred Heart Church with a beanie or a doily on my head, I thought it odd that men had to take OFF their hats for Mass! Children are really good at spotting inequality. Back when men wore hats all the time, they would customarily doff them for a woman. It was a sign of respect, a greeting, “Top of the Mornin” and all that.

So what is it about our hair ladies that’s got severely religious Muslim and Orthodox Jews wanting us to cover up whenever we venture outside? From an Hermes scarf for an Arab princess, to the burka for a Persian schoolteacher. Granted with Hasidim the women can wear elaborate wigs that probably look even better than any hair style I could create with ten children hanging on my skirts. Aha, that’s it! Think about it…

It’s really not about our hair, it’s not that we wouldn’t want them to see our beautiful, long, flowing hair. Hair down to there hair. It’s about control. And it’s not that the men in these religious communities/countries wouldn’t be able to control themselves when confronted by our hair.

It’s all about controlling our bodies. And in this country, religion and state are separate, so our government cannot tell us: not to use birth control; not to drive a car; not to leave the house without a man; not to shake hands with a man we do not know; and on and on. Although some legislators in our government would like to limit our access to reproductive health care, would like their religious views imposed on us. But we, the female people, have prevailed so far, so good.

And as for Michelle Obama? Well played First Lady, well played.

Rag Curls before SHS

Rag Curls before SHS

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Something deep down in my heart that I knew to be true – even Republican women believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion. They may not say this directly, or out loud; it’s like a Democratic Senator who may own a rifle for hunting but would never be seen holding a gun in a picture. What I didn’t count on, was the audacity of this Congress to try and slip in a bill restricting late term abortions, a procedure which constitutes 1.4% of all abortions due to education and Plan B in this country, and adding this codicil to a post 20 week abortion in the case of rape, hold on to your seats everyone:

…it’s OK ladies only IF you have reported said rape to the police!

Thank you GOP women for soundly seeing through the error of their ways. Approximately 68% of rapes are not reported to the police, and a reported 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Why you might ask? Because women are still not actually believed, so why bother; because some think they deserved to be raped or abused since that’s all they know, and some were impaired and so find themselves guilty a priori. For a myriad of ridiculous reasons rapes go unreported. And on college campuses it is even more nauseating.

One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, according to studies, many of them during their first year by someone they know. The first 15 weeks of college can be the riskiest; the group Futures Without Violence just launched “The Other Freshman 15,” a letter-writing campaign aimed at getting college and university officials to address the issue.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/09/19/seeking-to-end-rape-on-campus-wh-launches-its-on-us/

“Given control of Congress and the chance to frame an economic agenda for the middle class, the first thing Republicans do is tie themselves in knots over . . . abortion and rape,” writes the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson. Maybe the Republican Party will implode? I almost, I said almost feel sorry for Speaker John Boehner. They are not only out of touch, they are seemingly out of their minds! But thanks to those women in red who saw through their shenanigans. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-30943828

Let’s talk about climate change, and income inequality folks and leave a woman’s body up to her and her doctor. This debate is demeaning and insulting. What if the Democratic ticket had two women, two smart women leading the charge to the Hill? You know who I’m talking about. We would be unstoppable. It IS on us! images

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Please. With a newborn in the family everyone loses a little sleep. But the Bride carries the heaviest burden of nursing every two to three hours. And since today is going to be a glorious life-affirming, celebratory day, I’ll make this post brief.

TN in its infinite wisdom has voted “YES on 1” which was an anti-choice, anti-women ballot initiative. The question was deliberately confusing, and ads by religious PACs made it seem like a reasonable option.

However, in the future elected officials now have more power to legislate what we women can do, or not do with our bodies. We may be made to wait longer for an abortion, make multiple visits to a doctor, and even watch an ultrasound or succumb to an invasive pelvic sonogram. TN cannot overturn our right to seek reproductive care, but the GOP can now chip away at our ability to access it with more TRAP laws.

So thanks TN, for thinking that old white men and a few women know best.
http://m.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/11/what-tennessees-new-abortion-amendment-means-for-america/382401/#

With more and more women in medicine and politics, this state just may be first for music but last in recruiting young people in science and technology fields. Just another result of apathetic young voters, or is this a sign of the times?

Let me sleep on it baby.

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