Tag Archives: role models

The OTHER other “F” word….Feminist

10 Mar

I found this in my drafts from September, 2014,  I suppose I never finished it before because I had a stroke a few weeks later, and since I accidentally deleted a very long post about my health bullshit (that had some delightful moments of levity as well) and I’m sad about that, I thought I would check this out and see what it’s all about and it turns out, I like it and I’m publishing it, dammit.

A couple of weeks ago(now years)  I made a HUGE mistake. One that I regret to this day.  I made a comment on the internet about feminism. I didn’t think it was an especially explosive or derisive comment, but for days, DAYS, I was notified of people telling me they disagreed with my comment, or agreed with it, or people felt the need to let me know that my definition of feminism was actually wrong.  As if in a nightmare, I could not figure out how to turn off notifications for this post. It was hell. HELL I tell you.

 

feminist

Okay, that might be a little over dramatic. It was a pain in the butt for a few days, but it was not hell. The comment was made in response to what a comedian on Facebook posted about Beyonce performing in front of the word FEMINIST at the VMA’s.  Her post was, and I am paraphrasing because for the love of all that is good and holy I don’t have a desire to go back and look at it to get it verbatim,  Beyonce dancing around in front of the word feminist makes her as much a feminist as me performing in front of the word scientist makes me a scientist, not at all.  My, what I thought was benign comment regarding this status post update was something along the lines of  “when I was growing up, my mom, who was a business owner and also the room parent for practically every class I was in throughout school, taught me that feminism is the notion that women should be paid equally, and it is about equality. It’s also about the notion that a woman can choose to express herself in any way she damn well pleases.” That’s it.  What’s funny is I’m not even a huge fan of Beyonce (bracing for the Beygency to burst in any second). I respect her as an artist, and for the amazing things she has accomplished in her life and career, and that child of hers and Jay Z’s is just too cute, but I’m not a rabid fan who will defend any and everything she does. Not by a long shot.

According to some of the comments I received (when I was still reading them and trying to respond to them in a civil way) Beyonce cannot be a feminist because she –

Is a wife and a mother, and needs to start acting and dressing like one
Doesn’t have many female friends
Didn’t defend her sister during ElevatorGate 2014

Lets Jay Z “PIMP HER OUT”
Has songs that are not especially about women

The comments above anger me, and the fact that they were made by other women, angers me even more.   I am not one to subscribe to the whole sisterhood over, um, blisterhood (that’s wrong, isn’t it? What is it…chicks over dicks? That works) thing that is reflected in the comments above with the comment that Bey can’t be a feminist because she doesn’t have many female friends, so I don’t want to perpetuate that notion, but for women to not recognize that the very crux of feminism MEANS that Beyonce can make her own decisions about what she wears, or how she dances, breaks my heart a little. Don’t get me started on just what the hell it means to ACT AND DRESS like a wife and mother. I have a very close friend who has beautiful tattoos all over her body, and she is a grandmother, twice over. (three times now) She often is met with disapproval because she doesn’t fit the definition of how a mother should look, but who makes those rules? Women bashing women over how they dress or dance or choose to express themselves just disheartens me. And it’s dumb. Very dumb. Tend your own garden, in other words, you worry about you, don’t want tattoos, don’t get any, but respect the fact that other people might not think the same way as you, and that’s okay, hell, it’s glorious, imagine how dull it would be if everyone thought and dressed and looked exactly the same.

I think there is confusion about what the word FEMINIST even means. I think it’s got a bad rap, and people like Katy Perry stating “I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women” doesn’t help. What is so scary about being called a feminist, Katy? All it means is you are free to cover yourself in candy and sing like a mythical creature inhaling helium if you want to. You get to make that choice, and be on birth control, and do what you want to do. You are a strong woman, and you are a feminist, and it’s not scary and it’s okay.

Feminist women can choose to get married and have children. Feminist women can choose to not get married and have children. Feminist women can choose to get married and not have children. Feminist women can choose to work outside the home. Feminist women can choose to work as homemakers inside the home. The combinations go on and on and on. OH and men can be feminists too! If men think women deserve to make the same amount of money in the same position that men make then guess what? FEMINIST. Tend your own garden

There is no set uniform or behavior that one must conform to to be a mother. You don’t have to have a certain number of female friends to be a feminist. You don’t have to defend your sister’s actions. You can sing about whatever the hell you want to sing about including having sex with your husband in a limousine.

And here it is. Not scary. If you embrace this word I promise,  it doesn’t come with comfortable shoes and a sack cloth to wear as part of a uniform. It just means this –

fem·i·nism
ˈfeməˌnizəm
noun
noun: feminism
the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men
Women helping women is a beautiful thing, but I don’t think there’s a special place in hell for ones who don’t, mainly because I don’t believe in hell at all. Let’s be nice to each other, let’s not be scared of F words, any of them, For instance, I’m a fucking fat feminist https://momticks.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/the-f-word-no-not-that-one/I’m okay with all of those words.

 

It’s My Party

27 Jan

In just a few short days I will be turning 44 years old.  I have written before about things I thought I would have accomplished by this point, and I think I wrote that last year, so presumably, more things have landed on that list.

This past weekend I went to the discount store with a friend and I bought, among other things, a shower curtain. I am still loving renting and living in the house that belongs to my brother and sister-in-law, but the color scheme in the house is not my personal color scheme.  I don’t dislike it, I just have everything in shades of blues and greens and in this house there are very few blues and greens, rather maroons and browns. I had been using my old shower curtain that had circles in blues and greens all over it, and it totally clashed with the wallpaper that has muted shades of red and pink on it, with a border at the bottom of pink. I found a shower curtain and told my friend who was shopping with me that “I think things will finally start coming together for me, because my shower curtain will match my wallpaper”.  I was kidding, but it made me think  how when I was a kid, I really did think that things would just “make sense” by the time I reached a certain age.

I don’t know what age that is, but I can tell you, I haven’t reached it yet.

My eldest son commented that our house feels like a motivational seminar because of all the signs I have chosen to hang in our home. I am a huge believer in the power of the universe. I have written about my vision board and I really do feel that words have the power to motivate and bring about change. Whether that change is positive or negative depends on the words and images in which you have chosen to surround yourself. I’m not DELUSIONAL. I think it takes more than just hanging a few posters in your house to affect change, but I do think it helps.

forwhatitsworth

As I sit here typing this with the television show Iyanla Fix My Life, playing on my TV behind me, it strikes me that there isn’t a magical age where everything suddenly makes sense. I don’t know for sure,  but I don’t think anybody wakes up one morning and all of a sudden they’ve got it all figured out. I do think that each morning we wake up we can choose to try to live the life we want to live or we can choose to be afraid to make changes that may lead to that life.  I don’t want to ever become comfortable with just existing. I don’t want to be ruled by fear. I want so much for my boys to take to heart everything that is on this sign, and I want to show them by example.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”- Eric Roth

That damn shower curtain still doesn’t match the wallpaper but instead of getting stuck in thinking that by this age I should have it more together than I do, I will revel in the fact that I am not where I was 5 years ago, or 1 year ago, or 1 month ago, and that is because I have made forward movement.  Things have not fallen into place exactly how I would like them to, but this is my kaleidoscope, and I have the power to turn it myself to make a more pleasing pattern.

Really, how am I not writing greeting cards or something? That last sentence is a thing of freaking beauty.

Look to Miss Piggy for REAL Guidance

13 Dec

As I try to crawl out of Amyland and pick up the pieces of my heart and start to move the hell on, I want to recognize that I am thankful for a few things  –

1) This is not a bad thing. Having a broken heart means that I was open and vulnerable and I tried. If you had asked me years ago if I was ever going to have deep enough feelings for someone so that they could break my heart  I would have said hell no. Not going down that path again. But, I did. And I will again.

2) When trying to make a list of things that you don’t like about someone, and the only thing on the list is “wants to date other people”,  that is really all you need to remember, unless you’re okay with that then fine. If you’re me,  it’s not fine. And here we are.

3) My friends, including my ex-husband and his girlfriend, and my sister, are amazingly supportive.

One of my friends named Cara, and I’m fortunate to have two friends named Cara, one long distance and one right here in town, reminded me of someone I have looked to for advice and guidance more than once in my life.

miss-piggy

Miss Piggy

I have been a big fan of Miss Piggy and her sense of humor, her sense of self, and her sense of style for as long as I can remember.  In elementary school a girl told me that I reminded her of Miss Piggy. I was so flattered until I realized she meant it as an insult. This girl continued to tell me that the boy I had a crush on was Kermit. She was trying to say that he was skinny and little and I was big and fat. Turns out this girl was kind of a bitch.

I would be totally flattered to be told that I remind one of Miss Piggy. I used to watch her on the Muppet Show when I was a kid, and I marveled at her confidence. I played with Barbie dolls. I played with them until I was a teenager in fact. I also had a Miss Piggy doll. My dolls all played together. They all swam in my ghetto version of a Barbie pool, a giant Tupperware bowl, together.  In my mind, Miss Piggy talked to Barbie about waking up to the fact that Ken was more into the Donny Osmond doll than her, and they shared makeup tips, mainly eye shadow application techniques.

I credit Miss Piggy, because of her ever-present lavender ones, for introducing me to the world of opera length gloves, which I memorably wore to the opening event of the Dick Tracy movie at MGM Studios in Orlando. I wore black opera length gloves with a white lace shorts suit, that is shorts and a jacket, with a black bustier underneath. STOP LAUGHING, IT WAS THE 80’s.  My date was my Brett, who I made wear a tuxedo. We were both very overdressed, and he was mad at me until we got there and discovered the free booze and food.  I learned a valuable lesson that night about not mixing whiskey sours and escargot. Actually, the lesson was more learned the next day, when I went out to my car and saw where  I had thrown up on the way home and it didn’t make it further than outside the passenger side of the car, and there, swimming in a pool of vomit and whiskey, were perfectly formed snails.

Miss Piggy knows who she is. She revels in who she is.  She doesn’t let other people tell her who she should be, or how she should behave.  When having a hard time, ask yourself, WWMPD? What would Miss Piggy do…and go from there. Here are just a few pearls of wisdom from the blonde bombshell.

You have to be going to a pretty awful place if getting there is half the fun.

There is no one on the planet to compare with moi.

Express your feelings all the time unless you’re trying to hide something.

There is the satisfaction of providing your public with a vision of true beautology, true sytlisity, – how can I put it? – true glamorositude.

Only time can heal a broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs.

piggy

I Don’t Even Like Golf

9 Apr

tiger-woods-winning-victory-nike

Nike has been getting some flack for its newly launched ad campaign featuring Tiger Woods. The slogan that is under fire is  “Winning Takes Care of Everything” and it comes on the heels of Tiger’s return to the #1 ranking in  World Golf Ratings  for the first time since October 2010.

In case you don’t have a TV or have never sneaked a peek at grocery store tabloids, let me enlighten you as to why Nike is receiving criticism for taking this tact for their advertising.

Picture it,  Thanksgiving, 2009. Woods is involved in an early morning one car accident in his neighborhood where he collided with a fire hydrant, a tree, and several hedges.  He was largely unharmed but did receive some facial lacerations and a ticket for careless driving.  There were all sorts of stories flying around about the incident and involved anything from drugs to marital discourse to mental illness.

Woods released a statement on his website taking sole responsibility for the incident and called it a “private matter” and credited his wife for helping him from the car. Shortly after this statement, he dropped out of golfing in his own charity golf tournament and all other tournaments for that year.

A few days after that,  US Weekly released transcript of a voice-mail left by Tiger for a woman with whom he was allegedly involved.  WELL, after that bit of dirty laundry,  things accelerated and unraveled at a rate I have never seen before.  Cocktail waitress after cocktail waitress came out of the shadows to claim that they too were having affairs with Woods. TWELVE women in all. I am sure I am not the only one who was absolutely stunned and kind of impressed simply because of the time management skills that had to be involved in all that juggling.

I don’t mean to sound crass about the affairs but let’s be honest, Tiger Woods was a golfer and *GASP* a human being. Not an infallible super hero. Not even a life-coach. He was, however, an EXCELLENT golfer.  In 1997 he was the youngest golfer to win the Masters. Two months after that he set the record for the fastest-ever ascent to #1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He was credited with bringing some much-needed excitement to the game of golf…BEFORE all of his marital woes came into the light.

After all of his marital infidelities were made public, Woods made a statement apologizing for his “transgressions” and apologized to “all of those who have supported [him] over the years” and he asked for privacy for his family during this time.  Shortly after that statement, Woods admitted to infidelity and announced that he would be taking an indefinite break from professional golf.

His fall from golf hero to despised cheating husband was epic.  Woods became an easy punchline for late night talk shows and people seemed to HATE him.  Suddenly, companies that had clamored to work with him before were now backing out of endorsement deals. Accenture, General Motors,  Gatorade,  Tag Heuer, and AT & T all dropped him as spokesperson for their products.  Nike continued to support him.

In 2010 Tiger placed #68 in money list ranking in the PGA tour summary, from #1 the year before in 2009. The following year, 2011, was even worse with Tiger placing         # 128.  2012 found him back at # 2 and as of March 25 of this year,  Tiger was back at # 1.

Now that Tiger is back on top, divorced from his wife, and dating Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn,  does winning take care of everything? Of course Nike knows that tagline is controversial but Nike is not afraid of controversy. Remember the 1996 ad campaign at the Olympics proclaiming “second place is the first loser”?

I have read several news stories about the public outrage this Nike ad has incited. The people who are making comments like “will never buy Nike again” and  “Nike should be ashamed of itself” and of course my favorite “won’t somebody please think of the children?” would not be happy unless Tiger Woods lived in a darkened hole never to golf again,  forever ashamed of himself. Tiger getting out of that head space to become a champion again is the last thing some people want to see.

It didn’t matter that he took full responsibility, entered a 45 day therapy program and went on TV and once again apologized for his actions and made the following statement, “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to, I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them. I was wrong. I was foolish.”

Tiger_Woods_drives_by_AllisonIf you’re looking at Tiger Woods to be your moral compass and you feel truly disappointed in the man, then I can only suggest you look elsewhere for guidance. Woods wrote a book called How I Play Golf.  It is not called Keys to a Happy Marriage, or Live Like Tiger.   He is a golfer, and an incredible one. I am not married to him. I am not dating him. He does not owe me or you (unless his ex-wife happens to be reading this) anything at all.

The fact that Tiger Woods achieved such great heights in his golf career is impressive. The fact that he rose to those heights, fell publicly and spectacularly off of that pedestal only to rise to those heights again, is no less than astounding.

If you just don’t like him that’s cool. But,  if you are sitting atop Mt. Judgemore, I would like to remind you to tend your own garden.  If you want to boycott Nike because of their affiliation with Tiger Woods, then have at it.  I will make a huge assumption here and say that odds are that the people making such disparaging comments and expressing outrage are not the target demographic that Nike is going for anyway. I have a feeling they will get by somehow.

Winning might not take care of everything, but winning is nice when you’re a pro golfer. It’s also nice to shut the mouths of those who wish you would do anything BUT win.

Role Models

18 Feb

Image

This past Sunday night, you could almost hear a collective ‘NO!’ from the world when Rihanna was shown at the Grammy Awards smiling and snuggling up next to Chris Brown, her ex-boyfriend who beat her black and blue in 2009. I can’t say I was surprised myself after seeing Rihanna on the Oprah show this past August when she called Brown ‘the love of my life’. I figured this was her opening the door and soon we would see them together.

I started thinking about celebrities as role models back when the Tiger Woods scandal blew up.  The fact that Tiger was the youngest man (at the age of 21) and the first African-American to win the U.S. Masters is incredible. It’s a shame that when many think about him the first golf club that comes to mind is the one his then wife was swinging at him when she discovered one of his many mistresses.

Take away Lance Armstrong’s Tour De France titles (and they did), his Livestrong Foundation still raised MILLIONS of dollars for cancer research. Undoubtedly, what he did was crappy. He apparently called those who were telling the truth about his steroid use liars, but is he absolutely EVIL? Some would actually say yes.

We all want Rihanna to make better choices and be a hero, BUT, here’s the thing, she’s a beautiful young woman who can sing (sort of) and that’s it. Why do we think she should be imparted some special magic wisdom and strength that so many other people do not have as far as getting out of and staying out of an abusive relationship simply because she is a celebrity? I think it’s a shame that she is not able to see Brown for seemingly what he is, a smug douchebag, but she is not my child or my friend, and here’s the thing, even if she WAS, she’s an adult and will make her own decisions. She certainly must hear what is being said and she chooses to ignore it. Same with Lance and Tiger. I wish they would have done things differently but I also wish Jon Hamm would shoot an entire season of Mad Men totally nude but It doesn’t matter what I wish.

I think children will always look up to celebrities. I think it is inevitable. Basketball player Charles Barkley has said “I don’t believe professional athletes should be role models. I believe parents should be role models.” That is indeed a lovely sentiment but unless you raise your children in a box with no outside influences, they more than likely will idolize someone besides their parents and that someone will probably be a celebrity. In this age of technology where kids can keep up with their favorite celebrities via Facebook and Instagram they can get more of a peek than ever into their fabulous lives, and they do look fabulous.They never see celebrities doing the day to day stuff that they see their parents doing (probably because they have people who do it for them), and it’s hard to look glamorous while folding laundry. I have tried.

I think as a parent there is no way to choose who my children look up to. The boys, their dad, and I have always talked about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how amazing a person he was. Their dad talks about the teachings of Buddha with them. My eldest is big into sports so I try to talk about those athletes who have done well and are doing well, like Robert Griffin III. We have talked about Rihanna and Chris Brown and the fact that hitting a woman is not okay. We have talked about Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods and the questionable choices they’ve made as well as the good things they have accomplished.

I think when celebrities mess up it becomes another ‘teachable moment’. I think it is important for adults to speak with kids and let them know that celebrities are just human beings. Admire them for their sports prowess or their achievements but talk to them about the other choices they’re making in their lives as well if necessary.

This doesn’t mean the heat is totally off us parents, or other adults in children’s lives. We should all strive to be positive role models, I just think it’s important to talk about all of this stuff with children. Not talking about when celebrities mess up doesn’t make it just go away, and celebrities are going to mess up. It goes back to that whole ‘being human’ thing. This is one reason I was so shocked that Kristen Stewart made some personal choices that she probably wishes she hadn’t made. I honestly thought she was a robot.

Also, kids are often a lot smarter than we think. My 11 year old is currently anti-Bieber (after a short stint of being Pro-Bieber) because he read that he smoked and that is just not cool. Of course this same child is also big into some unsavory rap music sometimes and we have had discussions about that too, but that’s a whole other post.

If you are given a chance to be a role model, I think you should always take it because you can influence a person’s life in a positive light, and that’s what I want to do. That’s what it’s all about.

– Tiger Woods

J. A. Allen

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