Women

Source: Women

The Versatile Blogger Award

When ever I write something, If one person reads it, it feels like a thousand people read it to me.  I especially love when the result is a conversation, for or against, my position.  So, when I found that someone had nominated my blog for an award, I am humbled.  Thank you so much Meli, The Dream Yogi.  I appreciate the recognition and your support.

I didn’t know a lot about this award, but I understand it is a way for bloggers to recognize each other.  Below are the 15 bloggers I have nominated and to give everyone an idea about me, here are seven things about me:

  1. I have been writing since I was a child
  2. When I was in high school, I wrote a one-act play for an African American Studies class that was performed at a local play house
  3. I love hip-hop (even though I am older and it has changed)
  4. I am a very very novice body naturalist
  5. When not writing, I am reading or doing cross stitch
  6. My goal for my writing is to start dialogues, that may result in change
  7. I’ve been with my husband for over twenty years and I’m thankful every day because I know how crazy I actually am.

Now here are my nominations for this award.  I read these blogs regularly and I find them entertaining, educational and informative.  If you have a chance, check them out.

Cynt

The segregation of women and the fight ahead

Since the beginning of time, women have been socialized to consider other women their enemy.  There are some women who believe a woman can be her strongest ally and confidant and therefore see all women that way.  But this is not the case for the majority of women in this country.  We see this depicted in movies, hear it in music, see its acceptance in our neighborhoods; we watch as it develops in our schools, churches, and businesses.  Then add divisions by race, religion, ethnicity, culture and politics and it becomes a society of women of a few instead of an entire society of women.  This long-term practice of isolating women from each other has helped to create a society that would allow a man like Donald Trump to be elected as the President of the United States.

I believe we have always known this construct existed, whether it was in our sub-conscious or we were fully cognizant of it.  We didn’t create any of the situations that allowed for the segregation of women, but we fully participated in its use to control us.  And whether we knew or not, participated or not, we let it get so bad that many women began to deny what they saw happening to our sisters.  They either turned their heads and said nothing or they allowed themselves to rationalize away the violations inflicted upon women.  The violations ranged from media created to depict women always in conflict, to women making less money than a man for the same job, to the institutionalized condonation of assault against women.  When an entire society, including women, contribute to this thought process, some women begin to believe it.  The outcome of the elections should not be a surprise to anyone.  These women did what they have always done; they ran instead of fought.

All this socialization is hard to overcome without some intervention.  Many of the women who have this mindset will never receive that intervention either because of narrow mindedness or dogmatism.  So, we have a group of women who believe they are not a part of women as a whole.  When a man comes along and shows them the misogynist he is, it was easy for many of these women to believe he was talking about the other women (us).   They failed and still fail, to understand, they are us.  The vagina, that scares so many and gives life to all, is the one and only thing that will NEVER allow a woman to align with these men.  This is a hard concept to accept when all you want is for your world to be ok.  These women want there to be a difference so they don’t have to get involved and fight.  These women don’t want to be the agitator men claim we are.  These women don’t want to be seen as us.

Regardless of everything written above, we cannot abandon them.  We need them as much as they need us, even if they don’t know it.  I believe all of ‘us’ know, that if all women became a cohesive unit, we would take over the world.  And men fucking know it.  It’s the reason they’ve been trying to keep us apart and we allowed it because of our insecurites, our need to please and our training to not speak for ourselves.  We have been a divided queendom for a very long time.  Someone mentioned to me the other day that because so many White women aligned themselves with that woman hater and his cronies, Black women should be fighting for Black women, Latina women should be fighting for Latina women, etc., etc. before helping any other woman.   I told them, normally I would agree with that, but we no longer have the luxury of doing that.  At this point in the history of women, with the elected officials we have, we all have to stand together to ensure our future.  It means that the issues that were ignored before (the issues of Black, Hispanic, Native American, Muslim, Asian and any other marginalized sisters) need to be heard, considered and added to the needs of the majority.  It means that there can be no offense taken at things that make us uncomfortable.  It means White women are going to have to put aside their automatic defense of their privilege.  And it means those of us who were not heard before will have to have patience with those who now need to listen and learn.   It is the only way we can fight for ourselves and for those who left us to fight.

 

An open letter to Ivanka Trump and female Trump supporters

Dear Ivanka Trump and female Trump supporters,

For the last few weeks I’ve been planning to write a post regarding Donald Trump’s treatment of women over this entire election.  Then I watched The Essential Donald Trump on CNN where you, Ivanka Trump,  were interviewed for the show.  You were asked if your father was a sexist. You responded,  your father is not a sexist and you would not be the woman you are today if your father was a sexist.  After hearing that statement, I realized my post needed to be directed towards you and the women who support your father.

First, to Ivanka Trump.  I don’t need to go into all the things your father has said about women over this campaign.  We all know what he’s said.  You said in the interview, that his words don’t matter; what matters are his actions.  I would argue that you are incorrect.  Do you know how many serial killers, rapists and pedophiles have wives and children they go home to every night? Do you know how many of them go to church on Sunday, go to work everyday, behave in a manner where no one notices them and are revered by their friends and family? What I’m saying is actions don’t mean shit.  People can and do hide their true selves from their family, their friends and the public.  The fact that your father put women in positions of power doesn’t mean he’s not a sexist.  I believe the women your father put in positions of power is a diversion.  It allows your father to seem as if he trusts and respects women because they hold important roles in his company.  And that would be true, if he wasn’t confrontational with every woman who questions him, apologized for the atrocious language and behavior he has exhibited and did not engage in unsolicited physical contact.   You may not be a part of the diversion, but you’re his daughter and I believe he loves you.  Of course he doesn’t treat you as he treats other women (at least I hope he doesn’t), so you would have no concept of how your father really feels about women.  Furthermore, his words do matter.  We are living in a world where men believe it is the woman’s responsibility to prevent their own sexual assault and/or rape.  Your dismissiveness of your father’s words, allows men to believe your father didn’t do anything wrong by kissing women without their permission, walking in on women while they are getting dressed and that his description of how he interacts with women when he meets them is normal.  You have to understand that every time you treat your father’s words and behavior as insignificant, you are validating and encouraging a very dangerous thought process regarding women.  You are not responsible for someone’s thoughts or actions, but I believe you have a responsibility to speak the truth and not contribute to the already volatile atmosphere we live in as women. 

I understand completely why you are supporting your father and unlike most people, I am not expecting you to go against him publicly.  Now, whether you support him because you don’t want to lose your position or because of blind loyalty, I don’t know.  What I do know, as a woman, I hope you are at least distressed about what you are doing and I hope you are telling your father in private how fucked up his behavior has been.  If you are not doing that Ivanka Trump, you should be ashamed of yourself.

To the female Trump supporters.  I have watched for almost a year and a half as you have supported a man who has been showing you for a year and a half that he has no respect or regard for women.  Any man, who 90% of the time he comes into contact with a woman, has conflict, has a problem with women.  This particular man has been exhibiting this behavior and mindset for years.   You were confronted with video and audio proof that he regards women as objects.  Your response to this is that men were just being men.  Do you even realize that you are perpetuating a culture that allows men to believe women who have been inappropriately touched, sexually assaulted or verbally abused, shouldn’t take it so seriously? Do you understand you are teaching the young men in your lives this kind of behavior is ok?  I’ve listened to you in interviews and on the campaign trail and I know you want to believe you’re not the same as the women who refuse to support Donald Trump.  To Donald Trump you are the same.  The fact that you support him does not mean he sees you as a person.  To him, because you are a woman, you are us and we are you.   The fact that you don’t recognize that is an awful feeling.  For weeks, I have been distraught because I am a staunch feminist.  I don’t care what color you are, where you come from, how much money you make or your beliefs; if you are a woman, I want to speak for your rights.  Even now, I have to fight for your fucking rights even though you are not fighting for yourself and are willing to put my freedoms in jeopardy.  As a woman, I am disappointed, heartbroken and ashamed of each and every one of you.  This election and your behavior has men asking how women expect to be respected and treated equally when they are willing to support a man who thinks they’re a pussy and tits.  The only thing I can hope for at this point, is you teach your daughters to have more respect for themselves than their mothers have displayed.  Your daughters cannot think Donald Trump’s behavior is how a man should behave.  It will lead to abusive relationships and years of self loathing.

Ivanka Trump and the female Trump supporters, I want you to understand that regardless of everything I have written above, I understand why you’re voting for Trump.  You can’t tell me it’s because of his plans, because he doesn’t have any.  You can’t tell me it’s because he knows so much about foreign affairs, economics, immigration, education or healthcare, because he knows nothing.  You can’t tell me it’s because he’s so charismatic and smooth, because he never answers a question and loses his cool all the time.  And you can’t tell me it’s because he’s a good business man, because he’s filed bankruptcy 13 times.  The only reason you would support Trump is because you hate yourself as a woman, you’re a racist, you hate Hillary, Barack and the Democrats so much that you are willing to put a narcissistic, sociopathic, misogynistic, xenophobic, racist in office.  Or it’s some combination of the three.  Along with all my feelings of anger and hurt, I feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry that you don’t know who you are, who you could be and understand your place in this world; I’m sorry that you don’t understand you’re a part of the feminist movement because you’re a woman; I’m sorry that we still can’t stand together against men like Donald Trump because of women like you.  I know none of this will change your minds, but I’m angry and I want you to know how I feel.  I don’t have the answers to everything, but I know supporting a man like Donald Trump will only lead to the downfall of all women, including you.

Sincerely,

Cynthia Pulley

 

 

 

Dating and the Teenage Girl

For years, I have subscribed to the idea that young girls shouldn’t date. Most people disagree with me and see nothing wrong with 14, 15, or 16 year old girls having a boyfriend. I believe when a teenage girl dates, it changes who she is and who she could become.  I also believe the difference between how girls and boys view relationships, makes it difficult to have a lasting relationship as a teenager.

Young girls between the ages of 14 and 16 are in a period of their life I call the ‘information years’. These are the years when they are beginning to understand concepts of the world, figuring out what they like and don’t like and figuring out who they want to become. This gathering of information is happening, while their bodies are changing, their sexuality is being discovered (if it hasn’t been discovered already) and determining what it means to be a woman. When a teenage girl dates, the information years are interrupted. She is no longer gathering information about herself and trying to understand who she is. Her focus has shifted from herself to her boyfriend and that could mean anything from focusing a little less on her wants to dropping everyone in her life. No matter the depth, it is impossible for a young girl to figure out who she is supposed to be while half or more than half of her attention is focused on another person who wants her time, her mind and her body. Furthermore, the perspective a teenage girl has about herself and her view of the world, will be shaped by a boyfriend with his impressions and ideas; good or bad.

When considering to allow a teenage girl to date, how girls and a boys view relationships is important to think about.  I have made this argument in the past and again, people disagreed with me.  Then in 2009, I saw an episode of Oprah that has allowed me to demonstrate this argument.  Courtney and Pierce were on a show titled ‘They Say They’re Ready to Have Sex’. They were both 14. Dr. Laura Berman was also on the show and one of the first questions she asked both of them was ‘How long do you plan to stay together?’ Pierce’s answer: ‘I hope a long time.’ When pressed for specifics, Pierce said six months to a year. I wish you could’ve seen how fast Courtney’s head whipped around to look at him. Dr. Berman asked her, ‘You didn’t know that did you?’ Courtney said no. When asked if she still wanted Pierce to be her first, Courtney said no, ‘I thought a long time was not having an expiration date.’ It dawned on me after watching the show that people don’t understand teenage girls have long term plans in their minds when they are in love, feel close to someone and especially if sex is involved.  Also, teenage girls think teenage boys are thinking long term.  Teenage boys think in the short term even if they feel love, closeness and not especially if sex is involved.  Many times, sex is just sex and not a significant part of the relationship for a boy.  Most young girls do not have the aptitude to navigate through the complexities of these differences.  Courtney didn’t even know what questions she was supposed to ask and there’s no reason she should.  There are grown women and men who can’t understand all the complexities of how the opposite sex views relationships, so why would we allow teenagers to try.

During conversations I’ve had about this subject, people have regaled me with stories of family members or friends,who have been together since they were teenagers. My response to every one of them: your cousin or best friend’s mother, is not the norm. Most teenage girls do not stay with the person they begin dating when they are 14, 15 or 16. And even if they do, many of the couples have issues in their relationships because they realize, 10 or even 20 years later, they never understood what they needed and wanted.  There is nothing in the world anyone would give someone that was unfinished or partly done unless they just didn’t care.  But we freely give our daughters, who don’t fully understand who they are, to someone who may decide that for them.  We are doing a disservice to our young girls by not allowing them to continue their growth and development as young women.  A teenage girl who doesn’t date is not guaranteed to understand herself, her wants or who she could become, but she has a better chance of accomplishing all of it if she doesn’t date.

The Subtleties

This post was written by Cynt and Amanda Wall

 

When you’re a woman in the workplace, in a position of power, you always question what actions and words, from men, mean.  When the actions and words are obvious, you understand what someone wants and expects of you. When a woman asserts her authority and is called a bitch, we understand the thought process behind that word.  When a woman is sexually harassed, we know what the man wants and thinks about that woman.  But what about when the actions or words are subtle? When a woman is not allowed to make a decision, is that because the woman is a woman or because the man is a micro manager? What if a woman is told that her success will be encouraged but when she dissents from the status quo, her success is ignored? Is that because they are a woman or because the man has an ego problem? What if subtleties are happening to other women in the same workplace? Is it because they are women or because they are all having the same Goddamn nightmare?

A couple of weeks ago I tried to explain to a friend how a woman gets conditioned to ignore the subtleties.  I gave him the example of a  girl at the age of 14 or 15 who is talking to her father about one of his friends:

Girl: Jack looks at me funny.

Father: What do you mean ‘looks at you funny’?

Girl: I don’t know, he just looks at me funny.  I feel weird when he looks at me.

Father: No, Jack loves you.  He’s known you since you were a baby.

At that moment, the girl dismisses her discomfort because she doesn’t understand her instincts and she trusts her father.  Maybe she convinces herself she’s making a big deal out of nothing. This is not the fault of her father.  Why would he think his friend Jack was thinking of his daughter in any way but love?  But like I explained to the friend I was talking to, it sets up the beginnings of a woman not trusting her instincts, not believing things are inappropriate and believing when they tell her she is imagining things.  But she is not.  Those subtleties are real.  And I am sure many women, if they sat down and wrote out all the subtleties they’ve experienced or seen, would say, “holy shit!”.

We do not need to start a revolution in the workplace against men.  But we do need to be aware of the subtleties.  Women have to stop believing that the subtleties are not real.  We can’t keep allowing people to make us feel like we’re exaggerating; even other women.  That is a trigger word used to imply that a person didn’t just witness what they think they witnessed.  Other trigger words or phrases: ‘misunderstood’, ‘taking things too personally’, and ‘in your mind’.  When someone is disrespecting you by not including you in decisions that affect you, or if they treat you differently than they treat male counterparts, it is not you – it is them.

When I discussed the subtleties I experienced with the person involved, it was suggested that there was a need for a change and the change was mine to make. I’m not changing! I like who I am and who I’ve become in my career. I am a strong woman who knows her job, I will say if you’re wrong, and I admit my own faults. I will not be docile and I will not be accommodating; I will not conform to make others comfortable. I know who I am, I know what I am capable of, and I know how good I am.  I will not allow anyone to make me question myself, my abilities, or my knowledge.  The best option for all women in this position is to be as respectful as possible, but not to allow ‘them’ to sweep those subtleties under the rug.  They are real and no woman should permit subtleties to become the norm of their career life.

“Why Won’t You Educate Me About Feminism?”

The Belle Jar

He doesn’t hate women.

Above and beyond everything else, he wants you to know this: he does not hate women.

He has two daughters, for god’s sake, and a wife that he adores beyond anything else, and a sister that he texts every day and a mother who is the strongest person that he’s ever known – yes, stronger than any of the men he’s met. So don’t think that this is because he hates women.

If anything, his real problem is loving women too much.

See, he just wants his daughters to grow up safe and happy. And to be honest, some of the things that you’re saying – that these feminists are saying – are troubling to him.

He just wants to have a sort of academic chat. Peer to peer. Grownup to grownup. That’s all. He’s not saying you’re wrong – not by a long shot! He…

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The Five Worst Things You Can Say to a Blogger

A Morning Grouch

So, I’m no blogging genius.  When I first started blogging I had zero idea of the etiquette, cultish followings, or blogging cliques that existed.  I pretty much started this as a procrastination tool.  I’m still half-assed and hardly an expert; I have been dragging my feet even getting my self-hosted site up and running (does that even make sense?) because I have almost zero clue where to start (but dammit, I will learn, eventually.  I will).  But even with all that, I am starting to get some idea of what the blogging world is all about.

There are some phrases non-bloggers may or may not realize are not a good idea to say to someone who blogs:

1.  I read your blog. With no follow-up.  Oh. Thank you? You read it. But you didn’t say what it was exactly that you read. Or if you liked it. Or hated it. Or if it…

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How to think about cheating

If one of my girlfriends came to me and told me her significant other was cheating on her, I would not tell her to leave her partner.  However, as a general rule that is exactly what I think should happen.  Over the last 10 or 15 years, I think it has become more acceptable for people to allow cheating as normal behavior in a relationship; especially women.  I think women in this country have been socialized to believe it is more important to maintain the relationship at the expense of their dignity and their requirements.  Women see cheating as an element of a modern relationship.

An exit should be the rule because trust can NEVER be gained again.  When infidelity occurs, trust is broken.  When you break trust you cannot learn to trust again.  Now, I do believe women can choose to ignore their feelings and decide they are going to live with the fact that the person cheated.  But who wants to live like this? Always on edge, always wondering.  Trust is not a learned behavior.  It is earned.  This concept of learning to trust again comes from therapy.  Lots of couples attend therapy as a way to salvage their relationships.  The design of therapy is to accept the behavior happened, figure out how both parties are at fault and then find a way to trust again.  It’s all bullshit.  The fault with the design is that no one should accept bad behavior, there is only one person at fault and the trust is gone.  Even if a woman finds a way to go on in the relationship, the trust they had before the cheating is dead.

Here is how I want women to begin to think about cheating: Your significant other put their penis, mouth, tongue in another persons vagina, butt, mouth,  as a choice.   They said the same words and performed the same acts, sexually,  they did to you.  Or, maybe they did something different to this new person, which might make it worse.  Their clothes did not fall off by accident and they did not just let it go too far.  They chose to have sex with another person, on purpose, instead of dealing with what ever they felt were the issues in their relationship.  I also want women to begin to put the blame for the mini destruction of their lives where it belongs.  I want them to start blaming their partners, not the other person.  I believe this notion is one of the reasons it is so easy for women to stay with someone who betrays them.  When the  other person is to blame, their partner is seen as a victim and pseudo forgiveness can occur.  When women think about cheating for what it is, they will be a lot less likely to stay in this kind of relationship.

I understand there are many reasons women choose to stay after cheating happens.  There are the children, fear of being alone, the need to win, money, career and even love.  These are not reasons; they are excuses.   These excuses make it easier for women to lie to themselves about their partner and give them a reason to continue in the relationship.  Along with all the above concepts, I want women to stop using their children, fear and their need to win as excuses to let people treat them like they do not matter.  I am sad to say, that I see these women everywhere; my neighborhood and television.  I do not want these women to be the role models for our daughters.  No woman with self esteem chooses to stay with someone who in effect has told them that they are not good enough.    But this is not how these women are portrayed.  They are seen as strong for enduring this tragedy.  Young women see this.  We need to start teaching young women that they should not accept this kind of behavior from anyone.  They need to know that choosing to stay is not strength, it is weakness.  We have a chance to change the mind set with our young girls and women.  I do not want young women to continue this view of cheating as a normal element of a relationship.

This is the Culture of Sexual Violence

This is the Culture of Sexual Violence.

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