Have You Asked Yourself What Your Mother Will Say?

The resoluton for ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution being signed by Governor Emmet D. Boyle of Nevada, February 7, 1920. (taken from http://www.geneseo.edu/~dresbach/ClassWebpages/AnAmericanProtraitINTD302Spring2006/knw3/womensrights.htm)

I came to the realization this morning that the women’s rights movement has stalled out and is stuck somewhere in the 1980’s in the USA.  The rhetoric that has been invading my news feeds for the past month about the issue of abortion rights, equal pay for equal work, and whether or not women can really “have it all” has just flabbergasted me.  Now, I know that I should not be shocked; this is something that I remind myself daily so that I don’t face-palm from the stupidity.

First things first- WHY, please tell me WHY, are men on Capitol Hill STILL trying to tell me what to do with my own body as though they somehow know better than I do how a woman should take care of herself?  If this were a debate taking place amongst women and MY peers, then that would be more acceptable, but these are men who live in their own little upper-class reality.  I understand that this is fiscally motivated, but do they not understand what will happen if they stop all reproductive assistance?  Will they wonder why the number of welfare recipients goes up in a couple of years or why the number of cases of HIV and AIDS skyrockets?  Oh, wait- that doesn’t affect their country club, so there must not be a reason for them to be concerned about it.

The social context of Conservative vs. Liberal is still there, but the politicians are taking up this banner because it is more polarizing and an easier topic to inflame the masses than actually offering some solutions to the economic issues that are by far more pressing, in my humble opinion.  Here is a clip from the Huffington Post about the “No Personhood” Campaign out of Colorado. CLICK ME One of these days, it would be refreshing for the men in this country to remember that the vast majority of women do not take the decision to terminate a pregnancy lightly and that they really don’t have a say in whether or not it happens.  I will remind you of WHY Roe vs. Wade saved countless lives- women could finally (LEGALLY) go to a professional instead of being forced to use some back-alley quack or crazy concoction that would ultimately kill them in order to have an abortion.  Seriously people, what’s next?  Do you want to repeal women’s suffrage now?  Or maybe you want to start with the Civil Rights Amendment- just sayin’.

Once we’ve moved past determining whether or not women are allowed to make their own healthcare decisions, we move on to the eternal question of whether or not women get paid the same amount of money for the same work that men do.  The answer to that is pretty clearly no and labor board statistics back me up on that.  I don’t think that this is a legislative issue; it is a cultural norm that needs to be changed.  There is still sexism and racism and elitism and every other kind of –ism that you can think of affecting our daily lives and this will not change with Congressing mandating anything.  It WILL change as the women of my generation continue to become more integral to the work place and when the next generations of women come behind me making even more dynamic changes happen.  The one thing that the Government CAN do to help us would be to address the issue of how inhospitable this country’s labor laws are to maternity leave.  Take a tour around the world and we are one of only a few countries that very discretely force women to choose between whether they want to have a career or have a family, as though this is a one or the other proposition.  I can tell you from watching my mother that if she had been anyone else, she would have quit years ago.  She is one of the most determined women I know and when people ask me why I say that I come from a matriarchal family it is because of her, my Grandmother, and my Great-Grandmother that I say this.

My Great-Grandmother was a divorcee in Missouri back when it was NOT done to divorce.  She became a small business owner and developed others to be successful in an era when a woman’s place was in the kitchen!  My Grandmother was a teacher.  Aside from developing young minds, she was a housewife for a time, going with my Grandfather to many different countries with his career advancements.  My mother is a successful business woman in her own right as well and she chose to have children before she started her career.  This is not an easy thing to do because in a world where a go-getter is seen as someone who will eat, sleep, and breathe the company, having children limits your flexibility and in the new globalized/flattened world where the speed of business is lightning fast- this is a liability to getting promoted.  The most apropos example of this is the debate surrounding Marissa Meyer, the new CEO of Yahoo! (CLICK ME TO READ MORE).

I have a few closing thoughts to send to everyone running for election in the USA this term.  Firstly, before you decided to pander to the extremist views, think long and hard about your own convictions as well as your own life practices and stop being hypocrites.  Secondly, treat EVERY woman in this world as though they are your mother or your daughter or your wife because they truly are someone’s mother, daughter, or wife and they deserve that respect.  Thirdly, let’s try to focus on the more important issues that face this country, such as the current economic stagnation, the ridiculous level of the National Debt, the fact that we cannot decided what type of toilet paper to use in the bathrooms of congress because you are too busy fighting with each other.  I’ve said this before and I will now say it again- Cooperation and action are the only way for this country to move forward from this current chaos.  Like him or hate him, Franklin Delano Roosevelt created momentum, built infrastructure and kept this country limping along until WWII pulled it out of the depression.  What will history remember you for?

 

 

P.S.- I have not forgotten to mention the current storm swirling around Representative Akin and the Presumptive Republican Presidential and Vice-Presidential Nominees.  I simply do not find them or their comments worthy of acknowledgement (outside of this one line), due to their sheer ignorance and and their venomous hatred of women.  I find THEM to be morally repugnant.

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Sunday Punny Sunday

Good evening one and all.  I start my new job tomorrow, though it really only means that I’m getting my own office- who knew!  So, naturally, I can’t sleep.  It’s like the first day of school.  I was NEVER anxious to go, but I was still jittery every time.  There was this recurring terror that I’d be late- don’t ask, I’m still not sure.

This does seem like as good a time as any to reflect upon the stupid that has crash landed on the news front today.  Yes, I am speaking about you, you imbecile, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri.  You make me utterly embarrassed to have come from that state.  In WHAT reality could your statement (click here to read) have been considered anything other than fictitious?!  Next you’ll want to tell me that you’re really the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard and can fart rainbows in your space ship, because, frankly, that’s more believable.  I could go on for hours and days about this one, but the heartening thing to see is that for the minority of morons who agree with him, the rest of us are jaw-dropped at the stupidity of this man.  This is probably a day that Senator Claire McCaskill, who had been trailing in the poll by 11 points must be popping a bottle of Dom!

The next one was all of the e-mails that I got from Amnesty International over the past 2 days (I clicked like on something once- ONCE) telling me about how we need to help free Pussy Riot.  I can’t lie- I giggled just typing that- but on a serious note, why are we surprised?  We are referring to Russia.  This is a country that used to be run by communists and who have continually elected and ignored the ballot rigging of their current President, who happens to be a former KGB muckity muck.  I applaud what they did.  You can’t change something if you don’t try, and they did.  They’ve been getting fantastic global pressure and scrutiny aimed at Putin, but the reality is that they were always going to go to prison for their protest.

One that just made me laugh in a very morbid sort of way was the announcement that Bo Xilai’s Wife (Click here for story) received a suspended death sentence from the Chinese courts for murdering the British man, Heywood.  Just gonna shake my head on this one.

The one that actually made me laugh out loud was the report in Business Week about the early repayment of Iceland’s Bailout moneys (Click here for story).  Apparently, they are now ready to admit that a country of people who have survived off of the most interesting blend of berries, blubber, and pickled god-knows-what for generations might know how to handle their own problems.  Spot on guys!

Alright, so maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but I’m nearly ready to sever all of my links to the news media as we close in on the Republican and Democratic national conventions.  I don’t need to spend the next 4 months listening to these two sides try to win over the country, I have no stomach for it.  Hell, even IF I had been inclined to elect Mittens into office, he sealed my vote for Obama the instant he picked Paul Ryan as his VP.  Not since the Women’s Suffrage movement and the Civil Rights movement have politicians been so proud to be chauvinistic bigots and it make me sick while also embarrassed to be an America.  Canada, Belgium, Ireland- any chance you’ll take me back?

I leave you with this statement, dear readers.

BLACK FLAG FOR PRESIDENT!

Taken from smallbusiness.uprinting.com

Poetry: number 2

Saturday has come again! On this particular day I’ve been looking back more than I probably should and came across an old notebook with, you guessed it, old poetry :-). I’ve done a bit of editing and promise to wait 2 more years before subjecting you to any more of it!

Untitled-
The strength you cannot name
A walking contradiction
Yet still you walk
Toward that void
The unknown
Cavernous pit
You are thrown
Again and again
By ghosts you cannot touch
To a hell unknown
Still you walk
Still you fight
Enemy in the mirror
Distorted truth
Dreams of tomorrow
The death of a foe
That transcendent moment of truth
You regret for the rest of your life
And still you walk
Still you pray
Calloused and bruised
Bloody and worn
You march
Toward the future
So fleeting.

Assassination Tango

Her entrance into the grand foyer went almost entirely unnoticed by all except the doorman.  It was the annual Sam Hain Solstice Ball, a masked event that could be mistaken for an S&M evening were it not for the tuxedo’s and haute couture draping the masked guests as they mingled and sipped expensive champagne while pretending to be oblivious to the identity of their companions.  Brennan’s mother had once told her that the tradition had begun before the McCluskey had even made their way to Boston as a celebration of life and the Source of all of their magic.  As a girl, all the she’d understood was that she had to stay in her room because the grown ups were doing “adult” things.  A smile slid across her lips with the memory of the night that she’d discovered what those adult things were.

She had been 13 years old and very upset with her parents for not allowing her to finally attend the event.  So, as a small rebellion, she’d snuck out of her rooms and made her way toward the ballroom, but was stopped before she could even descend to the main level.  Baring her way had been a man and a woman, pressed against the wall directly next to the doors.  Though Brennan had only been 13, she knew what was going on and she became utterly fascinated by the look on the woman’s face.  Her head was thrown back as though she was in pain, but she was gripping the man’s shoulders, as though trying desperately to pull him closer to her.  The scene had played out before her eyes for nearly 10 minutes before the magic had begun.

It was subtle, at first, and then brighter.  An iridescent blue light had begun to tint the woman’s skin and fill her eyes.  The man’s hair was standing at attention and had even stopped swaying with his carnal movements.  The two were now in a swaying rhythm that reminded Brennan of a waltz and with every movement, swivel of hip, and moan, the two shone brighter with the light.  She had wondered, as they continued to shine, if the light became too much, would they burn?  And just as that thought had crossed her mind, the woman’s hand shot toward the ceiling and tried to grip on to the wall above her as her back arched painfully and the power that had been building loosed itself like lightning shooting from her fingertips, disappearing into the house.  She had been trapped in the hallway, listening to the two people whispering softly to each other breathing heavily for quite some time before she’d been able to sneak back to her rooms unnoticed.

The first bars of Strauss’s Blue Danube filled the ballroom, pulling her from her memories as the crowd around her began to file onto the dance floor in pairs.  Her perch behind a large stone column kept her safely in shadows and sufficiently alone to scan the crowd for her target.  Brennan was still not sure why her Uncle Rory had sent his lap-dog, John, to give her this mission, nor could she understand what sort of threat this boy posed.  His unassuming head of brown hair was bobbing with the cadence of the waltz, his partner spinning and swaying with him, and they were both smiling.  He couldn’t be more than 15 years old.

She turned and made her way up a staircase to the balcony that overlooked the main floor.  In a bygone time, this would have been an exceptionally imposing reception hall.  Her memories of attending the Sam Hain Solstice Balls made her thankful to be masked as she was sure that she had turned a violent shade of red.  On her 18th birthday, her mother had confirmed what she’d already suspected- the ball was a means the McCluskey’s used to replenish the Source resting far below the house.  The people in attendance were invited for the very specific purpose of being seduced and having their energy recycled back to the pool to be used as the Council saw fit.  Looking around the dance floor, Brennan stifled a laugh, not many of tonight’s attendees were unaware of this arrangement.  The crowd looked to her like a swingers bar on Halloween.

Three more songs played before her targets dancing companion was able to coax him off of the dance floor and Brennan knew just where she would take him for some privacy.  She weaved her way through the throngs of people who seemed to be moving closer and closer together to see the young man and his companion slip behind the doors to one of the library ante-chambers.  She hurried around toward the other entrance through the rear of the library and found herself alone, in the darkened room, with only the young voices coming through the crack in the door.  Brennan began to look through the many artifacts being displayed in the dark room and found the one that she had been looking for- a small black metal compact that had once belonged to the original McCluskey and could drain you of your life within seconds.  She slowly moved toward the door, whispering the incantation to activate the compact softly as she went.  When she was about 5 feet from the door, Brennan stopped, unable to move.

She struggled against her own body, but she’d been frozen in place.  A loud noise echoed from where the boy and his companion had been hiding and the sound of hurried apologies and scrambled dressing came through the crack and into the empty library.  If she’d been able to move her lips she would have screamed and she was about to try when the voice came into her head.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, my love.”  A soft, American voice said only to her.

“Who are you and why are you interfering?  Do you have any idea what you are doing?” She could feel his presence- he was in the room.  She felt out the shadows with her mind to find this interloper and deal with him, but the room was entirely empty.

“You won’t find me, it is not time, you are not ready,” he said, then she saw it.  A shadow in the shape of a man moved from behind the large chairs positioned next to the fireplace and walked calmly toward her.  She could sense no anger, nothing menacing from him, just the weight of centuries.  It made no sense and she was still fighting to get free of his binding spell. “You never fail to make me laugh, even now, in the years before you find yourself.”  She felt the spell release and her body immediately ran toward the rear door- it shut and locked itself before she could get there.

“Who are you?” she said aloud this time, her back against the paneled walls of the library, “What do you want?”  The shadow continued to close the distance between them.

“I want nothing my love, you are not ready,” Brennan took a breath and in the instant that she blinked, the shadow was upon her, hovering inches from her face.  A scent filled her nose, but she gasped in shock, the smell was that of Pine Trees and Honeysuckles and fresh streams, not the tar and malevolence she’d though he was made from.

“What the hell-” and before she could finish her question the shadow leaned down to kiss her and the world went dark.

At that same moment, 2 continents and one very large ocean away, Shawn Donovan woke from a dead sleep, covered in sweat and breathing as though he’d just run a marathon.  What had just happened?  The dream had felt so real, but who had that woman been and why had he referred to her as love?  He turned to look at the clock on his side table and saw that there were still 5 hours before sunrise.  Laying back down he determined to commune with the Source after the sun sets to be sure that this was not an omen or a warning of some sort.

Perception is Reality

“Perception is reality and you cannot escape that fact.”  This is something that I’ve heard billions of times in the past 20 years from my mother.  At first- I resented the hell out of her for it.  She was only telling me that because she didn’t agree with my image (I wore lot’s of black) and she didn’t agree with my friends (we were dorks who wore all black and did nerdy, yet slightly ‘satanic’ things) and she thought that I had a bad attitude and, well, let’s face it- I was 15 so OF COURSE I had a bad attitude!  When I went to college, she continued to tell me this and I had already begun to soften my outward appearance and blend a bit more with the world, but my personality still deviated from the ‘normal’.  Then, after I graduated from college and was forced into the work place, I had to embrace everything I’d spent my teen years fighting and become a suit.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my Pentacle exactly where it has been around my neck for the past 11 years, but along with that, I have neutral tones of makeup, appropriate shades of red on my nails, and clothing from the appropriately trendy store.  You see, what I didn’t want to see was that, just like many times in every woman’s life, my mother was right.  I’m not a musician or a painter or a published author (YET!!) so when it comes to being a functional adult, it doesn’t actually matter who I am and what I feel.  I know that this sounds callous, but it is a sad truth for the vast majority of us.

This is also a statement that is more often applied to women.  In an office, in a retail outlet, in a factory, a woman is still a woman and must be careful that she does not portray herself as something OTHER than what she would like to be seen as.  If a man wears the same suit, jeans, slacks, and changes out shirts all week- nobody would notice.  If a woman did the same thing, well, let me just say that I’ve been asked to sit a few down to ask them to change their clothes more than once a week.  This request nearly made me want to slap the other woman who asked me to do it, but I also saw that I needed to help this other lady out- she didn’t understand that PERCEPTION IS REALITY.

Does every man with a nose ring and a plethora of tattoos spend his evening doing drugs and amounting to nothing?  That depends upon who you talk to, but the answer is no.  There is no generalization that generally works for this kind of assumption (eh-eh- see what I did there??), but he will be perceived as such until he can fight that perception.  Is a woman with a skinny waist and large breasts stupid?  Or, lets even flip that around, is a fat woman with low self-esteem not capable of being a successful sales person?

Let’s face it- at some point we all need help and we all need someone to take a chance on us.  Here’s an anecdote for you.  I’ve just been ‘reorganized’ for the third time in two years and unlike the first lay-off, I made it through this one with a job.  The first lay-off was entirely personal and looking back, I 100% know that I deserved it.  Did you really- you ask?  Well, of course I did, because PERCEPTION IS REALITY.  I was loud, opinionated, and tactless so regardless of what I might have had in the form of potential, I’d already isolated anyone who might have been able to help me.  It took two years to get back and now that I’m here, I was ‘reorganized’ again, but this time, it had nothing to do with me.  I had no reputation except for the positive one that I’d started with 800 miles away from where I’d been and the temperature warmed up greatly for the people that I needed to give me a job.

In contrast, I have recently met a woman who has been trying to break through the barrier from hourly employee to a management position.  She is in the same place that I was 2 years ago and there is no easy way to make this concept hit home for anyone aside from losing it all.  What do you think?

Are double standards like this fair?  Are they human?  Are they sexist?  Why do we perpetuate this type of crap when we clearly don’t want to?  Is this the kind of benign bull-twinkie that leads to white supremacists shooting up a Mosque or anyone feeling the right to pass judgement upon strangers?

Does the answer honestly matter?  PERCEPTION IS REALITY.  You can only see what is in front of your face.