Today's Quotes

"Champions have the courage to keep turning the pages because they know a better chapter lies ahead."

~Paula White

Thursday, December 15, 2011

7 Habits... - Habit 1

"Your life doesn't just "happen." Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear." 7 Habits of Highly Effective People -Stephen Covey

Today I went to a conference on volunteering and gender through an organization I volunteer at called Federacion de Mujeres Progresitas (Federation of Progressive Women FPW) and as I listened to some of the messages about women and volunteering, something bothered me and I couldn't put my finger on it.

Tonight when I was reading the 1st Habit of Highly Effective People I realized what it was that bugged me.  As Stephen Covey puts it there are two types of people Proactive and Reactive.  He says that proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence.  They work on the things they can do something about:health, children, problems at work. Reactive people focus on things over which they have little or no control: national debt, terrorism, weather, he calls this the Circle of Concern.

Today at the conference some of the conversations where focused on the Circle of Concern and it struck a nerve.  I also met some fabulous people who are very proactive and are doing wonderful things as volunteers to help other women and themselves.  One person who really impressed me was a young lawyer from Latin America who had such an amazing positive attitude to move forward with her life and to help others despite her own circumstances.  It is so refreshing to meet women who don't focus on gender roles or the obstacles we face as women, but who see the barriers yet continue to move forward to reach their goals.

As women we face many challenges, roles that want to limit us, media that feed us messages to keep the status quo of the patriarchal societies we live in, but we have to say no living a proactive life, the life we choose.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a great read, especially at times that you are needing a little support in achieving your goals.  For me right now it is just what I need.  I've decided to focus on one habit a week, so that I may really own it and live with it.  So for this week it is Habit 1, being proactive.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Men's Magazines References to Women

I recently got this link on my FB account to an article about a study done comparing comments in British men's magazines to the comments about women made by convicted rapists.  The article is in  When I read the article I was flabergasted to say the least and at the same time not that surprised.  It's inconceivable that in this day and age women's decision to say no, is still seen as playing hard to get.  It was actually hard to tell which comments were made by the rapists and which ones were made in the men's magazine. Can you tell which one is a comment made by a rapists and which one was made by a men's magazine:

"3. A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy fantasy.

6. Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl . . . no one wants to be shagged by a mouse . . . A few compliments won't do any harm either . . . ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore' . . .

7. You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches . . . The bitches are the type that . . . need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.

9. You'll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car . . . But you can usually seduce them, and they'll do it willingly."

I couldn't and it is really sad that through these magazines we are promoting violence against women. As the   article says  "...are teenage boys and young men best prepared for fulfilling love and sex when they normalize views about women that are disturbingly close to those mirrored in the language of sexual offenders?"

I call upon you to keep on saying no to this normalization of the degradation of women.  You don't have to go protest these magazines, although if you did especially the advertisers who advertise in them, that would certainly make an impact.  You can read these magazines yourself if a male in your family buys them and see what they are saying.  If you find something offensive toward women, point it out to the male who is reading these magazines.

If you are lucky and no male in your family or friends reads these magazines, you can say no every time those men in your life who love you make derogatory comments, joking mind you, and ask them to think about what they are saying.  Telling them that promoting disrespect toward women promotes violence against women.

I recently had to make a comment on my nephew's FB account when he mentioned hoes in reference to women.  I wasn't sure whether to address it or let it go, I didn't want him to un-friend me, but I can't see someone who I love and know loves and respects me, forget that when he speaks of women in such a manner he is disrespecting me and all women.  I think he got the point, I hope he got the point.

We need to stop calling women hoes, bitches, ball-busters and all the other terms that denigrate women.  We need to keep on saying "No means no," until it resonates in men throughout the world.  We need to eradicate it from our language and mentality until it is, we as women will continue to fight an uphill battle in the violence against women.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wide Open Spaces

"Wide Open Spaces" - Dixie Chicks--

My niece introduced me to the Dixie Chicks.  The first song I heard was "You Were Mine" and everytime I heard that song I would cry.  I even listened to it when I needed a good cry and I couldn't  cry, this song would do it for me.  But then to lift myself out I would listen to "Wide Open Spaces", because this song was about me and my eternal search for wider spaces.  I know sometimes it's hard for our families to understand when we go searching out in the world.  But I think that after all these years my family has accepted it.  At times it is still hard for me to accept and now that I am a 5,735 miles (9,229 km) from California and I miss my family I wish at times that I would have been happy staying at home, but it isn't me.  So every now and I gain I listen to this song to remind me that it's ok to need Wide Open Spaces.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt

It is hard to sum up Eleanor Roosevelt's life and contributions to society and especially women.  From a woman who once said, "It was a wife's duty to be interested in whatever interested her husband..." to the independent, politically active woman she became in her later years. In contrast she wrote in her final years, "I could not, at any age, really be contented to take my place in a warm corner by the fireside and simply look on".

Her quotes always caught my attention because they are very strong, however when I began researching her biography I began to understand where her quotes came from.  Her mother a society belle was disappointed at Eleanor's "plain looks and lack of manners," which left Eleanor feeling "an inordinate desire for affection and praise."  Later in her youth she was severely ashamed at her lack of suitors.  She married her fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Once she was married her overly controlling mother-in-law controlled her family.

Although she became more politically involved in the postwar era, it was in 1921 when Franklin was paralyzed by polio that he greatly relied on her mobility.  Their political relationship became stronger, but their personal relationship had been damaged by his betrayal with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer. After this she increased her political involvement and got closer to a group of independent, assertive women friends who were involved in various political and reform groups.

Eleanor care about the immigrants, women and the marginal groups. She actively supported anti-lynching campaigns and fought for fair housing for minorities. She wrote daily from 1936 to 1962 in her "My Day"columns about all the issues she was interested in.  The columns were published nationally reaching millions of Americans.

After her husband's death her most recognized legacy was her work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when she was chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Seeing her history it is easy to understand her quotes and the conviction with which she said them.  She is an example to follow because she did not let obstacles stop her instead  she faced them.  Not only that but she looked beyond her own life to fight to make life better for others.  I want to the same in my life, to have the strength to "look fear in the face" and do the things that I am afraid of doing.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." 

"You gain strength, experience and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do."


"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Olympe de Gouges

"Why this unswerving prejudice against my sex? Any why is it said, as I have quite clearly heard, that the Comédie Francaise should not put on any plays by women. I am a woman, but not rich ... Will it ever be allowed for women to escape from the terror of poverty other than by base means.

The more I read about this woman, the more I wish to honor her courage for she suffered death at the hands of those very men she supported during the French Revolution.  She was made an example to warn other women not to forget their proper place.  In her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791) she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality.

Although women were active in the French Revolution, and many assumed that they deserved it by right of their active participation in the Revolution, those rights were limited to males.  Olympe de Gouges spoke out for herself and many of the women in France when she wrote her Declaration to mirror the "Declaration of the Rights of man and of the Citizen" in it she echoed the same language, but extended it to women also.  In this Declaration she asserted woman's ability to reason and make moral decisions.  She said that women were not simply the same as man, but they were his equal partner.

Unfortunately, she assumed too much when she thought she had the right to even act as a member of the public.  She violated boundaries that most of the revolutionary leaders wanted to preserve.  Among her challenges was that women, as citizens had the right to free speech, and therefore had the right to the identity of the fathers of their children which at the time women did not have.  She asserted that children born out of wedlock had the same rights as legitimate children.  This brought into question the assumption that only men could satisfy their sesual desire outside of marriage, and that they could do so without fearing any responsability for reproduction.  If they were not only political, rational citizens, but were part of the reproduction,then perhaps, women should be members of the political and public side of society.

For making this assertions public and refusing to remain quiet about the Rights of Woman and associating with the wrong side, the Girondist, she was arrested in 1893 and was sent to the guillotine.

Born Marie Gouze, she was a French playwright and political activist whose feminist and abolitionistwritings reached a large audience.She began her career as a playwright in the early 1780s. As political tension rose in France, de Gouges became increasingly politically involved. She became an outspoken advocate for improving the condition of slaves in the colonies as of 1788. At the same time, she began writing political pamphlets. Today she is perhaps best known as an early feminist who demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. In her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality. She was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror for attacking the regime of Maximilien Robespierre and for her close relation with the Girondists.