Wednesday, July 31, 2002

National Nurse Out, August 1-7

I'm not sure how many blog sisters are also blog mamas, but I wanted to remind everyone of World Breastfeeding Week and the National Nurse Out. The objective is to educate as many women as possible about the benefits of breastfeeding, and to breastfeed as much as possible in public to reduce the stigma and create more understanding and acceptance of breastfeeding.

You can check here to see if there is a nurse out happening in your area.

Non-mama sisters can definitely participate if interested by just being especially cool to any nursing mamas you see during the week.

By the way, this is my first post here...I love this site! You can also find me at fullbleed, randomwalks, life after birth, and clothespins for the revolution.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Eve's Dating Advice

Hi, everyone! I am new here! I normally live at Creative Doubt. Here is something that I wrote that I thought was a bit silly. It was inspired by the odious Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. (Can't stand Bridget Jones, but for some reason, can't stop reading the darn books. Not quite sure what's wrong with me!) If you relate to it, feel free to use it. You don't even have to give me credit.

At any rate, here is my dating advice:

The next time you spend 1,000,000 hours fretting over your relationship (i.e., what is he thinking about? Is there something wrong with our relationship? Do we need to talk? Why hasn't he called?), here is something that you can say that will hopefully make things better:

"[insert boyfriend's name here], I have been thinking that women have spent eons fretting over the status of their relationships with their significant others. For a change, I would like to be the one to think about the football game or the state of the car while you fret over the state of our relationship."

And then, after you say that, do what most of the men I've dated do: think about the damn football game or the state of the car. Better yet, start a new hobby. You're going to have a lot of suddenly freed up energy!
Hi, everyone! I'm new here. I've been searching through the archives to see if I'm supposed to post an intro. I didn't see any, but Elaine said it was "your turn to log on and post" so I figured I had better!

I joined the group because I really enjoyed reading the blogs here. I've just started mine.

I don't have any flashes of inspiration or insight right now, so I'll just tell you that I live in Arizona, I'm married, I have an almost-twelve-year-old-daugther, I work from home, I sing and I belly-dance.

Okay, time to push the "publish" button and see what this looks like! (If it looks weird I'll try again!)

Monday, July 29, 2002

So it's all in our heads?
Do male and female thought processes differ (beginning with human formation in the womb) and so there really are innate gender differences in terms of our skills and abilities? The Brain Game: What's Sex Got to Do With It airs on ABC-TV at 10 p.m. EST this Wednesday. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Good Morning America contributor, surveys the latest scientific research, which seems to indicate that male and female brain powers differ because of biology. I, for one, am very curious to hear what the program does with this subject.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Sometimes biology is destiny.
Relative to all of the discussions here, you might be interested in reading this.

Friday, July 26, 2002

The Time Mag Rag Survey Revisited

Had to add this item. Another sister asked, in comment, in what Time issue the survey had appeared. Well, I couldn't remember and went digging. I couldn't find anything on Time's web page and even if I had, I would have had to pay for the privilege of using it. So I went digging else where. I found the origin of the survey in Susan Faludi's Backlash. Here is a synopsis of what I found out.

If you have the book it is on page 9, chapter 2, under the caption, 'The Man Shortage: A tale of two Marriage Studies.' But briefly, a reporter, Lisa Marie Petersen, wanted an angle for an article she was doing on romance. She called the Yale sociology department and got hold of Neil Bennet, an unmarried sociologist who'd just done his own unpublished, unfinished study on women's marriage patterns. His unsupported findings linked careers and education with what he called the bottom falling out of the marriage market for women. His statistics:

30 yr old college educated women has a 20% of getting wed
35 yr olds, a 5% chance
40 yr olds only a 1.3% chance of ever getting married

Peterson never questioned his figures and published the article. The associated press picked up the article and it went like wildfire across the country and the world. The statistics received front page billing in nearly all major newspapers and news programs plus popular magazines and was mentioned in the dialogue of TV sitcoms and motion pictures.
Ms Faludi's chapter goes on to say that other well documented studies dispel the survey and the statistics it arrived at, but the damage had already been done. When I called this thing the Infamous Time Mag Rag Survey, it was because I had a memory (true or not I don't know now) of this survey making the front page of a Time Magazine edition.

So there it is, 16 years ago telling us, as we have been told for ages, that educations and careers will keep us from getting the one thing that we are supposed to be craving for a fulfilled life, a HUSBAND! Are guys that worried that we don't need them?

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Women in Refrigerators

Just when I thought I'd run out of things to post here, I stumbled across this site in my many meanderings. The author of the site attempts to examine the frequency with which female characters in comic books get offed especially messily or have some other form of extreme violence exacted upon them (e.g. rape). It's a cool little site, esp. since it includes a lot of responses from comics creators/ professionals. It's not a statistical examination, it just brings up an interesting concept for discussion. Worth a read, maybe even if comic books aren't totally your thing.

Here's a quote from an article by John Bartol on the site:
"The point is this: our beloved heroes and heroines, the idols of our childhood and myths of our adult nostalgia, are not exactly all running plays from the same Campbellian playbook. Their fates are not the same, their lives are not the identical epics of archetypal meaning. Someone seems to be getting the shaft."

Wait, maybe I figured it out.

See if this works

May I extend an invitation?

Frank Paynter, the amazing guy who got me into blogging just a few weeks ago with the low key (tongue well placed in cheek) request for an interview has published said interview. I'm almost as funny and wild and clever as he makes me sound. It would be my pleasure if you would take a peak at his blog where I get a chance to say hello to all the blogging neighborhood, can you spell blogging?

Now to tell the truth, I don't know how to hyperlink here. If anyone wanted to offer technical support, I would more than appreciate the advise. Otherwise, I know that cut and paste works.

Enjoy ;-)

Is it better if you have to pay for it?

Alterego notes that is getting in on the "community" blogging act. I notice that they are charging for it too. Thoughts?

Trolling For A Blog Sisters Review

There's what sounds like a worthwhile movie out in the U.S., "Lovely And Amazing," starring Catherine Keener ("Being John Malkovich") and Brenda Blethyn ("Secrets & Lies"), and written and directed by Nicole Holofcener ("Walking and Talking"). The official Web site is here, and lots more is here (trailers and showtimes on both). It's a mom-and-daughters story that has gotten (mostly) excellent reviews; here's an informative one from Stephanie Zacharek on Salon. Anyone seen/would recommend it?

Monday, July 22, 2002

Carol Gilligan Strikes Again

From the latest New Republic:
Gilligan's famous contention is that girls and women are possessed of a distinctive morality more attuned to maintaining relationships and caring for others than to arguing for justice and equity. This generalization has often been taken as the product of stringent empirical research. So has Gilligan's idea that plucky and confident girls wilt into diffidence on the cusp of adolescence.

While there is certainly a shred of truth in some of Gilligan's assertions, it bothers me that they are presented so often as foregone conclusions instead of statistical curiosities. Not all girls wilt; not all women are good at relationships (lord knows). And arguing for justice and equality? Women are not good at that?

It was one thing for Gilligan to popularize the notion that patriarchal systems tend to quash and undervalue the feminine in places like schools (boys are called on more than girls etc.) This was pointing out differences in how women were treated.

Presenting women as morally superior, outside of the context of various social systems, is interesting and we like to hear it, but it invites the other side of "difference feminism": if women are better than men at one thing, they are probably worse than them at something else. Like balancing checkbooks or parallel parking. Do we really want to get into thse kinds of bogus equations?

Sunday, July 21, 2002

The infamous Time Mag Rag Article

Remember when we were supposed to have more chance of being kidnapped by an Iranian terrorist than of getting married again after 45? I think when the article came out I was pretty sure that getting married again was the last thing on earth I wanted to ever do again. This article and the one Anita notes both seem to have the same sort of perspective that we are worried that we might not get married. Is it some hangover from the recent past that can't seem to let go of the 'gotta have a man' syndrome that has been foisted on women for so long? I find this kind of reporting to be very cultually biased. If we are the ones who are making more money, have better educations, and better job opportunities, why isn't the article's perspective skewed toward the men who are being left out, the men who will find themselves with poorer chances to find a 'good' mate? I find it really disgusting that we would be told by this article that it is an education that makes our future bleaker because it will keep us from finding an equal partner. Wasn't that the crap my mother told me back in the 60's, 'try not to act so smart, the boys won't like you?' What a crock of pig manure.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Steve Outing, senior editor, refers to Blogsisters as an example of a group webblog in this article:
    Blog Sisters - More than 80 women contribute to this blog on women's issues. It's a diverse group, though lots of the contributors are writers and all publish their own weblogs.

(PS: Sorry, Elaine. Just noticed that you beat me to it :)

Men, please take note!

According to this very interesting report, while women are beginning to outnumber men on college campuses, some demographers say that "American men are becoming less literate, less ambitious, less responsible, and less employable than women".

Quoting from the article:

-- "Men are less mature today than they were 20 years ago." [Is this really true? On what basis is this maturity or immaturity measured and what is the evidence that the article talks about but does not explain]

-- "Traditionally, men have been more likely to marry women with less earning potential and professional stature, although that trend is shifting." [Is it really shifting? I suspect, most men still feel the same!]

-- "It is predicted that finding a successful husband (read, someone who earns more) will become increasingly difficult. This also means that the choice for younger women will be more constrained than it was 20 years ago.

An American study which does throw forward some interesting statements. Except, I'm sure how factual or correct they really are. I doubt one study is enough to reveal the true statistics and give us a more correct picture about this one.

Nostalgia: the last refuge of the copywriter.

Gina- it’s certainly not the past which I disdain. This era of corporate feudalism, Nsync AND McHappy Meals certainly needs its fundament looked at by a Professional.
Tis nostalgia which I abhor. Hence, the (rather purple, I concede!) parody of an objectionable meme that keeps re-infecting my inbox called ‘Remember When’.
Nostalgia, and its fraternal twin ‘retro’, seems to me to be the temporal equivalent of patriotism. Zeal for the customs, constructs, language of a place, or time, just ends in friction and broken bodies, if you ask me. Or, at the very least, syrup-y correspondences and VILE ad campaigns.
It is not the past, but the fetishisation of the past – nostalgia, which is, perhaps, the penultimate refuge of the scoundrel.

Friday, July 19, 2002

A new Blog Sisters fan?"
I noticed a brand new male-person's comment on Helen Razer's post and so went to check him out. His post on Jim Throws Gasoline on the Fire, (you have to scroll down to get to it because his permalink takes you somewhere else), which gives his take on motherhood, is very very much well worth reading. I don't know how fertile_jim found us, but he's my kind of guy.

And, speaking of motherhood -- MY GRANDSON IS ON THE WAY. My daughter is in labor. Send good vibes to Boston, everyone!

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Blog Sisters highlighted in article on group weblogs
Our reputation is spreading. We are one of four group weblogs cited in an article by Steve Outing at My thanks to b!X for emailing me about it.

Accoring to the main page of the weblog article, Poynter's Steve Outing also is a columnist for Editor & Publisher Online. Recently, he wrote a column suggesting that newspapers give weblogs to all editorial staff (read the column here), which generated considerable discussion and controversy.

Past and present space/time and our belief

Time has a different meaning to me today than it has just a few short years ago. When I was nineteen my Maternal Grandfather told me I was one eighth Mohawk and that some people would hate me if they found out. He felt compelled to tell me since Mom died in a car crash when I was 16. He wanted me to know his heritage and that my great grandmother was a full blood. He wanted me to know that things are not always what they seem. Time is like that. It plays tricks on our minds with our beliefs. Today I had to explain to someone that once upon a time my empiracle mindset which believed only that which could be physically proven to me was totally shattered by a series of subjective events well beyond the pale of believability. I was converted and confirmed to Spirit and to a place of timelessness. Who was I to believe that the world, our Earth, was held in some saucer track of perfection rotating around the sun. Our Earth is never in the same place twice, ever, any millisecond of time, yet space itself is said to be folding back upon itself all the time. I have admitted that I have felt time speed up, slow down, stop, and go backwords. On my side of the family I am the oldest one now, but I know there is an extension of this reality. Perhaps it came from one of those silly jackpots I lived through but was unconscious for some part of time.
I am glad to see others have read the news from Pakistan. Witness is a very strong way we can connect. Our sisters in the world need our compassion and our activism. Yet we can trust that Spirit will make it alright. Let us not forget that our mothers and grandmothers wore veils to weddings and to church.

L Chandler, my sons were diagnosed ADHD and IDD. IDD means Inattention Deficit Disorder. He may be cautious but he has a genius IQ score. They both do. I knew once they were diagnosed that I had something similar myself. I have learned it is not a disorder nor is it deficit. It is simply a different form of cognition that is a very special gift. If you teach your ADHD's etc. that they have a special gift and feed it novelty, their minds will eat it up and soar. People with this gift can visualize the universe holographically, but then, who wants to listen to a Mohawk-Irish upstart woman with two kids who are deficit disordered.

The Great Mother does, of that I am sure. Do American women owe the world's women a helping hand? Do they want it?

In defense of the past

I debated whether to rain on this parade, and decided someone had to take the unpopular job of speaking up for times long ago. They mean something more profound than stereotypes.

You might say I dearly love the past. Let me admit my bias: a fun day for me involves going to the State library to look at microfilmed census records from 150 years ago, or perhaps visiting a tiny, long-forgotten, overgrown cemetery in the woods to record the names on the weathered stones. It was my first academic interest, discovered second semester of freshman year, sneakily replacing pre-law, and so I have an undergraduate degree in U.S. History and began a career as an educator. Plus, I volunteer for a town museum, a private house museum, a cemetery board and a town historical society. The book which induced me to take a risk and waltz out of the world of educational administration to the world of freelance is a memoir about my grandmother, Mimmie, that I have been working on since 1996.

I'm not suggesting it was somehow "better" then, and I don't hate the times we are in now. I'm optimistic, but not romantic. I take the long view, and think of it all as "life," all worth celebrating. If that's nostalgia, so be it. Mimmie's nearly 89 years on this planet were sometimes hard, but they were also often happy. She left actualized. She taught me some simple things, and some profound. I'm the first to admit to have been a big beneficiary of the increased opportunities available to women. I have kept my own name, I have a "modern" husband, and I am childfree (and by 40 people have stopped asking questions about it for a few years). I haven't had to struggle with my family over these things. Mimmie finished at the one-room school at eighth grade and that was all she wrote in the formal education arena. (But then so did my grandfather.)

Of course I enjoy many modern conveniences (electricity, computers, refrigerators), but there are a few that I choose not to embrace (convenience foods; chemical pesticides and fertilizers; instant messenger, driving). And I certainly don't like those silly email messages (on any subject) that beg to be forwarded. Years and years and years ago - heavens! It must have been the real early ‘90s -- did we have indoor plumbing then? -- when email was new to me, I dutifully opened every one, and scanned them for the two or three quips that brought a brief smile to my face. All of my email buddies got wise to it back in the golden oldie days of Windows ‘95, so I rarely get a forwarded spam now.

I wrote that I discovered history as a college freshman, but the reality is that I've always been charmed by it. In my small hometown there is a large reservoir, that supplies water to New York City. It was built starting in 1909. Several hamlets in two towns were relocated, and the valley flooded. From the dividing weir that crosses the Reservoir, it is impossible to look down at the water, at the panorama framed by the Catskill Mountains, and not to think about the rural people who lived in those lost villages, and not to wonder about the merits and demerits of technology's advance through that valley to bring water to thirsty urban residents 100 miles to the south. Those folks mattered. They persevered. Sometimes they even laughed.

Recently I have had the privilege of helping to sort through an ordinary family's collection from several lifetimes. Yes, people died because of the lack of antibiotics. Yes, aren't those drugs a marvel? But the truth is, death is a reality, a very sad part of life, even for those of us in modern society.

Judging from the bottles we found, they were obsessed with a product called Nujol for constipation (my guess is that without it they would avoid making trips to the outhouse at all costs). Sure, there were illiterate people; but in my census research I've been surprised to discover it was less than my expectation. In education we have some literacy issues of a different sort now - two are innumeracy and differential access to computer technology.

Plain, everyday, uneducated, working class people also read books and actually played music themselves (and they weren't even professional musicians!) - they wrote letters and talked and told stories to each other. They lived real lives, instead of watching people on television live artificial ones.

Now, no question the Internet has advanced communication. I have read somewhere that email has resurrected the lost art of letter writing -- for that alone it is a good thing. The voices of the past tell me so.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

What can we do?

At this moment I cannot imagine one thing I could personally do that would convince an upper-caste Pakistanni male to keep his penis in his pants. Its an awful thing to say, but from my current position, sitting here in front of my computer, I honestly don't think that there is anything I can do to stop that man if he is determined to force himself on a woman he cultuarally views as sub or non-human. Now I can imagine what I might do for the women of Pakistan or any other country that views women as inferior creatures and that is educate, educate, educate. Contribute to, volunteer for, and support organizations that educate women. Educate your own sons and daughters, never allow them to denigrate women. Show them that you will not tolerate it in your own life and environment. Choose to be the woman that you want other women to emulate, your daughters to want to be like, your sons to respect, and men to at least not take for granted. Ok, ok, I am preaching to the choir, I know, but example goes a long way.

Helen, I applaud your pissed off-edness at that stupid 'weren't things better when . . .'
When my perfectly employed grandmother couldn't buy a house in her own name without her son's co-signature
When there were still whites only drinking fountains at the laudrymat she used
When my mother told me that only boys could be astronauts
When girls had to take home ec. and boys had to take shop
When girls athletics was considered frivolous

Stop me before I get out of control here
I'm with ya, Helen, I like it a LOT better now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Update: Punjab Rape Case, Pakistan [link via Mr. Robyn]

"This year so far, there have been 72 gang rapes and 93 other rapes documented in densely populated Punjab Province alone, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The rapists are often higher-caste men, the victims usually lower-caste women, as in the case here."

my question is, what do western women's groups and organizations have to say about this? what do we, the Blog Sisters have to say about this? more importantly, what can we do about this?

ladies, i am gleefully unemployed and returned. and angry!

If anyone forwards me a variation of this ultraright apologetic sappy shit one more time, I will vom. Argh.
Do you remember??
Close your mind and go back in time. Before Penicillin and dental hygiene.
Before general anaesthesia, double-entry accounting and civil rights.
Before feminism and domestic plumbing. Way back
I’m talking about segregation at the park. DDT, Asbestos.
Driftnet Fishing, church sanctioned child abuse, all-Polyester Leisure Suits, Cold War.
Smoking cigarettes and sun baking. Dalkon Shield.
The smell of lead based paint. The fear of Italian kids about to have the shit beaten out of them for daring to bring salami sandwiches to school.
Cowboys and Indians, Zorro!! More vapid racial stereotypes than you could poke a pointy hat at.
The worst embarrassment was to be picked last for a team. That is if you didn’t count the daily humiliations of being disabled, queer or from a non-English speaking background.
When nearly everyone’s mother was at home when you got back from school. When nearly everyone’s mother had a benzodiazepine dependency, chronic anxiety disorder and bile born of boredom.
Didn’t that feel good? Just think back and say, yeah I remember all that.
If you can remember these snippets or even some of them, then you are currently undergoing intensive cognitive behaviour therapy!!! Or, you are on Zoloft!!
If you wish to remain a tolerable human, do not make a fetish of the past or long for a ‘golden era’ that never really existed. Do not drown dumbly in nostalgia. Do not pass this, nor any other cookie cutter correspondence, on. Write your own damn emails.

About pulling hair...

Annie -- I came here Sunday to share words of support and to bitch about my 13 yr. old son with you, but we had a power outage and my whole rant was lost. Oh well, it gave me time to think anyway.

We are mothers because we chose to be (thank the Great Mother we STILL have that right!). There was something inside us at conception that said, "Now's the time, and this child will bring me something I need and experiences I've never had before. Can I get a Hallelujah from the choir? This child, my 13 year old, has posed more challenges to me than I've ever had in any other aspect of my life. This was from the very beginning. We knew at 5 he was beginning to show signs of LD, and at 8 the teachers were screaming ADHD (he's not, not really, and we're only now beginning to find that out :P) so our family physician put him on Ritalin, requested a referal to a neurologist, which was denied by the HMO (don't even get me started...) and he was on that until we changed HMO's last year and he actually got to see a specialist.

He's always seemed slow and awkward after the age of about 8. He didn't actually read at grade level until 5th grade (Goddess bless Harry Potter and JKR) His hand writing is still illegible and his speech, while highly literate, is s l o w, so I tend to try to finish his sentences for him. That's led to some amazing fights, or to him withdrawing and not talking to me for a day or so. That's when I want to cry, and usually do.

Now we know that he has something called Sensory Integration Disorder, and that it's auditory and visual in nature. He hears and sees fine, but loud noises are horrible for him (has to cover his ears at ball games and movies because it's too loud.) He sees, but his vision is impaired because the muscles of his right eye failed to develop properly, so his left eye does nearly ALL the work, and we are just now finding all this out. So I cry in frustration for him some more and do everything in my power to help him catch up or learn to cope.. Add the hormones in there (his and mine!) and life in my house is interesting to say the least right now!

He was given to me and my husband to raise for a reason. His challenges are something my family needs to learn from in this life so that hopefully we will grow and become what we were meant to be. If we couldn't do it, really do it well, he wouldn't have come to us and brought us these life lessons to learn, right? I know I love this child with my last breath. And when this trial has passed away and we've moved on, there will be joy on the other side. I know it was that way with my mom and me. Even after I screamed in her face that she was a bitch and swore I'd hate her forever when I was 13 and she knocked me across the room for it, we were best friends by the time I was 17. When I was 16 I'd have told you it'd never happen, but in spite of everything it did anyway.

I hope this helps you, and all the other moms out there. When life throws you Llamas, make llama-ade, as a young lady of my acquaintance likes to tell me, and if it's lemons, that's even better ;-D

With joy and light, my Sistahs...

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Really, REALLY hard not to pull my hair out

Goddess, give me the courage to pick the fights I can win,
The patience to wait out the fights that I can't,
And the good sense to know that if you look up 'teenager'
In the psychiatric diagnostic manual
You would find the definition of insanity.

Why did I become a mother?
Why did I think for one unbelievable moment that my mothering skills would be different and my child's experience of "the change" (from childhood to adulthood) would be better than mine?
Why did I think that being an older parent would make me a wiser and more understanding parent?

Today she raged at me about the deplorable state of her hair, if I hadn't 'let' her cut it, it would be long and pretty now instead of this hideous mop that makes look like a squirrel. Just yesterday we were agreeing that Pink has some great lyrics and she was really surprised that I could sing along with the Cores, 'wow, that band must be a lot older than I thought.' Thanks darling daughter, I feel like a stone age hippie now. Her best friend was all enraptured a few months ago about this great new band and singer she had discovered on the radio. She was gushing over Aerosmith and Steven Tyler. I actually enjoyed busting her bubble by telling her that Tyler is older than I am, that I listened to him in high school back in the 70's. She didn't believe me. 'He can't be THAT old, he's really cute!.' Another day maker. Pre-stone age, I must have been born before they invented dirt. Can I get an Amen, sistabloggers?

I know, I know, this too shall pass and too damned fast. I just wanted to enjoy her company awhile longer, while I still had a hint of goddess like status, 'my mom can do anything!' instead of 'Mo-om, you're embarrassing me!' I miss the child who loved me without reservation and believed in me without doubts, who knew that her world was completely safe in my hands. It hurts to crumble and tumble off such a fightful pedistal. I hope when we come out the other side of this rocky journey that we can both be humans and friends.

Friday, July 12, 2002

I'm trying really hard not to tear my hair out :( My blog is broken and it looks like I'm going to have to tear it down and rebuild it. I'm frustrated as I'd finally gotten a chance to blog about something Elaine got me thinking about during an email exchange we had while I was resting per doctor's orders. Technology is responsible for my high blood pressure today, I guess. So I'm going to let it go for a day or two. BUT I did want to share what I did for Marek which is stuck in blog limbo...

This is what I said:

Okay, first things first, as a recently ordained ::tongue in cheek:: SistahBlogger, I am climbing on the band wagon to blog for Marek. I don't know him, but I think I can understand how he feels. Lying in a hospital bed, condition indeterminant, and annoyingly curious doctors hawking about like vultures just for the challenge you have become. "Who's going to diagnose this patient's condition first?" they wonder. They poke and prod in places you weren't even aware existed until that moment. And you cry (or scream depending on your preference at the time)...not just because of fear, but more from frustration. Haven't these damn doctors "practiced" their professions enough to find out what the hell is wrong?

I'm sorry this is happening to you, Marek. I don't know you. You don't know me, but my good thoughts are now being moved from Elaine to you. And I know from experience that human compassion is always welcome in whatever form it comes to us. And Elaine, I'm glad you are doing well! ::turns attention to Marek and concentrates good thoughts his way::

ugh oh

Today's blog sisters alert: Hide your underwear! You know, as a collective, we're every man's dream. That and a buck fifty will get us a cup of coffee.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Helllloo, Sis-tahs! I have been putzing on my infernal machine all day and am now ready to call it a day. But then I checked the Sisters' blogs and realized I haven't been here for a very long time.

It is nearly 4:00 in the afternoon and I am still in my nightgown. How decadent is that? Personally, I think it is delicious. Since it's too late now to get dressed I believe I will take a shower..........and put on a clean nightgown. Then I will fix dinner, when I feel like it, and eat in the livingroom in front of the TV and the talking heads on CNN, et al. This is my idea of a good time. Pathetic, isn't it?. LOL

This is also one of the joys of living alone. I honestly do not understand women who feel they need a partner to share space with. I am perfectly content having my cozy apartment all to myself. Well, I share it with a cat, but he doesn't take up much room. I will be 72 years old in December, for me this is reason enough to enjoy whatever MY choices will be about my life. I was married for 26 years, then divorced Casper Milquetoast in l980. Found another partner and was blissfully happy for nine years, then he died. That really annoyed me, truth be told. The perfect arrangement----his job took him out of town several days a week so we weren't joined at the hip 24/7. But nine years was not enough. That was over 10 years ago. Never really wanted or needed anyone since then.

My female friends are more valuable now than any man could be. Three of them share my love for the volunteer work we do at our modern, beautiful hospital. Then there are the people I "work" with at our Humane Society, also an unbelievably beautiful organization. I work in Vet Services, which entails administering meds to cats and dogs, and other tasks my vet tech may assign.. I do not attend church on Sundays so being with the critters is my solace and comfort. Many times I prefer animals to people.

I am a political animal. The first time I voted was for Big Daddy Ike. He wasn't much of a president but he was Our Hero. I am a tree-hugging liberal and proud of it. It was 1952 the first time I voted and the parade of presidents since then were all duly elected, not "selected". Some were good, some were not so good. Today's president? He scares me, his Attorney General scares me, actually all his cronies scare me with the exception of Colin Powell. My dream Democratic ticket would be Al Gore/Hillary Clinton. Or, Hillary Clinton/Al Gore. hahaha The time has come for a woman to be president. Too bad I won't live long enough to see that happen.

I am babbling. I am always babbling, if I have any faults at all---ahem---this would be it. This is not a deep, thoughtful, erudite blog, but since I am just a babbler, I am going to publish this blather.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002


A big thank you to Elaine for inviting me here! I'm Dorothea Salo, and you can read all about me if you follow Elaine's link two posts down.

I look forward to further participation as time permits. For now, though, I return you to your regularly scheduled sister-blog...

More more more

I'm still kind of jazzed by the previous posts on women and anger and etc., but in case others are getting tired of this topic, I posted my most recent rant on my home blog. Here's a bit of an quote from Audre Lorde, to whet your appetite:

" . . the strength of women lies in recognising differences between us as creative, and in standing to those distortions which we inherited without blame, but which are now ours to alter. The angers of women can transform difference through insight into power. For anger between peers births change, not destruction, and the discomfort and sense of loss it often causes is not fatal, but a sign of growth."

An eloquent example of other choices
Well, I've read about her before on other blogs, but I didn't seem to be able to connect with her dedication to strange technologies that I know nothing about. (I get excited when I type in the code correctly to make a link in a Comment box!) But her interview with Frank Paynter is a portrait in choices, and she restores my hope that all of that anguish some of us feminsts went through in the 70s was not all for naught. All of you who are caught in the web of societal and family expectations -- GO MEET DOROTHEA SALO. Her choices might not be yours -- and they wouldn't have been mine either -- but she shows you the range of what's possible for women of passion, courage, and (very importantly) self-awareness and honesty.

And, btw, if any of you have been trying to get to my weblog, my server/son has been having network problems and updates, so it's been off-line. Try again, later, please??

Carve your own future

That made a lot of sense, Elaine.

In a way, we have always looked at the women of the 'West' because you seem much more advanced and liberated.

And yet from the many posts that I have read here, the underlying problems seem to be the same.

The expectations from women and their supposed role - whether as a daughter, a mother and a wife - are more or less the same. Wherever we are in the world.

I agree when you say that it is therefore upto us to bring about the change. Not get mad and try and change our parents, or change the world but instead to try and bring up the next generation with a greater a sense of equality. If we bring up our sons and daughters as equals, we will definitely be sowing the seeds for change.

I think a lot of us commit the same mistakes and start 'acting' like our parents, becoming what they were like, sometimes not even realising the fact. It is perhaps true when they say that we are mirrors of our parents. That's why probably we will have to work harder to change ourselves first and then make sure our children learn the right lessons.

There are still some things we are in control of and those are the things we have to try and change.

Elaine, you put it beautifully as usual and I have to agree completely: "Have the courage to make your own waves and ride them into the future that you want for yourself."

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Is This the Neverending Story?
It's very discouraging to read the posts here of today's young women who are still struggling with the same issues about self-determination that I struggled with more than 40 years ago. If we are still, as Rohinee says, in an "exerimental stage," how many generations is it going to take for the experiment to have results? Yes, we need to bring up our sons and daughters in an envrionment of equality. (But be prepared for them still to be different; mine are anyway.) Yes, we need to try to change society's systems that foster inequality. But guess what, girls. It's you who have to make your own life what you want it to be. Don't wait for the world to change. Change your own immediate world. Set your boundaries. Make your desires known. Do it as kindly as you can, but be prepared for consequences when you start being assertive. Be prepared not to have everything at once. Be prepared for the possibility that the men in your life will put up obstacles. Be prepared for your mother to cry and moan about what did she do wrong. If this is still an experiment, then that's all part of the process. If you don't do it individually, it won't happen globally. I repeat: get mad and then get the courage you need to make your life what you want it to be. Don't wait for some sea change. Have the courage to make your own waves and ride them into the future that you want for yourself.
First Get Mad, then Get Courage
Over on several other sites for the past week or so, there has been an ongoing conversation about "anger." And I suggest that the recent posts here on Blog Sisters are dancing around the fact that there still are some of us who are angry about finding ourselves in situations that we didn't really choose. I'm going to link you to a new blogger's perspectives on anger. (His permalinks are not working right, so it's the post on Wisdom Prayer) I really like the things he has to say and they way he says them.

In his post, he makes two pivotal statements:
Anger itself is not kinetic.
Learned helplessness is a malady of the mind as well as the spirit.

As I said in my comment to his post:
Sometimes women are maneuvered into roles and values that they never really chose, and then the anger begins to build. Anger at husbands, if they are married; anger at their mothers if they are not; anger at themselves for allowing themselves to be manipulated. The challenge they face is to turn that anger into the courage they need to non-destructively assert their own "Selves."

OK. So how does one begin doing that? (My own blog is down because of a netowork problems with my server, or I'd post about this there.)

And if you want to read a lot of other perspectives on anger, take a look at the post and comments at burningbird's here and here.
I am inclined to agree with Deborah's thoughts that women are pretty much in an experimental stage ( ideological evolution.. maybe ?) ; and not really knowing our definite role in todays dynamics of the world.
I have been thinking for a while on this..and do correct me if I am wrong.
More often than not we are compartmentalising individuals as men and women. When we do that we begin to define roles, priorities etc. and in an endeavour to do so get caught in a vicious circle of whats if and what not's of womanhood and manhood.
Why was there so much of distinction earlier and why does it still prevail in subtle ways today?
Men and Women are equal in ways ..they intrinsically have the same inspirations , same aspirations..
and according to me ( philosophically speaking ) a part of a whole..
I believe, apart from the physical aspects and related issues.., the growing up and nurturing of both should have been and should be
on an equal level.
However..we are bread differently, and thats how the strory really begins..
Imagine a prisioner or a bonded slave or even someone who has been denied. You could also compare the state of a school kid
having to follow rules and regulations.. and then imagine some one set free..
The first bit is the sense of freedom.. the joy..and slowly as you grow accustomed to the new found lifestyle.. you encounter issues related to to deal with it.
Like hey now.. i can do this, i can do that..i can even do this but then i also have this to do, and then that..
Its about handling all what you want to do..with all that "have" to do... and what i would like to know is who defines that.. who defines what a woman must do? I dont believe any of us were born with life's little book of rules..but there is something instilled in the social psyche thats inhibiting..thats leading to stress, confusion.
I think if we accept that we all are equal.. that men and women both have equal responsibilities of bringing the bacon home, raising kids..devloping themselves, accepting that either one can be better at one role ..say..a woman can make more money than a man, a man can be a great parent than a woman..etc.will we able to really settle down.
When..How..well,thats anyones guess.

The Angel Returns

The demon voice Annie describes so well made me think of Virginia Woolf's essay "Professions for Women" (1942). (As far as I know, the essay isn't available on line--I'm quoting from the Norton Anthology of Literature by Women.) In it, she describes the voice she hears when she tries to write book reviews as "The Angel of the House:"

"She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draft she sat in it--in short she was so consitituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others."

Woolf realizes she has no choice but to kill her, "in self-defense," of course. But she reminds us that it is "far harder to kill a phantom than a reality" -- in other words, the angel keeps finding ways to fight back. I think, to some extent, we are still battling these Victorian ideals of womanhood. We sometimes worry that power and femininity, for example, might be mutually exclusive. We often feel guilty when we express our own minds and wishes, especially when those conflict with the desires of our partners and our children. We are not always sure where the line between selfishness and self-worth, or sympathy and sacrifice is. I think we are still very much in an experimental stage, as modern women, or newgen women, or whatever. Woolf believed that we would never really know what a woman was "until she has expressed herself in all the arts and professions open to human skill." That makes sense to me--how will we know what we are until we have seen what we can do?

As for the diseases and symptoms now ascribed to the stresses of being modern women--I'm not sure they are worse than the diseases and symptoms more "traditional" women experienced (or continue to experience)--so-called "hysteria" and melancholia (ie. post partum and other forms of depression), the many effects of child-birth, and myriad other illnesses that have affected women. Are these diseases really linked to our freedom, or rather to our horrendous, chemical laden food choices, our lack of time or places for exercise, our workplaces and governments that refuse to acknowledge the need for family- friendly policies, etc.? Some of the changes we need will certainly have to come from within--killing those angels and phantoms and demons as they return. But some structural, institutional, external, social, political and ecomomic changes also need to be made to support our choices and make our freedom viable.

Monday, July 08, 2002

The Newgen Woman

We may be the sufferers now, but I beleive the problems will work themselves out when the dicotomies of archtype verses reality begin to level out. For instance, the idea that marraige is somehow a desirable and expected state for a woman. Fifty years ago my mother married a man that she didn't love because it was what she was expected and supposed to do. She acheived a goal in life by becoming Mrs. Somebodyelesesname. She was then able to leagally have sexual intercourse to produce children. In the church and family she was raised in this was what she felt was her only choice in life. Now I was raised by that woman and her values and priorities, but with much more freedom of choice and expression. I was able to look at what interested me most and make choices that better suited my personality and ability. However, this doesnt' stop the demon voice in the back of my head that still smarts off with all those old archtypical demands, 'Aren't you ever going to get married? This house is such a mess, why aren't you cleaning it up? Don't you think you need a man around the house? Shouldn't you be home and let a man do the "real" work? etc, etc, etc.' You know, you've heard her voice. The truth is that I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself and my life in a way that I see fit for myself and I hope I am raising my daughter to feel less stressed about the choices she decides to make for herself. I believe this new found independence is wonderful, it just needs to be adapted to each persons set of circumstances and not made to be the same old straight jacket with a new name stiched on the lable. I beleive when we realize that we can step off the treadmill, the stress desesases will fade.

Friday, July 05, 2002

being an independent woman is a great thing. and its not about freedom. its about responsibility, about living life as an individual. person. and i am greatful for that. i love the idea of working for my living, payng my bills, managing money, being able to do what my heart desires with the rider of responsibilty towards my actions. what really excites me is the fact as a woman there really is a lot of adventure in all of this. sometimes there is a sense of discovery, a sense of thrill, excitement. i look at all the thing women do now ( and i really mean slog) , cook, clean, take care of the house, the kids, participate in investment decisions. wow. and what about men? hmm slowly women are in a differently league all together.. u have them drinking hard after a hard days work..partying hard.. after all of that get home to start "work" there...burnout rate i bet is high. now you have a whole breed of newgeneration women with hypertention, alchoholic problems, early menopause, gout and a whole plethora of "new gen" health problems.. all arising out of extreme stress. you now have more divorces, more relationship issues..women with a lot of desires and aspirations..and men not really understanding any of it. you really cant blame the man.. he cant understand why women are so hyper now days.. and you really cant blame the woman she she is only being equal and is still learning to handle the new found "independence" where are we headed? where are we going? what is happening? i love the feeling.. i love the life..but dont want to lose control.


"A Pakistani tribal council ordered an 18-year-old girl to be gang-raped in order to punish her family after her brother was seen walking with a girl from a higher class tribe."

It's hard to believe that as we enjoy our freedom and sometimes even take it for granted, this is what's happening to women, in some parts of the world.
Dear All..
I would like say thanks for giving me place to speak my mind. Sometimes connecting lets you grow and develop. by voicing ideas and thoughts.. you are on a continuous learning mode. Not only are you expressing yourself but also the door to newer ideas is opened and you probably get a deeper understanding to yours as well.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Thank you very much.

The sisterhood. I have always know we were here somewhere. Thank you, Elaine. I find here that my intuative tendency to babble has found a place to flower.

The Greatest Generation?

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. Upon reflection, I would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizen who took:

* The melody out of music,
* The pride out of appearance,
* The romance out of love,
* The commitment out of marriage,
* The responsibility out of parenthood,
* The togetherness out of the family,
* The learning out of education,
* The service out of patriotism,
* The civility out of behavior,
* The refinement out of language,
* The dedication out of employment,
* The prudence out of spending,
* The ambition out of achievement,

* And we certainly are not the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from relationships. Maybe Tom Brokaw had it right when he called us "The Greatest Generation"

What can I say? It's hard to be humble.

Have a safe and fun Independence Day. We can all count our blessings and with all its warts and bumps, still be proud to be an American. Va-va-voom, bay-bies!!! Be careful out there.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Iranian Bloggers Follow-up

In case you hadn't noticed way down there in the comments, we got a couple of interesting responses on my post about the BBCNews article on Iranian women bloggers. One is from nwa who thinks Blogsisters is cool, and another from Mahdiyar, who kindly offered to be an ambassador for us to other Iranian femme bloggers. Thanks to both of you for responding!

A postscript: Even though my posts have been focused on Iranian bloggers, I hope it's obvious that my main interest here is in promoting women from all over the world to join blog sisters. I've always been interested in different cultures and what they have to offer, especially cultures I don't know much about, and the more here, the merrier.

P.P.S. Mahdiyar, your English is much better than my Persian, so don't apologize!

Another freebie from the Chronicle of Higher Ed

In a fascinating and very readable literature review entitled, "Are Girls Really as Mean as Books Say They Are?," Carol Tavris takes a look at The Birth of Pleasure, by Carol Gilligan (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), Fast Girls: Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut, by Emily White (Scribner, 2002), Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, by Rachel Simmons (Harcourt, 2002), Queen Bees and Wannabes: A Parent's Guide to Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, by Rosalind Wiseman (Crown, 2002), The Secret Lives of Girls: Sex, Play, Aggression, and Their Guilt, by Sharon Lamb (Free Press, 2002), The Tending Instinct: How Nurturing Is Essential for Who We Are and How We Live, by Shelley E. Taylor (Times Books, 2002), and Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, by Phyllis Chesler (Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2001).

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Finally some action here!
Well, it's about time some Sisters surfaced. If you haven't checked the website (including bio) of our newest and most venerable Blog Sister Lorraine, do so. Very interesting lady here. And our never-venal Andrea can always be counted on as well.

As for me, here's something my very pregnant (due next week) daughter emailed me.

Subject: Women who read

A couple go on vacation to a fishing resort in northern Minnesota. The husband likes to fish at the crack of dawn. The wife likes to read. One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and continues to read her book.

Along comes a forest policeman in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, ‘Good morning Ma'am. What are you doing?’

‘Reading a book,’ she replies, (thinking ‘isn't that obvious?’)

‘You're in a restricted fishing area,’ he informs her.

‘I'm sorry officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading.’

‘Yes, but you have all the equipment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.’

‘If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,’ says the woman.

‘But I haven't even touched you,’ says the policeman.

‘That's true, but you have all the equipment.’

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.

Ancient Hag........

but really quite cute, actually. If you don't mind long, broken fingernails, tangled grey hair with small birds nesting in it, a faint but distinctly heady aroma emanating from that shrunken carcass.......hey, I'm your gal. My name is Minimouse aka Lorraine. I am a 71 year old stinky old lady who does pretty much what she wants. And likes it that way.

Ms Kalilli aka Elaine invited me to join the sisters. Now this is true---I am an only child. Really. My parents apparently felt they could not improve on perfection so quit after I arrived on the scene. Well, if you believe my mother's sisters, (who coincidentally were my aunts) claimed that after seeing me they were afraid of having another child. I was born in one of the small bedrooms of my grandmother's house, but they were not so poor they could not afford a real doctor to come to the house to help with the project. And so I was born and here I am.

And the world is mighty glad about that, or so I've been told. There are details about me and my life on my "regular" webpage, so I am not going to prolong your agony by repeating myself here. Just this morning, when I did my usual routine of checking the mail, my daughter's blogpage, my site to see if anyone had been there, blah, blah. -- I discovered I'd suddenly acquired a "summer place", as Kathie (the kid) calls it. A "Mousetrap, continued". In other words, a place where I could have a popup comment page, an option not available on FullMoonWebs where I live all year 'round.

Now I am scared. What I always wanted---a comment page---I now have. This is an awful lot of pressure, you know? I mean, now I cannot just blather about nothing, I need to blog about something interesting enough for someone to "comment" on. Eeeeeeeuuu.

Well, as I told that old Crone of Blogdom, whatsherrname, I have a tendency to babble. And babble I have. Do you have my address? Did I tell you I have a comment page.?..........but for folks on the run, there is also a TAGboard you can click on for pithy one-liner comment or to just say HI. In any event, I do hope you will drop in and if you don't want to say anything at least leave a muffin or something for me, okey?

Am I supposed to put my URL in here now? Well, just in case. Hello? Hello? Anybody hear me?

Because sometimes Bad Girls are Fun

Train at home to become an Evil Empress today! You know you want to.

While seduction has its place in my vast arsenal, I realize that "evil" and "skanky" are not mutually inclusive. Royal Dressmakers unable to realize this fact will be flayed alive in the presence of their replacements.

If I require my Hag or Crone to poison someone, I will require the poison be quick and deadly rather than a mere sleep aid.

My Amazon Hordes will wear full body armor, rather than three small triangles of chain mail, which are reserved for dress occasions.

I will neither repress my Beautiful but Wicked Daughter nor smother my Handsome but Evil Son. It's hard enough raising a ruling family these days without extra dysfunctional baggage. No one wants disgruntled offspring suddenly "seeing the light" and turning Good simply because mother dearest gave them an unhappy childhood.

The appearance of weakness can be as useful as the appearance of strength. I will exploit the double standard for all its worth.

My poison-fanged or -clawed beast minions will not be spiders, snakes and ravens, but kittens, goldfish, and canaries.

What to do with teenagers when roller skating gets old? SkyZone!

As the mother of a teenage daughter, figuring out activities that give ME a break, are nearby, don't involve computers and cell phones...