Friday, November 29, 2002

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

In keeping with the free-spirited and inclusive intentions that are at the heart of Blog Sisters, today, CEO Jeneane and President Elaine issued the following light-hearted (and somewhat light-headed, after all that world-wide publicity) press release:

Blog Sisters--For Immediate Release

Blogsisters Relocates Headquarters to Blogaria

Women-Only Weblog Moves from Blogsville to Blogaria to Provide Added
Convenience for Members Attending the University of Blogaria

BLOGARIA, November 29, 2002 - Blog Sisters announced today that it has relocated its headquarters from Blogsville to the college town of Blogaria. The move puts members in closer proximity to the University of Blogaria (UB) where several Sisters hold positions and attend classes.

“When Blogsville turned into Dullsville, we knew it was time to breathe some new life into this community,” said Blog Sisters’ founder and UB staff member, Jeneane Sessum. “Some of us were having to travel five or six clicks just to get our research done on time—never mind correcting papers. It seemed like a good time to pack up and move to Blogaria”

“We’re happy to have the Blog Sisters nearby,” said UB Provost and Vice Chancellor of Imaginary Affairs Frank Paynter. “They know how to cook and clean, and most of the men here have no clue,” he said. “They’re also kind of snazzy dames.”

Blog Sister President, Elaine of Kalilily, responded by socking Paynter in the gut. “That’s just a warning, Bucko,” Elaine said. “Next time I aim lower.”

All in all, the Blog Sister faculty members and students now residing near UB are pleased with the new living arrangements.

They have, however, placed steel-jaw leghold traps at each door to prevent panty raids.

Prof. of Priapic Ideation, Christopher Locke, was not deterred by this news.

“One hundred smart women in one blogdorm—I don’t really need my left leg anyhow.”

Last seen, Elaine of Kalilily was at a kick boxing studio honing her body blows.

# # #

Ms. Magazine Weblog Mentions Blog Sisters

You might like to know that Ms. Magazine online now has a weblog, ms.musings, authored by Christine Cupaiuolo. Her 11/28 post is about the NY Times article, and she mentions Blog Sisters. At the end of that post, she asks "Who are your favorite female bloggers?" If you'd like to suggest a few, link over to here and do so.

What a Day!

Today is my one-year Blogiversary, and I'm celebrating it trying to keep up with all of the women emailing me asking to join Blog Sisters.

Here's an snippet from my post on my own weblog today:
Meanwhile, I celebrate today the way I celebrated November 29, 2001 -- at the computer, weblogging. Although tonight I might work on the booties-that-look-like sneakers for my grandson. I couldn't find a pattern that I liked so I'm inventing my own.... And so, for all those out in Blogdom who criticize women bloggers for posting about knitting. Stuff it!.... Isn't it great to feel that there is nothing we can't do and that it is soooo OK to enjoy all kinds of activities that are productive and life-affirming! Yeah! Yeah! Go Blog Sisters.

Censorship and/or the ethics of delinking:
Do you expect to always have only positive feedback in your comments? Are you upset when someone disagrees with you, or questions your argument? Is blogging about patting those "just like us" on the back, and blocking those who aren't? Is tolerance analogous to stupidity?

What the hell is this? The Tuesday Too on Friday?
No, just some questions to mull over. Here are two links (1, 2) mired in a "discussion" to rev up your engines.

"In the spider-web of facts, many a truth is strangled."
--Paul Eldridge

(Also posted on Testzone)

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Create Something Day

I've been thinking about Buy Nothing Day, and about anti-consumerism in general. And I'm considering the words of Starhawk, when she speaks of finding a more positive model for combatting globalization, beginning with what we CALL things. And I'm wondering if it might be more appropriate, rather than participating in Buy Nothing Day, to participate in Create Something Day.

So, with that in mind, I hereby proclaim Friday, November 29, 2002 to be the first annual Create Something Day. Draw a picture, write a poem, sing a song, make a sculpture out of found objects, do collage art, paint, dream, cook a meal, make a friend, write a letter, make a mix tape, start a blog...create something out of things you already have available to you.

Because, generally, when we cease to do something, we find something to take its place. If we cease to participate in consumerism, let's fill that gap with something positive. Let's fill it with something creative.

Because the opposite of consumption is production. And we can choose to produce things that are positive and healthful for others to consume.

If you wish to participate in Create Something Day, please trackback or comment here and let me know what you've created. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece. It doesn't even have to be tangible. It just has to be something that you feel has a positive impact.

(cross-posted at clothespins for the revolution, randomWalks, and Full Bleed)

Adding my piece on the NY Times article on women & blogs.

So, this is the link, and here is what I have to say about it: The predictably-linked article, from The New York Times discusses the so-called male-dominated world of blogging. The very concept of a male-centric "Blogville" seems ludicrous to me.

I can't recall exactly why I first entered the great wide world of blogging (oh day of days). I'd thought my interest had been piqued by Rebecca Mead's now-famous article in the New Yorker on the nascent blogging scene, but date-checking shows me that my first posting came two weeks before the publication of that article. In any case, I remember that article as being my inspiration for blogging. More specifically, I remember my inspiration being Meg Hourihan, co-founder of Pyra, the company behind the Blogger software (is software the right word?) this blog relies on. From the moment I read the article, I thought Meg (who is herself a BlogSister) seemed nothing short of totally awesome. I read her blog, and I wanted to meet her. I knew that was an absurd and slightly creepy aspiration, and if I couldn't meet her, I could at least blog my heart out. So to me, blogging was always about the women, from the very beginning. I soon discovered other favorite blogs, all belonging to women: Mighty Girl (which I still read almost daily), Weblog Wannabe, and BlogSisters (obviously cool). A quick analysis of my blogroll reveals that of twelve blogs, exactly half are authored by women. Not too shabby.

In short, I feel Lisa Guernsey's article was under-researched and therefore misrepresented my experience, and probably the experience of many other bloggers, both male and female. I remember thinking that "Blogville" was, if anything, dominated by females. In the end, while it was nice to see something in a major publication about BlogSisters, I thought the broad conclusions the author came to were rather unsubstantiated.

(a version of this was originally posted on Fire & Ice)

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

on women and blogs

After reading the NYTimes article about blogsisters, I took a look at my own blogroll. Out of twenty-four blogs (not counting group-authored blogs), six are by women. That's 25%. Pretty close to the % of women in professional computer positions in 2001 (28%, down from 36% in 1990).

But those raw numbers are not a clear indicator of my blog reading habits. Of those twenty-four I count seven that I read religiously, and that have a significant imact on my own thinking and writing. Of those, three are by men, and four are by women. And as my blogroll has morphed over time, I have added more women, and dropped more men. Not because of their gender...but because of their voice.

The article puts it this way:

People who track blogs hate to make generalizations, but many acknowledged that female bloggers often have more of an inward focus, keeping personal diaries about their daily lives.

If that is the case, the Venus-Mars divide has made its way into Blogville. Women want to talk about their personal lives. Men want to talk about anything but. So far the people who have received the most publicity (often courtesy of male journalists) appear to be the latter.

I think this is close to the mark, but not exactly right. The "inward focus" rings true, but the "personal diaries" does not. The women whose blogs I read seem to speak with more of a personal and recognizable voice. But what they write goes far beyond a personal diary. They write about research, about law, about information architecture, about copyright, about gender, and about blogs themselves. But they write about them with grace and style, with a voice that is unmistakably theirs, unmistakably personal. Yes, they write about their personal lives, but they weave that into their content. It is a part of who they are as bloggers, but not all that they are. By including parts of themselves in what they write, they infuse their words and thoughts more power, they make them come to life on the screen. It makes me feel connected to their writing in a way that a less personal voice wouldn't accomplish. That's a wonderful thing.

(an earlier version of this was posted at mamamusings)

Revolving Door

According to this editorial, the kind of news that gets reported in major newspapers may be affected by the gender of the newsroom management. For instance:

...male and female reporters covered a similar agenda of issues if they worked for a newspaper with a large number of women in managerial positions. However, if they worked for a paper with a low number of women newsroom managers, there was likely to be a skewed pattern in assignments, with males more often covering politics and females more likely to cover education and human-interest features.

Is this giving the people what they want? This article says no, although I daresay the perception is relative:

...certain types of content have a greater potential to make readers read more. At the top of the list is "intensely local, people-centered news, which includes stories about ordinary people," and lifestyle news--the positive material surveys find is associated with the presence of women newsroom managers.

There's a certain leap in logic here that I don't completely follow. Isn't it just a short slide from there to the news nuggets about the percentage of Americans eating celery that USA Today has brought to us? But maybe that's getting off topic.

Just 1 in 5 of the nation's top female editors say they definitely want to move up in the newspaper industry, according to a study released this fall by the American Press Institute and The Pew Center for Civic Journalism. In contrast, almost 1 out of 2 said they expected to leave their company or the news business entirely, far more than the 1 in 3 men who say they want to move up or change careers.

I'd like to see more about what's causing this exodus, but the literature hasn't done a great job of addressing this yet. Are the women leaving because they're fed up, overworked, underpaid, quitting to raise families? These questions remain unanswered, but I see the door revolve every day and it makes me wonder.

(Also posted at Bells and Whistles)

Blog Sisters in the New York Times!

The online version is up, and the print version will be out tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day. Blog Sisters is mentioned in Telling All Online: It's a Man's World (Isn't It?), an article by Lisa Guernsey in the Circuits section of the publication. Jeneane and I are quoted, and there's a photo of our founding mother and her daughter, Jenna. I'll bet we're going to get lots of hits here over the next few days, so now's the time to post all of that stuff that's been sitting on the tip of your fingers. Our thanks to all of our Blog Sisters for opting to be a part of this group of extraordinary women. A Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Who Are the Blog Sisters?

At Jeneane's instigation and with your contributions, we have whipped up a bio page for any Blog Sister that would like to send information. Keep 'em coming, and find out more about your fellow Blog Sisters at:

from 0 to 5

soft legs and fleshy neck, the smell of her newborn hair, rubbing my cheek against hers, healing warmth, unspoiled, suckling with rounded fists, peace, awe, eyes that follow me, change colors, open mouth, words forming, joy of legs and arms moving, the first crawl, chasing cats, eating lint from the carpet, tottering from sofa to piano stool, screaming laughter, ugh-ohs, cheerios, elbow macaroni and banging spoons on high chair tray, wandering roaming walking, eating goldfish on the go, washing down crackers with a bottle, french fries, sippy-cup, meatballs and spaghetti sauce hair, sticky bedtime bath, shampoo sweetness, bedtime stories, morning eagerness, piercing voice of joy, running and strutting, up and down stairs, mama, dada, kitty, doggie, pre-k, best friends, skipping and dancing, artwork, watercolors, markers, playdough, Barbie, CDs and cassettes, tantrums, attitude, bumps and bandaids, hugs and tears, a big-girl bed, dresses and party shoes, bows for her hair, phone calls and shopping, pigtails and braids, reading and math, books and papers, hearts and flowers, muscled legs and long neck, the smell of her long, curly hair, rubbying my cheek to hers.

blog sisters / feminism and rumblings

Change comes from being openly dissatisfied. I think it unfortunate that human beings regardless of race gender and whatever else separates our struggles if only in our own closed minds continues to plague the bottom line of real progress.

Its almost funny, but not funny because people honestly believe in this ignorance.

A farmer plants a seed, harvests his crops sells them to the market and makes a profit. Who is really responsible for this progress? The farmer? The market place? The consumers?

No, the seed, the ground, weather, and water is responsible, everybody wants to be special for having the good sense to put right things together.

Good Lawd!!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Oh, by the way, Post on...

[consider the previous an intermission--return to the discussions at hand.] ;-)

Calling All Blog Sisters

There's been an interesting conversation going on over on Shelley Powers' blog about "girlism" and "feminism" and the like. In the sub-discussion comments, an interesting post from Dan Lyke about Blog Sisters caught my attention. Among other things, Dan said:

"I try not to read Blog Sisters because it feels like 'Maxim for girls', reinforcing the sorts of attitudes which lead to good docile consumers who fit into easily manipulated demographics."


"I understand that Blog Sisters is non-commercial and has no editorial control and is just what its members make of it. And yes, a quick glance through finds some good content. But overall, if I were to paint women in general with the brush I get from Blog Sisters I'd run screaming from the world. My issue, my perceptions, not yours, and it's unlikely that any amount of meta-argument is going to change my mind. If I thought that Blog Sisters accurately represented the attitudes and opinions of women in my personal community, I'd read it for information about them no matter what. And if you're happy with Blog Sisters, more power to you, you're welcome to do with my opinions what you wish."

I take some responsibility for what Dan has missed about us. While I'm not sure where he got the impression that we are "reinforcing the sorts of attitudes which lead to good docile consumers who fit into easily manipulated demographics," I am sure disappointed that he would run screaming from the world if he thought we represented women in general.

That's kind of hard to hear.

I think my part in contributing to Dan's misperception of this place is that I haven't emphasized enough the variety and depth and diversity of women, opinions, lifestyles, beliefs, etc. that are represented in the woman of this community.

I want to change this.

Could each of you--if you want to participate--please email me tonight or tomorrow (there is a time sensitive element to this) a few sentences that describe you--what you're about, what you do, your interests/passions/expertise, your age if you want to share, where you live (state or country, etc.) or anything else that makes you you. If you have a JPEG photo of yourself, send that too, as well as your weblog address.

I want to create a page that tells who we are--who all of us are--not just me, Elaine, and Andrea (the crew that keeps this place going). I'd like to make it easier for those who read us to understand that the women here are single, married, young, not so young, from around the globe; they're stay-at-home moms, working moms, childless-by-choice, or still looking for Mr. or Ms. Right; they're journalists, technologists, children, mothers, grandmothers; they're dancers, artists, poets, feminists, non-feminists. All of it and more.

If each reader were to read every post and visit every individual weblog present here, they'd see this. But let's face it; we can't expect that, and I hate that some folks are missing what makes this place so cool--you.

Andrea, if you want to help, maybe we can design a who-we-are page that says, "About the Blog Sisters," and put our short bios and pics in alphabetical order, along with links to each woman's weblog.

Thoughts? If you email your info and pics to, we'll take it from there. Rather quickly.

Sorry this was so long in coming. Thanks, Ladies.

Let's not forget to lighten up

A friend send me the url to this site for Using humor to bring awareness, support, education and inspiration to women at a time in their lives where all the rules seem to change.

The site even has this section for the men in our lives who care.

One strong woman

I went swing dancing last night, as I do every Monday. At these dances I've always seen this woman: my height, but more petite; short, blonde hair; around 50; and an amazing dancer. She often dances with a guy who looks around 20 (maybe younger), who's tall, dark, handsome and, yes, an amazing dancer.

I found out last night that this woman is the young man's mother. In fact, she's the 55-year-old mother of something like 17 children. Then I saw her signing to her son. That's right--he's deaf, and he's one of the most interesting dancers to watch on the D.C. scene.

I also heard from a reliable source that the woman herself grew up disadvantaged, in a project in Baltimore, and that some of her other children also have either physical or mental disabilities.

That people like this exist makes me feel very small indeed.

Shutting down the conversation

What's particularly difficult about writing something such as my posting Girlism? is seeing the gentlemen in the community linking to Halley's post, but not my refutation. Huzzahs for Halley's refreshing honesty and blowing the lid off the terrible games we women play.

Perpetuating the myth by controlling the links, and thereby controlling the discussion. Well done. Is this another lesson we women should learn?

But then, I'm picking on Halley with my posting, aren't I? And members of the same community are not supposed to do this. We either agree, or stay silent. Another lesson to learn.

Why are more women's voices not heard in technology? Because men control technology's voice. I guess the same could be said for weblogging.

(Also posted at Burningbird.)

Monday, November 25, 2002

Remembering Mimmie

I made two apple pies over the weekend. I can bake fairly well, and I was (relatively) pleased with the outcome. Apple pie is one of my signatures; family and friends now expect me to produce at least one for all holidays. I always feel connected to my grandmother when I bake. Mixing the pie crust, rolling it out, sensing if it needs a bit more water or flour, getting the end result to be perfect...these tasks call images of Mimmie, and the remarks she made, to mind. When I asked her to describe her occupation, as part of an interview for my college class on aging, she responded with a laugh, "I don't want to say jack of all trades and master of none," before settling on "cook."

Mimmie was especially fond of sweets. As a newlywed in 1926, she started writing recipes in a spiral-bound notebook. On the cover is taped an illustration of a kitchen by Maxwell Mays that looks much like Mimmie's at the old house, where she lived before moving to a small mobile home next door to my brother's house, during the later years of her life. Assembling my pies on Saturday, I realize that my kitchen is also reminiscent of hers; although there is no wringer washing machine, and my range uses natural gas instead of propane and wood, the 1940s are still visible in my enamel-topped table, chrome hardware, tile walls, and lack of automatic dishwasher.

Mimmie was precise in everything. Just today I received a note in the mail from my aunt, Mimmie's oldest daughter, about a dinner she hosted a few weekends ago. She writes that it was great to have us over, and she would like to do it again. "I'll try to make something better, I think the mashed potatoes were dry." This makes me smile, because the meal was delicious, and her words remind me of Mimmie. Then, I see she added: "I sound like Mimmie, but it's true," and my smile becomes a chuckle.

The stained pages inside Mimmie's old cookbook are written in fountain pen and long ago started to crumble. That notebook begins with a recipe for Irish Wedding Cake. My sister recently returned from a trip to Ireland. All of Mimmie's grandparents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1840s or '50s. She never visited there; in fact, she rarely strayed from the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York, and she even preferred staying at home to going out locally. But that didn't prevent her from being fiercely proud of her heritage. My sister brought back some stones from Counties Cork and Kerry. After Thanksgiving we plan to go to the cemetery, to share with Mimmie those mementos from her ancestral place. (Also posted at Gully Brook Press)


Halley Suitt wrote the following at Blog Sisters in response to the question, "Whatever happened to feminism":

    "There is no more feminism," I explain. Game Over. But it took me a day or two to name the new game. It's "girlism" -- women want to be sexy girls and use all the tricks girls use. Crying, flirting, begging, winking, stomping their feet when they don't get their way, general trotting around showing off their long legs and whatever else they decide to show off thereby distracting and derailing men.

    It's about power -- the girl power we've always had, but forgot about, combined with all the stuff we've learned in the workplace. Needless to say, if you're a man and you call us on it, we deny it. The new double double standard. We learned how to stop playing fair

In my computer technology field, which is one of the most heavily male-dominated professions, I have never once seen a woman use flirting, begging, winking, stomping their feet, showing off their long legs, dressing sexy, or anything of this nature to get their way. If anything, women are less likely to display emotion on the job in my field than the men. Why? Because of statements such as these, saying that there is a double double standard and that women are using 'girly' ways to succeed.

Example: Once I was so frustrated at continually being undercut by a male co-worker that I shed tears. Another of my co-workers, a woman, said that I needed to stop crying, because I was falling into the 'women cry, men swear' stereotype. I have never cried at work since. However, I have learned to pound the desk in anger, and swear a lot. Are these better? Well, at least they aren't stereotypical.

Girlism. A label to discount women's human experience and expression.

When women cry, they're resorting to 'girlism', but when men cry, they're being sensitive. Men can be hurt and receive understanding and compassion, but when women are hurt, they're being overly emotional. Is that it works now? Women dress for sex, but men dress for success. And when women get angry, they're being 'girly', but when men get angry, they're being assertive.

(also posted at Burningbird)

Girl Wandering

On the eve of the next big chapter in my life, a move to another continent, I've been thinking a lot about all the wanderings I've done in my scant 24 (soon to be 25) years: living on a sailboat from age 2 and traveling the southern California coast; a three month tour through 25 states, Canada, and Mexico at age seven; trips to Russia, Wales/ UK, Paris, the Netherlands, and now Australia. So, in the middle of packing, I unearthed my diary from my three week trip to Pushkin, Russia at age 16. I've typed up the entries, scanned in sketches and photos, and am now adding some annotations-- memories, reflections, additional information, my thoughts as I look back on one of the most formative trips of my life, and an experience that has added to my considerable wanderlust today. Three continents down, only four to go...

Not a minute more.

Today the United Nations Development Fund for Women is hosting an event in New York to commemorate November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds.
A woman is raped every 23 seconds in South Africa.
Every minute in the United Kingdom, police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence. 81% of these are female victims attacked by male perpetrators.
47% of women in Bangladesh have been physically abused in their lifetime by an intimate partner.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Breast feeding: What's your limit?

The Associated Press reports about a woman whose legal guardianship of her son was taken away because she breast-fed her son until age 8.

DeLaMar said Stuckey's most misguided decision was appearing on ABC's Good Morning America program to promote her philosophy of letting her son slowly wean himself from breast feeding. The program included footage of her breast-feeding the boy while reading to him. The appearance created "almost prurient interest" and subjected her son to stress and emotional harm, the judge said. "I hope you've learned some painful lessons," DeLaMar said.

In breast-obsessed America, we're rather militant about weaning kids at a certain age, correct? What's the U.S. consensus these days about when to wean?

I don't have kids, so have not yet had to make this decision. But after reading about the rites of breast feeding across cultures while an anthropology student, I decided that I'd probably lean toward breast-feeding longer than most women in the U.S. do. Not necessarily till my child is as old as 8, but perhaps until age 2 or 3 (if I could take it--I hear that when kids grow teeth, it gets pretty painful). The articles I read cited physical and emotional health benefits to both mother and child for those who breast-fed longer. In many indigenous cultures, the average age of weaning seemed to be about 4.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Driving While Aroused

posted tonight on allied as well:

A Longview, Texas woman was arrested for having 17 sex toys in her car, according to this article. If convicted, she could face two years in jail. Notice, will you, that she was stopped for suspicion of DUI. And yet, what is the news angle of this story? The fact that the woman was allegedly driving drunk and could have killed someone's child is not discussed because it's not "news." It's America. What is news is that this woman works as a distributor for Slumber Parties, which is described as Tuperware meets Victoria Secret. Apparently, that just ain't lady like in Texas, ya'll.

What Ever Happened To Feminism?

I'm having lunch with four really bright guys at work and one says, apropos of the Victoria's Secret Lingerie Show on CBS the night before, "What Ever Happened To Feminism?" And I say, "It's over," and then I say, "and you guys are in big, big trouble."

This brings the appetizer munching to a slow halt. I start to explain. We entered the work force in the 70's in those ridiculous women's suits with bowties. We wanted a level playing field. We wanted to play fair. We wanted the same opportunities and privileges men got. We won a few of those, but mostly we lost and we weren't taken seriously. We cried "foul" with sexual harrassment in the 80's and 90's and then the game changed completely. We went back to basics. We found our old power -- girl power -- and we added that to what we'd learned from men. So now we knew how to be professional but we also remembered how to be subversive, subversively female, subversively feminine.

"There is no more feminism," I explain. Game Over. But it took me a day or two to name the new game. It's "girlism" -- women want to be sexy girls and use all the tricks girls use. Crying, flirting, begging, winking, stomping their feet when they don't get their way, general trotting around showing off their long legs and whatever else they decide to show off thereby distracting and derailing men.

It's about power
-- the girl power we've always had, but forgot about, combined with all the stuff we've learned in the workplace. Needless to say, if you're a man and you call us on it, we deny it. The new double double standard. We learned how to stop playing fair.

Violence and the Miss World Pageant

I'm not at all sure what remarks to make about this article, given the variety of issues here, except this: tragic.

Metaphorically Maternal

Among his ongoing commentaries about the politics and poker in America today, bix links to Ellen Goodman’s article about Nancy Pelosi – but he left out something Goodman said that I’d like to highlight.

Goodman says
It's barely a week since Nancy Pelosi became minority leader, and there's already been a regime change of metaphors. Out with sports; in with food…… On ''Meet the Press,'' the woman who became head of the Democratic Household cheerily compared her postelection fate to the patriotic poultry…… ''You know the story. It's like the Thanksgiving turkey,'' she said. ''You bring it out, you get this great honor, everybody oohs and ahs ... and then they begin to carve you up.'

Having worked for almost twenty years for the CEO of a government agency division who is a woman and who made a point of using non-sports metaphors, I saw how a corporate culture is affected by the metaphorical language used by its leader. My former boss tends to use family and home-based metaphors, which reflect a collaborative, sibling approach to management. Most of the managers reporting to her are men, and their tendency is to use sports metaphors, which reflect competitive, hierarchical values. Over the years, her metaphors have reinforced the management messages she tries to communicate. The culture of the organization has become such that employees from other parts of the agency keep looking for job openings with her operation. And, under her leadership, the units for which she is responsible have gained great respect and support from the government agencies that provide her funding.

Language. Voice. Metaphor. More powerful than the sword -- for both good and ill.
(double posted on my own blog)

"New Hope for Battered Women"

Following up on Drucilla's post from earlier this week, the Washington Post has an interesting article today: "Battered Women's New Day in Court: Calif. Law Lets Inmates Who Killed Abusers Ask for Another Hearing." I've posted it at Estaminet but wanted to share my thoughts with y'all too.

In what seems to be an increasingly rare move, this law (which has been around for nearly a year; this is the first time it's been enacted) brings actual justice. Justice is a tricky, subjective, elusive concept, often confused with vengeance. But this law, the first in the nation to apply retroactively, seeks to correct past mistakes and spreads awareness of a massive societal problem simultaneously.

I'm on board with this law, having seen the battered-woman syndrome first-hand. I've walked into a room of a friend to find her sobbing on the floor at the feet of her boyfriend who had just knocked her there. I threw him out; she brought him back. Another friend, despite all our efforts to help her, has spent years in a marriage getting belittled and hit and shoved around and cut off from her family. He even beat her dog. And still I get cheerful letters, the veneer of normalcy fragile as a butterfly's wing but impregnable as a brick wall.

I get violent when I think about these things too much. I don't believe in the death penalty, but I often feel I could kill these men with my bare hands for what they've done to people I love. Hopefully other states will follow California's example with this law, creating greater public awareness of this syndrome. Battered women -- and men -- live in a separate reality, and those who love them can only pray they pull themselves loose from it before the worst happens. Maybe this law will create a little more hope and courage in the present as it sets old wrongs to right.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

holiday gift idea - to benefit breast and ovarian cancer research

I heard about this calendar at work and thought it looked like a great gift idea for the holidays. Proceeds benefit breast cancer and ovarian cancer research, and the cost seems pretty reasonable.

Joyce Ostin, a professional photographer and cancer survivor did the photography. She took these photos in the homes of celebrities who are supporting breast cancer awareness, like Julianna Margulies, Peggy Lipton, Kyra Sedgwick, and others. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

News on women in technology.

From, comments on women that are currently holding key positions in technology related corporations.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Battered Men

I'm curious as to what the blog sisters think about the statistical evidence that men are as likely to be abused by women as women are by men.

Ampersand posted this entry, and I have sort of been posting about it on my blog here and here.

Big Brother and Yahoo: they sure write the same

Yahoo says that "I'm in charge of the messages I receive from them." I can tell their marketing department what kind of ads I would like!

Look, you idiots! (I'm speaking to Yahoo, of course!) If any person with half a brain were in charge of the messages they receive from Yahoo, they wouldn't RECEIVE any messages from Yahoo! Especially those with ads!

Comment on the latest HRT News

I wonder if any woman will ever receive an apology from a doctor who ridiculed and humiliated her for refusing to use HRT? Until recently, women who refused it seemed to make the medical establishment angry. Now, most of them are positioning themselves as do-gooders trying to warn women away from their nasty HRT habit.

Mothers Against Genetic Engineering

From their website:

Madge is a rapidly growing network of politically non-aligned women who have decided to actively resist the use of genetically engineered organisms in our food and on our land.

Madge is networking nationally and has created an infrastructure that collects, correlates and distributes information relating to genetic engineering.

Madge believes that GE ingredients must be proved to be 100% safe before we feed them to our families. Our children are not guinea pigs... we want the freedom to choose what we grow and eat.

Madge supports those companies who have committed to a GE free status and boycotts and lobbies those who have not.

Madge believes that genetic engineering is an experimental science in its infancy and as such should be confined to safe and secure laboratories for medical research. This, is what GE Free New Zealand means to us.

They even have a cool logo!

Monday, November 18, 2002

Solitude vs. Company

Charles Murtaugh cites Caitlin Flanagan on what women apparently crave:
The photography in her [Martha Stewart] various publications seems to reduce all of female longing to its essential elements. A basket of flowers, a child's lawn pinafore draped across a painted rocking chair, an exceptionally white towel folded in thirds and perched in glamorous isolation on a clean and barren shelf: most of the pictures feature a lot of sunlight, and many show rooms that are either empty of people or occupied solely by Martha, evoking the profound and enduring female desires for solitude and silence. No heterosexual man can understand this stuff, and no woman with a beating heart and an ounce of femininity can resist it.

He comments:
I'll take her word for it. And perhaps women will take my word that many men, at least the men I know, crave almost precisely the opposite: not solitude, but company, and specifically the company of other men.

Are women really such lone wolves? Or are we just saying that we are in order to exert our independence?

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Looking for "Normal People Are Not Exceptional"

I'm trying to find where I can get a copy of this film as a holiday present for my son b!X. I guess it played on the International Channel; I don't get it and he missed it. And he can't locate it anywhere through Net searches. Anyone out there know?

Friday, November 15, 2002

Is this for real?

Restrooms of the Future.

31 years of being a woman, and I had no idea this was possible!

Thursday, November 14, 2002

New Yahoo Group

I have been unhappy with the blog groups available, So i am starting a new one.

Click to subscribe to Blogging_Community

I am attempting to create a group that you actually want to join and stay in.

Librarian Barbie

Barbie the Librarian? The library listservs are buzzin'. Mattel has a Barbie career series. Now you can vote: Will Barbie be a librarian, an architect or a policewoman? Everyone's very excited about the prospect of a librarian Barbie, but I'm not 100% sold on the idea. Here's the thing: librarianship is typically a pink-collar profession. We're in a field, like nursing or teaching, that is traditionally female, hence less pay and less respect. Now, mind you, I believe that what we (and nurses, teachers, daycare workers, etc.) do IS worthy of respect and recognition (and $$). However, I have a problem with people cheering on the idea of this doll (a stereotypical woman) being made in the image of an already stereotyped and undervalued position. The other dolls in the series have been an art teacher (Another pink collar!) and a doctor. Not just any doctor, not a pediatrician, but a children's doctor. (Their choice of words. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with pediatricians, I'm saying- why not call things by their real names if we're showing girls possibilities for the future?)

And just how will Barbie be a librarian? Will she have glasses and a bun? An armload of books? Or will she be a sassy mama who can help a patron, research a topic, design and maintain a website, fix a computer, and teach a class in bibliographic instruction with one hand behind her back in the blink of an eye? How are you gonna visually represent THAT, Mattel?

(Does anyone else find it ironic that the end of the web address is products_icanbe2.asp?)

Girl Culture

Found via the illustrious Mena Trott, is an online photo essay based on the Lauren Greenfield book Girl Culture. I thought it was intriguing:

"If I don't dress well, I feel geeky. And if I feel nice, I feel like people like me. Fashionable clothing is way better and cool."
- Lily, 6 years old

"Everybody's got to make fun of somebody else. People make fun of me all the time because I'm overweight. It's just something you try to hide from, I guess. You don't want other people to see."
- Lisa, 13 years old

"I know I play into that image out there, but I try to say it is a fantasy. I look at my own pictures and wish I could look like that."
- Cindy Margolis, "The World's Most Downloaded Woman"

"I have really mixed feelings about the story of Cinderella. Of course, it's every girl's dream to find Prince Charming and marry and have a nice life. But Cinderella can't do anything for herself. She's dependent on the fact that Prince Charming's gonna come and take her, and if it weren't for him she would probably stay there, you know?"
- Ruby, 15 years old

Poignant stuff.

Direct Me.....

Kindly direct me to hell!!!!!
Oh Dorothy was right.....I need another birthday like I need a hole in the head.
Is it just me or does any one else have a fear of birthdays? Not to mention a fear of approaching thir...thir....thir....shit! I can't say it. Don't they have therapy for this in America? Is there any birthday therapy out there? And does any one else have the utter shits with hearing about Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck? Not to mention Brad Pitt and Jennifer 'the gonk' Anniston. And I've seen Sarah Jessica Parker and Mathew Broderick's new baby about seventeen times ( I've been counting ).
Is age making me cynical? Hell's Bells!!!!! I think it is!!!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002


I would like to invite fellow blog sisters to visit my blog. BlogData
If you read my posts you'll find blog related content, news, links, resources, and discussion. Please feel free to send me articles or news. I enjoy networking within the blogging community. My blog has a personal/professional feel with mixed content its on the techie side without being pretentious or nerdy.

Interact!!! Thanks

Monday, November 11, 2002

Blogger in Wonderland

I am here but I don't really understand. I clicked the invitation link, entered my account name and password then suddenly I am at the post page.

Well, I guess I am in now and I will figure it out from here.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Juggling frogs

After months of languishing on the sidebar link list, Blogger has finally given me write access to BlogSisters. So, hi there!

I'm currently travelling in Southeast Asia, where women's lives are rather different to the one I led in Brooklyn. Here's a taste from Vietnam, taken from When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by Le Ly's Hayslip. The spirit, if not the substance, may ring true for working mothers in the west.
'In the north, an unusual rice festival among minority groups involves a competition between unmarried women. The task is to cook a pot of rice, suspended from a pole attached to the woman's back by a sash. Each woman must quickly chew a stick of sugarcane to produce fiber for the fire, then balance a pot of rice over the fire. To make the task more difficult, each woman is also given an infant to hold and must contain a frog with a 1.5-meter diameter circle around the fire. The winner is the one who makes the best-tasting rice in the shortest time, keeps the frog contained, and sufficiently soothes the terrified infant.'

Saturday, November 09, 2002

play's the thing....

RageBoy’s post about playing, which links to several other playful male bloggers, affirmed what I was feeling all along in reading some of those posts on these guys’ weblogs. I don’t play the way these guys play, so their play doesn’t seem very playful to me. And I have a feeling that other women bloggers (and non-) feel the same way. Boys tend to love rough and tumble, sucker punches, messy wrestle on the ground get dirt in your mouth play. These male bloggers are playing like that metaphorically. Girls tend not to play the same way as boys. And women tend not to play like men.

So that’s why, when I read this, I think, wow, good blogging, great writing. But when I read some of his other stuff, I think, what a waste of time.

As I read some of the posts at Blog Sisters, I don't see much playfulness. What do we sound like when we're being playful? And why aren't we moreso in our blogs?

Personally, I suspect it's because while the boys are out playing, we're the ones who are dealing with the stuff of every day life survival that's not so much fun. Maybe if we had more support for those things from the men in our lives (and in "life" in general), we'd be more inclined to play more, and our weblogs would reflect this. But I still don't think our play would sound - or feel -- the same as that of our male friends. What do you think?

(double posted on

Friday, November 08, 2002

don't forget...

i love the recent posts here, from six-foot woman to bouncer/superhero combo. Where else you gonna find out about these things? That's all. That's all I have to add here this week. The only other thing I want to say is please, answer any or all of the questions on the Blog Sisters Survey, or write your own women and blogging ideas, and send me your thoughts.... good weekend all!


Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Terrifica to the Rescue

Topping Blogdex today is the story of a woman in NYC who dresses up as a superhero, hangs around bars, and intervenes when women too far into their cups look like they're about to be taken advantage of. I'm such a nerd, I think it's almost cooler that someone's willing to walk around regularly in mask/cape/boots, but what she's doing seems to be good-hearted, if a little odd and maybe heavy-handed and extreme (and I have to admit, I'm still wondering if it's some kind of hoax-- she even has a velvet-wearing "supervillain" counterpart called Fantastico who likes to be a ladies' man). The article states she created the idea of the superhero character after arriving alone in NYC and feeling vulnerable to the advances of men as a single 20-something. Seems like she prefers the single life to dating games:
"To feel like you have to go to a bar, to put yourself out there, feeling like you have worth only when you're married, engaged, or have a boyfriend, that's weakness," Terrifica says. "People are happiest when they're alone and living their solitary lives."

I find it hard to agree with that last statement, but I'm sure there are at least a few women she's talked to who have avoided some morning-after dread.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Attack of the Six Foot woman

I began my blog approximatley 3 months ago, but have just recently made it pubic knowledge to my circle of friends, who are all bloggers.

I hope to give people insight to what it's like being a tall woman - it can be wonderful (because, let's face it, there's more area to put that extra 5-7 pounds) and it can be horrible (you're always left watching your petite friends get asked to dance).

Lingerie Barbie

The Lingerie Barbie is stirring up a fuss. On the local news last night a furious dad stated he refused to buy the product for his Barbie-loving daughter (it looked like she had just about everything Barbie, including a house) and he was shocked to see it in the FAO Schwarz catalog. I found it odd that there wasn't much focus on the fact that the toy was recommended for 14 year olds and older (his daughter must have been about 7 or so).

I've long been a big UN-fan of Barbie in general, but this new model doesn't bother me so much-- she's kind of just a blatant example of what, to me, Barbie is about anyway. The angry dad on the news was upset about the sexual suggestiveness of the toy, but apparently has no problem letting his daughter play with lots of blonde, unrealistically shaped dolls that promote sexism in a more insidious way. Is this your idea of femininity? I don't want to come down too hard on Barbie dolls. I had one (and only one, and she got pretty beat up) and other dolls as a little girl. But I also had Legos, an electrical circuit experimentation kit, a microscope, etc., etc., and so on. With the Barbie franchise putting out products in the past like a credit card Barbie and a talking Barbie that said, "Math is hard!" it's hard to see how Barbies are supposed to be taken seriously or especially edifying for kids anyway.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Why Grannies Matter

It's taken awhile, but finally anthropologists are getting around to taking a good long look at the role of grandmother (otherwise archetypally known and the Wise Woman, or the Crone).

At a recent international conference — the first devoted to grandmothers — researchers concluded with something approaching a consensus that grandmothers in particular, and elder female kin in general, have been an underrated source of power and sway in our evolutionary heritage. Grandmothers, they said, are in a distinctive evolutionary category. They are no longer reproductively active themselves, as older males may struggle to be, but they often have many hale years ahead of them; and as the existence of substantial proportions of older adults among even the most "primitive" cultures indicates, such durability is nothing new.

Having a mother's mother around significantly improves the survival prospect of an infant, for example, and in some cases this is especially or only true for boys. (Paternal grandmothers don't confer the same benefit, interestingly enough.)

Anyway, the New York Times article is an interesting and provocative read.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Counselling Teens in (Potentially?) Abusive Relationships

I'm trying to collect some online resources about unhealthy and emotionally abusive relationships. I'm involved in a community forum that seems to have a great deal of teenage girls. I never really took notice before, but ever since they implemented a special topic area for teens, I've been disturbed by the relationships a number of these girls are describing. They are so incredibly desperate and clingy. One, and I'm not exaggerating, went into a panic and blamed herself because she called her boyfriend while he was driving, and the cops started following him. Another, it seems to me, is 6 months away from "he hit me, but I made him so mad and he didn't mean it and he loves me soooo much."

I've found some resources about emotional abuse - symptoms, signs of an abuser, etc. - but while I recognize these characteristics, I'm not sure these girls would. Does anyone have any good resources? Maybe even just on self-esteem, dealing with a cheater, long distance relationships, etc. Preferrably focused on teen relationships.

Thanks in advance!

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Diet Dysfunction or The Dangers of Messing Up Your Body in the Name of Vanity

Now that I am procrastinating from completing the first draft of my essay on the Qing dynasty and Western imperialism--interesting but damn if trying to stuff about 100 action-packed years of politics and radical social change into an essay doesn't do one's head in...--I'd like to draw attention to this article that compiles accounts fromtwo women who overdid dieting in their quest for more desirable bodies and two women who express concern about this matter. (Editor's note: for those not familiar with the British system of weight, 1 stone=14 lbs, if I am not mistaken)

Point is, I used to be one of those women. And in some ways, I still am.

Like the woman in the first case, I used to starve myself, take laxatives, exercise non-stop and do all those health-destroying practices that many women have taken in order to lose weight or preserve their svelte waistlines.

Was I happy?

Well, yes and no.

I used to be almost 200lbs and at 5ft 2-and-a-1/2 inches, that just translated into disaster on the social scene, especially since I carried that weight throughout most of my teenaged years where I felt it very keenly when my classmates were dating and no guy would look at me without laughing or making some snide remark.

So I dieted... and dieted... and exercised... and dieted... until I reached 114lbs. I was a size 2 American and size 8 British. It was great! I could wear anything short of a bikini and look fantastically slim and sexy... or so I thought.

However, the family doctor said that I looked ill because even though I was petite, my most sturdy frame meant that I couldn't reach the 100lbs goal weight without looking thoroughly emaciated.

But still I dieted and kept on at it until psychologically, I was a wreck--I kept worrying about everything I ate, went on incessant guilt trips, and took to the practice of cooking lots of yummy things--cooking and baking is my hobby--but instead of enjoying food myself, I gave it all to my friends. Whenever my waistline pinched a bit, I would freak out.

It even got to the point where I wouldn't step on the scale in the morning without first going to the toilet and relieving myself, and then taking off ALL my clothes so that there was no added weight.

To cut a long story short, I slowly pulled myself out of it. It helps when you have friends who care more about your health than your appearance.

And you know what? As I began to enjoy food again--and of course, put on some weight--I began to realise that I was always miserable inside during my ultra-thin stage because I was always hungry and always pre-occupied with food and fashion and I let that carry on for more than a year until a college nurse realised what was happening and began helping me climb out of the physical mess I was in.

Now I am at a bigger but more constant size 4/5 and am happier and healthier for it. No worries about food--although lately, due to too much work, I think that I've gotten too sedentary--and my mind is free to deal with other problems in life... such as completing this pesky Qing dynasty essay and hosting great potluck parties where my friends come for great conversation and, of course, to gorge themselves on fabulous food.

I still have problems with men, with work, with family. The problems just changed, in some respects. Sometimes, I feel tempted to lapse back into my previous dysfunctional dieting habits and I have to stop myself short of it. This is particular true of whenever I am having a rough ride in life. And sometimes, I wonder if this tendency will ever go away...

The one lesson I learned from all this can be summed up in what one of the women in the article says:

What I am trying to say is that weight loss is not the 'be-all and end-all'. To the contrary, Prince Charming will not suddenly come riding along to sweep you off your feet just because you're thin. Unfortunately, your problems won't go away. They just change.

You said it, sister!

Note: Cross-posted at Mindscapes, Heartstrings and Soul-searching

Friday, November 01, 2002

Gender Gap: Boys Lagging

This story from 60 Minutes, about the growing trend in girls academically outperforming boys, was brought up by a student in my class recently. It struck me when I heard the story broadcast (I sometimes listen to a television program on the radio), that the performance issue is interesting when one considers that there continues to be a lag in women's earnings. An excerpt from the story:

"Why aren’t boys’ academic problems a bigger issue? “There's a little cultural secret at work here. Boys go out in the work world and earn more money,” says Thompson. “Nobody wants to admit what's happening, which is, 'You girls work very hard, but sorry, ladies, when you get out there, we're not going to pay you equally. And you boys, it's OK. You can loaf through school. You'll get good jobs afterwards.'”

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...