Wednesday, August 27, 2014


It's a lie.

That nugget of wisdom was the most valuable thing the therapist said. It was worth every dime I paid her.
Here's the lie I believed for thirty years.

"Only a woman with ________________ is beautiful."

No, I'm not going to tell you how I filled in the blank for myself. What would YOU fill it in with?

A thin waist?
Shapely legs?
Large breasts?
"Perfect" facial features?
Straight teeth?

However you fill in the blank, it's a lie. You've bought it because we tend to believe what we're told over and over. Our culture repeats messages that sell stuff -- like diet pills and push-up bras and plastic surgery.

How can you unbrainwash yourself?

1. Minimize your exposure to lies. Do NOT click on that site. You know the one.

2. Fill the space with voices that speak truth.

3. Do it for someone else. Which other women in your life struggle with this? (HINT: All of them) Encourage your friends. Don't let the comparison conversation start. Do you have a daughter/student/niece? Speak truth to her. Take her hand off the mouse. Or send her to good sites.

Because all that other stuff? It's a lie.

Just ask your therapist.


Thursday, August 21, 2014


This was my tweet on femininity.

"Some girly girls wear ribbons and bows. Other girly girls wear hard hats or bullet-proof vests." What I meant was, let's stop defining femininity so narrowly. That's not incendiary, is it? Just food for thought.

The tweet I got back from a stranger:

"DON'T BE SO $#%&!@ SENSITIVE." Except the symbols were a real word. I won't quote it. 

Well. We are not at cotillion anymore, are we? Because of the spirit in which the tweet was sent, I declined to respond. But what if the expletive had been omitted? What if the sender had respectfully disagreed with my point? Then I would have said this.

It matters how we define femininity and masculinity. To say women are only about ribbons and bows is to say that women with hard hats are not real women at all. And men in professions traditionally filled by women are not real men. Fortunately, these views are changing. By and large, men who are nurses or elementary school teachers are not ridiculed. Neither are men who strap an infant into a Baby Bjorn and go shopping. And we are getting used to seeing women in traditionally male roles.

What we see is important, especially as children, because if we see something enough, we begin to accept it as right. If something IS right, it's good to accept it as right.

Of course, if something is wrong, let's call it wrong.

But please use expletives sparingly when doing so. Tweets are short. Don't waste any of your 140 characters on $#%&@!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Extreme Muslim Modesty

In a storefront in Iraq stand three mannequins wearing fashionable clothes. Over their heads is the latest style from Mosul -- sheer black bags. They are covered to demonstrate how real women should dress. As the Islamic State takes over they are implementing a form of extreme Muslim law which forbids a woman to show her face in public.

Granted, on American streets we have one extreme -- women who bare all. We need a little more modesty here. But how far should we take it?

The Islamic State would have a woman cover legs, arms, face. It would be nice if a woman would cover her eyes as well. Doesn't a woman use her eyes to seduce a man? Well, of course she does. But she needs to see, right? In their kindness, some extremist Muslims make a way to prevent women from stumbling in the street. They keep women locked away at home. Forced modesty. That's the best way, lest a woman be a temptation to a man in public.

Oh, the evils of religious extremes. In most places in the West, we don't see these rules. But we hear echoes of it whenever someone asks a rape victim, "Well, what were you wearing that led a man to do this?"

Even so, maybe I should shut up and be thankful for all the rights I have compared to women in Iraq. But look at America. Every time a victim is blamed, every time the culture says a woman is ugly -- sin is involved. And there is no sin small enough to ignore. I will not shut up.

Let's not close our eyes to it. Take off the veil. Sheer black head bags are SO last year.