Friday, October 31, 2014

Renee Zellweger

What to say about Renee?

Renee Zellweger, that is. She showed up at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards and was not quite herself. Or at least she didn't look like herself.

Did she get a face lift? Have her eyes done? She hardly looks like the same person.

My first reaction was, whatever you've done, Renee, undo it because your face is your brand. The little bit of marketing I've learned says to always be recognizable. People come to expect something from you, and you need to deliver. Take, for example, Coca Cola's red label. Pick it up anywhere in the world, and you know what you're getting. It's predictable and safe, and that's what customers want.

But do I really want to compare Renee Zellweger to a soda? She's a person. She's more than a business, more than an actor.

Zellweger says her new look is due to healthier living and happiness. If that's true, good for her. I'm not opposed to plastic surgery, either, to a degree. If someone wants an eye lift, that's a personal decision. Bottom line, I hope she's healthy and happy. So, pop open a soda in honor of Renee.

As the Coke slogan says, Open Happiness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Feminine Definitions

A few months back I sent this tweet about femininity.

"Some girly girls wear ribbons and bows. Other girly girls where bullet-proof vests and hard hats."

Whatever a girl does, that is girly. If girly = feminine, what is femininity? My dictionary says:

Definition 1: of, or belonging to, the female sex
Definition 2: possessing qualities generally attributed to a woman

Ah! Now it's getting more interesting. #1 means, related to the female. #2 shifts the meaning to what people generally think of when they think of women. My dictionary goes further in a special note saying that sometimes the use of the word feminine means what is appropriate for a woman.

What is appropriate for a woman?


Are those qualities appropriate for men? We describe a man as balanced if he has all three traits.
If a woman has them, well that's fine, too. Sorta. Sometimes behavior lauded as assertive in men is condemned as rude in women. Why? Because it's not what we're accustomed to. So we don't associate it with womanhood.

Perhaps it depends on the woman's audience. We are pleased if a woman is assertive and authoritative with her children. We are wary if a woman is assertive in a corporate board room if men are present.

Perhaps it depends on one's age. I'm forty-six. Because of what I saw women do when I was a child in the 70s, I must admit my reaction may be to interpret a woman's assertive behavior as pushy. A twenty-six year old may not react that way because he or she is accustomed to women acting assertively.

What is your standard for femininity or masculinity? What you've seen since childhood? What a holy book tells you? What your peers say?

Think on it. And if you choose to speak out, I suggest you put on the bullet-proof vest and hard hat because this battle can get ugly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Am I a Woman?

"'Do I have what it takes to be a man?' That's what a man asks himself," my male friend told me.

No, I replied, I've never asked myself that kind of question. It's never been a matter of, "Am I a woman?" Of course I am. I have two X chromosomes, don't I?

Well, I've changed my mind. I have indeed asked myself, Am I really a woman? It's just that men and women have different criteria. With men it's often a matter of accomplishment. Can I make it in the real world? Can I hold a job and support a family?

Of course, many women are the sole or primary providers for their families. And I almost wish women had that set of criteria for judging themselves. It may be better to judge ourselves by what we do than by how we look which is how women often evaluate themselves. Am I pretty enough? Curvy enough?

But neither sex should judge themselves by these criteria.

There's a story about Jesus that speaks to this. He was asked whether Israelites should pay the Roman tax. His enemies hoped to trap him. If he said yes, then they would accuse him of supporting Rome's occupation. If he said no, they could haul him in to the Roman authorities and accuse him of sedition.

"Show me the coin used to pay the tax," Jesus said. Someone handed him one.
"Whose image is on it?" he asked them.
"Caesar's," they answered. 
"So, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar," Jesus said, "and give to God what belongs to God."

The fact that we're made in God's image means we have great value just as we are. It also means we belong to God.

So give God all your chromosomes. God takes X and Y.