December, 2013

how my son made me a feminist

I would rather be whole than good. — Jung

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My son was five years old. He liked colors and textures and shine. He told me one morning, with a shy, sweet smile, that he would like to make drawings with glitter pens.

Soon I was cruising the aisles of a local toy store, checking out the kiddie arts and crafts.

Which were mostly packaged in pink.

My son was old enough to feel self-conscious about liking something girly, and I worried that his brothers would poke fun at him. I kept scanning the rows of merchandise, the jewelry-making kits and boxes of markers and crayons: where the hell were the boy glitter pens? Or, at the least, glitter pens in a unisex packaging?

And as I failed to find them – because they didn’t seem to exist – another question lifted its head from the corner of my brain: click here

Dec 29, 2013 · 11 Comments / ADD YOURS

the hidden reasons why you might not like yourself

You have to see it to be it. — Billie Jean King

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In the upcoming book, What Will It Take To Make a Woman President?, Maya Angelou says this:

If you have a person enslaved, the first thing you must do is to convince yourself that the person is subhuman and won’t mind the enslavement.

The second thing you must do is convince your allies that the person is subhuman, so that you have some support.

But the third and the unkindest cut of all is to convince that person that he or she is not quite a first-class citizen. When the complete job has been done, the initiator can go back years later and ask, “Why don’t you people like yourselves more?”

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How we see ourselves reflected in our environment shapes our sense of who we are — and by extension, what we’re worth.

In 1981, a Harvard psychologist named Ellen Langer performed a study on two groups of men. click here

Dec 21, 2013 · 11 Comments / ADD YOURS

let go before it poisons you

Let go before it poisons you
+ turns your blood to bitters

(you have swallowed the enemy)

let go before it skewers your heart
+ takes it apart

(nothing in the chambers but dust)

let go before you’re stuck
in the rewind
raising your hands to push against nothing
contorting your mouth to speak
against nothing

let go because the marks
they stamped into your body
will fade to scars + stories

(the things they said were never true anyway)

let go before the green life
gets bored + wanders off

(it can’t enter you unless you’re empty)

let go because that ledge
is crumbling

it’s time to learn

what waits to deliver you

when you fall.

Dec 18, 2013 · 13 Comments / ADD YOURS

what if girls were rewarded for being authentic instead of being thin?

Stop the presses. Kim Kardashian lost the baby weight and has her hot body back!

Give a typical teenage girl the choice between learning about Kim’s dramatic weight loss, or the new female CEO of General Motors, I think I know which story she would pick.

Girls aren’t stupid. They know what’s relevant to how they themselves get judged everyday. Mary Barra’s rise to power is all very well, but does she look good in a bikini?

There’s an anecdote that another female corporate giant, Sheryl Sandberg, likes to tell. She was doing a Q+A with Facebook employees and informed them that she would take two more questions.

Later, a young woman informed her: “After you took those two final questions, I put my hand down and all the other women put their hands down. A bunch of men kept their hands up and then you took more questions.”

Sandberg admits that she hadn’t even noticed.

This reminds me of a teacher in a classroom who favors the boys without realizing. Boys feel entitled to the teacher’s attention. They call out the answers. They raise their hands even when they’re wrong because they know the teacher will correct them and they will learn the answer anyway. The girls raise their hands only when they are one hundred percent convinced that their answer is the right answer. For them, there is no room for error. The risk of social humiliation – the deep brutal wrongness of being wrong – is too great. click here

Dec 17, 2013 · 19 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of the deep yes (my TedxOlympicBlvdWomen talk)

(On Dec 5, I spoke at one of the 220 independent TEDXWomen events that were organized around the world. I plan to blog about the day — it was an amazing day! — but in the meantime, here is the transcript of my talk.)

I have a confession to make.

When I was a little girl I would write obnoxious things in my diary.

Things like: “Life is so exciting when you’re someone like me, good at school and writing and sports!!!!”

Or: “When I grow up I’m going to be a world-famous novelist.”

Or: “One day I’ll rule the world.”

Actually I never wrote down that I wanted to “rule the world.”

But I thought it. I was that kind of kid.

I wanted to be great.

(Or a career as a soap opera actress. But I would settle for greatness.)

Then, a few years later – when I was maybe 12 – I came across that same diary when I was cleaning out the drawers beneath my waterbed. (This was the era of waterbeds.) I saw those scrawled words of my younger self, and felt…

…mortified. click here

Dec 6, 2013 · 31 Comments / ADD YOURS
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