Friday Falafel* Five

Here is this week’s offering of great posts that I’ve read. I hope you’ll click through and give them a read or a look.

ADD and Autism (autism awareness) (depression) (ADHD in girls)


Kindness and Love (kind photography) (you deserve love) (making connections is what it’s all about)


Creativity (make a change, if necessary)


Equality, Freedom and Poverty (equal rights in marriage (video)) (equal rights in gender) (photos of poverty in america)


*The falafel is in there because it makes about as much sense as me continuing to say FIVE every week.

Womanly wednesday (April 10)

Five on friday (vagina stuff 🙂 )  (ADD leader stuff 🙂 )  (passion and truth in business 🙂 ) (equality stuff 🙂 )  (more equality stuff 🙂 )


We watched the Olympics avidly this year. My son is a sports nut so we are definitely interested in watching the best athletes in the world compete at the top of their games in these games.

Those Olympics were full of stories about athletes that had come from bad childhoods, poor neighborhoods, struggling countries to somehow overcome it to make it to the Olympics. We love the story of the underdog winning in the end. At the Olympics we take a little time out from being spoonfed our daily ration of sensationalized news and reality TV. For just a little while we get to watch some really sensational reality on TV. People who work hard, train hard, and dedicate their lives improving themselves. This is the reality I want on my TV. The first ever double amputee to run in the Olympics? How many times did we hear that story? We loved it. We love it still.

We watched athlete after athlete swim faster, run harder, win more medals than ever before. When it was all over I looked ahead to the Paralympic Games to show my son what overcoming adversity and triumphing against long odds really means. We want to celebrate these athletes just as much, if not more, than the first bunch. But we won’t be given the opportunity. The sad fact is that someone, somewhere decided that we really don’t want to see much more inspiration. That we’re just not that interested in the Paralympic Games.

I read this article ,and a few others, about how little coverage that the US is getting of the Paralympics.

I am saddened and shamed by this.

The coverage of the Olympics was extremely extensive. I had 9 hour and 5 hour long recordings on my DVR every single day and we still didn’t get to see everything.  According to the article, ” NBC announced its U.S. coverage would only include video content on the U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel and five and a half hours of pre-recorded coverage airing on broadcast television.”

Five and a half hours total.

I saw nearly three times as much every day of the Olympics as will be aired for the entire Paralympics.

For shame, NBC. What are you telling these athletes, these people about their worth? What are you telling them, and us, about their place in society? You are telling them that they are less than. That they are not deserving of the same attention as “regular” athletes.

You are telling my son that his dad who is a disabled veteran who struggles everyday just to do regular things is not enough. Please don’t use any more disabled people or wounded warriors in your commercials to sell your products if you can’t offer them the decency of your attention in return.

Thanks for making it harder to teach my son that we are all equal.

Thanks for making it easier to explain what discrimination is.

We can

and should

do better than this.

UPDATE: I got mad enough to send an angry email to NBC Sports. Here it is:

To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter to find out why we are being so limited in coverage of the London Paralympics. I was dismayed to read that there is only going to be 5.5 hours of coverage offered here in the US. In total. I think the disparity between the coverage for the “regular” Olympics and the Paralympics is truly unconscionable. 
Are we so accustomed to our sensationalized reality TV that we aren’t able to recognize sensational TV in reality? I like to think that that is not the case, but somewhere, someone in your hierarchy decided that we aren’t interested. That America’s Got Talent trumps talented Americans. I am ashamed of this discrimination against these athletes.
I am so angry right now.
What are you telling these athletes, these people, about their worth? What are you telling them about their place in society? You are telling them that they aren’t worthy of your, and our, attention. You are telling them that they are Less Than. You are telling them that they are not enough.
Broadcasting companies are quick to use a wounded soldier or triumphant disabled person to sell their products by tugging on our heartstrings to reach our purse strings. Please, put your coverage where your mouth is. 
I am trying to show my son that we are all equal. I am trying to teach him that his dad, a disabled veteran who struggles everyday just to do regular activities is not less than. I am angry that you are undermining those teachings.
Thank you for making it easier for me to teach my son about discrimination.
Brook Hewitt
and a petition on that you can sign if you’re interested and angry like I am.

Generation M

I’ve been a little lax about posting in my Man Up and Womanly Arts categories. To be honest, it’s hard to maintain the energy needed to be that worked up about it all the time. So I throw in the towel sometimes for a while. (Obviously it has NOTHING to do with my focus challenges. At all.) Also, I have a little wiggle room because I am raising a man-cub and while there are lots of gender and gender role issues to deal with for boys, the boxes they are put in have a little more room. However, I do sometimes come across something that really needs to be shared. This is one of those things.

Generation M for Misogyny

“Another generation of women and girls is being trained to please men, to do whatever they can to not make men unhappy, to stroke men’s egos and to know their second class status and not complain about it”

“Girls today are raised around images of idealized beauty, where airbrushed perfection informs girls of the standards of beauty in our society, and it is also no accident that the words “Hot” and “Sexy” appear on almost every cover of teen magazines aimed at girls and where makeover tips are found throughout. It is against this background of idealized beauty, and the beauty industry’s insistence that girls and young women have many imperfections that this beauty industry thrives.” 

Please click through and watch the video. It’s less than six minutes.

Man up Monday and Womanly Wednesday: Dear Woman

I think this video is just Amazing. Even just hearing this said aloud is healing to me.

I don’t really have much else to say about it.


An Ode to Equality

I wrote this as my final “essay” for my Gender and Race class.

An Ode to Equality

As we draw down to the end of the term

It’s time to assess what we might have learned.

That can feel like a rather difficult task.

But here is a brief tour of our term that just passed.

What do you get when you take a book on race, another on gender

and add movies, discussions, personal experience and articles to the Blender

Then mix it around and shake it up a bit?

You get a whole host of new ideas and thoughts from it.

For me, the meat of the class was the emphasis on connective tissue.

We can draw a thread through seemingly disparate issues,

Sewing together this piece with that part

In order to create a new fabric, or paradigm, from which we can now start.

Start to move forward and onward and up

Away from the old ways; the unfair, the unequal, the corrupt.

Hopefully we take from this class a feeling for how very lucky we are living in this place, in this time, in this skin.

The challenge, of course, is to not get too comfortable in this privileged situation we’re in.

But, from my own perspective, and as pointed out in the class readings

Every person can probably find a minority and majority group in which to find seating.

I am privileged to be white in a system that favors the lightness of your skin.

I have the honor, but perhaps not privilege, to be a woman in a system that favors the brawn without over the heart within.

Perhaps we are short, when the world likes us tall.

Perhaps we are big, when our world favors the small.

Yes, the media and, by extension, our culture favors the tall, skinny, blond woman with big boobs and a small intellect.

But, more importantly our culture wants the woman to be quiet and unaggressive; circumspect.

If I speak out in favor of more equal distribution of this nations bounty of rights and riches,

Then you know I’m probably one of those FemiNazi Bitches.

I don’t have a daughter, but if I did I would teach her about strength of character, body and mind.

I would show her every strong female role model I could find.

If she wanted to be a princess when she grows bigger

Then I would show her examples of the depth of the job, the importance, the rigor.

Because the point is not whether you want to be a princess or not.

The point is when the one cookie cutter image of a princess is all we’ve got.

But since I had the good sense to create a tall, slender, white male child in this particular society,

I will just have to teach him to love and respect women and people of all varieties.

I’ll have to help him to see the fallacy of the media’s portrayal of masculinity as angry, violent, stupid, and muscle bound.

I will seek out other definitions of manly and strong wherever they can be found.

My plan is to teach him and help him to grow into a man who is strong, respectful, smart, considerate -worthy of

The strong, respectful, considerate, smart woman who would be worthy of sharing his life and love.

And then there’s the issue of race

That’s now, thanks to this class, staring us right in the face.

I’ve been exposed this term to some of the subtle discriminations that are hidden in our supposedly nondiscriminatory system.

These are the kind of things that are quietly subverting true equality and as a member of the white race it’s so easy to miss them.

Or even to dismiss them.

Because on the surface it appears that we have eradicated discrimination based on your skin color

And those of us who aren’t prejudiced are tired of being blamed for the actions of others

We are weary of hearing how it’s still going on even though we have made so many strides and come so far.

This weariness, I think, leads to a reluctance to honestly look at the way things were and still sometimes are.

Or maybe we do look and we get overwhelmed by the systemic codification of discrimination and stereotyping that is far too often present.

How can we possibly root out these subtle and pervasive inequalities? This feeling can lead to apathy and even resentment.

The problem stems mostly I think, from a lack of honest and frank conversation about race and discrimination.

It seems as though sometimes it’s hard to have a talk without fear of some kind of retaliation or recrimination.

But, the real solution for our racial situation and indeed, I’d hazard, pretty much all of our societal woes.

Is free exchange of ideas and the honest baring to each other of our souls

I really responded to the article we read describing the symptoms of Attachment disorder and its effects.

I believe that we as a culture suffer from a form of cultural attachment disorder that leaves us distrustful and treating each other as suspect.

We, as a group, are guarded trying to protect ourselves from some real or imagined hurt.

This is perhaps understandable, but doesn’t often work.

All that happens, really, is that we create greater divides separating us.

We create more opportunity for misunderstanding when we treat each other thus.

I hope that in the next little while (because I can’t stand to wait very long)

We are able to sing a new, brighter more positive song.

The trick to the writing of this brand new song is, however,

That we must find the harmony so we can sing it together.

There is room within the music for everyone to sing their individual parts.

And music is the language that speaks directly to our hearts.

I know many people are nervous to get up and sing.

But the best part of music is that you can come to it with your own thing.

Can’t sing a note? Perhaps you play an instrument.

Not that either? Just hum or clap along with it.

From the information in this class I could probably come away feeling sad and wearing a frown.

I choose not to focus on how far we still have to go, but instead on the fact that we are on the journey; and pretty far down.

International Women’s Day! (March 8)

Here’s wishing you a powerful and inspirational International Women’s Day!

Say Yes!

She’s next

Here’s the thing about me and flash mobs. I was raised on musicals. I know the words to most songs from most musicals (older ones at least). Flash mobs are a very cool manifestation of my lifelong desire to have my world suddenly burst into choreographed song and dance wherever I go. So this beautiful flash mob is all tangled up in my childhood dreams of living in a musical and my adulthood dreams of empowering women and girls to believe in themselves and each other. It made me cry. See, little girl, even the most improbable dreams have the power to come true. I need to be on the look out for a flash mob near me 🙂

I believe she is amazing! flash mob

Some things you can do:

How To Celebrate International Women’s Day from Your Comfortable Suburban Home

Womanly Wednesday: Amazing Women Rock! and intro

I don’t think I’d be doing myself and future generations a service if I only blogged about the removing of men’s stereotypes and confining boxes. I am passionate about the betterment of women as well. If you take a peak on my blogroll, you’ll see Girl Effect which is a really good website for what we can do to raise women’s status around the world and thus, the world.

In honor of Women’s History (Herstory) Month and my new Womanly Wednesday posts, I’d like to highlight a new website I’ve recently found. It’s called

Amazing Women Rock.

This particular link is to a blog post describing the Incredible women who will be speaking at the TED Conference this year. You can also find TED over there in my blogroll. They are awesome, too!

When I get a little more time, I’ll be adding to the list as well.

So, talk to you later!

PS. Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!

Robots, Seals, and Chivalry! Oh My!

Another piece written for Gender and Race Class:

I do not want to be a seal.

A Navy Seal, that is. When the movie G. I. Jane came out, I was really excited about it. I felt like, finally, we were being shown in a tough role that broke down barriers that were holding us back. Or down. My mom, on the other hand, felt that it was showing us trying to be like men. She quoted the Feminist saying from back in the day, “If you’re trying to be like men, you’re setting your sights too low.” She was a pacifist and anti-war protesting hippie. She couldn’t see why a person would want to be a Navy Seal or any other Special Forces. From where she sat, it wasn’t a worthy goal for a woman to have.

She felt the same way about Beauty Pageants. Why on Earth would you want to participate in something so contrived? In something that focuses narrowly on the looks of a woman and only slightly allows that they might have talents other than filling a bikini? In something that seems to be moving us backward instead of forward?

Neither do I want to enter a beauty pageant.

What I do want is the option of trying to be anything that I set my mind to and to know that if that is my passion, then I can do/be that.

We argued a bit about it. Eventually she came over to my side. It’s not about wanting to be that. It’s about being told that you can’t. Because you’re a woman and women can’t or shouldn’t do that.

This is what I was reminded of when our gentleman friend in class was questioning whether there isn’t some validity to gender roles and/or stereotypes. He wanted to know what’s really wrong with wanting to protect your woman. Nothing is really “wrong” with it. As long as you know that she’s not actually yours and that she wants protecting.

It is a challenge to balance our chivalric ideals with gender neutrality and equality. I understand that it can be a challenge for a man to figure out when it’s appropriate to protect and shelter a woman as our public chivalrous, gentlemanly code dictates he should and when it is chauvinistic.

My husband and I have assumed fairly traditional roles in our household. Much of that is due to our skill sets and preferences. Which I have to assume comes from how we were raised and society. He has a lot of “masculine” skills. He was raised on a ranch, joined the Marines, and then was a heavy equipment mechanic. He likes to hunt, enjoys sports and cars, competition and adventure/thrill seeking.

Most of that doesn’t particularly appeal to me. So I am happy to leave him to it. This means, for the most part, that I get to do the more domestic duties like cooking dinner and doing dishes and laundry. Of course, I have an eye toward one day being able to afford to have someone do the cleaning for us, so no one has to do them, least of all me.

Maybe we can change chivalry to include good manners toward men and women and loosen our gender roles enough to include everyone’s strengths and weaknesses without regard for gender. Maybe we can’t in our current culture. But, I hope that is not the case.

I suppose I’ll have to wait for robots to eliminate the need for humans to do many of the chores of daily living. Perhaps when we are freed from the “heavy lifting” of life we’ll be able to more readily turn our gaze to loftier goals.


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