What does the future of feminism look like?


smuggirl

The other day I saw a woman and her little girl looking through the window of a jewellery store. The girl, who couldn’t have been older than 5, was telling her Mom that someday she would own a ring like the one in the window. Her Mom then proceeded to tell her that she’d better marry a rich husband if she wanted that ring. The little girl simply said, “Oh I can be rich all by myself and someday I’ll be back here and I’ll buy that ring just for me”.

The future of feminism? If this little girl is any indication, looks pretty good to me.

Girls are strong

How young is too young?


Doug-Hutchison-and-Courtney-Stodden

Doug Hutchison and Courtney Stodden. Age difference- 35 years.

One of the things I like most about working in a hotel environment is that I get to meet a wide variety of people. I while back, I met an 80 year old woman named Cindy. Cindy was one of the original Las Vegas show girls. She still looked very glamorous and her skin had this lovely glow. When I commented to her on her youthful aura she whispered her secret for staying young at heart, “Younger men and horizontal exercise”. It seems Cindy is married to a man 25 years her junior and she couldn’t be happier. The feminist in me immediately fell a little bit in love with her.

Since that evening, my mind keeps wandering back to Cindy and her younger man. If Cindy were an 80 year old man married to a 55 year old woman, I would immediately leap to certain conclusions like she’s with him for his money. Yet, when Cindy told me about her 55 year old husband I thought, good for her. Yes, I realize that I am perpetuating a double standard. That’s the thing about growing up feminist, sometimes I excuse behavior in women that I would judge when exhibited by a man.

Madonna and her 24 year old beau Brahim enjoy an intimate dinner out at The Colombe D'Or  at Eden Roc in France

Madonna and Brahim Zaibat. Age difference- 29 years.

Us second wave feminists fought so hard trying to be treated as equal to men that we forgot one key thing… JUST BECAUSE MEN DO IT, DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of dating across generations. When I was 26, I dated a man who was 66 for a few months before realizing that, even though I am what they call an old soul who loved to listen to his stories of times gone by, we had very little in common. Recently, I went on a couple of dates with a man 11 years my junior (I’ll save you the math… he’s 37 and I am 48) and was surprized to find that we had a lot in common. He even got the vast majority of my references. I never understood those people (both male and female) who say that younger lovers make them feel younger. Honestly, this younger man does not make me feel younger. For some reason I see him as older than he is, until a look of puzzlement crosses his face when I reference the occasional old TV show or movie and then I quickly remember that I am the older one.

My current opinion on the subject of age differences in relationships is, as long as the younger person is a consenting adult who is not being coerced in any way, and both partners are happy, then it’s fine. But, I am curious as to what you think. How young is too young?

Another year older…


And no deeper in debt!

debt

This month marks yet another birthday, my 48th so far. As this blog is dedicated to my Grandmother, I thought I would use the occasion to share with all of you the best advice she ever gave me. Many moons ago, when I was in my teen years, my Grandmother told me about the importance of staying out of debt. Her exact words were, “If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.” As my Grandmother was a successful woman in her own right, I took those words to heart and I am grateful to her for explaining to me what none of my teachers ever did… that debt can ruin your life. In this age of everything on credit, I am one of a very few who actually has no debt. No student loans, no car loan, no mortgage… I don’t even owe 20 bucks to a friend. The only debt I owe is to my Grandmother for her sage advice.

I never understood why, in high school where we are supposed to be preparing for life, there was no course about finances. That’s the kind of math all of us can actually use. There does seem to be a backlash to all of this credit/debt mess into which we have collectively gotten ourselves. People like Suze Orman and Gail Vaz Oxlade have made a very nice living teaching others what we should already know, how to get out and stay out of debt.

Gail

Perhaps parents should be teaching the next generation not to fall into the same traps as we did. Or even more importantly, get more involved with school curriculum and demand a class on money management. I have seen too many smart people lose everything because a bubble burst (housing, stock market, banks, internet companies etc.) You want your kids to be successful in life, so you make sure they get the best education that your credit score can afford, but send them out into the world entirely unprepared when it comes to handling all the money they will be making from that high paying job they will hopefully get with their fancy degree.

dirtyjobs

Last night on Real Time With Bill Maher, Mike Rowe (host of a show called Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel) was talking about how there are 3 million high paying jobs that companies are desperate to fill in the United States, but nobody wants to do them. This is systemic of another problem facing the next generation of kids today. The idea that everyone is special and that everyone can be rich and famous. Kids brought up on reality television have been bombarded with the message that the only way to succeed in life is to be on TV so they get student loans and pursue a liberal arts degree. Meanwhile, there is a severe shortage of plumbers, mechanics and other blue-collar workers who could be making real money (over $100,000/year) if they weren’t so concerned with being ordinary or getting a little dirty.

It’s important to remember that, everyone is not special… to be special by definition is to be distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual. There is no shame in being ordinary. There is only shame in drowning in debt while waiting for the world to notice that you are special.

** Note, the links were not provided by me, but were automatically generated and I do not endorse them.

 

 

Can music save your mortal soul?


It was 1971 when musician Don McLean posed the above question in one of my all time favourite songs, American Pie. Now, while I don’t believe in all of that mortal soul stuff, I do think that music can really help a person through some tough times.

Don+McLean

Don McLean

I met a young woman today named Sydney (I hope I spelled that correctly) who reminded me a lot of myself when I was her age (I am assuming she was in her mid-teens) She told me about several bands that she was into. She mentioned one, specifically called Escape the Fate that really helped her through a difficult bullying experience when she was in middle school.

escape

Escape the Fate

I too, was horribly bullied through junior high and high school and I too, turned to music for solace. This beautiful girl came alive when she spoke about her favourite bands, and her plan to start her own band in the coming year. It seems Sydney is into what she calls the new metal. As a child of the 70’s, I was into the old metal bands like Judas Priest, ACDC and Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin

 I listened with excitement as she told me about this ‘new metal’ and how the lyrics really inspired her. It was encouraging to hear that she had found something to help her out of a dark place, something that touched her deeply and allowed her to channel her anger and teenage angst. Just when I was thinking that the music world had been entirely taken over by the boy bands and the Disney brigade, along comes this gorgeous, intelligent and sensitive young woman to tell me that all is not lost. That the youth of today is creating actual music with lyrics that explore real emotions as opposed to the insipid Baby, baby, baby crap that has deluged the radio for far too long. It is my sincere hope that there is new musical revolution on the horizon, one that will dilute the posers of the world (I’m looking at you Justin Bieber) and start a new and meaningful conversation… and hopefully these new bands will actually play their own instruments as opposed to the computer generated beats and melodies that has been passing for music for far too long.

Thanks for the great conversation and Rock On Sydney!

rockon

Oh, and Sydney, if you’re reading this, I gave you the wrong email addy… it’s windupmyskirt1@aol.com (forgot the number 1)

A Canada Day Quiz (funny)


Two blog posts in one day?! Well, it’s a special day.

Just in case you thought I had forgotten about (aboot?) Canada Day… here’s a little something for my fellow Canucks.

Canada Day

The following quiz was written by Jack Knox (who is known for his terrific sense of humour) of the Victoria Times Colonist. It’s possibly the easiest and funniest quiz I have ever taken. Images added by yours truly.

• The name Canada Day was adopted in 1982. Prior to that the July 1 holiday was celebrated as:

A) Dominion Day

B) St. Jean Baptiste Day

C) McHappy Day

D) Christmas in July for the Bellingham outlet stores

• B.C. joined Confederation in:

A) 1867

B) 1871

C) 1492 (1671 after HST)

D) a fit of madness

• Which is highest?

A) Mount Robson

B) Mount Logan

C) The CN Tower

D) Rob Ford

Rob-Ford-Smikes-Crack

• A Montreal-area mayor pictured with his hand on a Bible is:

A) taking the oath of office

B) taking the Bible

C) risking eternal damnation

D) pleading not guilty

• Canada’s best-known scientist was:

A) Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone

B) Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin

C) William Osler, the father of modern medicine

D) burned at the stake as a witch by Stephen Harper

• Match the quote with the prime minister: Jean Chrétien, Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, William Lyon Mackenzie King

A) “We hate the GST and we will kill it.”

B) “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

C) “The grim fact is that we prepare for war like precocious giants, and for peace like retarded pygmies.”

D) “Hakuna matata.” Oops, my mistake. That’s William Mackenzie Lion King.

• B.C. was discovered by:

A) Capt. James Cook aboard the Endeavour

B) Capt. James Kirk aboard the Enterprise

C) Wanda Fuca, the first woman to command a Spanish galleon

D) The people who met the Europeans when they got here

kirk-pub

• Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton are:

A) CFL teams

B) warships based at CFB Esquimalt

C) cities in Eastern Canada (everything beyond Saltspring is Eastern Canada)

D) jealous of Victoria

• Canada’s motto “A Mari usque ad Mare” means:

A) From sea to sea

B) A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse

C) Roll up the rim to win

D) GST not included

rolluptherim

• Canada’s most valuable export is:

A) Alberta bitumen

B) B.C. Bud

C) Céline Dion

D) Justin Bieber

• We wish to apologize for:

A) Alberta bitumen

B) B.C. Bud

C) Céline Dion

D) Justin Bieber

justin-bieber-2013-pants-down

• Explorer Alexander Mackenzie famously completed his transcontinental journey to the West Coast by what message on a rock at Bella Coola:

A) “Alexander Mackenzie/ from Canada/ by land/ 22d July 1793”

B) “Must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.”

C) “What do you mean there’s a two-sailing wait?”

D) “We’ll put the pipeline right here.”

left-turn-at-Albuquerque

• Here’s what others say about us. Discuss.

A) Jane Fonda: “When I’m in Canada, I feel this is what the world should be like.”

B) Explorer Jacques Cartier: “I am rather inclined to believe this is the land God gave to Cain.”

C) Russian gangster recorded while phoning home from prison: “You must come to Canada. This is a wonderful place. I’m in jail and eat meat three times a day.”

D) TV’s Jon Stewart: “I’ve been to Canada, and I’ve always gotten the impression that I could take the country over in about two days.”

• Here’s what we say about ourselves:

A) Comedian John Wing: “A Canadian is merely an unarmed American with health care.”

B) Author Douglas Coupland: “There are few, if any, Canadian men who have never spelled their name in a snow bank.”

C) Former Victoria Times publisher Stuart Keate: “In any world menu, Canada must be considered the vichyssoise of nations; it’s cold, half-French and difficult to stir.”

D) Retiring astronaut Chris Hadfield, on Twitter last week: “After 26 years serving in other places around the world, tonight I am back on Canadian soil, to stay. It feels so very good to be home.”

nameinsnow

All the world’s a used car lot


usedcarlot

Shakespeare never did say why we are all merely players on this stage. Perhaps in his day the reason was less prevalent than it is today. We act because we are all selling something… a product, a service, a talent, an idea, a belief system, or even ourselves, no matter the product, we all must be at least one part used car salesman. This little epiphany came to me the other day (you should know that when I say the other day it could mean any time period from yesterday to up to two months ago) when I was thinking about how I am now working in sales for the first time. Or, at least I thought it was the first time. As I thought further, I realized that I had always been in sales… even in my off time. We sell our personalities to each other without even  thinking about it. There’s the date personality, the job interview personality and even the friend personality and they are all a little different from each other. What they all have in common, however, is that they are all a better version of who we really are. For a society that supposedly values honesty, we really are a pack of liars. We are also willing dupes ripe for the picking by an experienced salesman.

A while back, as I was taking out my trash I saw a young couple by the dumpster. The woman was pregnant and telling her partner what she wanted from the bin. Her partner, who was actually in the bin, was happily retrieving said items for his beloved. They were healthy, nicely dressed… not what you picture at all when you think of homeless people. I asked the woman if she needed the name of a good shelter and she laughed and told me that they weren’t homeless, they were freegans. I pretended I understood what she meant and promptly went to my computer to look up the term and, among the multitude of websites, twitter feeds and Facebook pages on the subject, this is what I found:

“Freeganism is an anti-consumerist movement. It takes issue with society’s focus on buying new and throwing away old (but still useful) items. In the simplest terms, freeganism is a reaction against the waste of resources.  Participants, known as “freegans,” have two main goals: to buy as little as possible and to use only what they need.

While freegans are a diverse group, with a wide-range of life experiences and interests, members do tend to share certain characteristics. The typical freegan is: 

  • Committed to living off the wastes of capitalism
  • An environmental, political, or animal-rights activist (or some combination of the three)
  • A vegan or meegan (only eating meat that would have gone to waste)
  • A strong supporter of his/her community
  • Interested in being (or already) free from the restraints of a paying job”

 -from frugalliving.com

freegan

At first I thought that this was clever and frugal. As I thought further, I realized that this lifestyle was making me angry. It felt a little like this couple, who did not need to be in my dumpster, were taking things away from people who actually did need to be there because it was the new cool thing to do. Then I moved past anger and came to another thought. Perhaps the capitalist society we have all created has become so bloated that we have evolved a new class of people. A parasitic class who lives off the ample waste of the rest of us. It makes perfect sense. Human beings are, by definition, parasites with the planet as our host. The statistics on what we, as a society throw away every day are staggering. I guess what still bothers me about this is that it seems the movement is comprised of mostly young, employed people who can afford to have an online presence, a computer, or at least a smart phone so they can blog or tweet about their new lifestyle before they go to Sunday dinner at their folk’s house. This new lifestyle is being sold to us as an alternative choice to being part of the machine, the new hippies, if you will. Hippies had communes, grew their own food, were actually self sufficient and were rarely found in dumpsters providing for their pregnant mates. While freegans still depend on the machine in order to survive (or at least the waste it provides). My new sales oriented brain now wonders if this lifestyle was created by rebels, or was it waste management companies who are quickly running out of options for our waste problems who sold it as the new hipster fad to ease some of their own burden? I can see the ad copy now, “Try Freeganism because expiration dates and human dignity are over-rated.” or perhaps, “Go Freegan- we have to dump this crap somewhere, why not in your stomach?” Okay, so I’m not Bill Maher, but I can’t afford his writing staff’s trash bin.

conspiracy

While I do agree that our consumer culture has gotten out of hand, I don’t think this is the answer, but then I’m from the old school where the only time you’d get into a dumpster is if a bully threw you in. I guess the point I am making here is, even as these people think they are living off the grid, they are actively selling a belief system and a lifestyle. What they don’t realize is that the more successful they are at getting others to join them, the more they will need the machine to provide them with waste and this only serves to perpetuate the current cycle of sell, sell, sell.

Aging Gracefully?


Cher

Cher at age 67

Ah youth. That time of life before gravity makes you it’s bitch and your skin still fits. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘aging gracefully’. In the past month I have been happily losing those ‘I quit smoking pounds’ thanks to a full-time job and a lot more walking. The down side of weight loss in your late 40’s, however, is that your chin starts to hang like mud flaps on either side of your jaw and your neck begins to pool just above your collar bones. It’s not a pretty picture. As Bette Davis once said, “old age is no place for sissies”. Middle age is no picnic either.

For the sake of full disclosure, I must admit that I have been getting yearly Botox injections for the past 12 years. It started as a preventative measure, foolishly trying to ward off the ravages of time before they became indelibly engrained in my face. I spent about $800 per year on Botox, which may sound like a lot, but it works out to just under $70 per month and, unlike anti-aging creams, lotions and serums that many women pay as much or more for, it actually works. This past year is the first time I have foregone my Botox injections (mostly due to financial reasons) and I find myself in an odd conundrum of sorts. Part of me is horrified when looking in the mirror and seeing the crows feet, the forehead lines and the sagging skin, while a new part of me is beginning to emerge… a braver part. This new voice is asking if maybe, just maybe its time to let go of some vanity and let nature take it’s course all over my face. I have been asking myself questions like, ‘if you are so strong, then why are you so cowardly when it comes to wrinkles?’. The reality is they’re just wrinkles and everybody gets them if you are lucky enough to live past the age of 40. Just because I feel 16 on the inside, doesn’t mean I should try to look 16 on the outside. I have done a lot of living and should be proud of the lines I have earned. But, then vanity rears its ugly head and I start craving that needle. It’s an odd seesaw to be stuck upon.

I find myself wishing for a happy medium between this,

Joan-Rivers

Joan Rivers at age 79

and this,

babyjane

Bette Davis as Baby Jane Hudson at the age of 54 (just 6 years older than I am now… eek!)

Perhaps, I am desperately seeking role models in this era of surgical enhancements that look great without all the nips and tucks. Maybe I should summon my inner strength and try to be my own role model. These are obviously quality problems that can only be found in a youth, celebrity and beauty obsessed culture. As I type this, I am realizing that there are women all over the world who are currently struggling with issues like freedom and basic human rights and it makes me feel small and petty to be worried about aging, which for those women is a luxury. I am thinking that I have fallen prey to the North American way of keeping a woman from attaining too much power… keep her insecure about her looks and distract her with the possibility of eternal youth in a jar (or needle).

Maybe the answer is to get more involved with causes that are close to my heart and move away from the mirror. So, from now forward, I will hold my head up high (with pride, and because it stretches the skin on my neck) and say goodbye to Botox and hello to more worthwhile endeavors. Maybe that’s what aging gracefully is really all about.

On the subject of dates.


For the past five years or so this is what I thought of when I heard the word date.

cluster of dates with leaves on a white background

Or, more correctly, this.

date-squares-2

But last week something interesting happened. I was asked out on a date… you know, the social interaction kind. I had forgotten they even exist. The even more surprising thing is that I found myself actually considering it. You see, whenever anyone asks me why I’m single, I usually laugh and say, ‘because it’s safer for everyone that way.’ (which is funny because it’s a little bit true).

But here I was, considering making dinner plans with a perfect stranger. As a matter of fact I was seconds away from sending him an email with my available dates (the kind found on the calendar) when I thought, maybe I should Google him first. (I use Google in general terms here, as the search engine I actually used was Yahoo, but I digress.) The second link down the line was very telling. It was a site where people air grievances about dates (or, more correctly the people they had dated). It looked to be run by a small group of young women and it read like a high school slam book written by the mean girls. There he was, with photos and everything, the guy who had asked me out. He was accused of all sorts of unacceptable behavior. Now I usually like to get to know a person before I begin to believe gossip and rumours about them, so I didn’t judge the man on the alleged misdeeds.

I deleted the email I was about to send him because he comes with a lot of young girl drama and I am too old to be dragged into that quagmire, thank you very much. I was likely saved from having to wade through a lot of crap because of these girls, so I suppose I am thankful that they chose to air their personal laundry in public. I also suppose that they are achieving their goal in some small way in that I chose not to pursue even a first date (the social interaction) with this guy because of something they had published.

Some small part of me is relieved that it didn’t go any further, but I have a feeling that I may be ready to unleash the havoc that is me onto the dating world (even those who eat dates while on a date on any date the calendar deems appropriate) sooner than later. I may have to question the sanity of this… just when everything in my life is settling down and going well, I’m ready to muck it up with the whole dating conundrum?! It might not be smart, but like Amy Farrah Fowler before me, I must follow my endocrine system… but this time my brain comes along for the ride.

endocrine