What does the future of feminism look like?


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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?


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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?

Aging Gracefully?


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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,

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Joan Rivers at age 79

and this,

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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.

Distracted by a shiny gold object


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Last night I watched the Academy Awards for the first time in years. My usual routine for Oscar night is to watch a good movie or two) in the time that it takes Hollywood to pat itself on the back, front and anywhere else their hands will reach, then check out who won online saving myself 3 to 4 hours of complete and utter boredom.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

This year was different, however because, this year it was to be hosted by Seth MacFarlane with his dazzling smile, mellifluous voice and irreverent sense of humour… not to mention he is an out and proud atheist. Yes, I am a Seth MacFarlane fan. The opening monologue started off as a bit of a disappointment, with jokes that were marginally funny at best, that is until William Shatner (or should I say, Captain James Tiberius Kirk) showed up. It was at that point that the show really got going and MacFarlane got to do what he does best… sing. As a true lover of old Hollywood musicals MacFarlane was the perfect choice for host on a night where the theme was music in the movies. Seth sang silly songs like “We saw your boobs” and old standards like The Way You Look Tonight and High Hopes

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Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum dancing to The Way You Look Tonight

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MacFarlane with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliff singing High Hopes

*I am sure you’ve noticed by now that I am not posting video of the night. There are video clips out there, but they are being taken down as fast as they are being put up, so I decided not to risk it.*

All in all, MacFarlane as host was a throwback to the days when Bob Hope hosted the show. The jokes were tame (for the most part), but he was an affable, dapper and welcoming host. If the Academy brought him in to wrangle a younger demographic, however, they failed miserably. Seth MacFarlane is an old soul in a young body and a real fan of old Hollywood that, I’m sure us over 45 viewers appreciated, but the under 30 crowd must have been left scratching their collective heads, wondering why he didn’t do Stewie’s voice or tell any poop jokes.

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Dame Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger

Seeing that the theme was music in the movies, the night (as one would expect) was littered with some really wonderful musical performances. From Catherine Zeta Jones’s recreation of her Oscar-winning role in Chicago (I can’t believe that was 10 years ago already) and Jennifer Hudson singing her Oscar-winning song And I Am Telling You (Nice standing ovation. Even Jack Nicholson was impressed), to Adele and Norah Jones singing their nominated songs from Skyfall and Ted respectively, there was no shortage of talent on the stage. There were two spectacular surprises, however, that took my breath away. The first came at the end of the tribute to the 50th Anniversary of James Bond films, when Dame Shirley Bassey belted out Goldfinger, her voice just as strong as it was 49 years ago when she first sang the song. Then it was time for the in memoriam segment of the show. The last slide was a black and white photo of Marvin Hamlish, there was a pause and then… Barbra Streisand (looking younger more “well rested” than she has in decades. It’s sad to me that she was not vain enough to get her nose ‘fixed’ yet her forehead is as frozen as a glacier. Why Babs, why?) took the stage and honoured her friend and collaborator with a beautiful rendition of The Way We Were that actually brought tears to my eyes.

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Barbra Streisand singing The Way We Were

The awards themselves were predictable, as usual. They gave the Best Actress award to the pretty young starlet with the lovely dress and not the most deserving nominee… as usual. Though if they absolutely had to get a pretty young starlet in a pretty dress on stage, they should have given the award to this young beauty who actually deserved the award.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Quvenzahne Wallis and her puppy purse

Even the Best Supporting Actress award, which is traditionally given to the actress who actually deserves it, went to the pretty young star in the dress that showed side boob, instead of Sally Field. On that note, I don’t understand why Field was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for a role that was clearly a lead, but I digress.

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Even Hollywood royalty, Sally Field was reduced to a desperate sex object

Over all the show was entertaining. My one complaint (cause it wouldn’t be a windupmyskirt blog with out one) was all of the sexist ‘jokes’. There was the aforementioned musical number “We saw your boobs” which comes across as a teenaged boy giggling that he saw boobies (even the Gay Men’s Chorus couldn’t class that up) and the comedy sketch wherein Seth MacFarlane, dressed as the Flying Nun, successfully hits on and goes home with Sally Field because apparently, she has nothing better to do than go home with someone just because they are a fan who makes her feel bad about herself by telling her that she won’t win her category anyway. Even though the women seemed like they were “in on” the joke they also seemed like they did so rather grudgingly. Now if either of those examples were actually funny, I wouldn’t take such issue with them, because I believe that nowhere is off-limits for a joke that is truly funny. Unfortunately for Seth MacFarlane (and his team of hackneyed writers), while he was harkening back to the Bob Hope days of hosting, he forgot to update the jokes to reflect a little thing that happened in the interim called the women’s movement. Then there was Dustin Hoffman creepily coming on to Charlize Theron as they presented an award together. You could feel her discomfort. The whole show seemed hell bent on making sure that women were praised for how good they look rather than the fact that they are accomplished actors in their own right. But maybe that’s just me, as I mentioned earlier, I haven’t watched the show in years. Is this something that happens every year or was it more glaring this year?

**Edited to add-

My DVR stopped recording before the show was over, so I didn’t get to see the final musical number or Michelle Obama present the award for Best Picture. (WTF??? Doesn’t she have better things to do with her time?)

Bad Penny. The evolution of women in sitcom culture.


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Penny and Leonard from the Big Bang Theory

I was raised on sitcom culture. One thing I have noticed in the past decade or so is a shift in how women are portrayed. Unfortunately, it’s not for the better.

Women used to be shown as the subservient wife and mother who surreptitiously leads her husband from behind in order to get her way, like June Cleaver, Donna Stone, Samantha Stevens and Lucy Ricardo. There was always an unspoken (or even sometimes actually spoken “One of these days, right in the kisser.”) threat that she was risking violence if she were caught going behind the back of her husband in order to get what she wanted.

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The Ricardos

Then, in the 1970′s women were portrayed as feminists for the first time. Maude, Mary Richards, Margaret Houlihan and Emily Hartley to name but a few. These were women who are unconventional and ground breaking. Maude fought for women’s rights and raised an independent daughter. Mary was the ultimate working woman who, not only didn’t need a man, but refused to settle. Major Houlihan worked alongside her male counterparts in the most dangerous of settings. Emily Hartley was seen as a woman who chose to work and a true partner in her marriage with her husband. These women were much healthier role models then the women who came before and after them. These sitcoms are proof that female characters can be well written, fully actualized, real women who are also funny.

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An iconic symbol of feminism.

Now we’re seeing women who are perennially annoyed with their husbands, or single women who continually make bad choices in men. Take, for example the show Everybody Loves Raymond, featuring Debra Barone, a woman who gave up her career in order to raise her children (which is a luxury in today’s world and an admirable choice). She is shown as constantly finding fault with her husband, who is somewhat childish, but all in all, not a bad guy. One of Debra’s most frequent insults is to call him an idiot. Another example of the continually annoyed wife character is on the show Rules of Engagement. The character of Audrey Bingham who is a childless, married, working woman. Audrey is married to Jeff, a former frat boy, jock type who is an excellent provider, a bit childish and a tad oblivious at times, but again, all in all a good guy. Audrey’s default setting is mildly annoyed with her husband and it just gets worse from there. She seems generally disappointed with life for the most part. This type of character reminds me of a great quote from Bill Maher, “Women cannot complain about men anymore, until they start getting better taste in them” These women go around unfairly blaming their husbands for behavior that they were fully aware of when they said I do. I have zero sympathy for this type of woman. They have no one to blame but themselves.

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The bickering Binghams from Rules of Engagement.

Then there is the other prevalent female sitcom archetype, the single woman who makes bad choices. One of the most frustrating examples of this is Penny from the Big Bang Theory. Her father gives some examples of her previous boyfriends in the following clip.

She has dated white rappers, cow tippers, a guy who blogged about their sex life and a guy who cheated on her and had violent tendencies (Kurt). When faced with a relationship with Leonard, a genius physicist who is, admittedly, a little clingy, she pulls away thinking that she can do better. I will never understand why young women would rather be abused by the bad boys than have something real with an intelligent guy who will treat her well. Okay, maybe I do understand it… young women are inherently insecure and feel undeserving the majority of the time. What bothers me most about Penny is that she thinks that she is the catch in her relationship, when clearly the real catch is Leonard. Looks fade, but intelligence is forever.

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The cast of the HBO series, Girls

My final example of the single girl who makes bad choices is from the HBO hit, Girls. All four of the lead characters in this show are hot messes. Yes, they are young, insecure and still ‘finding their way’ but they all have absolutely no respect for themselves. These young women were raised by mothers who would have come of age during or after the feminist movement and yet every character is clueless and self sabotaging. I would have hoped that their mothers would have instilled in them, some sort of sense of self by the time they were out on their own. For me, the most disappointing thing about this show is the fact that it was created and written by a woman.

It seems that women can’t write good parts for women in Hollywood, so how can we have the audacity to expect men to write them for us?

The dangers of magical thinking.


When one thinks of the people of Papua New Guinea, one might conjure up an image similar to this.

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A 16 year old girl from a Mount Hagen tribe.

But Papua New Guinea is not just tribal paint, shells and grass skirts. For instance, the bystanders who watched a 20 year old woman as she was tortured with a hot iron rod, bound, doused with gasoline, then set alight on a pile of car tires and trash in the Western Highlands provincial capital of Mount Hagen, were dressed in T-shirts and shorts. Why am I mentioning what they were wearing? It makes a difference in the way people will view the act.

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Bystanders watch as a woman, accused of witchcraft is burned alive in Papua New Guinea.

If they were dressed in tribal garb, this story might never have been made global. It might have been excused as just a barbaric act carried out by a people who don’t know any better. The fact is those, not so innocent, bystanders were educated in a place that has long been civilized. They have a police force and a government. It is a democracy and is part of the Commonwealth. The most popular religion in Papua New Guinea is the Catholic Church, with 27% of the population identifying as Catholic, followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church with 19% and a slew of Christian offshoots. I mention this because it is important to understand that, by and large, the people of Papua New Guinea are taught the same religious doctrine that the rest of the Western World is taught. Yet, Kepari Leniata, a 20 year old mother was not only accused of sorcery, but tortured and killed in front of hundreds of people who took pictures and cheered, because people believed in magic.

Or was is that simple? Were she a man, would this have happened? Accusations of witchcraft and sorcery are usually targeted toward women. Is this just another instance of a woman cut down in the prime of her life as an example to other women not to get too comfortable? Either way, if people didn’t believe in magic, or if women weren’t painted as the enemy, it would never have happened.

The good news is that the Police Commissioner isn’t having any of it. He was quoted as saying, “We are in the 21st century and this is totally unacceptable.” The Prime Minister is also on the right side of history, calling for the arrest of the killers and saying, “It is reprehensible that women, the old and the weak in our society should be targeted for alleged sorcery or wrongs that they actually have nothing to do with.”

It is unfortunate, however that the Police Commissioner wants to establish courts to deal with sorcery allegations as an alternative to villagers dispensing justice, instead of stating outright that there is no such thing as magic. I guess that would mean that the religions that have a foothold in the area might lose some members of their congregations. If the people actually come to their senses and realize that if there is no such thing as magic, then maybe, just maybe, religion’s biggest role is keeping the people from the truth. The truth that they exist solely to rob you of your money, your intellect, your dignity and your human rights.

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One small step forward for Moroccan women, one giant leap back for American women


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Moroccan women protesting the rape/marriage law

This week, the country of Morocco finally decided to take an ancient law off the books. A woman (or girl) will no longer be required to marry her rapist. A paragraph in Article 475 of the penal code allows those convicted of “corruption” or “kidnapping” of a minor to go free if they marry their victim and the practice was encouraged by judges to spare family shame. While it is a step in the right direction, it will, hopefully be the first of many steps to come with the end goal being equal human rights. Kudos and Brava to our North African sisters for fighting long and hard for their basic human rights amid such dangerous circumstances. This is another example of how women have finally had enough and are through accepting the status quo.

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Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R),

In the United States, this week women’s reproductive rights have, yet again, come under attack. This time, in New Mexico… by a WOMAN! I cannot overstate how much of a betrayal this was, for women all around the world. A bill introduced by Rep. Cathrynn Brown (a republican, of course) who wants to make it so that a woman who is impregnated by her rapist would be forced to carry her baby to full term, or be sent to jail. House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.” The bill goes on to say, “Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.” Her reasoning is that the bill would punish the person who commits incest or rape and then procures or facilitates an abortion to destroy the evidence of the crime.

When was the last time you heard of a case in which the rapist procured an abortion for his victim in order to destroy evidence? Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but can you not get DNA evidence from an aborted foetus? So what good is this law really going to do for the victim of the crime? This smacks of yet another republican attempt to shame the victim and reward the rapist, all in the name of religious “values”. Cause, you know the bible is all for the rape of women in order to keep them from getting all uppity.

Women in the US of A need to take a page from the women of Morocco and other countries where the fight is much more dire. Those women don’t have the luxury of introducing bills into law. Those women are too busy literally fighting for their lives. If the women of the free world (when I say free world, I mean all countries where women are free and equal, not just America) need to understand that if we allow our rights to be taken away, then we are dooming women in economically underdeveloped countries. If we let our rights go, then what chance for freedom do these women have?  We must remain an example of what can be accomplished when you fight the good fight… because too much is at stake.