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.

 

 

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.

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

Working Girl


working-girl_melanie-griffith1

In my opinion Melanie Griffith is one of the most over rated actresses in the history of Hollywood. From her ditzy voice, to the scary plastic surgery she’s had done, there’s not one thing I like about her. Yet… I owe her a debt of gratitude. As regular readers know, I recently moved across country and have been looking for work for the past two months. The good news is I just got a great job that I really enjoy, in a gorgeous hotel setting. The bad news is the job requires me to stand all day and even in comfy flat shoes my dogs are not only barking, but howling by the end of a 9 hour day.  It doesn’t help that I am still carrying 30 extra ‘I quit smoking pounds’either. My co-workers tell me I will get used to it soon. I find myself wondering when the heck soon might be. I walk the 20 minutes to and from the hotel. I never in my life thought I would be one of those women made famous by Melanie Griffith in the movie Working Girl, who wears a skirt and sneakers to go to work (I mean, I own 3 pairs of Louboutins for crying out loud), but they are the only shoes in which I can make the trek home without wanting to cut my feet off after walking a measly block.

If anyone out there is looking for a great pair of walking shoes, get thee to a Payless Shoes and pick up a pair of Champion walkers (priced under $40). They have air pockets in the soles and they are like walking on two little clouds. I may just be investing in several more pairs in the not so distant future.

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The shoes that are saving my life!!

I’d love to write more, but if I don’t put my feet up soon, I’ll never make it through the day tomorrow. So I will leave with a doff of the hat to Ms. Griffith for making it socially acceptable to wear sneakers to work.

From the “Well, Duh” files


Pope-Francis

The public’s love affair with Pope Francis continues. Just today he uttered the, quite possibly, the most obvious sentence I have ever heard and believers are all aflutter. Here’s the quote; “Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility. Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God!”

duh

The Catholic Church has been pulling the old, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ routine for so long now that many people no longer take them seriously. He may be winning back some hearts and minds with statements like the above, but for how long? The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. My guess is that the pudding will be about as real as the invisible man they worship.