Fierce Women Dish

an artist, a journalist, an activist, a psychologist, a student, and a diva place a cup of nourishment on the table.

Advice for the newly unemployed? March 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 8:32 pm

From Crystal:

I know many, many people are either unemployed or waiting to hear if they’re being laid off.

What advice would you offer someone? What are the three most important pieces of info that they need? If you’ve been laid off, what do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Post your suggestions, and we’ll offer some of ours soon in an upcoming blog.


What constitutes provocative dressing and/or actions? How does it empower or hinder other women? February 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 2:15 am
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Donna: I think this topic, like so many we discuss on this blog, is somewhat objective. What may constitute dressing or acting provocatively to me may differ to someone else. Having said that I’ll try to sort out how I feel.

The dictionary definition of provocative is as follows:


serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate


exciting sexual desire;

Dressing and/or acting provocatively has a very specific purpose—to shock, titillate and stimulate. I am disappointed any time I see a woman that appears to be throwing all of her eggs into the ‘look how sexy I am’ basket, and I think that’s exactly what women that focus on this tool are doing. (The worst examples can be seen on many co-ed reality TV shows where the women are in direct competition with one another over the ‘prize’ guy headlining the show.) It says that she has bought into the unfortunate general worldview that women need to use their sexuality 1st to get what they want. People are visual; it’s very difficult to get past clothing choices that speak in this manner. And there is a real reason that the stereotype that goes along with this ‘type’ of woman is that she is not very smart: people assume that what they actually see of her is all she has to give, and so she’s using it to the hilt. Key word here, I think, is using.

From where I sit, it hinders women, because of the manner due to the fact that it continues to proliferate the myth that women are only equivalent to the sum of their physical parts.

Kelly: I think the only that hinders women is OTHER women deciding that what they wear or do is “provocative.”  If a woman is more comfortable in sweats, great. Or if you’re a navy suit or sweater gal, great. I’ve done that, but I also rock a pair of leather pants and think topless beaches are liberating. What would empower women is for us to have each other’s back. If a woman is feeling gorgeous in her micro-mini, go for it! The worse thing that women can do is “bitch” about what some other woman is wearing. That tears all women down. Think of it…maybe she’s sporting a low-cut top because she’s finally done with chemo and wants to feel beautiful about her breasts again. Maybe she finally dumped that a-hole, and she wants to let her hair down in an itty-bitty dress and heels for a night on the town w/the ladies. Either way, I’m bias. I love provocative. If we want women all over the globe to be safe in what ever she wears and to have the freedom to do so, then she has to be safe to do it here, as well.

Jenee: Deciding what is deemed “provocative” dressing is a very personal standard. I also think it changes with age…In high school it never bothered me to have my stomach showing and now I cringe at the idea. When I work college nights at the bar I have this desire to run around and wrap towels all over the girls and I cannot stand the Libby Lou store in the mall.

With that being said there are nights when I look at myself in the mirror and I tug my shirt down a bit or when at the mall I go for the tighter dress and the taller heels. I look at myself and think, “Hey I’m single and I want to look hot tonight and flirt and have fun!” I go out with a very powerful aggressive prowler like attitude and its fun!

Donna: So am I saying women shouldn’t be sexy at all? Uh…no. Absolutely not.

Let’s move to discussion of the subtle difference between owning vs. using ones’ sexuality. Provocative dressing or actions is a way to use one’s sexuality as a means to and end. It is a direct, overt and specific portrayal of sexuality as the most important part of the woman’s total persona. This is a woman that is really banking on this one aspect of her personality to get her through life…it’s self-exploitation at its worst because I think the truth of it is that the women that rely on this don’t feel confident enough in other areas of their lives to allow the other parts of her personality  to speak. When I think of someone that ‘owns’ their sexuality, however, I think of  a woman that is quietly confident with herself and that her sexuality is present, but only one  part of the mix of the many other interesting things that make up who she is. Isn’t it exactly what we do not reveal, both physically and emotionally, that makes us the most interesting to others—sort of like a mystery to figure out over time? ‘Owning’ is quieter, ‘using’ is more loud and obvious. When I see a woman that owns her sexuality, I definitely feel empowered by her presence.

Amy: Labels can be “provocative”.  The “label wars” that occur among women are very provocative.  Walk down the street and you will see bags covered in C’s, G’s, F’s, and LV’s to name a few.    Blaring labels create a provocative power play, which immediately draws socioeconomic lines between women and girls.  Teenagers are carrying designer bags costing hundreds and thousands of dollars. Not only are young girls dressing sexually but they are also carrying power bags typically reserved for the office or country club to sleepovers.

Jenee: I think, like with most things, its not how your actually dressing its what your motives are when you put on the outfit…what means to an end your trying to achieve. I work at a bar…I know being ‘sexy’ is apart of the business. I know that having a certain look will get you the job but it defiantly won’t keep the job. My mindset is never one where I think my looks will get me what I want or need in life. I am a smart women who will progress in life because of what I can do not how I look.

I think it hinders women when they start to think being ‘sexy’ or dressing ‘provocatively’ is the only thing they have to offer the world….that is what we have to stop.


Healthy Weight Week January 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 6:33 pm
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Healthy Weight Week, Jan. 18-24, is a time to focus on healthy diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and help prevent eating and weight problems. Two sets of awards highlight the event as given in the following News Release. More details on our website (click Healthy Weight Week).

PSA News Release 1/18/08 WOMEN’S HEALTHY WEIGHT AWARDS ANNOUNCED BODY IMAGE CONCERNS ADDRESSED BY 2009 WINNERS This is the year people are getting serious about healthy body image, about preventing eating disorders and normalizing their lives. They can find help by celebrating Healthy Weight Week, Jan. 18 to 24, and by tuning in to the messages of this year’s winners of the Women’s Healthy Weight awards. “We really feel good about the winners this year. They are passionate about body acceptance; no mixed messages here,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, in announcing the awards today. Her organization Healthy Weight Network started Healthy Weight Week 16 years ago. The Women’s Healthy Weight awards honor organizations that support size diversity and positive body image. Both 2009 winners have initiated comprehensive programs to prevent eating disorders and combat the destructive effects of thin female ideals. “The hysteria over weight is beginning to die down,” Berg said. “More people are seeing the value of acceptance and respect. They have experienced the harmful effects of idealizing thin models and harassing large children and adults.” The 2009 award winners are: – BEST PROGRAM: Reflections Body Image Program. Endorsed by the Academy of Eating Disorders, Reflections was co-developed by the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, Carolyn Becker, PhD, FAED, and the local sororities of Trinity University in San Antonio, It is a research-based program that combats the ultra thin media model of female beauty prevalent in today’s society. As part of its national launching, Tri Delta shared a key message with women across the nation by creating Fat Talk Free Week and a viral video email aimed at raising consciousness about Fat Talk and body dissatisfaction among women. Reflections consists of peer-led small group sessions run on campuses, trains student leaders and professionals, and fosters research. It has significantly improved body image perceptions and decreased eating disorder risk factors on campuses (e.g., 48% of women at one college who said they “felt fat almost every day” reported 8 months later they felt that way never or less than half the time). ( and )

– BEST WEBSITE: Love your Body ( ). The National Organization for Women Foundation gives girls and women tools and encouragement on this site to “just say no” to destructive media images, and helps raise awareness about women’s health, body image and self-esteem. The important thing is “to be healthy and love yourself regardless of what the scale says.” The site features suggestions for campus activities on how to treat your body with respect, mentoring, articles, a poster contest, positive and negative ads, and activism options on dealing with advertising, clothing stores and the media.

This year NOW will collaborate with the Reflections program to sponsor Fat Talk Free Week in October, during which NOW promotes its own Love your Body day. “Sex, Stereotypes and Beauty,” a PowerPoint showing the destructive effect of offensive ads, is available at ( ) So what is fat talk? “Fat Talk includes both negative (‘I’m too fat to wear this outfit’) and seemingly positive statements (‘You look great – have you lost weight?’),” explains Dr. Becker. “Fat talk harms women and girls on a daily basis. It insidiously reinforces the unattainable thin-ideal standard of female beauty that contributes to eating disorders and body dissatisfaction,” she said. “A key Reflections message is: Friends don’t let friends fat talk.”


The second set of Healthy Weight Week awards – the Slim Chance Awards for the worst weight loss products of the year – is presented on Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day, Jan. 20. They are: Kevin Trudeau infomercials, Most Outrageous; Skineez jeans, Worst Gimmick; AbGONE, Worst Claim; and Kimkins diet, Worst Product. (For more information see ) Healthy Weight Week promotes healthy diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and help prevent eating and weight problems, said Berg. “Our bodies cannot be shaped at will. But we can all be accepting, healthy and happy at our natural weights.” Handouts on healthy living at any size are available at (click handouts).


For more information see (click HEALTHY WEIGHT WEEK) CONTACT: Francie M. Berg 701-567-2646 Healthy Weight Network 402 South 14th Street Hettinger, ND 58639 MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Francie Berg call 701-567-2646 or email (please begin subject line with: Berg interview.



Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 10:18 am
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from donna

Ah, January….my least favorite time of year.

Why do I despise January? Well, it is a little quieter than the holidays, which actually I don’t mind so much. But it’s generally cold and dark—ick, not very much time outside, and it’s a big social letdown from all the fun events that December generally brings. But what really gripes me, is that in January-every January, without fail, my entire life, it seems as if all of a sudden the whole wide world has gotten together and decided to take full responsibility for everyone else’s health and well being, (whew…finally!) but because, evidently we are sloth, we now must be guilted and cajoled into action.  All around us, magazines, news organizations and media outlets are screaming at us that January is the time to Repent! from all of your misdeeds of holiday over indulgences-and the past year in general- and to resolve to shape up, once and for all! And we need to hurry! And get to the gym! Or on the program! And take off those ‘5 holiday pounds’! Because before you know it, you’ll wake up, and it will be 50lbs! And to top it all off, all of these weight/diet/exercise pronouncements seem to have exclamation points attached to them! As if they are exclusive orders sent down from the almighty diet god! Or a blinking red alert from Fox News! (Take your pick…)
Don’t get me wrong, I truly understand the urge to take stock of life in general at the beginning of a new year; it is, after all a very well defined beginning. And, I see nothing wrong ancd actually advocate the well- intentioned and thought-out personal decision at any time of the year to strive to become healthier-physically, emotionally, spiritually or otherwise. What I take such grand offense to is the fear mongering that seems to come along with the Big January Scare and the very bossy pushiness of it all. It’s as if it’s become completely cultural at this point; we as women are all just normally expected to be on the BIG JANUARY DIET. (DO men feel this pressure? I’d be interested to know.) And this, I am sure is why so many people fail at this popular resolution, year after year after year… And it just makes me want scream ‘YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!’ to all the offending parties and then eat a big piece of chocolate cake right out there on a lazy lawn chair in front of my gym, despite them all.(!!!)
Why should January always be the designated beat up on yourself month?! Here’s what I suggest. Resolve, if you really must resolve something, to take January in stride. Take a deep breath or maybe a yoga class and above all DO NOT PANIC. If you DO intend to act, act in the pursuit of health for godssakes, NOT in the name of January or resolution time, etc, etc. Vow, if you will, to UN-OBSESS about The January Scare. Don’t entertain discussions of new January diets or exercise programs with friends; this only proliferates this overexposed issue and really isn’t very helpful for the Girl Power Sisterhood Support System that we are all working so diligently to create. And here’s something else to chew on : what all those ‘average weight gained around the holidays’ articles don’t tell you, is that in January most people get on off that November–to-December social party train and go back to life as normal, and any residual gain generally rights itself within a month or two. So there.
And one last thing, to Oprah, because I know she’s a huge fan of Fierce Women Dish: It’s okay! You’re okay! You are human, even though many times you are forced up there on the superhuman pedestal by those of us that put up there. You are going to be healthy and all right; this I know for sure. And, I don’t feel quite so bad, because I do know that you, personally, did NOT fall prey to the Big January Scare, even though your magazine certainly did. To meet your deadlines for January, I am sure you were working on everything back sometime in October or November….waaaaaay before the big scare, and that makes me oh-so-happy.


What do you want us to get fierce about? January 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 11:54 am

From Crystal:
Happy New Year (a few days late)!

We here at FWD Central have a list of topics that we’d like to tackle. But we’re wondering what you would like to have put on the table?

Post your thoughts by 5 p.m. Jan. 11. We’ll throw some of them into the mix!


December 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 7:25 pm
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Are you turning over a new style leaf with the new year?  Are you planning on making more of an effort to look put together when you leave the house?  Cleaning out the wardrobe that doesn’t fit you any longer and finding perfect pieces for the person you are today?  Consulting a stylist to find your signature look?  Getting a great new haircut that you can maintain?  Learning how to do make-up that is just right for you?  Dressing for the job you want and not the one you have?    


Rosie Molinary is putting together a series for the Charlotte Observer to run several times in 2009 about style resolutions and Charlotteans making them, and she’d love to include you.  If you are a greater Charlotte resident and have a style resolution for 2009, she’d like to hear from you.  Email her your resolution (, your reason for it, and a little about yourself by January 5.  Thanks so much!


How to save money in this economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 2:04 pm


-Organizing food and household shopping more, which includes:            

Clipping and actually USING Coupons. This only happens if I clip weekly and organize them into a coupon organizer.

Warehouse shopping for items that are cheaper there (dairy products, paper and cleaning products) and using coupons there as well (BJ’s takes them, and will allow multiple coupons for multi packs!) 

Arranging the shopping trips to the various stores so that I can make less trips overall and run errands as I am driving to other places…the crazy gas crisis earlier this year helped me realize the true benefit of this.

-Eating out less. This is a no-brainer. But with Trader Joe’s in town now, eating creatively and cheaply is much easier!

When I DO meet friends for dinner, we really seek out the deal:  ½ appetizers or bottles of wine/beer specials, etc.  Many restaurants have these during the earlier hours of 5:30-7 or so.  You can also request the lunch portion all day at many places.

-Ask your budget minded friends where they are finding their stuff these days!

The best info on the real deals comes from other people. Ex: I have one friend that is our group’s resident wine expert and I always ask her what her new (cheaper) wine favorites are…she NEVER leads me wrong. 

-Borrowing, when I can, rather than buying. This is how I have read most of my book club books. We just pass them around.

-Reusing and reinventing instead of just buying new. I make a little game out of  coming up with new outfits from what I already own– especially around this time of year where there are more social events and I get to tap into the festive side of the closet!

-Spending less on gifts overall…especially for the kids. I tend to go overboard every year with my nieces, nephews and godchildren and I realize in the long run it’s not gonna matter how many gifts I give them because they are fortunate kids and have a lot.

-Putting off big purchases until absolutely necessary. Ex: My car is a 1997 model with 160,000 miles on it.  It’s been ready to go for about a year and but I still cannot bring myself to even look for a new one right now. I will have to when my hand is forced.  Is refusing to spend money a way to save money? I am not sure, but I am doing it.


-If you have children, buy staple wardrobe items at end of season sales for next week.  A winter coat in February can be purchased at a steal and you just buy it in your child’s size for next winter.

-Track all your expenses each week.  At our house, we have an envelope where we drop our receipts each day and on Sundays we look them over to see how much we spent, where we spent it, discuss how we can do better, and make plans for the upcoming week.

-Grocery shop with a list in hand.  Plan your meals for the upcoming week, put only what you need on the list, and try to work from your pantry.  For every week items like toilet paper, buy bulk.

-Create a monthly and yearly budget— especially if you feel like you are always being reactive.  Total up all your monthly stable and variable expenses, multiply them out by 12 to see what you will likely spend on that item in a year, total up what you have to bring in to cover everything and plan from there.  Sometimes we think it’s okay to spend X dollars in a month on something but then when we see what that will cost us over the course of a year, it becomes a lot less palpable and you decide to make some sort of change.


-Since I work in the service industry my income is never contestant.  I have made a list of monthly bills and track at the end of each week what I have made and how much I owe.  Putting things in list form really allows me to tangible see what my finances are doing (sometimes a very scary thing)

-I NEVER used to go grocery shopping…I always ate out! Now I save that for Saturday nights only.

At the grocery store I have been figuring out what I can buy that will last me the longest.  I made a HUGE batch of veggie chili that has lasted me a month for 15 dollars!

I clip coupons and pay attention to the vic savings

Never go to the grocery store hungry!

-I have a tendency to shop online a lot…now I give myself 2 weeks before I buy anything, most times I have forgotten all about it

I have started to spend more time buying accessories instead of clothing…new belt and new purse for 20 dollars is much better then buying a whole new outfit!

-When I go out I only bring cash…


Workshops Hosted by Rosie! December 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 12:16 pm
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This Year, I Will Finally…

Every January, millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions that are long forgotten by February.  In this workshop, participants will use journaling and discussion to focus in on a significant goal for the coming year and put a plan in place for achieving it. 


Date:  January 15, 2009 

Time:  4 pm – 5:30 pm 

Location: The Warehouse PAC, 9216-A Westmoreland Road, Cornelius, NC

Cost:  $22    


Writing Your Life


Self-reflection gives us a much needed pause.  It allows us a moment of inquiry, a moment to identify desire and potential.  Generating awareness and then moving to personal solutions takes time and thought, brainstorming and checking in, enough repetition to want to change our choices and build a new habit, and the knowledge of why this habit will be good for us when we want to revert.  Journaling predisposes us to a more successful embrace of our self and our choices.  In this workshop, participants will discuss the importance of journaling and will actively engage in a range of journaling tools and practices.  The first ten participants to sign up each receive a comprehensive journaling workbook as part of their class fees to encourage them in their practice.


Date:  January 20, 2009 

Time:  7 pm – 7:30 pm 

Location: The Warehouse PAC, 9216-A Westmoreland Road, Cornelius, NC

Cost:  $22    



Discovering Your Belief


This I Believe is a popular NPR series that invites everyday people to share a brief essay on something they absolutely believe to be true.  From the simple to the profound, essayists selected by NPR share their beliefs in radio spots aired locally and nationally.  In this workshop, participants will begin brainstorming and drafting a This I Believe statement that they may wish to complete and submit to NPR on their own for consideration.     


Date:  January 22, 2009 

Time:  4 pm – 5:30 pm 

Location: The Warehouse PAC, 9216-A Westmoreland Road, Cornelius, NC

Cost:   $22


To sign up for any of these workshops, email me or call (704) 859-5930.
Sign up for all three workshops for a total fee of $55. 


Does the current beauty culture erode our souls? November 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 2:02 pm

Donna: uh….yes. It is a culture that revolves around a specifically Caucasian ideal of eternal youth and a model-like body type that statistically only 2% of women in the world will have genetically. And because women are supposed to have achieved this ideal beauty naturally and not to have really worked at it at all, there is a level of secrecy held about any procedures done or diets followed that is misleading to the public at large.  This  proliferates the myth that those of us that don’t fit into these ideals have done something wrong…and if only we had—fill in the blank here, stayed of the sun, had more willpower, moisturized more regularly, eaten more veggies-we would easily achieve this beauty ideal, just  like these other uber-women presented in the media.

Jenee: Most defiantly yes!  I find it very disheartening that pop culture has become so fake, that idea of botox, breast implants, tummy tucks and liposuction have become a common day occurrence. Over 75% of the females I work with at the bar have gotten breast implants and everyone is under the age of 30, I know a 23 year old who is saving to have collagen injections in her lips! 

Amy: It depends on to what level you embrace the beauty culture.  If you are part of a subculture that embraces plastic surgery as a rite of passage or necessity, then yes.  If the beauty culture is for hair and make-up, then no.

Donna: Now, things have gotten somewhat better in the last years. There are a handful of examples of beauty that is outside this realm and I will always applaud and support these unique examples…but I will always want to see more.  The only thing we can do to counteract this effect of the typical beauty culture on our own psyche is to choose to celebrate and focus on the individual beauty of those real women around us…and set the example for our friends, and our sisters, daughters and nieces, to do the same.  

Rosie: The interesting thing about the beauty culture is that it is a choice.  We can choose to engage with what pop culture or mainstream society tells us is beautiful or we can choose not to—but choosing not to means that we have enough confidence to turn away and not doubt our judgment.  If we are choosing to turn away from that mainstream beauty standard and are doing it for the first time, then the first step is intention.  Thinking to yourself, “I have decided that I am defining beauty for myself” and then going for it by loving yourself as you are, loving others as they are, choosing to be happy everyday—not someday when you are blonde, tall, tan, thin, whatever- and knowing that your body is taking you everywhere you are going right now and deserves some respect for that.  Intention yields focus and focus allows what you desire to grow and become apparent.  Change our minds and we can change the beauty culture that rules over us.  The great thing is that body image isn’t static—it’s possible to grow no matter our history.  Too often, we believe that we will be content when our body changes.  Actually, we’ll be content only when our mind changes, when we allow ourselves to be content. 


Jenee: One does make the choice to participate or not.  But I feel like it gets harder and harder to turn away.  We are constantly bombarded by billboards, magazines you try to avoid at in the check out lane, advertisements in the bath room stalls that say “put your body in the hands of an artist” like the fact that I was created from tiny little DNA molecules isn’t creative enough.  Hell they have loans dedicated to plastic surgery now!

Amy: Adornment has been part of the human psyche though the ages.  It cab be a wonderful, soulful part of us rather than detrimental.  It is only with the advent of going under the knife and embracing the inner corset (extreme dieting) that physical adornment has become physically dangerous and therefore an erosion of our soul.

Donna: My final word on this is that it is imperative that you surround yourself with positive, fabulous women that believe in unique, individual beauty as you do. The alternative leads down a road of chasing after something that will never be caught…and who wants to waste any precious time on that?

Jenee: I think it’s important to surround yourself with strong women who love themselves.  Read magazines that don’t promote that kind of image like Bust or Ms.  Remind yourself of the reality of the situation and don’t give into the air brushed image.  Make an effort to tell little girls how smart they are not how pretty they look.  Trying to combat the media and modern day standards takes effort and courage!  Make the decision to live in reality and love people for who they are and not hate them for who their not. 


Sunset Club

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 1:16 pm

From Jenee:

Last week a friend of mine decided to have his birthday party at the Sunset Club.  I had mixed feelings about attending, hearing about the urinals was one thing but actually seeing them with the link Molly posted was just devastating.

I made the decision to go and had dinner at a near by restaurant before.  During dinner I chatted with the owner, his brother, and my girl friend about the bathroom situation.  Everyone was in complete agreement that it was not only disgusting and tacky but degrading and humiliating.

That’s when I decided I needed to see it for myself.

I walked into the club, had a shot, and marched straight for the mens bathroom. Opened the door and said “I want to see your demeaning urinals, you should be ashamed of yourselves what would your mothers say?!?!”

I stood there looking at plain white urinals.  There were no legs, no vagina starting at me…just a plain white urinal.  I turned to the bathroom attendant and asked what happened…he explained that there was such a public backlash that the club decided to remove them.

I was excited at first and then had a feeling of despair.  The fact that enough people thought it was a good idea to not only make them but also use them is just pathetic.