Fierce Women Dish

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

The State of Pregnancy June 23, 2008

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When I was a high school teacher, my closest friend, who taught in the classroom next door to mine, got pregnant the summer before our third year of teaching.  We were in our mid-twenties, and her pregnancy was the first one I really witnessed.  While I loved learning about her experiences with every new development and milestone, I was also sometimes appalled by how people acted towards her.  During our lunch period, the male teachers would look at her, think of pregnancy, and dredge up their own stories, saying something like, “Did I tell you about the time my wife almost died on the delivery table?”  A few too many times of those story lines and I grew fed up.  “We’re not eating lunch with you anymore until you find something else to talk about,” I insisted (appropriate that we taught high school with my behavior and all, don’t you think?).  We were both baffled at the way people would come up to her—anywhere, especially the grocery store—and touch her or tell her their horror stories.  It was like she was up for grabs all of a sudden.  Another time, as she walked towards our classrooms after lunch duty, the art teacher down the hall, a woman in her mid-50s who had two children, screamed for all the world to hear:  “QUACK, QUACK, WADDLE, WADDLE, QUACK, QUACK, WADDLE, WADDLE.”  So it came as no surprise to me when the Fierce Women e-mailed the women in our lives to ask them what they wanted discussed on the blog that several of them e-mailed back, “Why is a pregnant woman’s body and state up for grabs?  Why do some believe that it is okay to touch her without asking?  Why do others use this time to volunteer their unpleasant or negative experiences?”  And it also comes as no surprise that this group of Fierce Women had some thoughtful answers to share.  – Rosie

 

Amy:  Could it be that the sharing of these negative experiences is similar to the bad body image comments we have talked about in past posts.  Maybe these are experiences that somehow as women we’re all “supposed” to relate to and share and bond over.  I can’t tell you how many pregnant friends I’ve had complain about comments others have made about how they are carrying their baby.  It’s like somehow it becomes socially acceptable to stare at someone’s body and then declare what your thoughts are . . . like “wow, you’re carrying low, must be a girl or a boy”.  Unfortunately, being pregnant is not something people become completely accustomed to. . . by the time someone gets completely fed up and ready to set some limits, the baby is born and then she gets to start talking about losing the baby weight . . . sheesh!

 

Donna:  This is a weird one for me…several times I have had a pregnant  friend offer to let me ‘feel the baby kick’ or move, and I never know how to respond to this…I would never be feeling their stomach in any other situation, so it’s a little awkward for me.  I have no idea why many people think that it’s okay to violate normal body rights during this time. It’s a complete mystery to me. We may need a guest fierce woman that has been pregnant to chime in on this one!

 

Crystal:  If one of my friends or a family member is pregnant, I’m usually so excited about the pregnancy that I can’t wait to feel the baby move.  In my more impetuous youth, I would put two hands on the belly without asking.  Now that I’m more mature, I ask.

 

Pregnancy is a state of being that changes everything about the woman’s life, her partner’s life and those of people who love her.  I think pregnant women are enchantingly beautiful and mysterious.  The only thing I try to give/get from those moments of touch is a chance to love and support.

 

Since I’ve never given birth, and odds are at age 44 I never will, I have no horror stories to share. I also have a million questions:  “What does it feel like?” “Are you comfortable?” “Do you feel as beautiful as you look?” “Are you ready?” “Are you scared?”

 

I wish I’d been there when my sister in law gave birth to my nieces and nephew. I’ll never turn down that opportunity again.  So, what makes us intrude? For some of us, it’s amazement, curiosity and love.

 

Amy:  I am also that way with my friends!  I think being pregnant is really phenomenal! 

So, what say you, fellow Fierce Women: do you think pregnancy has become a public state that the expectant mom has little control over?  What strategies have you used in your efforts to set boundaries around your pregnancies?  What can loving friends do to offer support?       

 

Health, Part 2: Crystal’s take… June 18, 2008

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I agree with much of what Donna had to say. (Do a tri! It’ll change your life…Donna, I think that could be another blog topic)…

That said, here’s what I’ll add…

Now that I’m a week away from age 44, I’ll invoke a cliche regarding all aspects of my health: I wish I knew then what I know now.  Honestly, when people tell that “it” gets harder as you get older, they’re not joking.

I wish I had partied less (brain cells are a good thing) and exercised more (so is strength, stamina, etc).  I regret every cigarette that I ever smoked. And during a week of bad news (123 of my coworkers are being laid off), I really wish that I had been less focused on my job and more on other parts of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, my life has been pretty incredible. And everything I did and experience until now made me what I am.

However, I’m counting 44 as my halfway mark.

I’m going to take everything that I’ve learned up to now and apply it to having an even more incredible second half. And I plan to be fully aware and engaged. And stronger. And wiser.

What about you?

 

Healthier planet, healthier living June 16, 2008

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How can we as women shepherd the transition to a healthier planet by practicing health ourselves?

From Donna Scott:

Whew…this question of “HEALTH” encompasses a lot of stuff.

Practicing health to me means both physical and emotional health.

So for the physical aspects…I try to do some sort of very specific health related activity 4-5x a week and try to do the non-specific little healthy things (parking farther away from the door, etc) whenever I think about it. I am not a natural athlete and never have been, but have been consistently exercising now for about five years; this is still a pretty big deal for me.

Last year, thanks to my co-blogger Crystal, I got involved in a first timer’s triathlon group…it was a really great and life changing experience.

This year I am mentoring several people for the same triathlon. And if you are in Charlotte, you can join us! Check it out at www.triitforlife.org. The tri’s in October, you still have plenty of time to train! I know more than most, however, that finding out a healthy activity that works for you and keeps you engaged over time is the key.

Emotional health to me means striving for balance with all of my life, and attempting to not over schedule stuff for myself, while allowing for some quiet time, which I find I need more and more. I feel that I am at my most healthy when I have a balance of creative work along with my general day-to-day stuff.

My work is project to project so there is a definite crunch time that occurs around a certain project date that I attempt to control. This is my biggest challenge, because I love to be involved in stuff and have a real tendency to want to say yes to all the fun things that seem to come around.

How does any of this relate to a healthy planet? Well, here’s how I relate it: MY planet is my general area of Charlotte, NC.

I figure that anything I can do to promote physical health for everyone, not just elite athletes or even athletic jock types is a means towards this end because we are all allowed to do whatever we need to be the most healthy we can.

And as far as emotional health, I enjoy creating, and producing theatre projects that look honestly at women’s lives and relationships and tackle topics that help give women a sense of not being alone in the world with their specific issues.

And if I can play a part that is just purely funny and not at all issue related, well, I like to do that too, because laughter is a great vehicle for taking people out of themselves and their problems and giving them some fun and entertaining downtime. I also try to locally support other women’s’ projects, artistic and otherwise, and women owned businesses in general.

Crystal will add her reply on Tuesday (after she recharges the laptop)!

So, what are you doing to keep yourself healthy?

 

Women hurting other women… June 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 10:38 pm

Hello Fierce Women of the world!  Our topic this week is: 

“What are women doing on an individual basis to make life harder for all of us?”

 

Donna:

Passing down their bad body image stuff! If you are having trouble with your own body image issues, as we all do from time to time, please refrain from commenting outloud about this. It brings everyone down around you, and besides, there may be a younger  more impressionable woman  around that is getting confirmation that this is the way women should bond. We all need to realize our personal stake in this and take action;  chatting it up with girlfriends over whose thighs are bigger helps NO ONE. Just stop doing it. We all fight the negatives in our head…but wage your battle on your own—don’t feel like you need to share it with everyone around you—it’s really bad juju.

 

Amy:

Trying so darn hard to be perfect and then acting like it was easy.  Many women work incredibly hard be perfect, whether it’s in having the perfect home or the perfect career or the perfect body or the perfect style.  Then, they act like it was a walk in the park getting there instead of being honest about the effort it took.  This just furthers the myth that how things look on the outside is more important than the life behind the image.  .  .

 

Donna: 

Along this same topic, if you have had plastic surgery or any other type of elective procedure, be like Patricia Heaton and just cop to it.  Don’t be coy about it– just admit it. Her honesty was so refreshing to me, especially for a person in the entertainment biz.  It sends the EXACT wrong message to say, for example, that you lost weight in a short amount of time through very focused diet and exercise, when it really was via weight loss surgery or lipo. It feeds the myth that there is a fast easy way to weight loss if you just ‘work really hard to get your body back’… and there  isn’t.

 

Rosie:

Probably one of our most divisive behaviors is when we believe that there is a certain way of being in the world that is best and then judge and scrutinize others based on what our prescription for being in the world is.  We can be our best when we allow women of all types, backgrounds, personalities, and styles the room and capacity to be their best.  Just because we do or don’t want something for our selves doesn’t mean that someone else should.  I’d love to see the women of the world devote their energy to justice, not judging. 

 

Donna:

Agreeing to cheat. Respect the relationship status of other people. If you are currently in one where one or both parties believes the relationship  to be monogamous…don’t sneak around or step out, even if you think you won’t get caught. Am I naive in thinking that women could put an end to a lot of cheating if we just respected each other’s decisions and relationships a little more?

 

Donna:

Women/ girls who wear those adversarial mean girl tee shirts. Why would anyone wear a shirt that says “Oops, I kissed your boyfriend” or “It’s not easy being easy” is really not furthering anything but animosity and rude behavior. Which I am becoming more and more convinced (*sigh*) just feeds right into what a lot of the general populace wants to see (Girl fight! Girl fight!).  It’s just disrespectful and puts negativity out into the universe. There’s enough there already, thanks much.

 

“What’s Your Point, Honey?” coming to CLT June 7, 2008

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A few months ago, I posted about this documentary, “What’s Your Point, Honey?”

Now it’s coming to Charlotte, and it’s a fundraiser for Girls on the Run.

Here are deets:
An Exclusive Screening Of

WHAT’S YOUR POINT, HONEY?
(a documentary film on the future of women’s leadership)

On

Thursday, June 19, 2008
7:00 PM
Supporting Girls on the Run of Charlotte

Please join us after the film for a Q&A with filmmakers Amy Sewell (Mad Hot Ballroom) and Susan Toffler and Charlotte cast member Cat Wilson!

At the Ballantyne Village Theater
14815 John J. Delaney Drive
Charlotte, NC

Attire: Summer Work Casual

Space is Limited

Click here or here to buy tix ($25 or $10).

Hope to see you there.

 

Magazines and books that do women justice June 4, 2008

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Books and Magazines

 

Crystal:   “Are Men Necessary?” by Maureen Dowd; “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert (it’s almost cliche to cite this one, I know); “Good in Bed” by Jennifer Weiner; “Candy Girl” by Diablo Cody (don’t judge it until you read it); “The Good Body” by Eve Ensler; “Love Walked In” by Marisa de los Santos.

 

Donna:  I will have to come out at this point and admit to being a magazine junkie. At one point some years ago I had eight subscriptions of a combination of different fashion, beauty, fitness and health mags; there is nothing that I love more that taking a stolen hour (or fifteen minutes, or whatever to sit and thumb through and read them) I realize that I have such a love/ hate relationship with them; many of them consistently send a mixed messages. I now read them with a more critical eye and have discontinued my subscription to many of them over one offense or another. (Ex: I will never forgive ‘W’ Magazine for printing a horrible comment about Kate Winslet’s appearance at an event in the late 90’s.) I have new criteria for a subscription: unless a fashion magazine regularly features women of all sizes and includes racial diversity on the cover as well as inside the mag, I won’t subscribe. I also can’t take the fitness mags anymore at all. They leave me with the feeling that I am not doing enough and I really hate that feeling, so I don’t read them.  A magazine I love: Marie Claire. It consistently features articles about women doing great things in the world and women that have lived/ are living through extraordinary circumstances as well as some fun fashion-y type things. In honor of my upcoming 40th birthday I have been picking up More magazine and really am loving it as well.

 

Janine:  I love the publications that honor women from “More” (for women over 40) to “Essence (celebrating women of color) to “O” magazine (that offers self-empowerment to women)—they all in some way help me keep my sanity. Even though we aren’t still where we should be in honoring our women through the media, I take pride in enjoying the small doses sent my way.  Even the music I choose to listen to, from India Arie to Angie Stone to Beyonce (sometimes) there are mediums that ‘get it’ and understand that women have a place in this world and it should be honored.

 

Movies that do women justice June 3, 2008

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Alright, we’re on to movies.  What recent movies have done justice to their female characters? 

Janine:  I just re-watched North Country starring Charlize Theron who does a fabulous job playing a coal miner who fights the ‘good-ol boy’ network and takes a stand on sexual harassment in the workplace. Watching it, made me feel like my work drama is ‘small beans’ compared to what she had to deal with. But it also gave me a surge of energy that I could tackle the work drama that comes my way–and that tolerance is your worse enemy when it comes to your rights.  I would be remised if I didn’t mention the much-talked about Sex and The City: The Movie. One of my favorite TV shows now a movie that absolutely celebrates women!! And no, It’s not just about the hot gear or shoes as my boyfriend thinks, but it’s more about the true essence of women–our hearts, our souls, what’s important to us, the decision we make and why we make them, those we care about, friendships, relationships, living, loving and laughing! The show in general, encompasses the many facets and dimensions of women. There wasn’t an occasion that I didn’t watch and say, “That’s me” or “I can relate to that!”

 

Rosie:  Bordertown didn’t get much play in the United States (politics playing, I think) but it shows an ambitious reporter tackling the heartbreaking abuse and murder of women in the city of Juarez, just across the United States line from El Paso.  It reminded me of Erin Brockovich, another movie that tells the story of a female champion.  I hear wonderful things about Penelope although I haven’t seen it yet.   

 

Crystal:  Juno and Iron Man (really…without Pepper, there is no Iron Man).   

 

 

What recent movies do you applaud for their portrayal of women?       

 

In Charlotte? Support Girl Talk.

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 7:05 pm

Girl Talk Foundation, Inc.

Hosts 2nd Annual Chocolate and Wine Tasting

       

Fundraiser to benefit programs for middle and high school girls

 

 

WHAT:       CHOCOLATE AND WINE TASTING FUNDRAISER

                    A mix of fine wines paired with decadent chocolates, plus a

                    silent auction featuring a dinner/champagne boat ride on Lake

                    Norman, autographed paraphernalia by Charlotte Bobcats, a

spa package compliments of Charles Grayson European Spa.

 

WHO:         GIRL TALK FOUNDATION, INC.

Girl Talk Foundation, Inc. is a character-building program for girls ages 11-16 whose mission is to empower young girls to become leaders of tomorrow. Girl Talk offers five programs for young girls including a 10-week curriculum, “Tailoring Teens For Success”. Programs are designed to encourage positive and critical thinking, build character and develop leadership skills. Girl Talk Foundation, Inc. impacts nearly 700 teen girls annually through its various programs.

 

WHEN:       Thursday, June 5, 2008

                    6-9pm

                    Donation: $75

 

WHERE:    Morton’s The Steakhouse, South Park Mall

                    4331 Barclay Downs Drive

                    Charlotte, NC

 

WHY:          Proceeds to support programs of Girl Talk Foundation, inc. that include college tours, a 10-week curriculum, a summer fitness Camp, Prom Project and a series of teen summits. Visit www.girltalkfoundationinc.com.

 

Television Shows that Do Justice to Women

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In New York last week, a good friend told me that she makes her choices about what to watch based on whether or not the show or movie features a strong woman.  Which led us to a discussion about what media is out there right now celebrating women.  So that’s the question posed to our Fierce Women this week.   What books, mags, television shows, and movies do you flock to in order to get your dose of fierce women and what media makes you bolt?  Today, we’ll talk television.  Come back later this week for our take on movies, magazines, and books.   – Rosie  

 

Donna:  I don’t really watch much—we put our TV upstairs so we have to make a real choice to go up and watch it, but have recently discovered Netflix on Demand and am able to keep up with some great shows this way. What I despise the most: reality tv for sooooo many reasons. First of all it isn’t “REALITY” to have a camera shoved in your face all the time. I think these shows thrive on pitting people (women especially) against each other in various competitions for the big prize: usually a date with some bachelor or washed up TV /movie/ rock star. My most hated reality TV show ever: The Swan. Ugh. Another show I cannot believe is still on daytime: Jerry Springer. Who is still watching this? Obviously someone must be, because it is always on at least one of the screens at my gym and is usually featuring girl fights of one kind or another over things and relationships unimaginable to most normal people. Why do people enjoy watching people fight like this? It makes me uncomfortable just to see it at the gym without the sound on.

 

Shows I like, currently on TV on the other hand: I do like Heroes for the fact that their ‘cheerleader’ although both cute and blonde, is very smart and a positive example of a teen on TV.  Of course, I love Ugly Betty and this one is such a no brainer…we all have a Betty in us. Not only is the show produced by a Latina (Selma Hayak) but it also stars America Ferrera who has to work really hard to appear ‘ugly’ and Vanessa Williams who is both a woman of color and over 40—wahooo! And I love 30 Rock because Tina Fey’s character,  Liz Lemmon, is real and vulnerable while being in charge; she makes mistakes and has to recover just like regular people do…although her recovery is probably much more funny than most. She is constantly playing with character stereotypes on the show and I love watching them play out. Brilliant TV.

 
Janine:  I totally love Oxygen and Style Networks. They are completely FOR women and ABOUT women and to that I say,  "It's about time!" I just saw a promo the other day for a new TV show on Oxygen promoting women over 35 who 'STILL HAVE IT' and are modeling--showing their natural beauty!!! Then there's TLC’s What Not To Wear--a TV show that helps boost women's self-esteem and self-image by beefing up their total appearance--new clothes, new hair, new look!!
And I can't forget about How to Look Good Naked which features making over the 'everyday full-figured woman' helping her to feel more comfortable about her body by posing NUDE!! It seems so liberating! While I don't always celebrate some of the 'men-hating' themed shows on Lifetime Network, I love their positioning statement--the network for women! I love the fact they make no apologies for celebrating everything about WOMEN!!
Crystal:  My Cheers: The way the mothers (and families) are being portrayed on Friday Night Lights and Medium; watching the liberation of the women in Mad Men; Holly Hunter in Saving Grace; Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer; the character of Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy (she's the only reason I watch the show).  My Jeers: Reality shows where women use sex as a weapon or strategy; the way the women are portrayed in "Brothers & Sisters" (is it me or is this show starting to reek of "Dynasty"?); "Gossip Girls" and "The Hills"

 

Rosie:  My addition on a cheers list would be Olivia on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. 

 

What current shows do you cheer and jeer for their portrayal of women?