Fierce Women Dish

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

Women on the national political stage August 31, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 3:57 pm

From Rosie: 

Let me start by saying that I am a registered independent.  I don’t want anyone to feel they have my vote based on an affiliation I chose when I turned 18, and I don’t want to ever get complacent about my ability to vote. I drove home to South Carolina when I was in college (in North Carolina) so that I could vote in my first election in the fall of 1992.  I cried when I hit submit on the voting machine.  And voting has continued to hold that same magic for me ever since.  When I was a high school United States history teacher, I loved talking about elections and about the movements led by everyday people– to show my students how things are done in this country and what they can do– based on a grand design conceived more than 200 years ago.  In 2000, I stayed up all night long watching the election results come in, states getting called, retracted, Tim Russert holding up a dry erase board that said, Florida, Florida, Florida, watching this all hang in the delicate balance of hanging chads influencing the electoral college (I hate the electoral college but, whatever, we won’t get into that right now), and, then, in the delicate balance of the court system.  I still show up at the precinct every time there is a vote– even if it’s for just one thing– because I find it so important and empowering.  And I still get choked up at the precinct when I hit submit. 


For a political junkie, this election cycle has been particularly thrilling.  And last week’s DNC did not disappoint.  I was especially touched by Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s speeches on Monday and Tuesday night.  Each was so profound and, I felt, transcended gender.  It is what this country needs, it is what women need, I thought, for all of us to understand that women can transcend gender– because so few men believe that we can.  We are good at sports, for a woman.  We are good at politics, for a woman.  We are good at business, for a woman.  The “for a woman” tag line undoes me.  And with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s speeches last week– their content, wisdom, conviction, I thought some significant damage might be done to the way some use astericks to discredit or marginalize our worth.  But for whatever steps were taken forward last week, I can’t help but feel like we took several steps backwards on Friday with the selection of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican party.  While many see her selection as a giant leap forward for women, especially in the GOP, I can’t help but feel patronized.  Not by Palin, mind you.  All she did was pick up her phone last Sunday (just a week ago), and hear John McCain ask her if they could talk about the possibility of being his running mate.  Who wouldn’t say yes to that?  I feel pandered to by McCain and other men like him who read this situation and interpreted it in certain ways.  It is as he might believe that I, and other women, lack the nuance to understand all that is essential to being an effective world leader.  As if I, and other women, am only capable of reacting emotionally to a decision and not intellectually.  As if I, as a woman, only vote on one issue or distinction and not on a whole host of complex considerations of the issues.  As if I, as a woman, might just be shallow enough to be so grateful that there is a female nominee that I would vote just on boob politics. 

What say you about women and politics in light of the events of last week?  What did you think of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s speeches?  What do you think of the nomination of Sarah Palin and her introductory address to the nation?  And as the RNC unfold this coming week, what are your thoughts and observations?


Times of trouble… August 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 11:28 am

From Crystal:

I need your advice.

I work in the newspaper industry, which is quickly evolving. I work for a company that has a fine tradition of public service journalism. But it’s a company with a lot of debt.

I work with smart, talented and passionate people. I’m pretty sure that I can say this: Most of us are not in this profession to make money. We do it for other reasons: to tell people’s stories, to record history, to shine a light into dark areas, to hold a mirror up to our community, etc.

I love my job. How much? I’ve worked in the same building for 20 years and had many great opportunities. Amazing, I know?

We’re about to enter a third round of buyouts. Our salaries have been frozen. I’ve watched many of those smart, talented, passionate people go out the door.

Anyone who has been through this can relate to the stress and anxiety that fills the halls and the cubicles. And you know that it follows us home.

With the economy’s downward spiral, the paycheck has become important.

When I check in with my coworkers, a theme emerges: stay off the radar, keep your head down, stay out of trouble.

At first, I agreed. But as this has progressed, I’ve wondered: Is that really the right course of action?

I’ve never been good at sitting back and keeping my mouth shut. I’m so frustrated that I’ve begun drafting a manifesto of change. Will I give it to my bosses? I’m not sure. I’ve also started pondering the buyout.

Should I finish the manifesto and fight the good fight? Or should I throw in the towel and focus my energy elsewhere?

In times of trouble, is it best to “Let It Be”? Or is it better to “Get up, Stand up?”


Can the Olympics make us all “hopefuls”? August 24, 2008

I wonder if the rest of the world is looking forward to getting to bed at their regular hour.  The Olympics captured our hearts and minds for the past few weeks.  I, myself, was much more tuned in to these games than those in the past.  I think I needed to witness a positive global unification.  I love thinking that people around the world were watching simultaneously! 

For women, this Olympics provided many positive moments.  Dara Torres has challenged longheld views of age and athleticism, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh were the picture of female teamwork and competitive spirit, and the story of   Samia Yusaf Omar from Somalia embodied the true spirit of these games  .

What were your favorite moments of the games?  Whose stories stirred your soul?

And . . . I just have to comment that the bikini clad cheerleaders for beach volleyball were a really poor choice.  Does anyone know why they were there????


Unhealthy relationships– with ourselves and with others August 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 12:21 pm

From Janine: 


Ok, I have a dilemma. I’m finding it more and more difficult as a responsible woman to help my younger sisters overcome the ‘drama’ of unhealthy relationships. I’m not so sure they’re listening. As founder of a non-profit character-building organization for girls (ages 11-16), I see our young ladies headed down the road of destructive and unhealthy relationships so many times. We have numerous conversations about what a ‘healthy’ one looks like. What I’m finding is many have no idea of how to even begin to define a ‘healthy’ relationship. And what’s worse, I’m not so sure we as adult women know what it is either.


I just sent my 25-yr-old assistant home after she came to work with a swollen eye. I asked her about it and she told me without flinching that her boyfriend ‘elbowed’ her after he didn’t agree with her wanting to go out the night before. I asked her if she thought she deserved it? Her response: “Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to go out.”


I just got off the phone with a homicide detective who’s attending a teen summit I’m hosting tonight on teen violence. He told me the 14 yr old girl who was shot and killed by an 18 yr old girl this week (in Charlotte) had been arguing over a man. A twenty plus year old man!


My dilemma is how long do I keep talking and what do I say now? I know the right thing to do is to explain to the young ladies you are NOT to be defined by a boy; you are to surround yourself with positive people; you need to set a positive example for younger people around you like your sisters, cousins or even your own kids.


I got the script down pretty well, but I’m running out of things to say, especially now when one of my good friends, who is 40+ by the way and is supposed to know better, is ‘in love’ with a man who can never see her on the weekends, and can only stay at HER house.


The rarity of healthy relationships has to be linked to the lack of individuals who are at peace with themselves. I believe it’s impossible to be in a healthy relationship or teach others how to love you if you haven’t learned to love yourself. Should this be our new lesson to teach? Maybe we’ll have to adjust the curriculum on ‘healthy’ relationships and start with ourselves first.  Hey, I may be on to something there. 


What are your thoughts?  How do we empwer each other– those we love, mentor, teach, etc– to be in health relationships?  How do we teach that it is better to be alone than abused or ignored or played or whatever?  How do we teach men how to be in healthy relationships, too?     


On Turning 40… August 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiercewomen @ 1:06 pm
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(from donna)

Here’s something that has really been on my mind recently: birthday celebrations, specifically the big 40th. I have attended at least three of these in the past  month and have  at least four more to go, including my own, before the end of this year. What is it about ‘40’ that seems so different  and more monumental than any other age? I certainly don’t remember attending near this many 30th birthday celebrations.

Could it be that women finally really do want to celebrate their years of wisdom and beauty on the earth and it takes about 40 years to realize that? I also have had a few friends that decided to just “lay low” til the birthday passes and were definitely not happy about the day or the age.   What are your thoughts on this? If you are over 40, how did turning 40 make you feel?  Did you celebrate or hibernate? And if you are not yet 40, how do you think you’ll feel and what are your expectations? Do you have big plans? And if you have a really creative party ideas share them…mine’s quickly approaching!