Tag Archives: International Women’s Day

Thoughts On International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.

Instead of writing about women that we all know about, I want to talk about the women who I have come from.

My mother, coming of age during the second wave of feminism in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As an adult, she balanced work, marriage and motherhood. Granted, it was a not easy at times, but to watch my mother do it all was and still is awe-inspiring.

My grandmothers, first generation Americans and members of the Greatest Generation. Born during WWI, growing up during the Great Depression and coming of age during World War II, they understand perseverance in the face of hardship.

My great-grandmothers, born in the shtetls and towns of Eastern Europe. They faced poverty and discrimination at every turn. They came to America, looking for the freedom and opportunities that did not exist in the lands of their birth. They worked in sweatshops and lived in crowded tenement buildings. They fought for their rights as women and workers. It was not paradise, but their fortitude and courage paved the way for future generations.

I am proud to have these women in my family tree.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Thoughts On International Women’s Day And The Bachelor

Reality television is a misnomer. While it is not as strictly scripted as traditional fictional television programs, what the audience sees on the screen is not 100% authentic reality.

The Bachelor and it’s spin-off The Bachelorette has been on the air since 2002. The premise of the both shows is as follows: a single man or woman lives in a house with a group of single men or women for a period of time. The goal of the show is for one of the contestants to win the hand and heart of the single man and woman. Each week, one man or woman is eliminated until one remains and the couple hopefully gets engaged.

Today is International Women’s Day. Since nearly the dawn of time, a woman’s only option in life was marriage. Thankfully, over the past few decades, that idea is slowly becoming a thing of the past. The problem is that shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are still reinforcing that marriage should be a woman’s only priority.

I am not a fan of the Bachelor or The Bachelorette, for a multitude of reasons.  Then the finale of the recent season aired. While I understand that everyone needs a guilty pleasure (I have several of my own), I think there needs to be a disclaimer about this show. Not only because it’s not real, but also that it reinforces a false narrative about a woman’s life that we should be phasing out, not retelling.

 

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Purim And International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.Today we honor women, past and present who have paved the way for the success of this generation and future generations.

This weekend is the Jewish holiday of Purim. Jews around the world celebrate Queen Esther’s victory over the murderous Haman.

Esther is one of the strongest women in the bible. An orphan raised by her cousin Mordechai, she expects to live an ordinary life: marry an appropriate young man, raise a family and generally life the life that women have lived for centuries. But fate intervenes. King Ahasuerus is hosting a dinner party for his closest friends. Getting rip-roaring drunk, he commands that his wife, Queen Vashti appear in all of her beauty in her birthday suit to his guests. Vashti refuses and is banished from court.

But now the King is lonely and in need of female companionship. Many women are brought before the King, but it is Esther who catches his eye and is crowned Queen. But before she steps into the palace gates, she renames herself. Instead of the given name of Hadassah, she is now Esther. Her Jewish identity is now hidden.

One of the King’s minister’s Haman has a thirst for power and is more than willing spill a little blood if necessary to get that power. Offended when Mordechai does not bow to him, Haman sets his sights on the Jews of Shushan. Fearing for the safety of her cousin and her people and despite knowing the danger she could be in, Esther steps forward and reveals her true identity. Mordechai and the Jews of Shushan are safe, thanks to the bravery and courage of their Queen.

Unlike most women in the Bible, Esther is a fully formed character who is not simply designated as the wife of ___________ or the daughter of ________. Her intelligence, courage and strength have been a reminder to women across the centuries that we are far more capable than we think we are. And in today’s society when women are fighting for the same rights that our great-grandmothers were fighting for a century ago, Esther’s story encourages us to keep going. When we are willing to step up to the plate, it is possible to change the world.

We just have to have to courage and be willing to make that difficult step.

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Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is International Women’s Day.

Instead of talking about the usual subjects, I want to honor my fore-mothers and the path they paved for future generations of women.

Ladies, we cannot be held down, the future is ours for the taking.

 

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International Women’s Day 2015 Part II

As a follow up to my earlier post on International Women’s Day, below is a few videos to continue to inspire us in our goal for equality.

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March 8, 2015 · 7:31 pm

International Women’s Day 2015

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’d like to share a few quotes and videos from some of the trailblazers and fore-mothers who have come before us.

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand.

“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”- Jane Austen, Persuasion
“A woman is like a tea bag-you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”-Eleanor Roosevelt
“The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I’m thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.”-Erica Jong, Fear Of Flying

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Filed under Books, Charlotte Bronte, Feminism, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Persuasion

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I am part of the generation born after the second wave of the feminist movement. I have an extreme amount of pride for my generation. We have achievements and opportunities that our grandmothers and great grandmothers would have not even considered.  But as I pointed out in my post about International Women’s Day, we still have a long way to do. For every one step we have made going forward, we have gone back two steps.

Case in point, two movie trailers:

The first, for the upcoming movie reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Back in the day, TMNT was one of the best cartoons on television. To this day, I can still sing the theme song.  April, the female lead, was strong, independent and part of the group. No different than her mutant male counterparts.

In this trailer, April, played by Megan Fox, upon meeting two of the turtles, appears to faint.

Not cool.

The second movie trailer is the sequel to Captain America. Returning to role of The Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson.  The Avengers was one of the best super hero movies of recent memory. A huge plus for the movie was that the Black Widow was just simply one of the Avengers. She was not a love interest, she was not a damsel in distress.  She had no problems taking care of herself.

In this trailer, for reasons that will be revealed when the movie opens in theaters next weekend, The Black Widow is unconscious and has to be carried to safety by Captain America.

I had hoped that by 2014, the movie industry would not still be writing females as fainting and unconscious damsels in distress who must be carried away by the male hero.

One step forward, two steps back.

 

 

 

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International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.

When I think about how far we have come from where were only two generations ago is amazing.

My grandmother’s generation, like their mothers and grandmothers before them, were solely expected to marry and raise a family. If they were educated, their education was minimal and unimportant compared to their brothers. A career was out of the question.

Thankfully, things have changed. But that change did not come easily. My generation has a lot to be grateful for. Our mother’s and grandmothers have paved the way for us. Without their tireless work, we would be stuck in the same life cycle as our ancestors.

But we have a long way to go.  There are still goals that have yet to be reached.

  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Stories of women being raped, both here at home and abroad continue to dominate the news.
  • Teaching our daughters respect for themselves, teaching our sons to respect the women in their lives
  • Ensuring that all women are guaranteed educational and career opportunities
  • Providing women, with and without children, a reasonable living wage to care for themselves and their loved ones

The list goes on and on. Our foremothers started on this path generations ago, it’s up to us to continue on this path.

I’m going to end this post with a quote from one of my favorite writers and a true hero in every sense of the word.

“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
― Charlotte BrontëShirley

 

 

 

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