One Voice in a Million: You Ain’t Takin’ That From Me!

Love this song: Natasha Bedingfield ‘Strip Me’. About finding a voice and nourishing it.

Today I’m sharing with you that I struggle with this feeling sometimes; I’m just one small voice and what can I change?

But I stand up for my one voice, and look to inspiring examples of people whose one voice, whose insistence, whose decisions change things for others. This video from ‘Clevver News’ mentions that Emma Watson in the live action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ film coming out March 17 of this year is interpreting her ‘Belle’as being an active princess. Belle is that way in the cartoon version as well; active. She’s shown running through fields, riding her horse, exploring a castle, evading wolves in the forest, and saving her father. She inspired me growing up. I can’t tell you how many fields I’ve run through, sometimes with the song from the movie in my mind! “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell!”

The video states that she didn’t want to wear a corset, and that her Belle will be wearing boots rather than the ballet flats worn by the cartoon version. I love that. I’ve always been a boot-wearing girl, ever since I was little. They are just more comfortable for me. While I didn’t perceive the cartoon Belle as wearing a corset, I think it’s an important decision in the live-action film to encourage women and girls to be healthy, not just to cave to expectations. A lot of fantasy films show women in corsets, which influences our culture toward ‘beauty over comfort’ rather than the healthy reverse, comfort over beauty. As well, people who participate in cosplay (or, dressing in costumes worn by particular characters from media) will have a healthier model to emulate.

Natasha Bedingfield’s song likewise asks ‘who am I if you strip away all the outside stuff’ (referencing fashion and makeup through the visuals of the video), and it’s an important question to ask ourselves. It’s crucial to our happiness (as well as to women’s rights) to seek our inner selves and know who we are without all the ‘dressing up.’ It’s vital to be ‘ok,’ as the songwriter asserts she is, without all the trappings.

I think everyone’s ability to choose who they are and how to express themselves is a treasure. Value your own treasure, make the choices that validate you as a person and support your own values.

If I’m too afraid to make a different choice than the popular choice, then I’m not changing anything. However if I make my own choice regardless of what other people are doing or saying is ‘the thing’, then I have power to be me today.

You ain’t takin’ that from me! (and neither am I.)

10 Months

It’s been 10 months since I last published a post on this blog. I’d considered closing it down, removing it from the internet. Not for any particular reason other than that maybe my fire had gone out. Understand, I was really quite happy (and am still, in other areas of my life). I’ve been really busy in a good way. And I felt less need to make change. But I kept this blog, live and on the internet.

There are so many things that I’ve written for it that I value. And of course I continue to believe in the worth of women. Yet I had stopped believing for awhile that continuing to strive for change was necessary. Things seemed so good!

With the recent election came a wake up call. Are some people so desperate that a woman wouldn’t run the US that they elected someone with no political experience and plenty of major flaws? Or maybe that has nothing to do with it. I’ve been busy doing other things important to me but some of those will take a temporary sideline so I can do some work for change. Writing doesn’t always feel* like the most practical work, however if it gives good people hope then it finds its value there.

I’ll write again.

 

*feelings are not facts!

Start Doing Things the Way You Want Them Done

This is a bold statement, I realize that, and you have excuses why you “can’t” but I assure you, anything you want to do, you Can do.

Are you one of the people in your organization at work who deals with who is paid what amount? Go in and look at whether there are male and female employees there who are doing the same work. Even-out the pay between them.

Do you want to read books where the default pronoun is ‘she’? As in, “when any human feels they are capable of a task, she will complete that task with confidence” or myriad other examples. So write those books. Write those blog posts.

Do you want to fight rape on a real and personal level? Take reasonable precautions; Don’t invite people over until you know them really well, avoid getting completely intoxicated, and when your friends mention ideas of theirs that you think might put them or you in a dangerous situation, speak up and tell them so! Respect your instincts. Practice speaking up for yourself on all kinds of things, so that you make it a practice of making your needs and intentions clear.

And then my favorite: Do you want to see media that *respects* women? Create it. Create movies that don’t question female power and agency; they exhibit it. Create advertisements (even unofficial ones!) that show healthy women whose features aren’t obscured by makeup and don’t bother to call attention to the fact. Calling attention to something makes it increase, as it is the focus. So create the world as you’d like it. Show these strong and beautiful ideas of yours with confidence and abandon!

And keep it positive.

How to block numbers from calling your phone….

So this post is not exactly what it advertises, because in order to block the numbers, you have to have done this First. So read carefully.

Go to:  https://www.google.com/voice

If you have a gmail account and are signed in, this will be much easier. Follow the prompts to sign up for Google Voice and ask for a New number. When it asks for “area, zip code, or city…” type in a real area-code. It took me a while to understand what it was asking. For example: “920”

If you have any reason to be giving out your phone number to strangers (for example, you own a business and receive calls from clients) this is a great way to be able to block numbers if necessary, but also have texts and calls forwarded to your phone.

BE SAFE, women! Just because we’re awesome doesn’t mean we’re invincible!!

Emma Watson Introduces He For She Solidarity Movement

UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson speaks eloquently and powerfully on unifying the gender equality movement.

Not only so that women have equal rights Everywhere in the world, yet also so that men can be free to be sensitive and all can respect ourselves for who we are. She says it beautifully. Please do watch and leave a comment here or on her twitter: @EmWatson

Support the movement by your actions. Be one of the ‘inadvertent feminists’ she speaks of. Take action here via the #HeForShe website, as well.

Unify

I believe there is a dangerous trend going on right now. “Us vs. Them” is all about fear. Twitter is rife with hostility and antagonism, pitting men and women against one another…. and telling people to “STFU” if they hold different views than you do… it’s not helpful to anyone’s agenda.

I’m not going to tell you not to feel angry. Anyone who feels angry has a right to; it doesn’t depend on whether it’s justified, because feelings just ARE. And then they pass.

What I’m saying here is let’s not get carried away on this current of negativity. WHO WANTS TO JOIN A MOVEMENT THAT’S MIRED IN GLOOM???

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No one, I’m sure. I’m having fun with standing up for myself. You can make it your own; you can laugh, you can cry, you can make really good points as long as you say them out loud, and you can even stay angry if you want to. I’m sure there are a lot of women who have anger they’ve held onto a long time that’s waiting to be transformed. I know I have, and am having a successful transformation. I’m also sure that talking about negativity and all the stuff we dislike about how people are treated is NOT talking about solutions and peace and the joy we’d like to welcome into our lives.

I want 100 comments- ok let me clarify that- ONE HUNDRED RESPECTFUL SINCERE COMMENTS about something GOOD you would like to welcome into your life.

Retweet this post like wildfire until I have 100 comments. Please. Thank you. #IncreasetheGood

I have Hope for the End of Street Harassment

The work of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, artist and activist, is incredibly inspiring. She is combating street harassment using only her art and her mind, and the stories of volunteers!

Read what she’s doing and why: http://www.tlynnfaz.com/Stop-Telling-Women-to-Smile

Check out the Official website of Stop Telling Women to Smile.

And follow STWTS on Twitter: @STWTSmile

I agree with what she posted on her Tumblr, that telling women to smile is akin to asking us not to express our full range of human emotions. You could say that ‘it’s nice, I want you to be happy,’ but no one’s happiness other than your own is under your control. As well, having other emotions is an integral part of experiencing happiness eventually, and of feeling safe. Honestly, I hope that lots of people smile, because it’s a joyful activity. However, I know from my experience as a woman that I feel afraid to smile or make eye contact with people when I’m out in public, for fear they will take my smile as an invitation to harass me. Personally, I have hope for the end of street harassment.

Are you wondering what you can do to help end street harassment? I hope you are! Here’s an article that gives great points to start from, called ‘Three Ways Straight Dudes Can Help End Street Harassment.’