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.)

Dispelling Self-Doubt, Disrupting the myth of ‘other’

I’d like for you to watch this Tara Brach talk:

Healing Self-Doubt

What I take from her talk at this moment is that we have find a new way to think, to heal from thinking of men and people who disagree with us as being ‘other’. Because, they are human. When we can all hear each other, we can bring peace into situations. Relentless effort, unfathomable peace. It takes commitment to bring about peace and it takes acknowledging humanity in everyone.

Fear engenders only fear. And the extreme manifestation of fear is hate. We are more powerful than that today, and more humble. It is a sad conceit to believe that one is truly better than others. I intend to be humble today, and stronger because of it. I challenge you to put away your anger, fear, or whatever is tying you to the belief of there being ‘others’ today. We are all human, at our deepest levels.

Look into each other’s eyes. Drop the walls in your heart. Walls there only make us more vulnerable anyway, and we are as a movement committed to showing we are strong.

Please listen to the talk at the link I posted. It will begin to heal you if you let it. It’s helping me.

See Your Awesome

I just read a beautiful article I would love to share with you:

http://www.livingandlifedesigned.com/help-children-build-body-confidence-struggle/

Written by a mother of three, she addresses how to help children build a positive body image. As with most things, it starts from within. After reading the article, what positive heart characteristics can you list about yourself?

5 things I know are good about me:

Creative, Resilient, Compassionate, Considerate, Intelligent

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!

Films

I’ve done some film-review posts and this is different. At least, mostly. I am just mining my netflix ‘list’ for films and series that have casts with many women or strong roles for women and which I have liked enough that I would watch again (or in some cases have already watched several times).

 

Star Wars (the Force Awakens) – Ray was so cool! (and ok, its not on netflix yet)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer -have to say though, there is a LOT of sexism and objectification in the series. There is also a lot of countering-sexism, and kicking-butt of those who objectify. Soooo…. I make no claims other than that I like the series anyway. And notice how I didn’t say ‘objectifying women’… unfortunately everyone is objectified in this show– and I mention it because it’s wrong. (fans get the reference? ok.)

Once Upon a Time -SO many strong female roles. It’s incredible. So happy.

Ghost Whisperer -JLH’s character is my favorite.

Populaire -in French. Spunky retro-style film.

Hjørdis -a Danish schoolteacher makes a difference about bullying. Beautiful story.

Cowgirls ‘N’ Angels -can’t remember it all that well.

Rosemary & Thyme -hehehe. (no really, that’s all I have to say)

The Secret of Moonacre -beautiful visuals!

Mona Lisa SmileI reviewed this one. 

Carolina -kinda weird but hey, aren’t we all?

The Last Keepers -Got to believe we are maaagicccck. Just kidding, that song is not in the film at all.

The Addams Family -always.

So there we have it! Watch them if you like. If you have some positive things to contribute, comment below.

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.

Lindsey Stirling [is Awesome]

So I’ve liked Lindsey Stirling’s music from the first time I heard it. I’m also into Steampunk. Hence this particular choice to showcase her talent and general awesomeness:

She doesn’t sacrifice a thing. This video is fun with a strong female empowerment message. She’s portrayed as a formidable rival for the outlaw as well as a good friend to her female co-workers and a hero responsible for the safety of the town.

Not only does she show up as strong and good, but also adorable and confident. And she fights off the bank robbers with music and gadgetry, on equal footing. My favorite part is that the costumes are humanizing, which is a refreshing break from music video traditions.

On top of all this cool, the video is her own concept. So rock on, Lindsey!

I absolutely love it. What’s your favorite Lindsey Stirling song?