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!

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.

Why do you care if you’re ‘on trend’?

Why do you care if you’re ‘on trend’?

What does it matter to you? It doesn’t matter to me. I have my own style and feel no need to follow the ‘fashions’, plunging money into cheaply-made ridiculously-priced clothing that will fall apart by the time I’m no longer sure why ‘orange and blue go so well together!’

Honestly? Why do we follow it?

Confidence sets the standard of beauty, not some entity or fashionista. Prices skyrocket because there is such a high demand for fashionable ‘on-trend’ clothing. When enough people quit buying this crazily-priced cheaply-made nonsense, prices will drop. And when enough of us speak up, the quality of garments may improve as well.

The problem today is that people continue to tolerate it. Buying uncomfortable shoes and clothes, necklaces that hurt our necks or smell bad, rings that impair the movement of our fingers… why? Because of some pretty photograph on the internet, and a precious little word or phrase like “bespoke” or “oxblood” or “mint green”.

By the way, this is the color of mint:

The plant commonly referred to as ‘mint’.

So what can I do, as a smart person? I find these measures to be quite an ‘innocent rebellion’:

  • Trade clothes with friends. Surely just because you don’t like this shirt anymore doesn’t mean it goes in the trash! Maybe a friend of yours would enjoy wearing it.
  • Buy clothes at a thrift store or consignment store or on ebay. There is well-made clothing with high-quality fabric for sale everywhere if you just look.
  • Make your own. Learn to sew! Use a pattern! You’ll find how very freeing and empowering this can be.
  • Settle on the idea that your wardrobe will last a long time, contain shapes and cuts and fabrics that look good on You, and will potentially not be ‘on-trend’. But lucky you! You’ll look much cooler than anybody else who is screaming ‘how high??’ when the fashion blogs command them to jump.

You are so much smarter than marketers give you credit for. I’m increasing my wage just by refusing to sink money into disposable uncomfortable clothing that I truly don’t need.

#StabilityInFlats : your prerogative and mine

The Little-Heard History of High Heels…

I would like to share a link, calling particular attention to this portion of the article linked to:

‘Fashion’s Victims’ through the centuries

The return of women’s high heels in the late 1850s and early ’60s served a different social purpose: a form of censure for women at a time the sex was becoming outspoken in the abolitionist movement. The heel had been banned for most of the century due to its association with debauched French aristocracy. Its revival was intended to summon similar negative associations, says Semmelhack: “It was called the ‘Louis heel’ to make sure everyone knew it was a reclamation of the 18th century. It was intended to be highly destabilizing.”

The high heel was intended to destabilize women, and to shut us up when we were speaking out against slavery!

For those interested in intersectionality, this is a keen opportunity for you to make a statement: Women were speaking out in support of the rights of those in slavery, and were silenced by being associated with loose morals via high heels. I am boycotting high heels to show my stability, my right to speak, my right to support whatever causes and people I choose to. Join me!

#StabilityInFlats  : because women are capable of being sensible, intelligent, seeing through tricks and illusions, and flat shoes are safer and healthier for our bodies!!

Say no to the control measures of corporations. I don’t need heels to know I’m attractive. I’m #notbuyingit and #notwearingit

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???

398526_3077916869675_1316363091_3190447_354765695_n

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.’

Come see FGAF’s new banner!

Thoughts?

Thanks!!!

Photographs taken by Mia Enns.

I need a summer- but the summer’s come and gone

What is up with the title??

Glad you asked, my friend. So I was listening to this song by VAST (awesome awesome band) and one thought led to another. Go ahead! Listen to it. See what comes up for you:

Winter in My Heart

So he says ‘I can’t find all the pieces of my broken life‘ and I wondered what that could mean to me. After a couple thoughts, suddenly I remembered these beautiful sunny yellow pants I had between 2005-2009 (yes… I kept track like they were a pet or a child). I had just sewn a green patch on to fix a hole in them before they got lost. I’ve been looking for them for years now, more years spent looking for them than was spent with them, in fact. I’ve messaged people, posted an APB on facebook, talked to folks over campfires, mentioned them to anyone who might have seen me wearing them and could pinpoint that last time I had them…. so I could know where I might look.

Why do I care so much? I don’t think I even have a picture, or if I do it will be tough to find.* So why do I care?

These pants were a symbol for me…. I recalled a particularly unpleasant vacation that I survived while wearing them and even found my own ways to enjoy parts of, and another rough experience that I’m just grateful to have survived… and I remember looking down at those pants and being so grateful to be in them… grateful they had so many functional pockets, grateful they were bright yellow (they even forged a friendship between me and a co-worker who had bright orange pants and his former roommate who he’d ‘borrowed’ them from – they both appreciated my sense of style), grateful they were 100% cotton and thus I could wear them during welding class and not worry about them melting and sit close to the campfire and not catch, and mostly just grateful to have something that I knew I liked.

*strangely enough this photo was difficult to find... I lived in these pants.

*As I mentioned above, despite the fact that I lived in these pants, this photo was difficult to locate

The woman who gave them to me (yes, they were a treasured hand-me-down) was named Jessie and she was someone I greatly admired. She gave me several pairs of her old pants and I felt cared-about and connected-with because she had noticed my style and said I reminded her a little of herself as a college freshman.

These pants were with me during hard times and fun times, and I don’t know where I lost them. They might have gotten ‘cleaned out’ of a locker in the welding classroom, or left in the car of a road-trip, or ‘borrowed’ by a friend…. who knows?

I know I miss them. But I still have the resilience they represented, and I always have that. I am the strong one; the pants were merely a good symbol of it. So maybe I don’t need all those old pieces of my broken life that I can’t find. Maybe it’s kind of like this:

4f2077d5cf751581c4e45da07b946781Where all the broken pieces that remain add up to something greater than what they originally were.

Mona Lisa Smile: Women’s choices are ALWAYS ours.

Just saw ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ and I loved it. I really connected with the message and main characters.

The driving message of the movie is that women’s choices are always ours to make. This does not mean that women are always right, nor happy with our choices, nor locked into our first choice…. we are allowed to change our minds, admit we were wrong, or let ourselves off the hook for a choice we wish had worked out better!

Julia Roberts’ portrayal of the lead is amazing and cool; I love how she makes her choices and doesn’t agonize over them, she has confidence and a good sense of herself. She earns respect by the way she lives, rather than simply by the way she looks.

I love Ginnifer Goodwin (who is in this movie!) and her role was a beautiful look at how it feels to be lonely and ignored, and yet intelligent, beautiful, talented and hard-working. Everyone has insecurities.

Kirsten Dunst and Maggie Gyllenhaal (who I newly adore due to her role in this film) have this amazing moment where their characters understand each other and it really breaks down walls. I found I could relate to each of the characters quite naturally, which is the hallmark of excellent acting.

Most likely you’ve already seen this movie, since it came out ~10 years ago. If you haven’t, watch it now. Post your thoughts. Revel in the revolution of respecting women.