Gender issues

10 Things to Thank Feminists For

Those crazy feminists, says Joslyn Gray posting on Strollerderby. Look what they did for us!
1. The right to own property. In 1948 New york was the first state to allow a married woman to control property.
2. The right to hold public office. Federal law granted this right to women in 1788, 132 years before women won the vote.
3. The right to vote, achieved in 1920.
4. Access to education.
5. The right to choose whom to marry (if you are heterosexual), or not to marry at all.
6. The right to divorce a husband who beat you. In the U.S., marital rape was legal in all 50 states until 1976.
7. Birth control.
8. The right to serve our country in the military.
9. The right to work, choose your profession and control your earnings.
10. The right to be free of sexual harassment.
Thanks to Female Equality Matters for telling us about this blog.

Meryl Streep Tells Why We Need More Women Movie Critics

Meryl StreepWhen I was a teenager, the James Bond films were all the rage.  I was talking about the films with a  family friend who happened to be a psychiatrist. As we talked I saw that he assumed that I was identifying with the sexy females that Bond seduced.
“Oh, no!” I exclaimed in horror. “I identify with James Bond! The women don’t have any fun.” He was stunned and amazed that I could imagine myself a male character.
Which proves a point Meryl Streep has made about why there are so few strong female characters in films and television. She says it’s hard (maybe nearly impossible?) to get a straight male audience to see through the eyes of woman character.
Public Radio’s Terry Gross interviewed Streep, and they talked about the actor’s 2010 speech to the Barnard graduating class. Streep said,  “It’s easier for women because we were brought up identifying with male characters in literature. It’s hard for straight boys to identify with Juliet or Wendy in Peter Pan, whereas girls identify with Romeo and with Peter Pan.
Or James Bond!
“I watch movies and I don’t care who is the protagonist,” Streep said. “I feel what that guy is feeling. You know, if it’s Tom Cruise leaping over a building I, I want to make it, you know?”

Women have learned to do that partly because we are acculturated to identify and empathize with others. Also, there hasn’t been that much great girls’ literature. “Nancy Drew maybe. But there weren’t things. So there was Huck Finn and Spin and Marty. The boys’ characters were interesting and you lived through them when you’re watching it. You’re following the action of the film through the body of the protagonist.
Streep says she just took it for granted that we can all do that. “But it became obvious to me that men don’t live through the female characters.” She speculated that for a man, “imagining yourself as a girl is a diminishment. I really think there’s a difference between how men critics see things than how women tend to.”
Film critic Jan Lisa Huttner blogs as “The Hot Pink Pen.” In a recent post she  noted:
“Since becoming a film critic, here’s something I know that most of you don’t: Only 5% of 2011’s commercially successful films were directed by women. Put another way: Men directed 95% of the films available to most of you in your local multiplex.
“Many wonderful films written and/or directed by women have been released in the past decade. Despite all the obstacles, many women have, in fact, completed their films; that is not the problem. The films are there, but what’s missing is the audience.
A different diagnosis suggests a different treatment plan: We need more women film critics to balance out the male critics who “professionally can’t hear us,” and we need more committed audiences willing to “to identify with a woman character.”
As Streep says, “There is only change and resistance to it and more change.”

by Maggie Castrey for WomenSpeak

Women Can Gain Power

Speaker and Author about Women, Power and Leadership

Gloria Feldt

Do you play down your assets and shy away from power? Gloria Feldt says that she did and she sees other women defer to men every day. She wrote, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power—Tools for Leading an Unlimited Life. Her goal is to guide us into accepting leadership roles and using that power to achieve parity and make the world a better place.
Once a teen mom in rural Texas, Gloria Feldt later served for nine years as CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was named one of America’s Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders and Trailblazers by “Vanity Fair Magazine.” She’s a commentator, speaker and author who speaks about women and leadership, politics, power, health and media.
Gloria says that women’s first mistake about power is thinking in terms of “power over” instead of “power to.” When women do take the reins, they increase the profits of the corporations they work for and legislate in ways that improve everyone’s quality of life. As women, we hold ourselves back by not defining ourselves before someone else defines us.
Don’t miss this eye-opening conversation! Dr. Nancy and Gloria cite authorities who say it will take women 500 years to reach parity in the corporate world if we do not change our ways, discuss why we need to embrace controversy to be heard and much more.
If there is something you’d like to change at your job, in your home or community, listen to the wisdom and ideas in this conversation. Open your mind to new ideas about power.


Good Husbands – 2012 Style

One of our most popular posts is How to Be a Good Wife 1950s Style. Dr. Nancy says that’s because we are living in a world where women just cannot figure out why they are so damn stuck. This article helps to remind them what we are up against — or under.Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, says that until women are equal partners at home, they will never be equal in the workplace. So, in the interests of women’s equality, WomenSpeak offers:

How To Be a Good Husband 2012 Style

  • Have dinner ready.
    Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time. This is a way of letting her know that you have been thinking about her and are concerned about her needs. Most women are hungry when they come home from work and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself.
    Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you are refreshed when she arrives. Wash your pits, brush your teeth and be fresh looking. She has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little positive and upbeat. Try to be a little more interesting. Her stressful day may need a lift.
  • Clear away the clutter.
    Make one last trip through the main part of the house. Gather up your socks, clothes, toys, magazines, and newspapers. Wipe the beer stains off the coffee table. Your wife will feel that she has reached her haven of rest and order. Doing this for her will give you a lift also.
  • Pick up the children from school or daycare.
    Take a few minutes to wash their faces and hands. Help with their homework and prepare their lunches for tomorrow. Arrange the next day’s carpool, homework and permissions. That way she can enjoy these blessed creatures you created together.
  • Minimize all noise.
    At the time of her arrival, eliminate all the noises, especially the TV and radio. Exceptions: you running the washer, dryer, dishwasher, and vacuum will be music to her ears.  Get your children started on a fun activity before she walks in the door. Be happy to see your wife and greet her with a warm smile.
  • Do not greet your wife with problems or complaints.
    Don’t complain when she is late for dinner. Count this as minor when compared to what she had to go through today.
  • Make her comfortable.
    Have her lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest that she lie down for a few minutes in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for her. Arrange her pillow and offer to take off her shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow her to relax and unwind before dinner.
  • Listen to her.
    You may have a dozen things to tell her but the moment of her arrival is not the time. Let her speak first.
  • Make the evening hers.
    She is special! Never complain that she does not take you out to dinner or to other pleasant entertainment. Instead, try to understand her world of strain and pressure, her need to unwind and relax. Remember to take turns enjoying the beautiful life you have created together. Make your home a place you can both relax in body and spirit.

Women Gain Power with Communication

Communication Expert and Executive Coach

Lois Phillips, PhD

Dr. Lois Phillips says that silence is NOT golden. When women leaders speak with a public voice, they achieve a better quality of life for all. They change policy … and the world. What can you do with your voice?

In her book, Women Seen and Heard: Speaking in a Public Voice, Lois examines how women got the right to vote, earned civil rights and successfully challenged the establishment. Her passion is examining what separates great speakers from mediocre ones and how women communicate differently from men.

Women must establish credibility before audiences will listen, but how can we do that? Why must we learn to argue and listen to both sides? What strategies will help us achieve our life goals? Lois has the answers! If you want to make a difference in your community or embark on a successful career, you must communicate effectively.

Dr. Phillips has coached high executives and rank-and-file women. She shares life stories that show how women use their unique gifts to achieve their passion and purpose. Listen to this outstanding conversation and learn to excel through communication.


Is Someone Gaslighting You?

Is Someone Gaslighting You?Have you ever come away from a personal encounter feeling, “What just happened? Am I so out of touch? Maybe I AM losing it!”

If someone is trying to get you to doubt the validity of your own experience — the information you receive from your own senses — then chances are you’re being gaslighted. A recent blog post notes the term describes a kind of emotional manipulation showcase in a 1944 movie. In “Gaslight” Charles Boyer caused Ingrid Bergman to doubt her sanity by adjusting the gaslights  so they flickered. When she would comment on the flickering, he would deny seeing it and instead express concern for her mental health.

Poor Ingrid! It’s actually a favorite way in which men make women crazy. No matter what you say or do, he dismisses who you are and what you say in favor of his own ideas, needs and control. He’ll say, “You know you’re wrong. You’re unhappy and not thinking straight. I know what’s best for you, it’s …A, ….B, …..C.”

No matter what you say or do, he acts like you’re crazy. The subtle or not-so-subtle message ends up being, “Keep your mouth shut. Don’t be seen. Don’t be heard.”

Symptoms of Being Gaslighted:

  • Distrusting their gut instincts
  • Ignoring their feelings
  • Doubting their view of the world
  • Asking, “What’s wrong with me?”
  • Doubting their intelligence
  • Dismissing their value as human beings
  • Afraid to think for themselves
  • Feeling like emotional wrecks
  • Questioning their judgment

From the beginning of time women have been told to be quiet. When they dare speak up, they’re told they’re wrong and crazy. If someone makes you feel you can’t solve your own problems, that you’re not capable of being on your own, and that you instead need continual feedback and direction from HIM, you’re being gaslighted.

How Do You Stop Gaslighting?

 Don’t put up with it! Women need to empower themselves to be seen, to be heard.Push back, don’t accept this manipulation. Instead, spend time with people who see you as creative, resourceful and whole. THAT’s the kind of people and behaviors you want to associate with

I have a good conversation coming up with Lois Phillips, who has written the book, Women Seen and Heard: Lessons Learned from Successful Speakers.

Read the entire blog post to see how pervasive this behavior is in our culture to learn why it’s often unintentional. You will recognize yourself and your friends in the examples!

 ~ Dr. Nancy

Related Articles

Buy the Book

Why Women Need to Pay Attention to Politics

Young Women Can Learn About VotingI confess: I’ve become so disgusted with the current level of political (nonsense) discourse in Congress that I’ve largely tuned out. But I’m changing my ways. In this election year the stakes are high.

Author Nancy Poling writes eloquently about Why Young Women Need to Pay Attention. Well, 65 is not young any more by anyone’s count.  I’m in the last third of my life, so I need to really make it count!

Poling points out that women cannot afford to close their eyes now because so many of our hard-won rights are being threatened. Do we REALLY think men are better at knowing what women want and need than women are themselves?

She is absolutely right: Just because women today have more rights and opportunities than our mothers and grandmothers DOES NOT mean that women’s futures are secure! So I vow to step up and do three things she suggests and one more:

  1. Learn as much as I can about the issue(s). Read a variety of viewpoints, not just articles that support my opinion.
  2. Don’t believe the sound bytes. Look deeper.
  3. Cast an informed vote.

And my own addition: Work to elect candidates who represent the America I want for my daughters and granddaughter.

Read Poling’s entire excellent post here.

~Maggie Castrey, WomenSpeak Editor

Women Flex Their Purchasing Power Muscles

86% of the purchasing power in the U.S. is in the pockets of women!

Two weeks ago MissRepresentation launched a campaign to get our help in calling out sexist and degrading advertisements and products during this holiday shopping season.

Use hashtag #NotBuyingIt on Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail

#NOTBUYINGIT CampaignWith the hashtag #NotBuyingIt on Twitter, Facebook, and through e-mail, thousands of people have been tracking the way women and girls are constantly misrepresented on billboards, in commercials, in magazines, and in stores.

  • Alex: if your product was any good, you wouldn’t need #sexism to sell it. #NotBuyingIt
  • Mary Lu: The Real Housewives of (fill in the blank). We are #NotBuyingIt @RepresentPledge
  • Cullie P: One company that never fails to degrade women, both its owner and its ads is American Apparel, I’m never buying it. I walk by American Apparels all the time and I see a topless woman only wearing jeans, with her butt sticking out. What are they selling exactly?
  • Rosemary C: Pretty much all Kay and Jared jewelry commercials bother me. The message they send out seems to be that if a man doesn’t buy his wife/girlfriend jewelry, he messed up big time. Not every woman wants jewelry as a gift.

Check out this page for more of the called-out products.

Finally, let’s use purchasing power to discourage sexist media images

Let’s keep it going! Continue sending the campaign information about the products you are not buying, as well as those that you are. With your suggestions they’ll put together a list of positive and negative products to help guide women’s purchases in 2012.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in descriptions and photos of products thus far. Collectively the campaign is raising awareness about the power of the consumer voice and what can be accomplished when we band together!

**This information provided by email from Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the team

Are You Seen, Heard and Valued at Work?

The Value of Women’s Work

The Value of Women at WorkWomen often complain about feeling invisible, ignored and dismissed in their workplaces. A wonderful new article posted by Charmaine McClarie on W2Wlink describes four common traps and how to avoid falling into them.

1. Blindly oblivious at work. This person has no idea what it takes to get ahead in their workplace. To avoid this, notice at least two people who get seen and heard and two more who labor without recognition. Analyze what they are doing. Now ask yourself, which category do I belong in? What behaviors will bring you more credit and advancement?

2. Tooting who’s horn? Women are often criticized if they try to take credit for their good performance, which causes many to sit quietly and wait to be noticed. Instead, find a way to praise your team or organization, pointing out the solutions and value you contributed.

3. Busy bee. Too much focus on your many tasks can obscure your true value to the organization. Read six questions you should ask yourself to clarify your important contributions to the company’s bottom line.

4. Be prepared to take credit. Too many women deflect praise when it is offered.When you work hard to get noticed, make sure you accept credit when it is offered. Be prepared to build on it, too, by bridging to the next challenge you’d like to tackle. Say thanks you, summarize the great thing you accomplished, and point out the related project you’d like to take on.

Charmaine McClarie, head of McClarie Group, leads executive development programs that build competitive advantage for organizations, who is often quoted in publications including the New York Times, Harvard Management Update, the London Financial Times, Forbes, and People magazine. is a terrific source of helpful information for working women.

Build Your Self-Esteem with Positive Thoughts and Nine Crucial Actions

Build Sef Esteem with Positive ThoughtsMany women have told me they grew up hearing messages that greatly harmed their self-images. These messages continue to influence how they see their reflections in the mirror today, and it often does not match up with the way they think they should look. What do you think when you look in a mirror? Do you think you are too fat, too short, too tall, not pretty, or not like other women?

We think this way because the images we see on magazines at the newsstand or at the grocery checkout counter offer a distorted view of reality. The covers either feature girls smiling because they are young and beautiful or hideously unflattering pictures of stars hiding from the camera because they look fat and ugly. There are never any pictures of ordinary human females women who look like us and feel just fine, thank you very much!

Self-esteem is how a person feels about the inside and the outside. Women who have poor self-esteem have heard messages while growing up that said, “You do not measure up to all the other pretty, thin, smart girls.” These messages can have lifelong consequences. Women in focus groups told me they heard many of these messages and also felt their mothers had a hard time with age and really worried about losing their looks.

Although coping with society’s external views of older women can be annoying, women have devised a number of coping strategies. Susan tells her age proudly, knowing that she looks healthy and strong. Marla shrugs it off, ignores it, then vents by laughing and complaining with her friends. Kathy refuses to tell anyone her age because she refuses to be categorized that way. Carol answers questions about her age by replying, “That is only relevant if we’re talking about age discrimination.” How old are you? If it bothers you to be asked, say: “Old enough to know better; Young enough to want more; Oh, about your age; What’s it to you?” That way you can leave your age to the imagination of the perceiver.

A fear of aging is not a rational response. It’s just an emotion. Even if you were once embarrassed to tell your age or admit you are past menopause, you can take back your personal power.

First, be aware of––and don’t be manipulated by––media messages. Next, identify and face what you are really afraid of. You may want to work with a therapist or a focus group of trusted girlfriends to do this.

Identify the negative messages you learned growing up and replace them with positive statements about yourself.

Positive Thinking Tips:

  • I have a great smile and eyes, not — I’m just not pretty.
  • I look good for my age, not — I look old and decrepit.
  • My knowledge, wisdom, and skills increase daily, not — I am too old.
  • I am a valuable human being, not – I am worthless.
  • I succeed at many things I try, not — I’m a failure.
  • I’m a lucky to grow older, not — I hate growing older.

Body image issues and perfectionism add up to problems for young girls and women including eating disorders. A woman who has a distorted body image sees her body primarily in terms of some imperfection that she constantly thinks and worries about. Often these women perceive themselves as out of proportion or damaged in some way. This misperception, along with low self-esteem, can lead not only to eating disorders, but also to depression, anxiety and other types of phobias. These conditions all warrant medical and psychological treatment as soon as possible.

Nine steps to begin improving your self-image without plastic surgery

  1. Surround yourself with beauty, artwork, bright colors, good music and healthy foods.
  2. Get exercise and feel your body move.
  3. Surround yourself with happy, fun, loving people.
  4. Get rid of toxic people in your life, the ones who bring you down, belittle you, or criticize you.
  5. Do not allow anyone to abuse you or neglect you.
  6. Send out love and people will flock to you.
  7. Be what you want to be.
  8. Act “as if” you are beautiful and you will be beautiful.
  9. Your thoughts and actions will make the world a beautiful place to live.

Women can learn to find a positive self-image within themselves. Changing your environment, both on the inside and on the outside, will bring you in touch with your own positive self-esteem, dignity, and worth.

Scroll to top

© Women Connect4Good, Inc. All Rights Reserved.