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Featured, Harassment, Lifestyle, Women's Perspective

#MeToo

November 20, 2017

I hadn’t planned to write about the #MeToo movement. Some of my readers might think it too political for all the places this blog posts. The more I think about what is happening, the more I know I can’t remain silent.

#MeToo started with a few women speaking up about sexual harassment. Without going into details, these women stood up and talked about how some men had demeaned them, had exposed themselves. had touched them inappropriately. The list grew daily with women in entertainment, business, and politics feeling emboldened. No longer hiding in the shadows, these women stepped into the light, risked ridicule and having their reputations impugned, and stood steady under verbal assaults from too many different sources to name here.

It’s not just in the US where #MeToo has brought the issue of sexual harassment into the light. I’ve read posts from all over the English-speaking world, including India and Pakistan. Women everywhere are no longer silent.

Yes, I was the victim of sexual harassment. When I was early in my professional career, I traveled with my VP, my Managing Director, and a technical manager overseas. I was the only woman. I had no thought that anyone would say anything inappropriate, but on the first night, the VP offered to “take the edge” off my, um, “tension.” He said I’d be on the road for two weeks and would probably like a little “servicing.” Yes, servicing, like I was a cow in heat. I turned him down. He never made a second move, but I was never in the same room with him without a lot of people around.

By the standards of what is being reported today, this encounter was almost benign. And yet it wasn’t. The VP made me feel dirty, like I was coming on to him, and that I couldn’t be away from home for two weeks without needing sex.

I don’t want this post to be only about what happened to me or to these other women who have the courage to name names, places, and feelings.

I want this lesson to be the LAST time we have to talk about sexual harassment. I want this movement to make real changes in how we respect both men and women, because men are often victims of sexual harassment themselves. I want my daughters and granddaughters to know that they can speak up immediately. More, I want them not to have to speak up, because we have changed our behavior. I don’t want them to have to tell a person in power that you aren’t interested in their overtures. I don’t want them to have to tell a man to talk to the right boob because it’s getting jealous of the attention he’s paying to the left one. I don’t want them to have to look over their shoulders to be sure no one is stalking them at school/church/on the job/wherever. I want the next generations to feel as safe as they should be. I want them to wonder what all this craziness is all about, because it’s no longer an issue for them.

Are you with me? Are you ready to stand up with me and say #MeToo?

Angela Merkel, Carol Burnett, Eleanor Roosevelt, Featured, Gal Pals, Grace Slick, Hillary Clinton, Janet Evanovich, Joan Didion, Lifestyle, Margaret Thather, Sylvia Plath, Women's Perspective, Writing

National Girlfriends Day

August 1, 2016

That’s right. Today, August 1, is National Girlfriends Day. I might of missed it if my gal pal, Kim Dalferes, fellow writer and all-round crazy Southern Irish gal, hadn’t thrown down a challenge in her blog post, http://kimdalferes.com/4631/kim-dalferes-blog/the-best-pals-are-gal-pals. She wrote about which women she’d invite to a cocktail party. She listed Mae West, Cleopatra, Katherine Hepburn, Janet Reno, Jennifer Lawrence, Margaret Thatcher, Cari Cucksey (from HGTV’s “Cash and Cari”), Erma Bombeck, Ann Joyce (Kim’s grandmother) and Tina Fey. You’ll have to read her post for her reasons.

Here are the women I’d like to spend time with:

Sylvia Plath, one of the best poets and least understood women of letters. I’d love to listen to her talk about writing and depression.

Margaret Thatcher, because she stood up to the old boy’s club and won. I may not have agreed with her politics, but her intellect was outstanding. I could learn so much sitting and asking questions.

Angela Merkel, again because of her intellect. She’s the most powerful person in Europe, something that probably drives Vladimir Putin crazy. She’s balanced, driven, and focused on a better future for all.

Grace Slick, lead singer of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. I want to know what it was like to be on the inside of a great musical and social revolution. I sat in concerts in San Francisco when JA was coming into its own. “White Rabbit” still influences my writing today.

Eleanor Roosevelt, without whom no list would be complete. She ran the country when Franklin was too ill to do so. She’s the one who is purported to have responded to his comment about fear when he was deciding whether or not to run for president, “I’m afraid to try. I might fail.” Eleanor: “Then don’t.” Franklin: “Don’t try?” Eleanor: “Don’t fail.” Thank you for supporting your man and the nation during some of our darkest hours.

Harriett Miller and Jeanne Naylor, mother and mother-in-law, respectively. You taught my husband Terry and me so much, but there’s so much I still don’t know. Motherly wisdom is the best, and I miss it.

Joan Didion who laid open raw grief and taught us to survive it with grace and dignity.

Carol Burnett, one of the funniest women ever. Just thinking about her Gone with the Wind skit sends me into riotous laughter. I want to probe that comedic mind to understand why she is so funny and so approachable.

Janet Evanovichwho’s Stephanie Plum is one of the most outrageous characters every created. I wish I could create and sustain funny characters.

Hillary Clinton, not for political reasons, but to sit and enjoy a mind capable of dissecting a problem and worry it down to the smallest details.

So, these are the women I’d invite to my cocktail party. Of course, I’d also invite a kitty or two.

Who would you invite?

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