Empowerment

Empowerment

Thursday, December 4, 2014

That Just Means He Likes You!

Have you ever heard a little girl, after complaining that a little boy has been mean to her, be told "That just mean that he likes you!" You probably, at one point in your life, have either been told that yourself (if you're a girl), told a little girl that, or hear someone say it. I was told that myself when I was around third grade. The younger brother of my brother's friend was constantly teasing me on the bus. Now I don't remember what he said to me, but I remember being that age and incredibly sensitive, and doing my best to not cry on the bus. After telling someone about how he teased me, I was told the proverbial, "That means he likes you!"

 Fast forward to this past year, my friend's little girl, about the same age as I was, told her mom and I that a boy was teasing her, and before I could even stop myself I heard, "That just means he likes you!" slip right out of my mouth. I don't think I even thought about what I was saying, it was just what was said in those situations. But as soon as the words came out my brain just started going, "What on Earth is that nonsense? A boy is mean to you, and that means he LIKES you?? Really." Her mom must have had the same thought because she started in on the statement, expressing what my mind was saying to me.


In Anne of Green Gables Gilbert pulls Anne hair, generally torments her while they are growing up and later tells her he did it because he liked her. Society accepts.

Now, I don't where this general idea came from, that boys are mean to girls because they like them, or the idea that it is acceptable. As adolescents, it is expected that boys are going to tease, harass, bully, etc. the girls they like, but then they are suddenly supposed to grow up and that is all going to change? How is anyone, male or female supposed to change the mindset that they have had their whole life? That instead of treating someone who you supposedly like with disdain and violence, you are now supposed to treat someone you like with softness and love. It just doesn't work like that.

How can we expect normal, healthy relationships to develop when this is what has become socially acceptable? How can we expect young men to grow up to treat women with respect when their whole life they are not reprimanded for treating girls with disrespect and disdain? How can we expect young women to walk away from abusive relationships or never enter into one when their whole life they are taught that "That just means he likes you!" whenever they are hurt, physically, verbally, or emotionally by a boy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Real Women Have Power

Real Women Have POWER. That's what I said I believe at the end of my last post. For many people, power can have a negative connotation, people think of power hungry people, or people who abuse their power. However, if you look at the full definition of power you will see statements such as: "ability to act or produce an effect" or "physical might", "mental or moral efficacy", and "legal or official authority, capacity, or RIGHT". I think my favorite is the first statement, power is the ability to act or produce an effect. This is the type of power I am talking about. Not corporate power, not social power, but the ability to produce an effect.


Every woman has the ability to produce an effect. Think about that for a minute, you right now have the ability to produce some kind of an effect. It may be a grand effect, or it may be a small effect, either way you, on your own can produce an effect. You also have "legal or official authority, capacity, or right." It may not always seem like it, but women, in many countries, have great legal capacities and rights. Gone are the days where we are not allowed to vote. Gone are the days where are not allowed to hold property. Gone are the days where we can be abused simply because we are women. Women have fought long and hard to get where they are, and they many have taken hold of great POWER, the kind of power most people associate with those with real influence. This is the type of power that runs rampant in our society. The power to make other people jump when they say jump, the power to make others quiver in the paths when those with authority look at them. To me this is not true power.


True power is a woman realizing that she HAD to help a child who had been horribly injured and left with only one remaining leg after a land mine in Bosnia left him close to death. She found a way to help this child, going to Bosnia, flying he and his mother back to New York and finding doctors and companies to help him receive prosthetics. After helping this child she went on to help another child, and another, eventually founding the Global Medical Relief Fund, which has helped over 150 children since its beginning in 1997. And it all started with ONE woman realizing that she had the "ability to act or produce an effect". She had power.






Book written by Elissa Montanti, founder of Global Medical Relief Fund about her life and her eventual mission "to Heal the Children of the World."

Power demonstrates itself differently in different people. You may think that you cannot, or do not want to, start a nonprofit organization, but that does not mean you do not have power. Power can be overcoming addiction, poverty, fear, lack of education, health issues, and so many other things. I want to introduce the world to Real Women who Have Power. Women like my grandma who was told that she would never have children, so she went on to raise 11 wonderful children. Women like my mother who has been tossed through the storms of life, but has come out on the other side still standing. To me these are women who have power. My plan and goal is to introduce you to women in the world who have power.

Real Women Have...

As I said at the end of my previous post I hate the phrase "real women have.." or even just anything that starts with "real women....". You know that there is going to be some sort of demeaning, limited word/phrase that ends that statement. Real women have curves. Real women lift. Real women are strong. (Mean physically, lifting weights). It goes on. Here are some "pins"I have found on Pinterest showing this.













These are just a smattering of what I found on Pinterest in less than a minute. Now, I am aware these are all "in fun". And maybe I am just being overly sensitive or ridiculous, but I think we live in a time where there is so much harm being done through the media, when there is a potential to do so much GOOD. We live in a time where we have instant connections across the world.
Facebook connections across the world.


 Now, more than ever we have the ability and potential to meet, know, and IMPACT people that we never even would have dreamed existed in the past. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, all of these social media venues give us the opportunity to share our stories, to empower others, to better the world, and to do good. Why, then, do we so often see people doing the opposite? Why are we sharing the message that Real Women Have Curves? Real Women Hunt? The truth is we are all different. Some of us have bodies that have more curves than a winding mountain road. Some of us have less curves than a ruler. Some of us have the same curves as an orange. Some of us can go out there and kill that deer, skin it, and bring it home. Others wear gloves when touching hamburger they bought at the grocery store. Some of us only wish they had a grocery store to buy food at to feed their children. 

In the end, I believe two things are true and that is this: "Real Women are Human and Real Women Have POWER."


The Beginning

So I decided that I wanted to dedicate an entire blog to this idea I had awhile back that was a blog post on my other blog.

I don't know about you, but I seem to do my best thinking when I am doing something like driving on long trips, taking a hot bath, running (okay, walking with intermittent bursts of jogging with sweat rolling down my beet red face and drenching my back), or other similar endeavors. Or at least I feel like it is my best thinking, but really it could just be myself feeling like I am making some great thought process when it is really more along the lines of a Gilmore Girl conversation.

I started thinking about women who are, for whatever reason, starting a career, or trying to find a job, supporting their families, whatever the situation is. There was a story earlier this year here that keeps floating around in my brain. A single, homeless mother leaves her children in the car to go to a job interview, having nowhere else to take them. Later information says that she did in fact have a part time job and a residence "listed". I don't know enough of the details and am not going to go investigating, but I would say it was desperation, not child abuse that led her to leave her kids in the car. What if she had somewhere to take them? What if there was a place for women to get career counseling, job training, life skills, parenting skills, etc. that ALSO provided child care for her children while she was at her job interview? I know there is at least women's facility in the valley, but I had to do some searching for it, so I would say it is not well known.

By this point in my jog, yeah we are still on my "jog", I was actually.... jogging!! I needed to do some serious thinking, and that happens better when I am jogging, I concentrate on thinking and ideas and ignore the sweat and the deep, laborious breaths that are coming from my body. I am not sure how I got to this train of thought, but I think it had something to do with the car lights that I was seeing up ahead... Anyways, I started thinking about women that have been raped and sexually assaulted. According to statistics approximately 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted at some point in their life. I believe this number is wrong, that it is too low. I won't go into the basis of this belief right now, but I believe the number is higher than that. So, I was thinking about these women and thinking about how/why/when/where/ women are raped and who rapes them. It seems like in our culture anything womanly/girly/feminine is either exploited or a bad thing. Our culture makes women not to be the victim of rape, but rather the rapist couldn't help himself. In court, the rapist isn't proving he/she is innocent, rather the victim is proving they actually had a crime committed against them. (I will probably rant and rave more about this one later on too.) It is all a bit upside down in my mind.

This then led me to think about the oh so common sayings we have of "You (blank) like a GIRL!" You throw like a girl, run like a girl, fight like a girl, etc. They are all considered insults. Why?? Have you ever seen a game of fastpitch softball? Yep, those women sure throw like girls! Anytime someone is said to do something "like a girl" it is insult. The following video found on youtube is a great one about turning this culture of "like a girl" into something new.

The other saying that is becoming more prevalent is "Real women (blank)." Real women have curves, real women lift weights, etc. And that, my imaginary friends, it the topic of my next post.