Category Archives: self worth

It Should Pain ALL of Us

Syria-Kid-Close-up-Face-Paint-Girl-English1

http://www.democracychronicles.com/hillary-clinton-attending-meeting-about-syria/

Hillary Clinton says “It pains me.”

She was talking about her feelings concerning the “plight of women in male-dominated societies.”  The little Syrian girl in the picture above is expressing a viewpoint about desiring freedom and peace in her country. It would be very common to assume that she could also be demonstrating a feeling about being a girl if she is old enough to know what it means to be a second class citizen.

If one takes time to view the status of women in the world, it is easy to find examples of what it really means to be born female. Female babies in China are found abandoned or thrown out with the trash reported as recently as July, 2012.  In an effort to stem population growth, China instituted a one child policy in 1978. Although in cities females are more likely to be abandoned, in the rural countryside they are often just killed. If the couple is allowed only one child, they prefer that child to be a boy. The girls who are allowed to grow up are often called worthless and are frequently treated as servants to the parents.

It is dangerous for girls to speak out in these countries. Just think of the Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban just for expressing her desire for an education.

On February 14, One Billion Rising is sponsoring a protest against rape and violence against women around the world. Knowing that to protest is to invite beatings, jail, or even death, women are still willing to rise against inequality and violence. A UN report stated that 250,000 women in sixty-five countries reported rape. That is LESS than 1/3 of all countries in the world and less than half to one fourth of all rapes that occur. Even if the case is reported, more than 97% of the men who rape never spend time in jail. One Billion Rising protests these dismal statistics.

Women in the US can not even today say that they live in equality with men. Discrimination and exploitation are still rampant. Things are improving, albeit extremely slowly. Just one example is how long it took for American women to achieve the right to vote and the treatment of those who spoke up for that right.  These were the stories that were never taught in history classes.

This is still a country where women can parade in ads on TV wearing the skimpiest Victoria Secret lingerie and well covered women breast feeding their babies are kicked out of establishments.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is pained. We should ALL be pained for all women all over the world. The sad part is for every ten men who openly abuse, limit rights, and feel superior to women there are probably at least five women who condone their behavior and accept it as part of life. Many of those who “stand by their man” are in comfortable positions with their husbands and are afraid to rock the boat.  They prefer inequality for others over freedom and personal responsibility for themselves. Just look at the number of women who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s.

I often wonder why men have to feel superior to women. Is it something genetic? It certainly is something culturally engrained around the world. Women are slowly rising in status. Perhaps there is hope in the world that by doing so, the world may come to be a safer more peaceful place. It will not happen in my life, and probably not in my granddaughter’s life, but hopefully seven generations from now we may see progress. Namaste Attic Annie

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LEGOS is Dropping the Bomb!

Whose idea was this?

During the summers while I was still teaching in elementary school, I taught in an enriched program for gifted students. One of the programs was  for those interested in Legos….aimed at both boys AND girls.    The structures they were able to construct were mind blowing to me. There were roller coasters that came up to my knees. They built and played with helicopters, space shuttles, jetports, windmills, trains, cranes, on and on with motors and moving parts. The girls matched the ability of the boys in putting things together. The sets were marketed to both boys and girls.

Fast forward thirty years to the most recent offerings for girls by the Legos company.   After marketing almost exclusively to boys for at least ten years or more, they’ve decided to go back to marketing to girls. Great, you say? No way. The sets they are marketing show sitting in a hot tub, lunching at the cafe, at the beauty shop, and at the splash pool. To be fair there is the musician (even if she is singing in a club), the inventor, and the vet all displayed in 1950s pastels, especially PINK! (and purple)

I realize this blog is about a month late already from being ground breaking news, but I am no longer aware of what is out there being marketed to children. It will be a few years yet before I have to be concerned when I buy for my yet to be born grandchild.

I am seeing arguments on both sides for these obviously sexist toys. They pander to what society is trying to shove off on growing girls. They are supposed to be self-absorbed empty headed beauty conscious girls content with lounging around and primping.

As toys for boys become more war-like (Legos Star Wars) toys for girls are speeding back to the 1950s honoring the domestic diva beauty queen. Maybe since I am from the generation who became aware there was more out there for young women in the 1970s, I am so upset about this turn around forty years later. What ever happened to this goal of gender equality toys?

Yes, there are girls who will love these new toys. There is a broad spectrum of interests  among girls. There always have been. Legos is marketing to the top of the femininity scale…the sorority girls. I have no idea about what percentage that might be. But what about the rest of the girls, the independent girls, who prefer to be in the science labs, the engineering labs, the architect classes instead of trying out for cheerleading or participating in wet tee shirt contests?

It is my hope that the Legos Company would turn back the clock thirty years and start producing universal toys like they did back then. They were gender neutral. They demanded creativity. They didn’t emphasize sexual stereotypes with mini figs with boobs!

There is a petition from Change.org asking Legos to reconsider its latest entry into the girl’s market. If you don’t care about this matter don’t do anything. But if you do, speak up for the future of the current crop of girls who are learning self absorption is the primary goal of their lives. Namaste Attic Annie

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Let A Woman Be A Woman…not a sexy teenage Mouseketeer!

What does America have against curves on a woman? It seems all the fashion gurus want are women who perpetually look like emaciated teen age boys.

Granted I am speaking from the viewpoint of a woman who has had weight issues most of my life. When I wore a size 10-12 I looked to myself and others as quite thin.

I am not a big music fan. Perhaps it is because as a child we only had one radio in the kitchen for the whole house. I was never encouraged to enjoy music of any kind. I never intentionally listen to music when I am in the car or at home. I’m not sure why the “plight” of Christina Aguilera even caught my attention.

It seems many want to make her a social outcast because she now has curves. I would dearly love to have her figure. She looks like a woman. She is thirty one years old and looks well nourished. She does not look like an overexploited, overexposed sexy Mouseketeer any longer. Which reminds me….when did the female Mouseketeers change from being the wholesome teenage girls to the provocative teenage vixens?….another topic.

Recent comments about Aguilera have not been flattering. She is being criticized about her weight. I would like to know why. Depending on the camera angle she may now have a hint of a double chin and rounded face but nothing that maybe losing five pounds wouldn’t take care of. She is very normal looking for a thirty one year old.

Her pictures remind me of Mae West. Mae was certainly very sexy for her time even as her weight appeared to fluctuate in her photos. She definitely knew how to be a woman. She definitely knew how to be sexy. She definitely knew men did not appreciate a string bean.

Aguilera seems to have the same attitude. It is the entertainment media who seems to view her weight as a “plight” rather than her. She says she comfortable in her own skin. I applaud her for not caving in the the media moguls who want big boobs and an 18 inch waist before they give any woman the time of day.

Do I think weight is important? Yes. Believe me, I know the consequences physically, emotionally, and socially to being overweight. Have I been “comfortable in my own skin” as Aguilera claims she is? No. To some, she is a very accomplished vocalist. I am not familiar with her works. I’m not really into the dirrty hooker images for young women which are so prevalent these days. I yearn for the years when they were just suggestively sexy. But I do feel a woman should be judged, if she must be, on the health of her body, the generosity of her spirit, and her talent. Not her weight. Namaste. Attic Annie

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“Encouragement…pass it on!”

I really don’t ever pay much attention to television commercials. However, every once in a while, some of them get to me. The television  is on across the room. The station just played one of my favorite ones for the Foundation for a Better Life.

I love this 15 seconds. It is refreshing to hear something that is not selling cars, fast food, acne prevention, anti-aging creams, or pills to enlarge “that certain part of a man’s body” especially when it  is former Cowboys’ coach Jimmie Johnson.

It was difficult at first to find  information about the foundation on the net.. They do not accept any money other than a grant from  Philip Anschutz, a conservative Evangelical Christian billionaire. The primary purpose of the foundation seems to be  to” promote positive behavioral values such as honesty, caring, optimism, hard work, and helping others, in an attempt to make a difference in communities”.

The mother and father could have completely bungled this scene if the pianist had not come on stage when he did. In their effort to correct what could have been a very embarrassing situation for them, they could have completely humiliated the little boy. He is old enough to remember such humiliation the rest of his life.

I was involved with elementary education for thirty years. I was also a single mother. I had innumerable opportunities to pass on positive values. I will admit that I did not always accomplish these tasks. I also had innumerable opportunities to watch as parents, in an attempt to chastise their children, completely did the opposite of encouragement. I found myself wincing while witnessing such scenes. The same holds true for teachers I witnessed who chose to reprimand their students in front of the entire class. I felt so sorry for these victims.

What we as adults sometimes forget within ten minutes, young impressionable children can remember a life time. For example, as a thirteen year old, I had the same desire to experiment with make up as every other girl in my middle school grade. I saved money from my allowance and bought my first tube of lipstick. Granted it was a bright red. No one had any interest in helping me pick out a more appropriate shade.

We had a mirror which hung close to the front door in my childhood home. I stopped to apply my lipstick right before I went outside. I didn’t notice my father sitting in his chair watching me. As I turned around, he said, “You look like a two-bit….” Although I was unfamiliar with that phrase, from the tone of his voice and the scowl on his face, I had an idea it was not a good thing to be. When I recall that scene, I can still feel the sting of the heat from the blushing that that comment produced. I think I probably wrote about this incident earlier in my blogging career when I talked about my father, but it is worth repeating. That one comment…the DIScouragement…had a profound effect on my self image, believe me.

The website for this foundation is Values.com. They started ten years ago and now have TV spots, billboards, radio spots and podcasts. All they do is promote positive values. That’s it. The above video is based on a true story. They encourage people to write about and share their own experiences. We can learn from the examples of others.

This foundation believes that people are basically good. They just need to be reminded once in a while. With all the negativity that is shown on TV and in the movies these days, it seems there is an attack on positive values. This foundation seems to believe that if people are reminded about a positive way to live their lives, things can change. I believe so too. Namaste. Attic Annie

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LiLo Such a Messy Falling Star

Lindsey Lohan was a cute red headed freckled child star. She could act. She could sing. Thousands of other children wanted to grow up just like her…A STAR. Unfortunately, if they do, they will be as out of control as she is.

It is sad that at the age of twenty four, she has already been in a revolving door of DUIs and rehabs  for many years. The article from which the above picture was printed stated her obit is already being prepared. People are writing her off. She has become the butt of jokes. David Letterman used her as a top ten list. “Signs that Lindsay Lohan  is out of control.”

Now she is accused of felony grand theft for taking a $2500 necklace. She claims she thought it was a “loan”. She is the subject of an interview on the Today Show. Every bit of her is critiqued from her angelic white dress which suggests purity but, “Come on, Lindsay. It’s way too short. A suit would have been more appropriate.”

She is in a position where EVERY thing she says or does is spread across the world wide internet. When the judge tells her not to “push your (her) luck” that she’s” just like everybody else”,  it is sent immediately to you tube.

Unless a potential juror does not have a television, newspaper service, internet, etc, etc,, that person is apt to know all about Lindsay Lohan. They can’t help it. Wouldn’t that lead then to a tainted jury?  Several years ago, Winona Ryder faced the same issue in her shoplifting charge. There was a “prosecution motion to admit prior bad acts, evidence this was not the actress’s first run-in with store security.” The prosecution in Lohan’s trial won’t have to admit it. There is probably no potential juror alive who doesn’t know everything already. To “taint” means “to make someone seem less honestmorally pure etc. Showing her actually wearing the necklace certainly makes her seem less honest to me. Commenting on the attire she wore to the hearing implies that she is not necessarily morally pure. The woman can’t win. She is being compared to a tart. Let’s bring in sex to darken her image even more. Even a change of venue will not help find an impartial jury in her case. But then, according to the Today Show, since this is her first felony charge, she may not even get any prison time at all. “A day in prison to any one else is like a year to Lindsey” ??????? I don’t understand that quote. Time is one thing that is impartial. Are they perhaps referring to her star light fading?

Do I feel sorry for Lohan? I guess, in a way. So many stars self destruct when they can no longer  stand the brilliance of the light constantly shining on them. The amount of $2500 to me is like $2.50 to Lohan. This has to be a case of wanting to get caught. Of needing to be caught. But then I’m not in any way a psychologist.

She has been surrounded by enablers all her life. She is the product of parents who divorced when she was still quite young. Any average child cannot some times cope with that, let alone a child who is on the road to becoming famous.

There have been other child stars who either faded before they could get adult roles or managed the transition to becoming adult stars. Some of them began to self destruct, like Drew Barrymore, but then turned themselves around. There are others, like Jodie Foster, who never seemed to crave the spotlight and managed to steer clear of all the media attention, all the while carving out a spectacular career for herself.

It is not too late for Lindsay to turn herself around. Many successful stars live their lives away from all the publicity and “glamor” of Hollywood. They shun the press yet they manage to be very successful with their careers.

Does Lindsay act this way because she is craving love? Is she addicted to the attention? Does she do ANY thing just to know that she is still in the spotlight? Who knows? IMHO, I think the media should back off and let this matter play itself out without any more attention. I think professional help should continue to be a part of the conditions of punishment. I believe she can be saved. Falling stars make so much mess. Namaste Attic Annie

 

 

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Breaking it down

I’m trying to sit with people I don’t know when I decide to eat in the hospital cafeteria. In the past I’ve usually just sat by myself. Now I find that people have interesting things to tell me.

Today I asked a woman if I might join her. When I sat down, I realized she looked rather tired. I hoped that I wasn’t interfering with her quiet time at lunch. We began talking, I soon realized  that she had a difficult time finding the words she wanted to say. She would start a phrase over again several times in an effort to get her thought out. I realized part of it was how tired she was. Part of it was her natural speech pattern. When she paused I began substituting words I thought she might be looking for. I stopped that right away when I thought of how annoying it is to me when people do the same thing to me. I just listened.

I learned that she had been employed by the hospital for twenty-five years. She started in food service and over time took classes and different jobs until she became a registration representative. She said she worked the same twelve hour shift that nurses do. She comes in at 6 AM until 6 PM.

She started talking about her daughter. Her pride in her daughter is obvious. Her daughter is in honors classes and was just inducted into the National Honor Society. She said when she gets home it’s time to drive her daughter around to her many different activities. She proudly stated that her daughter was in a play in a community group so she now has to drive her to rehearsals until May. If it’s not drama, it’s several other organizations.  Her daughter will soon turn 16, but she’s not sure she’s ready for her to drive, especially at night.

The rep is a member of the sandwich generation. She also helps to take care of her mother. In between times she has all the usual business of living and caring for her home. She mentioned several times that she was a single mother. I told her I understood where she was. Fortunately, it was just me and my son together without the addition of a parent to care for. But for me, all those twelve years until he got into college just having the two of us together plus holding down a job was enough.

She’s very proud of her daughter. She told me that she, herself, was always slow in school and nobody really ever helped her break down the material to where she could get it. Her daughter started out the same way, she said.

She said more than once that she knew how important it was for her to help her daughter. Her sister had purchased a “Hooked on Phonics” set that the sister let her use with her daughter. She couldn’t afford to buy a new set, but she was willing to if she had to.  “I broke everything down. I worked with her. Once she got it, she had it! Now she wants to go to college. She’s interested in drama.” She began to smile broadly as she spoke of her daughter’s achievements.

I told her I agreed with her about breaking things down. It reminded me of a student I had twenty five years ago and I told her so. I told her the story of a young summer school student I had when I first went back to teaching. He was supposed to be going into sixth grade but he had already been held back a couple of years. He was in the remedial fifth grade math class. You could touch his attitude a foot away.

I was supposed to be teaching him fifth grade material. He couldn’t do it. He was completely resigned to the fact that he was only in the class because he had to be.  I decided to back down and tested him on the first grade level. He passed. I tested him on the second grade level. He had some issues that I worked with him on. He passed. We went on to the third grade level. It went that way for the whole six weeks. The class was full but I was kind of tutoring him individually as well as working with the others during class time. I had three hours of math time for that class every day so I fit special time in for him.

He remained almost silent the whole time, but I began sensing the attitude changing little by little. I couldn’t resist the “Atta boys” and “I told you you were smart” and all the other things I told him. By the end of that summer he passed the fourth grade test. He was now only one grade level behind.

He still never said much and his dour expression never really changed.  The last day of class I dismissed the children and he left the room. I sat down at the desk to do the paper work. I looked up and watched as he re-entered the room. To be perfectly honest, I was a little afraid. I was in the wing entirely on my own. I didn’t know what to expect.

I stood up to greet him, acting as nonchalant as I could. We looked each other in the eye and all he said was “Thank you.” Then he stepped forward and gave me a big hug. I told him that I was grateful that he let me do my job. He just gave me the biggest smile and walked back out of the room. I swear the light in the room increased 50% with that grin.

I finished my story and told my lunch mate that he is one of the students I’ll never forget. She looked at me and said, “He probably never forgot you either. You were willing to break it down for him.” “Your daughter was very lucky that you were willing to do the same thing for her,” I said.

She excused herself and said it was time for her to clock back in. I think she felt a little proud of herself and a little less tired.  It was a nice lunch. Namaste. Attic Annie

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89 and still volunteering

As I was waiting for the list of patients to interview on Monday, I read an in-house bulletin. On the front page was a woman I met very briefly about three weeks ago at an annual volunteers meeting. I happened to sit next to her.

She was very charming and welcoming. She said she came in every day and worked in the AIDS center. She said, “Most of the patients who come in there are just babies. They are scared. I’m there to answer as many questions as I can and just listen. I serve them coffee and doughnuts while they are waiting.”

The meeting started so I didn’t have much more chance to talk with her.

When I read the article about her, I was astonished to see that she is 89 and the oldest volunteer. She certainly appears much younger, although it really is getting harder for me to judge ages.

She lives in a retirement village which means the young ones in her community are at least 55. If it is the community I’m thinking of, the median age is much older than that.

She used to be at the hospital every day to work in the clinic, but she has now cut that time back somewhat. No wonder she called the patients who come in to be tested or treated for AIDS “babies”. Many of them are still in their teens and early 20s.

I was astounded at how much good she does when she is at the hospital. The patients soon begin to look forward to seeing her when they come in for an appointment. They thrive on her hugs. Her medicine is just as important as something that comes in a  pill bottle.

She is such a vital woman. In her walk, talk, and smile she appears to be someone more in her late 60s or at the most very early 70s. She drives by herself to the hospital and certainly doesn’t rely on any kind of hardware like a cane or walker to get around.

It occurred to me that people of retirement age are generally pushed out of corporations. Many times it is because they cost too much in salary when they can hire someone straight out of high school or college at a much lower rate. They are considered of limited value.

But let those persons work for free and they are welcomed with open arms for their wisdom and experience. Places like hospitals and other non-profits consider their contributions priceless. It is of no concern that no one will pay them for their expertise any more.

Perhaps I am too cynical. But it seems to me the urging of corporations to retire their older work force is just another example of the exploitation of so many different groups within the United States. Many of these people retired at a fixed income that has never really been touched by any COLA. Some of them are really in dire straits, but they still continue to give to their communities, many times on a daily basis. They still desire to be  valuable members of their local communities and be respected even though in the work place they are told quite clearly they are no longer of any value. I just think something is wrong.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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