Sexual Harassment

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I grew up in an environment where if a boy in fourth or fifth grade pushed, hit, or shoved a girl, that girl was told “oh, he likes you”, and he was not punished, or even reprimanded.  Of course, being me, my reaction to being pushed, hit and/or shoved was to usually do the same back.  Now, just guess as to who it was who got reprimanded.  Yes, it was me, since a girl was always expected to be nice, no matter what.  That’s what we were told, no matter what someone did to you, be nice.

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All this conditioning has a price.  That price follows us all our lives, and causes women to “put up” with verbal and sexual harassment without saying anything.  It also causes us to not speak up about other kinds of mistreatment – after all, who want to be known as a “bitch”.  Yes, this is another instance where we’ve allowed others to monitor our voices and behavior.

When I was young, it wasn’t unusual for me to be “felt up” while I was riding the bus, in an elevator, or in other situations.  Did I say anything?  Usually not, however, the spikes of my pumps got quite the workout.  I hope that I did plenty of damage to the offending man’s toes and/or insteps.  The fact of this harassing behavior, is of course, designed to make woman and girls to feel “less than”.  The list of behavior goes on and on: “ratings” based on our looks; verbal abuse telling us to “smile”, trying to force women and girls to interact with strange men – and threatening comments when these men are ignored; women and girls being reduced to just their body parts – the dehumanization of an entire gender.

The examples of rotten comments are too long to list.  However, my husband has told me in just the last few days that I chop wood “like a girl”; and I throw the Frisbee to the dog, “like a girl”.  In my head I thought – if you’re so much better at chopping wood, why the heck aren’t you doing it?

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These comments are considered “normal”, and often if a woman says anything she is considered to be a “bitch”, or a liar, or both.  When we stand up for our rights as human beings, we are told to shut up and be nice.  Being nice has gotten us things.  The biggest “thing” that being nice has gotten us is less wages than men.  Yay!  What a testament to being nice.  Look at the offensive comments that were made by men, about Hilary Clinton when she ran for president.  The sad thing is that some of those same negative comments were also said by women.

Fifty-three percent of white women voted a known sexual predator into national office.  Really?  What the heck is wrong with you?  I will never understand people who vote against themselves.  And, this political party has proved itself to be the party of sexual predators.  Get your head on straight, women.  Together we will be an unstoppable force.  Stand together as one, and see the entire world change for the better.

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Belittlement

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The definition of belittlement is to treat someone as less than.  This is something that happens all day, every day to a lot of people.  How do you treat your waitress?  How about the cashier?  It’s an easy, and apparently gratifying thing for many people to engage in.  But, even though belittling others is designed to make you look superior to them, what does it really say about the person who engages in it?  What I really want to talk about is how in your interpersonal relationships people really have to understand that just because someone is family, it doesn’t mean that the usual rules of engagement go out the window.

There is one person in my immediate family who has this habit of sitting and doodling wavy lines on a piece of paper whenever I open my mouth to say something.  Needless to say, I don’t often speak when he is around.  Instead, he speaks and I listen.  My assumption is that my role in our relationship is to listen to him and keep my mouth shut.  At least that is what our relationship has devolved to.  Does this make me want to spend any time with him?  No, of course not.  However, whenever I get upset about his behavior, I remind myself that this way of behaving says a lot more about him than it does about me.

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Being part of a community, no matter how large (or small), means that respect has to be shown as well as given.  One person can’t insist on respect while at the same time denying it to others.  There must be a mutual way of behaving, or any kind of communication will fail.  Has this behavior been directed at you?  Have you dealt with it, or have you just ignored it?  I understand that when one is in an inferior position (such as a waitress or cashier) there is really nothing to do but ignore this behavior.  However, when it occurs in a social (or family) relationship, how do you deal with it?  Let me know in the comments below.

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What’s New on the Rape Front? – Yes, there is Snark!

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Well, what is new regarding women and rape?  Here are a few things that you might be surprised to learn.  In nine states a rapist has the ability to share custody of the child that was produced from a rape.  Yep, that’s right.  If you’re a rapist, gone to jail for raping a woman, you still get to share custody with the product of that rape.  And, the woman who you raped has to suck it up and have continued contact with you.  Yay for you!

Bill Cosby, who drugged and raped plenty of women, has avoided jail time due to a mistrial, and is now going around the country with the express purpose of teaching other men how to avoid going to jail after they’ve raped women.  I guess you should teach what you know, right?

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Betsy DeVos has rescinded Title IX campus sexual assault guidance, of the legal requirement to report a sexual assault, because maybe, maybe there might be a (one) case of a female student lying about rape, and what would that do to the male student?   Of course, 19% of female college students report being raped, but hey, who cares about that?

And, just to end on a “happy” note, the White House website page entitled “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” has been taken down.  Don’t be too alarmed though, the pages regarding Climate Change and Animal Welfare have also been taken down.  So, victims of sexual assault are in good company.  Fake News, nothing to see here!

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Aging

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Today is my birthday.  I’m not going to come right out and tell you my age, since I feel that mystery is a good thing.  However, I will tell you that even though I’m in my 50’s you wouldn’t be able to guess, since I’ve been blessed with both a baby-face, and good genes – not great, but good.  Until very recently I haven’t been taking care of my skin, instead choosing simply to put coconut oil on my face and neck every night for a number of years.  Although coconut oil is wonderful, I’ve decided that I’d probably benefit from some age-appropriate eye and face/neck night creams.  I’ve found some that I like, so that’s what I’ve been doing.  Next up on my list is to start using masks.  This is something that even though I am aware of them, I haven’t bothered to use them.

For a long time, I didn’t wear any make-up, I also didn’t bother to cut my hair for years and years at a time, choosing to wear it in a bun every single day.  I do cut my bangs with a variety of very crooked results, many of which have been amusing to the world at large.  However, as part of my effort to improve my life, I’ve started both wearing some make-up and I recently had my hair cut at a salon.  How transformative is that?

As I age, I can’t help but notice that people seem to feel that we need to fight against any obvious signs of aging, cover our gray/white hair, and pretend that we’re not getting any older.  And, for celebrities who have rocked the aging coin, Helen Mirren, we say they are “sexy for their age”.  No, Helen Mirren is sexy, period!   But exactly what is sexy, anyway.  True sexiness comes from within.  It’s confidence in yourself, and some people, like Helen, have that in spades!

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Since I read some fashion magazines (yes, it’s a little secret of mine), I find it upsetting that most models/celebrities who are featured are young or at the most, in their 40’s.  So, is it that as women we drop off the face of the earth as we become older?  I know that men get to age like “fine wine”, but what do we say about older women?  Usually, the nicest thing we say is that she “looks good for her age”, as though age is a thing we can fight and overcome.  Well, I’m here to let you in on a little secret, no matter how many facelifts and/or nip and tucks you get, you do indeed age.  It happens to ALL OF US!

So, what is my plan for aging?  Well, I’ve got those magic creams and masks.  I’m keeping my haircut up, and I’m thinking of using something to actually brighten my gray/white hair.  But most Importantly, I’m exercising, eating right and keeping myself moving.  Yes, I did just do a little dance to Saturday Night Fever in BJ’s this morning.  You know what, so did another woman who happened down my aisle.  We had fun!  So, yes, I will rage against the dying light.  Life is a gift, and I want to keep unwrapping it.

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Do You Worry About What Other People Think?

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I hope that you don’t spend your life worrying about what “other” people think of you.  A friend of mine refuses to leave the house without her make-up on.  She thinks that “other” people will think less of her if they see her without her make-up on.  This extends to all people who might see her, not just people she knows, but anyone and everyone who might see her.  As a person who routinely leaves the house without make-up on, I find this to be a complete waste of time.

However, there have been times when after having a lengthy conversation with myself in a store, I will look around and be relieved that no one else was in the aisle with me.  I’ve been known to be overheard, and when I am, I simply smile at the other person and continue on my way.  The truth is that I probably will never see that person again, and who cares anyway.

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There is one place that people seem to feel immune to others looking at them, and that is while in the car.  When I worked in the city, sitting in traffic on the way home was the most interesting time ever (especially if you’re a people-watcher, like me).  I’ve seen people singing and “dancing” along to the music, (which is one of my favorite things to do in the car), talking to themselves, putting on makeup, and my favorite (and I’m sure yours, too), is the men (it’s usually men) who feel that picking their noses while in public is fine, since a car with many windows, apparently is not public.  So, when I occasionally get “caught” doing a few dance steps to really good music at Walmart or Stop and Shop, I truly don’t get upset.  After all, I haven’t been caught with my finger up my nose!

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So, don’t spend your time worrying about what others think of you.  Whatever it is that you’re doing, you can be sure someone, somewhere is doing something much more interesting!  Enjoy yourself, be yourself and don’t worry.  In the large scheme of things, it doesn’t matter!

 

 

I Just Don’t Get It

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It seems like this country is simply going crazy.  There is more hatred being verbalized (and people being brutalized) all over.  I’m sure we’ve all seen the rants posted on social media of people verbally abusing others.  Where in the world is this hate coming from?  I simply cannot imagine anyone having the time in their lives to worry about the following:  where another person is from; what religion they choose to follow; what color someone else is; what gender they are; or what sexuality they practice.

Really, I’d like to know what is going on (or not going on) in the lives of these haters.  Seriously, how can they find the time to get involved in other people’s lives like this?  Don’t they have their own lives to worry about?  Don’t they also have to go to work, raise their children, worry about their loved ones?  How in the world do they have the time to worry about what other people are doing in their own private lives?

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And, the most important question of all – what the he** business is it of theirs anyway?  Really, is a medical doctor from India taking their job away?  Is a migrant worker who earns a living picking produce taking their job away?  Is the very fact that someone worships another “god” making their “god” smaller?  Does a different skin tone change their skin tone?  Does the love that someone has for another person change the love they have for their loved ones?  What difference does it make?  I just don’t get it.

I’ve heard all the “arguments” that people try to use to defend their hatred, and seriously they are simply and completely flawed.  Not to mention illogical.  I simply cannot imagine ever having the time or the inclination to stick my nose into something that is just not my business.  If you understand this, please explain it to me.

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What is Wage Theft, and Are You a Victim?

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Wage theft commonly refers to workers illegally not being paid their full wages.  Usually this refers to low-wage workers who are denied full pay for a variety of reasons.  Some of these include:  refusing to pay the legal minimum per hour wage, not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying over-time pay.  This is a wide-spread problem, and costs the workers in the U.S. approximately $8 billion per year.  Obviously, this is another social issue that effects the poor more than others, since earning a minimum wage is not really a sustainable wage.  To steal from people like this is particularly nasty.

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However, there is another kind of wage theft that also happens.  Frequently people are told that their health insurance costs a certain amount and that amount is withheld from their paychecks by their employer to pay their portion of the health insurance costs, only to find out later that what was being withdrawn was a higher amount than the insurance actually cost.  This is particularly hard to prove, since (at least in my state) the insurance company will decline to tell you how much your employer-offered health insurance actually costs.

Another type of wage theft is when a “salaried” employee routinely works many hours of overtime, but is not paid because they are considered “salaried”.  The usual answer for not paying salaried workers is that they will be “given” the same number of hours as extra time off.  However, trying to receive any of that promised time off is difficult, to say the least.

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This whole concept is particularly evil, since you have a right to be paid for the work that you do, and you should have the right to find out exactly how much your own health insurance costs.  Has any of this happened to you or to anyone you know?  If so, let me know in the comments below.  I’ve included some links below that give you more information regarding this issue.

http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year-survey-data-show-millions-of-workers-are-paid-less-than-the-minimum-wage-at-significant-cost-to-taxpayers-and-state-economies/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=f46b5aacc2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-f46b5aacc2-58297025&mc_cid=f46b5aacc2&mc_eid=d8e2a8427b

http://www.nclnet.org/wage_theft_six_common_methods