Blog: Huffington Post

Aging While Female Is Not Your Worst Nightmare

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I’m going to tell you a story that is so common and so troubling it is effectively split off from the emotional lives of young women, tucked away into whatever neural recesses exist for the purpose of shelving information that feels irrelevant yet distantly threatening. I wonder if young women will read this? The irony is that they probably won’t, and the silently nodding heads will be ones that are graying, like mine. Read more…

If Our Sons Were Treated Like Our Daughters

HuffPo

Come with me. Let’s open the door to a parallel universe. You unlock this door with a key of imagination, just like on The Twilight Zone. Here in this parallel world, the rules are different because gender roles are flipped. Loving parents and teachers accept this strange culture as if it’s not so bad, or perhaps even good. As if the reverse of this culture could exist only in the minds of fiction writers or lunatics.

As we travel together, let’s observe the childhood of one baby boy, born into this alternate reality, as seen through the eyes of his mother: Read more…

Let’s Skip the Post-Holiday Fat Talk

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‘Tis the season to bash our bodies in front of our daughters, talking obsessively about how many pounds we’ve gained over the holidays and the urgent need to shed them.

Weight loss is a common New Year’s resolution, and one that receives much public discussion. Here’s an idea: Let’s not do that. If we decide to diet and ramp up our exercise regime, we can just do it, but not talk about it around the house. Read more…

Why I Am Boycotting Movies About Men

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I’ve obviously gotten radical, stubborn, inflexible and up-to-my-eyeballs-fed-up with this obscene stage hogging, and am in desperate need of a shepherd’s crook to remove superfluous male bodies from the world’s movie sets. I’ve spent half a century watching films that are by, for, and about men. I’ve paid too much of my hard-earned money supporting a fantasy world where half the human population has gone missing. Read more…

Old Men and Plus-Sized Men Can Be Sexy Too. Said No One Ever.

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Women of all ages, races, body types, and occupations can now show society that they are equally deserving of being objectified — not just the young, thin, white hotties who typically get that special honor. Today, if you’re female, you’re never too old, too large, or too anything to be photographed or painted while naked or scantily clad, and duly lauded for your physical attributes. Hooray! Read more…

Please Do Not Comment On My Bitchy Resting Face

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When I turned 50, one of the thoughts I had was like hell will I ever write anything for Huff/Post50. And that right there is the problem. I’m finally over it.

I’m over it because it’s time to walk the walk. I write a lot about the intersection of misogyny and ageism — that special bias that starts affecting women in the prime of their lives. I like to imagine I am immune to any assault on my own self-esteem, even though I know the Third-Person Effect is very real and I have no unique super powers that allow me to remain psychologically untouched by media. Right now I am struggling with how my face looks at rest. You may know it as Bitchy Resting Face, and I’ve come to call it BRFS, like it’s a syndrome. Read more…

Lobster Boat Blockade of Coal Plant Leads District Attorney to Climate Leadership

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When I met my husband Geof Day, his work as a climate activist introduced me to some interesting people involved with 350.org. Recently, I heard the inspiring story of Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, two climate activists who, up until September 8th, thought they would be doing prison time for their bold action of blockading the largest coal-fired power plant on the East Coast with an old lobster boat. Last week, Sam Sutter, a local District Attorney, agreed that because the actions of Ward and O’Hara at Brayton Point were reasonably reflective of a broader danger (that of climate change), all charges, beyond paying some minor damages, should be dropped. Later, in a stunning move, that same DA–while waving a copy of Rolling Stone featuring an article by 350.org founder Bill McKibben–stated that climate change is “one of the greatest crises our planet has ever faced,” that political leadership on this matter has been “sorely lacking,” and that he would be joining them at the upcoming People’s Climate March.

This is an interesting and important story, especially on the eve of world leaders’ convergence at what is being billed as “the largest climate march in history” – the People’s Climate March – in New York City on Sept 21, 2014.

Here’s an interview with Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, with thanks to Geof for connecting me to them so that they could tell their own story. Read more…

Who Aches With Me?

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I look at faraway bands of marauding soldiers wielding machine guns, their faces twisted with hatred, their mouths open in primal screams. I see these images from the Middle East and I think, they are animals. It’s the word we all go to in describing behavior that is not fit to be considered human. I wonder about these men, their childhoods, what happened to them to turn them into such beasts. Were they abused? Were they trained by elders to be violent? Were they brainwashed? Were they proselytized by militant religion? Were they simply told, “Be a man,” and given the duty of slaughtering other humans for this cause or that one? Are they the people who would, in other circumstances, still have become murderers or rapists or animal abusers…their innate violence loosed upon their enemies by the green light of war? If any of them had been adopted as babies and raised by loving parents in peaceful societies, would they have grown up gentle, or would they have become those children who stomp on turtles and put out cigarettes on dogs? Read more…

When Facebook friends Become Real Life Friends

Facebook friends

I am happily married today because of my computer. Well, partly! The cyberworld brought me the husband that I could never have found in any other way. I should write Match.com into my will.

When I think about why online dating succeeded while being set up by my friends failed, it’s because I knew myself and what I wanted in a man the second time around better than my friends did, and I’m not sure I could have articulated my wishes even if I’d wanted to, which I didn’t. What was important to me at that time in my life was so different than what was important to those friends or what they assumed would naturally still be important to me. Read more…

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The Story of Ferdinand: Talking With Kids About the First Children’s Book on Gender Nonconformity

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf was published in 1936, just before the Spanish Civil War. Because it was widely viewed as pacifist propaganda, it was banned in many countries. Despite its rough start, it became popular around the world, has been translated into over sixty languages, and won several awards. This book has been beloved by three generations in my family — my father, myself and my brothers, and my daughter. I related strongly to Ferdinand as a child and still do. He is more than just a symbol of peace to me; he is also an outsider, bullied for his gentle ways. Read more…

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The Disintermediation of Expertise: Why We All Think We Know It All

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I’m an enthusiastic believer in the value of expertise. If I don’t have it, I go about finding it and, when necessary and possible, paying for it. It’s how I learn new things, and how I go through life with the fewest possible blunders. It’s efficient, too. I can’t be an expert at everything! There are people who know more about children’s vaccinations than me and people who know more about climate change than me, and they aren’t Hollywood celebrities or politicians. Read more…

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Eight Favorite Books Starring Interesting, Exciting, Daring, Adventurous Girls!

Google is full of girl-empowering book lists. Favorite female protagonists from the classics, like Pippi Longstocking, to more recent heroines, like Katniss Everdeen, abound on these lists, but I wanted to make my own after reading so many children and YA books to curate for recommendations to mother-daughter book clubs. Here are eight of my favorites, and there’s no better way to raise interesting, exciting, daring and adventurous daughters! Read more…

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Why Photoshopping Is a Matter of Life and Death for Many Girls

1995 was a fateful year on the island of Fiji. For the first time, satellites began beaming western television shows to the region, and Fijian girls could watch Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place just like American girls. Suddenly, in a culture where having a well-nourished and curvy figure was traditionally considered beautiful and healthy, and where being too thin was considered unattractive and worrisome, young girls began to diet excessively and develop eating disorders. No longer did they dream of resembling their mothers and other women in their own communities, but rather they began to take their cues from uber-thin Hollywood starlets for how their bodies should look. Read more…

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