Skimming websites last night, just before bed, I came across an article which talked about how we as women conform to society pressure to 'not rock the boat' when it comes to disagreement, discussion or debate with a man.

the article says:
Then the other day I was in a conversation with a man who challenged something I said and I responded with a news piece to prove my position. The man dogmatically stood his ground and I decided it was not worth the fight – over dinner no less.

I have encountered this sort of situation many times in family, in social, and in professional settings; at the dinner table, over a drink during a party, or in a conference room. I consider myself confident and able to carry on a reasonable and rational discussion or disagreement with anyone male or female. I will state facts I know and I will "I need to look further into this aspect of..." when I do not.

From the time I was a small girl, I've been admonished for this ability of mine. My retort was always "I didn't start it!" My mother would often reach out with a sharp smack of the hand to say "I don't care, you continued it." This taught me a valuable lesson. It's okay for a man to start a confrontation in even the most delicate situations where social etiquette should prevail. It is NOT okay for me to engage or continue the confrontation even if I feel demeaned, degraded or provoked in any way.

Our author continues on to say:
In my case, I merely allowed a man to feel he had bested me. I rationalized that it was dinner and why would I cause a stir at such a peaceable time? Of course, he obviously had no problem with a stir, but the others at the table might have not enjoyed it as much. I also reasoned to myself that the point at odds was nothing more than a piece of information, which was not as important as a relationship.

It is amazing the hoops an intelligent woman will jump through to justify a willful act to submit to the stereotypical female role. I was simply acting according to societal expectations. What could possibly be wrong with that?

I can't tell you closely this reflects so many years of my experience in communication at work, at home, in public or private.

It begins with the "do not speak unless spoken to," an incomplete adage since I'm not supposed to speak my mind, even when asked a question. It continues with the 2nd grade teacher who berated me for squirming in relief and joy in my seat because I'd made a good grade on a test in a subject that was difficult for me (math), because my obvious relief made others in the class feel bad and it was selfish and rude of me to act so. It continues with the high school journalism teacher who told me she didn't allow girls on her news paper staff because her male reporter and photographer were to valuable to upset or worry or (heaven forbid) cause 'issues' with a boy and a girl in the dark room. In both cases these teachers were female.

Or the senior vp of sales at a printing company, who sat on my interview panel for a sales position and then six months after my 'inside training' was still dragging out, told me that I would never be put on pure outside sales because I had tits and because I wouldn't shut up when men were speaking to me.

My first husband, who spent five years trying convince me that because he was male, he was twice as smart as I was and that meant I had to do what he said, work jobs he said to work, talk to and friend people only he said to talk to or friend. This man was so smart I had to write his master's thesis for him or he would have never graduated with his Masters in Music Education.

To the director of new media of a Silicon Valley press company who was paying me an outrageous fee as a consultant to present him with a report on web 2.0 readiness who then tells me with a completely straight face "I don't pay you to think."

yes. you do.

I don't seek out confrontation for the sake of confrontation but I also don't feel I should be the one always required to 'put a nice face on things'. I shouldn't be the one punished for standing my ground, having the balls to speak with authority on a subject in response to anyone male or female, who begins to engage me in discussion in an appropriate or an inappropriate setting.

And I think of how I try to help MGC navigate confidence, intellect, and social tact and I wonder and worry that I send her conflicting messages in regards to this issue.
aamusedinatx: (dorothy)
You may not have noticed, but America is not the only country in which the right of a woman to make her own choices when it comes to pregnancy termination is at issue. Even I forget this sometimes. I get so hyper focused on issues of rights within our own borders I forget that other countries, especially countries where the Catholic church has a great deal of social and political influence also have these issues.

As the proud owner of a uterus, and as woman who has given birth to a son and who has also made the choice to have an abortion, I feel qualified to have an opinion on this topic. I have also acted as the 18 years or older 'relative' or guardian of under 18 friends at Planned parenthood signing the consent forms so they could terminate an ill timed pregnancy--one of them was because of rape.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I weigh in on the side of PRO-CHOICE. However, being pro-choice is not without its dilemmas. Being pro-choice and being faced with the choice and decision are two very different things. And as my history shows, I have weighed that decision and made varying choices depending upon my current circumstance. I will say this. As difficult as the choices were, I am positive that my choice in the circumstances were the correct ones. As a woman and as a thinking, feeling, rational human being, I believe that with every fiber of my being.

I'm sure the same is true for women who are on the PRO-LIFE side of the fence. Their moral and religious convictions will comfort them only so far when it comes time for them to face the choice and the decision to continue an unplanned pregnancy or to terminate it. As human beings who are capable of feeling, of thinking and of rational, the soul searching, the uncertainties, the feelings and fears, they must be the same.

We're really not all that different on the inside.

Sunday's article in the Daily Kos shows us just HOW similar and how very different women are when confronted with exercising a choice and an option that they oppose in general. I found the stories difficult to read--not because of the (to me) OBVIOUS contradictions between public demonstration and private choice, but because as I woman I recognize and remember all too well the emotional time and place where a woman makes this decision.

Here is one which spoke to me a great deal.

"I had a 37 year old woman just yesterday who was 13 weeks. She said she and her husband had been discussing this pregnancy for 2-3 months. She was strongly opposed to abortion, 'but my husband is forcing me to do it.' Naturally, I told her that no one could force her into an abortion, and that she had to choose whether the pregnancy or her husband were more important. I told her I only wanted what was best for her, and I would not do the abortion unless she agreed that it was in her best interest. Once she was faced with actually having to voice her own choice, she said 'Well, I made the appointment and I came here, so go ahead and do it. It's what's best.' At last I think she came to grips with the fact that it really was her decision after all." (Physician, Nevada)

I will leave the others in the link for you to read as you wish because I know this is a topic which is fraught with emotional difficulty for many people women and men.

I, personally, don't understand the political/moral resolve of these people after this life-changing emotional event. I do understand firm convictions, I have my own. I know personal convictions can be contradictory. Do they return to their very vocal and very public protests against abortion because it is expected of them? Because the inclusion in a group of strong believers requires it of them, because in the silence of their hearts they believe if they had Not had the option they would not have made the choice they did and so want that temptation removed for all? I don't know. I may never know. The answer will be as individual as the person that makes it and those whom I have asked, personally, refuse to answer that question--for whatever reason. I'm not one to invite attack and argument so I do not press.

But I do wonder, how their personal end so justifies a means they hold to be abominable.

I wonder.
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 27, 2007; Page A13

When is $4 million really $2.8 million?

One answer is "When you're a woman," as the Labor Department has repeatedly found that women earn about 75 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same work.

But this week's answer is "When you are the Office of Women's Health" within the Food and Drug Administration. That office, which was at the center of a politically damaging storm over the emergency contraceptive "Plan B," just had more than one-quarter of this year's $4 million operating budget quietly removed, insiders say.</blockquote.
An interesting editorial in "In These Times" has this to say about the recent passings of Betty Friedan and Coretta Scott King:

So let’s remember what economic, political and social life was like for women in 1964. Want ads in the newspapers were segregated by gender, meaning that women simply could not apply for some jobs. Discrimination and admissions quotas to graduate and professional schools meant that women could be nurses but not doctors, teachers but not professors, secretaries but not managers or executives, paralegals but not lawyers. It was worse for African American and Latina women, who were consigned primarily to domestic and agricultural work. High school and college sports were for boys, not girls. Women could not get credit cards or mortgages in their own names, and when a couple applied for a mortgage the wife’s salary was not counted because it was “pin money.” Abortion was illegal, there were no sexual harassment laws, no battered women’s shelters and a woman had to have two eyewitnesses to get a rape conviction. There was no pregnancy leave, and once a married working woman got pregnant, she also got fired.

Full article found here.
As a woman who survived a five year marriage to a sadist, constant mental and physical abuse including 3 direct attempts on my life, I consider this a victory for all women:

A look at what's in the final bill.

Ann Friedman
December 19 , 2005

The Violence Against Women Act gained final approval from Congress on Saturday, just before the holiday recess. Final negotiations between the House and Senate versions of the bill centered on language and funding for crucial programs such as rape prevention and education, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and training for health care providers.

Women's rights advocates, who had worried that important provisions would be lost at the last minute, are celebrating the bill's passage as a major success.

"There was a sustained level of drama, trying to figure out if those desperately-needed programs were going to make it in," says Lisalyn R. Jacobs of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women. "I guess Santa decided he was going to be beneficent."

Highlights of the reauthorization include:



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