A Reminder to New Moms

Hey Gorgeous,

Yeah you, with greasy hair, hairy armpits, black circles, and a baby crying on your hip.  I know you smell like a milk factory and while you give up your body to feed your baby, you haven’t had a decent meal in a few days.  The healthy new recipes you once pinned, are replaced by takeout menus and you hate yourself for not caring more about yourself.

Yeah, you.  You’re beautiful and amazing.  You are sustaining human life, think about that, creating, molding, nourishing life.  Amazing. While at times you may feel as though you’ve lost yourself in this process, I hope you realize you’re only sharing your gifts with your child for a little while.  One day, when you have your body back (your waistline and your sanity), you will watch them use your gifts to take on the world.

YOU look at your baby as a miracle of life, but she’s looking at you as her miracle.  Your bond with her is forever and it started the day of her birth.  Nobody can replace you.  You are her entire world but don’t let that responsibility crush you, let it carry you. Through the endless, sleepless nights.  Through the feelings of guilt.  When you feel like you’re not doing enough and when you feel you can’t give anything more. 

Hey you, please remember that even when you feel weak, when you’re crying about everything and on the brink of insanity due to lack of sleep, know that you are strong.  Mothers are the closest form of super heroes we will ever know on Earth.  Your super power is not only in nourishing and sustaining her life, but in nourishing yourself.

One day, you will get a full nights sleep again.  One day, your body will not be constantly on loan to a hungry baby.  One day you will look in the mirror and see a clean, well groomed woman. 

… but today, look at that messy mom in the mirror and appreciate the power, beauty and strength in your reflection. Tell that mama she’s amazing, a miracle, a freakin’ super hero.

Because she is.

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How The Me, Too Movement Can Lead To Equality

Me, too

The Me, Too Movement is sweeping Facebook, bringing the realization of sexual harassment to the surface. 

  • According to a survey done by Cosmopolitan, 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed at work while 1 in 6 have been victims of sexual assault.  These numbers are terrifying for a mom of 3 girls, and should move everyone in this country to make changes that protect our daughters.  

Women do not have the same freedoms as men (PERIOD)

  • Men, do you fear being sexually assaulted when you walk through a parking lot alone?
  • Do you rethink the message an outfit sends a dozen times before leaving the house?
  • Has anyone made you feel like your abilities are solely based on your sex appeal?
  • Has a fun night out turned into terror because you didn’t watch your drink carefully?
  • Have you ever been verbally threatened on the street and then feared for your safety?
  • Have you repeatedly been treated like a sexual object, rather than a human being?

As a girl, my parents taught me:

  • How to dress so I didn’t invite “the wrong kind of attention”
  • Not to drink too much because, “date rape is a thing”
  • Never to walk alone, or leave a friend behind
  • How to “brush off” unwanted attention from boys

These lessons send the wrong messages because when something does happen, (and they have happened to me, as they have to the majority of women) we blame ourselves for not protecting ourselves enough.  We shouldn’t have worn that. We shouldn’t go out for drinks.  We shouldn’t have been walking by ourselves.  We should have said something.  Because of these lessons, we bare the brunt of HIS actions, out of fear we are at fault, fear nobody will believe us and somewhere along the way, we accept that it doesn’t matter.

So, how do we stop sexual harassment?

We have to change the way we teach our sons and our daughters about the opposite sex.  

We have to stop replaying the sexist phrases, shut off the music that promotes violence toward women, and silence the voices that promote discrimination.

It’s no secret men and women are biologically different, but that doesn’t mean we both shouldn’t be granted equal freedoms and mutual respect.  

Daughters

We all need to show our girls that they are not responsible for the actions of her assailant. If a man rapes her, assaults her, or harasses her, it has nothing to do with the fact that she was walking by herself, or that she got dressed up to go out with her friends. It is HIS fault, and she can do something about it by speaking up.  Never make excuses for a boy or man, who makes your daughter feel unsafe.  She deserves to have control over her body at all times.  Foster a relationship of trust so that she can come to you if something happens.  Then, don’t make excuses, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Sons

We need to show our sons that respecting a woman makes him stronger, not weaker.  Moms and dads have the responsibility to show their boys that women are just as STONG as they are beautiful and just as SMART as they are sexy.  When women are appreciated for the qualities that make them HUMAN; their MIND, their ABILITIES, and their IMPORTANCE in this world, the relationship between men and women will be stronger, and most importantly, more equal.

It’s a long process and unfortunately to some, sexual discrimination is so embedded in their psyche that they may never look at it as a problem.  This is not “just the way it is,”  it can change if we take action.  When our daughters can walk down the street, alone, at dusk without fear of being raped, we can stop talking about this.  Until then, get used to the conversation.

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A Letter to #notmymarch Women

I was just putting together a video from the Women’s March and since some time has passed, I decided to go back and look at some older posts for inspiration.  What I found was more negativity than I remembered.  

When I look back at the pictures and videos I took from the Women’s March in my home town, St Petersburg, I remember a day of love and solidarity.  A day when women of all backgrounds, ages, and status came together with a single goal, to reject the president’s attacks on women and stand together in peace and love.  Below I am going to address some comments from social media, most notably from the #notmymarch hashtag.  Fellow bloggers and Youtubers voiced their confusion and even their disgust with the women’s movement.  

  1. #notmymarch aren’t sure what the women are protesting, and have accused them of not knowing what they even stand for.  First of all, let me clarify, this was not a protest against policies, the man had just been in office for a day, this was a march of solidarity, to stand together and reject the misogynistic views of a man who had just been inaugurated as our president.  If you really need to be reminded of comments made by our 45th President, stick around, this post has a few       

 

2.  #notmymarch women say that it really bothers them when other people speak on their behalf and we should have referred to it as, the anti trump march.  Seriously?  You didn’t represent my belief when you voted for a man who thinks women shouldn’t poop (or at least shouldn’t let men know they poop).  

You certainly didn’t represent my belief when you voted for a man who said cohabitation is an excuse for rape or who justified sexual harassment because “he helped a few of them.”  You voted based on your beliefs, and now I’m standing up for mine.

3.  #notmymarch women are ashamed of women wearing giant vaginas or holding pussy signs.  They criticize the celebrity speeches for, “nonsensical remarks about periods”  The vulgarity did not come from these women taking back ownership of their genitals, but from “remarks” made by the man who now holds the most powerful position in the United States.  A man who has made various statements about women’s pussy and his right to it.  A man who believes it is okay to ogle a 12 year old girl or sexualize his own daughter.  A man who has insulted a woman’s intelligence due to the fact that she bleeds.  A man who has called breast feeding disgusting.  The fact that a woman’s amazing body can create and sustain life is nothing to be ashamed of however, the misdirected vulgarity claims from #notmymarch women are truly shameful.

 

4.  #notmymarch women say they already have equal rights and insult women marchers for whining about their privileged life.  Well, here are some reasons I marched that Donald Trump did not campaign about.  According to nsopw.gov, Approximately 20 million women have been raped in their lifetime.  Only 16% have been reported.  1 in 5 girls will be a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18.  Only 30% of those cases are reported to authorities.  1 in 6 adolescent runaways fall victim to sex trafficking. In spite of these alarming facts and statistics, Trump has elected people into his cabinet that have said that they will not uphold the laws and programs that protect these victims. For example: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/17/betsy-devos-hearing-prompts-fears-for-campus-sexual-assault-protections

White women continue to make $0.70 for every dollar a man makes and minority women make far less. Women marches stood up to say that we will not move backward in regard to wages and their remarks came in response to Trump’s brutal attacks on his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton.  He has called women “gold diggers” and only seems to support their “job” as beauty queens. He attacks women for not having the right “look” – too fat, too ugly, too non presidential.  

 

5. #notmymarch women said they already feel valued because they earned respect.  I’m not sure if they are insinuating that the millions of women who marched aren’t respected, but I’m going to assume it wasn’t an attack.  Instead, I’m going to talk about how Donald Trump values women.  To Trump, women have value when they strut across the stage wearing nothing but a tiny bathing suit and 6” heels.  They have value when they offer up sexual favors or don’t decline a sexual advance.  Donald Trump’s value of women is numerical and often written on a cue card.  It’s often compared to other women in an outwardly sense.  Her inner intelligence is criticized while her outer appearance is judged.  I will NEVER accept, or allow my daughters to be valued under Trump’s model for women.  I will teach them to reject his comments as normal and stand up for themselves when they are not being respected.  If our president’s comments make you feel proud to be a woman, continue your living room rants.

(1)(2)When Trump purchased Miss USA in 1997, he said he was going to, “get the bathing suits smaller and the heels higher.”  He added of the women, “if you’re looking for a rocket scientist don’t tune in, but if you’re looking for a really beautiful woman, you should watch.  In 2009, beauty queen Carrie Prejean revealed “The Trump Rule” referring to his requirement that the women parade in front of him so he could separate the attractive and non attractive ones.   (3) In 2015 Trump said supermodel Heidi Klum was “sadly, no longer a 10.”  In response, Klum said, “every woman is a 10.”(4) . On Howard Stern, Trump assigned actresses numerical ratings based on their “f***ability.”

Now, if you, as a “strong, independent woman” support this man to properly represent the value of women in our society, you should feel no need to defend your beliefs, you’ve already given him the power to do so.  

Let me end by saying, men are not the only misogynists.  Women, such as #notmymarch are just as guilty, if not more guilty, of perpetuating the lack of respect for women in our society. Calling each other names, insulting one another’s intelligence, attacking women for their beliefs will hurt all of us.  Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced his view of women during his campaign, and in response, we marched. If you didn’t, I have faith that your one-woman march continues privately.  Progress lies in our ability to come together.  We are all one powerful female body that must protect our worth and keep moving forward in whatever way is necessary.

Now, I’m going to get back to my video, a video that shows the love and togetherness of a march that restored pride in American woman.

 

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How to Raise Strong Girls Who Stand Up For Themselves

Houston we have a problem, my own daughter doesn’t understand why I marched for women’s rights.  I called her from the protest boasting with pride after marching beside my sisters and fellow human beings fighting to keep moving forward in regard to human equality.  Very unenthused, she replied, “what’s not equal?”  

For a moment I felt like the wind had been taken from my sails.  How could I have failed so terribly as a mother that she didn’t see the beauty of democracy in action.  Is she not proud that her mom is taking a stand for women’s rights?  For her rights?  And then I realized that I’ve done such a good job keeping her safe and empowering her that she’s never felt unequal.  Now, I’ve put myself in a position to explain to her, and her 2 sisters, how they will one day experience inequality in its cruelest most devastating form, unless we fight to keep moving forward.

 

I’ve raised strong girls who feel like their voices can change the world.  But, I haven’t told them that if things stay the same, there will come a point in their lives where they will be told their opinion doesn’t matter.  They’ll be shamed for being too emotional or told they’re less intelligent, even though they may be more educated. They will most likely take the insults without speaking up in order to fit in, but the worst part is that they will start to believe it.  I haven’t told them that their voice will matter less, IF WE DON’T MARCH.

My 12 year old and has not yet been deprived of a better job or told that no matter how hard she’ll try, the boys in her class will most likely make more than her.  In my daughter’s classroom, everyone is equal. I haven’t told her that she won’t have equal opportunities, IF WE DON’T MARCH.

My innocent daughter has managed to escape sexual harassment up to her 7th grade year, but we all know her first bra snap or ass grab is right around the corner.  I haven’t talked to her about how she’ll feel when a boy touches her or humiliates her in public, how she’ll want to rip his hand off but will instead smile and brush it off as a joke.  I haven’t told her this harassment will continue for the rest of her life… IF WE DON’T MARCH.

My daughters have grown up in an environment of safety and protection.  They have never experienced stories of rape or molestation.  I have been so busy teaching them that sex should only happen with a partner you love, that I didn’t tell them how likely it is that they may one day find themselves in a situation where they didn’t consent.  Like many other women, they will question whether they deserved it or if others would believe them if they came forward.  They will suffer in silence, IF WE DON’T MARCH.

It is my responsibility as their mother to teach my daughters about inequality so that they do not accept it when it happens to them.  I have to teach them to march through life with signs everyday that say:

  • My Voice Matters
  • Shatter the Glass
  • No Means No

I have to teach them that if anyone violates their body, their voice, or their rights, they need to speak louder, take action, and keep moving forward.

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