Posts Tagged ‘News’

Betty White Reminds Us to Lighten Up

We live in a world where we tell people not to judge a book by its cover, but we’re actually obsessed with physical appearance because first impressions are lasting ones.

The fact that many women are preoccupied with keeping their youthful appearance is about as new as the Egyptian pyramids.

We strive to discover the Fountain of Youth amidst the drugstore aisles. Some, like Heidi Montag, take it farther and seek refuge in a plastic surgeon’s office as I blogged about here. And many women are even ashamed to admit their age, as if the older they get, the less appealing they feel they’ve become. All that knowledge and all those experiences you’ve gained throughout the years mean didley squat?

Kickin’ It Old School

Old women. Think about them. Chances are that you conjure up images of rocking chairs, knitting needles, evil queens, mean stepmothers, or anti-aging beauty products. And they’re often the butt of chauvinist jokes.

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-a-Lam)!

Then a person like The Golden Girls sensation, Betty White, saunters in, and talk of her awesome monologue when she hosted SNL on May 8 goes viral. What is it about her that got people talking? How did she break the mould of society’s idea of old women sipping tea while watching reruns of Matlock?

I’ll tell you why she blew your mind.

Betty White wasn’t playing it safe. The Proposal star was candid, and she was proud of being 88 years old. (Seems like she mentions her age pretty often.) Betty White also had guts. She made fun of the youth culture (Facebook, anyone?), and for once the world learned to respect an old lady. Being fun-loving and funny, Betty White stole our hearts.

Betty White in Action

Betty White Says Glock You to Ageism

I’ve looked high, low, and upside down to find a video online that I could link to so you could hear her deliver the now-famous monologue. But no dice.

Instead, we can chew the fat on Betty White’s SNL monologue in black and white. Don’t worry – it’s lean cuisine.

Betty White:

“I really have to thank Facebook. I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say the people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite.

People say, ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well at my age, if I wanna connect with old friends, I need a Ouija Board.

Needless to say, we didn’t have Facebook when I was growing up. We had phone book, but you wouldn’t waste an afternoon with it.”

Check out the below clip that shows Betty White in her hay days.

Betty White is a living example that you can be old and happy. You can laugh at yourself and laugh at others. You can be comfortable in your own skin. And you can find humour in anything. Her playful attitude teaches us that what makes us forever young is our ability to be young at heart. In the end, that’s what really matters.

The fact that many women are obsessed with keeping their youthful appearance is as new as the Egyptian pyramids.

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Featured Feminist: Lindsey Van (Ski-Jump Champion & Winter-Olympics Challenger)

Are you getting into the Winter Olympics? I haven’t been following every event (who has?), but I did manage to see quite a bit of speed skating and mogul skiing. (So far, Canada has 5 medals in total – 2 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze. Woo – go Canada!)

Now let’s get on with the latest Featured Feminist profile.

Lindsey Van

Birthday: November 27, 1984

Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan (USA)

Claim to Fame: At the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2009, she captured gold for her performance in Liberec. She also secured 8 Continental Cup victories.

Why You Should Care: She’s one of the female skiers who’s actively fighting for gender equality within the sport.

Now, I don’t follow many professional skiers, but Lindsey Van is one I recently started paying special attention to. Why? According to Time:

“Lindsey Van holds the record — among both men and women — for the longest jump off of Whistler, B.C.’s normal ski jump, built for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.”

It’s impressive alone to hold a record, but to compete with both genders and still come out on top? Now that’s something to brag about. You’re the cream of the crop. And clearly she’s ambitious – at just 25 years old, she’s been ski jumping for 19 years! Crazy!

If you’ve been keeping up to date with the news, you’ve probably heard that although Lindsey Van is certainly a qualified skier, she wasn’t a ski-jump competitor in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. And neither was any other woman.

Start the feminist fire – things are gonna get hot!

The International Olympic Committee has kept ski jumping the sole Olympic sport that remains men-only despite numerous women ski jumpers petitioning since 1998.

I’m sure that you’re as curious as I was to learn exactly why women aren’t allowed to compete in ski jumping. There must be a logical reason, right? Wrong! There were lots of excuses, but the ‘funniest’ one I read was a 2005 statement made by Gian Franco Kasper (the FIS president and International Olympic Committee member) who thought that it “seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view.” Really? Sounds like someone’s been studying medical textbooks from the 1800s. I wonder how he explains how she kicked serious ass and held a record among both women and men.

Watch this MSNBC video to hear from Lindsey herself and other ski jumpers on this issue. You’ll get lots of additional background information on gender discrimination in ski jumping. It’s just 10 minutes and 43 seconds long, but it’s worth watching the whole thing.

Why I Consider Her a Feminist

She’s fighting for what’s right – gender equality. And that’s something to be commended, not condemned. If her skiing achievements don’t floor you, it’s her desire to not only see, but contribute to a change in the world. We can all be armchair feminists and point our fingers at what’s wrong and what needs to be changed, but if we never physically act upon it and voice our opinions, that change may never come about.

Passion is one of the qualities I always look for in my friends and people who I admire. She seems to have it in spades. In sports, there’s a disproportionate number of women compared to men, so it’s especially important to have a frontline woman challenging the status quo. It’s inspiring!

For a dramatic visual that really gets the message across, please check out this 57-second YouTube clip that illustrates how women have to really fight for their right to compete in sports that men already get to compete in:

But for those of you who don’t want to watch it, I’ll summarize its message. Women and men have been allowed to compete in Olympic Winter Games events at different times. Women are only approved to compete at a much-later date:

  • Speed Skating: Men (1924) & Women (1960)
  • Bobsled: Men (1924) & Women (2002)
  • Ski Jumping: Men (1924) & Women (2014?)

The clip ends by saying, “Let’s not just bridge the gap in 2014. Let’s jump over it.” Well said!

But like every strong woman, she has strong opinions. According to Wikipedia, “she alienated many supporters when she characterized the Canadian legal system as ‘weak’ and said the International Olympic Committee was ‘like the Taliban of the Olympics.'”

Whether or not you agree with her on either points shouldn’t make you lose sight of the bigger picture – she’s fighting for gender equality within the sport. That should take precedence. And that’s why I chose her for this Featured Feminist section.

I don’t choose people for this section because they are saints or say politically-correct things to the media. I don’t choose them because they always do the right thing. I choose them because they’re doing some good. Big difference. Everybody can fall, but not everyone can get back up.

Thank you, Lindsey Van, for putting women on the ski-jumping map. And thank you for putting yourself on the line for women’s rights all over the world!

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Becoming Jon Minus Kate Plus 8

GlockomaRocky road bars are delicious and easy to prepare. Rocky road marriages are bitter and hard to survive.

Who would know better than Katie and Jonathan Gosselin? Their relationship was broadcast for all the world’s critical eyes to see on what is now one of TLC’s hottest reality shows – Jon & Kate Plus 8. As if having eight children wasn’t enough stress!

You’d have to be living under a metamorphic rock to have not heard about the couple’s recent turbulent relationship. ET Canada, Access Hollywood, Us Weekly, and other gossip sources all planted the seed of suspicion in the air. Was Kate having an affair with her bodyguard? Who was that female Jon was seen leaving with after partying? The stories were unraveling like some cheap pants from a fly-by-night business.

I admit that prior to the reports of a crumbling marriage, I had never really watched more than a snippet of the show. But then like millions of other viewers, I fell prey to the hype beast and tuned in on May 25 to see the season premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8.

Kate and Jon spoke openly about the rift in their relationship, and when asked what the future held, they both couldn’t say for certain except that they’d be there for their kids no matter what. A family torn apart. Now people were treating it like a Battle of the Sexes, and they began to pick sides.

The feminist in me noticed how quick the public immediately pointed the finger at Kate. They criticized her for being a diva because she was bossy and controlling. And some people said that she was a spotlight hog because it looked like she wanted the attention more than Jon. (If you watch any episode, you’ll notice how much more vocal she is compared to her husband, and therefore the camera is focused on her more often than Jon.)

A lot of people were quick to pounce on Kate with their claws extended. To me, she symbolizes the modern woman who’s able to fulfill the role of nurturing mother yet who still is independent and travels for her job.

Obviously what we see on Jon & Kate Plus 8 only accounts for edited moments when the cameras were rolling, so we can’t assume that we’re getting the total truth. Still, I have to say that from what I have seen, I think it’s refreshing to see a woman who’s undeniably in charge. Instead of the played-out traditional threat “Just wait until your father gets home!”, I imagine that at the Gosselin residence, it’s more like “Just wait until your mother gets home!”. That’s right – it’s the woman who lays down the law.

Sometimes she may come across as a cold and strict disciplinarian, but I believe that sometimes you have to have an iron fist. It’s not always about going to the spa and picking which colour to have your nails done. And hello, having eight kids? You have to exert tough love sometimes because if you’re a softie, they won’t just walk all over you, eight children will feel more like a stampede!

GlockomaKate has also come under another attack, which I’m going to defend. Some have said that she’s just hungry to be a TV star and doesn’t care about exploiting her kids for the sake of fame. Maybe she is the Very Hungry Caterpillar. But…maybe she was just really resourceful. Let me explain.

Imagine that you have eight children…going through hundreds of diapers, feeding those little mouths, and hearing all of them screaming and crying! Not only is it tons of work, but it costs elephant tons of money, too! I think that Kate was really resourceful when she pitched the idea for a TV show following the trials and tribulations of parents with multiples (as they call it).

I’m sure she knew what she was doing. If the crew has to film her at home, most likely they’d give her a “studio home” or spruce up her existing pad. And no doubt when a show’s successful, they’ll pay for a lot of things (e.g. transportation, food, trips, etc.). It was a very creative and clever way for Kate and Jon to be able to afford having so many kids. If not for TLC giving them so much, well, TLC, Kate and Jon’s bills would’ve taken a sledgehammer to more than just the Porcelain Piggy (i.e. the piggy bank).

Another point of interest is that Kate isn’t your typical woman portrayed on the Dick Tube (by the way, that’s what I say instead of Boob Tube). Okay, yes, she’s shown in the traditional role of a mother with a protective wing, but what’s different is that she’s not nearly as emotional as many women on TV who always seem to be crying or who are afraid about something. Kate usually has everything in check and can control her emotions.

And then there’s Jon. I’m intrigued by his quiet demeanor. Most men on TV are depicted as being loud, arrogant, obnoxious, and/or violent. But he doesn’t fall into any of those unfortunate categories. I like how he’s always calm and doesn’t look like the type who would blow up or instigate a yelling match.

Plus, I love the interesting twist of how Jon was the one who quit his day job to stay home with the kids so Kate could travel and still work to promote her book. Usually you hear more about stay-at-home moms than stay-at-home dads. It’s refreshing to see someone bringing attention to an important group that’s usually invisible in popular media (and on a hit TV show no less!).

The next time you watch Jon & Kate Plus 8, look for the things I’ve mentioned regarding their personalities. Even if the show was meant to only be candy floss for your curious mind, it surprisingly is a great longitudinal case study illustrating a strong woman and a softer man.

GlockomaWhat do you think?

It’s Glockoma, Bitch! Is Being Nice Really a Sign of Lacking Personality?

GlockomaI struggled to write and complete this blog entry because I was worried that it lacked focus and cohesion. Also, I couldn’t seem to convey a strong opinion on the chosen topic or even answer many of the questions I posed. But I’ve decided to post it anyway for what it’s worth. My thoughts may appear scattered and my prose may be clumsy, but it’s from the heart…and the middle finger. Sit up when you eat.

GlockomaEx-lovers subjecting each other to verbal lacerations that pack more bite than a provoked Pitt Bull. A gang member’s Stink Eye that tells you to back the fuck off or you’ll be missing some pearly whites and your wallet.

And then there’s the selfish bastard responsible for the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person, along with the bruised prostitute who clings perilously to the thimble of self-esteem she has left.

Sometimes real life is so depressing that you find yourself automatically reaching for the whiskey and not noticing how god-awful it tastes. Then the bottle’s dry, and you thirst for happiness. But you’re left with a hangover.

The news is punctuated with so many stories of hatred and corruption that sometimes I think it really is a mad world. And as people, we are disgusting, taking enjoyment in digging up the dirt on others. Why do we do this? How is this adaptive? Why do we like airing out other people’s dirty laundry when we can’t even clean our own?

Hypocrisy is the new virus, and we are all infected.

Glockoma

Our society is drawn to negative sensation like moths to a flame – it’s like some strange addiction where we know the needle hurts, but we still need our fix.

We feast upon juicy gossip like the ridiculous Christian Bale outburst on set or the shockingly tragic way David Carradine died. Jon & Kate Plus 8 becoming Jon Minus Kate Plus 8. Susan Boyle’s hospitalization for exhaustion. Heidi Montag’s public breakdown on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Honey, I could go on longer than the Energizer Bunny.

Is ‘Nice’ a Dish Best Served Cold?

GlockomaMy grade 7 teacher told the class to never use the word ‘nice’ ever again because it carries scant meaning. And when I think about it now, it’s true. Nice has become synonymous with mediocre. It’s not enough to be nice in the School of Hard Knocks. To graduate with honours, you have to make a statement that ends with exclamation marks. Stand out. Be heard. Be different.

Now it’s time to open up the can of worms…

The problem with nice people is that they’re so easily forgettable. And especially in the workplace, they’re the ones who are often overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated. You might even say that being nice is for chumps.

GlockomaNorth American culture socializes us to ignore and even belittle the shy, quiet one. If anything, we consider them ‘boring’. Well, why do we need people to be a marching band all the time, banging drums like a 2-year-old on kitchen pots? For one, people notice the rabble-rousers more than the church mice.

We can’t ignore the Janice Dickinsons and Simon Cowells of the world. They’re strongly opinionated, rarely apologetic, stubborn as mules, and overflowing with sarcasm. With nice people, you don’t get the snippy remarks, the funny put-downs, or the Shock Factor. You get Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book with a side order of humble pie.

Mean or obnoxious people have an undeniable sense of self-confidence, ooze personality, and fight to attain selfish goals without concern of whose toes they’ve stepped on. They don’t even care how often they have to lie through their coffee-stained teeth to get what they want.

Being an individualistic prick can easily be spun as being a leader, whereas shy violets are often perceived as losers. Yeah, it’s not fair, but the world isn’t fair, so if we don’t do something to bring about some balance, we’re just sucking on a lemon.

Gets Some Edjumacation

GlockomaGlockomaI read some snippets from this interesting book called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P. Frankel. Apparently as girls, we picked up some bad habits (such as smiling inappropriately and presenting statements in a question) that are now impeding our chances of upward mobility at work. Basically we need to say goodbye to the ‘Nice Girl’ standard and get into the role of Assertive Woman.

Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work by Deborah Tannen is another book I want to get my hands on. Among the many key issues outlined, Library Journal emphasizes how “women say ‘I’m sorry’ without actually apologizing and tend to use an indirect manner of speech. These styles make women appear less confident, competent, and professional. However, women who learn to speak like men are accused of being aggressive and unfeminine.”

Obviously tossing out all the Rules of Lady Etiquette isn’t right, either. I’m not suggesting we clip our toenails on the subway while screaming profanities at everyone within earshot. We need to learn not just when to speak up and stand up for ourselves, but more importantly how to do it effectively. And the men out there need to learn how to listen.

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