If Inspiration was a Person

Maya Angelou would have been 90 years old today. The world suffered a great loss at her passing in May 2014. Ms. Angelou was an amazing talent, a truly loving heart, and a strong, passionate, dedicated woman. Her words have never ceased to move me. The world is a better place for her having been in it.

click for more info on this incredible woman

 

Have We Come a Long Way, Baby?

Many Western women today don’t realize how easy they’ve got it. Think about it. Up until the 1960s, women were expected to get married, have children, and cater to their husbands, and that was pretty much it. That was their lot in life. Some may have worked “suitable” jobs, but once they got married of course they would quit and devote their lives to their family…which wouldn’t be a bad deal if it was a choice instead of a forced expectation. Women were looked down upon if they wore certain clothes, if they smoked, or if they swore. They were forcibly held back when they tried to achieve more with their lives.

Today, women wear all sorts of clothing, and they smoke and drink if they want to (gasp!). They also have satisfying careers in addition to having families, or instead of. Don’t even get me started on swearing.

But…of course barriers remain. I could talk about the “glass ceiling” at work, and how male supervisors who tell their employees what to do are obeyed as a matter of course, whereas women who do this are viewed as “bossy” (even by other women, by the way). Or how girls endure ridiculous dress codes at school thereby reinforcing the idea that a boy’s education is more important than their own. But that’s a rant for another time! I want to discuss something else.

I just saw this on Facebook, and it has me shaking my head. It’s an ad for a weight loss drink. Maybe it works. Probably doesn’t. I don’t really care. My eye only caught the headline.

weight loss drink ad

My husband said, “Do something about this or I can’t stay.”

The “this” being the woman’s excess weight.

And just what is this ad implying? That if your husband – who probably has his own beer belly which he thinks nothing of – doesn’t want you to be overweight, then by God and by Golly, you’d better lose weight!

Does this sort of “threat” advertising really work? Well, it must…otherwise “they” wouldn’t do it. It’s what advertising folks do, after all, it’s their job, it’s what they get paid the big bucks to do – work to create doubt and even fear in people so that they’ll buy the weight loss products, or the makeup, or this, or that…

Honestly, my first reaction when seeing this ad was WTF?

I mean really, do women still put up with this from their husbands or boyfriends in this day and age?  I’d tell mine to go to hell!  Well…maybe that’s why I’m not still married.  Could explain a lot.

Now, my issue isn’t with the pros and cons of weight loss – I’m most definitely not into fat shaming and I believe everyone should have the peace to live their own life without others judging them. Be healthy, be happy, be yourself.  It’s not up to me – or anyone else, least of all an advertising company – to tell you how to live your life.

The thing is, if you are going to try to sell a weight loss product, is this ad the best way to do it? I just want to know what the stats are on this particular marketing technique.

Personally, even if this stuff actually worked like a charm, which I highly doubt, I’d be more apt to tell any woman reading this ad that if that’s what her husband thinks, she should tell him off instead of ordering this godsend of a diet drink!

I was glad to see I wasn’t alone in my reaction, by the way.  Most of the comments under the advertisement were of the same mind as me.  It was nice to have company as I sat there rubbing my temples and muttering under my breath.

So, yeah.  Maybe someone needs do these Ad Guys a favor and let them know we’re not chattel anymore. That would be good.

Just a Girl

Could a girl pitcher…well, a 17-year-old…strike out the best baseball hitters of the time – namely Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig?

I say yes, why not?

But a lot of folks prefer to believe that it was just a publicity hoax. Why? Well, because how could a girl strike out two men, let alone Ruth and Gehrig?

Way back in 1931, the president of the Chattanooga Lookouts Double A baseball team invited the New York Yankees to play two exhibitions games with them. A week before the games were held, he signed a female pitcher, a 17-year-old left-hander named Jackie Mitchell who specialized in a sinking curve ball.

In the first exhibition game, on April 2, 1931, the Lookout’s starting pitcher gave up hits to the first two batters. He was pulled and Jackie Mitchell was sent in to face Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. She struck them both out – Ruth caught looking and Gehrig whiffing on three straight pitches. (She walked the next batter and was pulled afterward. The Yankees would go on to win the game 14-4, by the way.)

And controversy has swirled around this event ever since – did she actually strike out Ruth and Gehrig? Or was it all a hoax cooked up for the newspapers to generate interest in the team?

The event is covered in a July 2013, Smithsonian Magazine article entitled: The Woman Who (Maybe) Struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, written by Tony Horwitz.

Note that Horvitz mentions this controversy in the title – the girl who “maybe” struck out Ruth and Gehrig. Actually both the title and the author’s adamant opinion (when approached by his young son with the facts) pretty much set the tone for his commentary.

But c’mon. It’s not like Ruth and Gehrig never struck out! Ruth’s lifetime average is .342, meaning he got a hit approximately 3 out of 10 times at bat. Gehrig’s average was .340.

And when you’re facing a new pitcher you’ve never seen before, with a sinking curveball (taught to her by “Dazzy” Vance, by the way – a strikeout master during his prime playing years), why couldn’t they strike out?

Well, because they were facing a girl, of course! Of course it had to be a hoax! A put on. A delayed April Fool’s joke. Or so everyone says now. It couldn’t just be that a girl got the upper hand on two of baseball’s greats, regardless of her amazing talent, mind you.

It would have helped if Mitchell would have been able to continue her career on the Lookouts, but that was not to be. Her contract was voided rather quickly by the baseball commissioner of the time because of the general consensus among players (Ruth a huge voice among them) that baseball was just too strenuous for women. This was the same kind of thinking that meant that girls who played basketball had to have teams of 6 players – 3 who stayed in the back court on defense and three who only played in the front court on offense, so they wouldn’t have to run up and down the court and thereby injure their “women parts” and be unable to bear children! And even up until the 1960s, women weren’t allowed to participate in marathons for the same reason…despite the fact that female athletes who defied such strictures had proven over and over again that there were no adverse medical effects! Which sort of goes without saying. Duh.

Today, boys and girls play together on Little League teams. There are female place kickers – well, a couple anyway – in college football. And with Melissa Mayeux, the seriously talented, French short stop (at 16 years old) having just been added to the MLB international registration list – it’s really just a matter of time before women are actively playing in the Major Leagues.

We’ve come a long way, baby…

Womens History

Enraged Walking Dead Spotted in England (No, Really!)

Who says women won’t stand up for each other? I wish they did it more often, but hey, at least it’s happening sometimes.

I saw a great Facebook post a few days ago from someone called Scott Sparrow. He was riding the Central Line between Oxford Circus and Chancery Lane in London and saw the following exchange. It’s made all the better when you realize (looove Google) that fanny in England is apparently slang for vagina. Gotta love “old soon to be dead” ladies who just don’t give a flying fig about what they say in public anymore.

 

post from Scott Sparrow

 

This is an awesome story. I absolutely love it. Mr. Sparrow should seriously do a “man on the street” type of weekly editorial. Hell, I would pay good money to get the newspaper that opted to publish this guy’s observations!

And as for the incident itself. I mean, c’mon. What right does that suit have – or anyone, frankly, to call out someone else on their physical appearance – whether it’s being very skinny or very overweight, or the way they dress? And yet most people think nothing of doing it – as if they were perfect.

That old woman resonated with me because hell, I can see myself being that outspoken and colorful when I’m that old (almost dead is how old I’ll be!). Basically there will be no change from how I am now, except I’d be viewed as “feisty” instead of rude!  I am sooo looking forward to that day.

And really, this entire situation is just one more reason why I need to freakin’ move to England…from the old, almost dead lady down to Mr. Scott Sparrow.  My kinda people over there (not counting the guy in the suit!).

Yes, They’re Real and They’re Spectactular

As my many loyal readers know, there are quite a few things that really annoy me. The list is possibly endless actually. Not the least of which are idiot drivers, as I’ve said many times. Many, many times.  Hey, I’ve never once claimed that I had any sort of patience whatsoever.

But another thing that annoys me is when people who should stick together…don’t. Instead, they pick on each other, for no other reason, I think, than that putting down others makes them feel better about themselves. I’ve always suspected that people like this are in fact hiding inferiority complexes.

In this specific case, I’m talking about women. Women who pick on other women because of their appearance.  As if women don’t have enough of that from other areas in their lives…like the media, the fashion world, their jobs, pretty much everywhere you look.

And I’m not talking teenage girl stuff here like you’d see in middle school or high school which is bad enough. These were full-fledged adults who should know better.  It just really grated on my nerves. In my view, women need to stand together now more than ever. Or really, always.

So, what’s lit this fire of indignation?

Yesterday, there was a sponsored ad on my Facebook newsfeed for a lingerie/bra shoppe.  The ad was a for a summer sports/racer style bra that wouldn’t show under any type of a blouse or shirt. The bra itself is irrelevant. What pissed me off were the comments.

Turns out that the bra was out of stock for some of the larger sizes. What does that mean? Well, that women with large breasts really liked this bra and ordered it, and the shoppe hadn’t made enough for women in those sizes so some sizes were necessarily on backorder.

Not a big deal, right? Women who needed an out of stock bra size could sign up to be notified by email when it was available again so they could then place their order.  Easy peasy.

But there was this one woman who didn’t understand the concept that the item “was out of stock” and was instead annoyed that the shoppe apparently catered only to “smaller” women. She actually posted that the store should “carry sizes big enough for women with REAL breasts and not mosquito bites.” Yeah, I know, funny, right?  Ha ha.

There were other women on the thread who were pissed off (rightfully so) at this vulgar and offensive comment.  I mean, come on.  Women whose breasts are C cup or below (which is to whom the woman was referring) do have REAL breasts.  Actually, women with breasts have real breasts.  Doesn’t really matter what size they are, they’re real.

But this woman must have been having a really bad day, or else was just enjoying herself, and decided to vent her spleen on the internet – anonymously, the way all cowards do these days.

She went on to mock those offended women through a variety of downright vulgar comments that you routinely find in such threads and ultimately said,  well she was really just commenting on the fact that the store catered to smaller breasted women by only having smaller sizes available.

In other words, she just couldn’t grasp the concept that the reason why there were no large size bras available was not because the shoppe hadn’t made any for that demographic…but because that demographic was buying the bra like wildfire! Or, she just wanted to stir the pot.

Because she peppered her comments with such things as “apparently those with smaller breasts never grew a larger sense of humor past high school just like they never grew larger breasts past high school.”  Of course she used much more vulgar terminology throughout most of her rants which I’m not going to repeat here.  You get the idea I’m sure.

I kept reading this woman’s posts as if I were watching a train wreck.  It was gruesome, but I just couldn’t look away.

Women are faced with needless comments such as this that tear them down every day – without having it done to them by other women in such a senseless an idiotic manner.

And why? Did this woman walk away from her computer feeling better about herself?  Did it somehow make her day brighter in some way to insult a group of strangers who were only trying to buy some undergarments? People say “oh, grow a thicker skin,” or “don’t let what people say bother you.” But you know what? You should let it bother you. Oh, not in the way you might think. Don’t take it to heart and let it hurt your self-esteem because, it’s true, what people say is meaningless in that regard. Never let someone else bring you down. However, you should never let offensive comments just skate by without being addressed. Despite the popular opinion that is so common on those types of bullying threads – the people taking offense are NOT the ones in the wrong for being offended by cheap shots and insults.

And as for women who pull this crap on other women, just stop it. We’re all in this together, ladies. Let’s pull together as a team!

 shirt for ad

Oh, to be Auntie Mame

I love my cable provider.  I know not too many people say that…and while I hate paying for it (who doesn’t, right?), I like the channel line-up I’ve got going.  I can always count on Turner Classic Movies to replay my favorites.  My absolute favorite of all time is Auntie Mame. The one with Rosalind Russell from 1958.  It’s the only one as far as I’m concerned.  Rosalind Russell nailed it.  (As a side-note, Rosalind Russell also starred in the original Broadway play.)

auntie mame title

Auntie Mame is definitely a classic, at least in my eyes, and it’s always going to rank as #1 on my personal list. If you haven’t seen it, you really should.  It’s done in the style of a play….with gorgeous costumes and in your face characters and each scene fading out to black on a dramatic note.  There’s an excellent cast of actors with each one perfectly portraying their character.  Please tell me if you hate Babcock as much as I do or if you cringe each time you hear Gloria speak!  Trust me, if you want some good clean fun and laughs, it’s definitely worth your while to watch this movie.

One primary reason I love this movie so much is because the titular character is the type of woman who I’d love to see more of (or hell, even be), yet when I watch today’s movies these strong, yet eccentric, female characters simply don’t exist. Auntie Mame is a shining example of how to be outspoken, caring, loyal to friends, accepting of different lifestyles (and how!), independent, and strong; all qualities I think that are imperative for today’s young girls to know.

auntie mame 3

If you’re not familiar with the movie here’s a brief synopsis that will hopefully show why Auntie Mame is a laudable silver screen icon. Right from the start she’s friends with a rogue’s gallery of characters. Elitists of the time would have called them “beatniks” or “bohemians.” Nowadays perhaps they’d be called “hipsters” or referred to as some sort other alternative and eclectic subset of the caste system. Auntie Mame just calls them friends. And they take care of each other. While she does eventually fall in love with Beauregard Burnside (deliciously played by Forrest Tucker), she never loses her vibrant sense of self in the process. That tends to happen a lot in movies. The girl needs “saving” and suddenly a knight in shining armor appears, swoops in to do the saving, and the girl dutifully surrenders her life to better serve his. Bullshit.

Auntie Mame retains her uniqueness and shows that it is possible to let someone else into your life without transforming into something else entirely. At first, she does try really hard to fit in with Beauregard’s family, even trying to learn how to ride in a hunt although she’s never been on a horse in her life.  However, she fails miserably – not just at the fox hunt (she ends up saving the fox, by the way!), but at trying to mold herself to others’ expectations, and then she realizes that it’s just not worth it… it’s not who she is and perhaps more important, not who she wants to be.  As it turns out, Beauregard is a one-of-a-kind guy who loves her independence and quirkiness. I think her failing like that can even be viewed as a “moral to the story” kind of statement – in other words, this is what happens when you try to be something you’re not, when you go against your own inner character just to fit in or meet someone else’s expectations. You fail. So, you must be true to yourself, always. Good advice, if you ask me.

mame and beau

What’s interesting too is that, as unlikely as it may seem, Mame, in all of her madcap glory, is the freaky glue that binds her friends into a solid familial hodgepodge.  She’s magnificently sophisticated and glamorous, yet she insists on being kind and taking in the odd stray friend here and there, and she does her absolute best to spread good wherever and whenever she can.  As crazy as it sounds, she’s definitely a character worth emulating.

The best bit… and I guess I should’ve started with this – because this is how the movie started – Mame’s nephew Patrick (who eventually wrote the book this movie was based on) lost his parents when he was a small child at which time he was summarily dropped kit and caboodle at Mame’s Manhattan party shack… umm… I mean brownstone.  Well.  It was love at first sight.  And a completely non-maternal, cocktail swigging bohemian suddenly became a mother… a good one.  Albeit still bohemian.  But more than being just a financial support or providing the basics, she imparts on Patrick the heart-felt lessons of how to remain open-minded, to be kind, to truly love life, enjoy experiences, and be tolerant of all types of people.  She instills in him a sense of wonder and a sense of joy, encouraging him to make the most of life, and to embrace everything life may throw at you.

Auntie Mame_2

I could really get used to seeing more women like this lifted up as an example to our impressionable teens and tweens out there. I’m looking at you Hollywood. Where did all the Auntie Mames go?

Auntie Mame