feminism

glamour, the president and feminism for the 21st century

click through for source

click through for source

As I was deciding what to post today, I came across and article written by our President for Glamour Magazine. As I read it, tears hit my eyes and a swell of pride hit my chest. This is my President. He gets it. So rather than give you my commentary, I decided to just insert his words. Thank you Mr. President and Thank you Glamour Magazine.

You can read it below or online at Glamour Magazine where the article originated. Glamour Exclusive: President Barack Obama Says, "This Is What a Feminist Looks Like."

"There are a lot of tough aspects to being President. But there are some perks too. Meeting extraordinary people across the country. Holding an office where you get to make a difference in the life of our nation. Air Force One.

But perhaps the greatest unexpected gift of this job has been living above the store. For many years my life was consumed by long commutes­—from my home in Chicago to Springfield, Illinois, as a state senator, and then to Washington, D.C., as a United States senator. It’s often meant I had to work even harder to be the kind of husband and father I want to be.

But for the past seven and a half years, that commute has been reduced to 45 seconds—the time it takes to walk from my living room to the Oval Office. As a result, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time watching my daughters grow up into smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women.

That isn’t always easy, either—watching them prepare to leave the nest. But one thing that makes me optimistic for them is that this is an extraordinary time to be a woman. The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers. And I say that not just as President but also as a feminist.

In my lifetime we’ve gone from a job market that basically confined women to a handful of often poorly paid positions to a moment when women not only make up roughly half the workforce but are leading in every sector, from sports to space, from Hollywood to the Supreme Court. I’ve witnessed how women have won the freedom to make your own choices about how you’ll live your lives—about your bodies, your educations, your careers, your finances. Gone are the days when you needed a husband to get a credit card. In fact, more women than ever, married or single, are financially independent.

So we shouldn’t downplay how far we’ve come. That would do a disservice to all those who spent their lives fighting for justice. At the same time, there’s still a lot of work we need to do to improve the prospects of women and girls here and around the world. And while I’ll keep working on good policies—from equal pay for equal work to protecting reproductive rights—there are some changes that have nothing to do with passing new laws.

In fact, the most important change may be the toughest of all—and that’s changing ourselves.

This is something I spoke about at length in June at the first-ever White House Summit on the United State of Women. As far as we’ve come, all too often we are still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave. One of my heroines is Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African American to run for a major party’s presidential nomination. She once said, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’ ” We know that these stereotypes affect how girls see themselves starting at a very young age, making them feel that if they don’t look or act a certain way, they are somehow less worthy. In fact, gender stereotypes affect all of us, regardless of our gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Now, the most important people in my life have always been women. I was raised by a single mom, who spent much of her career working to empower women in developing countries. I watched as my grandmother, who helped raise me, worked her way up at a bank only to hit a glass ceiling. I’ve seen how Michelle has balanced the demands of a busy career and raising a family. Like many working mothers, she worried about the expectations and judgments of how she should handle the trade-offs, knowing that few people would question my choices. And the reality was that when our girls were young, I was often away from home serving in the state legislature, while also juggling my teaching responsibilities as a law professor. I can look back now and see that, while I helped out, it was usually on my schedule and on my terms. The burden disproportionately and unfairly fell on Michelle.

So I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty aware of the unique challenges women face—it’s what has shaped my own feminism. But I also have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society. You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.

life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself.

And those same stereotypes affected my own consciousness as a young man. Growing up without a dad, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be. It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man. But as I got older, I realized that my ideas about being a tough guy or cool guy just weren’t me. They were a manifestation of my youth and insecurity. Life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself.

So we need to break through these limitations. We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.

We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they’re walking down the street or daring to go online. We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.

We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers. We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace—unless you’re a woman. Then you’re being too bossy, and suddenly the very qualities you thought were necessary for success end up holding you back.

We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color. Michelle has often spoken about this. Even after achieving success in her own right, she still held doubts; she had to worry about whether she looked the right way or was acting the right way—whether she was being too assertive or too “angry.”

As a parent, helping your kids to rise above these constraints is a constant learning process. Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race—or when they notice that happening to someone else. It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.

It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too.

It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.

The good news is that everywhere I go across the country, and around the world, I see people pushing back against dated assumptions about gender roles. From the young men who’ve joined our It’s On Us campaign to end campus sexual assault, to the young women who became the first female Army Rangers in our nation’s history, your generation refuses to be bound by old ways of thinking. And you’re helping all of us understand that forcing people to adhere to outmoded, rigid notions of identity isn’t good for anybody—men, women, gay, straight, transgender, or otherwise. These stereotypes limit our ability to simply be ourselves.

This fall we enter a historic election. Two hundred and forty years after our nation’s founding, and almost a century after women finally won the right to vote, for the first time ever, a woman is a major political party’s presidential nominee. No matter your political views, this is a historic moment for America. And it’s just one more example of how far women have come on the long journey toward equality.

I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this, too is their inheritance. I want them to know that it's never just about the Benjamin's; i'ts about the Tubmans too. And I want them to help do their part the ensure that America is a place where every single child can make of her life what she will.. 

That's what twenty-first century feminism is about, the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free." 

boom. microphone drop.

What a great way to get inspired before the weekend. 

don't be the "if only I knew then..." kinda gal. then is now! (men that means you too)

I get asked a lot why I choose to write, speak or train with a focus on women. This always surprises me because is kind of like asking me "why I'm single". It implies that something is wrong with focusing on women and wrong that I am single. 

NOT MY BABY! Otis is purely borrowed for demonstration purposes. but seriously how cute is he. he thinks I am the "shiznit"

NOT MY BABY! Otis is purely borrowed for demonstration purposes. but seriously how cute is he. he thinks I am the "shiznit"

I speak to everyone and yes, often my content has a focus about women and/or for women. I do this because contrary to what people want to believe I think there is a difference between men and women and I think that the expectations put on women far outweigh those of men. (I do not expect everyone to agree with me on this, but it is my truth). When I go out and speak, I feel validated in my hypothesis by the multitude of comments, questions and exclamations brought to me by the women in the audience.

I get asked quite a lot of questions but there is one very common thread in all of them. Almost every woman I meet asks me some sort of question that ties into this idea of being "the perfect woman" or how to do it all, how did I get to do what I do. In contrast most of the questions I receive from men in the audience are about networking.


Apparently "having it all" first became part of the cultural lexicon in 1982. To learn more about the complicated history of the idea of having it all check out this great article    " The Complicated Origins of Having it All" in the New York Times January 2015.

Apparently "having it all" first became part of the cultural lexicon in 1982. To learn more about the complicated history of the idea of having it all check out this great article " The Complicated Origins of Having it All" in the New York Times January 2015.

 

where & when did women start believing that they should try to "have it all" anyways? 

When attempting to find a picture of this book, I plugged in the words "having it all" into Amazon and got 20 pages of books with a similar or the same title. Wow, we really do think we need to do this, don't we?

A small sampling of the books I found on "having it all"

A small sampling of the books I found on "having it all"


Apparently as we have moved forward with "women's lib" and the "feminist movement" we have also moved towards the feeling of needing to do it all. So many women fought for our right to have options, it seems that we took that to mean we need to take all the options out there. It's kind of like the first time a kid goes trick-or-treating when they come home and eat chocolate until they get sick. (rookies)

Modern technology gives us the illusion of being able to do it all because we have these little machines to "make it easier". Boy is that a misconception. If any thing it has added MORE things to do in order to "have it all". it basically introduced us to a whole new world with its own set of rules for what makes us Superwoman. It has created more pressure than ever before. It is this pressure that motivated me to write this post. 

What happens when that pressure gets in the way of our lives? What happens when we aren't really living anymore, we are just doing?

"spend more time "being" & less time doing"

we are under the influence of an unattainable standard

we are under the influence of an unattainable standard

As women have gotten more educated it's as if there is some sort of imaginary starter pistol that goes off and BAM! we are on the hunt.  A sense of responsibility and a drive to be successful. And we are putting a timeline on it too. The average American woman gets married around 26 years of age. When a woman goes to college she gets married much later and there is a perception that they have less time to get things going. Husband, babies, career they all have to be rolling along before a certain age or....

I don't actually know what the "OR" is and I'm guessing you don't either. It probably has something to do with FOMO (Fear of missing out). We aren't missing out on anything though. I do not claim to be an expert but I don't think we are missing out on anything,

unless...

We continue to try and "have it all". When we try this, we miss out on so much of life. We get so caught with a to do list that we don't get to experience much of the joy or benefits of what we are doing. We have lost the ability to just...

stand still.

In honor of standing still I am sharing the below video. My mother had me watch it and it really is a beautiful reminder of what is really important.

Let's not be "if I knew then" kinda gals. Let's do what makes us happy, content, at peace with ourselves and the world we have built around us.

The view is beautiful, I promise. As the video says...make it your mission to

relax, breathe and just...let go!


SOURCES:

2015 Sanctuary Survey Sample 1,064

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/08/26/gender-gap-canada_n_3779965.html

50 women led companies growing in their purpose

Recently, Forbes named the 50 Fastest Growing Women Led Companies in America and I think that is pretty cool. It would be even cooler if one day there didn't have to be a list separating the genders when it came to top business but progress should still be recognized here. One of the best parts about the article is that they talk about misconceptions around female entrepreneurs and dispel some common held myths that women aren't good at starting successful businesses. 

So rather than listen to me babble on this gorgeous Friday why not read about these amazing women instead? As you read it, think about what you want to do. What is stopping you? 

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

So if you haven't found what you love yet, maybe this list can help inspire and move you one step closer to finding out. The list includes businesses across the spectrum so even if your exact purpose isn't there you get the chance to see the wide variety of options that are out there for all of us.  

Enough already, let's get to the list. Click below to check it out.

The 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Led Companies in America

From interior design to home security, here are the top companies spearheaded by women on this year's Inc. 5000.

BY ELAINE GODFREY - Editorial intern, Inc.com@elainejgodfrey


At the end of the day I have spent my life searching for my purpose so anything I can do to share what I have learned or people, and companies that promote something similar I will do. Learn a little bit more about my journey here.

Have a great weekend everyone, go out there and do something you love. Hope you come back Monday.

that'll do pig

Today for "woman crush wednesday" I am choosing Miss Piggy. Some might think this is an unconventional but those people don't know Piggy. She was recently honored with the "Sackler Center First Award" from the Elizabeth A. Sackler CEnter for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.  Can I get a HECK YEAH!

Miss Piggy has been at the forefront of the "I am Woman, Hear me Roar" movement from the beginning. She never let Kermie define her. She always had an opinion and has always been fabulous.  Add to all of that the fact that she is un-apologetically who she is at all times and It is about time we talk about her.  

I believe that any woman who refuses to accept society’s preconceived notions of who or what they can be is a feminist. I believe any woman who is willing to struggle, strive — and if necessary learn karate — to make their mark in the world is a feminist. And, yes, I believe that any woman, who cares about her appearance, her star billing and most especially her percentage of the gross, is a feminist.
— Miss Piggy

This award is given to women who have "Broken barriers and chartered changes in all disciplines and areas.  Piggy gets to share this honor with such amazing women as; Toni Morrison, Julie Taymor and Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day.

Rather than me tell you how ahead of the curve Miss Piggy is, I am going to let her tell you. Upon receiving this honor, Piggy wrote an opp ed piece for Time Magazine and it is a must read. (click on any of the images to see the full article).

Go check out Piggy's full letter by clicking any of her pictures on this page. Once you do, pretty sure you will be crushing hard.