Saturday, May 30, 2009

Britain's Got Talent Winners Are Awesome!

Tonight in England supposed front runner, singer Susan Boyle ended up in second place behind these young men from Essex, England. They are a group of street dancers who call themselves "Diversity" and they are incredible.

Diversity's choreography is just outstanding and as much as I have been rooting for Susan Boyle, her continued success is all but guaranteed, she will have a career as a singer now. For these young guys however, this win is enormous exposure and validation.

The leader seems to a young physics student, Ashley Banjo, a guy who said he started at 14 copying dance routines and then started making up his own.

I love stories like this because just when I give into cynicism, something like this comes along and reminds me of the unabashed joy and unexpected in life. I just love it when that happens.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is Playing Princess As a Little Girl Really Bad?

It seems about every two months or so a story comes out linking issues with girls (from body image to low self-esteem and more) to the big bad Disney corporation and their princesses.

Perhaps it's because I'm not 25 anymore, and my children are all young adults that my perspective may be a bit different than some. If I were to have children now I think I would obsess a whole lots less - everything from thumb sucking to security blankets and diapers resolve themselves in due course.

So when it comes to girls loving everything princess and mothers fearing their daughters subjugation all I can say is: lighten up!

My daughter liked to watch "Cinderella" every single day from about ages 3-5. Then it was "Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Mulan," "Pocahontas" and any other Disney movie you can think of. She also grew up to be one of the brightest, most independent, sassy (in a good way) young women you'd ever want to meet. She never expects a man to rescue her, and travels the world by herself. Somehow I do not think loving Belle, Ariel and their ilk damaged her in any way shape or form. When she graduated from one of the best colleges in the country she had a Hello Kitty pin on her gown and had bedazzled the hem.

You CAN be a girly girl and be smart and accomplished, to teach girls otherwise is just plain wrong. My advice to all these over-zealous parents is the realization that you have a hell of a lot more influence than Belle or Aurora. Kids watch and listen to you every single day. Parent your kids and they will realize what's real and what's not. In the meantime, let them enjoy the fantasy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why Are So Many Women So Mad At Elizabeth Edwards?

As the recent "Oprah" episode with Elizabeth Edwards who was promoting her new book, "Resilience"was still on the air I noticed Facebook was abuzz with people kibitzing back and forth about her.

Some people were criticizing her for staying with her husband after he admitted cheating on her, some felt she was putting her kids first, and some were downright mean.

I have certain things I'm really kind of obsessed with, and I have a friend, Laurie, who I love to talk about these kinds of things with. She's a writer as well and we get all fired up.

In some ways the things I get fired up about have a connecting thread - how women treat and judge one another. Whether it's how we mother, how we look, if we work or don't work while raising kids, how those kids turn out and what kind of relationships we have with the men in our lives are all open season for opinions.

During her "Oprah" interview Elizabeth Edwards said something I have thought many times about infidelity in marriage and the women married men cheat with. Oprah asked her if she blamed the other woman rather than her husband and she said, to paraphrase: She does blame her husband, but she also hold the other woman accountable as well. She said she believed that women should have enough respect for each other to not go there. If you see a man with a family and think you would like that, you don't knock on the door and say, "you're out, I'm in." You go and create your own life with your own man. I wholeheartedly agree.

I am a woman's woman. I love my women friends. Some women make me cringe for the way they represent our gender, but in general I really like women. As a single woman I would never insinuate myself into anyone else's relationship, I just would not go there. Sadly, not all women have that same belief.

Elizabeth Edwards has made the choice she feels is best for her and her children. It's not our place to tell her what she should or shouldn't do. We cannot know her feelings as a person with a terminal illness, who has lost a child when he was 16, possibly she feels she's been through enough and wants to peacefully live the life she has left.

My wish would be that as women we could learn to be each others' greatest cheerleaders, not detractors. I'm well aware of my own shortcomings and lapses into silent, and okay, sometimes not-so-silent judgement, but I'm trying to do better.

It's hard enough to be a mom, a partner, a career person and all the other roles we play without a chorus of other women just waiting for us to screw up so we can feel better about ourselves. Truly feeling good about yourself does not come at someone else's expense, it comes from knowing we're all just doing the best we can, which is all any of us can ask of ourselves.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Could You Give Up Social Networking For A Week?

This morning I read about a challenge - a challenge to not use any social networking sites for one week.

Think you can do it? This means no Facebook, no Twitter, no myspace.

If you're up to the challenge go here to sign up.

I'll be honest, almost all my work life is on the Web. But, I do not Twitter - truly my life is not that interesting. I've thought about it and wondered about doing trying it, but seriously, I sit in front of a computer for probably 10-12 hours a day. I go to the gym, I clean the cats' litter box and eat standing up in my kitchen. A thrilling life it is not. It occasionally gets spiced up with some movies, music and friends, but basically there's nothing going on that anyone would ever want to read about.

Also, for all my multi-tasking - I blog, I am a columnist, I write feature stories and am working on my second book, I don't feel the need to share minute by minute breakdowns of my day with anyone. Even my children don't want to know what I'm doing all day long. I can see the Tweets now:

"Still sitting at the computer"

"Made some tea. It tastes really good."

"Oh my God, there's a spider on my desk!"

"Something in my fridge smells bad, but I'm hungry so I'm ignoring it."

Yeah, not exactly front page news.

If you think you may be a bit addicted to social networking you might want to try to take a week off. Chances are after a day or two you might find you have a lot of time to do other things on your hands.