“Feminists want us to define these ugly sexual encounters as rape “

Recently I came across an article written by Cathy Young of the Washington Post. It was titled what you see above in quotations. This piece bothered me for what it said as well as what it didn’t say. Not only was Cathy Young highly critical of “feminists” but she was seemingly against any modern day terminology surrounding rape. While I do agree, it can be confusing nowadays in the social world, the fact of the matter is, things arent straightforward in many situations. Are there grey areas in sexual situations? Of course. And on that  note, this is all the more reason (not less) to be clear in matters of consent.

A little bit of Ms. Young’s background: Young is a research associate at the Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank Cato Institute, for which she co-authored a 1996 policy analysis paper, “Feminist Jurisprudence: Equal Rights or Neo-Paternalism?”. Her writing covers a variety of topics in politics and culture, with particular focus on gender issues and feminism,  frequently agreeing with men’s rights activists, while criticizing them for emulating the identity politics associated with some forms of feminism. Ms. Young has made a career out of castigating women’s movements as well as railing against any kind of topic around sexual violence. To that end, one could consider her opinion to be one of extreme bias in this regard. I find it hard to take her opinion or her articles at all seriously considering her history and complete lack of neutrality.

In the aforementioned article, Young refers in the general term to “feminists” and the “feminist movement”
while seemingly unaware that there are in fact many types of feminists not one singular stereotype. The fact that Young does not seem to know this tells me off the bat that she has little idea of what shes talking about, but nonetheless onward….

Young  then proceeds to criticize modern day terminology and ideas around rape implying that women everywhere are encouraged to label sexual encounters rape more often than not. I highly doubt this is the case, esp given that Young has no facts or statistics to support this implication. Terns such as “date rape” “consent” “spousal rape” and “rape culture” have real meaning in our modern day society. These ideas did not come about out of thin air but out of time, education, experience and understanding. The fact that Young broadly sweeps all of that under the rug shows she could use quite a bit more of all of those things  (education, experience and understanding)  before airing such ill informed opinions.

Domestic Violence and Relationships…its complicated

As horrifying as the recent events surrounding football player Ray Rice are, it is a good thing to bring conversations about domestic violence out from behind locked doors. For those that aren’t aware, Ray Rice is  a football player with the Baltimore Ravens. In a video recently made public, Rice is seen punching his then-girlfriend to the point of making her unconscious. He then dragged her out of an elevator and left her in front of onlookers in a lobby. Rice is a classic abuser. He waited until he thought he was alone and could hit his victim behind closed doors. Victims are afraid of their batterers, and now that people have seen the video, hopefully this gives an idea as to why. I’m sure Palmer (girlfriend-now-wife) was terrified of getting Rice in trouble with the police or the NFL, but thankfully they weren’t alone, the cameras were watching. And now, so is the world.

Domestic violence isn’t a rare phenomenon in America. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, and 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Unfortunately, these are just nameless facts and figures. Palmer is a real person with real problems. When this incident came to light, Rice’s teammates, instead of reacting in horror or shock, rallied around him to the point of this appearing on the team’s Twitter page: “Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” Hows that for standing up for women? Way to go NFL. I have to wonder what “role” was that exactly? Not running away from a man whose career is built on running & tackling? Not calling for help among his friends that clearly serve his interests? Not taking the stairs instead of the elevator? I also have to question why all the people in the lobby did not call police upon seeing this event. But that is neither here nor there at this point I guess.

Famous or not, this situation is exemplary of CLASSIC domestic violence. The beating behind closed doors, hiding behind money/friends/prestige, victim blaming. The elements are all there.

While many cheered the NFL’s move to punish Rice’s  behavior, several media outlets fell into the classic mode of  victim blaming. “Let’s not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy,” said Fox News contributor Ben Carson. “He obviously has some real problems, and his wife obviously knows that, because she subsequently married him.” While that is true, and horrifying to those of us not in violent relationships, there are MANY reasons for Janay Palmer (now Rice) choice to do so, none of which we are privy to. However the recent creation of stories falling under the hashtag #WhyIStayed can give us clues. Women and men have shared their experiences and detailed reasons they had for staying in an abusive relationship.

The reasons for this our many, and ones we ALL can relate to, abused or not: love, guilt, religion, children, shame, hopelessness, embarrassment, loyalty, exhaustion, gender roles, family pressure. lack of money, lack of friends, lack of family support, lack of confidence. depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, fear. fear of hurting the kids, fear of not being able to provide, fear of losing everything, fear of repercussions, fear of being hurt, litigated, belittled or killed. I think that while we all have not been in abusive relationships, it’s safe to say that most of us have endured our share of break ups or incompatible relationships and the reasons for staying in those situations can be very much the same. Unfortunately the internet is aflutter with opinions from people who view DV relationships as an Other. People who don’t understand, choose not to understand, by way of dismissing such relationships as easy to walk away from. It is no easier than walking away from any relationship that isn’t working but one in which you may care about the person still.  DV Is not an Other. It is a common occurrence that happens to people we ALL know. Our dismissal & failure to acknowledge those around us who may be suffering does not help end its existence.  Brian Pinero, director for digital services of The National Domestic Violence Hotline and LoveIsRespect, a program for teens and young adults, was quoted on CNN stating it takes an average of seven times for a victim to leave an abuser. The Rices have a child together, which most certainly plays into Palmer-Rice’s decisions.   Those calling  Janay Rice’s motives money driven may be off base but not entirely. She depends on the guy for support. She may not have an education, job training or people willing to take her in. More to the point he DOES have: job training, money, people willing to support his behavior.  We as observers have NO Idea what has been said and done behind closed doors other than that one elevator.  She may be angry at the media response for leading to her husband’s indefinite suspension from the NFL and the possible end of his career. She may also be fearing for her life and trying to salvage herself. NO one can blame her for this, Unfortunately unless this WAS a one time event and Ray Rice truly WAS sorry, the media circus around the Rice’s may simply be cause for more violence in the Rice home. (Ie see what YOU did, see what YOU caused) Batterers do not wake up one day understanding their behavior unless they have sought help to do so. Chances are Rice simply feels he did what she “made” him do.

Rather than criticizing Janay Palmer’s decision to remain and marry Ray Rice, lets ask some other questions: What support system does she have? Did the NFL/media/people around Rice in any way offer support and a safe place for her to go? Was Ray Rice given the impression that his  behavior was wrong and that he would face repercussions from it? Initially the Ravens response was an appalling show of support for Rice and complete lack of disregard for Palmer.  Thankfully what the media circus HAS done is hold him  and them accountable for their responses. On September 8th, tThe NFL, faced with new evidence that proves Janay Palmer had no role in this incident, regardless of what she might have said to downplay it, are doing what they should have done after the first video showed her unconscious on a lobby floor and Rice admitted he had assaulted her.  The Ravens just released Ray Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely. For this I commend them, but only for this. Their initial response to the situation must not be forgotten nor should the fact that the bad publicity’s effect on their team probably was the mitigating factor.

Janay, I know you’re upset with the world right now, but you need to know you have done nothing wrong. You are a victim. Ray Rice may be a man of power, wealth & fame…but his actions are still WRONG and he is NOT above consequences. I’m sorry for any embarrassment you feel and any suffering you may be facing. I hope this is your catalyst to seek help, and that should there be a next media circus, that it’s not around your funeral.

 

Hobby Lobby for the win. Hobby Lobby female employees…for the lose.

This morning, Hobby Lobby won their case against the Supreme Court regarding birth control coverage through the ACA, For those who haven’t read my previous post on the subject, or who haven’t followed this story in the news, Hobby Lobby, a for-profit and privately held corporation owned by a family of evangelical Christians, sued the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2012 because it believed that the contraception requirement of the Affordable Care Act was an unconstitutional violation of its sincerely held religious beliefs. While I’m certain no one has contested  the religious beliefs held by Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green and his family, but the Greens are not on the hook to provide their 13,000 full-time employees with contraceptive coverage. In reality, their privately held corporation is responsible for that coverage. Because that’s what it means to be incorporated. One of the questions brought before the high court is whether or not the company itself can have sincerely held religious beliefs, and — if the court is willing to recognize corporate religion — whether the contraception mandate places an “undue burden” on those beliefs.

Hobby Lobby has based its claim in its religious opposition to abortion; according to lawyers for the company, the main issue here is four forms of birth control that it doesn’t want to cover because it believes they are abortion-inducing drugs. This is incorrect!Hobby Lobby already covered 16 of the 20 methods of contraception mandated under the Affordable Care Act, but it didn’t cover Plan B One-Step, ella (another brand of emergency contraception) and two forms of intrauterine devices because of aforementioned ideologically driven and not medically based ideas about abortion.“These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” Dr. Petra Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic, stated  in an article on the science behind emergency contraception. “They don’t act after fertilization.” As noted in that article, which first appeared in the New York Times,  emergency contraception like Plan B, ella and the hormonal IUD do not work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Instead, these methods of birth control delay ovulation 0r thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization never even occurs. That said, when used as a form of emergency contraception, the copper IUD can interrupt implantation, but this still does not mean a pregnancy has occurred. Thus even the “logic” of Hobby Lobby (the people behind it, excuse me) Is unfounded & flawed.

I respect Hobby Lobby being a “Christian run” company. I think its great that they are closed on Sundays and some of the other small things they have infused into their company. I understand SLIGHTLY where they are coming from BUT …it is incredible UN-Christian in my opinion to not provide for your employees health, or ability to have more family than one can care for…Unless Hobby Lobby plans to have a kick ass daycare, extra money to those with families, bonuses for additional children, etc then their views on family have no place being pushed onto employees. Its one thing to decide YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS should be closed Sundays because the Bible says that is the day of rest (I think that’s great & I suppotr that). Its entirely different to say that because the Bible says “go forth & multiply” that you’ve made the executive order that no employee shall have means to choose not birth control options. I could say this affects women more than men, which it does, but Hobby Lobby employed men should be equally offended at essentially having their right to decide the size of their family stripped from them by their employer.

That said, any amount of research can reveal some inconsistencies in HL’s “morals.’ Hobby Lobby has a retirement plan that invests very heavily in the manufacturers of the forms of contraception it claims to abhor so much. According to a report from Molly Redden at Mother Jones, the Hobby Lobby 401(k) “held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.” I myself HAVE a hormonal IUD. I know several other ladies who are Christians that have IUDs (side note not all denominations specially denounce birth control) They are wonderful. God gave me the children I wanted. He also gave me the tools i needed to not have more so that I could care for the ones I have (just my opinion)

I myself say NO…as I hope all people agree. A corporation is an entity. It is not a person. It does not have feelings. I’m a Christian, I believe in birth control. I also believe God gives us the ability to choose that. Furthermore, I do not believe the Bible says to go make and disciples of your company. God cares about relationships with people and corporations aren’t them, no matter what legal mumbo jumbo one wants to use to argue the point. However I’m not trying to make this blog piece about religion, mine or yours or anyone’s. The main issue here, I feel, is that the Supreme Court in voting YES to this decision has created a slippery slope in which ANY company can pick & choose coverage that they have a “moral objection” to. Not oly that, but this creates a mask for corporations to hide behind whether they have moral objections or not – I can see companies trying to save a couple corporate earned dollars by citing “moral objections” left and right. Thank you Supreme Court for your complete inability to see the big picture.

 

Again it is my personal belief that this is less about morals and more about money. Unfortunately, my fear-and I can realistically see his happening- is that other corporations will follow. As Justice Sonia Sotomeyer stated in her objection  “If corporations could claim a religious objection to providing contraception coverage couldn’t they also object to vaccinations or blood transfusions?”  There are a number of other medical treatments that are not considered legitimate under certain religious doctrine, what is to stop corporations from objecting to covering those as well? We are entering a scary territory where corporations could essentially pick apart the things in the ACA which they “object” to. Again, follow the money not the morals and you can see where this is going to go…this isnt about morals, this is right wing hijacking of the ACA. Theres other powers behind this than just HL> If HL felt that strongly about this one issue they could simply have chosen not to offer coverage & told employees to seek it through the exchange.

In her dissent Ginsburg stated. :”Reading the Act expansively, as the court does, raises a host of “Me, too” questions. Can an employer in business for profit opt out of coverage for blood transfusions, vaccinations, antidepressants, or medications derived from pigs, based on the employer’s sincerely held religious beliefs opposing those medical practices?”  No. At least…not yet.

Oh I’m sorry, I thought this was another country…

I recently read about a situation in Texas in which a girl was raped. The young girl had the courage to go through a trial and testify against her attacker. The Judge in the case, upon hearing arguments, weighed her decision (yes a female judge!) on the victim’s past sexual history. The judge stated hat given the fact the victim had a baby & previous sexual relationships with other boys that “she was not the victim she portrayed herself to be.” “The victim also testified that she only wanted to kiss Young, and had told him “no” and “stop” during the attack.” (Huffington Post) Correct me if I am wrong, but isnt SAYING NO by definition NOT GIVING CONSENT Thus making it rape? I sure think so! Regardless of what this girl was going prior to the assault, NO MEANS NO. A girl is allowed to kiss a guy & not have sex with him. Plain and simple. This judge could use not only education in sexual assault but the basic laws surrounding it. It is appalling, horrifying, completely absurd that in THIS COUNTRY this kind of ruling is allowed. Next time perhaps the Judge would like to require there to be 3 male witnesses to the crime too?

Here is a link  to the full article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/01/sir-young-rapist-gets-light-sentence_n_5251116.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000021

And here is a link to the Judge’s webpage in which you may write her  your thoughts on this verdict

http://judgejeaninehoward.com/contact.php#results

My email to the Judge (b/c I cant call her “honorable”): “I’m seriously disturbed by a lot of things going on in the United States today that just defy logic: states where women can charged for miscarrying a child, allowing rape for completely asinine reasons, politicians with no knowledge whatsoever of the female reproductive system talking ab how women can “shut down” if they are “Legitimately” raped…and your recent ruling that a young 14 year old “wasn’t a victim” simple because she’d had previous sexual encounters & had had a child is appalling. ANY woman can be raped regardless of prior sexual history. You not only uphold archaic views when you state this, you send a message to all other rape victims that is appalling. I ask you to rethink your views on rape, and hope to see this appealed for a JUST verdict.”

 

POSTSCRIPT: 5/7/14 The judge has received so much flack for this case that she recused herself from it after sentencing. I”d like to think it’s because of my letter to her (just go with it)  http://aattp.org/judge-recuses-herself-from-case-after-sentencing-14-year-olds-rapist-to-just-45-day-jail-term-video/

Sexual Assault Awareness Month should be every month (part 3)

I feel like sharing a personal anecdote. I enjoyed the 3 part series on eating disorders & delving a little deeper than just a one blog rant. I intended with this blog to steer away from anything personal (Just the facts ma’am) but it was fun to weave some story into it as well. This isn’t too deep, dark or personal so don’t worry. Its more of a cautionary tale. Or a “It Could Have Been Me” moment.

For people who question a woman who ask “what was she doing drinking?” “…going home with him?” “…flirting with him?” and all the questions that some women who experience acquaintance rape deal with, I can tell you, people sometimes just don’t know  or think something could happen to them because they  “know” the person. And no means no right?

So okay, many years ago,  I was 22 years old, newly single having just ended a 2+year relationship. I wasn’t looking to date, just people to have fun with. I’m not a one night stand person & have always been upfront about that with guys. Some people of course think if THEY are getting hot,  maybe a girl will be getting hot too…yeah, not me, I can put the brakes on just fine. I mean what I say. I say what I mean. So anyways..yes, newly single, still navigating the single world. I’d just lost a good friend in a car accident as well, so “fun” was definitely something I was aiming to do in effort to keep myself occupied.Being 22, this involved clubbing, bars & parties…. Typical for anyone of that age. One night, I was working the closing shift at my job  at a bookstore, when this guy I casually knew walked in. I did not know “Jack” that well but he was a friend of my friend who’d just passed away & he was cute and kind of flirty… so I was slightly flirty in return. I was off at 11p and “Jack” invited me to meet up at a nearby bar so at 11pm – for me back then, the night was still young!- I met up with Jack. He had a friend with him. It was relaxed and chill, I drank a few things and probably was a bit buzzed by the end of the night, not fall down sloppy drunk but definitely good & happy. Jack told me he lived downtown and was within walking distance. He asked if I wanted to go over to his place to “hang out.” Now,  okay I get it. It was probably not the best idea to go to his place at 1:30-2am after drinking a few solid drinks, but we had been having a good time just chatting , hanging out, etc. I felt safe b/c he had a friend with him and frankly, other than being a little flirty-flirty earlier he didn’t seem overly interested in me.  And remember, I was newly single. I was 20 when I met my previous boyfriend and had almost excursively gone to any drinking type engagements with him and never had to worry about safety issues.

 

So off we trotted to “Jack’s” house. It was a quiet building which was odd for a complex downtown on a Saturday night, but he assured me there were neighbors. He did not have roommates & his friend had not gone with us. I was feeling a little unsure of the situation but he had been perfectly nice so I felt I had nothing to worry about. Anyways we go in, he pulls out some pretzels or whatever, and we sat and chit=chat, very chill right? We were chatting & mid-conversation he just started kissing me. Maybe I should have expected that, but I was honestly surprised, but not entirely put off. I kissed him back, we had a little  fun but nothing beyond PG. At some point he did imply he wanted sex & expected me to stay and provide that for him. I told him it’d been fun but I didn’t do the one night stand thing. At which point nice “Jack” turned into not so nice “Jack” (Jerk?) He got up and locked his front door. I’m not sure what he thought he was doing other than trying to intimidate me, but honesty at that point I had had to deal with a few stupid guys in the past month or two and had just about enough of the single life. What’d I do? I got up, unlocked the door & walked (stumbled, staggered…) out.  I lived about a mile and half from downtown which I found was very empty by 3am. I proceeded to walk (stumble…stagger..) home cursing myself along the way. “Jack” caught up with me in his car & offered me a ride home. At that point I took the ride cause I was already debating the merits of walking home at 3am half drunk. So we get to my house, I thank him & get out. I go up to my front door, unlock it …and “Jack”s walking right on up with me. I thank him again and start going in. “Jack” stands in my doorway and proceeds to yell at me about being “overly moral” or something like that. He essentially implied  I’m obligated to sleep w/ him since I turned him on (um, sorry? thanks?) and took up his Saturday night. He proceeded to rant and rave some more before I told him I wasn’t going to be lectured into sex, it was in no way a turn on for me, that his rantings might wake up other people I lived with & if he didn’t leave I was calling the police. He stood in my doorway a few moments longer & said a few more choice words before finally leaving. In retrospect, I’m glad he wasn’t aggressive and backed off when I threatened him because I had been worried about what he’d do if he called me on my bluff. Because no one else was home. And my phone was in the next room.

Thankfully this story ends more or less well, but it might not have if “Jack” had been more aggressive or truly angry over hearing the word “no.” Sure it wasn’t smart of me to drink with him or go to his house, I’m sure he thought something would come of it but you know what? He didn’t have the right to harass me and yell at be and guilt me for saying no, either. I seriously went to bed and cried. And I never talked to “Jack” again.  (PS I plead naivete here. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say….)

I give you this story not because I really feel like getting deep and dark but b/c people see the statistics 1 in 4 and wonder  if they are true and how these things happen. In a short  survey (a mental tally) of my friends, I’d say those statistics are true. As to “how this can happen”?  Sigh. All too easily.  I’m just glad in my case, “Jack” took my “no” and went home.

 

. Stay tuned for part 4 …how to teach people to respect boundaries, the word no and other fine things you shouldn’t do. “How Not to Be a Potential Rapist 101” (Answer: “Dont be a rapist” The End)

 

I Feel pretty (unpretty) part 3

“I wish I could tie you up in my shoes, make you feel unpretty to..”  People probably do not think of the band TLC when they think of “feminism” and those that stand for it. However their music articulated a lot of issues women deal with in our modern day culture. In this country women are bombarded with images that are held up as ideal. Men also absorb these messages. The combination is a dangerous mixture of warped expectations. A simple survey of women’s magazines shows common themes: Fashion (usually out of the average woman’s price or size range), beauty (again usually overpriced & not practical to the everyday woman but yet a full face of make-up is held up as the norm by such publications. There is 99.9% of the time a section on a new diet. The implications by these magazines are huge. Women are told indirectly how they should look, how they should eat & how to catch a man. It would seem there are many areas of American life that have not progressed passed the 1950’s.

On the flipside there is a growing trend of self love that borders on reverse discrimination. Facebook pages such as “Curvy Girls are Better Than Skinny Girls” have popped up. While I commend women who do not meet the model stereotype (and lets face it, most of us dont) I am concerned that this self love is just a destructive. Tearing down others does not lift another group up. I commend anyone who is confident in themselves regardless of size. I agree that Kate Winslet is certainly healthier looking than Kate Moss. That said, this attitude only serves to substitute one form of hate for another. This does nothing to lift up women as a whole. It is up to us to combat stereotypes by rejecting them. It is up to us to accept each other as we are and promote love of all body types.

I have friends of all body types. I love all of my friends and consider them beautiful in their own unique ways. I myself am in fact a size 2…but a proportional one. I’m 4’10” and extremely (genetically) petite. I couldn’t be a supermodel anymore than my non-size 2 friends. I”m okay with that. What I am not okay with is the backlash towards thin people, some of which I have personally experienced. I tire of hearing how “unhealthy” I look or how I should “eat more.’ I feel incredibly self conscious when people comment about my size. I don’t comment on my friends bodies. This seems horribly invasive to me. More so when I find friends have joined the aforementioned Facebook groups. Of course if I had a friend I was concerned about, I would hope I could pull them aside and let them know I’m concerned & cite specific things I’m concerned about, in a loving way. However I have never done that because I’ve never felt any of my “bigger than me” friends didnt take care of themselves. And that is the key no matter what size a person is.  I exercise. I eat right. I don’t starve myself. I also do not read women’s magazines or any of their recommended diets. I am confident in my appearance, so comments such as the ones mentioned aren’t really anything to be except annoying and offensive.  Logic and the USDA have issued guidelines for healthy living & healthy diet which I loosely follow. All people should look at these guidelines to tailor them to their lives. Dieting should be done in conjunction with a program (Weight Watchers etc.) or a doctor in my opinion. Many fad diets-including & especially some of the ones I have seen in magazines- are downright dangerous. I cannot stress enough these things: self love, acceptance of others, educating yourselves. These things, when practiced by all of us, can help heal and help eliminate these stereotypes. And throw away those magazines.

I Feel pretty (unpretty) part 2

So I said this might get personal, bear w/ me…I like telling stories from my life but this also applies to women everywhere I think.

I was born into a family which includes petite women.  I only grew to be 4’10”. UI have brown hair and blue eyes. I like me. BUt it took me a long time to do this.

In my middle school years, I was surrounded by peers trying to figure out what was “cool.” I saw movies in which the only thing a kid had to do to be “cool” was to have a makeover and friends appeared. This actually is a great deal how my middle school peers behaved. Towards the end of the year I convinced my mom to let me get a body wave, buy make-up & get new clothes at Macy’s. Just like that, I was “cool.”

As I got older magazines I bought told me I needed to be more than “cool.” I needed to be “beautiful.” But the models were all blonde haired and six feet tall. I did not feel I measured up.

Comments were made to me that I needed to “start watching it.” Although I was a normal sized kid, I started seeing myself as far and ugly. I could see places where I felt I needed to lose weight or to improve upon. This started me on a bad path which ended in my hospitalization & treatment for anorexia at age 13.

As time went on it became a struggle to let go of the analyzing my body, counting calories, worrying about my weight. With practice and help I was able  to let go of it all by the time I reached high school.

When I was in my early 20s I was a healthy size 8 and had no problems with my appearance..I started dating someone and things seemed good. It was not long into the relationship before he started telling me things I’d heard years before…that I needed to start watching it…that his friends girlfriends were smaller and prettier….that I was lucky someone like me could find a guy to date her….I again started analyzing myself, wondering if I was “good enough” and seeing things that, in retrospect, weren’t there. When that relationship ended, I Thought I found someone else to accept me but alas this guy was the same as the one before…Self esteem and self confidence were viewed as a threat. In looking back, I was a normal weight. I was cute and funny and could have dated other people that were nicer…and I think both those guys knew that. Perhaps it was their own insecurities that lead them to want to tear me down, who knows.

It took some time on my own, reflection, maturity & general just work on my part to change the way I thought of myself, and let others project their own insecurities onto me.  I’m now married with a child. I dont count calories. I stopped wearing make-up for a time because I wanted my husband & son to be used to my natural face. (Have you ever seen a woman who wears make up regularly & then are shocked to see her w/o it? I dont want to be one of those women!)   I do occasionally read womens mags still but with an understanding that the vast amount of it-high fashion, expensive make-up for the entire face, the latest fast diet, the airbrushed cover model- does not apply to me. Ironically I’m a size 2 at my natural, non-calorie counting, non-food depriving self…(reference back to petite women in the family, I am one)  I would be shocked & horrified if my husband (who is neither of my aforementioned past boyfriends) said anything to me about being ugly, fat or simply not good enough. I have children to set an example for too, not only in haelthy living, but healthy expectations of themselves & others.

I wish I could have skipped my 20s & gone into my more mature, more knowledgeable, more secure 30s..but live and learn.

So ok…there was a point to these anecdotes that relates to societal expectations of women, stereotypes, beauty myths…I suppose this will be a 3 part series then 🙂