Wednesday, January 14, 2015


While I was a business administration student at the University of Arkansas in the late fifties, there was an exciting story making the Greek-house rounds about the son of one of South Arkansas’ oldest families.  This young man had dropped out of school and gone to Key West where he was busy “running guns to Cuba” (gossip jargon) in support of the charismatic Castro.

Those of us stuck in class were suitably impressed by the daring adventure of one of our own. At the time I was the managing editor of the campus newspaper but no word of this ever was published in our paper….college newspapers at the time were not exactly living under freedom of information rules except when the Dean allowed it. 
(Apparently this approval policy in media continues in the 21st century according to Sharyl Attkisson’s book Stonewalled.)

Castro’s guerrilla warfare against a corrupt dictator was highly romanticized during this era, but the tide of approval ebbed when Castro’s true colors emerged as Red. What seemed a patriotic attempt to further democracy by “running guns” turned out to be a dramatic mistake that eventually threatened America’s national security.

By the time of Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs disaster and the missile standoff with Khruschev in 1962, I was a young Catholic wife and mother with a baby son living in Hope, Arkansas, where many of my bridge playing friends had husbands called up to duty. It was a fearful time for all of us.

The next year my husband accepted a new job and we moved to Little Rock.  After my second child was born in late 1963, I began teaching third grade at Holy Souls Catholic Elementary where I met my first group of Cuban refugees and their children.  The Catholic Church played a major role in helping Cubans resettle in America after losing all their assets and homes.  Not all ended up living in Miami and many of those families still live in Little Rock.

After experiencing as a college student the romanticized versions of the Castro takeover in the late 1950s, my first hand experience with the Cuban families resettling in Little Rock was a rude awakening to the true story behind the Cuban revolution.

Those Cuban refugees from the late 1950s and early 1960s know what the real situation is. Let us hope our government leaders are listening.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Life changes have interfered with my blogging for the past year or so and today is my first day, November 22, 2013, back on the writing circuit.  Fifty years ago today a life changing event for America shocked the world in general and upset the lives of Americans. 

November 22, 1963 was a Friday afternoon in a Catholic elementary school where I taught third grade and the first Catholic president had just been assassinated.  Worried parents started coming to pick up their children before official closing time.

My second child, and first daughter, was born in early September 1963 and my first child and only son had just turned two 9 days before the assassination.  Of course our little family was only on the periphery of the breaking news at the time but John F. Kennedy was the first president my husband and I voted for in the presidential election of 1960. 

Just weeks before his death, JFK came to Little Rock where many lined the streets to watch his cavalcade from the airport.   We were on the street downtown to see Kennedy because my dad wanted his first two grandkids to see a president in person. Now we felt we had a personal connection with this president.

Beginning the day of the assassination, everyone was glued to television news for the next several days.  Mothers like me were busy doing what mothers do and saw much of the activities while passing through the room where the television set was. I happened to stop and watch long enough to see Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin.

The next few days were very quiet.  No busy traffic and very little noise could be heard.  We all knew a major change had just taken place and no one knew exactly what it meant for our future.

Looking back to 1963 and the emotional events of the day, some of us recognize now that the Kennedy assassination was the beginning of an attitude of skepticism and distrust of American government for many people. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mermaids or Olympic Gold Medalists?

The St. Augustine Record, a Morris Newspapers Publication, today features a front page above-the-fold spread on women's Olympic swimming tryouts held in the mid 1920s at the old Alcazar Casino pool (now a Museum with shops)in St. Augustine. Just below the photo of the pool is the headline "Olympic champ Sybil Bauer was Ed Sullivan's girlfriend." Who was Sybil Bauer? Page 10A has a Pride of Olympians article showing Sybil Bauer first as a 1924 gold medalist for the 100 meter backstroke. In keeping with the 1920s (and beyond) era, the status of Sybil as Ed Sullivan's girlfriend was far more important for page 1 news than her Olympics gold medal. As in recent times, the twenties featured big debates over women's physical strength, stamina, mental toughness as sports competitors, especially in world Olympics. Those issues continue to be raised about women leaders, especially political women. As Aileen Riggin Soule, the first Olympic springboard diving champ, later pointed out that the young women in the modern Olympics era were "far superior" to her group of winners. Regardless, these women in the 1920s were first and as Aileen says, "There was no one to copy. We had to do things on our own initiative." Remember these early women when you watch the Olympics in 2012. Women swimmers today become medalists and have outgrown the "mermaid" status of yesteryear. Someday perhaps women leaders will be allowed to progress to leadership status rather than the female whose private life is subject to criticism and judgment from those who are no better or different.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Yesterday my daughter and I went to the Margaret Thatcher biopic with Meryl Streep playing the title role.  We both had tears in our eyes as we left the theater and had to deep breathe a while before we could talk about it. 

Thatcher was the first woman to be elected (without succeeding a husband) as the leader of any country in the Western world. She left office in 1990 yet her heartfelt actions and policies continue to be debated today by both her admirers and detractors.  No leader departs office with a perfect record in everyone’s opinion and Thatcher was no different.

What is sad about this movie is the perspective from which her life is viewed. Thatcher, in her late 80s now, is suffering from dementia and that is how her story was presented. Her memory flashbacks about her life were commented on throughout the movie by her deceased husband who presented a theatrical Greek chorus response to her thoughts. 
A stunning review in Bloomberg News by Virginia Postrel coins the underlying theme of the story:  “…the loneliness of her old age represents a kind of karmic payback for her hubris in seeking to leave something more to history than her genes.”  

To elaborate on that thought, remember that women have always been limited to birthing and taking care of the male leaders in the world until the world began changing in the 20th century.  Margaret was three years old when England passed suffrage in 1928 (eight years after the US). By design or not, this movie is full of reminders about the way women historically have been culturally viewed as limited (or restricted) to the nurturing, caregiving role in life, and never capable of leadership other than in the home.

Women running for or holding public office even today can count on being questioned about how they expect to handle their home duties and their day jobs in the public sphere.  Only women have had to explain themselves and their AMBITION to be something more than the cultural caregivers and nurturers society has declared them to be. (Men, however, have routinely had to explain their behavior in relation to women, and how what they do in private reflects on their public actions.)

To gain an understanding of how women were viewed as political leaders not long after Margaret Thatcher was elected to Parliament in 1959, a BBC interview is available that reveals the early Thatcher. Thatcher was closely questioned, with her young twins by her side, about how she could successfully juggle her life in Parliament with her domestic duties. A housewife, community activist and barrister, she pointed out that she still did all the cooking and shopping and that Parliament’s recesses fell in line with her children’s school holidays.  

{To judge her beginning in politics, either search for Margaret Thatcher On Her Maiden Speech in the House of Commons; or try this link: }

Eventually Thatcher’s close advisors and supporters in Parliament informed her that she had a highly pitched voice (apparent in the BBC video interview) and she must change it if she wanted to sound like a leader instead of a silly woman. 
In possibly the most condemning scene of a mother focused on her ambition instead of her children takes place when Thatcher drives to Westminster.  The camera shows her young twins running after her car screaming and crying “Don’t go!” while she scrapes toys off the dashboard. This is a fictional scene conceivably created to continue the critique of a woman working outside the home because her twins were adults when Thatcher was head of the Conservative party.

Now that Margaret Thatcher is in her 80s and classified as suffering dementia, will we all be still and quiet while she is ignored for her achievements as the first woman elected on her own merits as leader in the Western World?  

Will we all forget that Thatcher, the housewife/barrister who became the first woman Prime Minister, led England out of a recession, fought against Argentina in defense of the British Falkland Islands, and confronted the influence of the Soviet Union as well as socialism?

I was invited to write the section on Women and Politics in the 1996 edition of MacMillan’s Encyclopedia of the Future and included this commentary on Thatcher: Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher showed the world that she could be as tough in leading Great Britain to war against Argentina as she was on social issues.

Margaret Thatcher paved the way in the West for more women to lead. She deserves better treatment than what this movie offers. She was not a perfect leader nor a perfect woman but she introduced the world to what women leaders can do as an offset against all male leadership, which, as we all know, has led the world to the economic condition it now suffers from in the third millennium of all male leadership.

Note:  Meryl Streep is a founding board member of the National Women’s History Museum and I am a charter member.  This is the same museum that some Congressional leaders do not want to be built on the Capitol Mall even though it is privately funded by donations.  What can possibly be the reason behind Congressional opposition to honoring the nation’s women who have achieved the impossible in a world that made it difficult for women to be far more than the ancient church declared and intended them to be?

Streep, by the way, has donated her salary of one million dollars from The Iron Lady to the National Women’s History Museum.  If you are interested in seeing this museum built, here is the address:
National Women’s History Museum
Administrative Offices
205 S. Whiting Street Suite 254
Alexandria, VA 22304

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


If you have kept up with my blogs over the past two years (and are familiar with my book and website), you know my subject is always women and the many problems women face in our culture.As a male friend pointed out to me recently, promoting women as valued citizens with desirable skills has been my life’s work.

Sexism is the most visible problem women have; and as author Barbara Berg says, sexism is alive and well in today’s world. Sexism can include little boys and females of all ages, as we can see in today’s news stories.

The November 8 online edition of The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet spells it out because there is a common thread between three of the five leading stories. Certain people (here it is women and little boys) are publicly viewed and treated as objects of male sexual satisfaction. The bonus for those males seeking sexual gratification is that no one wants to face the truth. Many turn the other way.

The stunning revelation in these stories is that cultural attitudes routinely will permit the sexual objectification of certain humans.

For instance, the story of Joe Paterno’s “moral failure” as a leader concerns his “negligence in an alleged sex-abuse scandal” involving one of his coaches. As Paterno recently said, he did what he was “supposed to.” Rather than removing the offender from power, he followed cultural rules of denial and allowed an alleged sexual predator to molest little boys for years. 

We cannot excuse Paterno’s self-serving inaction but we must look at the truth as it is:  Our society encourages us to turn the other way when someone important is involved.  Paterno was highly valuable as a coach so he reportedly did all he was supposed to do at the time to stop the abuses of his assistant coach. 

Now we know his “moral failure” as a leader may have helped him win many football games but what about those little boys who were abused by his own staffer? What is more important to our society, winning football teams or the well-being of our male children?

Another lead story about Herman Cain, presidential hopeful, demonstrates what working women have known since they finally were allowed to be educated and to enter the workplace to support themselves and families. One woman accuses Cain of soliciting sex in exchange for a job. Other women have reported his sexual advances. 

The problem is these women have waited years, decades perhaps, before reporting any of this. That makes it possible this is a political move to destroy his credibility. But it is also possible these women knew no one would believe them in the past.

Frankly we have no way of knowing truth from lies in Cain’s case, but we do know two things: 

Women (and Catholic children) have failed to report sexual abuse until recent years because they were not believed or were further abused by their abusers if they talked. Every working woman knows in her heart that those sex-for-jobs tradeoffs were made by many people over the years, including men.

Second, we all know that these abused children or women were not believed because no one wanted to face the truth. It was whispered and rumored about such things (including abortions and love affairs) but never was it publicly reported or proven.

Herman Cain’s current crisis is just one more reminder that there are no heroes, no matter how directly they appeal to those who truly want to believe there are people in politics that don’t just sound good but are highly capable of delivering the promises.

Finally, there is Berlusconi…..another womanizer bites the dust because of a huge debt crisis.  Who knows?  His country, Italy, may have accepted his deviant ways from the Roman Church based there since time began if the economy had boomed instead of dying….and if the truth had not come out about priestly sex abuse.

The bottom line of all the above is that our society has permitted people (mostly males) to learn directly or through osmosis that they can get away with these things or else be held perfectly harmless. Everyone has been trained, programmed, and excused from facing the truth about sex abuse (and other types of abuse) because we are still looking for heroes who win and the perfect human leader.

There is no such thing.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Paranoia About Powerful Women

What is it about women candidates/leaders that scares so many people? Why do these paranoia-prone commentators or writers think it serves an intellectual purpose to tear down and ridicule women?

This week's news featured many examples of the way successful women are characterized in the media by people who think it is humorous to poke fun at any woman at all.

Consider these statements by Joe McGinnis in his critique of Sarah Palin in The Slatest:

Palin's candidacy in 2008 was necessary because the "nation needed a laugh."As mayor, Palin hired a male "to do her work for her." (What is most interesting about hiring a male to do her work is that no one can name any male elected official who does not have at least a team of women taking care of his work.) Palin's candidacy in 2012 "might have been the greatest threat our republic has ever faced."

If that isn't enough ridicule to satisfy those who despise Palin, McGinnis also claimed now is the time "for grownups to get on with the serious business of 2011."   The final insult is the worst: McGinnis mentioned the Civil War as history's competing threatening event with Palin's potential candidacy in 2012.

McGinnis is unconsciously displaying his absolute fear of women candidates by his description of Sarah Palin. What he actually is reporting here is the ridiculous attitude toward women as inferior humans established in the earliest days of history by Greek philosophers and religious icons. As a result, there is a lack of accurate information and an absence of perspective about women's abilities today.

McGinnis may have followed historical protocol in his article (and book) about Sarah Palin. For those who have studied history, it is plainly relevant that women were left out of the official historical report because they were seen as inferior to men. Sexist and misogynistic comments are currently expected by a public still wondering if women can cut the mustard and lead. Proving their competency has not been easy when they are ridiculed and expected to never rock the boat. But look at those who have succeeded anyway, in spite of the odds, such as Hillary Clinton.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Women Leaders Are Here To Stay!

An old adage about women may be what the world needs to remember right now:

God first created the universe, and rested.  God then created man, and rested.  He then created woman--and since then neither God nor man has rested.

Sometime back in the late 1970s, soon after the second wave of the women's movement was underway, pollster Louis Harris publicly observed that women who run for political office "mean business and they are here to stay."  Harris was not just being a prognosticator because he knew from his surveying that women were serious about balancing the universe of the sexes in the political world.

Today we see the major changes that have taken place since the late 1970s but the world continues to be out of balance. Women in the ministry continue to be lower in rank than the men and are routinely blocked by the stained glass ceiling. The numbers are far better now for women in elective offices in the U.S. and the number of women leaders in the corporate world is amazing. None of us will ever forget the consensus of the World Economic Forum a few years ago:  If Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Brothers & Sisters they would still be around.

This blog today is the first in a series of reports on the progress of women in politics, business, and religion.
We live in a different world now than what was present in the late 1970s when Louis Harris made his pronouncement about women meaning business. We still mean business and have come a long way since I spoke to the United Methodist Women in January 1979 in Little Rock, Arkansas. My remarks were geared toward how it is to be a woman in politics but the questions these women asked at the end of my speech were significant. The interest shown and the attention they gave to women running for office was stunning. I was the only statewide female candidate at the time and few women even considered entering the political world.

My remarks in 1979 summed up the way it was for women in politics 21 years before the millennium changed. Briefly, I reported that females have been taught to avoid all situations in which they can be accused of being unladylike. Women stepping out of culturally assigned roles are considered aggressive, not assertive; hysterical rather than angry; strident instead of determined.  Any female who provokes the powerful is called rude and unladylike; if she answers press questions truthfully she is accused of talking too much.

In general, any woman stepping out of predetermined cultural roles was considered either a nut or "too ambitious" during most of the last few decades (before that few women were allowed in the game). As I pointed out to the Methodist women, I gained a lot of votes because I was a female but I lost a lot of votes because of my gender. Women just were not taken seriously at the time (and many are not today).

Is all the above still true in 2011? You may be surprised how much of the revelations above are still the basis of many people's opinions of female candidates. As presidential contenders, Hillary Clinton has borne the brunt of the harshest criticism to date but Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are not far behind. Nancy Pelosi continues to be blamed for everything that has gone wrong even though she is no longer Speaker.

The series of blogs coming up here will include women's issues, women's rights, women's history, women in politics, women leaders, women in business, women in religion, and women's roles in our society. All these concepts will be explained in ways that will give the historical cultural background on women's roles in today's world.

An illustrative metaphor about the way females are customarily viewed (based on historical treatment and beliefs) can be found in the recent shock from J.C. Penney's tee shirt for girls:

I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.
Instead of blaming Penney's for encouraging girls to pay more attention to their looks than their brains, just remember that this is one of those cultural curses on women that have come down throughout history.

Note:  This is my first blog since the end of March and Gerry Ferraro's untimely death because many things have interfered with my writings. Now I am fully prepared and have arranged the time in my life to keep up with the things I love, including the blogs.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


On July 4, 1984 I was one of 23 elected and appointed women leaders who called on Senator Walter Mondale (Dem. MN) in Minneapolis-St. Paul hoping to convince him to choose a woman as his vice-presidential nominee.

We did not ask for a particular woman but we did speak strongly in favor of a woman vice-president. The rest is history since he chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate.

The women involved in meeting with Mondale were strong and experienced believers in women’s leadership capabilities, recognizing the potential women offer for more balance in the political world. Mondale's selection of Ferraro a week later gave us hope for the future of women leaders but it took 27 years for it to happen once again.

Gerry Ferraro has always been known for her candor, something that is not always appreciated by politicians and many cultural leaders. It seems that the “family secrets” are supposed to remain just that: secret. Sensitive issues, especially sexism and racism, are taboo because society has worn blinders on those subjects for centuries on end.

In 2008 when Gerry commented that Obama’s candidacy was historic, she was immediately attacked as a racist. Here is how she responded (and it is an outstanding example of her no-nonsense candor):

"Why is his candidacy historic? Can you give me another reason why it is an historic campaign? Why are we afraid to say this? I am absolutely stunned by this whole thing. I’m not saying he isn’t qualified, never did I say that. He is very smart. He has experience issues, but if George Bush can learn to run the country, so can this guy."

What is significant in her statement is that she pointed out many times in the last 27 years that her selection as the vice-presidential nominee by Mondale was based on her being female.

Lynn Sherr, former ABC News correspondent and author, writes in The Daily Beast March 26 about Gerry’s comments election night when the Mondale candidacy carried only his home state of Minnesota:

"The days of discrimination are numbered," she said. "American women will never be second-class citizens again."

Ferraro’s wisdom about her candidacy is revealed in her New York Times obituary today. She wrote a letter to the Times about her place in history in 1988 by pointing out that she would not have been selected by Mondale if she had not been a female. On the political realities of 1984, she candidly addressed the Reagan factor by saying that he had been at the height of his popularity, the economy was moving again, inflation and interest rates were down. The final clincher:

"Throwing Ronald Reagan out of office…..(at that time)….would have required God on the ticket…and She was not available."

Even today, in 2011, the United States remains one of only three major countries without ever having a woman at the helm (the others are Italy and Japan).

It is time to correct this long-standing problem by remembering Geraldine Ferraro's legacy to women and to the world.

Note: Many years have passed and I do not remember all the people at the Mondale meeting but I do remember Lt. Gov. Marlene Johnson (MN), Judy Goldsmith, president of NOW, and Bob Bechtel, Democratic party consultant and Fox News consultant, like Gerry.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Road We Have Traveled

The weekend of March 19-20, 2011, is a big one in several ways.

First, the biggest full moon in 18 years is set for Saturday March 19, a moon that portends to create highly emotional events.

Second, the Spring Equinox is Sunday, March 20, an event that signifies rebirth and new beginnings.

During times like these, crashing economies, failing banks, earthquakes, nuclear holocaust possibilities, tsunamis, and manmade wars in the Middle East warn us that we have not gone down the good road to success, peace, and prosperity for quite a while.

Instead, we have gone down the road of imbalance in all things. Three millennia of all male leadership in business, politics and religion with rapidly occurring personal, spiritual and physical conflicts are an indication we need drastic change.

The best possible change includes balancing leadership between the sexes. When the World Economic Forum strongly suggests more women are needed in leadership positions, there is hope that balance between the sexes will finally be achieved.

Women's History Month generates more interest every year about the achievements of women throughout history. People are hungry to know more about what women can do and actively seek out the information. We have come a long way since the 1970s when women finally began to be written back into the historical saga.

On a personal note, my sister Dottie sent a May 7, 1972 clipping from the Arkansas Gazette recently that is one of the best historical reports on just how women were trained and viewed before the equality race became a necessity.

The Gazette society page featured the 1972 Junior League of Little Rock provisionals with photos of all 36 women, two of whom were still single. Each married woman is named by their married names in the article and cutlines. I was named "Mrs. Charles D. Hughes" instead of my name Julia Rumph Hughes.

In case you do not get the meaning of this, all women at the time were considered appendages and accessories to their husbands, not individuals with their own talents and skills. Our value was found only in how we accommodated everyone except our personal selves. We women did not value ourselves in a relationship with husbands at all: we valued the needs of the husband as we were taught to do. We were there for the benefit of husband and family only.

Today we women value our ideas, goals, and dreams. That valuation is the difference between the 1970s and today after years of fighting for equality in all things.

In 2008 Hillary Clinton faced the brunt of that valuation of her personal being as an accommodation and accessory only in relation to her husband.

As a result of this 2008 slapdown by both men and women in her own party, she has become a world leader extraordinaire where everyone recognizes her as her own person, not an appendage.

Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor in their recent book Traveling with Pomegranates have coined a perfect description of Hillary Clinton that reveals what she has done for the world of women:

"Women who bear the weight of opposition"..."create a shelter for the rest of us."

When you are in doubt about what we must do as women to promote peace and prosperity in this world of ours, remember the Hillary shelter.

Monday, February 21, 2011


February is coming to an end, spring is close at hand, and change is all around us. One of those changes is an increase in the number of speaking engagements I am receiving and am so delighted to accept.

I will be posting my upcoming appearances on my blog calendar (under construction) as both a reminder to me and to my friends who follow my words in print and from the rostrum. By the first of March my calendar will appear on this blog on a regular basis and I will increase my blogging days.

I am now working on a second book about women, history and leadership. A special Facebook fan page will feature excerpts from both books plus my published speeches being currently featured in textbooks and other venues.

Today's subject is about the abusive treatment of women. We are seeing in the news today an increase in the attacks, both personal and political, on women. Note that these events are breaking through the consciousness of all women as threats to personal well-being and as reminders of what females suffered in history.

Never forget that history until the 20th century completely ignored women as unimportant to world progress. Due to socially enforced illiteracy, women produced few written records in history. Records produced were written by males, about males, and regarding male achievement.

Women’s role in history was strictly limited to being support structures for men’s deeds and misdeeds. Suffrage changed all that. (See blogs of September 28 and December 4, 2010,

Congress apparently wants to ignore women’s progress begun in 1920. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina leads a group holding up legislation that honors the history of women and suffragists. All that is being asked of Congress, as required by law, is a vote to permit the establishment of the American Women’s History Museum on the national mall.

DeMint says there is no need for a women's history museum. Since the money has already been raised by private sources, his opposition is not because of a request for financing.

Why do we need a museum honoring American women in history and the present day? Here is a good reference point to help readers decide:

To say women have been ignored in history is inadequate.

To point out that women in America were the property of men, with no rights as human beings, in the 1600s is a shocking reminder of our historic “inferior” status.

To remember that women in 2008 had gained the personal status of being able to run for president (Hillary Clinton) or vice president (Sarah Palin) indicates just how far women have come in more than four centuries on this continent.

To recognize in 2011 that Nancy Pelosi served (2006-2011) as the first woman Speaker of the House but was not honored with her photo on the covers of the two leading newsmagazines Time and Newsweek is a major setback for women because all other Speakers, even those removed for corruption, in recent times have been featured on those covers.

Even if you are the opposite political party from Pelosi, or just plain do not like her, remember that she was not corrupt and was not removed from office other than by partisan power change. There is no reason for her to have been omitted from the journalistic recognition awarded to male Speakers….except, that is, if the strong belief that women are inferior to men still exists in journalism. (Note: My late husband was an editor in Little Rock never believed women are inferior. He and Hillary Clinton each claimed the other to be their "favorite political spouse.")

If you wish to see this privately funded, not taxpayer funded, museum showcasing the history of American women, please go to and sign the petition calling on Congress to act on stalled legislation.

Don’t sign if you believe women are inferior to men.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Worldview of Proactive Women

Women’s history, for those who care to dig for it, tells the stories of women in our past who have made a difference. Two of those stories, from the Americas, are about butterflies and iron-jawed angels. Both groups of women protested civil rights violations, unfair treatment, brutality, and rigid control of individuals by abusive governments.

November 15, 1917 is remembered as the Night of Terror, when women protestors, aka iron-jawed angels, peacefully and quietly holding signs asking for the vote in front of the White House, were arrested, jailed, and physically abused by both District of Columbia law enforcement and federal officials.

November 25 is designated by the United Nations as International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women because it was on this day in 1960 when the government-protesting Mirabal sisters, Las Mariposas aka the butterflies in the Dominican Republic, were assassinated by ruthless dictator Trujillo.

Both of the above historical events are remembered for good cause. They dramatically illustrate the worldview of proactive women seeking to change social and political wrongs.

Women today are making history by acting individually or in groups to protest against what they consider personal, corporate, political or social wrongs. As an example, a sobering view of the consequences of 9/11 and a continuing wartime environment is the media focus on American torture stories. We do not find much in official history about the genocide of Native Americans, lynching of African Americans, the official refusal to recognize women as human beings with brains until 1920, and the commitment of women into mental institutions just because their families could not control them. These events did not spell torture until the third millennium when the truth began to be leaked to the world.

Now the truth has come to lodge in our young people who begin learning torture by playing electronic games of “blame and punish.” When parents watch the news on television, more war torture stories are absorbed by these young people. It is no longer just a reality of wartime. Now it has a residual effect on youth.

Sarah Sentilles reports on MS Magazine Blog a very real action by a 22-year-old young man who accused his girlfriend of cheating on him. He waterboarded her! Sentilles article, Waterboarding in the Living Room, “offers a glimpse into a U.S. torture culture that relies on salvific violence, misogyny and legal hypocrisy.” (

What is poignant about this waterboarding incident is that it is no surprise that this young man has been indoctrinated by ancient religious history’s declaration that the female is always guilty, responsible, wrong, evil, and he, as a male, has the right to force her into redemption. This unconscious and unrecognized continuing belief about females plays a role in those electronic blame and punish games that this young man probably continues to play.

This social rather than military waterboarding incident is another reminder of the Middle Ages witchhunts by the established early church. Sentilles, an Episcopal priest, duly notes: “Religious misogyny implicitly sanctions violence against women.”

The Butterflies and Iron-Jawed Angels today can be found in MS Magazine Blog and Sarah Sentilles, among others.

This is the first in a series of columns about “worldviews” of certain groups in today’s world. Watch my Facebook (Julia Hughes Jones) Wall and my Tweets on Twitter (goodcropgirls) for the next provocative and disturbing question.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Less than two weeks remain before the mid-term elections on November 2 when the current scapegoats for the nation’s problems will be voted out and another group of scapegoats voted in. The Tea Party, associated with the Republicans, and PUMAs, associated with Democrats, are splinter groups creating havoc in the heartland elections this year. Both groups have built up more power than the incumbents realize.

The acronym PUMA, or Party Unity My Ass, is not one I stumbled across in my extensive readings about history, women, politics, and the problems that divide us. My friend and fellow blogger, Still4Hill, an insider and PUMA blogger with this group of dedicated Democrats, thoroughly provoked my curiosity with her knowledge of PUMA. Now I know this label is plastered to all those women and many men who were infuriated by the media and the party itself for insisting on Hillary Clinton’s early withdrawal from the presidential race in 2008.

These are the folks who continue to experience anger at how the first woman presidential contender for a major party nomination was treated by the white boys club in both politics and the press. Of even greater significance today is that these people, because of their experience watching Hillary Clinton’s campaign, are now recognizing and monitoring the underlying cultural biases against females, no matter what the party (or lack thereof). Once that bias is revealed it is an impossible task to ignore it.

It was Still4Hill’s response during the week of August 17 to a written party solicitation for her vote in November 2010 that opened the hidden door to the PUMAs for me. She speaks for many of us (and not only PUMAs) with the following statement:

I vote in EVERY election. I voted in my state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday in 2008. I also saw my governor shred my vote on the convention floor in Denver. It seems to me that the last people in the world who care about my vote are the Democratic Party leadership…..

Still4Hill ended her response by requesting her party demonstrate how the party “honestly cares about women, suffrage, enfranchisement, honesty, and fairness.” For more on this, see her blog @

As much as I would like to say the Democrats have a monopoly on antics such as the above, it is impossible. Over the years I have been a part of both parties, and the Arkansas Democrats even allowed me to be an Al Gore Super Delegate in 1988. I, too, had to give up my vote to oblige the demands of the party.

Switching parties in 1993, the Republicans never quite trusted me even though I left the Democrats for good cause. The unspoken rule is that a woman is never to challenge the white boys without permission, and both parties are run by the white boys. A woman is especially not to go against a sitting U.S. Senate icon without being perpetually rebuked for such a mortal sin. The stage whispers at the time hoarsely mentioned that, “She did the unthinkable and she just cannot do that!” Even better was the loudly proclaimed question, “Who does she think she is?”

This is NOT a Republican or Democrat thing as much as it is a male thing. Men do not appreciate menacing women who do not do as they are bidden to do. And the women supporting those men are wont to punish the women challengers or mavericks even more than the men do.

History is replete with examples of menacing women bothering the white boys. In 1912 an ad was placed in Wisconsin publications about the upcoming vote on women’s suffrage. Here is the text from the ad published by Progress Publishing, Watertown, Wisconsin:

DANGER! Women’s Suffrage Would Double the Irresponsible Vote
It is a MENACE to the Home, Men’s Employment and to All Business!
.. a separate ballot printed on pink paper…… will be handed to you on November 5. Be sure and put your cross (X) in the square after the word “no” and be sure and vote this pink ballot.

Wisconsin men voted down suffrage on that pink ballot in 1912 by a margin of 63 to 37 percent. Two of the most widely cited reasons for failure of the Wisconsin referendum were the schisms within the women’s movement itself and the perceived link between suffrage and temperance. Both of these reasons are rooted in American culture as negative female attributes: Women fight with each other continually and no women want their men to hang out in bars drinking.

Four years after the Wisconsin defeat of suffrage, 7,000 women converged on St. Louis to line the streets along the route that male delegates followed to the national Democratic Convention. Dressed in all white with yellow sashes and carrying yellow parasols, these women quietly stood in a “golden lane of silence.” When the Democrats yielded to the ladies and put suffrage on the platform, a contemporary writer described the joyously waving parasols as a sea of golden poppies. These golden poppies pleased their male masters by being quiet and looking pretty.

Ten years later, my father’s two older sisters were students at Lindenwood College in St. Louis when the League of Women Voters organized a collegiate group (a photograph is in their college yearbook). Dorothy and Elise Rumph had the opportunity to join this group in February 1926 and were given an opportunity of “creating a more intelligent interest and active participation in American citizenship. The state and national affiliates of the league give to the new voters opportunity to study the field of the woman in politics and to become acquainted with the work of the national leaders.”

What saddens those who understand what is going on today is that the media and party structures in 2008 emotionally projected devotion for Obama and hatred for Hillary based partially on cultural sexual biases passed down from ancient history. John McCain and Sarah Palin had much the same treatment but McCain’s was centered more on his admission of not being up on economics. Palin? Well, she suffered the same treatment as Hillary based on cultural sexual biases but Palin’s was more ridicule than hatred.

Remember the media and party treatment of both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin and all the other women running for all levels of office in the mid-term elections. Do not forget how many of them have been called whores and witches and any other medieval negative adjectives assigned to females in the Middle Ages when you vote on November 2.

Most of all, never forget the unconstitutional jailing and abuse of the suffragists protesting at the White House gates in 1917.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Petitions To Protests To Prison?

Many years ago the Catholic Church drove me away because it was plain to see they considered all women inferior, mindless, and in need of perpetual guidance from males.

Church officials depended on the work of women parishioners but that is what it was: women's work.

Today both political parties have convinced me that they, too, believe women are inferior, mindless, and in need of perpetual guidance from males. They, too, depend on the work of women, especially the boiler room girls, to keep the parties moving along.

There is a modern twist to this attitude toward women today because it is finally acknowledged by most males, political and otherwise, that women are half of humanity, more than half of the voting public, and far less than 20% of the leadership in America.

The Democrats have their Closet Skeletons in History about the treatment of women. The most famous story is the Wilson White House trying to put Alice Paul into a mental institution for not minding the men in 1917. The other part of that story is that District of Columbia law enforcement made certain women petitioners and then protesters would go down in history for obstructing sidewalk traffic in Washington D.C. and promptly going to jail for it.

Now the Republicans have the perfect candidate for GOP Closet Skeleton in History in Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Regardless of his tea party flirtations, this Senator along with another, has put a hold on legislation that honors the history of women in the USA. As the outspoken party in this, DeMint says there is no need for an American Women's History Museum on the mall in our nation's capital. Citing other entities that have a similar mission, he declares that it is only a matter of time before these groups ask Congress for money.

Gail Collins, New York Times columnist, wrote about this subject recently and here is the link:}

In case it has been forgotten, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is housed in Washington D.C. because an art collecting American couple noticed in world travels in the 1960s that not a single woman artist was featured in a single museum of art anywhere in the world.

That sad situation was corrected by this couple and now this arts museum is housed in the old Masonic Temple in D.C. This is a fitting tribute to the ascending status of women because Masons revere the sacred feminine yet exclude women members.

The "ascending status of women" is the key phrase here because Senator DeMint and his party (no longer my party) are looking to begin the "descending status of women."

If you wish to see this privately funded, not taxpayer funded, museum showcasing the history of American women, please go to and sign the petition calling on Congress to act on stalled legislation.

In addition, another worthwhile website to learn about what American women have done in the last 234 years, go to:

National Women's History Project
3440 Airway Dr Ste F
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

The time has come to stop any descending status of women in America.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Silent Sentinels and Their Night of Terror

Lucy Burns was chained by her hands to the cell bars above her head, where she hung for the rest of the night barely able to breathe.

Dora Lewis was thrown into a dark cell and then knocked out cold when her jailers smashed her head against an iron bed.

Other women were dragged, beaten, choked, pinched, twisted and kicked by their jailers.

These women were imprisoned for 60 days by order of the District of Columbia courts and were subjected to unsanitary prison conditions and worm-infested food. Drinking water was a privilege bestowed only on those who were subservient to their masters.

Who were the prisoners? They were women protesters whose organizations petitioned President Woodrow Wilson to support them in pushing for the vote for women. When he did not act on their behalf, they picketed the White House.

Who were the jailers? Acting under the authority of both local and federal government officials in Washington D. C. on November 15, 1917, these “jailers” were all white American males, many dressed in business suits, some wearing hats.

This was the Night of Terror for women suffragists in the United States of America.

Women who lawfully picketed the White House politely demanding the right to vote were arrested and jailed. Their civil rights as citizens were violated in our democratic society where concepts of individual liberties are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and subject to the due process of law….to everyone except females in 1917.

Forty prison guards rampaged throughout the night of November 15, 1917 wielding clubs with their warden’s blessing against 33 women protesters.

The United States had chosen to “handle” these protesters by arresting them for obstructing sidewalk traffic. When the warden ordered his guards to teach those girls a lesson because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote, word finally leaked out to the press. Newspaper readers were horrified at the tales being told by observers.

The leader of these brave and determined women, Alice Paul, was a Quaker whose religion taught equality of the sexes. She was arrested and jailed, refused to eat, was tied to a chair, then force fed with a tube jabbed down into her throat until she bled profusely from her nose and mouth.

Paul organized the Silent Sentinels, a group of women who rotated their time to quietly stand at the White House gates with signs meant to challenge or embarrass Wilson. These women knew they were second-class citizens in their country of birth, yet fervently believed in their status as human beings who were entitled to equal standing with males, rights that were guaranteed by the Constitution.

Wilson tried to get control of Alice Paul by calling in legal and medical minds, all male of course, to discuss how they could permanently institutionalize Paul by declaring her insane. One psychiatrist present offered his daring belief that “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”

The interesting side of this story is that there were actually women psychiatrists in America at that time but more was known about the many women who were institutionalized for mental problems than about the few women practicing medicine. Mental problems were a safe diagnosis for those women whose families wanted to be rid of them.

U.S. Senator Tom Leighton was so distraught about his wife’s participation in the suffrage movement that he took away her allowance (remember that women could not own property and relied on the men in their lives for financial support). When she was arrested, he took their two daughters to his mother because his wife was “unfit.”

After she was sent to the workhouse with other suffragists, he found and read her diary. When he read her heart felt statement that American women are not free whether in prison or out, he was stunned. Calling on his wife in prison, she slipped him a note about the abuses….and this is how the press finally became aware of how American officials were treating American women.

The National Women’s History Project says “American suffragists played a major role in writing women back into history” after we had been omitted or erased from the public record until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Without knowing our history, we can never achieve what we are capable of achieving in this world.

For more about women’s history in the United States as collated by this worthwhile organization, go to

For more about the suffragists and how far we have come since 1920, see my video by going to and clicking on Julia’s video. You will note that the background music is Beethoven’s Ninth. It is a fitting choice because this innovative symphony, the first with a vocal score, has themes of equality and redemption linked to the common quest for freedom in politics, art, and particularly freedom of the mind and spirit.

What else did the suffragettes and suffragists ask for more than freedom to interact as citizens of their countries?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Are Women Defective Males?

Cicero, the great Roman orator, once said:

To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child.

Poetic license allows Cicero's warning to be updated and converted into a warning to today's females, especially those who accept a second class status in everything as God's will:

To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a "defective male."

Females in the world of the early organized Roman church were suspected of being less than human, mentally deficient and sexual temptresses leading men astray. Are women, then, defective males?

First, take a look at the dictionary definition of defective:

"...having faults....incomplete intelligence....noticeably subnormal physically or mentally."

Even more revealing are the synonyms for defective:
imperfect, incomplete, inadequate.

A new book recently published by Grace Walker, whose in-depth research included traveling to the Holy Land, reveals how the Catholic Church as an organized movement set out to denigrate all females past and future as "defective males."

As Walker writes, the reinvention of Mary Magdalene by Pope Gregory the Great "marked the beginning of a disturbing pattern of behavior that would contaminate the church and mutate and grow into the very fabric of the church for thousands of years."

Put in a different way, when Pope Gregory proclaimed Mary Magdalene a harlot redeemed by Christ about 1400 years ago, he set into motion a movement to keep women out of leadership, both in the church and in the world.

Walker's book, Women are Defective Males: The Calculated Denigration of Women by the Catholic Church and Its Disastrous Consequences Today, is written from the perspective of a Catholic convert educated in theology who loves her church.

The author happened to be a Methodist (as was I) who married a Catholic and then converted to Catholicism (as did I). So intent was she to learn about her new religion that she went back to school and earned a Master of Arts in Theology. Her church grabbed her immediately and capitalized on her dedication and skills by putting her to work in the church. As Director of Development for her Catholic parish she established new ministries and fellowship programs in her church.

Walker's superlative credentials give her a sturdy platform to write a book about her chosen church and what she has learned from its history.
According to Walker, Catholic seminaries today are teaching the "old school" catechism (including misogyny), and Mary Magdalene is once again being revealed as the most famous harlot in world art and Christian history. In the late 1960s Rome backed off that invented charge because there is no proof the Magdalene is a repentant prostitute as Pope Gregory professed. Now the charge is back.

When younger Catholics today are shocked, offended, and argumentative to learn that Jesus was Jewish, as Walker reports, it is visible proof that Rome does not insist on biblical studies. Keep in mind that Catholic dogma supersedes the bible in the eyes of the Catholic hierarchy.

As for women being defective men, Walker knows from her biblical studies and first hand interviews and research in the Holy Land that Jesus was "a Galilean Jew who preached equality for all: men, women, and children. His treatment of women particularly was considered radical and revolutionary for his time," she says.

Radical and revolutionary? Jesus knew that male and female are equal as created by God. It was those who argue against that truth who are the radicals and revolutionaries.

A Florida resident, the author has dedicated a portion of the book proceeds to support services for the homeless and for survivors of sexual abuse by priests.

As a postscript to this blog, my copy of Grace Walkers Women Are Defective Men came by way of a Catholic survivor of sexual abuse by her priest. I am purchasing this book to send to friends who are now fallen away Catholics, like me.

(Let me assure the reader that all Catholics, whether parishioners or priests,cannot be grouped into the false-theology/sexual abuse/misogyny sect of this mighty organization.)

Labels: Catholic dogma, Catholic priests, females, Holy Land, Jews, parity zone for women, sexual abuse, misogyny, theology,sexually abused children, Grace Walker, Julia Hughes Jones, radicals, revolutionaries, Christ.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mourning Doves, Called Angel Doves By Many, Are Here!

On Sunday, May 23, I noticed a flurry of activity on my patio. Quietly opening the sliding door, I stepped out in time to see a mourning dove placing nesting materials into her chosen spot to lay her eggs. She turned to look me in the eye, letting me know she was staying awhile, and then continued to build her nest on the patio wall in a hanging pot.

Almost in confirmation of her communication to me, her mate flew over and perched on the edge of the earthenware pot. Both birds eyed me without fear and I gave them my quiet blessing for their offspring.

Papa dove comes back daily so mama dove can fly off for food and water, and, so far, bathroom privileges. When she returns to the nest, papa leaves again and perches on one of the utility lines on the street.

The day before mama dove came I had placed an already-bloomed orchid plant in a wall-mounted, hand-painted earthenware pot in anticipation of a possible new bloom. Instead, it seems we will now have mourning dove chicks born on top of the orchid plant. Now this is a mourning dove with good taste.

My neighbors tell me I need to shoo the bird away and destroy the nest. Somehow that does not seem right with nature so I choose to live with the bird for a few weeks and enjoy the fledgling chicks when they hatch.

What is most interesting about this bird is how she seems to trust that nothing will bother her chicks. In fact, when my grandsons (ages 8 to 11) are here and pass through the patio on the way to the pool, mama dove just calmly watches.

Today something changed. Upstairs in my condo, I kept hearing a mourning dove’s song nearby. It was too close to be coming from the patio below the upstairs balcony so I went to the balcony door and opened it. There, perched on the railing, was papa dove singing his song. As I was to discover in the next few minutes, he had come to me with the news that one of the two eggs had fallen out of the nest.

Papa dove met me downstairs on the patio as I came upon the broken egg. Looking at papa and mama on the nest, I let them know how sad I felt. Shortly after I picked up the broken egg shell, papa dove flew away to perch again on the utility wire above the street.

Some time later in the afternoon, I noticed mama dove flying away from the nest in pursuit of food and papa perching on the utility wire above us. Quickly I opened the sliding door to take a peek at the last little egg and, behold, there was a baby chick plus an unhatched egg in the nest! So papa dove really had brought a birth announcement instead of a death notice!

The significance of all this has only a slight relationship with my usual blog subjects of women and equality; yet, it is momentous in the messages one can glean from the mourning doves, both male and female,following the course of nature to birth their chicks.

Male doves, just like male humans, are proud when the offspring are born. The female (of both species)is just as proud but far busier than the father, who has the time to go out and brag to friends and neighbors about the glorious new chick in the nest.

Unlike human males, male birds have never asserted their exalted status and superiority over female birds. Male birds play the role of the proud father and a co-provider easily. They love strutting and puffing up feathers while showing off to females, but they have never found it necessary to build the male ego by declaring to be a cut above the female.

Ancient legends say that mourning doves are prophets bringing messages of wisdom to humankind: Mourn what has passed but awaken to the promise of the future.

This pair of nesting doves at St. Augustine Beach reminds us that balance in nature comes when the male of the species is supportive of the female and the female is supportive of the male. It takes both the male and the female to continue existence on this earth. When the two sexes are in harmony, so is the world.

What also has meaning in this mourning dove story is that the nesting began on Pentecost Sunday (May 23 this year), a day of deep significance for at least two of the world’s monotheistic religions.

Pentecost originated from the Jewish Feast of Weeks, fifty days after Passover, when Moses was given the Ten Commandments and Hebrews were freed from bondage.

Christianity recognizes Pentecost as the birth of the early church when the Holy Spirit descended upon the many circles of people who were followers of Christ and united them all into one body.

What the mourning doves and Pentecost seem to represent today is awareness that there is something out there in nature that gives people a purpose greater than themselves. This “something out there in nature” is whatever you wish to call it; what is important is that you respect the message we are tuning in on.

It is best we seek and find that purpose as equal partners, male and female, rich and poor, educated and ignorant, and people of all colors, before the environmental damages from oil spills, pesticides and modern warfare bring back the Holy Spirit.

This time She comes with fire in Her eyes for the scientific and spiritual blasphemy we have allowed to consume us today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Taught to be Second Class Citizens?

Are women taught to be second class citizens?

As Lena Horne once said, "You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way."

It may come as a shock to some but women certainly are not first class citizens in the USA. It is historically routine for women's work on behalf of our culture, our careers, our families, and our government to be downplayed or categorized as helping the males in our lives. (But Hillary Clinton has helped her husband and now acts on her own, with or without her husband's help.)

Suffragists worked for decades to gain the right for women to vote, yet continue to be totally ignored by our culture, our government and even by women themselves! Unless they are women's studies majors, most of the young women today know very little about the pain and suffering suffragists went through to finally achieve electoral voting rights.

Arguing the point, remember that we have ten (10!) federal holidays and they all honor males. These are holidays that recognize the achievements of powerful males and the exceptional moments in history commemorating special men (Martin Luther King for example).

No women or woman has ever been so honored. No female has ever been legislatively higher than the current Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi. No woman has ever been executively higher than several women cabinet members named by the males they supported.

Geraldine Ferraro was chosen by Walter Mondale in 1984 as his vice presidential nominee. Hillary Clinton almost gained the presidential nomination in 2008. Sarah Palin was the first conservative woman to run as a vice presidential candidate when John McCain tapped her as his choice in 2008.

It is bad enough that we are one of the very few western countries to have never elected a woman president or prime minister. If you agree that it makes sense to (at the very least!) honor women suffragists for their work, their sacrifices, their pain, and their suffering to gain the right for women to vote, please go to the website below and sign a petition to Congress asking that this glaring omission be rectified by setting aside at least one special day a year to honor those women suffragists. The National Women's History Project suggests March 8 because it will be 90 years in 2011 since women won the right to vote and the 100th observance of International Women's Day.

And this time, let's not excuse Congress for setting a day of recognition for the suffragists by legalizing the day as a choice between the honored women and the employee's birthday (as they did in MLK's holiday). That act insures the continuation of second class citizenship for anyone other than white males.

For all interested parties, do not forget that it is a Women's Studies group of mostly women at the University of Central Florida who are launching this grassroots campaign to honor suffragists and to rectify the way history and our government have disregarded our suffragists for more than 99 years.

Sign this petition and stay posted to the Weeds blog for more upcoming information about the second-class (!)women in American history:

Mahatma Gandhi, paraphrased, once said:

First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win.

Go for it ladies!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Hidden Power of Women

Today, April 28, 2010, is Secretary's Day, a day set aside to honor secretaries, administrative professionals, office managers, and executive assistants. 

Who are these people that are considered important enough to have a special day commemorating them?

It is a good guess to say they are mostly women, as indicated in this definition offered by WikiAnswers:
     Secretary's Day - also known as Administrative Professionals Day - is a day to honor that    secretary of yours who arranges conferences, greets investors, stocks the office with those hard-to-find supplies, and goes out of her way to make sure the Subway guy doesn't put pickles on your turkey sandwich.

It can be safely assumed, regardless of WikiAnswers, that these women secretaries are more than employees taking care of the boss.

These are the women who excel in every aspect of the job, accepting the responsibility without holding official power.

These are the women who generally know more than the boss knows about the business but would never let him know.

These are the women who, both at home and on the job, are like the glue that holds everything together.

These are the women who are like the proverbial horse that does all the work, yet the cart driver gets the tip.

Someone, probably a male, once said that an executive decides on a course of action and then gets someone else to do the work.

Someone else, probably a female, once said that the fate of secretaries is having all the responsibility and none of the power.

If you read my book, The Secret History of Weeds, you will see that women have managed to wield that elusive power throughout history by being the talented, assertive, dedicated, and responsible people they naturally are.

Every truthful male boss will tell you that these secretaries are the lifeblood of the office. Without them, the boss knows everything suffers.

If you have a woman in your life you depend on, tell her today how much you appreciate her. She does not have to be a secretary, administrative assistant, lawyer, doctor, teacher, or anything other than a woman who acts responsibly and does her best to perform as best she can.  Most women fit this description. The ones who do not are those who have been abused, misused, ignored and/or shamed. They can recover only when someone cares enough to help them build back their self-confidence in being a woman.

This is the hidden power of women: Just being female!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Spring is finally here in Northeast Florida after almost three months of colder than usual weather. The snowbirds have a favorite saying when the weather is abnormally cold: "Let’s go to Florida and get out of this cold!” Even the snowbirds from Canada don’t laugh at that one any more. It has been too cold to laugh.

Today, the Spring Equinox, is a new beginning with temperatures in the 70s and the ocean bluer than the sunny skies. The major reason snowbirds flock to Florida is because the weather normally is sunny and mild in wintertime.

We hope the new beginning today, March 20, is more than just a “purple patch” in the weather pattern. If you have never heard this term before, a purple patch, according to Wiki, is a period of excellent performance where nearly everything seems to go right and work properly. It is also a general and unequivocally positive reference to outstanding achievement. When an athlete excels, he or she is said to be enjoying a purple patch.

“Purple Patch” was the headline assigned to an excerpt from my book, The Secret History of “Weeds” or What Women Need To Know About Their History, and posted by some mysterious person on the Internet February 24, 2010. What is interesting about this posting is that so far, except for a site named democratic underground, all other sites have been in the Middle East. The very first one was in Balochistan, the least populated yet geographically the largest and poorest area of Pakistan.

Balochistan is culturally tribal, patriarchal, conservative (in the sense of centuries-old traditions) and dominated by chieftains who resist educational development of the people. The status of women can be described as lower than the lowest. For example, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported in August 2008 that five women (including three teenagers) were beaten, shot, and then buried alive for the crime of “seeking to choose their own husbands.”

When the world community went into an uproar over this incident, the Balochistan legislator representing the area in the Pakistani Parliament asked his fellow legislators not to make a fuss over the incident. His summing up statement as to why these women and their fates are not important in the overall scheme of things is a classic example of misogynistic thinking the Taliban is noted for: “These are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them. Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.”

Now we see. Any woman in Balochistan who seeks to choose her own husband is indulging in an immoral act.

The “centuries-old tradition” of beating, shooting and burying alive women who exert their human right to choose a spouse is one of those conservative attitudes that must end immediately. It is just one more reason to add to the long list (beginning with 9/11/01) of reasons to continue the resistance against the Taliban and al-Qaida because NATO generals complain that the Taliban insurgency is being directed from Balochistan.

The “centuries-old traditions” must end if the female side of humanity is ever to be free. On this first day of Spring 2010, and in the USA, Women’s History Month, remember human rights include women’s rights worldwide.

Let us hope for a “purple patch” period in the Middle East where everything seems to go right and work properly and the female side of humanity is treated with honor and respect.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guest Blog Poetry by West African Priestess

Poetry by Melba Farrell, priestess of a West African religious tradition of the Yoruba.

The first, Fall from Grace, is about women’s fall from grace in the beginning of recorded history and how their God-given gifts have been repressed.

Forgiveness is what Melba Farrell sees as necessary for women to move forward in life and avoid stagnation. Without forgiveness, she says, women will never be able to work side-by-side in equal standing with men to create a bountiful, magnificent world.


When did women lose their grace
Was it in the Garden of Eden
That they lost their place
Was it their knowledge of self
Knowing that they are leaders
Was that the sin that damned them to be silent participators
When actually did women fall from grace
Was it when the angels
Were kicked out of Heaven
Forgive me, but they were never forgiven
Since in their place a man stood
And took their grace
Then claimed to shed his blood
For the entire Human Race
What a disgrace
When Mary Magdalene lost her place
Now who is here to save face
Who will defend her
Surely not the mortal man
Who has identified her
As being a whore and product of His rib
In a warring world and an angry land
That men created, and women upheld
From the beginning
Hence they have fallen from grace
And have yet to regain their rightful place
As the mothers of all in every world, in every place
Still they satisfy men who have stolen their grace
Whilst men pretend to be the true leaders
Of women’s creation, "The Entire Human Race."
--------Melba Farrell, Asheville NC, March 2010


Forgiveness is a test
To pass it you must do your best
By being courageous in your heart
And having a mind that is smart

Forgiveness is a test
That reminds you, that you are the best
At loving another human being
Who hurt you in the past, it seemed

Forgiveness is a test
That affords opportunities
Opportunities to give what is missing
Like kindness, that is a blessing

Forgiveness is a test
That uplifts the un-forgetful spirit
Releasing old memories
And finding new remedies, of love

Forgiveness is a test
That gives the ability to heal
Balancing just how you think
And also, how you feel

--------Melba Farrell, Asheville, NC, March 2010