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.” (http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/11/15/waterboarding-in-the-living-room/)

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

WHITE BOYS CLUB, TEA PARTY, AND PARTY UNITY MY ASS!

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 @ http://departmentofhomegirlsecurity.wordpress.com/

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: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/opinion/25collins.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss}

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 www.nwhm.org 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
http://www.nwhp.org

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 nwhp@nwhp.org

For more about the suffragists and how far we have come since 1920, see my video by going to www.juliahughesjones.com 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:

http://www.petitiononline.com/w2238868/petition.html

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

PURPLE PATCHES and SNOWBIRDS

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.


FALL FROM GRACE

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
3/17/10mf

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back to Boiler Rooms and Bedrooms

Headlines are blaring today about the Ben-Hur of Massachusetts, a tea party electoral victory, and the message voters are sending to Washington.

To put these descriptive terms into the context of the third millennium, let us all remember that:

Ben-Hur became a slave to his Roman masters.

The Boston tea party was staged at a time when women were owned by men.

The message broadcasts clearly that women must get back to the bedroom and the boiler room and forget about political leadership.

Here is what is being said about the most recent female casualty:

Martha Coakley’s election loss came about because she did not work hard enough; she took a vacation between the primary and the general elections; she does not know enough about baseball; she is not liked; she is too tough; she is too calm; her campaign was poorly run.

The most catastrophic distortion of all is that Coakley reportedly refused to stand in the cold at Fenway Park and ask for “the peasants” votes because she already had the election won.

How did this parody of what she actually said become truth? There is no doubt she was using sarcasm about her opponent’s standing in the cold to campaign at Fenway and then using it in a campaign ad. The parody became truth because of petty local politics and even pettier people.

The same perverted twisting of the truth has been displayed about two other prominent women candidates recently.

Hillary Clinton’s delightful laugh has become a “cackle,” a word that conjures up the witch hunts of the Middle Ages when hundreds of thousands of women were burned at the stake.

Sarah Palin’s penchant for “winking” has been warped into a visible sign of promiscuous behavior in a world where women are seen as either harlots or madonnas. (The only madonnas are those who stay home and keep quiet.)

It is absolutely astounding today that after 234 years of male rule, 90 years after women finally were granted the right to vote, almost two years after Hillary Clinton fought for the Democratic nomination for president and Sarah Palin became the Republican vice-presidential nominee, and almost four years after Nancy Pelosi became Speaker, women are continuing to be disdained as leadership material.

It will behoove both political parties and the tea party group to actively seek out women to run for office. If the world had been meant to be all male, women would not be here.