Sorry? NO MORE… Sorry!

“I’m sorry, but can I ask you a question?”
“I’m sorry, I just need to grab that.”
“I’m sorry, but can I see the menu?”
“I’m sorry, but I really didn’t like it.”

If I were to ask you if these statements came from a male or female, what would be your guess?

My guess is that you guessed female, and I’m sorry to break it to you, but you would be right. There we go again. Apologizing for things that need no apologizing for. We need to urgently let go of this unproductive habit. Those two words demonstrate that from the get go we are subconsciously believing that we are inconveniencing the world with our presence. That everyone else’s time has more value than ours. That our opinions and our voice merits no attention as a standalone action without an initial disclaimer. If you research studies on why women tend to over apologize for things you’ll find varying opinions on this, so I’m not here to explain the why portion. Especially because there is no solid, singular reason that would encompass all women. The fact remains that it happens, and it happens more with us women. So, in essence, each one of us needs to ask the questions and urgently analyze our inner selves for the answer.

Screenshot 2018-03-03 at 5.39.18 PM

Do you feel that apologizing is a demonstration of being polite? Politeness is definitely something we need to teach children, but if you are a parent of both boys and girls, do you teach them politeness any differently? If you are a teacher, do you remind your students to be polite but teach that it should be displayed differently depending on their gender? The overwhelming answer here would be, and should be no. And hopefully your own parents or teachers didn’t either. Note that men aren’t any less polite than women just because they don’t start off with an apology. Remind yourself that YOU can be polite without the apology. Try it…. “Hi, can I ask you a question?”; “Excuse me for interrupting, but there’s someone on the phone for you and it’s urgent.”; “Thank you for the suggestion, but it really wasn’t to my liking.” Polite statements without apologies are actually more effective for both parties.

Do you feel you disclaim with an apology as a form of respect? Back in the days of Kings and in some cultures even today, kneeling before a person of power was a respectful show of reverence and submission. I’ll take a wild guess here and say that you would never kneel before your boss. I’ll also take a wild guess and say that most of the men in your professional surroundings are not showing a lack of respect for their higher-ups every time they address them without an apologetic intro. You can hold someone in high regard and appreciation and still get your point across sans the “I’m sorry” portion of the program. Try it“Mr. Robinson, can I have a few minutes of your time to share with you my findings after analyzing the monthly financial reports?”; “Your Honor, yes, you would be correct in that statement.”; “Unfortunately Sir, the meeting had to be rescheduled. Let me know what’s your next available time to meet.” Each are strong respectful statements without minimizing the speakers confidence. Which then takes us to….

Maybe you’re apologizing due to a lack of confidence? This would be definitely the strongest of contenders of why you find yourself apologizing for practically everything. Once, I found myself even apologizing to the dog. The dog! When you introduce your ideas, your opinions, your needs with an apology, you give off the feeling that you are unsure or undeserving of the other parties attention or consideration. You give away power where none should have been allotted. This one is gong to take more time to help shift in a different direction since lack of confidence or a low sense of esteem is most likely rooted to deeper issues. But no need to apologize for that! You can still work on this by noticing or catching yourself each time you happen to apologize to others for things that didn’t require one. By becoming hyper aware of this habit, you gain the opportunities to understand the individual situations and why it triggered you to apologize in the first place. You take the moment back with you and you get to analyze things on your own time. I promise you… It works! When I started to notice WHEN I was biting my nails, with time I was able to find ways to stop myself when those same type of moments surfaced, hence slowly I broke the habit. You’re training your subconscious to notice before you do.

Screenshot 2018-03-03 at 6.30.03 PM

Don’t rush your progress, be patient, but definitely prioritize this. By eventually letting go of this habit, you gain back control, you become more positive, more influential, you start to build confidence in both yourself and in how others should treat you. You’ll start feeling like a true participant in life as opposed to a burden. You’ll start holding others accountable and not sacrificing yourself for the sake of everyone else’s comfort. You’ll become your very own success story, one that deserves a “THANK YOU” and not an “I’m sorry”.

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

Dear Future Daughter In Laws – My Sons Know About Your Period

The following is an open letter to my future daughter-in-laws. If in the case my son or sons are gay, this will not apply since this letter is specifically regarding my sons knowledge of a woman’s period and all that comes with that knowledge. (I will gladly write another letter to my future sons in-laws).

 

To all my future Daughter-In-Laws,

As I sit here writing this letter, all three of my boys are still too young to even contemplate marriage. Two of them still recoil and “eww” at the idea of having a girlfriend. For those two, I am still the one and only woman in their lives. But just as with the oldest, and in the true nature of life, this will not last for much longer. And that’s definitely okay with me. I actually look forward to meeting you one day and getting to know the other half that will make my boys turn in to a gooey mush. I look forward to watching from afar those stolen moments of laughter, inside jokes, a touch of the hand, simple sweet gestures, and those moments you both light up as the other walks in to the room. I look forward to not only seeing how much you will make my sons happy, but how much my sons will make you happy. And this latter one is just as important to me as it is to your own parents.

It’s been quite the journey, but I pride myself in doing all I can to raise three respectable, authentic, loving, kind, hardworking men… not just for their own benefit, but mostly for the future you. I have made it a goal to show them clearly what it feels like to be a woman. What life is like when you are a woman, through my own experiences. I remind them that it is both a wonderful and hellish thing to wear the female crown. There are the ideal moments where we shine, and there are the unpleasant moments where we don’t. I continue to provide them with the tools they need to make those unpleasant moments that much less troublesome for you and their future daughters.

When you’re in a partnership, both parties influence the happiness of the other.

So with that, please have the below list handy for reference. I want you to know what they know. I want you to know that they have been guided on how to be a positive influence in your most difficult times. Do not ever let them lead you to believe otherwise. Their mom (that’s me) did right by them, by you, and by my future granddaughters. You can send me a thank you letter or take me out for sushi and wine. Either will suffice.

∗ Your Tampons/Pads:

  • He is fine with buying tampons/pads without an ounce of embarrassment.
  • He knows the difference between a light flow, a regular flow and a heavy flow.
  • He knows that the tampon/pad boxes are color coded for flow indication.
  • He knows very well that Pearl is better than Cardboard, and why.
  • He knows that pads have wings and will never joke about it.
  • He understands the urgency and will go out to the store at a moment’s notice if you run out of tampons/pads.
  • He knows that some women prefer pads over tampons and he will never have a say in either.
  • He will keep in his notes your favorite brand. Just let him know if this ever changes.

∗ Your Period:

  • He knows about the monthly calendar menstrual cycle.
  • He knows it can last anywhere between 3 and 7 days.
  • He knows that it can be messy.
  • He knows about overflow and about the probability of staining the sheets at night or your underwear and will never make you feel uncomfortable about either.
  • He knows that it is probably very painful for you. Let him know what usually works to help with your pain and he’ll take care of the rest.
  • He knows that it’s a natural process in life and knows never to bring it up unless you do.

∗ Your Mood:

  • He knows about the emotional and physical definition of PMS (not just the acronym)
  • He understands that each month you might feel different from the month prior. Some women are consistent and others are not.
  • He is aware that you’ll try on 3 outfits and each one will make you hate your body.
  • He knows that during this time the sound of your sweet children’s voices sound more like screeching nails on a chalkboard to you and will do everything in his power to keep them quiet.
  • He knows that you can feel old and ugly even when you’re young and beautiful and will never minimize nor maximize your feelings on either.
  • He understands that WHO you are during your cycle is ONLY a product of your hormones and not who you are normally, but will never point that out, knowing the dangers lurking if he does.
  • He knows that you won’t be smiling much during this time.
  • He knows that your sleeping patterns and your eating patterns will change throughout your cycle.
  • He knows that keeping your favorite snacks stocked can help you during this time.
  • He knows to watch that chick flick with you and let you cry without flinching.
  • He knows to be more affectionate without the expectation of sex, unless of course you want to.
  • He knows never to use the term “on the rag” and think you won’t come at him like a bat out of hell if he does.
  • And above all, he knows never, ever, under any circumstance to use your period against you. This would be detrimental to him and there would be no coming back from it. Safety is key.

With much love and understanding,
Your MIL and ally.

— The Pretty Platform

#MeToo – Women Need To Stand Together

TRIGGER WARNING This article contains information about sexual assault which may be triggering to survivors.

Donna Karen and Eddie Bernice Johnson have something in common. Well known? Sure. Women? Obviously. But as of late they have shown themselves to be enablers. Enablers to a behavior that goes against humanity and morality. To a behavior so despicable that it leaves some people speechless and most people lost and angry. And without as much as literally holding down the victim themselves, their words carve a path of perception and acceptance that is detrimental to society, to both men and women, to the young and old, to the rich and poor. Their thoughtless words bestow blame on to the victim of harassment and assault, and removes the culpability and responsibility off the delinquent. They somehow believe that if I wore a short skirt and showed some cleavage it’s an open invitation for someone not only to make a profane, rude and flippant comment about my attire, but that its open season for someone to place their dirty disrespectful hands on to my body.

Let’s humor these women but for a hot minute and ask them… what exactly is the type of clothing that would be considered an invitation for another person to have their way with me? How short or long should my skirt be? How high up should my neckline be? How tight or loose should my clothes be? Should I wear long sleeves only? Or short sleeves? 3/4 sleeves? Are tank tops okay? Can I expose my shoulders? Or is my collarbone just too erotic? Erotic knees? I know, erotic elbows? Should we all be embracing the same burkini that so many nations condemned last year?  Are we saying that if a man showed his chest hairs or wore pants fitted enough it outlined his package, would it be equally okay for me to make a mention of his blessed endowment, pat his package or pick at his hairs? Should there be a written dress code for women and not men? Who should be allowed to determine the details and parameters of such codes? And finally, as the cherry on top of this debatable dessert… with all this discussion about exposure, does the Muslim religion have it right with the hijab and burka and should we be taking our cues from them?

I invite Donna Karen the clothing designer and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson to answer each one of these questions. I invite them to sit with me or with any harassment victim and discuss this with them. Maybe they need to sit with a woman who has been raped and discuss how they believe that this rape victim was at fault and what she could have done better to have avoided such an unforgivable act.

Okay, maybe it’s not just the clothing. Maybe they are saying that it’s our behavior or lack of “proper” behavior that invites these men to have free range to step in to our personal space. Let’s run with that…. should I be quiet and demure? Doesn’t that make me an easy target? Or should I be loud and assertive? Doesn’t that trigger the thought that I may need to be “controlled”? I like to have a drink or two, sometimes 3. Oh, okay, I should have only one drink then leave? At that point, all bars, restaurants, events would be deemed a sausage party after just the first hour. Would a man then become frustrated but still have the sense to go home themselves and call it a night? Or would they feel compelled to follow a woman home? Wait, you mean I should have only one drink but remain at the event where all the men get to drink to their heart’s content? At least the women will be sober enough to fight off these men, because they are never held accountable either way? Am I remotely close to the point these two women were trying to make?

I’m sure some will say… I’m being unreasonable and extremist in my questioning. That I should know how to balance it out and know what to avoid in order to protect myself from these everyday predators. That I can only change myself and not others. Well, that makes total sense, because no self-respecting, hardworking, well spoken, conservatively dressed, sober woman has EVER had a man harass her or assault her or rape her. Well, didn’t THAT. JUST. SOUND. STUPID!!!

Here’s my last question to Donna Karen and Eddie Bernice Johnson; If women are being held responsible for being assaulted, will you with the same standard hold children accountable for being molested? I’d like to hear your stance on that.

Let’s make this easy and clear for everyone to understand. My clothes do NOT allow you to say something sexual to me. My behavior does NOT allow you to make sexual advances at me. Do NOT touch me in a sexual manner if you’re not my boyfriend or husband. And if you are my date, boyfriend or husband, if I say “no, I’m not in the mood” or “stop”, then just stop. And if I’m tipsy or flat-out drunk, acting stupid or even passed out, all these STILL HOLD TRUE.

And shame on anyone, especially women that blame the victim and don’t hold predators in their entirety for their lewd, nasty, filthy, unacceptable behavior. If Donna Karen or Eddie Bernice Johnson have never experienced this type of behavior from the opposite sex, then I am happy and relieved for them. If they have unfortunately experienced this and blamed themselves, then they would highly benefit from some type of therapy or support group. Because they are not doing themselves or us any favors by hiding behind the blame. And more importantly, they are not helping society in holding the proper parties accountable. Only when a criminal or prospective criminal is held accountable, can we have a glimmer of hope that things will get better.

This designer and congresswoman are only two people. But that is two people too many, especially with their type of exposure, expressing these ideas. These ideas are dangerous. These ideas are toxic. Don’t be a part of this toxic mentality. Use your brain, use your heart, use your words for bettering the world.

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

 

 

 

Submissive Wife, Submissive Life

Picture a beautiful Saturday afternoon. My two youngest boys, seven and four, are sitting quietly in the living room watching Teen Titans Go after inhaling their PB&J’s. I decide to use the moment to do some clean up in the front yard. Before stepping outside, I tell the seven-year old… “C…I’ll be in the front yard. Make sure you both stay right here, you’re the boss”. Then I tell the four-year old… “Sweetheart, listen to your brother…he’s the boss”. As I’m backing out the door, the next few minutes flash before my eyes in a matter of two seconds. I’ve set this up to fail even before it begins. Maybe it was the grin and twinkle in his eye combination from the seven-year old, or the concerned look on the four-year old’s face. Maybe both, but I step back in, tell them to put on their sandals and come help me outside. What was I thinking?

My boys are equally young and inexperienced, although the seven-year old may beg to differ, but what does he know. As parents and experienced adults, with the sole responsibility of providing safety to those we love, we know that giving someone authority over someone else when it’s not theirs to have can only end in disaster.

We live in a world where power and position is pursued by many whether it’s in politics, religions, businesses or the household. Despite the amount of political news updates and memes filling our social media feeds lately about a probable misogynistic president, I agree… makes for great conversation, but my gripe today is in the household forum via religion. It’s the notion that a woman, once she enters the highly anticipated and joyful role of wife she must also agree to become submissive to her husband. Not too sure what the definition of submissive is? Allow this to soak in please….

Submissive:

  • Showing a willingness to be controlled by other people. (Cambridge dictionary).
  • Willing to give in to others (Merriam Webster dictionary).
  • Willing to do what other people tell you to do without arguing (Macmillan dictionary).
  • Ready to conform to the authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive. (Oxford dictionary).

A beautiful quality or a need for concern? If you side with beautiful quality, then tell me…would you tell your son or daughter to be submissive at school? At daycare? How about at the neighbor’s house when they are on a play date? In the school yard? I know, maybe display it in college? How about at their first job? Should they do so when they begin dating? When they get engaged? I’m sure your reply would be an unrelenting and firm “Absolutely NOT”.  And why not? Clearly, in short it would be that showing this quality of “weakness” leaves your loved one open for danger. Yes, you too believe that it’s a weakness when applied in all of these aforementioned scenarios. Why then do we allow religion to masquerade submissiveness as a necessary quality for harmony in marriage? Why teach our children this is needed to accomplish a unifying partnership? And who exactly is directed to be submissive?

  • Colossians 3:18 –  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
  • Ephesians 5:22-24 – Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:34 – Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
  • 1 Timothy 2:11 – A woman should learn in silence with full submission.

This concerns me a huge deal, and honestly, it should concern every man and woman out there as well. We are fully aware of the disparity in treatment between men and women, based either on faith or cultural tradition. We complain and judge how others treat women as objects, slaves or nuisances. I’m not here to create a revolution. Women have been fighting for their rights for years now. But therein lies the problem…women should not HAVE to fight for what is rightfully theirs. So do we want to continue to cultivate generations of humans that will give fruit to this mentality and behavior? Do you want your son to expect his future wife to obey him in everything and control all that she does? Do you want your daughter to marry a man who expects her to obey him and give herself willingly to be under his control?

Two examples.

  • Here are the basic vows used by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note that only the bride is asked to DEEPLY RESPECT.

Unless local law requires something else, these vows that honor God are used. For the groom: “I [name of groom] take you [name of bride] to be my wedded wife, to love and to cherish in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian husbands, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.” For the bride: “I [name of bride] take you [name of groom] to be my wedded husband, to love and to cherish and deeply respect, in accordance with the divine law as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for Christian wives, for as long as we both shall live together on earth according to God’s marital arrangement.”

  • The second are these basic vows from the Islamic faith. The bride is to be OBEDIENT.

However, some Muslim brides and grooms do choose to also exchange vows. Here is a common (quite traditional) recitation:

Bride: “I, ______, offer you myself in marriage and in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Koran and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. I pledge, in honesty and with sincerity, to be for you an obedient and faithful wife.”

Groom: “I pledge, in honesty and sincerity, to be for you a faithful and helpful husband.”

Back to the moral of my initial story… give someone this authority over someone else when it’s not theirs to logically have, is to have disregard for the safety of your loved one. Teach your daughter that it’s a godly quality to be in subjection to a man as opposed to an equal partner leaves her as a wide-open target. Teach your son that he has godly backing to be the head and authority over his wife is to nurture a possible fire that should never be ignited in the first place.

Give your reasons as you may, but equality is the only way to a harmonious partnership. History along with present day events have proven time and time again that the hierarchy of man over woman does NOT work, nor should it have to. We are human, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t care if your god tells you that your penis proves otherwise.

— The Pretty Platform

 

“D” for Divorce – Scarlet Letter No More!

  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.
  • If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • It’s never too late.
  • Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
  • Never give in and never give up.

Just a few uplifting quotes that totally did NOT help me when I was going through a divorce. Yes, that’s right…I’m a DIVORCEE. Did you just frown when reading that? Smirked? Felt bad for me? Well…don’t!

There was a time when I wanted you to feel bad for me, to show me some empathy, to side with me and not with him. I wanted the world to understand how I tried so diligently to keep us together but failed. How I wasn’t the one at fault. That I was wronged, and I was forced to become a victim. I wanted everyone to “see” within my four walls as well as into the confines of my mind and heart to understand ME, even if just for a moment. In hopes you would nod after listening to my vent session and say, “Ah! I totally understand, I would leave too”.

I was confident that getting a divorce was the best decision. Nothing and no one could make me sway or doubt myself. But there was a progression of sorts, an unfolding of events I first needed to go through to get to this point.

This wasn’t a spontaneous idea or a notion that maybe being single was better suited to my nature. There were conversations I fought to have, I analyzed everything, I questioned all sides, I put myself last and thought about the effects this would have on others, I allowed everyone who had an opinion to tell me what they thought was best. But eventually I had to take a look deeper inside the one person that kept quiet for so many years, that stayed on the sidelines as everyone else played the game of life and she was a mere spectator. And when she got the chance to play, she did so only by following the game plans created by others. I finally tapped her on the shoulder, handed her a megaphone and gave her a voice. She spoke, deliberated, exposed  all things and cried. I listened….and to this day, I stand by my decision.

What transpired after that though was truly unexpected. I was branded, a SCARLET LETTER of sorts, a big tainted “D” for divorce. Those that scorned validated their disdain on the basis of their own opinions.

  • “God hates a divorce” (So much for receiving understanding from a god of “love”)
  • “You broke up a marriage” (No, HE did that when he did what he did)
  • “I’m sure it could have been worked out” (Tried that)
  • “You didn’t trust that god would help you fix things” (I trusted that a loving god would have intervened BEFORE he did what he did)
  • “Your son is now from a divided household” (This one tears my heart to this day)

I dealt with this for years. And this came from people in my life that I trusted. People that I thought would understand me and support me. Most people showed no interest for the WHY of my divorce. They never asked. They were so blinded by this big ugly red “D”. I stopped becoming a person. I became a statistic. They looked at me and saw a DIVORCEE, a SINGLE MOM, a woman with NO HUSBAND, a FAILED MARRIAGE.

Don’t be mistaken though, I celebrated; and my bestie was there to celebrate with me when that piece of paper was finally stamped, sealed and delivered. It was now official. As time passed I learned that if I could get through years in a misguided marriage, then I could most certainly deal with the snub looks and whispers behind my back. If my divorce made people uncomfortable then I made sure to make it easier for all of us…no need to have you in my life. If I learned to move away from a bad marriage, then I learned to move away from bad friendships. My divorce was not about to become a nasty four letter word for myself nor for my son.

Here’s the upbeat part of the story… Along with time came clarity. It became clear that being divorced was not an impediment to feeling accomplished or complete. Along with clarity came freedom. Freedom from the past, the mistakes and the anger. And with that freedom came comfort. Comfort to be myself. Comfort with this new me. Deliverance from any guilt. And this new me was good. Correction…this new me was GREAT. Divorce was no longer a burden nor did it equate failure. Divorce was my teacher and my wings. Because of it, I was now able to fly. And I haven’t stopped flying since, and my son has been flying right by my side.

And that scarlet letter? Scarlet being synonymous with Jezebel, like her I have thrown it out the window and allowed the stray dogs to absorb every bit of it. It becomes someone else’s meal. One that I will never partake it.

Let us keep in mind Jim Morrison’s words…”Each generation wants new symbols, new people, new names. They want to divorce themselves from their predecessors”.

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

Don’t Oppress the Oppressed

I don’t know what I don’t know” and “there are things that I know that I don’t know” take much humility to admit. Don’t worry, my claim of humility is not a self-righteous declaration but a true personal daily effort. It’s not easy to admit you don’t know something for fear of looking uneducated on a particular subject. But admitting it opens the door to true insight. True insight to the facts, to other perspectives, to cause and effect. Opening yourself up to knowledge though comes with first, admitting ignorance, and then displaying interest via inquiry. And in my book, that means asking a boatload of questions. So when I heard that France had banned the burkini…well, that set the Wheel of Questions in motion.

What was the burkini? Where did it come from? Who and why was it created? Why did an entire country ban an article of clothing? Was there a greater purpose for this ban? Who was being affected? Would the ban bring on positive change, and if so, for whom? Or would it bring on negative change?  Did top officials take the time to ask these questions and if they did, who exactly did they ask? Were experts consulted to determine all possible outcomes? Did they ask the party that would feel the ban the most? Did they care to? Do society’s personal fears create blinders to the reality of the oppressed one’s daily life? Do the majority’s fears carry more weight than the minority’s freedom? Have you already picked a side? Do you personally know what’s best for these women? Is this truly providing a platform to empower women or just another way to victimize the “victim”?  Most people reading this have probably already developed an opinion on the burkini, burka, hijab, naqib, al-amira, shayla, khimar, and chador without truly having the inner knowledge of each or the experience of walking in the users shoes.

Honestly and humbly, prior to this ban, I had never ventured to know more about the women in question. I never judged harshly, but what I did do was sympathize in silent ignorance, which in itself can create a biased understanding and give forth a discrimination toward the very same people you’re wishing better upon. Unfortunately, my daily routine between work and home has not equipped me with the opportunity to meet a woman who possesses this cultural or religious lifestyle as to receive personal one on one information.  So, in an attempt to now gain some insight, I read articles written by women from both sides of the argument. Not the politicians side. The woman! The women!

I surmised that after “listening” to countless different perspectives, I’d find myself ready to make an absolute decision on where my loyalties would lie. Instead, I was now understanding bits and pieces of each argument and trying to apply them to what I knew was the bigger picture.

Here’s where I take issue with France’s edict… politicians are dictating what Muslim women shouldn’t wear on the grounds of teaching them that no one should dictate what they should wear.  Ban the burkini, fine the few women donning the modified wet-suit, embarrass them publicly and perhaps this will compel the women to stand against the Muslim law and choose for themselves what to wear.

burkini-vs-wetsuit

Oppress the oppressed! Religious freedom by ways of governmental constriction! A perfect example of constriction is the old-fashioned waist-cinching tool, the corset. Used by women since the 1500’s to acquire a desired appearance without understanding the extent of underlying damage to the user. Ironically, the corset was introduced to France by the wife of Kink Henry II himself. Even more ironically, Queen Catherine Medici, who held some influence in the political life in France, enforced a BAN of thick waists at court attendance during the 1550’s, making the corset a required necessity of law. Similarly today, French politicians seem to have shot from the hip, missing the target entirely. They enforce a secular appearance, losing sight of the damage they are causing the women they claim to protect. Just as the corset in the 1500’s compressed women’s lungs, crushed organs and fractured ribs, this century’s ban piles on an additional pressure that can leave women with less breathing room, possibly crushing their spirit and risk fracturing any possible progress they may have made to date.

Absurdity at it’s finest. Ethically wrong and morally questionable.

corset

There is in fact another side of the coin though…and I readily admit that I can understand the need to pass a law to protect the people from attire that allows citizens to conceal their identity. How comfortable would you feel at a bank when suddenly a gentleman or two strolled in with their faces completely covered? You would instantly think bank heist and most likely make your way out the front door. If a person cannot be identified (see Niqab/Burka below), it increases the risk of the wrong people taking advantage of that freedom to commit acts they would normally think twice about if people could clearly see their face. And this should not change just because the person behind the concealed garment is believed to be a woman. Yes, women commit crimes as well.

hijab-niqab-burka

But the burkini clearly does not fall under this category of safety issues based on concealment of identity, just as a wet-suit for a surfer or diver does not risk the safety of others. Don’t argue this… a wet suit IS just a tight burkini. Many divers and beach surfers use a head covering to keep their hair out of their faces…hence leaving only their faces, hands and feet exposed. Using the burkini as an excuse to deal with religious oppression and terrorist issues is on par with Trump’s idea that a wall between Mexico and the U.S. will solve our illegal immigration issues. Stupid ideas with no real solution to the bigger problems. Politicians dealing with a small can of worms because they are too afraid to open up Pandora’s box.

Someone once told me that opinions don’t mean anything if facts are involved. Although I can concede to that for most any argument, We The People better start opening the forum for suggestions, because the politicians seem to need our help. Let’s then start from the beginning. Politicians don’t know what they don’t know. But they need to start admitting that there are things they don’t know. And just like the rest of us, it may have behooved them for the sake of us all to have researched the issues, ask the right questions, get to know the people from all sides, and brainstorm a little longer for true solutions.

Go ahead and make it your priority to end terrorism, religious oppression as well as gender inequality, but go to the top, to the originator, to those in power. Pick on someone your own size and stop oppressing the already oppressed.

— The Pretty Platform

WTF! A Deeper Look

I receive a late night text from a friend with a link to an article she wanted me to read along with the following message:

“This article left me with my mouth wide open. I think someone needs to write their views on motherhood and what it means to be on maternity leave.  😝”

I bet you a weekend with all three of my kids that you already know what she’s referring to without even peeking at the link included below. If you guessed the Me-ternity debacle, then get ready because my kids are a handful.

I didn’t get to read or even glance that link until about two days after she sent it. Once I did, my reaction can be classified as…let’s see…WTF!!! along with some laughter, a shake of the head and a smack of my hand to the forehead (my forehead, not hers, but you probably figured that out already. Although it would have been more satisfying the other way). I was ready to give my counter article to what I thought was an absurd notion. As I began to spew thoughts on to paper, I remembered my motto to never write something when I’m emotional about it. I took a step away from the laptop and gave myself a “time away” to stop even caring about this woman’s skewed perspective toward maternity. I didn’t even know her. Her words would affect me in no better or worse way. And even if this woman caused many women out there, child-free women, to believe the same way, it would still not affect a mother’s right to maternity. And then I thought about the future of many of these women… “Ah! One day they will know the truth! They will be enlightened and VINDICATION will be supreme!!!”

That was back on April 29th. Today is May 13th. Between work, kids, home, life and a few glasses of wine, I’ve done some extra research online. No, no, not about maternity leave. I’ve got that one down pat after bringing in three boys in to this world (please refer back to my last post Stop Claiming That Women Are Weak. That one’s a doozy).  I’ve actually been reading about other people’s point of view on what Ms. Meghann Foye has openly and courageously admitted, out loud, with her face plastered everywhere, with a grin. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t speaking out of line or just regurgitating what hundreds of women have already expressed, especially since I’m a bit late to the Me-ternity-slam bash. Here’s what I’m bringing to the table.

Jealousy

From all the articles I’ve read, Meghann Foye had expressed jealousy or envy toward fellow coworkers that received maternity leave after giving birth. Sure, these emotions can convey some type of malice or resentment. But can any of us, without truly knowing this woman, really discern her feelings every time she witnessed another coworker happily grow the size of their family? Just stop and think about it. A 31-year-old woman at the time, who seemed to have it all and yet SHE was the envious one. Her hard work, for 10 years was getting her all the perks of her dreams, and all she was concerned about was the fact that other’s clocked out earlier than she did?  She said and quote, I loved my career. As an editor at a popular magazine, I got to work on big stories, attend cool events, and meet famous celebs all the time.” Yet this woman could not appreciate at the time ANY of it. This speaks volumes to the fact that this was HER empty issues, not any one else’s.

Confusion

She implies that once her fellow “mommy” coworkers clocked out at 6pm each day, Meghann had to pick up THEIR slack. Why? Were these coworkers not competent to finish their mandated work for the day? Were they not coming in the next morning to continue what was on their desks? What kind of company did she work for that would not be aware that all these moms were not completing their work?  I’m a bit confused. Is Meghann Foye complaining about the work picked up while a parent was on Maternity Leave, or the “slack” picked up when a parent left for the END of the work day?

I will have to agree with one thing….there are people in the workplace that clock out at the end of the day leaving urgent matters undone. People that don’t know how to manage their time in the day correctly. People that work overtime on a consistent basis because they spend valuable work hours socializing more than working. People who go on vacations or take personal days or go on a sabbatical without as much as tying up loose ends or completing their projects before they take off. PEOPLE…. with or without kids. Working 13 years in a company I’ve seen people like this come and then eventually GO! Because a responsible company, a successful company will not tolerate this type of behavior for that long.

Mistaken Identity

This author’s biggest mistake was (or was it?) thinking or claiming that maternity leave was a beneficial perk.

“I want all the perks of maternity leave without having any kids. A sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.” 

Apparently she didn’t do her research to understand that in many states, the states where her book would hopefully fly off the shelves of, maternity leave is aptly classified as being on “disability”. Sure, it’s a personal decision. But that’s like saying that someone who chooses to play sports, an athlete, and then becomes injured due to their personal decision, is now reaping the benefits of their injury. Is that disability time a perk for them? Is this handicap a perk? Is getting a handicap parking tag to be closer to the mall one of those “perks”?

Fake Friends

Her so-called “friends” took a leave and she made an assumption on why certain changes in their lives occurred.

“And as I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves. One friend made the decision to leave her corporate career to create her own business; another decided to switch industries. From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives.”

It seems, sadly, those weren’t truly her friends. If they were, she would have visited, or been invited to their homes as they “grappled” with their new lives and emotions with this unknown little being. She would have known what her friends were feeling during this getaway. That becoming a mom, at least during these first few weeks makes a parent more UNSURE of themselves as they get used to their new roles in life. It’s sad that not one of these women were comfortable enough to share their true lives or feelings with Meghann. Did Meghann know that her friends weren’t sleeping enough? Did she reach out to them to give a helping hand? Did she know they were in pain? I mean, heck, she could have still done some research, but she did make the disclaimer that this is just how it “seemed” to her, from “the outside”. True friends are on the inside. They show an interest and confide in one another. No one seemed to be confiding in Meghann. Meghann was on the outside.

Comparability; “of equal value”.

“As for me, I did eventually give notice at my job and take a “meternity” of my own. I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self-doubt for the year and a half that I spent away from the corporate world. And I grieved the loss of my dad, who had just died after a long illness.”

This is a three-parter….

  • She gave notice to take a “MEternity”. Fine, for argument sake, I’ll say that’s comparable. I gave notice of my upcoming MAternity leave as well. That’s where the comparison STOPS! She took a YEAR AND A HALF leave. Maternity leave is at most 3 months. I really wish I could have done that, but unfortunately, the U.S. gives UNPAID maternity leave. Hey, she may have gone unpaid as well. If that’s the case, then that too is comparable. But she only had to support HERSELF! Parents on the other hand, cannot stay away from the workforce that long without the security of both a paycheck and health insurance for this new human being.
  • She made a note about how burnout syndrome is “well documented”, how self-doubt is something SHE suffered from. Can she claim that she educated herself equally to the burnout and self-doubt parents feel during maternity leave? Or the burnout parent’s feel because they have a SECOND job at home that they don’t get to clock out from? Self-doubt is something every parent suffers from. Am I doing this right? Am I a good parent? Was this the right choice? Will my actions send my child to future therapy? And many moms SUFFER a serious and uncontrollable case of this, it’s called Postpartum Depression. What if I hurt the baby? Why doesn’t it stop crying? Can I truly do this? Please, if you’re going to make a comparable claim of need, make sure it’s… well… COMPARABLE.
  • It’s a very emotional burden to take care of a deteriorating parent and then lose them in death. I know. Many of us know. And I will not be insensitive to her feelings on that, I will be realistic though. I am happy that she was able to get away for that long to truly grieve him. To deal with the feelings of loss and loneliness. Most of the U.S. only get a 3 day bereavement window. Again, not even closely comparable. But I’m sure she knew that already.

Finding Oneself…AND FAME

“My first novel, “Meternity,” was just released, and is about a woman who fakes a pregnancy and discovers some hard truths about what it’s really like to “have it all.” “Ultimately, what I learned from my own “meternity” leave is that any pressure I felt to stay late at the office wasn’t coming from the parents on staff. It was coming from myself. Coming back to a new position, I realized I didn’t need an “excuse” to leave on time. And that’s what I would love the take-away for my book to be: Work-life balance is tough for everyone, and it happens most when parents and nonparents support and don’t judge each other. I want kids in the future, and I might still take a traditional maternity leave. I might not. But either way, I’m happy my “meternity” taught me to live on my own terms and advocate what works for me.”

Maybe Meghann should have led with this statement first, accepting that her initial perception was a making of her own mind and not a reality of life….

OR maybe, just maybe everyone needs to understand that THIS….ALL OF THIS was a marketing ploy. She didn’t have to do much research to know that mothers are a power to be reckoned with, a group of women worldwide that will fight to the death for their rights and position in this world as people who truly are doing their best to DO it all and give it their all. She worked with moms. She saw how hectic their lives were. She observed them like primates at a zoo and an idea illuminated. She took a sabbatical to not only “find herself”, but to find her first novel. Yes, it takes that long to write a book. She knew that. And why are people really upset anyway? Does anything this woman say really matter? It’s a fictional character. And EVEN if Meghann herself did believe all that she wrote, that TOO is fictional in the real world. Mothers know that. Why do we need to convince HER? Don’t worry about it. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, one day she will have kids, she will feel the pain, both physically and emotionally. And watch, she’ll write ANOTHER book and continue to remain relevant.

— The Pretty Platform

Meghann Foye’s NY Post 

http://nypost.com/2016/04/28/i-want-all-the-perks-of-maternity-leave-without-having-any-kids/

For your viewing pleasure… You need to follow this blogger. 

http://thatsinappropriate.com/index.php/2016/04/29/no-maternity-meghann-foye/

Or you can view the video on her FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/thatsinappropriateblog/videos/1205394882834707/