Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Donation - Feminist Majority Foundation & Ms. Magazine

I've had fun cutting back for a good cause this month. I have given up $4 coffees, and I stopped buying lunch in the city (my husband and I have been eating a lot of peanut butter & jelly). I was able to save an extra $152.17 this month, which I donated to the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazine. My lovely husband also wanted to contribute, so he said he would donate an extra $75 to the Feminist Majority Foundation. Hooray!

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) was founded in 1987. It is dedicated to women's equality, reproductive health, and non-violence. The FMF website describes their research and action programs which focus on advancing the legal, social and political equality of women and men, countering the backlash to women's advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists to encourage future leadership for the feminist movement in the United States. In December of 2001, FMF assumed ownership of Ms. Magazine, which is the media expert on women's status and women's rights.

I have really enjoyed saving up extra money to donate to a cause that I am passionate about. I am looking forward to doing the same for the rest of the year!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Femininity and Power

I am currently reading "The Second Shift" by Arlie Russell Hochschild. It's about women balancing career and family. The author interviewed several women who have very different beliefs about gender roles in the home. One woman who was interviewed was extremely traditional, and she believed that women should not work outside the home at all. In one of her interviews, she said, "I don't want to be equal with my husband. I don't want to be equal in work. I want to be feminine. I want to have frilly things. I don't want to compete with men! Heck! I don't want to do what my husband is doing. Let him do it. Maybe that's it - I want to be taken care of."

It's ridiculous that some people think women can't be feminine and powerful at the same time. I enjoy being feminine and wearing "frilly things", but that doesn't mean that I'm weak or less powerful than men. Women shouldn't be afraid to be authoritative and tough because people might think it's "unfeminine." I want to wear pink AND be powerful!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I entered a contest to win an autographed copy of "What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women" by Sylvia D. Lucas, and I won! I just finished reading her book "No Children, No Guilt", which was thought-provoking (and quite funny). So I'm looking forward to reading her new book. And I figured out a new way to save money: I'm just going to win everything from now on. I won't go around buying things like a sucker. Seriously though, I have been saving like crazy this month. I have been keeping track of all of the money that I spend, and I'm looking forward to calculating how much I was able to save for my monthly donation.

Anyway, back to books. There is another chance to win Sylvia's book "What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women." You can enter to win at http://www.citygirlblogs.com/blog

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Woman of the Week - Margaret Thatcher

I saw "Iron Lady" with my mother over the weekend. I didn't know much about Margaret Thatcher before seeing this movie. She is an amazing woman who has had a brilliant career in politics. While I don't necessarily agree with her politics, I respect her as a leader.

Thatcher is a self-made woman. She won a place at Oxford where she studied chemistry. She married her husband, Denis Thatcher, in 1951, and they had twins in 1953. In the 1950's Margaret trained as a lawyer, and she was elected to Parliament in 1959. In the early 1970's, she was the Education Minister. Then in 1975, she was elected Conservative Leader. From 1979 - 1990, Thatcher served as England's first female Prime Minister (her 11-year term is a record unmatched by anyone in the 20th century). Since her third term as Prime Minister ended, she has remained an important political figure. She has also written two best-selling memoirs.

I really enjoyed the "Iron Lady." The movie focuses on Margaret Thatcher's retirement while showing flashbacks of her years in politics. She suffered several minor strokes in 2002, and her husband died in 2003. Even though the movie was rather dark, there were also several positive messages. When her husband asked her to marry him, she said, "I won't be one of those women who dies washing a tea cup." She meant that she wanted to be more than a housewife. She wanted to make a difference in the world. Thatcher said to one of her doctors, "It used to be about trying to do something. Now it is about trying to be someone." I thought that was very true. In general, people these days don't seem to care as much about making a difference in the world. We can all learn from Margaret Thatcher's example that it is important to strive to make the world a better place!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


My husband and I saw the movie "Haywire" over the weekend. We were planning on seeing "Contraband", but we're not happy with Mark Wahlberg right now because of his comments about 9/11. So, at the last minute, we decided to see "Haywire." It's about a spy who is betrayed by her employer, so she decides to take her revenge. I love that everyone in the movie is terrified of her. The main spy is played by Gina Carano, a retired mixed martial arts fighter. She has been called "The Face of Women's MMA."

I love watching movies with really tough female leads. Overall, the movie was pretty awful. The plot was weak, and the story was hard to follow. It was certainly not worth the $12 it costs to see a movie in the theater these days (but I get discounted movie tickets from my firm for $7.50, so I suppose it was worth $7.50). But this movie is definitely rent-worthy just for the fight scenes.

In one of the scenes, Gina Carano's former employer is having a conversation with a spy that he is paying to kill Carano. The male spy says, "I've never done (killed) a women before." Her employer responds by saying, "You shouldn't think of her as a woman. No, that would be a mistake." Damn straight! Spoiler alert: she kills everyone who messes with her. Yahhhhh!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Gender-Free Child

I just finished reading an article on yahoo.com/parenting about a couple who did not reveal the sex of their child until their child turned five. They kept the sex of their child a secret because they did not want her/him to experience gender stereotyping. It turns out their child is a boy. They only revealed the gender of their child to a few friends and family. No one else knew that Sasha was a boy, but they had to reveal his gender in order to enroll him in school.

Fascinating! I love this story. I think it’s wonderful that Sasha has been able to enjoy his childhood without experiencing gender stereotyping. His parents let him choose his clothes. He wore hand-me-downs from both his brother and his sister including a pink sparkly bathing suit. Now that he is enrolled in school, he has to wear a uniform, and there are different uniforms for boys and girls. His mother chose to dress him in the pants that the boys wear and the blouse that the girls wear.

I think it's great that Sasha has been having a gender-free childhood. He can choose his toys and clothes without feeling like he is making a wrong decision by playing with a doll instead of a truck. His mother did ban Barbies from his childhood because she thinks Barbies are horrible (yahhh!). Now that Sasha has been revealed as a boy, I hope he will still be able to continue to live his life without having to follow any "gender rules."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Woman of the Week - Soledad O'Brien

One of my New Year's resolutions was to stop watching reality television and start watching CNN. The lack of reality television in my life has been a positive change. I feel smarter already! The addition of CNN to my morning routine has kept me in the loop. I have really enjoyed watching "Starting Point" with Soledad O'Brien whilst eating my cereal every morning before going to work. Soledad joined the CNN team in 2003, and she has produced several critically-acclaimed documentaries including "Black in America: The New Promised Land", "Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11" and "Don’t Fail Me: Education in America."

Soledad graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English and American Literature. She lives with her husband and four children in Manhattan. Soledad and her husband created the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation to help young women overcome educational obstacles. They started the foundation shortly after hearing about a Hurricane Katrina survivor who needed help funding her education.

I chose Soledad O'Brien as the Woman of the Week because she is extremely passionate about her career. She has four young children, but she still has time for her demanding career. Peggy Orenstein, an author and journalist, was interviewed in the book "Midlife Crisis at 30" by Lia Macko and Kerry Rubin. Orenstein said, "It irritates me to no end that the discussion about women's lives keeps pitting career against family, women's independence against traditional roles - as if the two are mutually exclusive, as if they are the only components of our lives." I'm grateful that there are women in the spotlight who prove that balancing a busy career and a family with small children is possible. It's also nice to watch a strong woman reporting the news in the morning. It's much better than watching Real Housewives reruns!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I finally saw the English version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." I saw the original Swedish version a couple years ago, and I did like the original version better. But I liked Lisbeth Salander better in the new version. 

I love watching women kick ass in movies. I don't condone violence, but there's something wonderful about watching a woman decimate someone who has hurt her in an unthinkable way. Lisbeth is such a spectacular character. It almost makes me want to learn how to ride a motorcycle and start chain smoking. Almost.

Rooney Mara, the actress who played Lisbeth, commented to hollywoodreporter.com that a lot of feminists consider Lisbeth Salander a hero. She said, "I can understand why people might uphold her as a feminist icon, you know, because she's uncompromising, and has her own beliefs about things, and doesn't really cater to other people. I think the other thing is that she doesn't ever see herself as a victim; she doesn't ever play that card, you know, even though, in a lot of situations, she is, in fact, a victim."

Mara went on to say that she doesn't think of Lisbeth as a feminist because she doesn't really do anything in the name of any groups. Perhaps not, but I think a feminist is anyone who stands up for women (you don't have to join a "group" to be a feminist). Either way, Lisbeth Salander is a fantastic character. Maybe I will learn to ride a motorcycle!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

No More Barbie Clones, Please!

I just read a disappointing article online about a 7-year-old girl who was given a voucher for liposuction for Christmas. Her mother already gave her a voucher to get breast implants when she turns sixteen. It sounds like this little girl might be a future Heidi Montag. How depressing.

If I have a daughter, she'll be getting vouchers for her college education for Christmas. Girls are bombarded with unrealistic images of photo-shopped women, but they need to realize that they can be valued for their minds (no surgery necessary!). If anyone wants to get plastic surgery, they should wait until they're mature enough to earn the money to pay for it on their own. Hopefully, by that time they'll realize that they don't need surgery to feel good. The world doesn’t need any more Barbie clones!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Woman of the Week - Suze Orman

I chose Suze Orman as the Woman of the Week because she is a savvy businesswoman. At the age of thirty she was still waitressing and making only $400 a month. Now she is a self-made millionaire. She has her own television show and six books on the New York Times Bestseller list including "Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny."

Suze Orman has been in the spotlight recently because of her new prepaid debit cards. The Kardashians released this same type of prepaid card in 2010, and it failed almost immediately. I have a feeling that Ms. Orman's cards will be more successful. I’m pleased to have an inspiring woman to look up to in these difficult financial times. With all of the messages out there to “spend, spend, spend” it's nice to have a voice of reason telling you to "save, save, save." Suze Orman has made a great career for herself, and she inspires others to make wise financial decisions as well. Her motto is “people first, then money, then things.” I want to buy her book on women & money, but I’m trying to save my money right now. Denied!

I have been able to save in lots of different ways this year. Okay, so we're only 11 days into 2012, but I've still been able to save quite a bit by cutting out unnecessary spending. For instance, I was able to quit drinking $4 coffees cold turkey! Since cutting out the fancy coffees, I've been drinking the free coffee and tea that my firm provides, which is surprisingly good. I have also stopped buying expensive lunches in the city. Those $10 salads were adding up, so I started bringing my lunches to work. Now I'm eating leftovers or those scrumptious frozen meals for lunch. Cutting back on spending hasn't been that hard because I know the money I'm saving is going to a good cause.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Money = Happiness

I recently read an article in Psychology Today by Satoshi Kanazawa entitled "Why modern feminism is illogical, unnecessary, and evil." That's a bit harsh. In the following quote, Kanazawa describes why feminism is soooo evil:

"Modern feminism is evil because it ultimately makes women (and men) unhappy.  In a forthcoming article in the American Economic Journal:  Economic Policy, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania show that American women over the last 35 years have steadily become less and less happy, as they have made more and more money relative to men.  Women used to be a lot happier than men despite the fact that they made much less money than men.  The sex gap in happiness (in women’s favor) has declined in the past 35 years as the sex gap in pay (in men’s favor) narrowed.  Now women make as much as, sometimes even more than, men do.  As a result, today women are just as unhappy, or even more unhappy than, men are.  As I explain in a previous post, money does not make women happy."

Sorry, Satoshi, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there. Money has made me VERY happy. It's not the money itself; it's the freedom that money can buy. Gretchen Rubin describes how money contributes to happiness in her book "The Happiness Project". In fact, she dedicated a whole chapter to money and how it relates to happiness. She said, "Well, money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy lots of things that contribute mightily to happiness. People’s biggest worries include financial anxiety, health concerns, job insecurity, and having to do tiring and boring chores. Spent right, money can go a long way to relieving these problems. Also, if spent wisely, money can help you boost your happiness. For example, philosophers and scientists agree that having strong ties to other people is the KEY to happiness, and money can pay for a plane ticket to visit your sister, a babysitter for a date night with your sweetheart, or pizza and beer for a Super Bowl Party with friends. Novelty and challenge will make you happier, and money can pay for a trip to France, for a drawing class, for a mountain bike.” So money really can contribute to happiness.

Final Score:
Gretchen, 1
Satoshi, 0

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I know I'm behind with my movie-watching, but I just watched "Limitless" for the first time. It's about a man who takes a pill every day, and he's suddenly able to do anything he wants to do and be anything he wants to be. After taking a pill, the main character in the movie says, "A tablet a day and what I could do with my day was limitless." Hmmmm...these magic pills sound a little bit like birth control pills to me. You just take one pill every day and you have complete control over your life.

A certain Republican primary candidate, who shall remain nameless (SANTORUM), is opposed to birth control. In October, Rick Santorum told caffeinatedthoughts.com, “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country. . . . Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” It's rather terrifying that Santorum almost won the Iowa Caucuses. We can't let anyone take away women's Limitless pills!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

That Feminist Stuff

I'm a huge fan of the Chelsea Lately show. My husband and I watch almost every episode. There was a news story mentioned in a recent episode reporting that there are more roles in Hollywood movies for men than for women. Apparently, 68% of speaking roles go to men, and only 32% go to women. In response to this story, Heather McDonald said, "That feminist stuff doesn't bother me anymore because I have two sons, and I know they'll take me to red carpet events when they're famous one day." Not cool, Heather. I know she was kidding, but that’s the kind of attitude that sets us back. If you want to accomplish something, go out there and do it, girl!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Boyfriend Pillow

I just heard about this new product called the boyfriend pillow. Apparently, it's supposed to make lonely women feel loved. I just have one thing to say about that: A woman needs a boyfriend pillow like a fish needs a bicycle!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women

I just rented "The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women" from Netflix. I was under the impression that it was a documentary praising the feminist movement. It turns out that it's an anti-feminist documentary by Christian women who claim that feminists have ruined the lives of all women by working outside the home. Lesson learned: from now on, I’ll make sure to read the movie descriptions before ordering movies on Netflix! Here is the review I wrote on the Netflix website:

"I'm watching this documentary right now. I'm laughing while I'm writing this review. I didn’t read the title when I added it to my queue – I was just searching for movies with the word “feminism” in the description. I have respect for ALL women, and it’s a shame that the women in this documentary feel guilty about their choice to not work outside the home. Are they upset because they have a choice about how to live their lives? I'm a feminist, and I have so much respect for homemakers, but I love having a career. Obviously, I disagree with the content, but I'm very proud of the narrator for making this film. I'll bet she felt good "bringing home the bacon" with this documentary!"

Here are a few delightful messages conveyed in this documentary:

"Bosses are not supposed to rule over women. Husbands are supposed to rule over women."

"God created men for leadership. Women ruling is a curse."

"Feminism forces equality even when it's unnatural."

"Feminists agitated the workplace."

"Death is an outcome of feminism." (in reference to abortion)

"Feminists wake up with a chip on their shoulder."

Lovely! I hate to say this, but most of the women interviewed in this film seemed a little slow. I suppose their husbands don’t mind. The women in the documentary seemed brain-washed. It’s a little scary that there are still women who think that women are inferior to men.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Woman of the Week - Kristen Wiig

Every Wednesday I will post a "Woman of the Week" and write about why I admire that woman. This week, I chose Kristen Wiig. She is one of the funniest people on television, and, in my opinion, the funniest person on SNL right now. I love that she's not afraid to be goofy. Her Gilly skits on SNL are hilarious, and she makes even the most bizarre skits seem funny.

I recently came across an article on www.askmen.com entitled "Why Women Aren't Funny". The author claims that “women aren’t conditioned to be funny. It’s not a perception in our society that women need to have the funny gene because it’s not as important to them as it is for men." Now that women like Kristen Wiig are becoming more popular, let's hope that this whole "women just aren't funny" myth will fade away.

Here's a list of comedians for people who think women aren't funny: Chelsea Handler, Tina Fey, Carol Burnett, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jen Lancaster, Amy Poehler, Betty White, Sarah Silverman, Leslie Mann, Christina Applegate, Whoopi Goldberg, Rachel Dratch, Margaret Cho, Lily Tomlin, Ellen Degeneres, Lisa Lampanelli, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, Mo'Nique, Amy Sedaris, Teri Garr, Maya Rudolph, and Kathy Griffin.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I just broke the rules. I bought a bottle of Dr. Pepper Ten, even though the commercials clearly state that it's not for women. I tried this new "man soda", and it's delicious. So I've decided it IS for women and Dr. Pepper is wrong!! Or maybe they're evil geniuses because I wouldn't have bought Dr. Pepper Ten if they hadn't specifically said that it's only for men. Anyway, I like it, and I'm saying that it IS for women.

Monday, January 2, 2012


I find it interesting that the word "superhero" is in the dictionary, but "superheroine" is nowhere to be found. Even though it's not considered a word, I'm going to talk about superheroines here. I started to think about superheroines yesterday when I went to see the new Mission Impossible movie. One of the main agents is a woman, and she is just as strong as the male agents, maybe stronger. Even though she is just as tough, throughout the movie she is dressed in tight-fitting little outfits. Near the end of the movie she attends a party in a skin-tight dress with her breasts hanging out. Her mission, should she choose to accept it, was to seduce a man who had information on how to abort a nuclear launch. So the female agent had to let a nasty man grope her to complete her mission. I can't remember any movies where Tom Cruise had to seduce anyone in order to save the world.

We have come a long way since women were only cast as "damsels in distress", but it's unfortunate that leading ladies are still sexualized in the media. Even Wonder Woman wore a tight leotard. Catwoman had a body suit. I can't think of any superheroines that wear regular clothes. Why can't these female lead characters just look normal? They're saving the world from danger, and they still have to look like sex objects. Sometime during this decade, I'd like to see a superheroine wear a regular outfit while she saves the world.