Top Ten Resolutions For the Sexist Woman

We Can Do It poster for Westinghouse, closely ...
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A new year can bring a fresh perspective. Here are a few tips and tricks for the wayward woman because, let’s face it, we can all be a little sexist sometimes.

10.  Do not buy, download, borrow, or even waste time thinking about Going Rogue by Sarah Palin.  Her words are toxic and are not meant to help humankind.

9. Avoid sexist terms when describing yourself or other women.  Sexist vocabulary begets more negative treatment toward us on the street, in the home and in the media.

8.  Do read more literature and non-fiction by women writers — from the classics like Brontë and Austen, to modern geniuses like Didion and Atwood. There is so much to learn and enjoy in their wisdom and perspectives.

7. Stop stressing over what you eat and how you influence others about food. Eat healthfully and in moderation, you don’t need to starve or stuff yourself — both can hurt your body and mind.  Balance will sate you.

6.  Read the news.  Be aware, but please stop gossiping. And, buy less celebrity magazines focused on who’s skinny and who’s not. It doesn’t matter, focusing on the superficial makes us all just a body.

5.  Stop judging other women for their choices.  Liberation gives us the freedom to do anything from piloting planes or playing point guard, to baking cakes or being a mom.

4.  Say no to posing nearly naked for magazines. Seriously, who cares if you get paid, the cost for the rest of us and the continued sexualization of women in the media is too high. Your bare ass has consequences for ours.

3.  Stand up for yourself, don’t let others make you feel like less of a person because you are a woman.  You are an equal in this world.  Live the part.

2.  Embrace your talents and support those of the women around you. There’s no need to compete, we’re in this together.

1.  Love yourself and everything that makes you a woman.

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Raison d’Être

Cover of "The Female Brain"
Cover of The Female Brain

Are you one of those people who thinks a lot?  The kind who will be standing in line for a coffee, thinking, what does it all mean?  Well, let me tell you, everything means something if you want it to — and — most of time if you are thinking about it, there’s a biological impulse behind it, just like that caffeine craving… at least that’s what this book I read would have you believe.

In my book club, BrookLit, we focus on fiction and non-fiction works by women writers.  Last month we read The Female Brain, by neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine, who analyzed a decade of medical, social and psychological research and then tried to make it interesting for the female brain to read.

Now, since I’m obsessed with all things related to women’s issues and how women function in a world run by men, I thought this book would fuel my feminist thoughts about the concept of gender and nurture over nature.  However, that was not the case after I read this book.

In fact, it was just the opposite. This book provides every excuse for nature over nurture. While it explains the differences between the ways men and women’s brains function, it actually made women seem more ruled by their biology than common sense, logic or maturity.

Suffice it to say, I was disappointed.  Not only did it make women these communication needy beings who need to be liked, it made men out to be these grunting ogres who think about sex and their next fight.  I thought this book would reveal some great insight into the mind and maybe even my own thoughts about what it means to be human.  What I found was something else entirely — mind-numbing brain cramps.

The book breaks down the development of the brain and its hormonal influences from the moment of sexual differentiation in utero to menopause.  However, my age group (you know that age in between puberty and before the child-bearing years) was completely absent, though it was noted in the chart at the beginning of the book as a phase of life in between the teen and prospective mother phases.

And, surprise, surprise, in almost every phase of life covered in the book, women are shown to be driven by their menstrual cycle. While this may contribute to a woman’s mood, attitude or thoughts, there is no way this could be the sole determining factor for our happiness, as she would have us believe.

In fact, since some women:  take birth control, which regulates the bodies fluctuation of hormones; eat differently; have different stress levels; experience varied sleep patterns; take medications; exercise in different amounts; and live in entirely different living situations,  it’s not a fair assessment of who many women are at all.

In addition to the oversimplification of the women’s psyche as a chatty, hormonal mess, it did not include women of different financial status, race or sexuality.  In the section about sexual exploration, there was nothing regarding homosexuality or bisexuality.  So, basically, this book was about heterosexual, white, upper to middle class women.

Wow, that’s not limiting at all to women — oops, I must be letting my hormones get the better of me now.  Maybe in the future I shouldn’t read books that prey on my gentle sensibilities and my under-aggressive brain.  I wonder what Dr. Brizendine would say about sarcasm? Is that my over-developed ability to communicate, or is this why we are here, to refute concepts about who we are time and again?

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