Friday, September 28, 2007

Women Writers and Young Girls

As a member of the National Women's Writer group and the local Scottsdale Arizona chapter, I have access to some of the most intelligent, articulate and outstanding women in the country.

At our monthly meeting Wednesday night, the issue of women's empowerment dominated the conversation. Thanks to our speaker, Patricia Drain, even 40, 50 and 60 year old women have a lot to learn about what to do next in their careers. Check out her platform at

Many of the women at the meeting grew up and were grateful to Gloria Steinem for raising women's issues and opening the doors for us. We have so much for which to be grateful. Yet when I mention Gloria Steinem to the younger generation, they say who? I find myself answering, "Christian Bale's stepmother." I hate that answer.

I also know young girls today still fall for the same lines boys have said over the decades, i.e. "you are the only one," or "I won't tell anyone." These vulnerable girls get involved in sex as they are searching for love. Boys get involved the the game of love as they search for sex. Photos can be the next step. Again, these girls think this is normal behavior. Sex today is taken for granted and the exchange of partners a the local high school would make your head spin. Boys relish stealing virginity and keep a count so they can impress their friends. Pictures of And, I am not talking about Hollywood High school, I am talking about the school right down the block from you.

In the last hundred years, social propriety forced pregnant girls to "go away" to have their child. There was no pill or abortion easily available to change the scenario. I do not recommend reverting to those times even if these repercussions kept some casual sex at bay. Girls today need to know the history of sex before they indulge.

Mothers, friends, aunts, sisters, please share your wealth of experience and have regular, open discussions with your daughters. Is it difficult? If they are already in their teens, it may be difficult to find the right words and the right time. But, you need to try. It is a huge problem to overcome because the guidance you give them will not help them to achieve social popularity. But, it is a crucial way to build self esteem and help girls make the best choice.

What do you have to lose? We know sex with a loving relationship is fabulous. Unfortunately, how many teenage boys do you know who are ready for a loving, long-term relationship? We all want grandchildren, but not until our children are ready, willing and financially able to raise them on their own. How many teenage girls do you know who are ready for a loving, long-term relationship? Until they are ready, we need to help our daughters build self esteem. If they don't take your word for it, ask them to check with your sisters, your aunts, or a women mentor for advice. Women need to help women gain perspective. What is critical to a a sophomore in high school will change quickly over the next few years. Let's help our girls through it. They have choices. Sometimes the best choice is simply, "No."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why Infinite Choices?

The purpose of this blog is to discuss women and womens' choices. Despite year's of choices and opportunity, I can hardly fathom some of the choices women, in particular young women, make. As mother of two young women who have made excellent choices for themselves, I see the issues they are up against. This blog will be my opportunity to focus on the best choices and show options to young women who think they have to comply to some fashionable or exploitive standard to succeed.

Case in point. Britney Spears. I am not here to bash her. She has done enough of it to herself. However, I wholeheartedly agree with Linda Valdez of the Arizona Republic. Her article in today's newspaper hits the nail on the head. Valdez thanks Britney for her example. Valdez says, "By crashing so completely, you showed the real consequence of buying into the popular-culture image of young women as whores."

The popular sexual sell out of young women can create huge bank accounts, but at what cost? Is money so valuable that any sense of decency must be sacrificed? Are any of these women happy? Britney certainly isn't.

Britney needs to work herself out of this siutation. I doubt she has the intelligence or insight to talk to young women about how artificial her lifestyle is. Maybe in 20 years, will she see it?

My true hope is that young women in middle school, high school and college gain the strength and fortitude to pursue real dreams. Dreams of real jobs pursuing noble goals and raising phenomenal children. That is truly what makes life incredibly successful and gratifying.

Reach for and create a real world for yourself. In the words of David Morrell who I heard yesterday, "Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else." And, to that I add, or a version of what you think someone else wants you to be.