Woman’s Voice Blog

{February 13, 2009}   Gender Stereotypes and Elections

Cultures all over the world have embraced the idea that women and men are different. Men are often praised for being “passionate” when they show emotion. Women, on the other had are regularly criticized for being “weak.” Even respected female political leaders can not escape this stereotype.  The Washington Post reports that Israel’s prime minister hopeful, Tzipi Livni has previously avoided playing the “gender card” for fear of appearing weak.

Unfortunately, Livni’s concerns are valid. The stereotype that women are overly emotional and weak recently made itself evident during the United States election. At a New Hampshire campaign stop, Hillary Clinton was asked, “How do you do it?” Clinton’s response began “It’s not easy, and I couldn’t do it if I didn’t passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know I have (had) so many opportunities from this country (I) just don’t want to see us fall backwards.” Then, her voice began to break and her eyes became moist as she continued to say, “It’s about our country, it’s about our kids’ futures, and it’s really about all of us together.” (Clinton) The Washington Post responded with a headline: “An Emotional Clinton Reflects on How She Does It,” which is mild criticism compared to The Hollywood Gossip’s headline “Hillary Clinton Cries, Breaks Down on Campaign Trail.” There were possibly hundreds of similar headlines. When I saw the video clip of the actual incident, I was shocked by the extreme exaggeration. The fabrication was of gender roles had been preserved. The female candidate was portrayed as weak, instead of passionate.

Despite Livni’s concern of appearing weak, her party is encouraging Israelis to vote for her to become the first female prime minister in three decades. The Washington Post did not criticize Livni as harshly as they had Clinton, but the report contained negative undertones. However, a formal opinion was never stated.

In the study, Confirming gender stereotypes: A social role perspective, the goal was to “examine whether emotional vulnerability leads women and men to confirm gender stereotypes.”  The results indicated that men exhibit fewer emotionally expressive behaviors, more emotionally restrictive behaviors, and more withdrawal behaviors when they discuss an emotionally difficult topic with their partner.  Women, on the other hand, remain relatively stable whether they are discussing an emotionally difficult topic or an emotionally easy topic.  Thus, the stereotype that women are overly emotional is preserved, but is false.

Personally, I applaud Livni’s decision to appeal to female voters. After all, she is a strong candidate and should not be kept in fear of being considered weak. I support any effort to overcome the false, but widely accepted gender stereotypes.


{February 9, 2009}   “New” Kind of Breast Cancer


I received this in an email today.  I think it’s important that I share it.

In November, a rare kind of breast cancer was found. A lady developed a rash on her breast, similar to that of young mothers who are nursing.     Because her mammogram had been clear, the doctor treated her with antibiotics for infections. After 2 rounds, it continued to get worse, so her doctor sent her for another mammogram. This time it showed a mass.   A biopsy found a fast growing malignancy. Chemo was started in order to shrink the growth; then a mastectomy was performed; then a full round of Chemo; then radiation. After about 9 months of intense treatment, she was given a clean bill of health.     She had one year of living each day to its fullest. Then the cancer returned to the liver area. She took 4 treatments and decided that she wanted quality of life, not the after effects of Chemo. She had 5 great months and she planned each detail of the final days. After a few days of needing morphine, she died. She left this message to be delivered to women everywhere:   

Women, PLEASE be alert to anything that is not normal, and be persistent in getting help as soon as possible

Paget’s Disease: This is a rare form of breast cancer, and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and aureole It appeared as a rash, which later became a lesion with a crusty outer edge. I would not have ever suspected it to be breast cancer but it was. My nipple never seemed any different to me, but the rash bothered me, so I went to the doctor for that. Sometimes, it itched and was sore, but other than that it didn’t bother me. It was just ugly and a nuisance, and could not be cleared up with all the creams prescribed by my doctor and dermatologist for the dermatitis on my eyes just prior to this outbreak. They seemed a little concerned but did not warn me it could be cancerous.    breastcancer. (Mine started out as a single red pimple on the aureole. One of the biggest problems with Paget’s disease of the nipple is that the symptoms appear to be harmless. It is frequently thought to be a skin inflammation or infection, leading to unfortunate delays in detection and care.)   


What are the symtoms?


1. A persistent redness, oozing, and crusting of your nipple causing it to itch and burn (As I stated, mine did not itch or burn much, and had no oozing I was aware of, but it did have a crust along the outer edge on one side.)

2. A sore on you r nipple that will not heal. (Mine was on the aureole area with a whitish thick looking area in center of nipple).

3. Usually only one nipple is effected. How is it diagnosed? Your doctor will do a physical exam and should suggest having a mammogram of both breasts, done immediately. Ev en though the redness, oozing and crusting closely resemble dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), your doctor should suspect cancer if the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should order a biopsy of your sore to confirm what is going on.

{February 8, 2009}   Women and Art


Who do you think of when you hear “master artists?”  My immediate response would be Michelangelo, Monet, Van Gough, Picasso, or maybe Andy Warhol.  I fail to incorporate a single female artist.  Why is this?

     Why are there so few great women artists?  Traditionally, a women was under tutelage, first of her and then of her husband.  Her main duties were to be a wife and a mother, run a household.  It was rare for a woman to escape these duties and become an artist.  It was not until the 20th century when the mass of women were eligible culturally and legally to receive training.  It was also believed that women were not able to think abstractly.  Women were not only restricted from art for social and cultural reasons, but also because of the belief in psychological and biological differences. 

     There were acceptable and preferred art forms for young women, such as painting pictures of flowers, ceramics, and crafts.  It was certainly not common for a young woman to paint pictures of anything significant or expressive.  In the past, men have dominated in the world of art because of the female’s lack of education and opportunity.  Now, we are only taught about great male artists, which may discourage young girls from becoming artists.

     In my early art education, I was only taught about the male giants in the world of art.  I enjoyed art, but quickly noticed that females were more often the subject of art rather than the artist.  Georgia O’Keefe was the only female artist even referenced in my middle school art class.  The problem is that, throughout history, most employed artists have been men.  Art has certainly been more acceptable for men.     

     Has this changed?  The creative world still seems to be largely a man’s world.  After all, the most popular art in 21st century American culture is graphic artistry, advertising, and package design.  These art forms are all part of a male dominated business field.  In reality, there are many great female artists, but they are often overlooked.

       As I think of generations to come, I see that they may still be oppressed by a male dominated world of art. The women may still be a sexual image used to convey a message or to sell a product. To answer the question, why are there so few great women artists?  The answer, of course is that there are many great woman artists, just not many famous ones.


{February 8, 2009}   Coupons

It has been brought to my attention that I should have mentioned that some of the coupon sites I listed require you to download software to print the coupons.

Laura M.

{February 6, 2009}   I Don’t Pay Full Price

I have recently had to find ways to cut back on my spending.  Times are tough and people are looking for ways to save money.  I have committed myself to never paying full price for anything.  I look for sales and I shop at stores that offer bargains.  I rely on many websites that help me get good deals.  I thought I would share some of those websites with you.  Please leave a comment if you know of a source I don’t list.   I would love to know about it.

1.) Restaurant.com

One of the costs I have cut is eating out, but with Valentine’s Day almost here, I’ve been looking for a good deal on a date.  This site fits that bill.  I think my husband and I are going to a play and a discounted dinner thanks to restaurant.com

2.) AnyCoupons.com

This is the site to visit for good deals on anything.  I mean anything!  Don’t buy clothes, books, beauty products, movies, music, office supplies, text books, food…just don’t buy anything without visiting this site first.

3.) Retailmenot.com

This is your source for online shopping.  They post coupon codes that you can use for your online purchases.  FYI…They have coupon codes for fandango, so if you want to see a movie on Vday don’t pay full price for that either.

4.) Couponcabin.com

This is another site that offers coupon codes.  They too also have fandango coupons.  They also have printable coupons and free samples.

5.)  Coupons.com

This is a great website to check out before you go grocery shopping.  The usually have about 100 coupons I can print before I go.  I even plan my meals around some of them.

6.) Smartsource.com

These are the people that put the coupons in your paper.  Only with this website you don’t have to pay to subscribe to the paper to get them.


Well, I hope these sites help you as much as they do me.  Again, let me know if there are any more I should know about.

With Love,

Laura M.

{February 4, 2009}  


{February 4, 2009}   Picture of MAYA


money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to…

perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams
wants to see her in an hour…

a youth she’s content to leave behind….

a past juicy
enough that she’s looking forward to
retelling it in her
old age….

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra…

one friend who
always makes her laugh.. and one who lets her cry…

a good piece
of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her

matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for
a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored…

a feeling of
control over her destiny..

how to fall in love without losing herself..

how to quit
a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend
ruining the friendship…

when to try harder… and WHEN TO WALK

that she can’t change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

that her
childhood may not have been perfect…but it’s over…

what she
would and wouldn’t do for love or more…

how to live
alone… even if she doesn’t like it…

whom she can trust,
whom she can’t,
and why she shouldn’t take it personally…

where to
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table..
or a
charming Inn in the woods….
when her soul needs

What she can and can’t accomplish in a day…
month…and a year…

{February 1, 2009}   Feminist Men

I have often been asked, can men be feminists?

I suppose that it would depended on your definition of feminist. There are many different dictionary definitions, as well as, very widely varying cultural views of feminists. I found my personal definition of feminist while preparing for a presentation I was giving to my “Women and Popular Culture” class. For me, being a feminist means that I believe that everyone has the right to choose a role regardless of sex or gender. Some of you may think that this definition is a little broad, but why limit our definition to only those that consider themselves to be female?

I think that men can be feminists and I know many that are. I plan to teach my son about feminism, and I would like to believe that one day, when he is older, he will consider himself to be a feminist.

With Love,
Laura M.

{January 31, 2009}   Diet Myths

There are a lot of rumors out there about what’s healthy and what’s not. I read a lot of “diet myths,” but very few of these lists teach me anything. I have compiled a list of 10 diet myths that had actually fooled me.

Myth 1: Certain Foods like cabbage or grapefruit burn fat.
Food can’t burn fat. Some foods may temporarily speed up you metabolism, but it is unlikely that the change will be significant enough to make you lose weight.

Myth 2: Caffeine is unhealthy.
Studies show that caffeine may have a positive effect on some diseases, including gout and Parkinson’s disease. Also, caffeine doesn’t dehydrate people who consume it regularly. So, go ahead and have that cup of coffee.

Myth 3: Nuts are high in fat and calories, and should not be eaten when trying to lose weight.
Yes, nuts are high in fat and calories, but they also contain a good source of healthy fat, protein, dietary fiber, and minerals including magnesium. Nuts can be eaten when trying to lose weight, just in moderation.

Myth 4: Use sea salt instead of table salt.
Don’t bother with switching to sea salt. It contains a little less sodium than table salt per teaspoon, but only because it’s coarser and fewer grains fit in a teaspoon.

Myth 5: What worked for her will work for me.
Everyone knows that our bodies are all different, yet they forget that it’s true when it comes to losing weight. Just because something worked of didn’t work for your best friend, doesn’t mean you will have the same results.
Bottom line: Ditch the fad diets for a healthy lifestyle.

Myth 6: Diet soda is better for you than regular soda.
Both diet and regular soda increase kidney and heart disease risk and contain acids that erode tooth enamel.

Myth 7: Fresh fruit and vegetables are more nutritious the frozen.
Frozen foods are picked at the peak of their ripeness, and therefore, the peak of their nutritional content. Fresh vegetables are picked early, therefore the nutritional content can vary. Also, the longer fresh fruits and vegetables sit in your fridge the more nutrients they loose. Obviously you want to avoid frozen fruits and vegetables that contain extra salt or sugar.
Fresh or Frozen: eat as many as you can.

Myth 8: Cravings are your body’s way of telling you it needs something.
There is no scientific evidence of this. It is more likely that you are craving something because you smell it or see it. Hormones, however are responsible for many food cravings.

Myth 9: Eating sugar causes diabetes.
Yes, people who have diabetes need to monitor their sugar and carbohydrate intake. I’m not sure how that turned into “sugar causes diabetes.” If you do not have diabetes sugar will not cause you to develop the disease. Being over weight, having an inactive lifestyle, and high calorie diets are the main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

Myth 10: Red meat is not healthy
I know that it contains cholesterol and saturated fat, but red meat contains nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. Like everything else in life, just use it in moderation.

You should talk to you doctor before you make any changes to your diet. The information in this list was compiled from various articles, studies, journals, and health professionals. If you would like to know more about one of the myths, I would be happy to provide you with my source.

With Love,
Laura M.

et cetera