Friday, January 28, 2011
Each day I will post a Blog/Twitter/Facebook message about one simple way to increase your nice girl power. These will be simple ways to make your corner of the world a better place and to celebrate who you are, a woman who has committed herself to giving nice a good name.
Nice Girls Rule Challenge Day 1:
Remove the word "bitch" from your vocabulary.
Thought of the day: OK, I know what your thinking. But your book has the word "bitch" in the title, so why should I remove the word from my vocab? While the word is in the title, I don't use the word flippantly in the book or in my life. I don't use it in casual conversation and I don't think it is an uplifting term to call women- whether they are nice or not. I can not tell you how many times I have heard the word bitch derogatorily used by The Real Housewives, on The Bad Girls Club, or even on seemingly benign shows like my fav- Top Chef. The sad truth is that nine times out of ten it is women who are predicating the stereotype that so many of us are trying to trump.
Remove it from your vocabulary, and watch how you can begin to assuage the discourse between you and the difficult women in your life.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
MTV has always pushed the envelope, but their new show, Skins, is so scandalous that national advertisers have removed their commercials from the time slot. Why would seven advertisers pull the plug on their campaigns because a show is a little risque? When has MTV not been a little scandalous?
Is this really that big of a deal?
Well, since the show's subject matter focuses on teens in high school doing drugs, having sex, and drinking- even that seems like nothing new to me. This type of detrimental behavior floods the airwaves on stations that are geared towards those 18 and under.
But people are beginning to think Skins has gone a little far- the tipping point? An upcoming episode showing a bare naked butt of an under-aged kid. Child pornography claims are rising and I can't help but wonder why it has to come to this in order for anyone to take notice.
A spokesman for MTV released this statement: "Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way. We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers. We also have taken numerous steps to alert viewers to the strong subject matter so that they can choose for themselves whether it is appropriate."
My question is this: real world issues?
Yes, underage drinking, sex and drugs are real life issues- the scary ones that have the power to ruin lives- but making theses choices seem cool- that is the real scandal here.
For all of the young impressionable girls out there that have their hands full trying to avoid peer pressure from drinking, sex and drugs- why do they need a show that glamorizes such poor decisions?
This is the root of the problem.
There is no moral compass in the media anymore. Nobody wants to watch shows about people doing the right thing and choosing the high road.
Sure- old shows, like Seventh Heaven, seemed to buck the system with good kids and light subject matter, but its poor acting and sugary writing made it even hard for a nice girl like me to watch.
Skins is just a publicity stunt. MTV wants to lure viewers by exploiting young children and encouraging the moral decay of those who are the most easily influenced by it. They have been doing this since they first aired and will continue to do so as long as money pours in.
Our minds are such precious things to protect. Our thoughts have the ability to build us up or tear us down. Poor decisions are like poison to a thriving young mind, as guilt and shame are powerful in their ability to stunt a person's spiritual and emotional growth.
Shows like Skins will never stop being produced, because people will watch them. Me ranting like a grandma about "that junk on TV" won't stop young kids from watching it- but I can say that it makes me sick to think about how money-hungry Hollywood elite are willing to do anything to line their pockets with money- even if it means glorifying the lifestyle that has claimed the otherwise bright future of so many. Its disturbing.
If your a nice girl, do yourself a favor- don't watch this show. Go read a book instead.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
It's a little early to be talking baby carriages for Prince William and Kate Middleton, but I remember when I first became engaged it didn't take long for people to ask, "So are you going to have children?"
And then after you become pregnant, the question then becomes, "Is it a boy or a girl?"
And while your nosy Aunt Petunia is only asking so that she can give you her long list of baby names, the royal family may have different motivations altogether.
No my son isn't a royal (in case you were wondering)- so questions of succession don't apply to us and our humble empire of Nissan's and Nike's- but according to an article posted by Yahoo yesterday, it seems that if Kate has a little girl first, she won't be crowned queen- and therefore isn't considered an heir to the throne.
The article states that "...rules specifying who inherits the throne, now based on the 1701 Act of Settlement, are not easy to change", but with Kate and William's nuptials on the horizon, lawmakers think the political environment may be ripe for a change in the 300-year long policy.
And while the royal wedding set for April 29th is bound to modernize certain aspects of Britain- as Kate is certainly becoming an icon quicker than you can say "pajamas"- this policy may take some time to overrule, making Kate and William's first son the heir to the throne and skipping over their daughter.
As a parent myself, I wonder how hard this would be for a parent to explain. "Honey, I'm sorry but because you are a girl, your brother will be handling our country's future- but I have an amazing Duke that I would like to introduce you to, and he has tons of ponies."
I don't envy the position of Kate and William as far as the many hurdles they will face when they do become parents in the eye of public media.
Of course if they have a son first, this entire debate will be nothing to speak of.
Either way, it doesn't look like immediate legislation will be taking place to change this procedure in Parliament, but it has Brits talking.
And it has me blogging.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Forbes yesterday about my experience with bitchy women in the workplace and how to diffuse someone's "bitching point".
Here is the completed, and wonderfully articulate article, from Meghan Casserly, the "Girl Friday" writer for Forbes.com. She and I spoke yesterday about what we thought the differences were between assertive women and women who are just bitches. Here is the article to read the complete story: When it comes to getting ahead at work, when does being assertive cross into hostile territory?
After hanging up the phone with Meghan, my mind was whirling. We both have had many past experiences where we had to deal with a difficult woman in the workplace. You could even hear a little bit of fatigue in both of our voices when we began speaking candidly about the topic.
"It's such a dichotomy." I remember saying. You need to be strong to get ahead in a world that is still dominated by men and yet even women say they would rather work for a male employer. We want to succeed but we don't like the competition that other women in the workplace represent. So how do we cheer each other on when sometimes we just want to bitch each other out?
First, as discussed in Ms. Casserly's article you need to define your own "bitching point" and be self aware enough to step away from a conversation if it is heading into the bitch zone. However, if you've already blown your top and are now trying to figure out how to mend fences, here are three practical ways to do that:
1. Address it Head on
Don't tiptoe around the topic.
If you said something you shouldn't have or have found out that a certain co-worker is spreading rumors about you and want to chew her out, the only way to solve the issue is directly. Confrontation is a hard pill to swallow for "nice girls", but if you are the one to instigate the "air clearing" conversation, you have a much better chance of shutting down the rumor mill and to regain a working relationship with that person.
2. Apologize First
Even if you are not the one at fault, apologize. You don't have to take responsibility for something that isn't yours to claim, but something as simple as, "I just want to apologize if I spoke out of turn."
3. Avoid if need be
The truth of the matter is that there may some women in your work place that you will never get along with. Different personalities react differently to stress. Sometimes, you just have to make peace with the fact that you and her may never see eye to eye. Resolve to make the relationship a professional one, and stop giving her the ability to affect you personally by establishing boundaries.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
After putting my son down for his morning nap, I caught the tail end of an interview with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's son, Jay Bakker on The Today Show.
He spoke of his new book, Fall to Grace, his struggle with drugs and alcohol and of the course the scandal that his parents were a part of back in the eighties. The Bakkers took upwards of 1.3 billion dollars from their PTL (Praise the Lord) TV audience to fund their own lifestyle.
However, Jay is now a preacher himself. Using his life story as a reason to live transparently in his faith, he spoke candidly about his mother and her wonderful sense of humor, her battle and surrender to cancer, and how much she was his best friend.
It seems as if Jay's mission isn't unlike those of us that were born and raised in the church. We want to live lives of honesty and transparency to take away the veil that has fallen over some legalistic churches and belief systems, which is so unappealing to those who are searching in their life.
Tammy Faye Bakker made some mistakes in her life. I don't know the entire story (as an eighties baby myself), I just have some foggy memories of my parents and neighbors clucking their tongues in shame and judgment. And why not? Jim and Tammy Faye wore the mask of good and used it for evil. But don't we all do that in some respects?
Granted, no we don't all steal billions of dollars from God's pockets, but we all sin. We all talk behind others backs. We all try to wear the right clothes, drive the right car, and have the right house to play the part- to impress that person, or to get that job.
The only difference between Tammy Faye Bakker and everyone else is that she had to bear her sin publicly and shamefully. I always wince at the verse in Luke where it says that all of our sins will be shouted from the rooftops. Yikes...that will be an embarrassing day for all of us.
So what does this commentary have to do with being a nice girl?
For example, if you put a piece of scotch tape on your cardigan and pull it off, what will you find? Maybe some stray strands of material, perhaps a lint ball or two, and maybe even some cat hair from Mr. Pickles overnight stay in your dresser drawer.
You can't hide anything from a piece of scotch tape. Living a life of transparency is a lot like using scotch tape as a lint roller.
If you allow yourself to be seen for who you really are- frayed around the edges, balled up into your own world, or coated in worries of everyday life- you will find that we all have stuff that sticks to us and stuff that we can't seem to remove no matter how tough we try.
Don't fall victim to the lie that being "true to yourself" or trying to be "authentic to our emotions" is what it means to really live a life of honesty. Our emotions can't be trusted and being true to ourselves is just a hall pass for uninhibited me-ism.
So how do we live a life of transparency when no one is perfect?
First, we need to admit that we aren't.
Then stop trying to pretend that we are.
And lastly, forgive those who reveal those imperfections, instead of judging them for it.
Tammy Faye lost her way. But her son has forgiven her, loved her, and talks very highly of her. We should all be gracious enough to forgive those who have hurt us. We should all hope to embrace family who has embarrassed us, and we should all strive to be the agent that creates a greater good for those we share our life with- no matter how hard we've fallen or how far we have to go.