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Body Image Issues; It’s not Me – It’s You, Pig.

oglingAbout a month or so ago, I had a really interesting conversation with my Mumster. She’s a wonderful woman, and someone whom I admire for her insight and brilliant sense of humour.

We were having side-by-side pedi’s and talking about the men in our life. You know, the oblivious sex. Particularly the middle-aged, if not beyond that demographic.

We were talking about how our confidence is much higher when we’re on our own, either completely out of the relationship, or at least not in the same room with them. I talked about this with other women as well, just to get a feel for it, and it seems to be generally true; women are most confident when not with their partners.

We feel capable and sexy when we don’t have someone around passively suggesting that we need to fix something about ourselves.

My oblivious man  is famous for patting me on my ample ass and asking if I’m going to the gym, or oggling another woman while we’re out together. Yes, it’s that obvious, and no, we don’t have to ignore it. Have some respect. You know what I’m talking about ladies, the general disrespect that has been deemed socially acceptable forever. Just last night it was, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but have you ever thought of having a breast reduction?” To which I thought, why yes darling, just last month when I was ready to dump your ass you ignorant tit.

Here’s a shocking newsflash; we live in our bodies. We know them, and we are keenly aware of their beauty and how they don’t measure up to society’s standards. And you know what, we love our luscious bodies anyway, because they are amazing works of art.

If you have a woman in your life who is vibrant, sexual and intelligent, you should appreciate and respect her.  Crawling out of the cave is a good start, it’s the twenty-first century after all.

If a man wants to be considered a gentleman, all of the high-priced grooming products in the world will not disguise his behavior as a douche bag.


sexy old man

Do I appreciate the physique of an anatomically-extremely-correct man? Absofreakinglutely. Do I rub it in my partner’s face that he bears no resemblance whatsoever to Channing Tatum or Dwayne Johnson by giving him a not-so-subtle smack on his ass and the condescending, “Are you going to the gym today baby. It’ll make you feel better?” No, I do not, but I think it may be time to start.

As a mother, it’s the last thing I want my son to have to worry about; looking like the cover of a Men’s Health magazine.

As a death care worker, I’m struck by the awesome beauty of healthy bodies every day, and I think we need to rejoice in that simple joy every day.

When your daughters, sisters and partners  struggle with mental health issues spurred on by body image (as most women do) your having the Swimsuit edition floating around your house doesn’t really help her. What it might do is fuel your fantasies of being a better lover than you really are, and makes every woman think you’re a pig. Oh yah, and that they never, ever want to get naked in front of you.

So don’t expect us to cower in our chubby bodies and be anxious about spending our days punishing ourselves with diets. We’re confident on our own. We love our bodies and quite frankly, if you want to act like you’re living in the mysogynist 60’s all over again; have at it, and while you’re there stud, get used to masturbating, because there isn’t a woman around who’s going to put up with your shit.

There are gentlemen out there who do respect their partners, and we have figured that out.

Confidence is not the issue; respect is the issue.

When it comes to humour, the only thing that’s still acceptable is woman bashing by men. We’ve all agreed that gender identity and race are not a joke, but somehow, being a woman still is.

Confidence is not the issue, men acting like pigs is.


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International Women’s Day

" I would like to be known as an intelligent women, a courageous woman, a loving woman, and a woman who teaches by being."~Unkown~
” I would like to be known as an intelligent women, a courageous woman, a loving woman, and a woman who teaches by being.”

Women’s Day. Hmm?

I can hear all of the skeptics out there cynically muttering, “What about Men’s day?”

I’m sorry gentlemen, but my tissues are for the next generation of men who have to reconsider gender roles as women surpass them in education, professional accomplishment and financial independence.

Men’s day, at least from my North American, First world perspective, has been happening every day since the colonies were established. Alas, the pendulum is indeed swinging my darlings, in ways as interesting and multi-faceted as Cole Porter lyrics.

I could site facts and numbers about women still being under-paid, under-hired, and over worked. But I’m not going to do that. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone who still needs convincing.

Today I want to talk about the women in my life, of my generation who blossomed into full-blown ‘womanhood’ during a time when having it all was the ideal.

Not only were we pressured to pursue professional careers, we are still expected to maintain beautiful homes, cook nutritious meals, and mother in an overbearing and perfect way.

Oh, not to mention, in certain circles, we’re still expected to hunt down and trap that elusive breed of male who have educations and incomes better than our own. Are you serious???

My own neurosis of not being a stay at home mother and creating the illusion of the perfect Martha Stewart home versus my guilt over not contributing significantly in a financial way to the family, ruined my marriage. Well, that and a few other things.

I am one of very few women whom I know who are happily single and don’t feel pressure to bake cupcakes for the school/sports/band bake sale that look like something Marie Antoinette ordered.

My independence and devil-may-care attitude came at a high psychological price. For years I battled with guilt, and the seemingly two diabolically opposed personas fighting for air time.

Women often compare themselves to one another; their men, their children, their waistlines, and their mortgages. For many years in my twenties and very early thirties I felt like a failure.

Not only did I not have a husband, but I was divorced. Imagine that horror my little sweets! I rented instead of being mortgaged to the neck, and I barely made enough money to cover my bills.

Some time between then and now, I had a wonderful epiphany in my sweet-pink-girlie-soul. It may have been brought on by champagne bliss and the detailed attention of skilled lovers, but it was an epiphany nonetheless; I am educated. Well educated, with a professional designation, and I don’t have to check in with anyone before I travel, spend or save money. I’m not tied to a house with windows that need changing, a roof that’s leaking, or worse yet, a pot-bellied man sitting on my couch every night wearing sweatsocks ( I have a particular aversion to men who wear anything white below the belt) .

When I look at the women who are my contemporaries, for the most part, they are all juggling the ‘You Can Have It All and SHOULD Have It All” culture that our bra burning aunties worked so damned hard for.

The notion that, ” I must be married have a family, run a perfect household, be mortgaged to the hilt, and pay half the bills” really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be now that we’re pushing 40. Buh-arf.

So, this women’s day, I send out love and blessings to the women of my generation who are just now second guessing the insidious pressure our society has placed on us to ‘have it all’.

My best friends are women. If any of them came to me and said, “Duchess ( I like to be called that sometimes, especially when I’ve had a few drinky-poos), I need your help.” I would help.

Not only would I help, I’d recruit my bevy of strong, independent, beautiful friends, and they would help too.

We are lucky to be ‘First World Women’, and should never take for granted the basic human rights so many women around the world die for every day. We ought also to rejoice in our freedom and the opportunities we have.

So, on this International Womens’ Day, women of my generation, don’t forget you are loved, and we totally ‘get‘ you.

i choose

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I Take A Stand on; Ikea – No Girls Allowed

One of my very fabulous readers, and a woman whom I consider a trusted friend sent a very thoughtful, informed response to my last blog, Ikea – No Girls Allowed.

This was her response (edited);

I understand your indignation and admit I always feel a tad ‘miffed’ when I see women here with only their
eyes showing. Seems they reject the freedom even when in our culture, with opportunity to change. And it’s not
always their ‘man’ forcing them to that – to my surprise!
So I believe that we are judging the culture in Saudi by our standards, not by theirs. The point of those
already here still holding on to their custom for cover from head to foot  – shows that some can’t make the
grade of adopting different standards. They actually feel better in the traditional dress. Amazing, eh!?!
In their Muslim countries then, it’s a slight against their standards to take pictures of the women. I was very
surprised in Dubai when taking pictures of the lush array of goodies in one store to have a man come quietly
up to me, asking me not to continue as it was against their customs and could affront some of their female

Yes, wow!  So demanding Ikea use the photos of Saudi women when it’s adverse to Saudi culture
is basically demanding the country adopt our standards in their homeland.
I’m still amazed that the women are not more up in arms, along with their men, for the right to drive
their own cars without a male driver – but, there you have it….”

My friend makes a sound argument, but I stick by my rationale. My response was;

“Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I understand what you are saying, but my gut tells me that taking women’s images out of media sends a message of women being non-existent.
Surely there were many Canadian women comfortable with the status quo when they couldn’t vote or weren’t considered their own person under the law.

Now, thanks to women who fought for our right to choose to vote, to work,and to receive an education, we no longer feel marginalized (for the most part).
So, showing Saudi women in traditional dress in publications at least acknowledges their existence. I’ll stand by my opinion, and hope that in a gentle way we can honour those women, and support their very dangerous struggle for equality.”

I could go on about traditional language marginalizing women, the history of women’s rights in our own country, and the psychological phenomenon known as Stockholm Syndrome. Whether or not these women are captives in their own culture/country/marriages is up for debate, but I’m sure my very wise readers,  you can make the intellectual jump I’m trying to get at.

Women who live in parts of the world where being born female means your life is not valued, still feel and think the same way as any other human being. They love their families and they work to give their children a better life. They do not want to jeopardize their families by speaking out.

These same women are at risk of physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, simply because they are not considered independent human entities in the eyes of the law. We take for granted our secular laws, which make our country a haven for immigrants from across the globe.

The least we can do is ensure that women are not invisible in their own cultures. The most we can do is work diligently for human rights for everyone.

Despite my Irish temper, I try to keep this idea close to my heart when I’m working at any kind of social change, remembering that it takes a steady, unfaltering effort, over a long period of time;

“The highest goodness is like water. Water benefits all things and does not compete. It stays in the lowly places which others despise. Therefore it is near The Eternal.” ~Lau Tzu~

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Ikea – No Girls Allowed

 An oversight?! A flipping OVERSIGHT?! That’s what Ikea’s official response was to criticism that it edited out women from their Saudi catalogue. An oversight my voluptuous, sensual, bare, luscious toushie!

It was intentional pandering to a culture that denies women basic human rights. Ikea’s actions indicate the company’s true values. 

May I make a suggestion ladies? Please? Oh Pretty Please?

 I suggest that  women stop spending their hard-earned cash at Ikea. After all, we wouldn’t want to dirty the hands of  the Ikea powers that be with cash that has touched our unclean  hands. Really ladies, get a spine and put your dollars where your daughter’s futures are.

I don’t imagine it would take long to effect change. If  women stop shopping at Ikea until we’re considered good enough  to be represented in their adverts (most of which are targeted at working mothers) , it wouldn’t take long to get their masochistic, greedy, human rights denying attention.

If we vote with our wallets, I think the tide might turn dramatically to win back our favour.  Imagine, Ikea might just be trying to tempt us back with  female-friendly in-store displays of meatballs served on the six-packs of Svens and, heaven forbid, even Abduls.

This weekend my kiddo dropped two Ikea bowls on the floor, and they shattered. We both looked at one another, visions of second-rate, do-it-yourself-furniture and hot meatballs with lingonberry sauce in our heads.

I was almost ready to take him out to get some new bowls at Ikea, but after reading about their corporate advertising choices, I’d rather chew glass.

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Salaries & Men & What Makes Us Bump in the Night


Love money?
Love money? (Photo credit: robjewitt) “Someone asked me why women don’t gamble as much as men do, and I gave the commonsensical reply that we don’t have as much money. That was a true and incomplete answer. In fact, women’s total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage.” ~Gloria Steinem~

Ah yes, another Saturday, another edition of my favourite newsrag; The Globe and Mail.

There were two articles in the Globe that caught my attention, the first, in the main section of the Globe, written by columnist Elizabeth Renzetti.   It was about the interview questions put to British female volleyball players as to whether they would wear their bikinis even if it rained.

The second article by Leah Eichler was about the workplace majority of primary breadwinners being women. Trust me and keep reading, I’ll walk you through my thoughts.

Renzetti waxed philosophical about all that is wrong with the question aimed at figuring out just exactly how much taught volleyball playing flesh would be seen during the Olympics. She commented on the hell that society puts us through as women, dictating that we feel guilty and worthless should we not be the photoshopped stick figures that plaster the cover magazines.

Perhaps this dickwad disguised as a reporter needed to know how much tissue to have on hand for his Olympic wank fest. The end of the conversation with the titty-infatuated reporters should have come from the athletes being interviewed, or whomever was vetting those  interviews. I imagine it going something like this; “Who let this wanker in? Next question.” There is nothing more that needs to be said really.

The second article, The Emergence of the Richer Sex, caught my attention because it outlines the increasing percentage of women who are the primary breadwinner in their household. But we knew that already didn’t we gals? After all,for over 15 years, our post-secondary educational institutions have been filled with a majority of female students.

I direct you back to a quote from one of my recent blog entries;

Our modern, western culture has done one hell of a good job of dividing the sisterhood. Once we recognize that, we’ll be a lot better off. I love this quote from Eva Burrows, “We have to be careful in this era of radical feminism, not to emphasize an equality of the sexes that leads women to imitate men to prove their equality. To be equal does not mean you have to be the same. “

As soon as women redefine, “ALL”, we will have it.

I think it was Madonna who said that women don’t get what they want because they don’t ask for it. It’s time to ask for what we want and what we need. Do I want to make more money? Hell yes.Do I want to have hours that allow me to do my work and be a good parent? Of course I do. Do I want special recognition in the way of golf vacations and large bottles of whiskey? Are you kidding me? No way! I want spa trips, champagne, and soft, pedicured feet.

You know what else I want? I want all of us – yes you my fabulous, luscious, juicy, female readers – to find our voice and ask for what we need.

Do I demand fair pay. Absolutely. Do I  carry myself in a way that represents my professional abilities and god-given strengths as a woman as I carry out my job? I try my hardest. Do I need a man who makes more money than me? or a man with more letters than I have behind my name. Hmm? Ummm? Now that’s a good question…

To be honest, that’s stumped me for some time. But in my heart, I know I don’t need those either.  I provide for myself, even though I was raised with some fairytale myth about being taken care of  by my man.

What we don’t need ladies are the men that are competing with the women who are trying to imitate men in their roles and measures of success. That’s just too messed up, and frankly, it’s what created a culture of couples who need therapy to figure out what the hell is going on in their relationships.

In a Shambala Sun article discussing mental illness, Shoken Michael Stone, leader of Centre of Gravity in Toronto says, “Through language, we cast judgment on people, lock them up, treat them, hide them, group them, exclude them…” Through our language we have created feminism, the upper class, the lower-middle-class, working-moms, single-moms, and stay-at-home dads, just to name a few.

What we really are, are people, men and women, trying to re-negotiate our relationships with one another in a post-industrial, gender-annhilated, capitalist workforce.

Ok, enough big words ladies. After all, our big, strapping, love-making gents might not understand. Ah-hem

What I think that all of us women need is someone to nurture our feminine side. Someone who allows us to be cuddly and girly and weird and funny, and all of the wonderful things that we are without feeling weak, without apologizing for being educated, well-employed and just all ’round blazing fabulous. That’s the kind of man who makes us want to bump in the night.

I pondered the two Globe and Mail articles this morning as I lay in my sweet lover’s arms after being woken by kisses. He’s younger, lacks a couple of the letters that follow my name, but boy oh boy, does he ever let me be cuddly, girly, weird and funny. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be with. Just listen to your heart…AND keep your addresses separate…