Tags

, , , , , , , ,

A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous.

~ Coco Chanel

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The other day, I woke up to an email from Barbie.com, promoting their limited edition 60th anniversary Career Dolls line. I’m not ashamed to admit it: At 33, I can still get excited over a pretty Barbie, so I was curious which careers would be featured. If there had been an artist doll, you’d better believe I’d snap it up in a flash.

Here’s how the website introduces the dolls:

Barbie career dolls have been inspiring kids to dream big and aim high for 60 years! She’s had more than 200 careers and continues to explore new professions. This collectible six-doll bundle celebrates some of her most iconic positions from her storied resume. Shoot for the stars with Barbie astronaut doll or soar through the sky with the pilot doll. Score points with the soccer player doll or climb the ladder to success with the firefighter doll. Report the news with the news anchor doll or make the news with the political candidate doll. Each doll wears an outfit for a day on the job, like a space suit or pilot’s uniform, and includes accessories that spark the imagination. Different body types, skin tones, eye colors and hairstyles provide endless storytelling possibilities and create aspirational fun.

Now, I love the idea of career Barbie dolls, I really do. But looking at these… I was completely UN-inspired.

I’ve been feeling that way about Barbies in general for quite a few years now. And looking at this picture, all I could think was, “They all just look so basic.”

Basic.

Yes. That’s what’s wrong with how Barbie is currently being portrayed. I follow a number of accounts on Instagram where ladies show off their Barbie collections, mostly dolls from the late ’80s and ’90s, and I just recently made a comment on someone’s post that I thought there was no prettier face mold/paint than the 1990s’ Barbies. They’re pretty, they’re glamourous… even when Barbie was just heading to the beach, or out for an evening baby-sitting job, she looked put together, fabulous, and ready to take on the world.

Because Barbie is a woman, and women have that special ability to look amazing even when doing the most mundane things. We know how to put in extra effort.

But today’s dolls… they’re not glamourous. They’re not even pretty, in my opinion. They have the most generic faces and bodies imaginable, and while yes, you can now buy a Barbie in any of the 47 skin tones, with many other diversity options like plump Barbie and no-hips Barbie, varying sexual persuasions Barbie, etc….. she just looks so damn basic.

The whole magic of Barbie when I was a child, and when I got older too, was that Barbie is ANYTHING but basic. She’s ALWAYS glamourous, no matter what she’s doing. And if you want to add in all the diversity, okay. That’s fine. But Barbie is about the magic. Don’t make her look basic.

Because women weren’t meant to be basic either.

Jewel Mazique, worker at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 1942

Any regular readers already know some of my thoughts on the relatable vs aspirational qualities of fictional characters like Nancy Drew. And to me, Barbie isn’t really any different.

Time and again, I’ve read criticisms that the doll promotes body image issues, and destroys the self esteem of little girls; that because up until now, Barbie has been portrayed as so “unrealistic” that she’s a bad role model. “You can’t dig in the garden AND wear a cute sundress! That’s not practical! You can’t spend the afternoon baking cookies for the church fundraiser AND still have perfectly coiffed hair! No one is that efficient!” I’ve heard many claims that traditional Barbies just make little girls feel like they’re not good enough. Mhmm. Well, let me share something about myself.

I grew up as the “fat kid”.

March 1995 ~ Me at a March break folk art painting class

From my early public school days right through high school, I was overweight, and the other kids made no qualms about teasing me. I know what it’s like to look different from everyone else (I was literally the ONLY large kid in my class all through public school), and I know what it’s like when people treat you like you’re not worth as much because you weigh more than they do. I endured years of teasing. Years of not being able to wear the clothing that I wanted to wear, because at the time, they simply didn’t make nice outfits for fat people.

But I LOVED Barbie.

And I didn’t want a Barbie who was an accurate representation of ME — I wanted a Barbie that showed the potential of what I COULD be. The most glamourous version of me. And it had nothing to do with weight. Were there times when I wished I was slim like Barbie? Sure. But I’ll tell you the truth, if no one had ever been mean to me about my weight, then it wouldn’t have bothered me much beyond the fact that I couldn’t buy the cute clothes that I wanted to wear! It wasn’t that I wanted to be Barbie’s size. It was that I wanted to have the options and opportunities that Barbie had. And it was because of society and nasty, insecure people — NOT BECAUSE OF AN “UNREALISTIC” DOLL — that I didn’t.

If anything, Barbie probably helped me in my struggle to maintain enough confidence that even though I was the fat kid… in a way, I also wasn’t. Friends who didn’t know me back then have seen photos of me, and they always comment that it seemed like I didn’t “look” as if I was the fat kid; despite my obvious weight, my face and smile always showed a certain confidence, and I never looked dumpy or beaten-down.

June 2004, Grade 12 Graduation

And that is true. My dad always drilled into me that I wasn’t a follower, but a leader, and to always strive to be the best version of myself, not to compete with or compare myself to other people. So I fought hard to move beyond the teasing and the meanness, and just be ME. And the best version of me possible — no matter what my weight at any given time. Make the best of what you have.

Barbie made me want to dress up. Barbie made me want to be fabulous. And so I found ways to do it. I could wear jewellery, I could paint my nails. When I got older, I could wear makeup. And now that I’m a more “acceptable” (it’s disgusting that in 2020, being fat is still considered the worst thing you can be) weight to society, I can also wear most of the clothes that I want to wear.

My point is that I’m not Donna Douglas. And Barbies still never impacted me in anything but positive ways. Besides being fun to play with, Barbie showed us that it was good to TRY. That it was good to put effort into yourself: Both in appearance and attitude. I don’t really think it’s vanity to say that when you look good, you feel good. And the better you feel, the better you’ll do. The more effort you put into yourself, the more you’ll get out. And I think that these are the qualities that Barbie was meant to instill.

Now, let’s just be honest — Barbie is a TOY, she wasn’t meant to DO anything beyond entertaining children. But people are always looking for negatives. They read too much into things. And most of the time, including with Barbie, they’re reading all the wrong things.

Clip from the article, “Barbie is 60. And she’s reinventing herself”, Washington Post, March 2019

And so today, in an effort to, what — give little girls more “reasonable” goals and aspirations? — they’ve taken Barbie and made her… ordinary. She’s not special anymore. She’s a regression. Yes, she’s just like you or me now, but the simplest, most lack-luster, basic version of us. And I think that’s a shame. 

Because reaching beyond the Barbie example, this illustrates what I believe to be the underlying issue with today’s feminist movement: In women’s quest for ‘equality’, you’re really just making us basic again.

And as a very proud and hard-working woman myself — a woman who prides herself on always looking put-together no matter what dirty, messy job I’m about to do — I just want to know: Why should I settle for being basic? Why should I be basic when God created me a woman — a creature who is anything BUT basic?

I understand that throughout history, women have often been treated badly: As property, or as something less than a man. And there’s certainly something wrong with that. However, somewhere along the line, this war against “inequality” has stopped being about fair treatment for women and men alike. It’s turned into something ugly and gross, with many feminists actually taking aim not at inequality, but at a woman’s right to be unapologetically female.

They claim that they’re standing up for women, but what they’re really doing is dragging us down into the mud. They’ve taken us from the fabulous, respectable creatures we have always fought to be, and said, “NO. You can’t be that anymore! Because men are the devil and you can’t do or be anything that they might like. Stop trying to be special for THEM!”

Sorry, them? What about just trying to be special for ourselves? So that WE feel good?

Their boorish manner has been giving others every reason to believe that we are, in fact, the stereotype of overly emotional, unreasonable, changeable, untrustworthy, fanatical, uncontrollable monsters who are constantly overrun with hormones. It’s a never-ending stream of complaints and whining from them. They never acknowledge what they have, just what they pretend they don’t.

Being a woman is not the problem. The problem is the attitude and manner of many women today.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t fight for what’s right; for justice and fairness. What I am saying is that as soon as you throw away your dignity and integrity to do it, you’ve lost the war.

I’m ashamed of the way many women behave today. Ashamed. And I don’t want to be associated with them. They say that they’re fighting for our rights, for equality and for respect. But with every breath, with every motion, they’re painting a picture of us that isn’t respectable at all.

Nor is it accurate. They don’t represent all of us.

So instead of giving attention to such people for their constant spreading of chaos, discord and negativity, I think the women we should be talking about are the ones who continuously made the best out of whatever situation they were given, and maintained their integrity and dignity regardless of how others treated them.

I have so much admiration for the 1950s’ woman. No, not the ones in your imagination who were subjugated to their husbands, beaten down and ruled with an iron fist. Who stood around in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, popping Valiums, whining to their girlfriends on the telephone about how hard done by they were, and hating their lives. Newsflash: If those women existed, they were the minority, not the majority.

I’m talking about the women who had just spent the previous decade holding the entire world together while the men were away at war, making sure that there was still a world left to come home to. The ones who watched their own mothers do the very same thing during the First World War. The ones who not only continued to look after their homes and households (which is already a full-time job), but also went out and took part in the war effort: Working in factories; building ships and airplanes; producing munitions, and parts.

Women were mechanics and served as radio operators. Women were also nurses, working both at home and abroad, sometimes in the thick of battle right alongside the wounded men. And it wasn’t just the men’s physical well being which the women worked towards maintaining. They also wrote endless streams of letters to the men deployed, doing whatever they could to keep morale and spirits high.

In Canada, we had lumberjills, women who worked with lumberjacks and loggers during the war. And if you lived on a farm when your husband and sons were overseas serving? You had to plow the fields, fix the tractor, haul the grain, etc.; while also tending to all the animals and the garden as well.

Canadian Elsie Gregory MacGill was the first woman in the world to graduate as an aeronautical engineer. Her production methods and designs were producing more than 100 Hurricane combat aircraft per month in 1940.

Rosie the Riveter wasn’t some cute war “mascot” — she represented the REAL women of the day who were doing their part, just like the men, to save the world from tyranny and oppression.

THIS was the reality of women at that time: Working right alongside the men, fighting as one for the common good. Take the time to read up on the role of women during WWI and II; you might be surprised.

I have spent my life listening to women, calling themselves “feminists”, who say that the reluctance of having women serve as soldiers during war time was somehow discrimination and the men’s way of saying, “You can’t do this job as well as we can.”

For crying out loud, give your head a shake.

Did you ever stop and think that maybe the men wanted to protect them from direct battle, not because they felt the women were incapable, but rather because they felt that their daughters, wives and mothers were SPECIAL AND IMPORTANT, AND THEY DIDN’T WANT THEM TO DIE IN A FILTHY, DISEASE-INFESTED TRENCH?

Women worked themselves to death, just as much for us today as for themselves back then. These women earned equality and respect — don’t you dare come on the scene a century later, in a time where you enjoy the freedoms and privilege which they gave you, and disparage their accomplishments and sacrifices. They could do everything — they were the total package.

I am sick and tired of people trying to jam this BS “men hate women” narrative down our collective throats. If all you ever look for is the negative, then the negative is all you’ll ever find. If all you do is whine and b*tch and moan and complain, then don’t expect to get much else out of life. And don’t expect others to treat you like the entitled queen you think you are. Instead of grousing that you still don’t have enough, show some gratitude for what you do have. Then go out and earn the rest of what you want by being a decent and courteous human being. If you want to be respected, act respectably. DO something respectable. Consider that if you need to demand respect, you probably don’t deserve it.

All throughout history, you will find women who were just as respected as men, by men. Women who did jobs that at the time were typically only done by men.

Today it’s held as “fact” (spoiler: it’s not) that centuries ago, women weren’t accomplished painters, and that female artists weren’t respected. But what about the women who were?

Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (born in 1593) was an incredibly successful artist, and the first woman to become a member of Accademia di Arte del Disegno.

Artemisia Gentileschi, “Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria”, about 1615-17

Italian Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola (born 1532) is one of the first known female artists, as well as one of the first to establish an international reputation for herself. Her nobleman father believed in the proper education of a young woman, and both Sofonisba and one of her sisters boarded at the home of a prominent local painter. Sofonisba even received encouragement from Michelangelo (yes, that Michelangelo!), after she copied a drawing he sent her. She earned a living from her painting, and even taught her other sisters to paint as well. In 1559, Sofonisba was invited to the court of Philip II in Madrid, where she painted portraits and attended to his family.

Sofonisba Anguissola was among the most-accomplished painters of the late Renaissance. Note that I didn’t say most-accomplished female painters. Said Giorgio Vasari, famous biographer of all the great artists at the time: “[Anguissola] worked with deeper study and greater grace than any woman of our times at problems of design, for not only has she learned to draw, paint, and copy from nature, and reproduce most skillfully works by other artists, but she has on her own painted some most rare and beautiful paintings.

Sofonisba Anguissola, “Self-Portrait at the Easel”, 1556

This is not an isolated case. We can jump ahead another 200 years to the 18th century and talk about prominent French portrait painter Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. 19th century? Elizabeth Jane Gardner. Early 20th century? We can discuss Frida Kahlo, Emily Carr, and Georgia O’Keeffe. And this is just a smattering of the most famous. There are many, many other successful and talented female artists in history.

I grew up with two grandmothers who were housewives in the 1950s. Both raised daughters and sons. Both cared for AND worked alongside their husbands.

Grandma Brydge grew up on a farm with two much older sisters (aged 17 and 18 when she was born in 1925), and three older brothers. The baby of the family, a huge work load fell onto her as one by one, her siblings quickly aged and moved out, leaving her to aid her elderly parents in running the farm.

I can easily recall her tales of life growing up on that farm. Some of it was good: Like afternoons spent sitting on the back of their old milk cow, Daisy; and some bad: Farming is hard work, especially for a young girl and an elderly father. When she was 12, she fell down a hill and broke her ribs, but never told anyone. She just got up and continued working alongside her father and mother, in both the fields and the kitchen, as if nothing had happened. Up until the day she died, you could still feel that painfully protruding rib which never got set back into place.

In 1939, at the age of 17, my grandma was determined to enlist for war service. Her mother couldn’t bear the thought of her daughter going to war, and begged her to at least apply for a job at the bank first. My grandma compromised and agreed that if she didn’t hear back from the bank by the end of the week, only then would she enlist. Happily for my great grandmother, the bank called before the week was up, and so my grandma kept her word and accepted the job.

My grandma was a hard-working, dependable and competent woman. She raised two children, lost her husband when she was only 49, and did the jobs of what they hire five people to do today, both for many years at the bank, and later in hospital administration. She was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. She was very kind, but she was also particular and by the book. She kept her home clean, was an excellent cook, and prided herself on always looking respectable. She saved her money. She was not one to be obnoxiously chintzy, but she always said, “Look after your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Whether it was time or money, my grandma would never turn anyone away, giving even when she had nothing to give.

My Grandma Niedzielski was born and raised in Soviet Russia. She was working in a telegraph office when war broke out and Russia was invaded. In 1942, she was taken from her home and sent to Germany to work in a forced labour camp. Fortunately, she was sent to a flour mill owned by a family that welcomed her. She worked in the mill and also served as caregiver for the family’s children.

At the mill, she met my grandpa. They married, had a son, and after the war, they were sent to a deportation camp. In 1950, they moved permanently to Canada. A few years later, my mom was born.

As foreigners, their life was difficult, but my grandma worked very hard. She was the main proprietor of the store they owned, and was highly respected by all as a hardworking woman of integrity and determination. My grandfather died when grandma was only 64. But she carried on, living alone and caring for herself, until her death in 2005.

And despite all of their collective hardships, somehow, neither of my grandmothers resented the cards they had been dealt in life.

And that’s the message I want to drive home: Life is what you make it.

No gender has a monopoly on discrimination or abuse. The same as no race has a monopoly on racism, denigration and persecution. Everyone has been in the same boat at some time. You can disagree with that if you want to, but we all struggle, we all have to prove ourselves in life — both women AND men alike.

I never once heard either of my grandmothers speaking of how they had suffered gender inequality, or how they were treated poorly, as second-class citizens by men. They never even hinted that they were ever the “stereotypical” repressed housewives in the 1950s, doing only as they were told by their husbands, and longing for x, y, z that they didn’t have. They just lived their lives to the best of their abilities. They worked hard for everything they had, they fought for what they wanted — by doing, not by whining, not by demanding — and were highly regarded by all who knew them. Including me.

So why aren’t we talking about these women? Seriously, I want to know.

Women who are proud to BE women, and don’t want to change themselves to fit some bullsh*t “feminist” narrative about being so basic that we’ll no longer be attractive to men. Women who refuse to make excuses for wanting to hold to the traditional female standard of beauty; dressing up and wearing pink, shaving their legs, wearing lipstick, nail polish and perfume.

You know what? I can change the oil in your car. I can change the tires. And if the car is old enough to have one, I can time the distributor. I can solder the wires on a new well pump. I can gas and oil a chainsaw, take it out and cut down a 60 foot jack pine. Then I can block that tree up, split it into firewood, and heat my house for 9 months of the year with nothing but the wood that *I* prepared.

While I’m at it, I’ll also bake you a loaf of bread and a homemade peach pie.

And if I want to do all of these things while sporting a perfect French-tip manicure, and vacuum my house while wearing a glittery fleur-de-lis brooch? Then by golly, who the hell is going to stop me?

Because I’m a woman, and like all women should be, I’m special. I can do most of the things that a man can do (I know my limitations, and everybody has them), but how awesome is it that I don’t have to? When a man offers to open the door for you, or carry your groceries to the car, the ONLY appropriate reply is, “Why, thank you very much, I’d appreciate that.” He’s not asking because he doesn’t think you can’t do it yourself. He’s asking because he holds you in such high regard that he doesn’t want you to have to do it yourself.

Why should I settle for being blah and basic when my grandmothers, and women like Artemisia, Sofonisba, Elsie, and countless others spent their lives showing us that you can be extraordinary just by being yourself; by taking what life gives you and making the best of it. That you’re only basic when you stop trying to be better. And that women in general are anything but basic.

Sometimes the most admirable quality is your ability to stand firm and stay true to yourself and your values, despite being faced with adversity. Don’t become the very thing that persecutes you.

What you give is what you get. What you put in is what you’ll get out. If you spend all your time whining about what you want, then don’t expect to get much. Because nothing comes for free. For anybody. The more effort you put into yourself, the better you will be, and other people — the people who matter — will recognize you for it. Remember, faith is an action, not a blind hope.

Modern feminism paints us as fragile, weak, easily offended, sniveling and useless — creatures who must be pandered to, who demand “rights” on the basis of gender rather than ability. Always accusing others while never taking any responsibility for ourselves.

Stop stripping us of our dignity. As a woman and a human being, I don’t need to demand anything. If someone doubts my abilities, fine. You just watch me and I’ll show you how capable I am. Years ago, my dad and I were putting in a partial basement at my grandma’s cottage. We did all the work ourselves, but hired a mason to come in and lay the cement block walls. To save money, we were his helpers. He was polite to me, but it was obvious that he took one look at this overweight, early 20-something girl and was skeptical about how helpful I’d be. Before we started, I can remember him making a comment to me about trying my best to keep up with him: One of my jobs would be mixing the cement and hand-bombing it down to him as he was laying the blocks. I wasn’t offended. I smiled and said I would try.

I’ll just skip to the end here: The day we finished and he was leaving, he firmly shook my hand and told me that I had impressed him. That I could outwork the men who worked for him, and if I ever wanted a job…

I don’t expect anyone to hand me anything — respect included — unless I’ve proven that I deserve it. Which I have done many times in my life, and in return, I have been given that respect. But this is not something that’s exclusive to women — men have to prove themselves too, and ignoring that fact doesn’t make it untrue.

Demanding that a woman be hired for a job just because she’s a woman is the same as NOT hiring a woman because she’s a woman. Neither of those things is right. And pushing this agenda doesn’t help women, it hurts us. Either you’re qualified for the job, or you’re not. It shouldn’t be based on gender at all. (And honestly, some jobs are just better suited for men. You can argue till you’re blue in the face that there are no physical and mental differences between men and women, but sorry, you’ll still be wrong.)

So where do we stand, as women, in this world of 2020? Are we really “progressing”? Or are we regressing? We’ve gone from being precious creatures, worthy of protection and adoration, to annoying wenches who are always just a second away from accusing someone of offending or harassing us. You can’t say anything nice to us, or do something nice for us, because we’re woman — and remember, women are basically easily triggered garbage. We even insist so ourselves.

And that’s the real irony behind all this. WE are creating this very negative image of our gender as a whole. And by doing so, we’re reducing ourselves right back to basic, unimportant beings. You see, we’ve stopped aspiring to be better versions of ourselves. We don’t even want to be women anymore. Nothing special about us. Just treat us like “one of the guys” and we’ll finally be happy.

Except we won’t.

Because we want to be treated just like you men… only don’t you dare NOT treat us like we’re special.

Hold the door open for me: You’re a sexist pig who thinks I’m helpless.
Don’t hold the door open for me: You’re a sexist pig who doesn’t respect women.

You’re sending mixed messages, ladies (and I use that term loosely). You say you don’t want any special treatment, but then you turn around and demand exactly that because you’re women.

You want to get away with things that men can’t get away with. You want to dish out the abuse, but you can’t take it yourselves. Well, you know what they say: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. My, isn’t that such a male chauvinist thing for me to say!

Too many times I have seen women out there striving to be extraordinary and fabulous; holding strong to their classic femininity, while also showing their capabilities to be more than a pretty face… and other women (the whiny ones) come along and immediately tear them down, saying that they’re promoting an “unattainable” fantasy.

Honey, just because it’s unattainable for YOU, doesn’t meant it’s unattainable for the rest of us. If you want to settle for being basic? That’s your choice. But me? I don’t want to be basic. I want to be extraordinary.

I’ll be perfectly honest here, I personally love the look on someone’s face at the moment they realize I’m more than just another pretty face. When I do something or say something that shows them beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m strong, capable, and intelligent, and probably smarter than they are. In fact, I’ve always felt that one of the best things about being a woman is that you have these built-in defensive and offensive “weapons”. Ladies, we women are uniquely equipped! We don’t have to work to be extraordinary — God already made us that way!

Am I above crying to get my own way in a situation? Nope. Never underestimate the power of a woman’s tears. Have I ever played a little bit dumb in order to get a better deal on something? Yep. If someone wants to underestimate me, sure, go for it. I can be sweet and harmless… while you end up doing me a favour.

You see, I don’t need someone else’s validation to tell me what I already know about myself. I don’t need a stranger to tell me I’m capable, smart or pretty. Thanks, I know. But hey, if you want to tell me, that’s cool too — I’ll smile and say thank you!

As women, we can already get away with things that men can’t. We’re already designed to be gentle as doves, but shrewd as serpents. We look so unassuming, but oh boy, watch out, we can do more than you think. And that was to our strength. That wasn’t a hindrance, girls. That was a GOOD thing.

But your “war on the patriarchy” is nothing really but a war on femininity and womanhood. You’re destroying our reputation, and you’re going to reap exactly what you’re sowing.

So to anyone reading this today, I just would ask you not to assume that we’re all screaming, vulgar, uncouth, hairy Neanderthals, sporting plush vaginas on our heads, vehemently demanding that you somehow try to take us seriously. (For the record, YES, body hair is perfectly natural, and if you have reasons for not shaving, that’s fine. But your reason had better not be “to spit in the face of the patriarchy”; and if *I* don’t want to look like I just crawled out of a jungle, then don’t you dare insinuate that somehow I’M less of a woman for ridding my body of the extra fluff instead of embracing it.)

I don’t need to shove yarn up my lady parts and knit a menstrual-infused scarf; or burn my bra and bare my nipples in public to prove that I’m comfortable with my body.

I don’t want to be noticed for exhibiting garish behaviour that, to me, says nothing except, “You’re NOT comfortable with yourself,” and that you’re seeking outside validation of your worth.

Ladies, the Lord already made us fabulous. You don’t have to try so hard. And I would ask that you tone it down a little bit as soon as possible, because you’re making the rest of us guilty by association.

Remember that every time you exaggerate, be it how you are treated, or how you feel, you’re hurting yourself — and the rest of us by proxy.

There are innocent women out there who are being truly mistreated. There are women in the world who are subjected to the most heinous treatment: Genital mutilation, slavery, etc. But your increasing tendency to cry wolf has made it nearly impossible for them to get the help they so desperately need. If a man whistles at you when you walk by, or makes a comment about your appearance and you scream, “He sexually assaulted me!”; or if you lose a promotion to a man who was more qualified for it than you were, and you whine to the media that you’re SO discriminated against — then it is YOU who makes it harder for that innocent woman who was GANG RAPED last night to come forward and be taken seriously.

What we need today is not a war waged for gender equality. What we need is for everyone to set good examples for each other. Forget about gender — treat EVERYONE the way that you would like to be treated. And don’t do to anyone else what you wouldn’t appreciate having done to you.

We should be fighting for equality as human beings, regardless of gender — or age, or race. If you don’t want to be put in a box, then climb out of the one you keep hiding in.

And if you give respect, but don’t receive it in return? That’s fine. That’s not your problem. You can’t answer for other people’s behaviour. You are in charge of what YOU do. It’s called integrity — even if someone treats you like dirt, you just keep marching on, doing the best you can do. Don’t sink to their level. I know it’s hard not to slap back, and to think, “Well, if you can’t treat me properly, then I won’t treat YOU any better.” No. Fight that urge. You treat everyone well regardless of how they treat you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for yourself. If someone isn’t treating you right, then tell them. But maintain your dignity. Two wrongs never make a right. The manner in which you conduct yourself matters.

On International Women’s Day, celebrate the qualities that make us unique. One of those unique qualities happens to be the ability to take no sh*t — but still act like a lady. My favourite modern definition of tact: The ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a manner that they look forward to the ride. Don’t be a b*tch. You don’t need to be. Just get the job done. Smile. Prove them wrong. In life, you get what you give. And karma’s a b*tch. If you want something good to come to you, then always put something good out there. Set a good example for others who are struggling — women and men both.

Being “nasty” is not an admirable trait — in anyone

When you die, you’ll be remembered for how you behaved and how you treated others. At least that’s what God is going to remember. If you don’t get what you want right now, don’t worry about it. Trust in the Lord. He’ll look after you. But guard yourselves: Against Falsehood, against hatred, against contempt, against bitterness. We’ll all be judged for our own actions, and how we treated other people we came in contact with.

GOD DOESN’T LOOK AT GENDER.

Neither should we. Man, woman, white, black, failures, successes… in the end we’re all people, just trying to get by as best we can. Embrace things that are good, and reject those that are bad. If you have to cause trouble or bring harm to others in order to get what you want… maybe you don’t need it as badly as you think you do.

Love God, and love one another. And spend your time celebrating the people who loved in spite of everything. In the end, I think we’re going to learn that they are the ones who truly made a positive difference in this world.