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In Favor of Feminism: Share Your Views

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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    bell hooks:

    “Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and practice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.”


  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    Meghan says she didn't realize ambition was considered bad until she started dating Harry

    (CNN) — Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has said she did not realize ambition could be considered a "terrible" quality in a woman until she started dating her future husband, Prince Harry.

    Meghan kicked off her new podcast, "Archetypes," which "dives into the labels that try to hold women back," with an episode on "The Misconceptions of Ambition with Serena Williams."

    After starting with a recollection of her experience of successfully lobbyingProcter & Gamble to change a sexist ad for dish soap at age 11, she went on to talk with Williams about "that dirty, dirty word when it comes to women -- ambition."

    "I don't ever remember personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word 'ambitious' until I started dating my now husband. And, um, apparently ambition is a terrible, terrible thing -- for a woman that is -- according to some," said the duchess, who is an executive producer of the podcast, which is a co-production between the Sussexes' Archewell Audio, Gimlet and Spotify.

    "So, since I've felt the negativity behind it, it's really hard to un-feel it. I can't unsee it, either, in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller -- so much smaller -- on a regular basis," she added.
    Meghan started dating Prince Harry in 2016. They met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend in July of that year and, by November, Harry had released a statement asking for the abuse and harassment, which was often sexist and racist, of his girlfriend to stop.

    In her podcast, Meghan spoke about the "pain" of being mischaracterized, adding that if a man is ambitious, it is "so celebrated," but, in a school classroom, "if a little girl is ambitious or raises her hand more, what is she called? Bossy."

    Williams, whom Meghan said "embodies the spirit of ambition," agreed and said that "hopefully we can teach our girls to continue to raise their hand and to be fearless."

    Earlier this month, the tennis star announced that she would "evolve away from tennis" after this year's US Open to focus on "other things that are important to me."

    The 23-time grand slam champion said in the podcast: "My whole life has been one thing and so now I can focus on Serena Ventures which I’m excited about.”

    She also said she wants to "expand" her family: "I've been fortunate enough to play tennis really well, but I think my best is being a mom. I think I can really be really good at that."

    The tennis legend went on to speak about how "hard" it was to make the decision and the announcement, revealing, "I was in Switzerland and I was just sitting in the hotel at the desk, just typing and deleting and typing and thinking and then crying and sitting at my computer and tears streaming down my face as I'm writing these words and going back on these memories."

    "Sometimes ambition in women also seems to suggest that you aren't afraid of anything," said Meghan. "But as you heard Serena say, of course, fears still exist. I've lived through them with her. The fear of making this recent decision."

    "So, while Serena's soon closing her chapter of playing professional tennis, she's not shutting the door on her ambition. She's going to continue to do great things. To be the greatest of all time off the court. To be ambitious, and I think that's a beautiful thing," the duchess added.

  • nkb
    nkb Member Posts: 1,561
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    Well said. I love Bell Hooks. she also said men often chose being right over love and I notice that often in interactions I see or hear of.

    women do so many things to diminish themselves for men and it is exhausting. patriarchal society is contributed to by everyone including women- it is deeply embedded

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    nkb, so true. The patriarchy is deeply imbedded. Females are often conditioned from birth to abide by the patriarchal systems in our society. Go against the system and you may pay the price. Fortunately, some women do stand up to it. Because of where I live, in an area where growth was spurred for years by male dominate industry: steel making and coal mining, many women here bow to the men because it's been like that for generations.

  • jelson
    jelson Member Posts: 622
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    I'd like to recommend a fantastic book, Sisters in Spirit - Houdenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists by Sally Roesch Wagner. It details the interactions and philosophical connections among Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Lucretia Mott and their Haudenosaunee neighbors in central NY. The Six Nations were matrilineal, with women holding great power in tribal decisions, in their personal, social and economic lives. Domestic violence, rape/marital rape were firmly discouraged. This was totally contrary to English and then American law at the time AND the contrasts between the daily experiences of the Haudenosaunee and "American" women were very apparent and known to those creating the theoretical framework for American Feminism - which was much more than obtaining the vote. Dr. Wagner was one of the first to receive a PhD in women studies and founded one of the first Women Studies programs at CSU Sacramento. This might be old news to you guys, but was new to me, just an example of hidden history.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,080
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    Jelson - thanks for the recommend. I'll check it out.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    jelson, it’s definitely news to me, too! Thanks for the book recommendation, I will look into it. A huge part of the history of women’s contributions and accomplishments has definitely been hidden, intentionally discarded, overlooked, trivialized, and often times the credit for it is given to men!

  • nkb
    nkb Member Posts: 1,561
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    Thanks, Jelson - looks interesting.

  • eleanora
    eleanora Member Posts: 296
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    @divinemrsm

    I have just discovered this thread and I'm looking forward to going back to page 1 and reading the entire thing. Thanks for starting it. Have always considered myself a feminist and do my best to support other women personally and professionally.

    I think that this site is the perfect example of a feminist cohort - every page contains support, guidance, compassion and information from many women to many other women.

    One book I always recommend is "The Bitch in The House", a collection of stories by women on life experiences we all share. The title is the opposite of Virginia Woolf's "The Angel in The House", about how women traditionally put everyone else's needs before their own. Just finished "The Red Clocks" which was written before the Dobbs decision, but gives a frightening description of a world where abortion is a crime.

    Look forward to learning from all of you.

    Eleanora

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    elenora, I’m so glad you found the thread; thanks for adding to the conversation here. I looked to see if the books you mentioned were available through my library and am surprised to find that they are, so I will find time to read them—-sometimes I worry that feminist literature won’t be added to the library since there are men in power doing the book ordering!

    Also, thank you, jelson, for your recent post that has helped renew this thread after almost a year of silence. When the site unexpectedly switched over last year to a new forum platform, it threw me off. I encountered a lot of frustration with logging in, the lag time of waiting for threads to load, the visual changes and making posts in general. It was all very choppy and because most of us had difficulties with the changes, it seemed there was less participation on the whole forum. Now we have a new platform and although I do think overall it’s an improvement, it’s taking me awhile to get back into the swing of things. Plus life holds many distractions!

    One thing I notice is that the more I see of the patriarchy, the more there is to see! So glad to find other women who recognize it’s out there, in fact, it’s everywhere! It helps to know I’m not alone in my observations, and I love hearing the perspectives of others.

  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 2,049
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    "I think that this site is the perfect example of a feminist cohort - every page contains support, guidance, compassion and information from many women to many other women."

    You would think, but even here we get told to sit down and shut up. When the site switched from a solid but somewhat plain format to the "new and improved" (that Divine mentioned), it was loaded with bugs and issues. The more we pointed out issues, the more defensive BCO became. Eventually it devolved into resentment from both sides - us for having a massive and poorly-executed change forced on us with no warning, and them for trying to help us by improving the site and not seeing a whiff of appreciation for thier efforts.

    Now we have a distinctly improved platform from the previous one. But one of the annoying legacies is that we no longer have access to capital letters in our name. We are stuck with all diminutive lowercase letters that say, "Be small! Don't take up space! Don't be seen!" That's kind of the antithesis of what we're supposed to be here. 😡

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    We are stuck with all diminutive lowercase letters that say, "Be small! Don't take up space! Don't be seen!" That's kind of the antithesis of what we're supposed to be here

    True. And I do hate the all lower case in our avatars. And why the heck couldn’t our avatar photos be a bit larger?

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
    edited August 2023
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    I’m still interested in the feminism topic, but numerous things kept me from posting much the past couple years, beginning with the jumbled forum platform changes which hindered participation on so many threads. That roadblock took me in other directions away from bco.org. This year’s summer months and my husband now being retired have kept me busier; however, I hope to get back to contributing more frequently to this topic, with the additional hope that others may find their way back here or discover it for the first time and share their thoughts.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
    edited August 2023
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    Can’t remember if this was shared so will post



  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    This thread is the best reason I've seen to log in for some time. Thanks for initiating it and for reviving it.

    Article in the New York Times I read this morning on women's athletic uniforms. It's not short, but clarifies how long it's been to address the bodies of women, even by major athleticwear companies like Nike, which only started to discuss it in 2019. Also touches on period issues with white uniforms, "bun" shorts worn in track and volleyball, and skorts in field hockey. Basketball uniforms? Just make them smaller, not fitted to women's bodies. I've read several articles on this over the last couple of years and will admit as a non-athlete, it's not something I'd thought much about before, other than to notice how skimpy some uniforms are.

    Article link should have no paywall.

    Let me know if the link doesn't work and I'll try again.

  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 2,049
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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
    edited August 2023
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    mountainmia, the link works. Thank you so much for providing it! And ohmygosh, what an excellent article! So much to unpack in it.

    For starters: No white shorts as part of the England team uniform. No white shorts for New Zealand. No white shorts for Canada, France or Nigeria — all countries that wore white four years ago. No white shorts as part of the home kit for the United States for the first time since the WWC began in 1991.

    “It’s period justice,” said Dr. Akilah Carter-Francique, the dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Services at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., and the former president of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.


    I never thought much about women’s sport uniforms until the past few years when the Olympics brought it to the forefront. Now, looking at all the photos in the article, it like a huge revelation that makes nothing but total sense. I mean, HOW do you play a sport confidently if you are wearing a tiny white bottom, or just a tiny bottom, and you’re on the first day of your period bleeding heavily? It has to massively affect female athletes.

    I am so, so glad the times they are a changin’. As said in the article, this is not a moment; this is a movement.

    I have lots more to say about the article but gotta run for now.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    I'm reading some of the earlier pages in this thread and feeling very grateful that I grew up cranky, cynical, and defensive. While that didn't come with a lot of tact (something I've worked pretty hard to cultivate), it did allow me to say "no" and to stand up for myself and others. I sure didn't get it right all the time, and I still don't, but I don't take crap from anyone, either.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    mountainmia, what a great quality, not to take crap from anyone. It’s been a lifelong learning process for me. That’s due to a combo of being raised Catholic, having a domineering mysoginistic dad and a mentally ill mother plus older sisters who often treated me as if I were invisible. My people pleasing skills were often used as a form of survival. Now I’m a feminist agnostic who sets boundaries and learning to show up for myself.


    Re: the NYT article on uniforms. Another excellent point it raises is how conflicted society has been about women ins sports, women using their bodies for their own pleasure and recreation, women using their bodies in a powerful way. From the start, society wanted feminized uniforms for women to combat “fears that allowing women in sports would make them too masculine.” I mean, that photo of Chris Everett wearing dotted Swiss underwear at the U.S. Open in 1971 is crazy to look at now! Women’s uniforms have been either remade from men’s uniforms or made for the men’s gaze. Rather shitty approaches. Thank goodness that’s beginning to change.

    Another startling fact mentioned is that “70 percent of girls who dropped out of sports dropped out because of uniform and body image concerns.” This makes sense, given all the body issues and body shaming girls and women encounter their entire lives. Plus the creep factor: men of all ages oogling female bodies of all ages at sporting events. We know when we’re being stared at like a piece of meat. It is off-putting and enough to make a person drop out.

    (A side note: an acquaintance told me last week her daughter, an eighth grader, had trouble carrying drums in the marching band due to trying to accommodate the harness which is made for young men, not the body of a maturing teenage girl. Sounds like that needs addressed, too.)

    In the article, it mentions a book “Good for a Girl” by distance runner Lauren Fleshman, so I put a hold on it at the library and look forward to reading it. It’s a best seller.

    I’m bookmarking the article for future reference. It is so very insightful and eye-opening.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    Not only is Chris Evert wearing dotted Swiss panties, they are puffy like what we used to put on babies over their plastic diaper covers. She is literally dressed like a baby.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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    Omg, yes! Rhumba pants! Looking back now, the infantilization of the uniform is extremely creepy!

  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 2,049
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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
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  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 2,049
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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
    edited November 2023
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    I’m sharing an article about Fran Drescher, president of the 160,000-member SAG-AFTRA, who’s just reached a tentative 3 year deal for the union valued at over $1 billion. I wanted to mention that I never watched her show “The Nanny” and knew little about her. But when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I was desperately in search of reading material about someone's first hand experience going through the cancer dx/treatment process and all it involves. The first book I came across at the library was Drescher’s “Cancer Schmancer”, detailing how she dealt with uterine cancer at age 44. Even tho it wasn’t bc, I liked her writing style and found the book to be incredibly helpful. Her book is where I came across these words to a poem by Emily Dickinson, and they meant all the world to me:

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul
    And sings the tune without the words
    And never stops - at all -

    I’ve been loosely following the actors’ strike and I, along with many others, am impressed with Fran’s leadership as SAG-AFTRA president.


    How Fran Drescher rallied Hollywood actors to a new labor deal

    Dawn Chmielewski November 9, 2023

    LOS ANGELES, Nov 8 (Reuters) - To thousands of rank-and-file Hollywood actors, Fran Drescher emerged this summer as a modern-day labor hero who secured a hard-fought deal. To studio executives who negotiated with the SAG-AFTRA president, the former star of "The Nanny" prolonged a strike while she relished her high-profile role.

    Not since her portrayal of Fran Fine, a one-time bridal shop attendant from Queens who winds up caring for a Broadway producer's three children in the 1990s sitcom, had Drescher seen so much screen time.

    Her memorable portrayal of the nanny, with her nasal voice, loud fashion, and deftly executed pratfalls, garnered her two Emmy nominations. As president of the 160,000-member SAG-AFTRA union, Drescher won widespread praise from performers for her tenacity in fighting for better wages and protections against the rising threat of artificial intelligence technology.

    "She's a really good wartime president," said Kate Bond, who played Jill Morgan on CBS series "MacGyver."

    Under Drescher's leadership, SAG-AFTRA walked off the job in mid-July, halting most film and scripted television production. After 118 days, negotiators announced on Wednesday they had reached an agreement valued at more than $1 billion over three years.

    Drescher framed her actions as part of a broader labor movement battling Corporate America, where, in her view, executives place Wall Street's approval and their own compensation ahead of the welfare of workers.

    "We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us," Drescher said at a July news conference. "I cannot believe it, quite frankly, how far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty. That they're losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs. It is disgusting. Shame on them."

    A PRO-PROLETARIAT VIEW

    Drescher's remarks, which struck some as vitriolic, were reminiscent of Norma Rae, the title character in a 1970s movie based on a cotton-mill worker who rallied co-workers to unionize.

    "In the context of the global labor movement, I understood what she was doing," said attorney Ivy Kagan Bierman, chair of the entertainment labor practice at Loeb & Loeb. "In the role of Norma Rae, she gave the Norma Rae speech."

    Studio executives, who declined to criticize Drescher publicly to avoid inflaming labor talks, said the 66-year-old Drescher delivered similar unvarnished critiques to industry leaders during closed-door negotiations. They said the union boss talked about achieving a transfer of wealth from the CEO yachting class to actors struggling to make a living on guild minimum wages.

    The composition of the union bargaining team reflected Drescher's pro-proletariat view: some of the 42 members failed to qualify for SAG-AFTRA's healthcare insurance because they earned less than $26,470 per year. This served to extend the strike, in the view of one studio chief, who observed, "We're negotiating with people who have nothing to lose."

    The executives described Drescher as an actor enjoying her biggest role in years. Her last recurring role was in NBC sitcom "Indebted," which ran for one season in 2020.

    That view is just "rhetoric," said Shari Belafonte, a member of the SAG-AFTRA TV/theatrical negotiating committee. "Fran's unwavering commitment to the SAG-AFTRA membership is what drives her."

    "We are in a paradigm shift," Belafonte added. "Her interest as the union president is to see all performers, from background to the top 2%, succeed in a vibrant industry for the next century and beyond."

    'A BIG CHAMPION'

    As negotiations intensified in October, reports emerged that Drescher brought a stuffed, heart-shaped toy to contract talks with executives including Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger and Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Union members viewed the accounts as attempts to undermine Drescher's credibility and started bringing their own plush toys to picket lines to show support.

    "It's OK to have things that make you comfortable. It doesn't make you any less professional," said actor Kimberly Westbrook, who carried a stuffed penguin and wore a "Don't F– With Fran" pin while picketing Amazon Studios. "We're actors. We are eccentric people."

    "I love that she is not apologetic for who she is," Westbrook added.

    Drescher said she did not need to "emulate a masculine energy to be a good leader."

    "I can be smart, have a keen ability (to see) integral flaws in a business model AND put a tiny heart-shaped plush toy (between) me & Iger," she wrote on the social media platform X.

    SAG-AFTRA's chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said Drescher was "not afraid to speak truth to power, and she did exactly that" at the bargaining table.

    Drescher also "really tried to humanize what can sometimes be a very cold process, and I thought that was really a valuable contribution," he said.

    Union members said they admired the fearlessness of an actress who survived being raped at gunpoint in her 20s and battled uterine cancer in her 40s. Many also saw her unconventional approach as an asset.

    "She scares the shit out of these CEOs precisely because she can't be put in a box (or a corner)," actor Justine Bateman wrote on X. "If you can't see the leverage in that, then you don't understand negotiating."

    Actor Alex Plank, who appears opposite Bobby Cannavale and Robert De Niro in "Ezra," admitted he knew little about Drescher before the strike, beyond her distinctive voice.

    "She's turned out to be a big champion, someone with heart," Plank said. "I was skeptical at first, to be honest with you, because I didn't know anything about her, and she turned out to be more than we could have ever asked for."

  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 2,049
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  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,008
    edited December 2023
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    I loved Barbie dolls; my sister and I share a favorite, funny Christmas memory centered around receiving a windfall of Barbies and accessories. I finally got around to watching the Barbie movie last week. This article popped up on Facebook today.



    “I’ve seen a few men on this platform criticize the Barbie craze or admit they’re ready for it to go away. So, let me tell you a story.

    In my early 30s, I went to the apartment (for the first time) of a man I was dating. He had a giant Death Star replica, a Luke Skywalker and a Darth Vader figurine. He was an adult man with toys visible and on display in his home. He wasn’t ashamed or apologetic. His friends thought it was cool. I thought it was odd but didn’t question it (imagine if a new guy/love interest showed up to a 30, 40 or 50-something woman’s home to find Barbie, Ken, Growing Up Skipper and Midge displayed on a shelf). That’s because it’s acceptable for men to acknowledge their childhood. It’s acceptable for men to have toys.

    Heck, right now, my 70-something dad has a man cave full of model airplanes, a life-sized Batman and a Darth Vader. I think there is a Superman, too.

    Girls and women, however, are societally expected to outgrow and move on from our toys. We’re expected to shift our focus from baby dolls to human babies and from Barbie dolls to being real-life Barbies for our boyfriends and husbands. We are expected to mother baby humans and become the dolls we once dressed up while managing critiques of our body sizes, shapes, careers, makeup and wardrobe choices.

    I loved Barbie. I mean, I loved Barbie! But by my teenage years, my collection of Barbies was gathered up and passed on to a younger cousin simply because it was time for me to move on from childish things. But I never stopped loving Barbie.

    In fact, I still get excited to see and even visit at stores the Holiday Barbie and all her finery when she comes out each year. I’d have a house full of Barbies if I could. And why can’t I? Well,….

    Women are expected to leave behind our childhoods, that essence of who we were, that time of innocence, imagination and wonder. We are expected to leave behind play and playtime.
    We’re not really even allowed hobbies except for those that center around home and family.

    This is not the case for men. It’s acceptable to hang on to everything from video games to action figures to bike riding. I feel like every guy I ever dated in Austin would spend hours getting muddy on a mountain bike each week.

    For so many of us, Barbie is the toy we had to give up along with our girlhood, our childhood. We not only miss her, we miss the girl inside each of us who still loves her and all she represented to us. Barbie could be anything and there was a time we believed we could be, too, before life, societal pressures, reality and patriarchy stepped in, hit us over the head with a pink 2X4, took away our toys, made us grow up and told us it was all our fault anyway.”

    Rachel Elsberry