With Eloquence: W. E. B. Du Bois

I published my first “With Eloquence” post last month with an excerpt from a very eloquent speech delivered by Booker T. Washington as a response to what I see as society’s writ large degenerating verbal and written communication skills.

The post was also intended to be a lead in for me to set up for this month a Relating to Humans all-call for submissions celebrating African-American History Month similar to what I did for last year’s Women’s History Month.

Well, like the reason for so many of my productivity issues lately – I blame Trump for knocking me dizzy with all his scary and/or moronic autocratic antics. thereby making me lose my focus.

Continue reading “With Eloquence: W. E. B. Du Bois”

THE PHILOSOPHY OF INSPIRATION | A Relating to Humans Philosophical Issues Feature

THE PHILOSOPHY OF INSPIRATION
by Rana Tarakji

As Kurt explains it on his Welcome page, it is impossible to mingle with other human beings in an entirely pain-free manner. However, there is a difference between pain that aims to makes a person stronger and pain that aims at the opposite or has no aim at all. How can we inspire others without a bit of tough love anyways?

For instance, telling the truth can hurt sometimes, but isn’t it in the favour of the truth-receiver? Doesn’t it enlighten the person with truths that make him or her wiser and allow him/her to be more successful in his/her future life? Perhaps not knowing the truth might keep the person content, however, there’s usually a bigger chance that not knowing the truth can hurt a person in the long run.

What about giving advice? Advice can be tough for some people to swallow. They might not want to hear what you want to say to them, even if it makes perfect sense. A lot of people prefer not to get involved in other people’s decisions and not to offer their advice if it stands against the other person’s beliefs. But does staying quiet in critical times help that person? No, it doesn’t.

Celebrities are often looked up to because they have usually gone through a lot of ups and downs and tough times to get where they are in their lives. It’s never an easy thing to become well-known, respected and adored by millions. And sometimes, simple but wise words from these inspirational people can motivate us to make small changes in our lives, to the better. The following infographic lists some of the top inspirational celebrity quotes by life coach spotter that will leave you inspired:
 

CLICK TO ENLARGE

lifecoachspotter.com

 


 
Learn more about our open-submissions Relating to Humans feature here.

 
 

GLITTERS OF BLISS! | A Relating to Humans Poetry Feature

GLITTERS OF BLISS!
by Priyanki

 
If the clouds could come & give me a ride
I would sit on them & sway away in delight
And ask them to take me in their cozy coat
Covering me all in the softness galore
Ask them to take me in the world up away
High up in the clouds where they say fairies stay.
As I reach there, I will learn a few skills to tap & whoosh & fulfill some wish
Wishes of all those who are in need.
Those wishes of cute eyes of kids crying for help.
The ones who are lost in war, with no one to help.
Those unanswered prayers of people with disease, the ones suffering & asking for relief.
Those hard to be fulfilled wishes & prayers with which are linked the needy’s care.
Wishes of such kind seems impossible in today’s time. There is so much going around in those with dirty minds,
Those who cause chaos & all the mess.
& are killing ruthlessly & causing much stress
I may sound kiddish to dream of fairyland & bring glitters of kindness with me in my hand
However it may sound, but I don’t mind
As long as I wish to bring some good in Mankind.
Often I wonder where does the “kind” go from man.
Maybe I’m thinking too much, what can I do, I’m a woman.
I was born to think,
That’s what many say.
Woman think a lot
They are made that way, and I think again, “Thank God that I think.”
It’s my thinking that makes me ponder, to be a better being.
Everyday I think & try to reach my soul.
And
today my thinking wants to take a tour
In the world of clouds, where they say Angels live.
With a hope to bring in my palm, some glitters of bliss
So I have few powers to whoosh away the pain
That causes chaos often unexplained.

jollyprivy.wordpress.com


 
To learn how to have your poetry or other work profiled here, visit the Relating to Humans feature.

 
 

This is how music is done…

Hey what’s up?!

We’re going to be promoting our first Reward Package on Friday. If you would like to help me help you then please consider donating to help me make a movie and I will help you promote your book or other project. Huh?

Yeah.

So… I’m not going to be posting much for the next few months so please submit your work to one of the Relating to Humans features so I can post it to the blog in stead of my rambles and blather.

Can ya dig?

Anyway, here is some music that will make your toes tap and ears wiggle.

I guarantee it.


 

Oh yeah…

 
 

WILL YOU?

DONATE TO SUPPORT MY WOMEN’S ISSUES SHORT FILM AND PROMOTE YOUR WORK?

AND WILL YOU…

SUBMIT YOUR HUMAN-RELATING WORK TO THESE HUMAN-RELATING FEATURES?

PLEASE.


 

#independentartistssupportingindependentartists

 
 

YOUR DREAMS ARE DEAD | A Relating to Humans Women’s Issues Feature

YOUR DREAMS ARE DEAD
by perfect_mayhem

These four words flew into the forefront of my brain along with what felt like gallons of blood as I was bent over the floor around my son’s desk retrieving his crumpled up artistic attempts. He is nearly 7 years old and a truly gifted artist. I do not say this because he is my son. A sharp pencil or pen and paper is his chosen medium and from the depths of his soul he creates beautiful and intricate abstracts and hilariously haunting caricatures. We are a homeschooling family therefore he is privileged to practice and delve deeper into his art every day for hours on end. I encourage it, I love it. This is what I want for my children, why I homeschool, so passion can arise organically and be nurtured.

As I am in his room tidying up and thinking “your dreams are dead,” I shout out to my husband “is this it for me, is my life over?” “Yes,” he says. He always answers my nihilistic questions nihilistically. To a large extent, he is right. In a permanent way that you cannot change your mind about like you can the dream of wanting to be a successful blogger or to own a Louis Vuitton bag, bringing children into the world is a dream all to itself. The dream of children trumps all other dreams. I remind myself of that anytime I despair about not having an aspiration to call my own or even an uninterrupted shower to call my own. I wanted this. These children were and are my dream realized. It is exciting to watch the unfolding of these beautiful human beings. And I am their mother. I am honored to be their safe-space, the place-holder as they venture in and out of their artistic worlds through play and meaningful work.

However. As I near my mid-30’s, I find myself being less and less content with this idea. I still have something to offer, I have ideas that flood my head nightly once everyone else is asleep and the silence settles in. There have been times when I felt disgruntled about life and have thought about this character that I have seen portrayed in television and movies of the overbearing mother who regrets that she never did anything with her life so she nags, meddles, cuts-down and eventually alienates her children. It could have been different if only she had made a life for herself outside of her role as wife and mother. This persona would top the list as the worst version of myself. I don’t want to envy my children and begrudge them of their dreams.

There is another way. And I already know where to start. I have been cultivating hopes and desires for people in my family for years. For a passion to bloom, a person needs tools, space and opportunity to create. My children deserve that. I deserve that. You deserve that. As adults, we have to make that happen for ourselves. There is no mother or father around to do it for us now, or maybe, ever. We are creative-space incarnate. No. More. Excuses.
 

perfectmayhem.org


 

Our vision for our short film LEAVE is to create a cinematic work of art that both entertains and inspires positive change. If you are a #WomeninFilm Los Angeles-based Director interested in captaining our production, please contact me.

 
 

PARIS | A Relating to Humans Women’s Issues Feature

PARIS
by elizabeth stokkebye

Seventeen and in Paris on my own.

It was my first encounter with the city of love and I was fortunate to stay with an aunt and uncle, who both being workaholics, left me with oceans of time to explore. I hurried out the door to experience the vast world of Paris with its majestic architecture, its towering cathedrals, its world-renowned art collections, its peaceful parks, and its crowds of people.

The air was spring like, mild and sunny, although I was spending my Christmas holiday away from my home in Denmark. Traveling by myself in a foreign world filled me with a sensation of pure freedom. I remember how my breathing felt different: effortless and silent but steady and consistent. It was breathing devoid of depression and anxiety. I breathed without past or future and let the air be present.

Walking along grand boulevards beneath a blue sky sporting white clouds I felt my loving heart circulate blood through my veins.

On my way past one of the many cafés lining the wide sidewalk, my sway caught the attention of a street performer playing his violin. As I danced by him he let go of his instrument and started to sing Ne me quitte pas. I stopped, turned around, and listened to his chanson. Was he performing especially for me?

My youthful disposition was romantic and I was attracted to him. At the same time, I could hear my mother’s voice: “I’m so proud to have brought up a good girl!” I didn’t move. When he was done with the song, he waved me over. I blushed but followed his hand. He grabbed mine and kissed it. I felt the touch of his soft lips. My skin everywhere reacted by turning prickly and my breathing intensified.

“Ma Cherie,” he whispered.

All of a sudden my body felt heavy and I pulled away. Caught between wanting to leave and wanting to stay, I sat down on a bistro chair.

“Please, I need a minute,” I uttered.

“Bien sûr!” he smiled.

He put his violin to his neck once again and with closed eyes, he played the sweetest melody riding through the air and penetrating the toughest disposition.

Paralyzed, I tried to think. Should I leave or should I stay? My sense of freedom had slowly vanished which made the decision so much harder. The guy was cute, romantic and talented.

A waiter came over and I asked for a café au lait. As more people gathered around to listen to the soft music, I started to relax. He didn’t sing again which made me feel special.

Immersed in the music, I let go of time. Slowly, the morning faded, noon hour came around, and with his violin case full of money, he sang out:

“La dernière chanson!”

From his slender body came Que je t’aime and I didn’t know where to look. My gaze fell on a young woman advancing hurriedly towards us and embodying a sense of pure joy. She stepped right up to my singer and kissed him on the mouth.
 

elizabethstokkebye.com


 

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?

 
 

Two Marines walked into a bar…

…and the Sailor ducked.

Ba dum bump!
#militaryhumor

Okay, just a couple of quick announcements while I’ve got your attention.

I am overwhelmed with happiness and joy now that it is Spring, and because of all the wonderful submissions we’ve received to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature in celebration of Women’s History Month. We still have a week or so to go for #WHM2016 and I am still posting to the blog all submissions received to the feature.

If you’re not sure what all this Relating to Humans stuff is all about. I attempt to explain it all here.

All RTH submissions received prior to 2016 have been moved to the RTH Archives. There is a lot of compelling reading to be found there so check it out if you have a chance.

Aurelius, Zeno, and I are vibing to some Nine Inch Nails Ghost I-IV right now, in case you were wondering.

Zeno & Aurelius rockin' the NIN... and their space heater.
Da Bro’s vibing some NIN… and their space heater.

Anyway… With just about all RTH past submissions now archived, that means there is a lot of white space for you to post your work.

We all know that the early bird gets the best spot where all the book worms like to hang out, if you know what I mean… So submit early and submit often, but only submit one article or piece at a time per feature. If you want to submit something new to a feature that you already have something submitted to, let me know and I’ll archive the old so you can share with us the new.

From now through the summer months, I plan/hope to be heavily involved with the raising of funds and then the production of my short film LEAVE out in Los Angeles. Fingers crossed.

Consequently, I am not going to have as much time to spend writing stuff here for you to read, hence the awkward necessity of this awkwardness. Consequently, I am going to be looking to your submissions to the various RTH features to pull from and post to the blog. Consequently, I am going to need you all to post a lot of compelling and awareness-raising stuff up there for me to pull from. Consequently, I am going to be adding even more features for you to submit your work to.

Can you dig it?

I’m thinking new features such as: “Health Issues,” (notice how I put that comma before the closing quotes? strange how we do it that way here in ‘Merica (prounounced: mur/e/ka) when our good friends across The Pond would put them outside the closing quotes… isn’t life wonderful with all its little peculiarities like that? though, in actuality, since I’ve now added this interesting – at least to me – parenthetical aside, I guess the comma really should go after the closing parenthesis… oh well. my blog my (broken) rules.), “Criminal Justice Issues,” and although I’m a bit hesitant about this one because I’m not totally convinced it fits comfortably with the other features but we’ll see how it goes… “Relationship Issues.”

I am going to ask/require that all human-related creative submissions, such as poetry as the primary example, be submitted only to its designated creative artsy-type feature. In other words, please submit your poems, photography, flash fiction, etc. only to its specific feature. In other words, all poems submitted to the “Women’s Issues” feature will be moved to the “Poetry” feature. To me it will be more interesting to read poetry or any other pieces submitted to the artsy-fartsy type features that cover many diverse, human-related topics in one feature. In other words, I hope I didn’t confuse you as much as I just confused myself.

April is “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” so, unfortunately, there may be opportunities to speak to that very unfortunate and sadly big issue.

Let’s start identifying “Trigger Warnings” where applicable, please. I think for a place like this those are a crucial necessity.

So… that’s about it. Please start submitting away and I will move all the submissions that move me to the blog so they can move all of us into a broader, more compassionate understanding of all that’s going on in and all around this pretty yet petulant planet of ours that we all can and do and must relate to because like it or not we are all humans and we are ultimately all related.

All** cool?

Yeah…

One last thing!

Have you considered donating a buck* or two to help me get my short film off the ground? If you do, I will help you promote your book, your project, or a cause your most passionate about. You can learn how here.

And if you’re a Newsletter Love subscriber, I’ll promote your work to our dedicated, and growing, newsletter group, as well.

Right on?

Write. On!

And remember…

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, vote for Trump… or stumble headfirst into bars.

For pain will surely ensue if they do.


*Paypal accepts just about all major global denominations.
**Yes, you’re right. I did use an awful lot of “alls” in this post for some reason.

 
 

HEROES FOR A MODERN GIRL | A Relating to Humans Women’s Issues Feature

HEROES FOR A MODERN GIRL
by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

The poet Maya Angelou
shared wise words that moved me so.
Songbird Nina Simone
Did not fear walking alone.
Nikki Giovanni
Laid the truth on me.

Mom bravely raised me alone,
in the warmest, loving home.
Simone deBouvaire taught me
women are not property.
Toni Morrison’s Pilate
was free like a wild lilac.

And I thank them all
for helping me stand tall.
Men’s rules, commandments, and laws
once confined us, we felt lost.
But there was no stopping
rebels like Janis Joplin.

I benefit from their stand,
and I’m fed by my own hand.
I thank them all
For helping me stand tall.
 

pamelascanepa.wordpress.com


 

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?

 
 

THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES | A Relating to Humans Women’s Issues Feature

THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES
        by Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

** TRIGGER WARNING: Abuse **

Deep Brown eyes stare back at me,
Fleeting whispers floating between us,
Shadows creep silently,
Across broad brown shoulders,
The darkness melding within the chocolate hues,
Lengthening to point accusingly,
At the faded bruise
That still held faint outlines of his hand.

“Are you okay? Should I call someone?”
I hear the teacher’s voice whisper
Behind
In front
Avoiding.

My eyes jump back up,
Shamed to be caught,
Starting at the dark eyes,
That hid darker shadows.

“I’m fine, I fell”
I watched her rouge tipped lips open in reply,
Tasting the words,
Rolling them around her tongue
Until they fit,
Like words spoken
In love
In faith
In truth

“Should I call a doctor?”
The persistent voice asked again,
Concern and patronization moving together
To create a melody of the question,
“No really I am fine, I fell.”
Stronger, this time
The eyes lit with the flame of memory,
Recreated to a story to be told over and over,
Each time more real than the last.

Hands lift reaching across
Touch the fading bruise,
Face flinching from where my fingers lay,
Turning to look away.

With a breath, I slowly withdraw my hand
Shaking as it moves from the mirror.
Square the shoulders,
Bright smile,
A deep inhalation and whisper…
“I am fine, I fell.”
 
mypoeticheart.com


 

Please submit your creative expressions that bring awareness to women and gender issues to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature. All submissions will be profiled on the blog throughout Women’s History Month.

 
 

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Celebrating the Success Worldwide

I don’t normally do this kind of thing but, because this is a day to celebrate the grand achievements women all around the world are making, and because this is such phenomenal information (albeit excessively long and highly wonky), I am sharing this cut and paste from the National Business Women’s Council, a US Government organization*.

My summary of this Executive Summary of a US Census Survey regarding US Business is that basically what follows is the empirical data/evidence of what I see happening in all sectors of US society… especially that of the Publishing Industry.

And that is…

WOMEN. ARE. CRUSHING. IT!

Yeah…

The King is dead…

Long live the Queen!
 
*As I understand it, unless specifically marked, anything produced by the US Government is in the Public Domain and free to use. Howeever, if you are planning on doing any copy and pastes of anything you do not own the copyright to, learn the rules first for yourself before you do. I am not a copyright lawyer so do not take my word for it. See my Terms of Use page for more on this.



The Growth and Development of Women-Owned Enterprises in the United States, 2002 – 2012: An Analysis of Trends from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners

Women continue to enter into the ranks of business ownership at rates exceeding the national average. Indeed, the rate at which women are launching businesses is on the rise.

  • As of 2012, there are nearly 10 million women-owned businesses[1} in the United States. These enterprises employ over eight million workers and generate over $1.4 trillion in revenues.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned firms increased at a rate 2-1/2 times the national average (52% vs. 20%), employment in women-owned firms grew at a rate 4-1/2 times that of all firms (18% vs. just 4%), and the growth in revenues generated by women-owned firms paralleled that of all firms (up 51% compared to 48%).
  • The pace of business formation among women is on the rise. Between 1997 and 2002, the number of women-owned firms grew by 20%, as it did between 2002 and 2007. Then, between 2007 and 2012, the number of women-owned firms increased by 27% – a significant uptick in business start-ups.
  • On average, between 2002 and 2012, women launched an average of 928 net new firms each and every day. Within that ten-year period, there were an average of 714 net new women-owned firms per day between 2002 and 2007, and 1,143 per day between 2007 and 2012.

While more and more women are starting businesses, those businesses remain significantly smaller than average.

  • Women-owned businesses comprise 36% of the country’s businesses, employ 7% of the private-sector workforce, and contribute 4% of business revenues. Ten years prior, women-owned firms represented a smaller 28% of the country’s businesses, but contributed a similar share of employment (7%) and revenues (4%).
  • In terms of employment, fully 91% of women-owned firms have no employees other than the owner, and just 2% have 10 or more employees. Women-owned firms with 10 or more employees provide three-quarters of the jobs provided by women-owned firms. While most women-owned firms remain small in terms of employment, it should be pointed out that the number of women-owned employer firms (which now numbers over one million) has increased by 13% between 2002 and 2012, while overall the number of U.S. employer firms has declined by 1.8% over the same period.
  • With respect to revenue size, 82% of women-owned firms generate less than $100,000 in annual revenues, and just 3% generate $500,000 or more in revenues. This top 3% of women-owned firms accounts for three-quarters of the revenues generated by women-owned businesses. Further, it should be noted that – while less than 2% of women-owned firms generate $1 million or more in revenues – the number of those firms increased by 47% between 2002 and 2012, compared to an 18% increase among all million-dollar enterprises.
  • The average revenue per woman-owned firm is $143,731. This compares to average revenues of $440,190 among all privately-held firms and $1,213,944 among all firms – which includes large, publicly-traded firms (which average $48.2 million in per-firm revenues).

Perhaps the most remarkable trend in women’s entrepreneurship seen over the past decade is the phenomenal growth in business ownership among women of color.

  • In 2002, there were fewer than one million (909,321) minority women-owned firms in the U.S., representing 14% of women-owned firms. As of 2012, there are nearly 3.8 million firms owned by women of color, comprising 38% of women-owned businesses.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, when the number of women-owned firms overall increased by 52%, the number of non-minority women-owned firms grew by just 9%, while the number of minority women-owned firms overall grew by 315% – a quadrupling in numbers. Specifically, the number of Native American/Alaska Native women-owned businesses increased by 67%, the number of Asian American women-owned businesses more than doubled (up 121%), the number of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women-owned businesses increased by 136%, and the number of Latina-owned businesses nearly tripled (up 172%) – as did the number of African American women-owned businesses (up 178%).
  • As of 2012, there are 1,521,494 African American women-owned firms in the U.S., 1,469,991 Latina-owned firms, 749,197 Asian American women-owned firms, 131,064 Native American/Alaska Native women-owned firms, and 24,982 Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women-owned firms in the U.S.

As the number of women serving in the military has grown, so has the number of female veteran-owned enterprises – at a rate exceeding even that of minority women-owned businesses.

  • In 2007, there were 97,114 veteran women-owned firms in the U.S., representing 4% of all veteran-owned firms. As of 2012, there are 383,302 veteran women-owned firms, comprising 15% of all veteran-owned firms.
  • Between 2007 and 2012, when the number of all veteran-owned businesses increased by 3% – from 2.4 to 2.5 million – the number of female veteran-owned businesses increased by a phenomenal 295%, a near quadrupling in numbers in just five years.

Regionally, the sharpest rise in the number of women-owned firms has been seen in the southern region of the U.S., where overall population growth has been the strongest. However, women-owned firms in the central part of the country have bounced back most strongly from the 2007-2009 recession.

  • Between 2002 and 2012, the greatest growth in the number of women-owned firms has been seen in Georgia (+92%), Mississippi (+89%), Texas (+85%), Florida (+85%), and Louisiana (+74%) – all Southern states. Indeed, all of the states where women-owned firm growth exceeds the national average by more than 10 points are in the South, except for Arizona and Nevada.
  • Four out of the five fastest-growing metropolitan areas for women-owned firms are also in the South: Memphis (+160%), Charlotte (+138%), Orlando (+127%), Las Vegas (+101%), and San Antonio (+101%).
  • While states in the South lead the way in business growth over the entire ten-year period, Central states are home to the most positive trends when comparing growth during the 2007-2012 post-recession period to the 2002-2007 pre-recession period. There are 19 states in which post-recession growth in the number of women-owned firms is at least 10 points higher than pre-recession growth; most are in the North Central or Midwest regions of the U.S. The leading “bounce back” states are Louisiana, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, Indiana, and Mississippi. At the other end of the spectrum, ten states currently lag pre-recession growth rates – including Maine, Georgia, Hawaii, and New Hampshire, where post-recession growth is more than 5% lower than pre-recession growth.

As women business owners themselves are growing more diverse, so are the businesses that they are starting. Despite growing industry diversification, however, the largest concentration of women-owned firms is still seen in the most traditional areas of business ownership for women – sectors that have lower than average revenues per firm.

  • Women-owned firms are found in every industry. In fact, 2% or more of the nearly 10 million women-owned firms are found in 13 of the 19 major industries – including over 260,000 women-owned construction firms, over 200,000 women-owned finance and insurance firms, and nearly 160,000 women-owned transportation and warehousing enterprises.
  • Despite the growing diversity in the types of businesses that women own, nearly half (49%) of women-owned firms are found in three sectors: other services (1.9 million firms, within which there are nearly 1 million beauty and nail salons), health care and social assistance (1.6 million firms, within which there are over 600,000 child day care service businesses), and professional/scientific/technical services (1.3 million firms, within which there are a cornucopia of such firms as management and human resources consultancies, translation services, and veterinarians).
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the greatest growth in the number of women-owned firms has been in educational services (+91%), administrative services (+90%) and other services (+86%) – growth rates nearly double the overall 52% increase during the period. However, even within slower-growing industries, the rate of growth in the number of women-owned firms outpaces overall growth in every single industry sector.
  • Women-owned businesses are more likely than average to have achieved revenues of $500,000 or more in five industries: wholesale trade, manufacturing, accommodation and food services, construction, and transportation and warehousing. However, women-owned firms in these industries comprise only 11% of all women-owned firms.
  • Conversely, among some of the most populous sectors for women-owned businesses – most especially other services, administrative, support and waste management services and health care and social assistance, average revenues are well under $100,000 per firm. Raising the overall economic clout of women-owned businesses would then require a two-pronged approach:
  •         1. Assist women in the more populous, lower per-firm revenue sectors in scaling-up their enterprises, and
            2. Encourage more women to start businesses in the less populous but more likely to scale sectors.



     

    [1] Throughout this report, the term “women-owned” refers to enterprises that are at least 51% owned and operated by a woman or group of women. Businesses equally-owned by a man and a woman (or equal numbers of men and women) are not included – primarily because the way that equally-owned firms have been identified has differed in each of the past four business census years, thus precluding accurate trend analysis.

     
     

HEY WHAT ABOUT ME?! | A Relating to Humans Women’s Issue

HEY WHAT ABOUT ME?!
Exploring the Mind of a Man Who Didn’t Give Me His Card
by pixie

FROM THE WOMEN’S ISSUES ARCHIVE
 
I recently went to a conference with my fiancé – one of those social affairs where everyone is given a name tag and you’re expected to mix and mingle with the crowd. An awkward moment with a stranger got me thinking…

For a brief couple of minutes during the conference coffee break I was left alone. Next to me, I observed a quiet, bashful middle-aged man fumbling through his conference materials and we caught each other’s eye for a moment. I smiled, being polite. He returned the smile and extended his hand to introduce himself.

We went through the usual ice-breaking questions of what we do, why we were there. The banter was friendly and a connection was made. Moments later my fiancé rejoined me. Seeing that I had made a new acquaintance, I introduced him to Mr Bashful and they went on to talk about themselves, dutifully going through similar introductory questions. Mr Bashful at one point reached out for his business cards and gave one to my fiancé, then proceeded to store his business cards back into this pocket.

I was taken aback and thought to myself, “Wait, what about me?!“

So I said to Mr Bashful, teasingly, to remind him of the etiquette faux pas he just committed, “Oh, how come I don’t get a card?“

Alarmed at his own mistake, he immediately made a comeback. “Oh I am so very sorry!“ quickly fumbled through his pockets to get his stack of business cards, and embarrassingly passed one to me with the usual two hands as a gesture of respect.

It was a small incident, but one which demonstrated how we each may have prejudices against certain people. These prejudices are mostly hidden, but occasionally let themselves out the bag through accidental gestures.

I don’t know why Mr Bashful didn’t give me a card and practically ignored me the moment my fiancé stepped in. It could have been a myriad of reasons: his nervousness in front of women, his thoughts that guy to guy conversations are more appropriate, seeing more value in building a relationship with my fiancé instead of me. I don’t know, I can only guess. My guess is that he has certain views about women which inadvertently influenced his behaviour – a small gesture of neglecting to give me his name card, despite me having been the one who first struck up a conversation with him.

I felt a bit brushed off, but forgave the small mistake. It’s not the first time this happened. Not long ago at a wedding an older surgeon similarly extended his business card to my fiancé but not me, despite having spoken to both of us.

I’m not timid and shy – no – that wouldn’t have been the reason why Mr Bashful passed me by. Our conversation before my fiancé arrived was cordial, witty, and appropriate. We had made contact but the conversation quickly shifted to “men only” the moment my fiancé arrived, and I was ceremonially excluded at the business card round. The next time, I should conduct a social experiment: if I presented myself as an independent woman, and was by myself during a similar occasion, speaking to a similar man, would he treat me differently? My hypothesis is I would be given a business card if I were alone!*

In summary, my hunch is that the forgetting to hand me a business card (I was standing right there!) had to do with the following reasons:

  • Mr Bashful perceived me to be taken, someone else’s – he saw my fiancé and I as a single unit, and to give my fiancé a business card would suffice. I was covered.
  • Mr Bashful subconsciously believes that business cards are a male matter.
  • Although he ordinarily tries to be “equal” in giving both men and women his cards, this time he had a slip of the mind and forgot his manners.The fact that he was genuinely embarrassed when he was called out revealed that he too thought the omission was inappropriate.
    It could have been both reasons above. Or Mr Bashful could have simply forgotten – an honest mistake. I can only hypothesize at this point.

Or, I could just email Mr Bashful and ask, since I now have his name card…!

What about you? Have there been instances where you were brushed off, forgotten or neglected because of your sex, gender, race, age, or any other reason?

Have you forgotten to give your business cards to certain persons in a social setting? Or worse, was the omission purposeful?

************************
*it would be hard to come up with scientific conclusions, since it’s hard to control the main variable, i.e. the male subject: Mr Bashful could have been a unique case; another man in the same social situation may have given me a card
 

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THE AMERICAN FAMILY IS BROKEN | A Relating to Humans Woman’s Issues Feature

THE AMERICAN FAMILY IS BROKEN
by Erin Byerly

 

It was your choice to have a baby, so why should my tax dollars pay for them?

Americans pride themselves on rugged individuality and a tireless work ethic. After spending such long hours in the office with so little vacation time, why should we be expected to subsidize the kids we may not even be having? And why should employers bear the brunt of pregnant employees and the inconvenience of maternity leave?

We may be one of the wealthiest nations in the world, but we’ve forgotten who we are. People talk about children as though they were vintage cars, expensive and unnecessary luxuries that shouldn’t inconvenience anyone but their owners.

We pay a lot of lip service to how much we love children, but when it comes down to it, we resent every last dime we collectively spend on them. We don’t want them in our restaurants or in our airplanes, and certainly don’t want the workplace to accommodate their parents.

Not everyone wants, needs, or is able to have children, but putting the entire burden of our species on the backs of individual families has become unreasonable.

Women’s roles have drastically changed since fifty years ago, and for good cause. Women should neither be kept from employment nor forced into economic dependence on men who could abandon them, die, or even become abusive.

Problem is, relative wages have dropped and most families require two incomes, yet Americans seem blind to our changing circumstances. We vilify families living on public assistance while simultaneously viewing workplace pregnancy accommodations, universal healthcare, parental leave, and subsidized daycare as selfish “entitlements.”

And we don’t want to pay for them, unlike every other developed nation on Earth.

No other First-World country fires pregnant women for medical complications or rips new mothers from the arms of their newborn babies within days of delivery. We barely acknowledge the idea that fathers need bonding time too.

No one else in our fighting class expects parents to shoulder low-quality daycare costs that exceed college tuition rates or applauds making children go hungry when their parents can’t afford lunch money.

Nothing in life is free. We’re turning our backs on the most vulnerable members of our species and our nation is paying a heavy price. Our maternal and infant mortality rates are criminal. Poverty and mental illness are reaching levels not seen since the Great Depression.

And with those costs come interest. Our child abuse, violent crime, and incarceration rates dwarf those of our European counterparts. These issues don’t arise from a handful of irresponsible parents, but a skyrocketing number of families who can barely cope with the strain.

You may not want a child and should never feel obligated to have one, but someone needs to.

Once upon a time, you were a child yourself. Not just you, but your coworkers, your boss, your friends, your family members, and anyone else you ever cared about. You grew up, as will most of the children in America today.

So, why should your tax dollars be spent on someone else’s children?

Because they are you.

They are us.

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All creative expressions submitted to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature will be profiled on the blog all throughout Women’s History Month.