Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 Ways to Celebrate Women...during Women's History Month and Beyond

1. Read books, stories, poems and essays about, by and for women
Here are lovely posts I wrote listing several juicy female reads (one is a total female read, one you'll have to dig through and another of Irish short stories that you'll have to dig through). I'd also like to add a great list that somebody [I can't remember--sorry whoever you are!] else posted of 100 YA fiction books for the feminist reader...I've passed this list on to several of my avid reader students.

2. Have girls who are friends
And, I don't mean friends you date, dating isn't the same as having girl friends. Something can be said for the Sex in the City female relationship. Think about what you can learn from women, how to live, laugh and love. We women could really learn to lean on one another more and cat-fight with one another a little less. Having strong female friendships can help keep you sane in a world that demands your role in society be defined by what you do (SAHM, professional et cetera), not by who you are. Through these relationships we can also learn that being a woman comes in many different shapes and sizes. We can learn to respect those differences in ourselves. I know my gal pals understand that I want to be the best mother, sister, daughter, friend and wife I can be while still be myself (see Point 5).

3. Educate others (in my case, my students)
Over the years I have taught what it means to be a strong female to students by doing a whole unit on women writers and's a sample calendar. It is really easy to bash men in trying to identify the powerful woman you are, part of being a strong female is understanding gender roles and our roles in portraying or disproving them. Men are part of this as well.

4. Connect with other women (make new friends, enjoy functions)
Operation Beautiful
The Lady Blogger Society
Campaign for Real Beauty

What can you do in your community to show that you are a positive role model?

5. Mirror, Mirror on the wall (be true to who you are)
I spent a great deal of my life not being happy in my own skin. While I may not have all the answers now...I definitely know I don't have to, either! Read books that promote independent thought, watch movies that inspire, listen to music that educates as well as entertains. How did I learn to be true to myself? I began by listening to that inner voice that told me that the me I am is the me that I am OK to be...even if others don't like my hair or think I dress a little funky. I love me!

Figure out:

1. How you define yourself?
2. How you stay true to this 'self'?
3. What are your likes, your dislikes, your passions?
4. Those who promote this person in you and emulate their positive traits.

6. Don't let others around you get away with sexist remarks, even if they are spoken unintentionally
So, yesterday in our faculty meeting our principal made a faux pas. One of our counselors got hired at a different school and in the meeting our principal ribbed him calling him a 'tiger-ette'--referring to the fact that he would be a 'Lady' Tiger at his new school. I didn't really think anything of it, until one of my friends asked him if he meant that being a female tiger was, in fact, inferior or derogatory. Another female co-worker told him that a female tiger was actually a tigeress. After the meeting, a new teacher told my friend that she was proud of what my friend said because our principal makes a lot of comments like that and she didn't feel she could do anything as a new teacher.

7. Know your Women's History
My example: I knew about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, but I didn't know that these women had already endured hardships by being some of the first women to protest working conditions and wages for women. I didn't know that these women were subjected to horrible searches at the end of every shift because the factory owners didn't want the women stealing ,of all things, thread and material. And, I didn't know that the reason why the doors were locked was not because of safety, but because of selfishness and greed from the owners. I learned all this by watching a documentary on PBS.

8. Laugh

Lisel Mueller (b. 1924) is a German-born American poet, who won the Pulitzer in 1997.
The Laughter of Women
The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness
It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out
The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again
Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women
It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other
What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.
Lisel Mueller

9. Donate your time, talents and money
I'm pretty excited about donating my time and talents this summer when I help with Vacation Bible School at the church we've been attending. However, I always try to find ways to give back to those who have given to me. Sometimes it can't be money, but it can always be a portion of the best part of me.

Denim Day
The Purple Dress Project

10. Be a true woman of the Lord
Here are my three favorite Biblical Female Role Models
Ruth She is a strong, independent woman who follows a God she doesn't know and loves a man who is different than her. Ruth also has a lovely best friend Naomi, they stick by one another no matter what.
Esther Courage in the face of many trials, Esther does not deny her heritage and faith, but finds a way to use them to educate and inform others.
Sara The mother of all nations. Left a life of affluence and wealth to live in the desert with her husband following what the Lord asked her to do being a good wife and mother.



  1. Very true, Stephanie - all of it. Actually, it's all about being the best person you can be, and passing that on by being thoughtful and kind as well as the best-educated we can be. Treating people - men and women - as we'd hope to be treated ourselves.



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