A Woman Visible

Search for beauty. Search for adventure. Search for the visible you.

Friday, March 31, 2006

One Pink Manhattan, Please!

Yesterday, I had a visitor to this website that turned out to be way cool! Sali Oguri left a comment under my post about the girl that took a hammer to her would be rapist.

Who is Sali Oguri? I had no idea until yesterday evening when I read her comment.She is a New York musician that, apparently, makes music and scent. She also has some very good insights into womanhood. Her observations in my blog were so interesting, I went to read her profile, which led me to her website, her music and her perfume.

I was captivated with her music almost immediately. It is what I would call Asian Fusion. There are elements of classic jazz, 80s rock, and ancient Asian sounds. The result is intoxicating. I immediately purchased her album, Pink Manhattan: Sensorium of Sight and Scent Act I, and a sample of her perfume, Pink Manhattan. I am usually not a perfume girl. I have trouble with perfume--namely most of it doesn't mix well with my chemistry and I end up smelling like a grandma that's rolled in too much lavender. Still, anything that sounds as cool as
Pink Manhattan might actually be ok.

I just wish she'd make it a drink. I can see myself sitting at a bar sipping on a
Pink Manhattan. Just the thought of doing that makes me giggle a bit. It just sounds so...sexy.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kicking and Screaming in the Fish Bowl

I hope my last post didn't cause all this violence that's cropped up in the last few days. Actually, knowing the sources of these two violent cases, I'm not surprised. There have been two rather visible and famous women in the news as of late that have acted in ways we wouldn't normally expect from women of their position. Or maybe I'm an idealist wishing we still lived in Mayberry. I give you:

  • U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D. GA) and her altercation with a Capitol Police officer. Actually, this is nothing that we in Georgia don't expect from Rep. McKinney. She is a woman that is very visible, and goes way beyond revelling in her visibility. Unfortunately, her visibility is often less than complementary, as in this instance. All the officer did was try to do his job. She was not wearing a pin she should have been wearing, and she went around a metal detector like she was above reproach (those of us that have seen her in action here in Atlanta know better). The man did his job. He called her back repeatedly, but she was too full of herself to respond. Is it any wonder that he took her arm and stopped her? I have to wonder what would have happened next if it had been a mortal like me going around that metal detector. But it was a representative of the United States, and in all of her representativeness (I think I created a word), Cynthia McKinney punched this poor cop. What angers me the most is that he didn't press charges, and so she got off scott free--again. Our young girls need role models. We want them to be competitive and ambitious. We want them to serve our country. How can we expect our girls to act with any sort of grace, or charm when there are women that are very visible and acting like someone that is above the law?
  • The brawling doesn't end there. Naomi Campbell, famed fashion model,was arrested for beating up her housemaid with a telephone. Campbell's "people" swearm it's a lie and the housemaid was just fired, but I don't know. Campbell, much like McKinney, has a track record of punching, screaming, and acting like a diva gone mad. Intense visibility can cause a sort of mania in women, I think. They get all full of themselves, believe that they don't have to work within the rules and regs of the world that the rest of us live in, and then crazy things happen. And yet, in spite of this diva-ism, there are girls that want to be Naomi Campbell. Is this what we want our girls to be like? Is this what we want them to think of when the consider their own visibility?

I'm not saying that we should all be demure, carry our pastel pink purses, and cross our legs at our ankles. I just think that women in very visible places should consider the larger consequences of their actions. They have chosen the fish-bowl life, and there are eyes on them that take their actions as gospel.This is a lesson I learned during my time as a minister's wife. As a minister's wife, you live in the bowl, people see and make decisions about you and, perhaps, how they should live based on what they see you do. It's like Spiderman (yes, I am secretly in love with the ol' webhead) says, "With great power comes great responsibility." These women bear the power, but abuse the responsibility. I would paraphrase Spiderman and say, 'With great visibility comes great responsibility.' It's too bad these two haven't learned this lesson after so many years in the fish bowl.


Addendum:

In an amazing turn of events, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D, Ga) may actually have charges brought against her after her altercation with a Capitol police officer. Of course, in true Cynthia McKinney fashion, she had a press conference that ended up sounding more like a rally. "This is an incident caused by the inappropriate touching and stopping of a female, black congresswoman," says McKinney.

So, I guess if she had been a female, white congresswoman, the touching would have been ok. It probably would have been even better if she had been a male, white congressman. Then the cop could have done his job with no outcry or press conference or no punching. Lord knows that the cop singled her out because he wanted to fight with a female, black congresswoman. He was just spoiling for that opportunity.

Visiblity demands that we take responsibility for our own actions. It demands that we not act as victims, especially when it's so obvious that we are not victims.

I hope that the cop presses charges. If McKinney is convicted, it could cost her up to five years in prison. I wonder what she would have to say about the "inappropriate touching" that might go on there. Some how I doubt that the women she'd be joining will care less that she is a "female, black congresswoman."




Thursday, March 23, 2006

When Do Our Daughters Need to be Warriors?


Ours is a scary time period. Unfortunately, the day of safely walking to school, playing in the woods, and going on adventures is slipping away. Usually, we teach our children to not talk or get in the car with strangers, but what happens when the stranger pulls a gun on our children and commands them to get in their car? What then? You teach them to fight like this girl from Toledo!

This girl was smart. She immediately found a way to look for a weapon, and then didn't even hesitate to use it. A hammer to the groin is not exactly what Mr. Pervert had in mind, I'm sure. I think this makes a strong point (not just to the guy with hammer marks in a very private place). We are so worried about teaching our kids to "be nice" to "be polite" that sometimes we forget, especially with our girls, to teach them to defend themselves. We need to remember to nurture not only the natural female instinct of kindness (which is easy to recognize), but also the part of women that will fight for important people and things. It's that fighting attitude that will often save our girls from harm. Even cops will say that a woman that looks confident, and that she might be trouble will often not be targeted by attackers.

We can pretend that this sort of thing won't happen. And maybe, just maybe it won't. Part of being a visible woman is sometimes being able and ready to defend ourselves in times of troubles. I'm not saying that we should act like Xena, Warrior Princess (although she is very cool), or teach our daughters the Xena war cry, but we should teach them to be self-sufficient, and unafraid to stand up for herself or others.

From all of us visible women around the world--"You go, girl!"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CNN extends my thirty seconds...sort of...

My friend Amanda, author of the Cult of the Invisible Woman blog, discovered that CNN is running the segment I was a part of on Paula Zahn Now! You can see "Office Spouses: A Modern Affair," and hopefully, enjoy it! Thanks for everything, Amanda (incidentally, she allowed me and my kids to come to her house to see the segment last night).

If you have a chance, take a look at her blog. It's pretty darn cool.

My fifteen minutes must be coming in thirty second increments!

I suddenly have an idea of how Joey in Friends must have felt when his character on Days of Our Lives, Dr. Drake was summarily murdered on the show. No, really, it's not quite that bad...

All that stuff with the cameras following us, them interview all three of us, and the final edit gives me thirty seconds. Actually, I think it rocks that Mike and Lorraine got all the camera time. They are really awesome folks, and deserve some publicity. I had a feeling that this was going to happen by the way the director kept the camera following them and kept me out of some of the shots. Guess it goes to prove that I really might have a face for the internet and radio, but not for tv. It was a great piece, and I hope everyone that watched it really enjoyed watching us try to be realistic.

The kids were happy that I was on tv at all. Stuart was all excited. "My mom's on tv!" So, I guess it worked out. Gina was outraged that I didn't get more air time, but I thought it was rather funny.

I just wish they'd mentioned my blogs--either one of them. The one thing I wanted to happen with this CNN thing is to get a boost in readership. Not that numbers matter, I'd rather have a few readers that are faithful and will actually post comments than a million readers that are nonparticipatory. Still, it would have been cool to think that maybe a few more dedicated readers might have joined the mayhem. Oh well, maybe next time I'll get on for a whole minute! If you're interested in reading my thirty seconds of fame, you can check out the transcript.

Thanks for all the kind words and general support during this strange little excursion. Thank goodness I don't have to move to Hollywood!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My CNN Thing is Tonight!

For those of you who have been following my CNN adventure over the last month, tonight is the night. I will be on Paula Zahn Now! tonight at around 8:25 pm EST (the show begins at 8 pm). I will be watching it at Amanda's house. I would love feedback, but most of all I would love for you to just watch. We had a great time doing this piece, and we hope you'll enjoy it as well.

Ok, gotta be a kid for a minute--

I'm gonna be on tv! Wheeee!

Oprah? Did someone say Oprah?


I did a strange thing a week or so back--I picked up a copy of O Magazine. I've never, never read this magazine in my life. In fact, I've avoided this magazine for a very long time. It has always struck me as a "let's-all-be-perky" type of magazine. Those of you that know me understand very well that I am not the "perky" type of girl. Still, there was something, I'm not sure what, that said to me--"read this magazine," so I bought a copy. Then it sat next to my bed for a week. I'm not sure what kept me from digging through the thing except for pride. Finally, I sat in bed Sunday morning and read my O Magazine.

The experience was actually really great! I discovered that what I'm writing in this blog could actually be acceptable material in this magazine. Does that make me perky? I don't know. I found articles that I enjoyed greatly, and I discovered that the message in this magazine is one of personal growth, acceptance, and expansion of possibilities. Over and over there are articles that tell women to love themselves as they are, and to know themselves well. As a woman searching for visibility, this is a great magazine to use as encouragement.
I found a few things in this month's magazine and in the April issue online that I think might work in with some of the observations I've made the last few months.

Physical Visibility
"Are you waiting to be skinnier, thinner, more toned, more tanned, better dressed, sexier, more lovable, nicer, smarter, funnier, or wealthier before you really begin your life? Millions of us are. And it's a complete waste of our time. Body obsession and the quest for perfection are destroying our lives, and we are willing partners in this destruction."
--
Jessica Weiner
, from her book, Do I Look Fat?

I found this quote while I was reading Sunday, and the author is so right! I've watched more women do whatever it takes to pursue this vision of lovliness that seems to be the societal mark we should strive for. I believe that many women have illnesses and problems later in life from this physical quest, and I have to ask if it's worth it. Why can't we find the beauty in all women. Even the plainest women have a certain beauty, even if it's not readily evident every single moment of every single day. We've all gone through this. Each morning brings for most of us that moment in front of the mirror where we decide whether we are attractive or not for the day. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what beauty treatment, surgery, diet, or fancy clothing we wear. If we, for some reason, decide that we aren't attractive, none of that will help us.

I did a bit of research on the book, Do I Look Fat in This?, (yes, this is a question that I've even asked), and found that Jessica Weiner is not only a writer, but an "actionist" and speaker on the subject of women's self-esteem. She seems very concerned with women's view of their own images. I find it interesting that a woman can now get paid to do seminars and give talks about the very thing that women in the past took care of by being connected to other women in their community. It used to be the coffee clatch groups, the bridge club, PTA, and church that connected women to one another and taught them to love each other and their selves (not that that always happened, but I have to believe that it was a part of the female experience in the past). I'm not knocking Ms. Weiner. In fact, I'd love to talk to her and learn from her. She's doing what is an instinctive thing, and making money at the same time. Plus, best of all, she seems to be helping people.

Inner Visibility

I found another article describing a self-evaluation in the April issue of O. I think self-evaluation can be useful, especially for someone who is seeking to become more visible. I like what the author, Martha Beck, says about love:

"There's no risk-free way to love. The possibility of being devastated is always there, but the possibility of joy exists only when you put your battered heart right on the table by trusting that you're lovable. I'm not asking you to do this all the time, or even in large doses—at first, anyway."

As much as I hate to admit it, part of my own quest for visibility involves discovering how I can be more attractive, and, yes, visible to men. It isn't my primary goal--my primary goal is to know myself better and to discover and work on my weaknesses. But, yes, I want to be loved--it's scary, but true. Of course, Beck cuts to the chase--love is not without risk. Inner visibility involves risk. She also give four steps to implement the self evaluation:
  • logical risk assessment
  • attack on self-denigration
  • experiment with exercise, challenges, or new experiences
  • trust the good feelings you have about yourself
She explains each step very well, so well, in fact, that I am willing to try them myself. I'll let you know how it works out. This is not an attempt to find a man, but it is an attempt to make myself perhaps find a little more positive outlook, which could only help, right?

So, I guess I have to lose my attitude about Oprah. She might actually have some ideas I need to understand.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

My Fifteen Minute Walk through the Twilight Zone

Well, as promised, CNN arrived at my school at eight o'clock Tuesday morning. For the first time in my life, I had an entourage. It was odd. This entourage included me, my two friends who were also being interviewed, the producer, the interviewer, the camera and sound guys, and three people from PR at school. We were followed all day by this group.

First we were interviewed. That was the easy part. We sat in our chairs, pretended the camera wasn't there, and talked. I can honestly say that none of us made fools of ourselves, or the school. We were sincere, told the truth, and generally had a great time. The PR folks from school said that they approved. This was a big relief for me because I was really worried about saying or doing something that would bring their scorn down up all of us.

Then they went to lunch with us, and even picked up the tab (if I had know this was going to happen, I might have suggested a nicer restaurant.). The camera rolled as we ate and talked. It is really weird trying to have a conversation while two guys are sitting at one side of the table with a huge camera and a boom hanging over you. The whole crew came to the restaurant, but couldn't eat with us. The waitress couldn't figure it out. She even asked our producer if they were mad at us or something.

After lunch, they interviewed Mike's wife, and shot us walking down the hall (kind of like Law and Order) over and over and over and over again, until the producer was happy. They also shot in our offices. Lucky for me I took time to clean my office that morning. Before they arrived, it looked rather like a paper bomb had been detonated in that small space.What was surprising is that they were able to fit all their stuff into my little tiny space. The producer wondered if my office was stuffy because it was small and windowless. I assured her it wasn't, but considering how warm I like to keep my office, perhaps she found it to be stuffy.

Soon the day was over. The crew went home with their video, the interviewer went on to talk to more people, and the producer headed back to New York. We went back to our offices in a poor attempt to work. I think we all were ready to leave.

What I liked about the experience was that I discovered that all of these TV people are human. Not that I'd never considered this before, but I think we get this idea of TV people being...well...more than human...maybe. I had a great time, particularly with the camera crew. They were so relaxed and fun. It made it ok to have to film the same shot fifteen times. I also liked the fact that we never felt that we were being led to say things we didn't mean. Now either that means that they are really slick, or that they were sincere about creating a fluff piece.

We've been told that the piece might air next week unless a huge news story breaks.As soon as I know, I'll post the information. I'm really hoping we won't be pre-empted by the latest Saddam-rant from court. I'd hate to have my few recorded moments in the Twilight Zone displaced by an attention hungry madman.

I have learned a bit about visibility from this. In spite of what we're taught my the very media that I interacted with this week, people are interested in things that are curious, and don't much worry about how the person with the curious experience might look. Yes, you do need to look pretty when you are on tv, but I believe that if you are interesting enough, looks don't mean as much.

What I'm trying to say is this--being visible is more than skin deep. People will see you if you have something to show for besides good looks. Visibility of interest is much more valuable than just being pretty. So this week try to find ways to extend your visibility. Take chances, have an adventure. Perhaps there's a Richard from CNN in your future!

PS: I almost forgot to mention what show we're featured on, and when to watch. We will be featured on Paula Zahn Now! I'm not even sure what time it airs, but as soon as I'm sure, I'll post it for all of you.



Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Some leaders are born women."



I discovered something about yesterday that is just way cool. Yesterday I turned on my computer and my Answers.com feed came up along with my Google bar and all the other information feeds I get. You have to understand, I love having access to information. I'm like the poster girl for the Information Superhighway. Anyway, on my Answers feed, there was a little article on this special celebration for women called International Women's Day. I never knew there was a day for us! I mean there's Mother's Day, but what if you're not a mother?

Apparently this holiday, which is now celebrated all over the world, started in 1911 in Germany, Austria, and several other European countries to push the idea that women should have the right to do things like vote, work for equal pay, and run for political office. Since that time, International Women's Day has been celebrated each year with a social agenda in mind. The movement has a terrific website that includes an excellent time line delineating the growth of this social movement.
As the IWD website states, "International Women's Day is a time to reflect on the progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights."

Something that is exciting and surprising is that there are at least 5-10 groups here in the United States that celebrates this day, and even extends the celebration through out the month. I found several groups online that are sponsoring activities including Mommy Community, which is sponsoring "Celebrating Women's Day" today and tomorrow. There is something really great about women supporting other women in their own empowerment.

Women live best in a community rich with other women who understand, listen, and most of all, guide one another through the journey of being a woman. I think that's why so many of us struggle in the 21st century. We don't have the connections women of the past did because we are so busy. Perhaps celebrations like this can make all of us more aware of how community can make a difference in our feminine visibilty.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Visibility on a Surreal Level

This has been a surreal week for A Woman Visible and your's truly. Last Saturday, I found a comment on this blog that shocked and surprised me. A producer from CNN (yes, that CNN), left a comment and was interested in interviewing me about office spouses. I was thrilled, but was unsure if this was a real request, or just some weirdo attempting to get closer to me. One of the dangers of being visible online is that sometimes weirdos are drawn to the light. After asking some very pointed questions, and getting some very strong answers, I discovered that Richard and his request was very real.

I talked to him on Tuesday as I drove home from work. I had assumed that it was going to be a one shot, phone interview and that would be that. It was pretty surreal, but nothing I couldn't handle. Then he dropped the bomb--"Would you mind being on camera while talking about this?" I almost wrecked the van right on Powder Springs Road. I stuttered a moment. Then I realized just how big this had become.

I told Richard that I'd have to talk to my superiors. Right now I'm waiting on the PR guy at school to say the word. If all goes well, you may be able to see me on TV sometime in the near future.

See what online journaling can do to your life?

When I signed up to be visible, I didn't exactly have this in mind.

Stay tuned...