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Navigating the Middle

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Day 27: Phenomenal Woman, phenomenal life

What can I say about this “treasure,” this woman of substance and insight. She was and will always be phenomenally,  “Phenomenal Woman.”

Listen to Dr. Maya Angelou’s May 2013 appearance on Super Soul Sunday (OWN)as she shares her words.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

by Maya Angelou, April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

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Day 28: #YesAllWomen

Born from Friday night’s tragic shootings and brutal murders in Isla Vista, California, a greater conversation has emerged on social media. The hashtag Yes All Women is an outpouring in response to killer, Elliott Roger’s 137-page manifesto, in which he rails against women and humanity.

Instead of making the conversation about him, a broader dialogue has opened up about sexism, misogyny, and violence against women. As of this morning, #yesallwomen had been Tweeted more than one million times. Here are 12 that really caught my attention. What caught yours?

#yesallwomen 

  1. Eliza Divine @MsElizaDivine: Because I’m not here for your enjoyment or entertainment. I have my own life’s purpose and it likely has nothing to do with you.
  2. Sheeby Clerk @sheblyclerk: Because we’ve been taught to fear completely harmless situations “just in case”.
  3. Missy Moo @beetrootlover41: Because magazines ‘for women’ focus solely on gossip, fashion, cooking, and articles on how to get or please a man.
  4. @toreyischill: Because talking about domestic abuse and rape is uncomfortable and awkward, but making crude jokes about it isn’t.
  5. Bethany Jayne @bethanyFae: Because women get guilt tripped by an entire community when they feel uncomfortable & “won’t give that guy a chance”.
  6. Megan Rose @DarthMeg: Because when I was 10 years old, my grandma told me to lose weight or I’d never be able to find a husband.
  7. Tara D @anateboteo: Because when my boyfriends mother comes over and sees him doing dishes she says “but you have two women in the house habibi!”
  8. Jess @jessicarudnicki: Because you are not going to take feminism away from me and call me bossy/hostile/aggressive and make this about yourself.
  9. Shawnelle Martineaux @nellemartineaux: Because when we express ourselves we’re automatically assumed to be on our period.
  10. Cassy @cassyhough: For every single time a guy put me down for being smart/funny/loud and called me “intimidating” instead of “awesome.”
  11. Paige Marie @peeg13: Because when girls go to college they’re buying pepper spray and rape whistles while guys are buying condoms.
  12. Macyn @MaciKorfhage: I feel the need to say “I have a boyfriend” instead of “No” because guys respect other men more than they respect me.

And my own @realmofoya:
#yesallwomen Because if I don’t know you, don’t put your hands on me.

 

Day 42: #BringBackOurGirls

Boko Haram is one of the world’s most murderous militant groups, responsible for killing thousands of men, women and children. And one month ago, most of the world had never heard of them. 

But on April 23rd, nine days after nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria, a single Tweet – sent by Ibrahim Abdullahi of Nigeria ignited a movement. Since that time, #bringbackourgirls has been Tweeted more than two millions times.

Not everyone is impressed. On Fox News Sunday, George Wills said that is was an exercise in self-esteem.

“I do not know how adults stand there facing a camera and say, ‘Bring Back Our Girls.’ Are these barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, ‘Uh-oh Michelle Obama is very cross with us, we better change our behavior?’”

No Mr. Wills, I don’t expect Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau to do anything, without being forced. But I wanted to declare solidarity with the kidnapped girls and call upon the world not to forget them, support all efforts to ensure their safe return, and ask all international agencies, organizations and groups to support Nigerian efforts aimed at rescuing them. (Change.org)

Will our rallying cry eventually lead to the safe return of all 276 young women?

Sadly no. Two have reportedly been killed by snake bites and 20 are in poor health. But hopefully some of the girls will ultimately make it back home because so many of us refused to ignore their abduction.

Raise awareness, sign the petition, and contact your representative.

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