It’s All Her Fault!

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I’m amazed! I thought we won these battles a long time ago, yet I see on the evening news that state after state is closing in on women’s freedom to choose. A woman should have a choice about what to do with her own body.  Is this a time warp and it is 1960?…Otherwise there is no excuse for this nonsense.  

For a while, I was a home teacher and one of my students was a shy, lovely young woman who had been told she couldn’t come to school because she was pregnant and might “contaminate” other girls.

She got caught in an unwanted pregnancy and chose to carry the child to full term. No matter what her choices were after the child was born, this was a setback for her and her life plans. It was a long time ago.

We all face setbacks in life and she had the intelligence to manage better than most unwed mothers. If it was her decision to keep her child, she was headed toward poverty, according to the statistics. If she chose to have her child adopted, that was fine although there could be psychological issues. She had some difficult choices to make.

I didn’t know her well and we didn’t talk personally. She was a good student and I tried to teach her well. I remember I thought it was very unfair to kick her out of school but life was very unfair for women. It’s a sure bet that the baby’s father didn’t have to leave.

Abortions were still not legal and I have no idea if she would have wanted one but the point is, she didn’t have a safe choice. Every woman deserves a choice!

That was a long time ago and times have changed. Teens now are usually allowed to finish school and some of the girls are allowed to choose a special school where they also get parenting classes.

I wrote a book called Young Parents once and I learned from the research. If the girls choose to keep their kids, they were statistically doomed to poverty for the remainder of their lives. Of course there are exceptions but most teen parents struggle for years. Almost none have a baby’s father who stays in the picture.

When I taught high school, back in the Sixties, I heard kids say you couldn’t get pregnant the first time. Some of those kids also believed that you had to “really enjoy it” before you could get pregnant.

Those kids  were sixteen years old and it was more than fifty years ago.  United States Congressmen and State Representatives are a long way from  high school. Some of them spouted ideas on the news that were more nonsensical ideas than any I have ever heard from a teenager.

Why are they really against Planned Parenthood? Why are they attempting to whittle away at abortion clinics? I can’t believe they are motivated by religion or they’d be more religious about helping the children who are already here.  I think they must believe that their views will bring them more votes from people who fear change.

These fearful voters are the same ones who are routinely trying to keep poor people from voting. They also want more guns and they are anti-immigration and the list goes on. If dinosaurs ran for office, the change-adverse voters would rush to vote for them. Oops! Dinosaurs do run.

Resistance to change concerns me but I really get hot about the shutting down of abortion centers and the persecution of Planned Parenthood organizations because I have a great long term memory.

In my day, girls were routinely blamed for getting pregnant. We were supposed to know better and understand that boys had “needs” that would drive them to distraction. It was up to us girls, when we went on a date, to keep our wits about us and our knees shut.

During this last election, I heard several political figures spouting the same nonsense. I even heard one candidate claiming that women cannot get pregnant if they are “legitimately” raped. That is probably based on my 1960’s students’ belief that you had to enjoy it before it worked to make babies.

If my news station is to be believed, that is a fairly common belief today. I had never heard that particular canard until recently, but apparently it has been around a long time in the right-to-life circles. Do they old guys still chuckle and say, “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it?”

All of this is just another alarming sign of the age-old prejudice against women. Whether it is a judge who blames the rape victim because she wear the wrong clothes or the neighbor who blames the teenage girl for going out with that wild boy, it always centers on the idea that it is all her fault.

How about your family? If you have children and grandchildren, what are you teaching them? Do you tell the girls to be careful and the boys to have fun? I hope not.

As a retired Religious Science minister, I’m supposed to look on the positive side and I usually do. The positive side here is that it will all change despite some people’s attempts to block progress. And I’m positively glad to know that New Thought arose, to make progress and accepting women as equals was part of that forward movement.

Many feminists deny all the traditional teachings as being anti-female and patriarchal. Their interest is in ancient teachings featuring goddesses and that is an interesting development. I’m glad they are doing it but I’m happy to see there are other attempts to the nonsense in the dominant religions.

Some people see the Bible as an old fashioned book that promotes men into leadership positions of power. They say blaming the woman is a common theme in the Old Testament.

True – there are a lot of stories about women enticing men to sin, probably because men wrote the book. Whether it is Eve, Delilah or Jezabel, these Biblical characters are nasty ladies. Some of the traditional churches seem to hang on to those attitudes, stating that women cannot be priests or ministers and the man is head of the household.

But most of the traditional churches are moving away from those beliefs based on stories written thousands of years ago. Protestant seminaries are crammed with women studying to be ministers. We are living in more enlightened times.

I don’t worry so much about what the churches say anyway. If someone chooses to believe that sex without a desire to conceive is a sin and not use birth control, that is personal business. It becomes impersonal when freedom of choice for every woman is threatened.

I think this is a good time to take a good look at the issue of women’s rights in general and check out your own attitudes about sexual behavior. Is it all the woman’s fault in your world?

Ask Yourself

Do I want to change any of my personal attitudes?

Do I want to investigate this issue?

Do I want to tell my legislators how I feel?

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Happy Wise Woman Day

It is Saturday, May 21, in Tustin, CA at the Unity Church and I am speaking before a large group of women about my Wise Woman book. It seems different and also very much the same. I’ve spoken  hundreds of earlier times on the subject. It has been a while, but it is very familiar.

Times have changed since 1994 when I wrote the book, Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues.  It is almost twenty years but I can tell by the questions the women from the audience that many issues remain the same.

The women who attended the Wise Woman event appeared prosperous. They are a self-selected group who know something of New Thought and they are willing to change their thinking to change their lives. I am proud to be a part of them and glad to discover old friends who are looking well and happy. It is a joyous day.

My dear friend, Rev. Rachel Lampert, put the conference together with her dear friend, Rita Prosperi; they did a beautiful job. There was an amazing number of willing workers who did their part with no drama. They were pleasant, competent, capable women volunteers and one man who helped with the filming. He had a wonderful laugh!

All of the speakers and workshop leaders were lovely, brilliant and talented. The musicians were fabulous and the conference was opened by a woman who belonged to a local Native American tribe. She leads a spiritual group called Song Of The Earth and by the time she finished chanting, I felt the earth truly was singing .

The day was fabulous. I felt loved and lifted. The laughter was a blessing –especially from Rev. Rachel who has the best laugh in the world. The audience was great, of course, because the Law of Attraction is always working. I am generally an optimistic person but lately, I’ve had a few doubts. This event gave me a great deal of hope for the future

Of course, I reviewed my own life as I prepared my talk and that made me very aware of changes that have happened. For example, in my youth, all ministers were men. I knew only of Aimee Semple McPherson who was disgraced as a fallen woman.

Even though women continue to face economic and political issues, I can see very real progress. We see women on TV every day who are established leaders in their fields. My two favorite news commentators Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris- Perry are perfect examples of wise women who would not have been seen on the air 20 years ago.

Feminists are no longer terrified of lesbian labels. Maddow has the courage to be openly gay. Harris-Perry is Afro-American and a professor. While we are not all working on TV or CEOs of corporations, we have come a long way. Most of us know at least one notable woman in her chosen field. We don’t deliberately limit our children’s and grandchildren’s ideas of what kind of work they can do as adults.

That being said, women still make an average of 77 cents for every dollar a man makes at the same job. The top layers of government and industry are hugely dominated by men. Physical appearance is still a big very factor in how the world responds to women.

Life is better in many ways but anyone who thinks that the need for women to step up and speak out is over should take a good long look at what is actually happening in this nation. We have a great deal of work to do.

At the same time, it is probably better to be born a woman in the United States than most places. We can drive cars, marry late or not at all and get ahead economically. We can be single parents without apology.

Opportunities will continue to grow. As more women are elected to political office, the plight of the poor, the education of children and other social issues will improve. I believe this because I know that women are culturally and historically tuned into these issues. They are aware of the implications of massive numbers of children living in poverty or the need for effective health care costs for seniors. The majority of health care providers are still women who volunteer to care for family members. This is not a bad thing, it simply is what is.

I do find the rise of a right wing political, religious and social attitude in the US very distressing. These action-oriented believers threaten to push back many of our gains. Cuts in the national budget are never military but hover over education, child protection, and women and children’s health care.

I am amazed to see a political party try to unapologetically try to turn back the clock. They are apparently determined to take away gains made on women’s choices. Roe vs. Wade , women and children’s health care and other issues of choice are in chronic danger.

That said – the women I talked with in Tustin were healthy, wealthy and wise. A group of intelligent, optimistic and spiritual women like that create an aura of loving power that is exactly what we need on a personal, local, state, and national level. Indeed, I am certain that women like them are the ones to save the planet.

That group of wise women created an atmosphere that was a distinct and beautiful feeling of peace, love, power and intelligence. It felt clear to me that, as Julian of Norwich said, “All is well and all will be well.”

My Mother’s Day celebration began in that room. I was truly blessed to be a part of the event. I was also very blessed to have my beautiful daughter there with me. She has been the biggest blessing of all in my life.

I wish everyone of my readers a Happy Mother’s Day – not just yesterday, but every day for the rest of your lives.

Ask Yourself

How has my life changed?

How would I like my life to change?