Chingona, Dolores Huerta, Jennifer Gordon Low, Madeline Albright, Medal of Freedom awards 2012, Pat Summit, Strong Women, Toni Morrison

The 5 Women Awarded the Medal of Freedom 2012

Today President Obama’s awarded the Medal of Freedom to these five women: 

AP photo

Madeline Albright former Secretary of State and the first woman to hold the top U.S. diplomatic job. Granddaughter of Holocaust victims and who also survived the WW II Blitz.

Juliette Gordon Low, who 100 years ago founded the Girl Scouts, at 45 years of age, divorced, deaf and childless. Her purpose, “to train girls to take their rightful places in life, first as good women, then as good citizens, wives, and mothers.

AP Photo

Dolores Huerta, co-founder of  the United Farm Workers of America. Daughter of a divorced parent, her community activism started when she was in Girl Scout’s. Huerta has 11 children. She became a teacher but resigned.
 ” I couldn’t stand seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes. I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children.”

AP photo

Toni Morrison, author of such novels as “Song of Solomon” and “Beloved.” Her life began during the severe economic times of the Great Depression. She became an English professor and editor before she became an author with over 25 fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books, as well as a playwright. “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” 

Pat Summit, former basketball coach who led the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team to more NCAA Final Four appearances than any other team.  She coached the U.S. women’s team to an Olympic gold medal, becoming the first U.S. Olympian to win a basketball medal and coach a medal-winning team. Now battling Alzeheimer’s, she has retired after 38 years. “There’s not going to be any pity party and I’ll make sure of that.

This year’s there are more women than ever before receiving the Medal of Freedom. This is the nation’s highest civilian honor. It is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to world peace or to other significant endeavors.

It is not known how many women have received the award since it’s inception by President Harry S. Truman in 1945, but this year there are five female recipients out of 13 awardee’s. In a count, from available data the last nineteen years, only 42 women out of approximately 225 had received the award. 

The stat’s are mentioned just to give you an understanding of these women’s significant achievements. We don’t need to wait for next year’s Women’s History Month to celebrate women. These awards are something to acknowledge, celebrate, and share with other women, especially daughters, nieces, granddaughters. 

These women did not have an easy life, all had challenges, all of them found their purpose, and contributed to their community and society. And that has all the makings of strong women.  

Breast cancer, Facebook bans, Mastectomy, Self-confidence, Self-Esteem, Strong Women, tattoos

Mastectomy Scars Pornographic?

You may have heard about Facebook’s latest news. No, not its IPO problems, or CEO Zuckerberg’s wedding. This one is related to censorship of photos. In this case, mastectomy photos such as the example below.

The other day I wrote a post on ‘swimsuit confidence,’ a promotion by Land’s End, Curvy Girl and Beyond the Booby Trap. It was all about celebrating your body. This promotion asked for photos of women wearing their bath suits with confidence. It was all about body image and feeling good about who you are. 

In that same vein of feeling good about oneself, Joanne Jackson,  a 40 year old married mother of two and breast cancer survivor posted, on her own Facebook timeline, photos of her mastectomy scar.

After Joanne beat cancer she wanted to celebrate “kicking cancer in the ass” by sharing her story with her family and friends. You know the saying, a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Well, Joanne posted the professional   photos she had taken of her new body, scars and all, showing her audience her story. 

Photos illustrating her self confidence, strength, and courage in the face of cancer were banned as offensive and  “pornographic,” by Facebook.  Joanne expressed shock and anger that they sent her a warning and threatened to shut down her account. They cited their community standards:

Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and imposes limitations on the display of nudity. At the same time, we aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.

 The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines pornographic as: 

the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
 material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
 the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

Take a look at the photo, then the definition. Facebook failed the dictionary test. 

I can relate to Joanne’s celebratory feeling and the desire to share a story of survival with others. Six years ago, when my chemo and Herceptin treatments were completed, I had a porta-cath removed from above my breast. It had been there for a year leaving a couple of  scars.

Months later I too wanted to celebrate kicking cancer’s ass and had a butterfly on cherry blossoms tattoo (symbols of rebirth)  placed over the area above my breast. It was a reminder of something I will never forget. Not only because of the horrible chemo, family stress, and the reminder of mortality but because beauty came out of the pain. I survived and I wanted to celebrate that fact. Just as Joanne wanted to do with her own family and friends. 

I kept my bathing suit top on just in case someone construed my upper body as pornographic.


Beyond the Booby Trap, confidence, Curvy Girl, Health, Land's End, Lumpectomy, Mastectomy, National Swimsuit Confidence Week, Self-confidence, Self-Esteem, Strong Women, swimsuits

Embrace Your Swimsuit Confidence

It used to be that I watched Good Morning America every work day as I sped around my bedroom getting dressed, drinking my cuppa Joe, and yelling  “hurry up” to the kids. When I got serious about writing, I stopped watching GMA or turning on the TV in the morning. 

Most of the time I don’t miss it at all. Not just GMA, but all morning shows. I catch CNN in the evening-I have to get my Anderson Cooper fix-and watch a couple of evening dramas. So yesterday I missed a show that I wish I had watched. It would have alerted me to National Swimsuit Confidence Week. Luckily, I read the morning news that covered the story.
Now, swimsuit season is is not something I looked forward too in the past. If you’d watch me go through my dresser you’d know I have to reach into the recesses of the bottom drawer to pull out three different swimsuits-1 piece, tankini’s, 2 piece, all from the past 10 years. Yes, you guessed it, they are in three different sizes: 16, 14, and 12-my current size, I think. 
(I can’t believe I just typed out my size, but what the heck, I’m trying to get into the swing of  NS Confidence Week). 
Well, it seems that GMA had a few women out there on their plaza holding up signs about NSCW.  They were invited inside. The story is that Lands’ End has teamed up with Selfmagazine and the Curvy Girl Guide for the second annual National Swimsuit Confidence Week — 
seven days devoted to inspiring women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their bodies and step out in their swimsuits with pride. Woo-hoo! 
GMA file photos

“We want women to get to a place where they’re comfortable in their swimsuits but more importantly their bodies,” Curvy Girl founder Brittany Gibbons said.

More than 20 breast cancer survivors from Beyond the Booby Trap have posted pics of themselves posing in their Lands’ End suits. If you think finding the right size for your body is hard, try finding one and then wearing a swimsuit after a mastectomy. It takes courage.

For the last few years I haven’t cared as much about wearing a bathing suit as before, I’m just glad I’m still around to enjoy the beach. Although I did not have a mastectomy, my lumpectomy left me a little lopsided. But I found a good suit, covered most of the chemo-port scars with a kick-ass butterfly on cherry blossoms tattoo and enjoyed the pool. 

What is inspiring about this campaign is that media is emphasizing the celebration of all types of bodies (remember the Dove commercials, Hanes). The way I see it

we can’t waste time hiding our bodies, staying away from the pool or beach, because we think our lumps are showing, our thighs jiggle, or whatever. 

Those of us who are mothers have an opportunity to embrace our bodies and show our kids we  like ourselves. I think that confidence in my body, at this stage in my life, has grown. We can show them that and let them know that 
                                we are more than boobs, thighs, and butts. 

The campaign is asking women to inspire others by posting pictures of themselves in their swimsuits on their personal Facebook page or the Land’s End Facebook page — or tweet them out using the hashtag #confidence. 

To celebrate, Lands’ End and Curvy Girl Guide  encourages women everywhere to gather their confidence and get back into the pool! 

They will be hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, May 25 from 1-2 pm EDT, where Lands’ End will give away 10 Lands’ End Swimsuits and 10 Lands’ End Beach Towels as well as announce exclusive swimsuit promotions.

So, in celebration of NSCW I’m going to pull out one of my bathing suits and post a photo on Land’s End or Beyond the Booby Trap. And if none of the bathing suits fit I’m getting the one this young woman is wearing. Look at that beautiful smile. Now she is wearing confidence.

Curvy Girl site-suit from L.E

Authors, Aztec, Book Review, Books, Colin Falconer, Malinali Tenepal, Malinche, Mexican History, Strong Women

La Malinche: Heroine or Traitor?

Aztec by Colin Falconer: Book Review.

I read my fair share of books. If I took a photo of my bedroom (and I won’t because the camera on my iPhone 3GS is crappy) you’d see two to three deep rows of books lined up back to back in my tall bookshelf. There are smaller books on top of those rows, only one book deep because I may be messy but i don’t want to squash the books on the bottom.
Books totter on an end table, hold up a lamp, crowd on a footstool, and fill a magazine holder meant for, yes, skinny magazines not chunky books. I won’t take you on a tour of the family room or my bathroom. At least my Kindle Fire is dust free and orderly.  

Most of the time I don’t write a review about books that I’ve read. If I had to guess, I’d say I write one long review for every 15 or so books. The rest of the time, and if I remember, I rate the books I read on my Goodreads page or on Amazon. 

Today I felt compelled to review the book “Aztec” by Colin Falconer because it was one of the historical fiction books that left an impression on me, much like Michener’s “Hawaii,” and Villasenor’s “Rain of Gold.” 

“Aztec,” is the story of Hernan Cortes’ invasion and conquest of the Mexica (pronounced Meh-she-ca) natives in the early 16th Century. Falconer tells this enthralling story via several narrators. Cortes and Malinali are the main characters but this is primarily Malinali Tepenal’s (commonly called Malinche) story. 

The main reason for loving this book is because it is told primarily through her perspective. This gives us an understanding of her motivations for doing what she did.The book tells the story of her life, role, and motives as Cortés’ translator of Chontal Mayan and Nahautl, the Aztec language. She became baptized, his concubine and renamed Doña Marina. (Doña is a title like My Lady).

Whether Malinali was a traitor or harlot has been debated for centuries. Historians agree that she was the daughter of a noble Aztec family. Upon the death of her father, a chief, her mother remarried and gave birth to a son. Deciding that he rather than Marina, should rule, she turned her young daughter over to some passing traders and thereafter proclaimed her dead. She wound up as a slave of the Cacique (the military chief) of Tabasco. 

from Codex of Txlacala-Mexico 1519

The Aztecs called Malinali, Malinche. Even today, the word malinchista is a deadly insult, meaning traitor to the Mexican people. This name is also used to say a woman is someone’s mistress or a harlot.

By the time Cortes arrived, Malinali had learned the Mayan dialects used in the Yucatan while still understanding Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs and most Non-Mayan Indians. She soon learned Spanish. What is not debated in history is a letter preserved in the Spanish archives, from Cortés, which states, “After God we owe this conquest of New Spain to Doña Marina.”
The other facts that arise from this book and history are that Malinali Tenepal was an intelligent, loyal, and fearless woman. She loved Cortés, remained faithful to him, and bore his son, Martín Cortés, who became the first Mexican (a mixture of Spanish and Aztec or native blood).
I enjoyed the way this book was written but it did take a little readjustment in the beginning, especially with the different points of view. It does work, especially since the headings list who is telling the story. This provided for a 360-degree view of the characters motives. I agree with a previous reviewer: there are some typos, but not enough to make me stop reading.
Settings are vivid, descriptive, and in keeping with the landscape, customs, and clothing of the era. The lush imagery and authentic dialogue places one into the setting, giving us an understanding of the motives for the main characters.
Although some of the imagery is gruesome, it is necessary to tell the story. The themes of religion, culture, oppression, ambition, greed, good, evil and love are all explored. The historical facts seem accurate, as well as the use of the native language, description of dress, customs, music, and food.
This book would make for a fascinating screenplay and movie. Colin Falconer is a darn good storyteller.

Just so you know, I did not receive any compensation for this review.