Sunday, December 22, 2013


You hear it so much this time of year - “Peace on Earth.” So many holiday cards say it, so many journalists and commentators talk about it, but it seems as elusive as ever at the start of the New Year. How can that be? I’ll bet if you asked every individual on Earth whether they preferred “War” or “Peace” there would be less than 5% that said “War.” So how is it that the other 95% of us who are sick and tired of war and conflict can’t seem to make the other 5% stop doing it? It’s because we’re not connecting the dots. We’re just coming to understand that the personal IS political and that we must have the exact same peaceful social values in our foreign policy as we are striving for in our general society.

American social values are trying mightily to move in the direction of greater acceptance and greater compassion in many ways. We’re taking new, more common sense looks at things like:

* the right to earn the same for a job regardless of your sex
* the right to express your sexuality without being beaten up or fired
* the right to work for a living wage
* the right to utilize a natural herbal remedy in all sorts of beneficial ways
* who really wins and who really loses when we wage war instead of peace to settle
international disagreements

Our leaders though are still stuck in the military-industrial age of war for profit and pleasure (for a VERY few!) and governing via short term ego trips. So it’s the right time to make a pledge to demand from our “leaders” the kind of behavior we are more and more demanding from ourselves in our personal lives – open mindedness and fair, intelligent living.


Sunday, December 15, 2013


We all start out with the potential to laugh and love without barriers or blame, regardless of where we’re born or the color of our skin. Then the social values of “winning and power” force people to dampen the laughter and diminish the love, but now we know it doesn’t have to be this way. Now we know that each of us holds the power to change those social values to bring out the very best in people!

That really is the basis of the (r)evolution I write about in Conversations with EVE. Average people using the power of their daily choices to create societies and cultures that encourage, nurture, and reward all the wonderful aspects of our human nature: kindness, tolerance, curiosity, compassion, fair play, cooperation, etc.

In order to accomplish this, we’ll need to make our choices on new social assumptions:

- Happiness is more essential and fulfilling than power
- Team work is more productive and satisfying than beating somebody out
- Every individual deserves the same respect and protections
- Every individual deserves the chance to earn a decent standard of living

So, maybe our “giving” can have a much greater meaning this holiday season. Maybe our choices can “give” the world’s people and future generations the opportunity to live in homes and societies that value and support them. Let’s choose laughter and love!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


In the courts and in the courtyards around the world EVE are making a statement and a difference!

On the global scene, this photo by Lindsey Maya (1) shows EVE gathered in Nepal to discuss women’s health. They came together to “open a dialogue” about the practice of Chhaupadi which still stigmatizes and traumatizes women and girls in Achham because of their bodily functions.

In this society, menstruating EVE are still viewed as impure and confined in small, unventilated sheds during their monthly cycles. EVE are not only ostracized and shamed by this practice, there have been deaths during this confinement “due to snake bites, hypothermia, or oxygen deficiency.” These EVE are gathered to watch a skit to openly show how negative this treatment is and to talk about how they can change or eliminate it from their society. This is the power of Conversation – talking about social change with those who can most benefit!

Then there is the story right here in America about an internet campaign to stop a grave injustice in our court system. This campaign by the activist group/site (2) focused on a travesty of justice in Montana. Judge Baugh sentenced the rapist of Cherice Moralez, a 14-year-old girl who committed suicide after she was raped by her teacher, to 30-days in jail because he said the girl was "as much in control of the situation" as her 49-year-old rapist.

This is a truly blatant example of the “blame the victim” strategy, but EVE aren’t taking this twisting of reality quietly anymore. Through internet activism UltraViolet collected 86,500 petition signatures demanding justice for Cherice and Judge Baugh’s removal from the bench, and their voices have been heard. Prosecutors in Montana have filed an appeal to put Cherice’s rapist behind bars for 10 years, and Montana’s National Organization for Women has filed an official complaint to have Baugh removed from the bench.

None of these changes would be happening if EVE had not joined their voices and their power to expose the cruel and unfair ways EVE are still treated every day in our Manplan world and demand change.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I was honored and exhilarated to share the messages of Conversations with EVE as a panelist at an amazing event recently! Almost 100 people gathered at Florida Southern College
for the “Lois Cowles Harrison Symposium on Women: From Passion to Action.”

I was especially honored because this event was created, organized, and presented by the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Polk County in direct response to my book and its messages of enlightenment and empowerment for EVE. The event was recorded by PGTV and will be broadcast in the near future on local cable channels.

Even more exciting is a campaign by the local LWV chapter called “CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION.” This symposium was the kick-off for the campaign and a recording will be shared with all the LWV chapters in the country to encourage open, honest dialogue about the issues that EVE still face here in America and abroad.

Also bringing their perspectives and expertise to the panel were Dr. Sharon Masters, recently retired professor of Women’s Studies programs at Florida Southern College and Doris Weatherford, renowned author of works on EVE’s history and adjunct professor at University of South Florida, Tampa.

The more we talk about and advocate for the social changes that are needed to restore balance and sanity to our world, the more likely they will happen!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A quick thought before we get busy cooking, eating, laughing, and loving for Thanksgiving.

(And just for fun, click on this link - - and listen to “Imperfection” by Saving Jane while you read.)

I am SO THANKFUL! My list would fill pages, so let me just say I’m thankful for:

1. wonderful, strong EVE in my life and my family who I can laugh, cry, and hope with,
2. accomplished EVE like my mother who created a home and raised the kids,
3. independent EVE like my Grandma Whidden who divorced a man way before it was “acceptable” because it was the right thing to do,
4. talented EVE who are making their mark in entertainment so we can hear their voices, see their portrayals, and read their words of inspiration,
5. amazing EVE in the U.S. Congress who are challenging the mess the men are making,
6. indomitable EVE who campaigned tirelessly so I can use the power of my vote to change the world,
7. unapologetic EVE who proved EVE’s “place” includes college and graduate school,
8. courageous EVE like Ilana Hammerman, an Israeli widow, who started smuggling Palestinian EVE to the beach for a day to “befriend our brave Palestinian neighbors, and together with them, to be free women, if only for one day.” (1)
9. determined EVE around the world who recognize their dignity and their value even if their societies are still fighting the inevitable,
10. ALL THE MEN who have, do and will love and support strong, smart, funny EVE!



Sunday, November 17, 2013


This wonderful group (plus more not shown in this photo) was given the opportunity recently to laugh, learn, and share our successes and challenges as EVE.

The gathering took place in Baltimore, Maryland, through the insight and energy of my cousin, Susan. She had read Conversations with EVE and wanted to share the wealth by hosting her own Conversation.

Through her hospitality, EVE of different ages and backgrounds sat down together to talk, to learn from each other, and to encourage and motivate each other. Our attitudes on some things were quite different but our belief that EVE deserve equality and respect was unanimous.

At the table that day we shared our frustrations, more of them from the older EVE than the younger. But we also shared how fortunate we were to have grown up in a society that was so changed and improved by the women’s movement. From the 72 years of hard work it took to secure the vote for EVE in America to the sit-ins for equal pay and the speak-outs against abuse of the 1960s, we are all beneficiaries of EVE who refused to accept that they deserved less respect or opportunities than men.

They were EVE who believed in their rights and their freedoms and never stopped speaking out about them. They were EVE who challenged the limitations put on them and lived by their own conscience, in spite of the fact that it often made them unpopular with their family, their church, their community, or their nation. And we all decided that we are also those EVE, that we want to continue to protect and expand dignity, opportunities, and happiness for EVE the worldwide with every choice we make.

One more Conversation. Many more EVE feeling empowered to make an even bigger difference in our society and our world. How awesome! If you have a group that would like to get together with me for a Conversation, let me know at I can’t wait.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Well, it looks like science is going to have to revise another theory of the role of EVE in prehistory, because those remarkable paleolithic cave paintings were most likely made by EVE artists.

That’s the startling outcome of a new analysis of the handprints in several famous cave paintings by Dean Snow, Pennsylvania State University, as reported by Virginia Hughes, National Geographic. (1) Snow’s careful analysis of hand stencils found in eight cave sites in France and Spain show that three-quarters of the handprints were made by EVE, not men, but he wasn’t really surprised by this finding.

As with so many “man the hunter” interpretations of archaeological remains, these amazing works of art were automatically assumed to have been made by men because they showcase game animals. However, Snow explained, “there has been a male bias in the literature for a long time. In most hunter-gatherer societies, it’s men that do the killing. But it’s often the women who haul the meat back to camp, and women are as concerned with the productivity of the hunt as men are.” A second theory that had credited the paintings to shamans rather than hunters still includes EVE as the artists, because what could be one of the oldest burials of a religious shaman yet discovered is the 12,000-year-old grave of a high ranking female in Israel.

I'm not saying that EVE did everything in prehistoric society. I'm just saying that EVE did a great deal more than they've been given credit for (yet) by the male dominated sciences. Good to know that both male and female scientists are openly challenging these outdated theories to give us a truer sense of our cultural history.


Thursday, October 31, 2013


Sometimes positive culture change can be advanced by the most unlikely influences.

There is an article and link on Huffington Post (1) for a video of an advertisement from a jeweler in India. The reason this ad is newsworthy is because it challenges the long standing taboos that widowed and divorced EVE have suffered under in Indian culture.

An article by V. Malik (2) offers a good description of the hardships of many widows in India. He writes, “The marriageable age was lowered further and girls were married at the age of 8, just before the time they attained puberty. Widow marriages were prohibited and sati (being burned on the husband’s funeral pyre, my note) became a common practice. Early marriage was naturally followed by early maternity, which increased the mortality among women between the ages of 14 and 22. Child brides got married to men twice their age, who died early due to disease or warfare leaving these brides as child widows who were not permitted to remarry. They had to lead a chaste life and could not look at another man their entire life. They had to remain faithful to their husband, alive or dead, all their lives.”

There have been attempts to change this terrible social situation for EVE in India. In fact, the British government passed a law in 1856 that legalized widow remarriage, but a law doesn’t necessarily change people’s minds or habits. Those who opposed the new law had three arguments against it, which basically sound exactly like every other argument for changing the Manplan and improving the lives of EVE(2):

1. we’ve “always” done it this way so it must be right,
2. if restrictions on women are relaxed, society will crash and burn, and
3. women are by nature deceitful, untrustworthy and prone to adultery.

“AdWeek reports that India has been ‘mesmerized’ by the ad. The trade outlet called the commercial ‘revolutionary’ and ‘crazy bold.’(1) So maybe a simple advertisement for jewelry can make Indian citizens rethink this demoralizing and harmful cultural taboo. We hope so!


(2) “Problems Of Widow Remarriage In India: A Study”, Varun Malik, Assistant Professor, Rayat College Of Law, Railmajra, India, Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research, Volume 2, No.2, February 2013.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


The issue of GMO foods and the greed and disregard for people and the planet shown by companies like Monsanto are living, fire-breathing examples of the Manplan at work in many ways:

1. the arrogance of thinking that we can control, improve on nature without any thought for long term consequences on human health and the environment,
2. total dishonesty about the true effects that these “products” are having on small farmers and their ability to grow safe, healthy food,
3. utter disregard for the millions who will actually have less to eat in future years because of the damage to crop yields and the push for mono-agriculture, and
4. blatant bribing of government entities (mostly in the U.S.) for special treatment that lets them get away with “murder” both in the fields and in the supermarkets.

The values of the Manplan and Monsanto’s campaign for GMO’s are identical:

** only interested in profit and power,
** only focused on short-term personal triumphs not long-term social successes, and
** perfectly comfortable with lying, cheating, and corrupting to win the “game” regardless of the harm done to others.

BUT, just as Conversations with EVE shows how our personal advocacy can challenge and change the negative values of the Manplan, the activism of many anti-GMO, food safety advocates has exposed and derailed the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

This provision, deceitfully labeled the Farmer Assurance Provision, was slipped into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and signed into law last March, but the Monsanto attachment was only in effect until September 30th. And because of the protests, phone calls, and petitions of average people it has expired!

This is a victory for all those who think special interests shouldn’t get special deals,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said. “This secret rider … instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to allow GMO crops to be cultivated and sold even when our courts had found they posed a potential risk to farmers of nearby crops, the environment, and human health.” (1)

“This is a major victory for the food movement and all those who care about openness and transparency in their government,” Dave Murphy, the executive director of Food Democracy Now, said in a statement. “And a sign that our voices can make the difference when we are effectively organized.”(1)

One small victory over the Manplan – let’s keep ‘em coming!!!


Friday, September 27, 2013


Being an EASY (R)EVOLUTIONARY has never been easier! Just this morning I was reminded of this through a post on Facebook.

A friend of mine posted a link to an interview with the chairman of a major food corporation. In this interview the executive made remarks about homosexual families and women’s place in the home, ending with “if gay customers don't like it, they can ‘eat another brand of pasta’."

I will be doing just that. And after I re-posted the link another friend commented, “well they lost 2 consumers in our home, that's for sure!” This is a wonderful example of how we can all use our purchasing power to shape social policies. Whether you’re buying something from a street vendor or a multinational corporation, your choices keep them in business. So by spending our money with progressive minded companies and NOT spending it with companies still stuck in the Manplan we create a new kind of business world.

And that’s just one way the power of choice that every individual holds works – by knowing that simple, every day decisions can move our world toward compassion, diversity, and peace.


Thursday, September 19, 2013


When I made a presentation recently to a businessmen’s club on the messages of Conversations with EVE, one man commented that it was important to look to the future rather than dwell on the past. I agree completely because the future is the only thing we can affect, and how we can do that is the whole point of the book.

BUT at the same time, it’s almost impossible to make positive social changes without knowing where the values and beliefs came from that still drive our dysfunctional world. Then, once we understand what caused the problems we can begin to work on solutions.

Too often when people want to know “what happened” they’re only goal is to assign blame and punishment for the problem, but that’s just retaliation not progress. As we talk about in Conversations, men may have been the big winners after the Myth of Male Superiority changed society and gave them social power over EVE, but they were also the big losers in many ways.

Conversations is about letting people understand how our social system became and stays dysfunctional and cruel, not about hating or punishing those (men) who benefited from such a system. So it’s important to remember that the vision of our (r)evolution is not blame and shame for men.

The vision is empowering people to change their lives and change the world by making their daily choices based on EQUALITY AND RESPECT for everyone, EVE and men both. It’s a positive social (r)evolution based on independent thinking, responsible choices, and the willpower to replace the negative values that shape and drive our world.

Blaming EVE for society’s ills and problems has been a mainstay of the Myth and the Manplan for thousands for years. So our EVE (r)evolution won’t be repeating the same mistake. Besides, we won’t have time or energy for blaming or punishing men. We’ll be too busy respecting and supporting each other and relishing the camaraderie of whole men who are working with us to leave the Manplan behind.

Determination to build a better society is what our movement is about, not retaliation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Americans observed a tragic remembrance yesterday. And because the 9/11 terrorists were avowed Muslims these anniversaries take on very religious tones. But it’s important to remember that the radical agenda of the jihadists leaders didn’t really have anything to do with religion at all. The attack on the World Trade Center was about power – pure and simple.

Yes, the al-Qaeda leaders did manipulate the religious devotion of their Muslim followers. And, yes, the goal of striking at the power of the United States was clothed in religious rhetoric. But this campaign to hold onto or seize power is no different than many, many others in the past – this one just happens to be wearing the mask of Islam. The same type of social manipulation was used by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition and the Crusades, by the Stalinists after the Communist Revolution and by the Nazis during World War II. It was even used by the Bush administration when it channeled the anger of the American public to manufacture a war-for-profit in Iraq.

So it’s critically important to make this distinction, because how we label the problem defines our solution.

As long as we label al-Qaeda and jihad terrorism as a “Muslim problem” we’re chasing the tail of religious intolerance and feeding the beast. But when we recognize it as the latest in a long history of Manplan campaigns by egotistical power mongers (regardless of what they call themselves) we can respond differently. We can pull the rug out from under their campaign of hatred by doing the opposite of what they expect, like:

1. Oppose violence in any form as a response, because history should have taught us that violence begets violence and it always will,
2. Promote respect and communication among ALL the world’s religions, and
3. Strive to bring equality and justice to every religion by doing away with the Manplan rules and attitudes that keep women out of religious authority and control.

I’m totally in favor of any belief system that helps people deal with the struggles and complexities of life, as long as the teachings promote kindness, justice, and ethical behavior. But, as we talk about in Conversations with EVE, too much of religion today only pays lip service to compassion and equality while fiercely opposing any changes that might threaten the power and control of its male leaders.

So, if you want to truly honor the memory of the Americans killed on 9/11, refocus your anger and energy. Use them to work for a world that operates on fairness rather than undeserved privilege and compassion rather than conflict.

Expect the best from your chosen faith, and don’t be taken in by the conspirators who prey on our need to pray!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Let’s look at another simple way to change the world.


It’s easy to demean and disrespect someone, especially if that someone is a member of a group – women, black, handicapped, etc. - that might have a hard time standing up for themselves, socially and otherwise. Besides, you’re only expressing the long-standing prejudices that are part and parcel of the culture around you. And sometimes you can score points or fit in better with coworkers or social peers by voicing such attitudes.

So why bother to take the social and moral higher ground? Why make a conscious effort to deal with a person as an individual and not a ______ or a ______? The answer is pretty basic. Every time you treat another person with prejudice and disrespect you’re fueling our Manplan culture. A culture based on dividing people rather than bringing them together and keeping control in the hands of the most ruthless (be that politically or physically).

But the opposite is also true. Each of us already holds the power to reach that higher ground every time we choose:
** fairness instead of discrimination in dealing with others,
** cooperation and compromise instead of conflict, and
** thinking for ourselves instead of blindly accepting negative preconceptions.

When we do these things we are building a different, better culture based on good sense and fair play – two positive values we see very little of in our 21st century world. We don’t see good sense because social groups too often require unquestioning loyalty to religious dogma or party philosophy. And we don’t see fair play because many of these belief systems make it perfectly acceptable to ignore, demean or even harm someone who doesn’t believe like we do.

What we have is division and conflict. What we need is community and collaboration. So by actively demonstrating these social values at every opportunity we can have a positive and powerful influence on both the general culture and the individuals around us.

We won’t truly know or love too many people in our lifetime, but we can strive to respect every human being we meet along the way. Some of them will prove worthy of that respect and some won’t, but giving that respect as a matter of habit benefits all of us - today and in the future.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


This week’s blog will introduce “The Easy (R)evolutionary.” These postings will give short suggestions for simple actions that anyone and everyone can take to create a safer, healthier, happier world - starting in our own backyard. Each one may not change the world overnight, but together they have the potential to do just that.


Too often we stay well within our comfort zone by avoiding conversation or interaction with people who are “different” - a different color, a different age, a different nationality, a different religion, or a different way of dressing or speaking. And staying in this zone all the time causes us to miss out on many opportunities to expand our connections to people and our understanding of the way they see things. Because the walls of our comfort zone are sturdily built from the stereotypes the Manplan has taught us.

But as an Easy (R)evolutionary you can look for everyday chances to open a door or a window in those walls. Whether it’s in your office, in your neighborhood, at a party or in a checkout line look for chances to speak with someone who doesn’t look like everyone you usually talk to. Even short, simple conversations have the power to break down a barrier or open someone’s eyes – maybe yours.

Communication breeds understanding.
Understanding breeds acceptance.
Acceptance breeds cooperation.
And cooperation breeds peace.

It’s as simple as that!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


"Who is more intelligent—a woman or a rat?" "A rat," they would say, and they were talking about themselves.

This was how women of the Untouchable caste (now called Dalits) in India had been trained to see themselves, but some were being trained to see themselves very differently – as village healthcare workers. These women had been shunned since birth by those around them and never allowed to even pump water from the village well because their touch was “poison” to higher caste people. But now, when two of these transformed women, Sarubai Salve and Babai Sathe, move through their village, people gather around them. They are no longer poison. In fact, Sathe has been elected the leader—or sarpanch—of her village, Jawalke.

How could such an amazing social transformation take place? Through the support of a program that sees such women as a means to not only transform the crushing lives of these Dalit women but to transform rural health care in India. Salve and Sathe are not doctors or even nurses. They have very little equipment, but they are responsible for the health of Jawalke residents. They see pregnant women, deliver babies, and then check up on mother and infant. They visit old people, take blood pressure, and check on people cured of leprosy. Life is much better in Jawalke and that is because of women like Salve.

"When I started, the children all had scabies and there was filth everywhere," Salve says. Small kids used to die. Pregnant women died during and after delivery. Poor sanitation led to malaria and diarrheal diseases. Children went unvaccinated. Leprosy and tuberculosis were common. Today these problems are almost non-existent, but the turn-around has not been quick or easy.

Thirty-eight years after the Jamhhed program began training Dalit women as care givers there are 300 villages that benefit from their dedication. In villages that have these Dalit angels half as many infants die and, even though half of all Indian children under age three are malnourished, in Jamkhed villages there are not enough cases to record. But the truly amazing thing about this social (r)evolution is that the changes go way beyond health issues.

Many of the Dalit women who became care givers were illiterate and destitute. As Untouchables, they were non-persons, not even allowed to wear shoes because higher caste people could not step on their footprint, and never allowed to enter a building or home. Many had been married at ages ranging from two-and-a-half to ten and then abandoned by their husbands. So their first step was to transform themselves beginning with two weeks of training on Jamkhed’s campus that gave them pride and confidence in addition to basic technical knowledge. Another secret to their on-going success is the network of continuing support they receive from weekly contact with each other for discussion and new training.

All Jamhked villages now have clean water and many have pumps in every backyard, most villagers have small gardens to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, and in an area that was once treeless villagers have planted millions of new trees. Sathe and Salve have organized eight women’s groups to make these changes happen in Jawalke, and their latest project is toilets for every house.

Even magically placing a doctor in every village wouldn’t have created these remarkable social improvements because as Raj Arole, co-founder of the program, says, "Doctors promote medical care because that's where the money is. We promote health." Dalit women who are Jamhked workers teach their neighbors about breast-feeding and good nutrition and hygiene. They help villages create systems for clean water and sanitation. Most importantly, they are culture-changing, living proof against the superstition and stigma that discriminates against women and low-caste people.

"When I started, I had no support from anyone, no education, no money," said Sathe. "I was like a stone with no soul. When I came here they gave me shape, life. I learned courage and boldness. I became a human being." Through women who were once degraded and tormented as Untouchables all the women of these villages see there is a better life for them. And now they know they ALL have the power to demand it and create it. (1)

(1) See National Geographic Magazine, Tina Rosenberg, @

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


In the middle of a yoga stretch the other day I began thinking about the gridlock that is gripping the U.S. Congress (you’re supposed to block stuff out during yoga but it just popped right in). That may seem like an odd time to reflect on politics, but it occurred to me because yoga is all about balance - of the spirit and of the body.

So I started thinking about how the inability of Congress to work together for the good of all Americans is a perfect snapshot of the social ills I talk about in Conversations with EVE. When did civility and compromise become dirty words? When did treating others with fairness and respect become “just for shmucks?” When did winning become more important than anything else – regardless of how much harm is done to others in the process?

I’m sure some of those attitudes have always been part of human nature, but for tens of thousands of years they were generally disapproved of and usually held in check to maintain healthy, balanced societies. That all changed though after the Myth of Male Superiority did away with social balance and redefined manhood. No, things just haven’t been the same since the values of the Myth made “winning” the only measure of a man and declared that those who compromise and consider the welfare of others aren't “real” men.

Social focus shifted from balance to winning quite a while ago and has been making life miserable for a lot of people since then. But today you need look no further than certain elements of the U.S. House of Representatives for a living, breathing, totally dysfunctional example of these Myth values in action:

** there is no informed debate about how to reduce hunger in America or how to achieve a living wage for middle income workers, but they defeated a badly needed farm bill because it ONLY cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (better known as food stamps) and they want to cut $100 billion,
** there is no meaningful discussion of other ways to provide all Americans with access to health care, but there have been 40 separate votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act without offering an alternative, and
** there is no will to pass significant immigration reform even when the bill was proposed by a bipartisan group of Senators and covers all the issues they’ve been insisting on: increased border security, increased employer verification, and clear requirements for any pathway to citizenship. This despite the facts that Americans overwhelmingly support the bill and the reforms are projected to grow the U.S. economy, help reduce the deficit, and generate close to a trillion dollars in revenue for the U.S. by 2044.

You see this kind of “dig in your heels rather than give a little for the good of everyone” approach to life a lot in our competitive, combative society. But when it becomes the way that elected representatives do their job (or don’t) in this country it’s gotten way out of hand.

So the next time you get the opportunity to vote for a member of Congress, choose those who can put the health and well-being of all Americans above their own need to win.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


We haven’t taken a snapshot of the “ups” and “downs” of EVE’s rights in a while. So let’s see what’s new.

Where we’re making progress:

On July 12th a young girl celebrated her 16th birthday in a very public way. The birthday girl was Malala Yousfzai and her “party” was attended by 500 young people from 85 different countries at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. She was there to be honored on her birthday, the day the U.N. has designated as “Malala Day” in honor of both the ordeal she suffered and her commitment to speaking out for the education of all, especially girls.

You may remember that Malala was shot point blank in the head by a Taliban member in Pakistan in October, 2012 while traveling to school. Through heroic efforts both in Pakistan and England she recovered from her wound and became a symbol of what the Taliban seeks to destroy – the power of education, change, and equality. And she has demonstrated one of the true strengths of feminism as an outspoken but non-violent advocate for universal education. As she so eloquently stated at the U.N.:

"Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy, and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights." "…thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them. So here I stand. So here I stand, one girl, among many. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard."

We weren’t making progress when Malala was shot for trying to go to school. But the world’s reaction to that attack IS progress: honoring her advocacy and promoting universal education for the 61 million children who are still denied the right to basic education in the world today.

Where we’re losing ground:

A “Clear” sign of how much some corporate owned media think of EVE was made plain recently by Clear Channel Communications, Inc. This mega-corporation, “with 243 million monthly listeners in the U.S. has the largest reach of any radio and television outlet in America.” So it was both disturbing and socially dangerous when three Clear Channel Stations in Wichita, Kansas pulled radio ads for South Winds Women’s Center recently.

The stations pulled the ads off the air because they found them “indecent” but had no problem running ads for the local “adult boutique.” Really - health care for EVE is indecent but kinky sex is not??

Let’s see what words were so offensive that the station pulled them:

“At South Wind Women’s Center, our physicians are committed to providing quality reproductive health care in Wichita. Each physician is board-certified in family medicine or obstetrics and gynecology. Between them, they have over 80 years of experience and dedication, ensuring women are able to receive the care they need when they need it.”

So, it obviously isn’t the words in the ad that are the problem. Clear Channel pulled the ads because South Wind will be offering abortion services along with obstetrics, gynecology, and adoption services. This refusal to air information is a slap in the face not only for EVE in Kansas who need to find a health care provider but for every EVE in America who think their health care is not “indecent.”

But what’s most frightening is the impact that this type of corporate media censorship can have on all information and reporting that affects EVE. Will media owners decide that they aren't going to run ads for EVE political candidates because they don't think EVE should be elected to office or suppress reports on the rapes and murders of EVE because they're "disturbing?"

Once corporations can get away with deciding what information is “decent” enough for us to hear just because they don’t agree with it we’re all in serious trouble – not just EVE!

Monday, July 29, 2013


There’s an interesting email making the rounds that just screams “GIRLFRIEND POWER!” because it talks about the amazingly wonderful effects EVE can get just from spending time with each other.

The accurate parts of the email tell us the following:

“In an evening class at Stanford University the last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious. Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences.”

Although the claims made in the rest of the email sound wonderful, there's no research to support them ( But research does support the statement that spending time with your girlfriends can be as healthy as vitamins or exercise. This landmark study was conducted in 2007 by The Center on Stress and Health, directed by Dr. David Spiegel, Associate Chair and Professor, Stanford University’s School of Medicine Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (the “speaker” in the email) on how the social environment, mind, brain and body connections can influence health.

This study ( compared two groups of EVE with advanced metastatic breast cancer. EVE in both groups received traditional medical care and were offered a self-directed educational intervention, as well as a 1-year membership to a consumer health library in their community. But the EVE in the intervention group also received weekly 90-minute sessions of supportive group therapy (GIRLFRIEND TIME). With the only difference being their support group time, these EVE not only experienced reduced anxiety, depression, and pain, but survived an average of eighteen months longer than EVE who did not take part in a support group. "These studies underscore the importance of treating people's psychosocial needs, not just their biological ones," Spiegel said.

Dr. Spiegel said that stress can actually elevate the chance of developing breast cancer, and that research has proven that creating and maintaining quality personal relationships with others is good for our physical health. So make sure that you get enough quality time with your girlfriends/sisters/mothers/etc.

Most of us already know how good this sharing/laughing/crying/complaining time is for us, but now there’s scientific proof to show that this kind of “psychosocial” EVE time is essential for both our mental and physical health. Here’s a toast to all the EVE in my life who support and heal me! And a huge wish that you each have EVE in your lives to do the same.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Let me tell you a little secret—men have NOT always been in charge.

I’m not saying that in a flip kind of way, but in a totally serious way. Because understanding that “men have NOT always been in charge” is essential to solving the most pressing social, religious, and environmental issues facing the human race today. ALL OF THEM! But how could that be possible?

For the same reasons that you can’t read a newspaper or listen to the news these days without seeing a report about the latest controversy related to issues that affect EVE: rampant cases of sexual assault and domestic abuse, restricting access to contraception and abortion, less pay for the same job, and on and on. But what you don’t read or hear anything about is why EVE’s rights and freedoms are at issue in the first place:
- why are we arguing about EVE’s rights when men’s rights are taken for granted?
- where did the “traditional” belief that EVE are socially inferior and subservient to men come from?

The belief that EVE are inferior to men isn’t factual or logical, but it is deeply held and has unbelievable control over human society. But has that always been the case?

You may be surprised to know that the evidence tells us that it hasn’t and that human society operated very differently in the past. In fact, both EVE and men were valued and respected for 90 to 99% of the time we’ve been modern humans. Let me say that another way. Men were not controlling EVE or society for almost all of human cultural history. And that insight is crucial to understanding both the causes and the cures for crises like environmental destruction, overpopulation, and continual warfare. Why? Because those problems are directly caused by the same social values that declare men superior to EVE allow them to dominate and control women.

A perfect example of how these values play out in modern culture is the appalling level of sexual assault on women in the U.S. military. And the Air Force’s top general, Mark Welsh, recently pinpointed the attitude that drives this issue. He said, “We have a problem with respect for women.”

But there’s hope, because ordinary people hold extraordinary power to change those negative social values that are creating the problems. Every individual in every culture has the power to positively influence their society on a daily basis. This power lies in the trillions of routine choices that we all make, every day, everywhere. Because when we see “male superior” values for what they are (illogical and dysfunctional) we can start consciously making those trillions of choices based on the positive values that served humanity for millennia – respecting EVE and men as equal members of society, and maintaining a balance of power and authority between the sexes – and we can change the world.

Learn more about why EVE were honored and respected for tens of thousands of years and how the Myth of Male Superiority changed that, as well as easy actions you can do to bring that respect back in Conversations with EVE.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Groups of mostly male politicians are meeting, plotting, accusing, demanding, and threatening to take away EVE’s right to make their own choices about child bearing. And they’re not kidding.

But none of this political posturing, religious fervor, and EVE bashing ever gets to the point – ENABLING EVE TO ONLY BECOME PREGNANT WHEN THEY CHOOSE TO!!! Not one of these groups ever says anything about ending the need for abortion. They’re too busy crafting new ways to limit or take away EVE’s options about pregnancy.

You may have heard about the marathon filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis a few weeks ago to stop a bill to outlaw all abortions in Texas after 20 weeks and set completely unnecessary standards that will shut down almost every provider in the state. I say “will” because the legislature has already reconvened to pass the bill and Gov. Perry plans to sign it. So there’s little that can save Texan EVE’s rights this time. (Except the next election!)

This anti-EVE bill in Texas got a lot of press because of Sen. Davis’ filibuster, but there are bills like this and worse being passed in many, many state legislatures in direct violation of EVE’s civil and legal rights. Arkansas legislators passed a bill banning abortion after just 12 weeks, and North Dakota legislators are working on a set of bills that would outlaw abortion after just 6 weeks, a time when many EVE don’t even know they’re pregnant. And, of course, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in in June to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks.

But none of these legislators seem to have ever held an intelligent, socially responsible discussion about making abortion UNNECESSARY not just limited or illegal.

There are billions of words spoken and printed about every aspect of the abortion debate. Except one. I’ve never seen one report about a serious discussion about why abortion is still even necessary for millions of EVE in America and around the globe every year. (The media won’t tell you, but you can find out exactly what’s going on in Conversations with EVE.)

So maybe we should ask our state and national political leaders when they plan to schedule this discussion. Then we could ask the real questions right out loud:

1. When are you going to understand that EVE don’t want to need abortions?
2. When are EVE going to have the social power to plan our pregnancies?

It’s time to convene new panels and ask the questions BEFORE they take us completely back to the 1950s when abortions were back alley and contraceptives were only for the rich.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


No, it’s not a new secret play in the NFL. It’s what I call the feeling EVE get when they’re getting dressed and don’t want to wear a bra, but know it’s considered to be in bad taste if their nipples show through their shirts. It doesn’t even matter if the breasts are AA or DD, nipples are to be hidden. Period. So the need for comfort battles social propriety when you don’t want to commit a NIPPLE OFFENSE.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it is a curious thing. Because it’s acceptable, even popular, to expose every other part of the breast, but it’s a no-no to the showing of nipples. Why?

Well, maybe it’s because the nipple reminds men that our breasts were designed my Mother Nature to feed our infants, not to swing tassles or drape over a log for a swimsuit issue. Maybe not.

Maybe it’s because hiding something actually makes it more titillating (every pun intended!). People who practice nudism or go to clothing optional beaches tell you that after just a little while it’s just people, just skin. In fact, a friend told me that there are rules at naturist camps prohibiting the wearing of bathing suit pieces at the pool, because they are actually more alluring than the naked body. Maybe not.

And now a 15-year study tells us that bras are actually harmful to EVE’s breasts. Hint- they actually sag more from wearing bras. Read more about this at

I don’t know if other EVE are like me, but I definitely know which shirts I can comfortably wear braless and which ones I can’t. And I’m not completely sure that the showing of nipples through clothes would be a step forward for EVE. Just sayin’ it’s a curious thing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


It’s almost unbelievably cruel and unfair! Yet, in 44 states it’s perfectly legal to fire EVE for being survivors of domestic abuse. And it’s legal to evict EVE victims from their home for “creating a nuisance” if they call the police for protection. I know that “blame the victim” is the strategy to keep EVE silent about their abuse, but this is outrageous.

Once again, abuse of EVE is treated differently than other violent crimes. People aren’t fired or evicted when they are attacked or injured in an assault and battery case. So how can American society possibly justify such legal inequality that keeps abuse victims at the mercy of their abusers?

There are many reasons that escaping an abusive home can be extremely difficult for EVE. But studies show that up to 75% of abuse victims are forced to stay and endure beatings and demeaning treatment simply because they can’t afford to go anywhere else. So this mindset actually gives abusers greater power to control their victims by getting them fired for creating a situation at their job. These EVE are further punished just for being victims, because NO job = NO ability to leave!

But Congress has the power to change this terrible situation by passing the SAFE (Security and Financial Empowerment) Act. This bill won’t stop the abusers, but it would at least protect survivors from employer backlash and ban discrimination in hiring. It would also provide a safety net by making EVE eligible for unemployment benefits if they must leave their jobs to go into hiding from their abuser.

Thanks to Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Malinda and Karin, the UltraViolet team @

Monday, June 24, 2013


Where we’re making progress:

There are now 20 EVE in the U.S. Senate! That’s an all-time high, but still only 1/5 of the members of this powerful legislative body. Then again, EVE can often have positive effects beyond their numbers.

* Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Maryland, is the first non-male to lead the Senate Appropriations Committee, which dispenses billions of dollars annually,
* Senator Patty Murray, D-Washington, is the first chairwoman of the Budget Committee,
* Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, presides over the agriculture committee and led the fight on critical farm legislation, and
* Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California Democrat, Chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, shepherded the highway bill.

These EVE Senators bring many things to this powerful body: different life experiences, new social perspectives, more practical priorities, and an ability to look for solutions rather than continue the partisan chest thumping. And they’re already showing how things can get done when it’s not about winning or being powerful no matter who suffers:

1. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-New York, and Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, led the repeal in the Senate of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2010, allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military,
2. All four of the EVE Senate Republicans split with their party and voted with Senate Democrats to reauthorize the Violence against Women Act, which had lapsed during the last Congress.

A wide array of scholarship supports the view that “while men may choose to obstruct and delay, women continue to strive to build coalitions and bring about new policies.” And even male senators say EVE’s potential to change the tenor of the Senate and push for compromise is extremely important. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, put it this way, “I don’t want to generalize, because this isn’t true of all of them, but they tend to be interested in finding common ground. So I think it’s going to have, and is having, a positive impact on the Senate.”

More EVE = more production & less corruption!

Where we’re losing ground:

Is this the Wild West or 21st century America? It can be hard to tell in Texas.

In early June, a jury used a preposterous interpretation of a Texas law to exonerate a man who shot and killed a woman who had refused to have sex with him. He was in no danger at all when he murdered her, but he will serve NO TIME AT ALL!

Ezekiel Gilbert shot and killed a Craigslist escort when she left without having sex with him. His lawyer argued that since he had paid her $150 for the evening, he was justified under Texas law in shooting her because state law allows people “to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft."

This attitude and this judgment sets a very dangerous precedent. EVE are not property and should NEVER be required to have sex if they don't want to. You can argue about the $150, but you can’t just kill her!!!!!!! EVER.

It’s horrifying that we’re still having to clarify, define, and defend the fact that EVE’s control of their bodies is absolute and consent is always theirs to give, regardless of the circumstances.

Thanks to the UltraViolet team @

Monday, June 10, 2013


I’ll bet you didn’t think that working hard at your job was destroying society, ruining marriage, and hurting children did you.

Well, if you’re body parts are “innies” and not “outies,” that’s just what FOX News has accused you of. And evidently Lou Dobbs and his fellow FOX commentators have a source of wisdom that most of us living in the real world don’t. Because they say that all the scientific studies about women who hold jobs outside the home aren’t right.

Once again, you have a complex subject involving many types of social and economic pressures reduced to the age-old blame game – it’s women’s fault. Whether it’s the changing face of the average family, the shift in household earnings, the exodus of manufacturing jobs from America, or (I guess) the melting of the polar ice caps – it’s women’s fault.

It can’t be growing out of the fact that ALL workers in America, regardless of their sex, can’t survive on what they’re paid even for full time work. And it couldn’t be tied to the fact that there is still NO child care system in this country that offers women a safe, affordable, high quality environment for their children if they must or choose to work at a job. And it must have nothing to do with the fact that the types of jobs that are growing – service, technological, flexible – are many times done just as well by women if not better.

Changing social institutions and norms will always create uncertainty, but couldn’t we work together to make the evolving institutions and norms more positive and productive? Just once, rather than saying, “In my grandfather’s day women didn’t ………..” couldn’t we react to women having more influence and more options as a positive thing and create a society that helps ALL workers and ALL children?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Now that’s clout! There are few life experiences that determine EVE’s lives more than child bearing. So a policy decision by Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will literally save millions of EVE’s lives over the next decade and completely change the futures of millions more. Simply put, she has made family planning and access to contraceptives her new priority for the foundation’s worldwide advocacy work.

Beginning at the Family Planning Summit in London in July, 2012, public and private leaders began a campaign to allow 120 million more women access to birth control by 2020. And the Gates Foundation has made a $1.1 billion commitment to family planning over the next seven years. Ms. Gates stated, “Access to contraceptives is high on the world’s list of priorities again. But it’s more than that. … We have been working on a new approach that gives women what they really want: voluntary access to high-quality education, health services, and contraceptives. When defined broadly in this way, family planning can be what it should be: a strong link on a chain of good health for women and their children.”

Being able to plan for children and afford to feed, clothe, and educate them is the dream of millions of EVE in developing nations where the birth rate can still be as high as 7.2 children per woman. But authoritarian policies like forced sterilizations in India in the ‘70s and China’s state-mandated one-child gave family planning a bad name. And religious opposition in the U.S. to EVE’s use of contraceptives has drowned out their voices in recent years.

But this is a new campaign driven by a bottom-up demand from EVE themselves. As Melinda Gates traveled the world for other Foundation initiatives, she heard the same desperate pleas from EVE like Sadi, a mother of five in Niger, Africa. Sadi told Gates, “Don’t you see that we’re struggling here? I can’t feed these children. How can I possibly have another one?” Sadi has “only” five children because she does have some access to contraceptives, but it can be difficult to access and undependable. And that’s part of what Melinda Gates hopes to remedy.

This new focus on family planning is a natural fit with the foundation’s belief in, and commitment to, “the boundless dignity of all people” because family planning goes hand in hand with women’s empowerment. “We really have to ground this in women’s rights and human rights,” Gates told The Daily Beast. 1

When EVE can plan and space births we will live in a different global society. It’s as simple as that.

1 - May 29, 2013 – by Katie Baker @

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

STOP sexual assault in the military!

There is a growing epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the U.S. military, perpetrated against both women and men with almost complete impunity. And a large part of the problem is the “fox guarding the hen house” mentality of male military leaders. Such as:

- Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, former head of the Air Force's sexual assault prevention program, who was arrested and charged with sexual battery after drunkenly groping a female victim in a parking lot,
- Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin who overturned a guilty verdict in a sexual assault case and then transferred the rapist to an Air Force base where family members of the victim live,
- A trainer of train new recruits at West Point who is being investigated for making secret videos of female cadets.

With this scourge reaching epidemic proportions – estimated at 26,000 sexual assaults in 2012, more than 71 per day – the time for “studies” and “discussion” within the military ranks is over. It’s time for a new strategy, and the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act, H.R. 1593 is a good beginning.

This act of Congress will take the prosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation, and victim care of sexual assaults out of the normal military chain of command and place jurisdiction in an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office made up of military and civilian experts.

Making experts outside the military chain of command responsible for defending and protecting our military personnel is critical to addressing and ending this horrendous situation. That’s because, under the current military justice system, rape and assault victims are further victimized when they speak out and report their abuse.

Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine officer who served from 1999 to 2004, is executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. SWAN works to eliminate discrimination, harassment and assault from military culture, and to improve veterans’ benefits for those who have been assaulted. She told a Senate hearing in March, 2013, “During my five years as a Marine officer, I experienced daily discrimination and sexual harassment. I was exposed to a culture rife with sexism, rape jokes, pornography and widespread commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls, both in the United States and overseas.”

And when she courageously filed a career-ending complaint against a fellow officer, she “lived in fear of retaliation and violence from both the offender and my own chain of command, and then watched in horror as the offender was not only promoted but also given command of my company.”

Obviously the real strategy for dealing with sexual assault in the military has been to silence victims through fear of retaliation or “blame the victim” as usual. So it’s time to give the tens of thousands of victims a chance for a fair hearing and the tens of thousands of rapists the punishment they deserve through the STOP act.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I guess it isn’t just the Taliban who want to keep Afghani women under strict male control. Turns out there are many among their elected legislators that feel the same way. How can we tell? Because last week, conservative religious lawmakers blocked passage of The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The law has already been in effect since 2009 but only by presidential decree. So lawmaker Fawzia Kofi, a women’s rights activist, wanted to codify it by parliamentary vote to prevent a future president from just cancelling it to please hard-liners. But the “hard-liners” seem to be legislators protesting the Law, saying it is anti-Islamic and will undermine men’s authority and encourage women to have sex outside of marriage.

What could be in a law that would make Afghani legislators so outraged? Well, the Law “criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans ‘baad,’ the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes.” WHAT! You mean Afghani men won’t be allowed to marry 10-year old virgins or force young women to marry 60-year old men? And you can’t be serious that they won’t be able to keep the peace between belligerent men by throwing a daughter or niece into the deal.

But one of the biggest sticking points with legislators (some of them women, actually) is the fact that the Law makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery. WHAT! You mean a man could be jailed just for beating his disobedient wife even if she’s not permanently harmed? And if rape victims aren’t prosecuted for adultery, that can only lead to social chaos! Because women will, of course, freely engage in extramarital sex and just claim rape if they’re caught.

It takes some pretty twisted logic to claim that letting girls grow up before their forced to marry and treating sexual assault victims like, well, victims will lead to social chaos. I guess it depends on your definition of “chaos.”

(1) Kay Johnson, The Associated Press, in The Ledger, May 19, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

A “virginity test” to protest?

A “virginity test” to protest? Women have endured a great deal to speak up for themselves and demand fair and equal treatment around the world. And right now there is a ruthless campaign in Egypt to shame and frighten women who dare to demonstrate for their rights.

As part of that campaign of intimidation, women arrested during a peaceful protest in Tahrir Square were recently forced to submit to “virginity tests.” Not only that, they were beaten, given electric shocks, strip searched while male soldiers photographed them, and then subjected to invasive physical exams. All this because they were continuing to demand an end to sexual assault and a place in the “new” regime that they helped bring about.

Egyptian women were at the forefront of the protests that led to President Mubarak’s resignation. But now that Egyptian men have their freedom they want to keep Egyptian women from getting theirs. It was bad enough that there were “0”, nada, zip, zero women on the “panel of experts” (meaning men) that wrote the new constitution. But now women are being actively targeted when they demonstrate for equal rights.

But “detain and dishonor” is only part of the campaign to put Egyptian women back in their place and make them too afraid to demand fair treatment and equal rights. Women have been victims of a series of sexual attacks around Tahrir Square leading up to the second anniversary of the uprising. And, true to form, the official response has been to BLAME THE VICTIMS!

A video posted by the owner of an Egyptian television station declared that women protesters had gone to Tahrir Square because they wanted to be raped (Unbelievable!). He stated that they were “devils” who had made their hair fuzzy and untidy (I guess seeing a woman’s hair will drive Egyptian men insane!). Then this time-honored, reliable strategy was made official when the Upper House of Parliament said the full blame rested with the protesters – NOT THEIR ATTACKERS!

It’s not really surprising that the government and the military are trying to blunt the demands of the 2011 uprising by targeting women. But Amnesty International reports that Egyptian women are not running back to their homes in fear. Instead they are standing tall and demanding their rights. They are pushing back by exposing sexual violence in Egypt, and continuing to speak out, demonstrate, and protest for equal protections and equal opportunities in the new Egypt. (1)

Women have been attacked, jailed, raped, fired and more for speaking up for their rights and demanding to be treated like human beings for thousands of years. But if enough of us continue to support and speak up for EVE (Every Vagina on Earth), there’s not enough “manpower” in the world to stop us. Plus there are a great many whole men supporting us!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Making Progress/Losing Ground

Where we’re making progress:

With everything that’s gone wrong in Afghanistan over the last decade, it’s great to know there has been some good done. International forces, with a huge commitment and involvement by the U.S. military, have been waging war against the Taliban and their hate-filled, men-must-stay-in-control values for over a decade. And we’ve heard too many depressing stories about the thousands of military personnel and civilians that have been killed and maimed. But maybe their sacrifice will not have been in vain.

While the battles have raged, there has also been another campaign going on – building infrastructure including health facilities and schools. This campaign has suffered from tremendous waste and graft, but it also has had some wonderful effects for the people of Afghanistan. Life expectancy rose from 42 in 2002 to 62 in 2010. Death rates for mothers and their newborns have fallen dramatically. And most importantly for the future of this country, education has taken a huge upswing. In 2002, less than a million boys were in school and virtually no girls. Now there are 8 million students – and more than a third are girls! (1)

If you would like to personally change a woman’s life forever, go to and click on the “SPONSOR A SISTER” page to see how to become a direct supporter of a woman in Afghanistan.

Where we’re losing ground:

A shooting target mannequin named the "The Ex," a large-breasted woman who bleeds when shot, was being sold on It's manufactured by Zombie Industries, a company that was featured at the recent NRA convention.

The fact that Zombie Industries created and promoted this mannequin is contemptible. And the fact that was selling it and posting comments like, "This was a very original, cool way to kick off a bachelor party for a firearm enthusiast, such as myself" is unconscionable. Because "The Ex" shooting target turns violence against women into a joke and promotes the idea that men should want to kill their ex-wives or ex-girlfriends.

Gun violence against women is a serious problem. Let's review the facts. 57% of mass shootings involve incidents of domestic violence. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the chance that a woman will be murdered by 500%. 54% of women killed with guns are killed by intimate partners or family members.

But this “falling behind” actually had a decent outcome. On May 7th, pulled “The Ex” from its site after hearing from outraged women across the country. So, it goes to show - there are still those who think that violence against women is a laughing matter, but women are using their clout to actively challenge this Manplan attitude! Go EVE!!! (2)

(1) Kansas City Star editorial reprinted in The Ledger 5/9/13
(2) advocacy group

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Super Bowl & Slavery ??

Super Bowl – parties, team spirit, cakes shaped like footballs. Slavery – beatings, rape, torture. How could those two realities possibly be connected? They’re connected because the Super Bowl is the biggest profit event for sexual slavery in America. Most of us experience the big game as a good excuse for a fun time. But Clemmie Greenlee’s experience wasn’t fun - it was dangerous, demeaning, and depressing.

That’s because Clemmie had been forced to have sex with anywhere from 25 to 50 men EACH DAY of such an event! That’s right. The pimp who controlled her and continually sold her body was just one of many who shuttled their captives from city to city to “work” at large-scale gatherings. And the horrendous life of these young prisoners looks nothing like Hollywood’s lighthearted scenes of lovely girls gathered in the parlor of a brothel waiting to be chosen for a fun romp upstairs.

Ms. Greenlee’s nightmare began when she was kidnapped and raped into submission by her pimp at age 12, and then held in captivity as a sex trafficking victim for decades. According to Forbes, 10,000 women like Ms. Greenlee were brought to Miami for the Super Bowl in 2010. And they were under immense pressure to make maximum profits for their captors. "If you don't make that number (of sex customers), you're going to dearly, dearly, severely pay for it," Greenlee told the Times-Picayune. "I mean with beatings, I mean with over and over rapings. With just straight torture. The worst torture they put on you is when they make you watch the other girl get tortured because of your mistake."

Ms. Greenlee, who is now an advocate for sex trafficking victims in Louisiana, was speaking to a reporter in New Orleans prior to the 2013 Super Bowl. She was trying to raise awareness of the plight of tens of thousands of women help captive right here in the U.S.A. The Super Bowl is “commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States" according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. (1) But the sex trafficking victims must endure this nightmare every day of their lives until they either die or escape.

They don’t call it “slavery” anymore. They call it “human trafficking.” But the pimps who control these women don’t care what you call it. They just hope that men continue to slap down their money for the right to screw a woman’s body without the slightest thought for the rights of the body they’re screwing. But our awareness and our demands for safety and respect for all women can help Ms. Greenlee to end such nightmarish treatment.


Monday, April 29, 2013

I’ll bet you never thought that “men not picking up their dirty underwear” and widespread environmental destruction were connected, did you? Well, they are.

The first one is annoying on a personal level and the second one is disastrous on a planetary level, but the attitude behind both behaviors is exactly the same. It’s the arrogance of the Manplan that says “I’m superior, I’m privileged, there are others to worry about and clean up the messes I make.” The Myth of Male Superiority (the Myth) told men that they were superior beings who didn’t need to be bothered by the ancient values of fairness and personal responsibility. So self-centeredness and thoughtlessness have shaped the way too many men think about the world around them (both their personal space at home and their place on the planet) for a very long time.

Dirty underwear left on the bathroom floor (Somebody else will pick it up) and oil spills in the Arctic Ocean (We got our profit, future generations be damned) are worlds apart in scale but driven by the same beliefs. The values of the Myth and the attitudes of the Manplan say that men are superior, privileged individuals who don’t need to be bothered or limited by the “rules” that apply to others. Women and lesser individuals are meant to serve their needs and clean up their messes, and the planet’s resources were given to men by god to do with as they wish.

That mindset began to be seriously challenged in the 1960s by the modern women’s movement (Pick up your own mess!) and the environmental movement (We can’t just stand by and let them ruin our planet!). But if we want to continue changing those attitudes of irresponsible privilege, we must recognize and change the thinking behind them. We must stop excusing and tolerating the Manplan attitudes of selfishness and conceit. Instead we must encourage and call for values of fairness, equality, and long term social responsibility.

Values that say men should not only clean up their own messes, but should do at least half of the daily work of keeping families and households running smoothly. Values that say men must stop treating the planet like their personal cash cow and trash can, and actively support an environmentally sound plan for long term stewardship of our limited resources.

All people, but especially men, must truly recognize that their life is but a minute on this Earth. We must fulfill our responsibility to create and preserve a society and a planet that will be there for the trillions who will come after us hoping for their minute, too.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What does it mean to be conservative? Well, the classic definition is “one who is disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., and to limit change.” And that definitely applies to those who consider themselves political and social Conservatives (with a capital “C”) and resist or actively oppose changes to the status quo in America today.

But if the status quo is based on sexual and racial inequality and unfair treatment of the poor and the powerless, why would anyone want to maintain it? Basically, for one of two reasons:

1. the current status quo benefits their group (the wealthy, whites, men) and change could undermine their social and financial advantages, or
2. the current status quo actually harms their group but questioning the beliefs they grew up with is frightening or uncomfortable.

Getting the first type of Conservative to consider and support cultural changes that give more respect and opportunity to powerless groups is extremely difficult. Because it’s a tough sell to get someone to champion social policies that reduce their power and their prestige by spreading it around a little more.

But it can also be difficult to get the second type of Conservative to support change, because it feels like a sin or a crime to question “traditional values.” Because if you don’t believe in the complete package, no matter how terrible parts of it may be, you won’t have anything left to believe in at all. But where is it written that a thinking person can’t hold strong beliefs on many issues and still support progressive change on others? Values are not mutually exclusive!

To accept the basic equality of all people and support a system that truly offers equal opportunity and equal protection for all regardless of one’s sex, race, religion, or age should not require any lessening of one’s values. Believing in strict rules, hard work, honest dealings, commitment to family, church attendance, etc. should never keep one from also considering that there are some “traditional values” that aren’t right and need to be changed. If traditional values require sexual inequality in home or workplace, racial segregation, lack of access to contraceptives, a workforce that can barely make ends meet, etc., then those particular values definitely need to be reexamined.

We Americans pride ourselves on our independence, but too may are unwilling to step outside their comfort zone when it comes to considering social change. We pride ourselves on our generosity of spirit, but are unwilling to listen to the other side of an issue or find a middle ground that benefits the most people. But I think Americans are capable of great things! So maybe it’s time to understand that we CAN be both conservative and progressive. We can hold tightly to the values that encourage us to be better people (honesty, kindness, hard work, fair play) and still support progressive values of equality for all at home, at work, and at play.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our EVE BLOG items come from the United States today.

Where we’re making progress:

It’s usually EVE who denounce violence against us. But our calls for an end to domestic violence were recently joined by what may have been the first large, male-led event in America on this issue. On March 23rd a diverse group of men joined their voices in front of City Hall in Dallas, Texas (of all places) to pledge an end to domestic violence. One important reason this rally took place in Dallas was because Dallas Cowboys players used their celebrity to raise awareness.

They cited the grim reality that domestic violence leads to three American EVE being murdered every day by their partners and the majority of injuries to EVE 15-44 years of age in America every year. The rally of hundreds included men of many colors, many faiths, and many walks of life who took a five-point pledge to:

1. never hit a woman
2. speak out against abuse whenever they see it
3. hold other men accountable
4. teach their daughters to never accept abuse, and
5. teach their sons to respect women.

EVE around the world are becoming much more vocal and insistent on ending the scourge of domestic violence and the cultural attitudes that accept or deny it. So when men hold rallies and take pledges to end it we are definitely making progress. (1)

Where we’re losing ground:

It seems like a no-brainer, common sense approach to stopping sexual assault. It seems like a statement that would be hard to disagree with. But when Zerlina Maxwell (rape survivor, progressive African-American writer, and political analyst) told Sean Hannity on a March Fox news segment, “I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear, how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape” she instantly became a target of the bizarre blame-the-victim thinking that still rules in the Manplan.

That’s because “she had the nerve to suggest that rape is the responsibility of rapists, not their targets” and that instead of arming EVE with assault rifles we should change the culture that makes rape so pervasive in our country. For having the audacity to place the blame for rape on a violence-riddled society that still demeans EVE, Ms. Maxwell’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have been inundated with hundreds of people calling for her to be raped, killed, and more.

But she’s definitely right! EVE don’t need more guns – they need more respect! (2)

(1) Starita Smith, Ph.D., The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida, April 2, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A second installment of “looking at where we’re making progress and where we’re losing ground” takes us to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Where we’re making progress:

The bravery, the sheer bravery is amazing! I’m referring to the gutsy, life-on-the-line decision by a 40-year-old housewife who has declared herself a candidate for the Pakistani Parliament. Badam Zari lives in the deeply conservative tribal region of her country that borders Afghanistan, but she wants “to reach the assembly to become a voice for women, especially those living in the tribal areas.”

Most EVE in Ms. Zari’s part of the world are not allowed education, rarely hold a job, and must strictly adhere to rules about covering every inch of their skin in public. But, despite these restrictions and social attitudes she is claiming her right to run for public office. Even if that will almost certainly bring her under personal and physical attack from Islamic militants who vehemently oppose any changes that threaten their stranglehold on society. This is especially true where she lives – a poor, isolated region in northwest Pakistan controlled by Pashtun tribesmen who follow an ultra-conservative brand of Islam.

Ms. Zari announced her decision at a news conference in Khar this week with only her eyes visible through the covering wrapped around her head and her body. I am truly humbled by her courage! (1)

Where we’re losing ground:

It’s such a simple thing. To get in a car and drive somewhere – work, a movie, a friend’s house. But in one of the richest nations in the world it is still taboo for EVE to drive, and they are accosted and punished if they try. This was made very clear to Manal al-Sharif when she defied the taboo and drove around Khobar, Saudi Arabia in 2011 while a friend recorded the event for YouTube.

This act of defiance brought her great personal satisfaction and a first ever award for Creative Dissent from the Oslo Freedom Forum. But it also brought death threats, arrest, and the need to leave her home country. The second time Ms. Al-Sharif drove her car she was stopped and surrounded by members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice – the Saudi morality police. She was released after six hours, but rearrested the next day and held for a week until her father pleaded for a pardon and pledged that his daughter would never drive in the kingdom again.

These morality police hold great sway in Saudi Arabia and have the power to punish anyone they think is violating social customs. This was made horrendously clear to Saudi citizens when 15 young girls died in a schoolhouse fire because the morality police prevented their rescue saying they were improperly dressed. An appalling example of how no injustice is too ghastly if it protects the Manplan status quo.

Ms. Al-Sharif was pushed out of her job as a computer-security consultant, and now lives in Dubai with her second husband. But she must revisit the fear and uncertainty every weekend when she travels to Saudi Arabia to see her 7-year-old son. Her ex-husband will not allow the boy to travel outside the kingdom, so she is subjected to surveillance and monitoring whenever she goes to visit him. Such a simple thing. (2)

(1) The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida, April 2, 2013
(2) Sohrab Ahmari, The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, March 23-24, 20113

Friday, March 15, 2013

As I mentioned in my first post, the EVE BLOG will “look at current events that show where we’re making progress and where we’re losing ground.” And two items in the news recently gave dramatic images of both.

Where we’re losing ground:

The way in which EVE are still targets of ignorance and cruelty was starkly demonstrated in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea recently. A 20-year-old local EVE was accused of sorcery by the family of a 6-year-old boy. When the boy died in a local hospital, a mob played out a scenario we thought was long gone from our modern world.

The young EVE was stripped, tortured, and tied up. Then, in a scene right out of the Middle Ages, she was burned alive as a witch by the mob as hundreds of witnesses, both horrified and picture snapping, looked on. And this was just the latest sorcery-related killing of EVE on this South Pacific island.

Fear and ignorance are very much a part of our Manplan world. So the emotions that led to this grisly act of mob murder are well known to us all. But the fact that EVE are frequent scapegoats for those emotions is chilling. Too often, EVE are still the ones who are thought of as “suspect” “conniving” and “disposable.” And they are usually the ones with less power, less influence, and less control. So they become convenient targets for the mob’s frustrations and ignorance.

Where we’re making progress:

On a more upbeat note, there was a fashion show held recently that was positively unique. It wasn’t big news in the world of designer clothes so this particular runway display had less media attention than those held in New York and Paris. But it must have been a monumental occasion for the EVE and men who were present. That’s because this fashion show was held in Afghanistan recently.

Local EVE walked a candle-lined catwalk in a restaurant in the capital city of Kabal to exhibit the designs of Shahar Banoo Zeerak. It was organized by a group working to empower Afghan EVE by breaking down barriers in this highly conservative society. Zeerak commented, “The situation always gets tougher and tougher every day by day, but we should not back down. We are here to move on and move forward, so I think if women step up and they show up in this field, I think they will do a good job.” (1)

Among my generation of EVE in America, many of us staged our first “fashion shows” in our living rooms or back yards when we were children. But in a country where EVE can still be subjected to “virginity exams” or jailed for trying to escape an abusive home, the staging of a simple fashion show can have serious consequences. So, let’s send a big “ATTA GIRL” to these EVE in Afghanistan who are claiming their rights to be visible and well dressed, even in this war-torn, extremely conformist society. And let’s be even more thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and determined to expand not only ours but those of EVE as well.

(1) The Lakeland Ledger, Lakeland, Florida, February 9, 2013.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Welcome to the EVE BLOG. For my very first posting let me tell you what I’ll be writing about and give a little background on the book the blog grew out of.

The title is Conversations with EVE (short for Every Vagina on Earth – my term for women because words like “fe-male” and “wo-men” don’t say who we are; they just say who we aren’t). If you linked here from the website (, you may already know that. If you didn’t, link back to the website to find out more about the book and read some samples.

First, what will the blog be about?

The EVE blog will be comments, information, and resources dealing with issues that affect the freedoms and happiness of EVE. It will share information about campaigns and activities that challenge the demeaning attitudes and restrictive policies we still face. And it will look at current events that show where we’re making progress and where we’re losing ground. Some of my postings may be irreverent and some may be humorous, but they will always talk about what’s happening with EVE.

I also plan to post about THE ADVENTURES OF EVE—questions, observations, and real life experiences. These will be personal views and stories of EVE shared either in person or sent to me through the website contact page. I hope to share successes and setbacks from many situations and many cultures, so please let me hear from you @ Because I know there are a billion stories out there!

Second, where did Conversations with EVE come from?

Like most “labors of love” it grew out of a desire to help people. My degree is in Applied Cultural Anthropology. And from my very first anthropology class I wanted to understand why people behave the way they do and why society operates the way it does. I had intended to study psychology, but soon realized that it isn’t the “abnormal” behavior that’s so fascinating. It’s the behavior that is considered “normal.”

It took me twenty-one years (1969-1990) to complete my Master’s degree, sometimes just being able to take one class at a time and sometimes being a full time student for a stretch. And during those twenty-one years there were quite a few things happening in my life besides college: marriage, motherhood, divorce, employment, remarriage, raising a son, being part of a large extended family, sailing, building an earth sheltered house nights and weekends with my husband, windsurfing, etc.

Through all those life experiences over all those years I came to understand the difficulties and dangers that many EVE face, even in the United States of the twentieth century. And I was given the opportunity to address some of those difficulties as Executive Director of our local Planned Parenthood affiliate. I really wanted this job because it was the only position in my area that would pay me to advocate for EVE’s rights. And that’s what I did for eight years. But it became apparent that there would be more money to provide reproductive health services to low income EVE if there was less overhead. So, I spent my last year at Planned Parenthood merging two affiliates and eliminating my position.

I had planned to take a little time off before returning to work since I’d been so busy for so long (with two ulcers while I was at PP). But my husband urged me to make it more than a little. So, I began working on other projects I’d never had time for: fixing leaks and looking for decent furniture, reclaiming the yard, learning to play a musical instrument (the dobro), and having some time for my husband, family and friends.

During this time of “not working” I thought about how I could be most effective in advocating for EVE’s rights. And it became clear to me that I needed to follow a different path when I did return to professional pursuits. I realized that I could spend the rest of my life working to make EVE’s lives better and never make a dent as long as the culture we live in continues to demean, restrict, and abuse them. So my new focus became figuring out exactly why culture is so anti-EVE and how to change that.

Part of my “research” during this period was talking to EVE at every opportunity about their problems and their passions. And it was during these conversations that I came to understand that not many EVE are aware of their TRUE social heritage or their TRUE power to change the way culture works. But telling them one at a time wasn’t going to inform very many. So the idea was born. I would write down these conversations and let all the women on the planet in on the “secrets” that they were social equals with men in the past and could be again in the future. And when I realized that I wanted to have this conversation with every member of our sex on the planet—Every Vagina on Earth—the title was set.

But the saying “Life is what happens when you’re making plans” became very true for me. The day after I finished computer courses to begin researching and writing the book my father suffered a stroke. As my sisters and I became involved in our parents’ daily struggles with this devastating event, it became apparent our mother was beginning to show signs of dementia. I probably could have assisted with caring for my parents and still began writing Conversations, but then life became even more complicated. A few months later, my grandson was born to a troubled marriage and I soon came to fill the role of mother as well as grandmother.

My family needed all the time I had for about six years. My parents passed away a few months apart, still living in their home with the love and care of family members, and my son and grandson moved to a place of their own. What now? It had been almost ten years since I first had thoughts of writing Conversations. And I knew that if I took a job right away, it would never be written. So, with the full backing of my husband I began the daunting task of writing my first book.

And here we are. Conversations with EVE will be printed in March, 2013, but the book is just the beginning of the Conversation. I will continue to talk with EVE about their problems and their passions and spread the word about the cultural (r)evolution that we can bring about. And this blog will be one way of doing that.

I am resuming my role as a visible, vocal advocate for EVE’s rights and EVE’s happiness. I hope you’ll join me on the journey!