Beyonce: The Ultimate Lipstick Feminist

B.Feminist

Queen B was on fire last night at the VMA’s! As a female empowerment writer, I am very pleased that this year feminism became the hot topic, compared to last year’s twerking controversy. By the way, props to Miley for bringing a young man from a homeless shelter as her date.

But back to feminist icon Beyonce–who, I should note, uses an all female band and all female backup dancers. Beyonce dazzled in front of a giant screen with the word “Feminist” lit up, urging young women to be ambitious, while showing them they can still be (very) sexy and powerful.

And for all the critics of her performance and wardrobe choice, both Gloria Steinem and Beyonce agree that a feminist is simply a person who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. So, no, feminists do not need to wear pants. There is a great power in a woman’s sexuality—so much so that other cultures require women to cover up…so Bey, show those legs—I got your back!

Queen B

With feminism being so topical today, I thought I’d share with you an article I wrote on how I believe that we don’t need to take the feminine out of feminism. “Lipstick Feminism” was originally published in Viva Glam Magazine’s Summer 2014 Issue.

VIva Glam Summer

Lipstick Feminism

by Amy Elizabeth

I was recently reading an article written by a woman who, at her heaviest, weighed two hundred and fifty pounds and felt she was being anti-feminist for dieting. We’ve all heard the stereotypes that feminists shouldn’t wear makeup or shave their armpits, but this was the first time I’ve heard someone claim that by counting calories, she felt like a traitor to the women’s movement.

The textbook definition of feminism, a definition which Ms. Gloria Steinem herself supports, is “advocating social, political, legal and economic rights equal to those of men.” Nowhere does it mention that we shouldn’t care about our appearance. A woman could be a size 2 or a size 22 and still be a feminist. In fact, it is a feminist belief that our bodies are our own that no one can tell us what to do with them. From that line of thought, if we mustn’t judge a woman for choosing to use contraception, we mustn’t judge a woman for counting calories. If a woman wants a smaller body, it doesn’t make her any less of a feminist than a woman who doesn’t mind if she’s packing a few (or more) extra pounds.

I understand the argument that a woman who diets might be conforming to the pressure of society to look a certain way, but if she feels better at a lower weight, it is not for us to make her feel guilty. Besides, there’s nothing feminist about high cholesterol or diabetes. We are more powerful when our bodies are healthy and happy. Feeding the body nourishing foods keeps our spirits up and our energy levels high. If dieting makes a woman feel confident about herself and ready to take on the world, then who is anyone else to judge?

Actually, most feminists would argue that too much emphasis is placed on a woman’s appearance. The very stylish and attractive Gloria Steinem has said that there is a common misconception that women who are pretty can’t be smart. Early in her career, Steinem was actually sent home from a writing assignment when a male editor remarked, “We don’t want a pretty girl, we want a writer.” She sure proved that being pretty and smart aren’t mutually exclusive.

“Feminist” has become somewhat of a dirty word, and sadly, many women who actually fit the description are hesitant to use it to describe themselves. In a recent interview, Katy Perry said she doesn’t even know what a feminist is. Too often the word is associated with being a bra-burning radical or a tomboy or a man-hater, which may account for a small part of the feminist population, but there is another type, which I like to call the lipstick feminist.

I’m sure some people look at me with my platinum blonde hair and hot pink lip gloss and think that I’m the last person in the world who would be considered a feminist. Despite my love for fashion and makeup, I believe in empowering women, which is a much bigger indicator of feminism than whether or not a woman chooses to wear mascara. Make-up and fashion are feminine; I don’t feel we should have to take the feminine out of feminism and hide the girly part of ourselves to have equal rights and opportunities.

I’m going to say something controversial here, but just as there is power in a woman who has more of an aggressive masculine energy, there actually is also great power in a woman who is beautiful and feminine. Your power comes from your authenticity. Before I continue, I would like to mention that I agree with the late Estee Lauder, who said, “There are no ugly women, just women who don’t care.” Whether a woman cares about her appearance or not still has nothing to do with the feminist movement, but part of Gloria Steinem’s appeal to women was that she was very attractive, so attractive that she was even able to go undercover as a Playboy bunny for a story. Women identified with her much more than had she been lacking in sex appeal. Most women are naturally wired to want to be beautiful and sexy even if we want to be successful.

As for the common misconception that feminist women don’t like men, there probably are some that actually don’t, but that’s not the point of the sisterhood. For the record, most of the feminists I know do like men, some of us like men a lot; we just don’t like them telling us what to do.

The sisterhood is about supporting and empowering other women. So the very act of labeling a sister as un-feminist for something as trivial as dieting or wearing stilettos isn’t very feminist at all. While there’s no shame in wanting to improve your appearance, it’s time we as women stop obsessing over the size of our own and each other’s bodies, slap some lipstick on and go out there and kick some ass.

We Can Do It

You Don’t Have a Weight Problem, You Have a Hormone Problem

Hormonal Barbie

Years ago when I gained a few el bees, I decided to hire a personal trainer and go on a calorie restrictive diet. To my dismay, despite all that hard work, I actually ended up gaining weight! I just assumed I had a body type that “bulks up,” and ever since then, avoided lifting weights like the plague.

Around this time, a friend of mine suggested I try Pilates, and I immediately fell in love. I loved the fact that with Pilates I was able to create long lean muscles without building bulk–not to mention, my waistline had never been so small. But even with Pilates, I had to be careful with the resistance. My first Pilates instructor noticed early on that I had a tendency to bulk up, so we focused mostly on core work and always put used the very lightest springs when working my legs and arms.

It seems as though every time I try to take my workouts to the next level, I end up gaining weight (yes, even when I’m counting calories on My Fitness Pal). For years, I’ve been telling people that the only exercises that work for me are Pilates, yoga, and walking, but I’ve never had a scientific explanation as to why until I found Dr. Eric Berg, who specializes in weight loss.

For those of you who can simply eat less and exercise more to lose weight, you are hormonally balanced and don’t need to read any further. But for those of you who diet and exercise and still struggle with your weight, you probably have something hormonally wrong with you, and the following information could change your life.

Dr. Berg says, “Fat burning depends on what you eat, how much stress you experience, whether you have pain or not, how much you sleep, and if you are avoiding sugar completely.”

According to Dr. Berg, there are three fat producing hormones: cortisol, insulin, and estrogen. You want to keep the levels of these three hormones as low as possible. Cortisol is activated by stress and makes us store fat around the middle. Insulin, on the other hand, is triggered by sugar. Dr. Berg recommends eliminating all sugars (except fruit) and refined carbs and alcohol, which turn to sugar. When sugar is present, the body will always burn sugar before burning fat. Once you eliminate sugar, your body will have no choice but to burn fat. Last of the fat producing hormones is estrogen. There are several foods (and chemicals) that cause our bodies to create more estrogen—soy and wine are two of the biggest offenders. Women with excess levels of estrogen tend to develop “saddlebags” and cellulite on their thighs. So be careful with the soy!

Dr. Berg stresses the importance of becoming healthy before worrying about weight loss. Those of us who constantly struggle with our weight, do so because some area of our body is unhealthy. Heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis are all symptoms of an unhealthy body. In order to lose weight and keep it off, we must first become healthy by healing our glands and hormones.

When it comes to exercise, many people have the misconception that fat is excess calories and that they need to burn off these calories through activity. In reality, however, most of us don’t really burn that many calories during our workouts. The point of exercise is to trigger a hormonal response to burn fat that occurs between 14 and 48 hours later. Surprisingly, it is when we are sleeping that we actually burn the most fat!

It is important to note that each person needs to eat and exercise for his or her specific hormonal imbalance. In order to determine what is type of diet and exercise will work for you, please take Dr. Berg’s body type quiz: http://www.drberg.com/body-type-quiz

Four Body Types

**Since all hormones are related, you may be a combination of more than one body type. For instance, there is a thyroid type, which relates to people who have a sluggish thyroid. However, if your condition has advanced to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (like mine has), you are an Adrenal type. In fact, anyone with an autoimmune condition would be considered an adrenal type.

The Adrenal Type

Adrenal BarbieStress increases cortisol, which can lead to fat being deposited in and around the abdomen.

Adrenal Symptoms

  • Swelling and cramps in legs
  • Difficulty getting or staying to sleep
  • Sore muscles—Don’t seem to recover after exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Bruise easily
  • Anxiety
  • Legs feel heavy, especially after exercising
  • Cravings for salt & cheese
  • Immune system disorders
  • Inflammation (Arthritis, Thyroiditis, etc.)

Causes of stress:

Mental Stress—Work, relationships, divorce, money, loss of a loved one, etc.

Physical Stress—Surgery, injury, illness, giving birth, etc.

Dieting–Low calorie diets trigger hunger. Hunger triggers cortisol. You still must eat healthfully, but never let yourself get too hungry. If you’re starving, eat something nutritious. Being hormonally balanced is more important for weight loss than counting calories.

Sugar, alcohol, and carbohydrates—Sorry! I know this is hard for a lot of people. Keep in mind, if you have a sweet tooth, you can still use stevia. (Don’t even think about using artificial sweeteners.) Know that alcohol can set fat burning back for days—sad, but true!

Incorrect exercise—The adrenal types are the people you see at the gym, working out day after day, but never losing weight. Weight training increases cortisol. Dr. Berg warns, “If you have an adrenal body type and you do hard core fat burning, your body might even get bigger.”

Exercise only works if your body has healthy adrenals. If you’re an adrenal type, your body is already stressed out, so adding intense exercise adds more stress and raises your cortisol, which is self-defeating. Plus, adrenal types don’t recover well from exercise.

The best exercise for adrenal types is walking—it’s easy and it’s free! We start to burn fat at 30 minutes, but cortisol increases after 60 minutes. So keep your walks from 30-60 minutes for best results.

For fine-tuning, I suggest Pilates, focusing on core work and stretching, using the lightest resistance when working legs and arms.

Keep in mind that a normal healthy body responds very well to strength training. Once your adrenals are healed, you can add resistance training to your workouts. You want to have muscle mass to increase your fat burning, but you don’t want to do it too soon or you will gain. Adrenal types want to wait until you are at (or close to) your goal weight.

Stimulants—Caffeine, diet pills, and nicotine are damaging to the adrenal glands and can keep you from burning fat.

Lack of Sleep—Getting less than seven hours of sleep can inhibit fat burning hormones.

Digestive Stress—Dr. Berg says not to eat any foods that are hard for you to digest—even vegetables. If you are bloated and can’t digest your food, you’re creating more stress in the body, and therefore, raising cortisol. Some of us with weak digestion could benefit from taking an enzyme.

 Diet for Adrenal Types:

  • High vegetable, higher proteins than other types, moderate fat
  • Avoid all sugars, grains, starches
  • Need to eat 5-6 small meals
  • Avoid (or limit) alcohol and caffeine
  • Unlimited Vegetables/Fruit in moderation
  • Never allow yourself to get hungry
  • Celery lowers cortisol
  • Potassium lowers insulin and helps with water weight and cramping
  • Can try to supplement with Relora or Phosphatidylserine to lower cortisol (Look for a soy version—Integrative Therapeutics makes a sunflower based product)
  • Supplements to reduce inflammation are Quercetin and Turmeric

 Exercise for Adrenal Types:

  • 30-60 minute walks
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Pilates focusing on core work, using light or no resistance
  • Do not weight train until you are hormonally balanced and close to your goal weight

 

The Ovary Type

 Ovary Barbie

Ovaries produce estrogen. Estrogen creates a layer of fat around the female body—especially the thighs, hips, butt, and lower abs. When the ovaries don’t function properly, they produce an excess of estrogen, which causes more fat. In turn, fat cells produce more estrogen. When a woman produces too much estrogen, the thyroid can be blocked.

Symptoms

  • Saddlebag thighs & lower stomach bulge
  • PMS
  • Cravings
  • Bloating
  • Cramps/Excessive bleeding
  • Depression during menstrual cycle
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in lower back/knees
  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Thinning of hair during cycle

Causes of excess estrogen:

Animal Protein—Ovary types are sensitive to the hormones in animal protein. You don’t have to stop eating animal protein, but try to buy organic, hormone free sources. Pesticides can also act like estrogen causing cysts, fibroids, and tumors.

Birth Control Pills, Pregnancy, & Hormone Replacement Therapy—all increase estrogen, but sometimes they are necessary. Talk to your doctor if this is a concern.

Wine & Soy—also increase estrogen

**Note: Because the ovaries shut down during menopause, an ovary type might end up looking more like an adrenal type (gaining weight around the middle) after menopause since the adrenal glands are backup for the ovaries—another example of how the glands work together

Diet for Ovary Types

  • High vegetable, higher protein than other types, moderate fat
  • Avoid all sugar, grains, starches
  • Eat 5-6 small meals a day
  • Never let yourself get hungry
  • Consume organic protein
  • (Along with adrenal type) requires more protein and fat than other types
  • Stay away from foods that increase estrogen—soy and wine
  • Only eat hormone free milk and cheese
  • Cruciferous vegetables are anti-estrogenic

 

Exercise for Ovary Types

  • Combination of high intensity and low intensity
  • Can alternate days of aerobic exercise with resistance training
  • Walking, running, and biking are best to work off the fat around the lower body
  • Needs intense exercise
  • Pilates–no restrictions on resistance

 

The Thyroid Type

Thyroid BarbieThe thyroid regulates the rate at which the body burns food and controls the production of certain body tissues and hair. Thyroid types tend to gain weight all over.

If you have a sluggish thyroid, you’re not solely retaining fat. There’s a great deal of waste-like fluid that contributes to the appearance of having an overall excess weight problem. This condition is called myxedema.

Symptoms

  • Slow metabolism
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dry skin/brittle hair
  • Loss of outer third of eyebrow
  • Cold hands & feet (need socks to sleep)
  • Carb and sugar cravings
  • Overall fat distribution
  • Often misdiagnosed as ADD
  • High cholesterol

Causes of a Thyroid Hormone Deficiency:

Toxic environmental factors

Poor Liver Function—80% of thyroid function occurs in the liver

Excess estrogen in the body—Birth control pills, pregnancy, cysts, and fibroids all create estrogen in the body, as do hormones in food, and red wine has estrogen-like compounds.

Dieting—When you cut calories too low, your body compensates by lowering the metabolic rate.

Diet for Thyroid Type:

  • High vegetable, low fat, low protein
  • Avoid all sugars, grains, starches, alcohol, caffeine
  • Don’t let yourself get too hungry
  • 5-6 small meals a day
  • Organic foods
  • Limit red wine and soy
  • Despite popular belief, cruciferous veggies are okay for thyroid types (although I always cook mine)
  • Sea kelp, dulse, and alfalfa all contain iodine, which supports the thyroid (sea salt also is high in iodine)

Exercise for Thyroid Type:

  • Resistance training–High intensity, short duration with lots of rest in between
  • Pilates no restrictions on resistance
  • Exercise every other day unless you are still sore.
  • Never exercise a sore muscle–sore means healing.

 

The Liver Type

 Liver Ken

The liver is the main organ for detoxification. These types have a big, hard protruding stomach, giving off a “potbelly” appearance that looks and feels like a water balloon. This potbelly is usually not fat, but fluid. If the liver is not functioning well, it can leak into the stomach.

Having a healthy liver is very important to weight loss because all fat burning hormones create their effects through the liver. The good news is that the liver is the one organ that has the capacity to rejuvenate.

 Symptoms

  • Tired after meals
  • Lying on the left side is uncomfortable due to swelling of the liver
  • Sensitive to many foods
  • Tight lower back
  • Irritable when hungry—more pleasant after meals and in evening
  • Grouchiness due to low blood sugar
  • Arthritis (when refined grains are avoided, the arthritis many times disappears)
  • Stiff, sore, and swollen finger joints in morning
  • Bloating & acid reflux
  • Crave fatty foods which destroy the liver
  • Liver (or aging) spots
  • Itching
  • Memory loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Edema

 

Causes of Poor Liver Function:

Refined Sugar, Alcohol & Caffeine—Sugar, refined carbs, and caffeine create stress for the liver. Alcohol destroys the liver. One night of drinking can prevent the liver from burning fat for several days. Also, the liver is forced to detoxify caffeine from coffee, which causes a strain to the organ.

Excess Protein & Fat—Puts damaging stress on liver cells

Toxic Chemicals—Estrogens, pesticides, and insecticides become trapped in the liver and create altered function.

Excessive Antibiotic Use—Can lead to candida, a yeast overgrowth, which is taxing on the liver

Medication—Sometimes medication is necessary, but it does put strain on the liver. Cholesterol drugs especially known to weaken the liver. If this is something you are concerned about, talk to your doctor before going off your medication.

Foods Prepared with MSG—Have massive amounts of sodium and damage the liver

 

Diet for Liver Types:

  • High vegetable, low fat, low protein
  • Raw beets are good for the liver
  • Lots of raw cruciferous veggies (to clean the liver)
  • Only 3 meals per day, no snacking for liver types
  • Large portions of vegetables and small portions of protein
  • Raw fish is the easiest animal protein to digest, followed by cooked fish, then chicken, lamb, and eggs
  • Red meat is more stressful to digest than fish but okay in small quantities
  • If not satisfied, eat more veggies

Exercise for Liver Types:

  • Resistance training–High intensity, short duration with lots of rest in between
  • Pilates no restrictions on resistance
  • Exercise every other day unless you are still sore.
  • Never exercise a sore muscle–sore means healing.

7

**A word of caution from Dr. Berg: “Some people (especially adrenal types) are initially too unhealthy and fatigued to exercise. In this case, we recommend restoring your body’s health through correct food and quality sleep before starting an exercise program.”

Marilyn Weights

Face Forward

Abused Princess

1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

A girlfriend of mine is on the board of directors for a wonderful charity called Face Forward. The charity provides facial reconstructive surgery for women who have been left disfigured as a result of domestic violence. Face Forward helps give these women the confidence they need to begin their new lives.

The following video is of Face Forward patient Audrey, who was separated from her husband when he raped her, beat her with a hammer, and then set her on fire. Despite surviving such a horrific attack, beautiful Audrey has positive outlook on life. She is a survivor and an inspiration.

Audrey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slr4v6jlewY

 When Kodie was just twenty-four months, her father shot and killed her twenty-year old mother. But before the bullet reached Kodie’s mother, it skimmed the baby’s face, fracturing her eyes and nose as well as leaving her face scarred.

Kodie

Hanifa’s estranged husband threw acid on her, burning her entire face and causing her to lose her nose and her right eye. Her eighteen month old daughter also suffered burns when she fell on the acid after she heard her mother scream in pain.

Hanifa

1500 acid attacks take place every year around the globe, and 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year.

I’d like to invite all my friends and followers to support this very important cause. Face Forward is having their fifth annual gala, The Venetian Masquerade on September 13, 2014 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. This star-studded event will include dinner, cocktails, and live performances. If you can’t make the event, but feel moved to donate to the charity, I’ve created a site where I am collecting contributions for Face Forward https://www.payitsquare.com/collect-page/41723. If I reach my goal of $5,000 by September 1st, I will be raffling off a ticket to The Venetian Masquerade.

Venetian MasqueradeFor tickets http://faceforward.nbblticketing.com

Face Forward

“The mission of Face Forward is to provide physical and emotional reconstruction for men, women, and children who have been victimized by domestic violence. Face Forward vows to provide each victim with the best possible treatment pro bono.”

http://www.faceforwardla.org

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Brigitte Bardot Reading

I’ve been trying to comfort one of my girlfriends who is feeling a little lost and hopeless after a recent breakup. When she started saying things like “all men lie, don’t believe them no matter what, don’t get it in your head that you even like them, RUN!,” I expressed to her that I felt she was being a little dark. I think I might have offended her when I suggested that maybe part of the problem was all this fear-based thinking and negative self-talk. I’m not normally such a know-it-all, but I’ve spent years training my mind to think mainly positive, loving thoughts; so when someone comes to me with negativity, I feel the need to put on my spiritual earmuffs.

My girlfriend went on to tell me how she read in a book that everyone has one area in life he or she struggles with. She pointed out that while I don’t have the problems with men she does, I have health issues and that is what I am meant to overcome here on this Earth. For the record, my love life hasn’t been perfect either, but after a couple of bad relationships in my early twenties, the story I started to tell myself was that from now on, I was going to be a girl whom men cherish and respect. That’s not to say every man I’ve dated since then has met my standards; if I meet a man who is not in alignment with this vision I hold for myself, I simply blow him a kiss and move on.

In regard to my friend’s comment about my health, it’s true that I do have hypothyroidism; that is a scientific fact. However, knowing that our words and thoughts are extremely powerful, I too have to be careful with the stories I tell myself. A Course in Miracles explains that every thought creates form on some level, meaning that whatever we believe in our mind will ultimately become our reality in the world.

The trick here is not to be naïve or unrealistic. In my friend’s instance, we can’t deny that she’s been hurt; but instead of swearing off men and saying that she will never find love again, it would be more beneficial for her to tell herself that someone wonderful is on his way. When I go through a breakup, I always have faith that the universe will send me something better, so you won’t see me sitting around crying for too long.

It becomes much easier to cope with the pain of a breakup when we understand that relationships are assignments from the divine and not everyone is meant to stay in our lives forever. The universe conspires to pair us with partners who help us grow into our best selves. Some people come into our lives simply to teach us the lessons we need to learn; then we part ways. Sometimes the lesson can be as basic as learning what we don’t want in the next guy.

One of the keys to changing our thoughts is trusting that we live in a friendly universe that wants the best for each and every one of us. If something didn’t work out the way you planned, it’s only because the universe has something better in store for you. The universe wants us to have the greatest guy, the best job, and a healthy, happy body. However, when we tell ourselves negative, fear-based stories, we are sending the universe the wrong signals and can often manifest our fears—this is what A Course in Miracles calls a “miscreation.” We want to be careful to think the thoughts that will create our dreams and not our nightmares.

When applying this theory to my health, I can’t deny that my thyroid condition doesn’t exist, but I would do myself a disservice if I sat around dwelling on my symptoms all the time. Of course, I do my research and take my medicine, but it is equally, if not more important for me to visualize myself as happy, healthy, and vibrant in order to speed the healing process along. Medicine is the perfect example of the power of our minds. The reason that a placebo, a pill with no active ingredients, is often effective in healing patients’ symptoms is because people believe it will work.

So next time you have a story to tell yourself, make it a good one! Instead of focusing on what you’re afraid of happening, focus on what you would absolutely love to happen beyond your wildest dreams…I think we can all take a cue from another one of my girlfriends who is so spiritually advanced, she is able to energetically raise her metabolism and train her mind and body to make any excess weight go directly to her chest….trust me, it’s totally working for her!

The Disappearance of Disney’s Prince Charming

Sleeping-Beauty

When I was growing up, Disney movies were so simple. The princess would find herself the victim of an evil witch or wicked stepmother, and then Prince Charming would come along, kiss her, and save the day. Boy, have Disney movies changed!

In the last two Disney movies I’ve seen, Frozen and Maleficent, the would-be “Prince Charmings” turn out to be villains while the women end up being the heroines. As a female empowerment writer, I am all for the concept of not needing a prince to come to your rescue. In that respect, I think Disney princesses have evolved and are much more interesting and empowered than they were once upon a time. However, although I enjoyed both of these films tremendously, especially Maleficent, I do hope that their very similar storylines won’t be the model for every Disney movie from now on.

What I found disheartening is that in both Frozen and Maleficent, one of the central female characters becomes a victim of romantic betrayal. In Frozen, Princess Anna falls for a prince who only pretends to love her just so he could take over the family’s kingdom; and if that’s not malicious enough, he tries to murder her sister, Queen Elsa. I told you these Disney princes have changed! Thankfully, Anna does end up falling for a man with a good heart, but in a very sweet surprising ending, it is actually her act of true love towards her sister that saves the day.

Although, at the time, I did find it surprising a Disney princess actually sang about how she didn’t know if she was “elated or gassy” (How could she not know the difference? And who sings about having gas?), I didn’t give much thought to the fact that “Prince Charming” turned out to be shady until I saw a common theme in Maleficent this weekend. In this film, Maleficent is a fairy who falls in love with a human boy, Stefan. Stefan commits the ultimate act of violation when he drugs Maleficent and cuts off her wings, leaving her unable to fly. The scene that follows where the wingless fairy, played by Angelina Jolie, wakes up face down in the dirt and can barely walk feels so raw and disturbing—I’ve even read several reviews that liken what Stefan did to a metaphorical rape. Later on the phrase “true love does not exist” is dramatically repeated at least twice, which I personally felt was a bit dark for a kids’ movie. Such a cynical perspective on romantic love concerns me because not only are thoughts and words very powerful, but little minds are extremely impressionable. I know, after seeing Frozen, my five-year-old niece was singing “the cold never bothered me anyway” all winter long back home in Chicago. Not to give the ending of Maleficent away, but it turns out that there is such thing as true love; however, just as in Frozen, true love doesn’t come in the form of a romance.

I understand Disney wants to show little girls that life isn’t always like the fairy tales. Maybe the old-fashioned Prince Charming did create unrealistic expectations of love for women of my generation. However, I worry that these new Disney films are planting seeds in little girls’ minds that it’s not okay to love or trust men. One of my girlfriends recently tweeted, “Just saw Maleficent. The moral of the story is never fall in love with boys.” I hope that’s not what little girls are taking away from this film as well. The good news is that my very imaginative niece, who highly recommended Maleficent, left the movie wondering if fairies do yoga, and later, in the same telephone conversation, randomly told me that she’s in love with her boyfriend, Jimmy. Although I don’t normally approve of the fact my five-year-old niece has been in a relationship for the last two-years (at her age, she definitely should be playing the field), I was happy to hear she still believes in true love.

Just to be clear, I thought Maleficent was an incredible film from an adult perspective. Angelina Jolie was as captivating and powerful as ever. In my eyes, she is the closest thing we have to a goddess and saint here on Earth and can do no wrong. My questioning the story’s theme is not a criticism of the movie itself, but rather, a commentary on how fairy tales have changed and the message they are sending to the children watching them. If I were to write a fairy tale for my niece, I would never cast the heroine as a jilted lover or woman scorned—I don’t see the empowerment in that. I would make my fairy princess a girl who has the princes of all of the kingdoms falling at her feet but is too busy saving the universe to care about any of them, and she definitely won’t be so easily duped. One of my favorite Disney princesses is Belle from Beauty and the Beast, who was the most beautiful girl in town but always had her nose in a book, which reminds me of how my dad always told my sister and me to “forget the boys and hit the books!”

As a feminist, I applaud Disney for creating strong female characters who are capable of saving themselves. I also think they are on the right track, emphasizing familial relationships over romantic relationships; these are kids’ movies after all! However, if Disney is going to include romantic relationships in their kids’ films, I hope they don’t continue this theme of romantic betrayal. Of course villains can still be men, (or women); evil does not have a gender. However, what’s the world coming to if even fairy tale princesses are getting used and abused by the men they love? Fairy tales are meant to be whimsical, so why don’t we create the highest, most wondrous possibilities for our girls?

One of my girlfriends commented that she likes this new formula better because it’s closer to real life, which is sad she (or any other woman) feels that way about men. Of course, most grown women can empathize with heartbreak and betrayal, but I’m not sure these are lessons little girls with pure untainted hearts need to be learning. And we have to give credit to the men who are getting it right. I understand a girl has to kiss a few toads before she meets her prince, but it would be nice to see Prince Charming resurface, even if it’s only once in awhile. Take it from someone who knows how fun it is to believe in the fairy tale.

Maleficent

 

 

And the Beat Goes On

The Beat Goes On

As many of you have already heard, sadly, Marianne Williamson was not one of the top two vote getters in Tuesday’s California primary. Ted Lieu (Democrat) and Elan Carr (Republican) are the candidates that will be on the ticket in the November elections.

In terms of signs around town, social media, and number of volunteers, it appeared as though Marianne was the frontrunner for the District 33 Congressional seat. Marianne, however, came in fourth with just under 11,000 votes. The campaign had been expecting 17,000 votes, which means not enough of her supporters got off of their yoga mats and into the polls.

Although Marianne did not win the primaries, what she did accomplish was pretty incredible. Marianne had never run for office before and with only six months of campaign experience under her belt, she came in fourth place among seventeen other candidates, most of whom were career politicians. As always, Marianne kept it classy, running a clean campaign and never once uttering an unkind word about her opponents. Even more impressive was that fact that she didn’t take money from any corporate sponsors and still managed to raise enough money to be competitive with the other candidates.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this journey with Marianne and all the wonderful volunteers. Not only did I learn a great deal about politics and make several new friends, but it was extremely fulfilling to be a part of something so meaningful. On a personal note, because of this campaign, I had the pleasure of spending time with one of the women I admire most in the world.

Marianne may not be going to Congress, but she did touch the hearts and minds of people, not only in this district, but all over the world. Most importantly, her very important message was heard. Marianne always explained that her message was greater than sending one woman to Congress. She succeeded at creating a pro-democracy movement and igniting a spark in so many of us who, like myself, hadn’t taken an active interest in politics in the past. This spark she lit will not and cannot be extinguished. All of us involved with the campaign will still be working together towards creating a more beautiful America. Marianne would have been amazing in Washington, but selfishly, I’m happy we get to keep her here in L.A., where Monday nights she lectures on A Course in Miracles.

In regard to the November elections, Marianne says that out of the two candidates, Ted Lieu is definitely more in alignment with her beliefs. Lieu has already joined in Marianne’s conversation of getting the money out politics, which I find very exciting. First on my saving democracy list, I intend to write Lieu to make sure he’s planning on carrying out Marianne’s ideals. Marianne didn’t only call for us volunteers to step up our game, but the other candidates had to rise up to compete with her.

As for Marianne, she has always been and will always remain a political activist. I would love to see her run again, but whether or not that happens, one thing is for certain, she will continue to touch the lives of others. Marianne may not be going to Congress, but you better believe, the beat will go on.

Balloons

 

Countdown to the Primaries: Vote Marianne Williamson June 3rd

MWforCongress“I think that several of the candidates have significant strengths.  In my opinion, however, only Marianne has the possibility of making a dramatic difference if she wins the seat.  I can picture Marianne becoming a national progressive leader, in the vein of Elizabeth Warren or Dennis Kucinich. ~Congressman Alan Grayson

As many of you know, I have been a big supporter of Marianne Williamson and her Congressional campaign, and next Tuesday is the day we members of California District 33 have the power to cast our vote to help get Marianne into office. I remember back in October when Marianne first announced her candidacy, her supporters couldn’t be more excited or optimistic. However, people who hadn’t yet had the pleasure of hearing her speak often said things like she was naïve or that she didn’t stand a chance. Well, ladies and gentleman, the last several months have been quite a journey. At this point, not only does Marianne stand a chance, but major publications like The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have declared her a serious contender.

I feel so proud of Marianne, whom I’ve always admired as a writer and spiritual teacher, for fearlessly entering this race and taking the world of politics by storm. When I witnessed Marianne speaking on a panel with the other top tier candidates, both career politicians, she stole the show, coming across much more powerful and knowledgeable than the other two. Just for the record, unlike the other top tier candidates, Marianne has not taken any PAC money or contributions from corporations to finance her campaign and intends to take the money out of politics, returning our government to a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Marianne always says that we set trends here in Los Angeles. While I’ve never volunteered for a political campaign before, I don’t imagine other campaigns are run in such a loving, supportive manner. Marianne never spoke an unkind work about her opponents, and thousands of volunteers showed up for her asking how could they be of service. From day one, Marianne said this campaign is not just about her; it is about all of us. I am so honored to be a part of this collective act of love, and if Marianne is elected, I hope politicians all over the country take note.

Marianne has received a tremendous amount of love and support throughout this campaign. I’ve been seeing Marianne for Congress signs all over town, and I’ve received emails from people all over the world excited about her candidacy. Hollywood stars made videos and performed at events. How cool is it that Alanis Morisette wrote Marianne’s campaign song and artists like Steven Tyler, Chaka Khan, and Jason Mraz performed at fundraisers? If Marianne’s message resonates with you, like it does with me, please go out and vote next Tuesday, June 3rd. It is important that all of us who love and support Marianne show up for her on Election Day because you know Marianne will be showing up for us in Congress.

Marianne is endorsed by:

Americans for Democratic Action
Alan Grayson, Congressman
Keith Ellison, Congressman
Jennifer Granholm, Former Governor Michigan
Van Jones, Civil Rights and Environmental Advocate
Dennis Kucinich, Former Congressman
Elizabeth Kucinich, Director of Policy at the Center for Food Safety
Ed Begley Jr., Environmental Leader
Bruce Margolin, Director LANORML
Thom Hartman, Syndicated Radio TV Host
Jesse Ventura, Former Governor Minnesota
John Gray, PhD., #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Brett Roske, Former Independent Congressional Candidate, District 33
LA Progressive News
Vote in Women—Advocates for Peace, Liberty, and Science
EVOLVE—Bay Area Grassroots Social Activist Organization
Eva Longoria—Actress
Jane Lynch—Actress and LGBT Rights Activist and Humanitarian
Michael Bernard Beckwith—Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City
Deepak Chopra, M.D. Author and Physician
Alanis Morisette, Singer
Frances Fisher, Actress

If you’re not familiar with Marianne Williamson or her position on any issues that are important to you, here is a link to her website:

www.marianneforcongress.com

Also, I was lucky enough to interview Marianne for Viva Glam Magazine, “And Though She Be but Little, She is Fierce”:

http://vivaglammagazine.com/culture/people-society/4454-and-though-she-be-but-little-she-is-fierce.html

Lastly, my article for Rebelle Society, “You Say You Want an Evolution: 5 Reasons to Vote for Marianne Williamson”:

http://www.rebellesociety.com/2014/03/10/you-say-you-want-an-evolution-5-reasons-to-vote-for-marianne-williamson/

MWNewConversation

Vote or Die

VOTE JUNE 3RD!!!!