What is a Woman?

Just finished an anthology of women’s literature called ‘A Jury of Her Peers’ by Elaine Showalter. The title is also a work by Susan Glaspell.  Am not going to give you reviews on the book or story, I’ll probably refer back to the anthology often. It has made me aware of so many facets of women’s literature I’d not known or even thought of. The last chapter shares how in the 90’s women authors were not constrained by the parameters of the past and could write freely. Yet, many of us women remain in bondage of many kinds.  

Was reading an article, before it annoyed me and made me wonder why I was reading it. It was about women’s fashion and what NOT to wear or do in fashion as an older woman. What to stay away from because it would peg you as ‘old’ or ‘living in the past’ or even (dare we suggest such a thing!) ‘unfashionable’!! From how to not wear makeup from plucking eyebrows (Will remove stray ones, but those odd shaped designs are seriously odd!) to powdery caked on layers. Hairstyles that are ‘too long’ and past your butt to bouffant ‘up scaled’ Farrah Fawcett designs. Then, there were accessories. Apparently the handbag is not cool. Although, the photo made me just wonder. What on earth would a person carry around a tiny hand sized bag for? It might hold your ID and perhaps a tampon, but not a whole lot more. My personal carryall is just that. It is a small backpack I’ve carted around for almost a decade and it is starting to fall apart. (searching online has made me aware that they are truly not in vogue anymore.) My bag can carry paper books, a tablet, spoons (at least two), a pair of socks, assorted coinage, supplies for diabetes, meds headaches, and tummy aches, at least one tiny notebook, assorted writing utensils from sharpies (in purple) to pens and pencils, it can hold a camera, my cell phone, an address book, a small zipper pouch with important stuff like med lists and emergency numbers, my wallet with all sorts of things, including my eldest son’s high school id (I know, completely useless, but fun), needles and thread and safety pins, assorted bandages for minor wounds, and rocks I’ve found that are dear to me. Am pretty positive this bag would be considered totally bad fashion.

Clothes were a huge topic in this list of fashion faux pas photos. Floral or animal prints are bad when you are older, baggy clothes are ok if you wear a tighter top or bottom half to offset the bag. Pastels were viewed as something older women need to steer far away from. They are for younger women, who aren’t washed out by them or look like they are grasping their youth. Capri or shortened pants are a very big no no, since they make one look very short and wide. (the author suggests skirts, and probably has no idea how horrid it is when your legs stick together when it is hot outside) Skirts are a good idea, but not jersey fabrics or dresses or long skirts or too short ones. The latter make you look legless or like you are grabbing for a youth you missed and the former tend to mold to the body and reveal lumps everywhere. Like jeggings and tights. Older women should stay away from those because they reveal way too much. Turtle necks and long sleeves are bad unless the weather warrants them because people wonder what might be hiding and a turtle neck can make you look neckless. Speaking of, big and loud accessories such as flamboyant necklaces or earrings or bracelets should be limited. Agreed, Coco Chanel suggested looking in the mirror and removing one item of jewelry and it makes sense. However, tossing brooches out with the garage sale stuff is sad (I love pins, don’t wear them, but I do adore them!). Finally, the author arrived at shiny tights (hose are a complete waste of time for a woman of any age). If an older lady needs tights, they should not be in a nude color. Dark colors or black. About this time, I exed out of the article and deleted the history!!

While I was reading the last of Elaine’s anthology, I realized, why do I need to follow some fashion guru on what I can or cannot wear? Why do I need to follow what someone else wants to be the person I am? So often today many of us are confronted with ‘don’t do this or wear this or act this way’ because someone will be upset. Often in the anthology, it seemed that an author from one period was ostracized in later years for what they were writing. Over and over women were tied to a way of life, writing, living that was stifling creativity and being. Many of those women committed suicide to escape.

Women still are being stifled. Some of us have been able to break free of conventions and restraint, and for those who have, they embrace the freedom they have earned in spite of cost. Family and friends look askance at that freedom. Well-meaning folks criticize our choices and yet, is it realistic to toss what others think out and only promote self and personal desires to achieve and be? The book, ‘The Feminine Mystique‘ talks about this for American women. I wonder if it is the same all over the world?

Is that what the phrase means, ‘It’s lonely at the top’?

A New Season

Spring is officially here. The crocus are done, mostly because after they were in their last bloom it commenced raining. Crocus in the rain become purple mush. (must remember next fall to purchase crocus of different colors!) The daffs are up and the first golden trumpets are shining out the glory of spring, the double daffs and the narcissus will follow with their own responses. There are buds of green on the lilac and the rose bushes and violets are springing up all over the yard with tiny golden buttons of dandelions. So do love these months! Even the rain is grand, you can imagine it soaking into the soil where waiting bulbs and perennials and seeds are able to soak in the nourishment of moisture and when the sunshine and warmth comes back. Oh! Spring is such a well-dressed, busy time of year!

With the onset of March, illness has ran rampant in the household. Started with steroids, though. The doctor had me lined up for x-rays for my sore lower back and arm/shoulder and gave me a run of steroids to help keep me from all the ibuprofen I swallow. Well, the x-rays showed there really isn’t any reason for pain, but the steroids have absolutely helped. Not sure how long they stay in one’s system, but I’ve only had a smidge of pain now and then. So lovely! The taste, however, was beyond nasty. I wrapped them in bits of Jr. Mints to make them more palatable. (odd, shrank these photos a LOT and they look HUGE on my screen.)

While those were being taken, what seemed to be allergies were attacking. The Craftsman was so sick, he took two days off of work and the doctor gave him sinus infection meds. This gal was sicker than a dog, but had so many errands the first week of March, it was ridiculous. Most days I never leave the house and if I do, it is for one or two errands in a single day and then nothing for weeks. However, this month I had appointments and meds to pick up and discovered my ODL was expired (opted to get the Oregon Real ID and the card is so pretty and shiny. My photo looks like a mug shot, but the card makes up for it!). Since Friday the 12th have not gone or done much of anything til this weekend. Hae barely even been online. Did email my physician and she told me to get a covid test. Although, she told me that last Friday and this weekend has been a complete change from the last few weeks. Taste and scent have returned for the most part and I don’t have a serious tummy ache. What I do have is worse. Intense itching and a rash all over my body. Reminds me of chicken pox without the blisters. Wore socks on my hands to sleep to keep myself from itching at night. Appears it might be a reaction to an antidepressant I’m supposed to take twice a day and only take once. Did tell the physician, but information on the drug suggests it will go away in a few weeks when my body is used to taking it. The drug has some good side effects, though. Am not as tired and have lost weight!!! (although, that could also be from not eating many carbs while I was sick. Half cups of dry cheerios was my main nibble snack in a day.) Oddly, the drug also causes some of the same symptoms as covid, so there you go! Crazy. The kid was sick for a short while, too. He may have escaped most of what his parents had, hoping so!

Baked Sunday, for the first time this month. Making meals has been about all I could handle. Will need to pay better attention. The brownies had to be taken from the oven a bit after being popped in, had to add another 1/3 a cup of flour to the mixture.  (writing was small. Didn’t realise it was 1 2/3 a cup!) The end result looked unusual, but covered it all with homemade chocolate frosting and was told they are very good.

The animal kingdom here has been modified. Moses is enjoying spring, Mittens is annoyed she cannot go outside, and the rabbit kits have been culled. They were fighting and one of the males ended up in quarantine with the nickname ‘Scarface O’Harelip” because his face had been rearranged. Another had been mis sexed and gotten of the girls he was cohabitating with pregnant! At 14 weeks!!! No matter, Little Bear is hoping for two more litters from adult females. There is a squirrel family chasing around the trees and bushes, red wing blackbirds are visiting the feeder with the finches, sparrows, and juncos, and I’ve discovered a few lady bugs!!! Little Bear also brought me a chrysalis of what is probably an angle shade moth. (I’ll put it outside again!)

Turning my back on the lovely end of winter. Looking forward to what the new season has to offer!