Adults – are you one?

I’ve been thinking about seriousness lately. How serious I have become as an adult and how uncool that is.  And before you know it – WHAM – the iconization of adulthood pops up in a movie on the TV screen: Neighbours. It’s a movie about young parents who live next to a frat house – trying to stay cool, but are anything but. Judging by the cover, I probably never would not have chosen this movie if my mind would have been turned on, but like so often, after a long day of work- a few hours of the kids being all over & close to ripping each other apart (“I said no more shooting with the nerf gun inside!!”)  – and after putting them to bed, my will only gets me to the sofa and I’m too braindead to make any kindof decision so this movie seemed just as good as any.  It’s actually pretty annoying that Rose Byrne, that delivers a great performance in this film, isn’t even on the cover:

Neighbors (2014)

(Spoiler alert: its not about two dudes! Gosh… You would have thought we have had this conversation already. -> check out The Headless Women of Hollywood.  Yes its a thing:

The more I think about it actually, the more it pisses me off!

The cover should have been more like:

(And I have a feeling Rose might be annoyed at it too, as she says she would much rather play the guy in all those scripts she get sent – as they get all the funny bits.)

The movie actually captures this ‘fun =young’ vs ‘parenthood=seriousness’ vibe. The parents are not supposed to be cool. Except that they are super supportive of each other, have sex all the time and handle parenthood like aces – so if that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is. They haven’t given up on silliness and the mom is not everyone’s mom like in every other movie- she also gets to be stupid and funny- so hurray for that. Nevermind that she doesn’t seem to work and that the father has an invisible job at an invisible place. It’s not a perfect movie – but it addresses things I can identify with.  And then, I just “happened” to see Neighbours 2:

sisters.jpg vs. movieposter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suffice to say that some stereotypes get totally busted in that one. .. especially among the sorority sisters (left). Again the movie poster could have reflected that – but again – its about 2 dudes (right)

To sum up : adulthood feels a bit like this:

silly wind GIF

…the wind keeps blowing but you keep on going.

Like asking yourself constantly if you’re doing the right thing. Are you too hard on your kids? Are you too loose on their Ipad use? Do you hug them enough? Are you performing well enough at work? Can you really afford to live the life you like? Did you remember to tell the hubby you love him? (You think about it often but forget to say it). And what about your parents – neglecting them much? Jeez, you just forgot it was your best friends birthday last week – do you send her a text now or just ignore it? Do you look like a tramp in those clothes? Will your lack of will to do sports mean you won’t live as long? Why did you eat cake at 2 pm (and 9pm)? When was the last time you went to a party & danced? Oh, well it’s not like you’re gonna go tonight, its like 10 pm! Know what I mean?

And then, you’re almost 39, inspired by a movie with Jack Efron.

What happened?

At least – no one will accuse me of being miss serious watching that movie.

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International Women’s Day 18 – the facts

What's "happy" about women's position in the world?

Who do I give my congratulations to?

This week, we passed the yearly “celebration” of women by focusing on the progress and the challenges women face in the world today.

A day that often highlights dissatisfying numbers like:

👎Unequal pay: The global pay gap stands at 23 % between men and women. Even kids get that it is messed up:

👎Low numbers of women in government:  22,8% of all national parliamentarians are women. In Denmark, 31,8% of local politicians are women (Out of 98 mayors, 14 are women).

“As of January 2017, only 18.3 per cent of government ministers  [in the world] were women; the most commonly held portfolio by women ministers is environment, natural resources, and energy, followed by social sectors, such as social affairs, education and the family.” UNWOMEN.ORG

👎Few women in leadership positions: In Denmark, 27% of  business leaders are women, the lowest in the Nordic countries (Sweden is on 40%, Iceland 38 and the OECD average of female leaders in business is 31%).

👎Violence against women is incredibly high: 1 of 3 women (35%) have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime (half of women killed in the US are killed by their romantic partner)

👎Women’s activities (like sports) keep being down prioritized in the media: 2% of national newspaper sport coverage in the UK is dedicated to women’s sport. 3,6 % of elite sports trainers in Denmark are women.

👎Women are under-represented in Tech: 16,7% of ICT (Information and Communication technology) specialists in the EU are women

👎Stories of women are not being recognized: 4,2 % of film directors in the US were women from 2007- 2016 (its getting better though), 10% of screenwriters are women and 29% of protagonists in Hollywood are women. In 2015 books by women made up less than 20% of books reviewed in the New York Review of Books (which is funny because they are just as popular on the best selling list).

It’s also a day where we quote women & celebrate remarkable women in the press: Berlingske newspaper in Denmark introduced 8 portraits of women pioneers on the 8th of March:

8womenIts great to read about the first woman to climb Mount Everest, the first woman Michelin chef, the first woman newsreader, the first (and only) woman primeminister or the first woman fighter pilot – but why do we get these stories only once a year?

Because we cant do that every day? I’m always a bit annoyed on this day – because then I see what the world could be like everyday if we did focus on the plight of women.

It’s not ok that women get killed by their partners. It’s not ok that women – who represent half of the population – are not represented equally in government, in leadership or are part of those that design our world. We need more women inventors because we need more of the female perspective. The world is not designed for women  and advertising sure as hell forgets pretty easily that half of potential customers are not dudes:

“Women dominate consumer spending because they buy for so many people within their immediate circles – yet …advertising rarely reflects women’s perspectives or needs, and so women have learned to rely on the recommendations of other women.”   The silent rise of the female driven economy

We need more female stories (like these inspirational movies about extraordinary women)  & female values in leadership (that men can also possess). According to the Harvard Business Review, there are clear differences in leading styles and 4 competencies can be associated with women’s success in top leadership positions:

 “courage, risk-taking, resilience, and managing ambiguity”

There are plenty of ways to highlight gender equality. The french newspaper Libération did this on March 8 2018:

Libe

Price for the paper: 2 euros for women / 2,50 euros for men

A museum in Norway lowered the price of entry for women to illustrate the unfairness of the pay gap.

So, is there really a need for a day to highlight these things? Yes but here is a revolutionary idea:

Maybe more days could be used to do exactly that – instead of waiting for the next 8th of March. Because we are making progress in some areas – but no wonder it happens so slow since we only use 1 day out of 365 to focus on the problems.

And here the answer to one of the most common question:

INTMENSDAY

If you have this question, this site has the answer

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Wan’t a reminder to be happy? We’re all gonna die.

What is a meaningful life? I’m really asking because I would like to know.  It’s funny that no matter how positive other people view you or your accomplishments, if you are in selfdoubt, all the praise in the world wont change a thing. We should know by now that no matter how far you go, how proud your loved ones may be, or the money your are earning;  if you are not content with what you are doing, if you can’t find meaning in it- it’s unlikely to make you happy, truly happy.

Happiness is such an overrated concept though – or misunderstood. People who have lived through the worst of things are capable of enjoying truly happy moments…

…and others that lull around life, never really experiencing trauma or real pain might never really appreciate joy in the little things. Are they really happy? Is Happiness even real, or is it just a combination of moments that depend on the how you view them and what you compare them to?

I’ve heard that morticians often have great satisfaction in their job. Somehow they are so close to death, taking care of the dead and their families that they are constantly reminded of why life is worth living. Don’t despair, you dont need to become one to get more appreciative of your life- try downloading the app  WeCroak on your phone, it’s sole purpose is to send you reminders a few times a day:  “Don’t forget, you are going to die”. Cheerful. But actually, it seems that this is exactly what we need – help to put things into perspective as we get sucked in to more  “knowledge” we don’t know what to do with, technology addiction and time away from our thoughts. In Bhutan, it is believed that you need to think about death 5 times a day to be happy:

“Rich people in the West, they have not touched dead bodies, fresh wounds, rotten things. This is a problem. This is the human condition. We have to be ready for the moment we cease to exist.”

It’s so true. We don’t talk about death, we don’t see images of the dead and we rather not think about it. Except that I do think about it. Sometimes with fear, but mostly as a fact. The fact that I am going to die, that my loved ones also will, that I could have had a 14 year old daughter at this point and that we all leave something behind when we pass away, some perhaps more than others. I can’t always avoid the thoughts – but lord knows I try.

As Denmark mourned the passing of the Queen’s husband, Prince Henry de Montpezat last month, I though about his death (and the Danes’ reaction to it) but also his life. I though about how he lived his life – in spite of some things being hard (like being accepted in his adoptive country – sidenote – has any foreigner truly made it in Denmark anyway?) and other things being so easy (like having time to write poemes, to create sculptures, to play music). There was something so inspiring about the way he enjoyed life, food, wine, people, the curiosity he brought to whatever he was undertaking and the thoughts/creative outlets that he then could express himself with, being a poet, a thinker, an artist and a musician. It made me think about all the things we fill our lives with that have nothing to do with that. (Netflix, rutine work, thoughts about money, materialism, envy and unhappy lives where we do things we think other people want us to do and can’t find meaning in it all). I’m not saying not to ever watch TV – but that suddenly 10 years may have gone by and it’s hard to pin point what the time went into. In the last 10 years, I’ve had kids, married, moved & learned to live in another country, found & lost myself, started and ended several jobs, keep continuously asking myself if I am on the right professional path, made friends, prioritized my time differently, bought a house and made a home but somehow I wonder how much creativity I allowed in all of this and if a life without creativity has meaning. Do you need meaning to be happy? Because I do enjoy happy moments when they arise (“Will this be a moment I will look back upon and think: Here I was truly happy” Then let me be happy now.) When are these moments? Mostly in the sun, with those I love and often near the sea. Seldom on a deadline. Hardly ever on a plane. Probably not looking at my phone.

Many years ago I read an article of the The top 5 regrets of the dying, collected by a nurse working in pallatative care. They’ve been on the internet for a long time so you have probably seen them in some shape or form. They are a good reminder when you feel you’re in need of guidance, when something feels ouf of place: top-5-regrets-of-dying

It might be corny but it’s true – I often think of the last one – are we letting ourselves be happy? Or are we our own blocker? Although my mission in life seems hard to figure out Is it to be the mother of my sons?  To influence younger people? To do the best I can? To learn? Or is there any meaning to it all? according to David Bowie, perhaps not:

On the day of execution, on the day of execution
only women kneel and smile ah-ah, ah-ah
at the center of it all, at the center of it all
your eyes, your eyes

“Blackstar” David Bowie

Perhaps the only true goal of life is to not have too many regrets at the end of it all.

You can have all good intentions but sometimes it’s just off. And sometimes there’s little you can do about it. I don’t think we have fully understood the biological aspects of our moods or how we are affected by our environment (some more than others). Being able to say “Pyt” (Danish) or “Þetta reddast” (Icelandic) or “C’est la vie” (French) is sometimes just as good an action as any. And then (hopefully) another day will come.

I know I’m gonna die someday, so in the big scheme of things, there are more important things to life than wonder endlessly over whether you’ve done a good job or not. If you haven’t, it’s not, literally, the end of the world. Unless you’re Donald Trump.

***More to read***

BBC Bhutans Dark secret to happiness
http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150408-bhutans-dark-secret-to-happiness

The Atlantic When Death pings https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/when-death-pings/546587/

The Guardian Top five regrets of the Dying https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

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10 things

 

Here are 10 things I would like my sons to learn.

1. You are not the most important person in the world

You might be to me and your dad- but there are others out there, that can always add value to your experiences

2. Its ok to make mistakes

Its terrifying believing that everything you do has to be perfect. Plus it doesn’t make room for learning as it only makes people feel inadequate & sets unrealistic expectations

3. Learn to read

Reading is the basis of all knowledge. Learn to read and you can learn everything else. Because once you can read – you can loose yourself in the magic of books, when times are tough or when you need a good escape – plus its necessary to navigate in the world.

4. See, hear and read female-centric stories

So you can dive into worlds different than yours. Its so important to appreciate the differences we all come with. It’s not always easy, sometimes it might feel easier to stay in your comfort zone but the world needs more people that open their eyes and have open hearts

5. Be a good listener

Everyone has a story. It’s easy to believe yours is the most important but we are all interconnected – and to connect , all you need to do is listen- really listen to what people are saying.

6. Use technology wisely

Its too late for me- I try but you do. Like my dear colleague Roxana used to say – give these kids an introduction to technology, a real life challenge to solve and you will be amazed to see what they can come up with

7. Behaving online is just as important as behaving offline

In regards to others, but also in what you like, in what you share, in terms of your values or entertainment. Respect others – also on platforms that don’t reward that behavior

8. Be emotional and don’t be afraid of showing emotions

Don’t be afraid to put yourself in the shoes of others. You can feel their joy and you can feel their pain. But you also need to understand your own feelings and how you feel. You can’t expect others to open to you if you don’t open to them. Be honest

9. Respect No’s

Not everyone will be on board for all your wildest ideas- I’m sure many of them will be good but some will be less. Don’t go over other people’s boundaries and clarify where your own boundaries lie.

10. Be adventerous

Life is boring if you never dare. Take chances, meet people, travel, explore & remember to dance, often. But please don’t join the army

WP_20170602_18_16_52_Rich

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We need to talk about education

To girls everywhere:

RyanGosling

 

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February 16, 2018 · 07:00

I’m back!

 

smalltalk

Talking about twisted, agent Mulder and Scully are not the only ones that can make a comeback! Ok, its been 2 years since my last post but it’s not like I stopped having opinions. My Twitter feed, countless facebook & Linkedin posts can attest to that (says the girl, not without a hint of shame in her voice). Yes, I have been busy but not necessarily with the right things. Sure, I’ve bought a house with the hubby, the boys have started school but to tell you the truth, I gave up on this blog when I joined the company. I’m not sure why exactly, but I think I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to write as freely as I wanted. That’s what a big job can do to you, but my fears were baseless. If the tagline of our campaigns can be “Come as you are, Do what you love”, I’m sure there is space for a feminist who loves writing

Feminist GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

There are so many topics I want to address in more than 280 characters or that cannot fit in a facebook update – I want to write about power, leadership, death and about miscarriages, about joy and injustices, about powerful women (and powerful men… but the female stories need to be written), about things I talk to my girlfriends about, about things I see and about politics, education and emotions. But  what I am interested in most of all is gender equality on all fronts.

Its also funny to revisit my drafts of posts that were never to be:

OldTopics

So much has happened in this short amount of time, technology makes alot of things easier, but also many things much harder. There is only a limited amount of time in the day to have conversations, so why not use some of my time in the digital space to continue, reflect or recount those conversations?

I also realized that I hadn’t started this blog to save the world (hey younger me: Ambitious much?). Then I wrote to save the reputation of feminism (still a worthy cause) but today I also write to save myself. Writing makes me happy. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you need to do more of the things that make you happy!happy

 

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A feminist response to events in Europe

“Sexual assaults”. “Molestation”. “Two accounts of rape”. “Fingering”. “Events marred by sexual harrassment”. “Intimidations”. “Groping”.  The media have been reporting sexual assaults in Cologne, Hamburg, Finland and Sweden on New Years Eve in whole new proportions. Is that why it has grabbed the world’s attention? Why didn’t we hear the same indignation during a similar event i Ha Noi in Vietnam in july when thousands of young men assaulted women in a waterpark? Why the interest suddenly now? Maybe its because we have finally gotten women rights on the agenda in 2015? Or is it because violence against women is a dangerous epidemic in epic proportions around the world and needs to be addressed? Because don’t get me wrong, we should all be angry about sexual assaults, of any kind. But I have the uncomfortable feeling that the reason we hear so much about these assaults in Germany & Scandinavia is because the headline is followed by the words “asylum seekers”.

refugees

It serves a specific line of thought: many Europeans are terrified of the strangers coming from the South in extraordinary numbers (and adherring to a religion that many see as a threat to modern society) and so once they are told “thousands” of them acted like animals, they will buy the story immediately. Without further thought. And be outraged. Which we all should be. But not only when these crimes are committed by a convenient enemy. Let me burst that bubble:

–  many Europeans are terrified of the strangers. This is not the first time we have seen extra-ordinary numbers of people fleeing their countries and seeking refuge. It happened in the 80’s and in the 90’s, and we handled it pretty well. See this link on how this refugee crisis is different and how we can actually better meet it:

“Past experience of refugee crises suggests that migrants can, eventually, become valued and valuable contributors to the economic and social health of countries.”

OECD

adherring to a religion that many see as a threat. It is correct that many of the refugees are muslim, but not all. Being muslim is not identical to being an islamist, far from it. Just as being Christian is not the same as being a murderer of doctors performing abortions. The worst extremist movement we hear about at the moment is IS, an extremely violent group that is the reason behind many Syrians seeking refuge in Europe. IS is not a representation of Islam or Islam values. Islam is not against modern norms, and is, like any other religion, subject to interpretation. Religions should not dictate the way we run countries anyway, but they are the pillars for our values, and you would actually be surprised at how many of them preach the same thing,  kindness and tolerance. Somehow, that got lost in Translation throughout history.

kind.jpg

“thousands” of them acted like animals. We were told thousands of men of foreign background attacked women in Cologne and Hamburg. Think about that number. THOUSANDS. I can imagine that if you experienced it, it sure felt like a thousand hands. But we should maybe not take that number at face value. Some witnesses reported seeing clearly a small group of men orchestrating the assaults in Germany. They seemed to instruct groups of 3-4 men to go into the crowd and do some of things we heard about. If the instructed groups were of  3-4 people- how long would it take to instruct a THOUSAND people? I am sure it was a large group of people that attacked women that night, and I am not in doubt that they were attacked for one second (why shouldn’t I believe them?). But I think we have to be careful about blowing up the number to a group of thousand molestors, which seems almost impossible to me- but then again, I wasn’t there so I can’t possibly know. Maybe it is the sheer size of this that has made me pause (and the confusing reports, where some said the suspects had been of many different nationalities including North-African, German, Syrian and American). Perhaps there is some truth to this article in le Figaro listing the reasons why feminists have been quiet (except that they havent -see We can let the bigots steal feminism). It says the events do not fit into the inclusion message of a feminist rhetoric. Probably not. I, like many, thought: Is this something we will have to get use to now? But the more I think about it, the more I think it has alot to do with inclusion rhetoric and an integration that has totally failed. If we had better integration technics, actually welcomed refugees and used our efforts and resources to better help them integrate like with Norway’s lesson in how to treat women, instead of trying to block them out, maybe we would see less incidents. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and we should also possibly talk about Sexual frustrations as is done in this Belgian piece. Aren’ some of the young men results of repressive regimes, years of segration and sexual relationships only being possible through marriage? What does that do to the mind? Some countries have been repressing their citizens and normal relationships between men and women are made quasi-impossible. It is no excuse but it helps us understand the frustrations and reasons why such a large group of men wreaks havoc when seeing women having fun. In some countries, the sexual relationship is only possible  through marriage, and you can only marry when the economic background of the man allows it, impossible for so many young men today, as they live in unstable countries with high un-employement and few future possibilities of development.  Whatever baggage some men of refugee background might be carrying, our approach is clearly not working, we are moving closer and closer to having parallel societies -that don’t understand each other and somehow, the Hunger Games do not seem so far away.
The Hunger Games.png
not only when these crimes are committed by a convenient enemy. The fact that authorities and police tried to ignore this and kept information from the public (just like Sweden did by covering up sexual attacks by foreigners at the “WeAreSthlm” music festival in 2014) is not right. The Swedish police cited as a reason that they did not want to give material to right-wing extremist (who are currently having a field day in Germany). But why does that surprise us? It is actually the way sexual harassment cases and violence against women has always been treated by authorities, and our incompetent justice systems when it comes to women rights.  These issues have not been addressed as seriously as they should have been for decades! Why was it any different when foreigners were involved? (which apparently wasn’t in 2014 but seeing the political climate today can serve other purposes than just to seek justice for female victims). These right wing fanatics don’t care about women’s bodies and their right to not be assaulted. They are outraged on their own behalf, because the foreigners have crossed a line (maybe they were the only ones allowed to downgrade “their” women and abuse them? Who knows) This rhetoric I keep hearing on the news is driving me crazy. The “we” against “them” insinuating somehow that “we in the west do not treat women this way” is insulting because it’s not true. Violence against women is found everywhere, in all societies and on all levels. It can well be that we have come far in respecting women rights in Europe, when compared to some countries – but don’t pretend it’s all hunky dory, just because it’s not out in the open. How many rapes go unpunished for? Women face sexism and harassment on a daily basis and have to be constantly on alert so they are not at risk (don’t drink too much, don’t walk alone, don’t dress too slutty -how about Don’t rape?)  Noone owes you sex, ever. We need to teach boys and men to respect boundaries and that consent is a yes, always.
Who is the enemy? Refugees are not the enemy and they are not the reason we see a) higher unemployement b)failing economies c) rural discontement or some other d) societal problem in European economies. Yes, we are seeing more inequality and more people who have less. But that isn’t the refugees’ fault. It is all down to our priorities being wrong. Our work model is failing (we should focus on productivity and not time spent at an office), we need more sustainable solutions and to re-think the way we structure society and where we spend money (astronaumical amounts in warfare for example). There is space for a million refugees in our rich economies, if we just play our cards right, find out where competences are needed and how people can be placed, until a solution is found in those countries and people can go back, if that is their wish. I feel Im talking to a kindegarten here, but you need to start collaborating to find solutions people.

debat_marstrand_vil_995321y.jpg

“Watch out for the refugee, he will take you cake”- Politiken (Debat Anne Lise Jørgensen)

So, now what? A final quote here from Obwonga.com
“Why don’t we see this as a perfect moment for men, regardless of our ethnic backgrounds, to get genuinely angry about the treatment of women in public spaces: to reject with fury the suggestion that we are somehow conditioned by society forever to treat women as objects, condemned by our uncontrollable sexual desires to lunge at them as they walk past. Let’s do our best to challenge the rampant misogyny which has gone on worldwide for far too long, and reject whatever lessons of sexist repression we may have been taught. Because women are tired of telling us about this, and exhausted of fighting a battle that for too long has gone overlooked.”

And can we do that for the right reasons, please?

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