Hurry… While Supplies Last

It’s common practice for online companies to suggest products based on past purchases or web searches, so it didn’t surprise me to find an email in my inbox from Amazon. With my marketing background, I’m totally good with that.

And then I look at the product Amazon thought I would like… My Sack Photo

Amazon reasoned that because I’m a woman who viewed golf bags on their site, surely, I would be interested in this fine golf accessory. I know it’s intended to be funny, but it falls flat on so many levels…

  • The sack emulates a part of the human anatomy I do not possess.
  • Someone in the marketing department made it pink so women would naturally gravitate to it. I know it was a man because no woman would come up with this product idea.
  • They’ve included pink golf balls in the off-chance that the sack isn’t enticing enough.
  • And just in case women still aren’t hitting the “order” button, they display it hanging on a pink-accented golf bag because, well, you know.

According to the description, there is only one left so hurry while supplies last. Women around the world can only hope they’ll be restocking soon.

Heidi McCrary / Writer

Finding our Voice Again

With attendance numbers topping three million, the inaugural Women’s March held in January of 2017 was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Celebrating the power of women, this peaceful movement grew quickly to advocate legislation and policies for all human rights. This year, the marches took place again throughout the world and closer to home in Kalamazoo.  Friends, sisters, grandmothers and daughters; all ages of women finding their voice again after too long.

Most young women today have little understanding of the battles their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers fought throughout history in an attempt for equal footing, or even just a step in the right direction for equal rights. While quite young, I had the pleasure of seeing feminism explode wide open with the actions of activists like Gloria Steinem. But somewhere along the way, the movement lost its way—pushed aside to make room for Barbie dolls and castles in the girls’ toy aisle at the department store.

And then our country became politically polarized to an extreme not seen in decades.

If nothing else, the rise of extremist viewpoints also gave a voice to a segment of the population that thought status quo was good enough. Women are again standing up and finding their voice.

H and SAnd girl, this time the world is listening.

Change often comes when the voice of many find a common cause. The #MeToo movement started with the courageous stand taken by a group of women in Hollywood—a change that has grown to include all occupations and situations involving sexual harassment. While the Time’s Up movement has resulted in career casualties and will no doubt bring more, it is the unavoidable consequence of a swinging pendulum that will bring real change for young women today and tomorrow.

During the telecast of this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey received the annual Cecil B. Demille Award for lifetime achievement. She gave a powerful acceptance speech, and wrapped up with the following…

…I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again.”

~~ Heidi McCrary

 

 

 

 

I Just Discovered This Feature on Facebook, and it’s Killing me!

You know how Facebook is awesome about protecting your privacy? You can UNLIKE someone, and it won’t send any sort of alarms to the person on the other side. It doesn’t go, “Hey! Someone you thought was your friend just decided they’ve had enough of you!” No, it just quietly detaches your connection with your ex-cyber-friend.

Facebook is kind, in that it even allows us to hit the pause on someone if we’re feeling overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) with a friend’s posting activity. You can hit pause, and the friend never has to know. It’s a win-win—you get to take a break from so-and-so, and they’re blissfully unaware of your mini-vacation from them.

Facebook World was all roses and sunshine for me until I stumbled upon this particular feature on my AUTHOR PAGE. Keep in mind that this is a professional page, and different from my personal page. This is where I share my writing and posts that are more thought-provoking in nature.

And this is where I found this feature…

Negative FeedbackUnder posts on a professional page, it lists the number of people you reached. If you click on the blue 60 people reached, a Performance for Your Post pops up. You get stuff like how many LIKES and LINK CLICKS you got—all good, right? But if you scroll down, you’ll see the section called, NEGATIVE FEEDBACK. This is a horrible horrible piece of feedback that I don’t need, because while I know it happens, I don’t need to actually see that there are people who are HIDING my posts! Who needs to know that? Facebook doesn’t even pretend that this isn’t the meanest feature ever created, since it’s called NEGATIVE FEEDBACK.

I may never post again…

And the Award Goes to… The Women’s Race to the Oscars

 

While this is ski season for my husband, you’re more likely to find me tucked away in a movie theater, and this season I have had the pleasure of seeing several movies that have garnered many Academy Award nominations—all starring women in lead roles…

movies 2Lady Bird – a coming of age movie featuring two strong female performances—Saoirse Ronan as young Lady Bird, and Laurie Metcalf as her mother. Directed by Greta Gerbig, this quiet film balances vulnerability with raw, simple emotions and warmth.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – a dark character-study involving a mother struggling with an unsolved case involving her daughter. As usual, it’s star, Frances McDormand delivers a powerful performance as a woman who is clearly not easily defined.

The Post – yet another movie with a female lead, starring Meryl Streep who must be getting tired of the endless nominations. While this true story is compelling, and painfully relevant still today, even with the casting of Streep and Tom Hanks, the storytelling falls a bit flat.

The Shape of Water – arguably, the quirkiest of the movies nominated, with an endearing and understated performance by Sally Hawkins. Part fantasy / love story, The Shape of Water also stars Octavia Spencer as Hawkins’ partner-in-crime. Both are up for Oscars.

I can only speak for the movies and performances I have seen, so my Oscar predictions are…

Best Actress:

Frances McDormand  /  Three Billboards

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Laurie Metcalf  /  Lady Bird

 

Best Director:

Guillermo del Toro  /  The Shape of Water

(But I’ll be thrilled if Greta Gerbig wins for Lady Bird)

 

Best Picture:

Lady Bird


 Bonus Prediction…

Best Animated Movie

Coco (Delightful & insightful, the best to come along since Toy Story 3)

 

The Oscar telecast is Sunday, March 4 on ABC, so there’s still time to catch a movie or two.  Pass the popcorn!

 

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

60-Second Movie Review

With my background in marketing, I couldn’t help but be intrigued with a movie centered around three billboards. Less about advertising, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a dark tale centered around an unsolved case involving a rape and murder of a young woman in a small town in the South—where racism and hate run rampant.

three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouriWritten and directed by Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards stars the great Frances McDormand as Mildred, a mother who is beyond frustrated with the local police force after months pass without her daughter’s case being solved. With help from three billboards expressing her anger, Mildred sets off a chain of events that pull the town into even deeper despair.

Tough, gritty and painful, Three Billboards is also darkly comical at times, and reminiscent of Crash. With no definable good vs. bad, Three Billboards is best as a character study, with raw performances from McDormand, Woody Harrelson and the rest of the cast. This Oscar-worthy film will also spark animated conversations with moviegoers. You may need a drink after this one.

Storytelling through the Eyes of a Child

Why Graphic Novels Work

Fun HomeI just finished reading Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic— a graphic memoir written by Alison Bechdel. An insightful fast-read, Fun Home follows a young girl as she dodges the pitfalls of her dysfunctional family (is there any other kind?) while navigating through the currents of her sexual awakenings. This award-winning graphic novel has also been adapted into a Broadway musical, and will resonate with anyone who didn’t grow up in a “normal” family.

Years earlier, I had the pleasure of reading Stitches by David Small—another graphic memoir dealing with family dysfunction. Graphic novels are an ideal vessel for delivering dark humor as told through the eyes of a child. The innocent design mixed with dark subject matter works in delivering a unique and appropriate mode of storytelling.

SignatureAs I look at my own novel, Chasing Crazy, still hiding on my computer, ready for its entry into the literary world, I wonder, what if I made Chasing Crazy a graphic novel?

What if…

 

Everyday Sexism

Actress, Ashley Judd recently spoke of a situation she encountered while going through security in an airport. Singled out by a male employee with an uncomfortable greeting of, “Hey Sweetheart,” Judd replied to the employee that she was not his sweetheart, but instead was a paying customer. Undeterred, the employee went on to make inappropriate comments while touching her as she proceeded through security.

Taylor Swift was also involved in a harassment situation where a popular DJ thought nothing of grabbing her ass as the two of them posed for a promotional shoot. Being a self-assured woman, and understanding that young women across the world look up to her, she filed a lawsuit for $1, took the man to court for sexual harassment, and won. She needs to be applauded for her actions.

You may be rolling her eyes at these two scenarios thinking that these two women should lighten up, but while both instances aren’t earth-shattering, they are perfect examples of what Judd calls Everyday Sexism—sometimes so subtle that we brush it off as harmless and even expected from an older generation or men in general. It is everywhere, with women being just as guilty of the same bias, and more likely to apply sexist labels to themselves in a self-deprecating manor.

A reminder of past sexism stands today along South Westnedge in Kalamazoo, where a longstanding restaurant still touts Businessmen’s Luncheons on their outdoor signage—a throwback to the seventies when men routinely conducted business deals over a 3-martini lunch. Sadly, the owners apparently have no problem with the message it continues to send to women and girls today

Hooters 1Further south, down the same street, stands a national restaurant that shamelessly showcases sexism hidden behind the eyes of a cartoon owl. How sad is it for a so-called family dining establishment to subject their wait staff to ogling patrons who pay for this special view with the purchase of hot wings. Sadder still, is that the people of Kalamazoo continue to frequent this restaurant, not bothered by the fact that the young woman they’re checking out is someone’s daughter.

A friend of mine has learned to tackle Everyday Sexism head-on with gusto in the instance of standing her ground, as she discovered that women are more apt to step aside when men are coming toward them on a sidewalk. “This part of the sidewalk is mine,” she explains. If a group of people are walking toward me on the sidewalk, it’s their job to move over so that they’re leaving at least a little space so that I don’t have to step aside. I’ve learned to lower my shoulder and stand my ground.” More than once she has bumped into a surprised man who assumed that she was going to move aside. “It’s a fun game of mine, but it is sad that it’s a game at all,” she says.

Here’s a thought… As we encounter Everyday Sexism on the street with strangers, with our co-workers, and even our friends, let’s remind them that it’s not OK. We owe it to ourselves.

Heidi McCrary / Author