What if Hillary had won?

November 8, 2016 – As the country sat in front of their TVs and computer screens, we watched in real-time as Politics as Usual was turned on its head by a man promising to “Drain the swamp.” But this isn’t about him…

This is about earlier that day when a mother brought her 10-year-old daughter with her to the neighborhood church serving as the area polling station. As the mother picked up her voting ballot, she turned to her daughter and asked her to remember that moment, because in all likelihood, they would both be witnessing the first woman becoming President of the United States. While the daughter shifted her feet in boredom, the young mother smiled as she filled in the oval next to Hillary Clinton’s name. This was a defining moment for many women who were excited to being a part of history.

That was four years ago. As television anchors and news pundits reported the voting numbers rolling in as the map behind them turned red, a large segment of the female population across the nation slowly realized that they would have to wait yet another four years, if not much longer before they could show their daughters that they really can be anything they want to be, even President of the United States.

But, what if Hillary had won?

Politics aside (Yes, I know I’m reaching here), what would it have meant for the college-aged woman to be able to point to President Hillary Clinton as the reason for going into law or politics? Women have crashed through the glass ceiling in virtually every single profession. They are running companies, traveling through space, and serving on the Supreme Court. They just haven’t cracked the ceiling of the Oval Office.

Locally, we have achieved a greater balance of a diverse government, with several women having served as Mayor of Kalamazoo, and Karianne Thomas is currently Kalamazoo’s first Public Safety Chief. One only has to look at Michigan’s current governor to see that, overall, women have attained recognition for having leadership skills. These women can serve as inspiration to ALL young people wondering if they have what it takes to serve in the police force, for our city and state’s government, and beyond.

So, what if Hillary had won? The earth wouldn’t have fallen off its axis as many were predicting. No, life would have gone on as normal, but I would like to think that she would have straightened it out just a bit. Girls deserve to have a role model in every facet of life. They can be firefighters, football coaches and farmers. In 2020, there should be no shards of glass on anyone’s shoulders, yet, here we are. While she didn’t win, Hillary Clinton was a trailblazer, smoothing the road for the next generation of women daring enough to travel down it.       

Here’s a thought… let’s hold out hope that we will see a woman become President of the United States in our lifetime. Not because she’s a woman. Because she deserves to be there.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Women’s LifeStyle. Look for her debut novel, Chasing North Star in the fall of 2020. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

Feeling Invisible isn’t a Superpower

n-OLDER-WOMAN-SITTING-ALONE-628x314A 50-year-old French author, not worth naming, recently remarked in a magazine that women older than fifty are invisible to him. “The body of a 25-year-old woman is extraordinary. The body of a woman of 50 is not extraordinary at all,” he is quoted as saying, showing his maturity level to be closer to a pubescent boy than his actual age.

While the paper-thin insights of this one man isn’t worthy of rebuttal, the truth is, the belief that women 50+ lose their luster is shared by a disproportionate number of people in modern-day culture. A recent study revealed that more than two-thirds of women over the age of 45 have experienced a fallen lack of confidence—judged negatively because of their age from the opposite sex, and by younger women.

Technology also plays a role in the perception of older women being out of sync with social media and the digital world, which is not at all true. But perception is everything, and while the cliché is that men grow old in a dignified fashion, women just grow old. As a woman 50+ with my own domain, Twitter handle, and Facebook professional pages, my online footprint is impressive, and I look within and see anything but.

WhitmerOn the local-front, Michigan Governor Whitmer, at age 47, is just hitting her stride. Other notable West Michigan women include WMU Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and countless other professionals, artists and creative souls finding their voice at an age that shouts from the rooftops, “I’m just getting started!”

Glenn Close - CopyLet’s follow the lead of 71-year-old actress, Glenn Close. As a 2019 Golden Globe winner for her portrayal in The Wife, she delivered this impassioned acceptance speech honoring her late mother.

“… I’m thinking of my mom who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life. And in her 80s she said to me, “I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. …What I’ve learned from this whole experience is, women, we’re nurturers, that’s what’s expected of us. We have our children, we have our husbands if we’re lucky enough, and our partners. But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say, “I can do that, and I should be allowed to do that.”

The other day, as my grown son gazed at the DIY décor flowing throughout his parent’s living room, he looked at me and asked why I never displayed my artistic flair while he and his brother were still living at home—not comprehending the sacrifices a mother makes when given the choice of self-expression or simply keeping a home from imploding.

But the truth is, we need to make time for ourselves at every phase in our lives. Women in particular are far too willing to sacrifice self-worth for the sake of loved ones, and it doesn’t have to be an either-or decision.  My job is balanced with my passion for writing and my life-long goal of becoming a mediocre golfer. As a woman 50+, I’m looking forward to the second half of my own story.

Follow Heidi’s column in Women’s LifeStyle  of Greater Kalamazoo Magazine

Heidi

 

Christmas Shopping Gone Wrong

WARNING…

This Christmas season, young girls everywhere will once again be forced to drive toy cars, cook in play-kitchens, sing into play-microphones, play guitars, and read books that come in only one color… PINK.

PLEASE…

Stop buying pink toys for your girls. Contrary to what the local Target Store believes, girls have been known to grow up to play guitars that come in colors other than pink.

Young girls deserve to enjoy ALL the other beautiful colors.

Thank you.

She Means Business…

Below, is a photo of women…

She Means Biz Photo 2018 - Copy.jpg

Photo courtesy of K. Redmond Photography and Women’s LifeStyle of Gr. Kalamazoo

These women live in the Kalamazoo area and either own their own business or are part of a team that employs and appreciates what women bring to the table.

A quick glance at this group shows a wide swath of personalities, backgrounds, and lifestyles. No two are the same or even similar. Within this group of women, you’ll find a commercial real estate consultant, a banker, a therapist, a photographer, an advertising expert, a professional personal assistant, an image consultant, a magazine publisher, an artist, an event planner, and a plethora of other professionals.lego-nasa-women-set

So, saying that the photo above is “a photo of women,” is like saying these boss astronaut action-figures are simply Lego blocks.

Celebrate Women in Business by doing business with women. It’s that simple.

What’s a Girl to do?

Does everyone lose when girls are forced to choose between Girl Scouts and the all new Scouts?  

scout photoWith the simple removal of one word, a firestorm opened up on a centuries-old organization known for helping boys build campfires and character. After recent years of facing criticism and opposition from the socially-minded community for suppressing freedom of gender preference and identification, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is soon changing the name of their Boy Scouts program to simply, Scouts BSA.

While this has appeased the more progressive-minded, some parents along with many in the faith-leaning population are taking the organization to task, claiming that BSA is pandering to left-wing activists and losing its way as an organization established with the mission to assist young men on their journey of exploring life and their own identity. No girls allowed.

After all, girls have their own organization. Girl Scouts of the USA has been around for nearly as long as BSA (1910 and 1912 respectively) and offers not only the “get your fingernails dirty” camp-style activities found at BSA but also programs that appeal specifically to girls. With the new Welcome Girls! sign now hanging over the door at BSA, where does this leave the parents of little Emma  who’s looking for a merit badge? And what does this mean for the once-amicable relationship between Girls Scouts and BSA?

With the announcement of the new Scouts program, BSA faces the loss of support from the Mormon Church which has declared that they are severing ties with BSA and taking the memberships of over 400,000 boys with them. With BSA membership numbers falling at an alarming rate, growth needs to come from somewhere and while targeting girls may seem like a logical solution, it comes at the expense of another organization whose sole mission is to provide a safe environment where young women can empower themselves while gaining compassion, courage and confidence. And like the BSA, Girl Scouts is experiencing its own recruitment challenges. Children today have a multitude of afterschool activities to choose from—from soccer, dance and cheerleading to debate, tennis, volunteering and theatre. Parents are overwhelmed, and children are stretched tighter than rubber bands resulting in families passing on signing their children up for an organization that may have passed its relevance years ago.

Except it hasn’t. In fact, both organizations offer more benefits than ever for boys and girls. And today, as women recognize that they no longer have to sit on the sidelines, girls now have the option of joining Girl Scouts or the soon to be, Scouts, BSA. And while both organizations have much to offer young women, the two organizations still differ on many fronts, with Girl Scouts still offering a tremendous advantage over Scouts, BSA.

Studies within Girl Scouts show that young women partaking in activities within a single-gender environment achieve greater growth and satisfaction in a variety of ways…

Better performance – Improved scores on achievement tests in a variety of subjects

Stronger ambitions – Higher career and educational aspirations

School Completion – More likely to finish high school

Self-Confidence  – Enhanced self-assurance and positive personal judgement

Employment Security – Higher probability of employment after graduation

Social Awareness – More politically and socially aware and involved

Whether parents choose to enroll their daughters in Girl Scouts or Scouts, BSA, the good news is that girls now have a choice. While Scouts, BSA is now welcoming and actively recruiting girls, it’s safe to say that this organization was created with young men in mind, and simply erasing the word Boy isn’t going to erase decades of a belief system that this organization was created as a place where boys can be boys, and girls are an afterthought.

So, while girls are soon to be welcome at Scouts, BSA, Girl Scouts offers a more complete setting for programs and activities designed for young women. Even still, for young women looking for something more hands-on, Scouts, BSA may be the answer. A mother in West Michigan recently pulled her daughter out of Girl Scouts because her daughter complained that her troupe, “Did a lot of sitting around, talking about feelings.” While Girl Scouts offers a balanced focus ranging from science and life skills classes to political and entrepreneurship programs, this particular girl might feel more at home at Scouts, BSA where building campfires and racing pinewood derby cars are commonplace.

Not everyone is thrilled about the news of Scouts, BSA opening its doors to girls. Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo is quoted in a recent USA Today article as saying, “ We are disappointed that Boy Scouts of America has chosen to open its program to girls in contravention of its charter, rather than focusing on the 90% of American boys not being served by Boy Scouts. We believe strongly in the importance of the safe, all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides.”

Even locally, Girl Scouts is feeling the pressure of the push by the local Scouts, BSA Chapter to enlist girls—believing that Scouts BSA is undermining the principle mission of the Girl Scouts—providing girls with experiences and adventures in a safe all-female environment while also serving as a support system to young women during challenging times in their lives.

Scouts, BSA will never replace Girl Scouts and shouldn’t, and parents need to simply see it as one more option for young women—and that’s a good thing.

Still a Man’s World

“My name is Heidi McCrary,” I explained to the guy on the other end of the phone. I was calling the pro shop at a popular golf course in the area, looking for a well-known golf instructor.  “If you could please have him call me. I would like to buy a set of clubs.” I left the gentleman my number and waited.

GolfAnd waited.

Now, the golf clubs I wanted to purchase weren’t your run-of-the mill starter set purchased at Dick’s. No, after 20 years of honing his craft with his current set, my husband was deserving of a new set. Clubs that are cutting edge and using technology invented yesterday, with newer models coming out tomorrow—all so a golfer can add five yards to his or her swing.

And to be clear, this transaction is not an inconvenience to any business. I was about to spend A CRAZY amount of money on my husband’s birthday present, so, after the second day of not having my call returned, I decided that it was their loss and moved on.

Which took me to the local golf range and retail center…

“I’m sorry,” the man said to me, from behind the counter as he looked at the computer screen. “They don’t make that model anymore.” He handed me back the slip of paper which listed the desired brand and model name along with specifics.

I took the paper back, and looked at him, about to ask him what he would recommend. But instead, I stopped myself. “Thank you,” I said, walking out the door.

Which finally lead me to a small public course located just outside the city limits. Managed by a female golf pro and her husband, I was greeted by a smile as I walked in the shop. As I handed the golf pro my slip of paper, I explained my dilemma of trying to make a purchase.

“No problem,” she said, looking up the model number on her computer. “I’m afraid that model has been discontinued. I would suggest we look at the newest model that seems to have replaced that one.”

And THAT’S customer service.

“You know why you got the run-around, right?” she said, handing me back the slip of paper. “Because you’re a woman.”

And she was absolutely right.

What does the PERFECT woman look like?

Two articles that appeared today on msn.com   

kardashArticle 1

Health Magazine shares with us what the perceived “Perfect Body” looks like according to a recent survey obviously presented to perfect people—and features a photo of Kim Kardashian, the Poster Girl for the Perfect Body according to the men surveyed.

Article 2

The other article features Lauren Chamberlain, a professional softball player, who discusses her involvement in the current ESPN Body Issue. In her own words…softball

Are you ready? “This was one of those crazy, write-it-in-your-diary kind of goals of mine. I have talked about the ESPN Body Issue since it’s been around. I don’t think I said yes for myself necessarily. I said yes for the girls around the world who might see the issue and see someone who looks like them – someone who’s thicker, bigger, not as jacked as the typical athlete – and that could give them that boost to love their bodies.” @espn #Body10

THIS is a perfectly real woman.