Why I Will Still Visit North Carolina

(And every other state that has done something stupid)

carolinaNorth Carolina is making news recently for enacting a law that includes a mandate that transgender people must use public restrooms that correspond to their gender at birth – and known in the media as the Bathroom Law.

Along with the social media frenzy that has justifiably jumped on the law for being discriminatory, unwarranted and simply wrong, celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Michael Moore have cancelled appearances in the state. Many more powerful business leaders have followed suit, calling for a boycott of the state.

While I understand the passion behind taking such a stance, I am not a fan of boycotting as a way of showing political strength or outrage. While I certainly do not agree with the Bathroom Law, I can’t imagine avoiding the state because of a law I do not agree with. I would much rather stand in protest with those in the state who disagree (And there are many), rather than stand across the state line, shaking my head.

Can you really look at the state you’re living in and say all is right with the world? In Michigan, Governor Snyder is currently trying to distance himself from the catastrophe in the city of Flint where his own staff members created an ugly water crisis that resulted in the entire city’s water being contaminated with heavy dosages of lead. It is a horrible situation resulting in many people calling for the governor’s impeachment.

While our current governing body does not reflect my political or moral beliefs, I am relieved that the nation is not singling Michigan out as a state to avoid when planning this year’s summer vacation. And I don’t believe Michael Moore has talked about leaving our great state. What’s the difference, Michael?

Michigan is a beautiful state with unfortunately, real problems – problems that cannot be fixed by moving away and staying away. So while I understand the passion behind the current boycotting of North Carolina, I would rather see people stand beside those in the state who are fighting for people’s rights, and fighting for positive change. Along with many beautiful people, I hear that North Carolina has some pretty awesome parks and brew pubs. Maybe I need to change my vacation plans…

 Heidi McCrary / Author

heidi@adshopetc.com

Why Can’t Barbie Drive a Blue Car?

Barbie in carJust an ordinary day at a local department store, shopping for my niece, who happens to be turning three this summer. Walking into the Young Girls area, I am suddenly smacked with an onslaught of PINK – pink T-shirts, pink shorts, pink socks, underwear, dresses and sneakers.

Really? Pink sneakers? As clothing designers and retail executives are sitting around conference tables discussing next season’s go-to-color for young girls, are there any actual women in the room?! Do products aimed at girls ALWAYS have to be pink? While we’re telling young girls that they can be ANYTHING they want to be in life, can we pause for a moment and tell them that they can also wear blue – or green, or red.

Whether you’re walking down the so called Girls aisle at Meijer, Target or Toys R Us, the look is the same…pink, pink and more PINK. We can all blame the marketers of toys and clothes for taking the lazy way out when targeting young girls and their mothers, but the simple truth is, when parents stop buying pink toys and clothes, retailers will stop stocking them in their stores. Retailers only mirror what the public is asking for, and what is flying off the shelves.

A young mother recently lamented that her 2-year-old daughter would only wear pinks clothes, leaving the child’s dresser and closet full of never-worn beautiful sweaters, dresses and shorts that had the unfortunate luck of being red, blue, yellow or green. This mother laughs it off and chalks it up to her daughter being bull-headed. This rambunctious and clever toddler may be that, but she is also the product of her upbringing. And it all starts innocently enough at the baby shower when the mother-to-be is showered with a rainfall of incredibly cute outfits, toys and necessary baby stuff. And if it’s going to be a girl, it’s all pink, with the exception of that rogue lavender outfit. And new parents build on that color scheme so the cycle never stops, and young girls and boys learn from the very beginning that colors are a gender thing.

So after stumbling out of the department store in a pink-induced haze, I made my way to a wonderful, small store in the downtown area, and purchased an adorable t-shirt for my niece – a little shirt that championed our city with “Kalamazoo” splashed across the front. The color? Beautiful bright yellow!

Stereotypes and preconceived notions of what girls should wear, and what girls should be when they grow up are the side-effects of a world that tells us that, pink is for girls. Here’s a thought… While we’re telling young girls that they should embrace who they are, and that they can be whatever they want to be, and whoever they want to be – let’s also tell them they’ll look fabulous in orange sneakers. Or red, or blue…

Heidi McCrary / Author

heidi@adshopetc.com

So you’ve written a book…

So you've written a bookDay 30 in my search for an agent who is worthy of representing me.  As I learn the ropes of this second step (the first, being, writing the damn thing), I have avoided the urge of feeling rejected and sorry for myself.  Even though I am new to the party, I’m quite aware that the journey to traditional publication is a long one…

And worth every moment I’ve spent staring at the in-box.

I was reminded today as to why I decided to forgo self-publishing in lieu of going the traditional route – hoping an agent will represent me, praying for publication, and trusting that people will eventually buy my book. It takes gobs of time, oodles of work, loads of optimism, skillful writing (and I’m not talking about the book), passion, good timing, luck, and blah, blah, blah…

A friend of mine is feeling frustrated with the progression of her self-published book – or rather, the lack of progress. After hearing from others that the traditional route is difficult and takes  forever, she did what many writers are doing today – she went with self-publishing. “Pay for your books, sell them yourself, and make lots and lots of money.” Except she’s learning that nothing is ever that simple, and she has learned the hard way that self-publication can be very expensive. Not only is her self-publisher ala carting her to death, (Oh, you want a front AND back cover?) they have suddenly become quiet at her request that people have purchased her book on Amazon, and she has yet to see any form of royalties.

She is frustrated and tired, and I feel her pain. So, how am I feeling, after yet another day of silence from all of the agents in the universe that I am querying?

Pretty damn good.

Heidi McCrary / Author & Advertising Goddess

heidi@adshopetc.com