Hold my Wine While I Putt

heidi-mediocre-golfer-e1525227933147.jpgMaybe it was the nine-iron that Elin Woods lovingly planted into the side of Tiger’s Jeep as her world-famous husband tried to flee the scene that made me realize that women and men view golf quite differently.

As Tiger Woods’ fall from grace parlayed into his disappearance from televised golf tournaments, public interest in golf fell as well. Couple that with the fact that women currently make up little more than 20% of all golfers, and you can see that golf has a P.R. problem—and along with it, an opportunity. What if women took control of the game, gave it a long-needed makeover and made it their own?”

Women, I’m talking to you—if you have EVER thought about getting involved in a sport that is healthy, fun, challenging, social, and something you can do while drinking, have I got the sport for you.

Here are four random things that might make you consider picking up a set of clubs…

  • If there was ever a sport that gives women an advantage, it’s golf. So much so, that at times, the women’s tees can give women an extreme advantage over men. Because of the placement of many women’s tees, men would win more golf scrambles if it occurred to them to put a woman on their team.
  • If you’re looking for a sport that you and your significant other can enjoy together without either one of you wanting to kill each other at the end of the round, this is your lucky day because in golf, you’re technically not playing each other—you’re trying to best your own score.
  • Golf can fit into your schedule AND your lifestyle. If you’re anything like me, nine holes is all you have the time and patience for. I can do eighteen, I just don’t want to. Golf is the perfect sport because you can make it a social thing with friends, a networking outing with clients or simply embrace the tranquility of what golf has to offer by going out on your own.
  • You can grow old doing this. There’s a reason why a lot of old people golf…because they can! Golf is more about finesse than strength, and a sport that you can take up at ANY age. There are wonderful female golf instructors in the area. Call one and give it a try!

And then there are the perks of golf—nice apparel, cool gadgets and cup holders on golf carts. Just remember… Golf bags come in a multitude of colors. Don’t limit yourself to pink just because a man in the design department at Callaway thinks women can’t possibly want a blue, black or orange bag.

See you on the green.

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





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 restaurant that is part of a national chain 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 many young people laugh off the notion that Hooters destroys decades and centuries of progress made by brave women with demeaning uniforms and management style.

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