An Advice for Women Who Want to Be Taken Seriously
By Kosjenka Muk
American society seems to be more divided than ever, and one of those divisions is between women seeking to be respected and macho "meninist" backlash. The whole society is steeped in two seemingly opposing, but similarly traditional influences upon women; one is religious pressure on women to be compliant and traditionally feminine; the other are ever-present mass-media models of girly and sexy behavior. Lately I notice those models are changing slowly, which is a good sign.
Yet it often surprises me how women in American-made videos, even those made by anonymous YouTube users, seem focused on their appearance, from over-the-top makeup to high-pitched or throaty voices that often sound childish or simply unnatural. Also their non-verbal language too often seems focused on how they look or how much sex-appeal they project, rather than the essence of what they are saying, or projecting their own personality. The whole impression makes it sometimes difficult to look beyond the facade and see an actual individual.
Just like boys and men often "buy into" models of toxic masculinity, girls and women often "buy into" models of toxic femininity. This might feel natural for people who grew up surrounded with such models, but for those who grew up in a more moderate environment, it all seems very fake and lacking personality. I dare say it would influence subconsciously even people who are used to this.
In most of Europe, it's normal for adult women to talk in voices about an octave lower than American women, and to project much less sexy and much more "utilitarian" behavior. (Lately, there are plenty of young girls imitating American female models from mass media, complete with "voice burn", but they usually grow out of it by age of 25 or so.) I'm not saying this by itself is enough to eradicate patriarchate, but it certainly encourages a more balanced relationship between genders.
Realistically, how easy is it to take seriously someone who sounds like they are 12 or even 5 years old, especially if they seem overly focused on their looks on top of that? I would like to believe it's only common on television and in movies, but those few times I visited America it seemed that most women were following such role models. It was quite common to hear a 50+ ys old woman sounding more like a 5 ys old, at least from the perspective of a different culture.
Toxic femininity is not so often talked about compared to toxic masculinity, probably because it's less threatening and less likely to have harmful consequences for others. Yet it has subtler but pervasive consequences for the women who follow that model (and, by extension, women in general). In theory, people should respect you and see you as a person no matter how you look and sound. In reality, people will form instinctive biases based on your looks and behavior, and if you seem focused on a shallow self-image, people will form a shallow perspective of you, too.
So my advice for women is: sure, use some makeup, but not so much that it makes you look like a plastic doll. When you talk, project your personality and your message into your speech, not the desire to be attractive (or even the need to appear overly confident, which can also come across as fake). Try to develop a deeper voice pitch, it instantly makes you sound more adult and more genuine. Michelle Obama is a good example, and she is widely respected and perceived as a complete person (at least among everybody who doesn't harbor visceral hatred towards what she represents). To take an example from mass media, compare the voice and behavior of Catniss Everdeen in "Hunger Games" movies to the voices of Capitol women. Who is more likely to be perceived as a genuine person?
Focus on projecting who you are. Let go of the image you think society expects from you. If you are deeply steeped into such a role, you might first work on connecting to your real self, discovering who you truly are. This can make your life happier and more balanced on many levels.
Kosjenka Muk is a life coach primarily focused at researching and working with deep unconscious conditionings and self-sabotage. She's the author of the book "Emotional Maturity". She lives in Croatia, where she has a successful private practice. You can read more of her articles on her web-site http://www.mentor-coach.eu/EN
Happy Birthday Wishes
We want to Take a moment to wish all those born in the month of May a Happy Birthday.
Dating Longer Before Marriage Does Not Always Lead to a Happy Marriage Relationship Expert Explains Why
(Above: Bestselling Author Hellen Chen travels the world to share the secret of what makes a marriage last)
In her recent bestselling book titled "Hellen Chen’s Love Seminar," author and relationship expert Hellen Chen revealed that 85 percent of dating end in breakups and a longer dating time does not always mean a more stable and happier marriage.
For over a decade, Chen has played the role of matchmaker and counselor to numerous singles and couples. She has conducted seminars and workshops around the world on how to have a satisfying and happy marriage.
"Dating longer does not equal to improving the chance of a happy marriage. The length of the dating is no guarantee that the relationship will last." said Chen, having witnessed many couples who broke up regardless of the time they have known each other.
Chen has seen singles spent years to date in order to "make sure" the person in front is the right one.
"Yet, when you are just being a boyfriend or a girlfriend, what you understand and know about each other is not real both sides will always withhold certain things. Over time, one simply learn to hide more from each other." Chen explained.
Jonathan K, a sales executive in the insurance field, shared his first-hand experience of having wasted time to "check out" a partner.
"I thought the smart way to go about selecting a partner is to date first for a few years. But after 3 girlfriends over a period of 10 years, I was exhausted emotionally and financially and ready to give up my dream of having my own family." said Jonathan.
Pamela H. spent 8 years with her boyfriend and when she met Chen, she made a bold move.
"After talking to Chen about this 8-year relationship, I cried because of the realization that it was a relationship that was going nowhere. I ended it." Pamela said.
Since then, she found someone and got married and is now expecting a baby boy.
Chen also pointed out that despite more and more dating tools available to really get to "know" a person's background and profile, the rate of divorce is increasing globally nevertheless.
"People change. You may think you know someone very well but 5 or 10 years later, they change their habits and behavior. Rather than focusing on who the right partner may be, why not work on learning how to manage changes and thus make a marriage lasting and satisfying anyway?" Chen shared.
Hellen Chen will be holding a Love Seminar in Los Angeles on May 20th Saturday.
At this event, Chen shares the biggest secret to make a marriage lasting and deep. And she will talk about how to how to use the strength of a relationship to increase career, prosperity and even health.
She invites singles, whether divorced, separated or never married, who are looking for love, as well as those who are married and would like to learn how to manage their relationships to attend the popular event.
Chen's works in family, marriage and personal developments are featured in over 200 media publications in 20 countries. She has been a guest on independent and network radio and TV shows on FOX, CBS, NBC and ABC etc
Life Saving Dating Tips for Women
By Marie Duffoo
We've all been there whether we want to admit it or not. The blind date. Whether you have chatted with the person previously or a friend had an additional dinner guest you weren't expecting, it can be a daunting experience to say the least.
Am I being sexist by thinking only women need safety tips? Not really. Most men can easily overpower a woman in manual strength alone. However, many of these tips can also be appreciated by men as well.
Meeting someone for the first time is never easy. You don't really know what to expect other than anything you may have learned during previous discussions online or even on the phone. And that's where reality can be skewed into something akin to a paranormal experience. - if you aren't prepared.
I speak from experience. And I speak for many of my (at the time) single friends who shared with me one horrendous tale after another about first dates and even relationships that went bad after months of seemingly being on the right track.
Years ago I tried the online dating scene. Date after date turned into nothing more than a string of needy losers, a few of whom bordered on sociopathic. I'll never forget Phil, one of my first blind dates, who decided I'd be the perfect wife because I owned a house and I could cook. He wanted to marry me so he could move in with his bedridden mother and he expected me to quit my job and stay home to care for her. Even after I told him to leave me alone and stop calling, he still showed up at my house one Saturday morning with a U-Haul truck - and his mother. I needed to call the police to handle the situation.
If I learned nothing else after that episode, I learned never to have a stranger pick me up at home, and never divulge my address to anyone.
After learning many more lessons during later attempts at online dating, I realized there are ways to do it right, and ways that will likely lead to trouble. The following are the best ways to try to stay safe when meeting a new date - no matter how well you think you know him.
· Set up an email to be used solely for this purpose; don't use your regular account. If anything happens you can always completely cancel this new email account - something I'd never recommend for the one you have used for years.
· Download an app that allows you to have multiple phone numbers on your phone. Never give out your real phone number. Many of these apps also allow texting.
· Tell your friends where you will be and when, and give them all the contact info you have for your date as well. It's a good idea, too, to "check in" using your Facebook account to have a record of where you are. The GPS system will automatically show a map of the location and name of the place.
· Always meet in a busy public place - a restaurant, community get together such as a block party, museum, or even the movies. Refuse invites like "why not come over for a drink beforehand?".
· Also refuse invites to a party. You never know how many people will be there - it could be just the two of you. Bad idea.
· Make sure you meet somewhere that has good cell reception, and make sure your phone is charged.
· Never let him pick you up. Drive yourself. Avoid large parking lots and garages. Use Valet Parking whenever possible even if you have to pay. This prevents the need to have anyone walk you back to your car.
· Avoid details about where you live. Do mention things like your three roommates or your brother who lives next door.
· Carry either pepper spray or a personal taser and be able to grab it quickly in case you need to. Avoid trying to be macho with a knife or something similar. Unless you are skilled in the use of actual defense weapons, trust me, the weapon will be used on you instead as you panic during an assault.
· If you are going to an unfamiliar place, check it out ahead of time either online or, much better, in person. This gives you the chance to know where you can park if there is no Valet, what you can eat, and even the opportunity to say no to the location completely.
· Make sure you understand the finances for the evening. Long gone are the days where a woman can simply assume the man will be picking up the tab for the entire evening. You don't want to be in the uncomfortable position of being asked to cover an unexpected bar bill before dinner.
· Never leave your drink unattended and if at all possible have cocktails delivered to the table rather than having your date retrieve them from the bar. Getting drugged like this is fairly rare in established restaurants, however, it's all too common in bars where the younger crowds hang out (near colleges for instance).
· Last but not least - if you are uncomfortable at any point, for whatever reason, simply make your excuses and leave. Period.
Stay safe out there!
If you have questions or comments about online dating, please visit our site http://www.findamate.org and sign up to get access to our Forums.
The Truth About Background Checks for Dating
By Marie Duffoo
Although I have an online dating service that requests, well... actually begs!, members to willingly provide a self background check for the US, I am also the first one to admit that this doesn't prevent anything from going wrong at any time during an ensuing relationship. Nor does it guarantee that nothing bad has occurred in the past.
Don't get me wrong - background checks are a valuable resource when it comes to deciding with whom you'd like to spend some time, and for a host of other reasons as well. Employers, landlords and even some homeless shelters routinely run background and credit checks on applicants. However - they are also required by law to get the consent of the person for whom the report will be provided. In other words - you can't just decide to run a complete authorized background check without consent and other identifying information such as a social security number.
So what's the difference? The difference is this - without at least a birthdate and social security number to run the report against, you really have no guarantee your results are for the right person.
Sure, there are lots and lots of companies online that proffer their wares to the general public and offer background investigation reports. And, they are perfectly legit. But before ordering one and paying for the results, you need to review the small print where they specify who can and can't use these services. For instance, most say something like "please click here to acknowledge that you are not going to use the results of the report to make hiring decisions or extend an offer to lease a property... ". Why? Because without personal identifiers there is absolutely no guarantee you're hiring or renting to the right person.
That's not the only issue with background checks! Almost every state refuses to name someone as a criminal if that person has been arrested but not found guilty in a court of law. What does that really mean? It means someone can be arrested over and over yet if he is never convicted, no one running a report will ever know - even with a social security number.
Another obstacle is that some states simply refuse to provide any public information on criminals in their state without what amounts to search warrants.
Anyone can ask for a background check on themselves. That's perfectly legal, and it's much more accurate since the person can provide personal identifiers such as social security numbers and birthdates, and this is the sole reason I ask my members to provide a background check rather than doing it myself on their behalf.
So - you have a date lined up, the person seems wonderful, you've chatted for a month and you can't wait for the weekend to enjoy a nice dinner and get to know him better. Hopefully you both bring your own background reports (I know, I know - it's a tough way to start a relationship, but society has unfortunately reached this point and I personally don't see this changing any time in the future), but is that any guarantee?
Regrettably, no. All the background report will show is any crimes he has been found guilty of. As I said previously, he may have been arrested many times for perhaps domestic abuse, but if charges were dropped, or he wasn't found guilty - you have no way of knowing.
The only crime you can be assured of being alerted to is that of a Sex Offender. Whether he was found guilty of raping an adult, or fondling an infant, his picture and record can easily be found in any online sexual offender database. You can easily ID the person with complete certainty simply because of the mandatory photo for these databases.
What happens with other major crimes? It's a scary thought actually. I had a roommate years ago who met someone in a supermarket. They got engaged. Great guy - everyone loved him. But we ran in a large social circle, and one day she ran into someone who pulled her aside and informed her that Pete had been married twice and both times the wife had just "disappeared" and he suddenly had come into a ton of money. I know it sounds like a Lifetime movie, but... thankfully she decided to hold off on the wedding until she felt more comfortable, and she ultimately broke things off when he wanted to take out a huge insurance policy on her right before the wedding. Background report? Squeaky clean!
So what's the motto here? Just be careful! Go with your gut. And listen!!! Love is blind, but your friends aren't. If you keep hearing over and over that the guy can't be trusted, or they hear rumors about him... Listen to them! Believe me - they aren't jealous and they aren't trying to hurt you. They could be saving your life!
Questions about online dating? Check us out at http://www.findamate.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe out there!
Man-to-Man: Advice Column
by Wayne M. Levine
His wife is opposed to him reconciling with his dying sister
My sister cheated/ embezzled/stole about seven grand from me in 2001 and we have not talked since. She has made several overtures which I have rebuffed. My wife is dead-set against reconciling with her. But my sister (who lives nearby) is ill and possibly dying and recently reached out again to me. I am not so much angry with her as opposed to dealing with anyone who would steal from me. On the other hand, I have heard often enough that forgiving is the way to go regardless. I think at this point if it were just me I would extend the olive branch, but there is the Mrs. factor. What do you think? Any thoughts appreciated!
Stuck in the Middle
Dear Stuck in the Middle,
It is just you. It’s you and your relationship with your sister. So the simple answer is, reconcile. She’s your sister. The $7K is just money. It might do you some good to clear up the money issue with your sis. Just make sure you don’t allow her to go back into your wallet. You shouldn’t have to ask for permission to have a relationship with your sister. Things happen. And if this isn’t the time for forgiveness, when is?
That’s the simple answer. But it doesn’t address what may be going on behind the scenes.
First, your wife has feelings about this situation. I’m sure her resistance to you reconciling has a little to do with her feelings about your sister AND her feelings about you. She doesn’t trust your sister for what she did, and she probably doesn’t trust you for letting her get away with it. The best way to keep your sister from stealing again from your wife (your wife may be thinking) is to make sure you keep sis at a distance. And that would work, except it keeps the two of you from reconciling and healing old wounds while you still can.
The other red flag in your description of this dilemma is your willingness to permanently walk away from your sister simply to please your wife.
Explain something to me. Is she your mother? Are you 10 years old? Have you actually given your wife the power to determine who will be in your life? Does she also dress you in the morning?
You’ve given your power away. We men have a more colorful expression to describe what you have given away to your wife. This state of affairs is deadly for you, and it’s really no good for your wife or for your relationship. You’ve got to get them back and start acting like the man you want to be.
You cannot ask for permission to be the man you want to be. You simply have to be that man. When you do so consistently, those around you will learn to respect you for it.
So, go be that man. Assure your wife that she has nothing to fear, and then go be with your sister. Chances are, if you are very clear about your termsno more cash transactionsyou’ll be a happier man with all his parts intact.
Wayne M. Levine, M.A., mentors men to be better men, husbands and fathers. Email your questions to MantoMan@BetterMen.org. See how you can become a better man at www.BetterMen.org.