Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Critique on Bringing home the bacon, but no boyfriend

As more and more professional women enter the workforce, little whispers of dissent have been voiced by the media. I’ve read plenty of reports and articles about powerful, intelligent women and their inability to find a man. When I read an article in Salon’s Broadsheettoday, I expected it to be about a similar report of the evils of successful women and how men fear them.

Tracy Clark-Flory describes aThe New York Times article she found to be an attack against high earning women in the business world. She reports the article gives this advice to educated, single women, “So, either stop that career climb or risk becoming a well-heeled spinster with 12 cats, clothed in Prada.”

After a careful perusal of the original Times article Clark-Flory wrote about, it came apparent to me that the reporter Alex Williams and contributors Ellen Almer, Kristi Ceccarossi and Paula Schwartz don’t make warnings or value judgments. They have simply taken quotes from successful working women and written a compelling story about them.

While the interviews do revolve around women, their incomes and men who are intimidated by the ladies’ buying power, they also are focused on women who are accomplishing their goals and know what they want in a partner.

The article mentions women who date more successful men, older men and men who work towards their own goals. It also brings up the point that women have their own hang-ups when it comes to dating men with smaller bank accounts, like Thrupthi Reddy, who was “miffed” when her date let her pay for their meal, even though she’d been going on and on about how independent she was throughout their conversation.

Even if this article was a warning for women to avoid amassing wealth and prestige, it is still a thought-provoking article and stimulates a much-needed discussion about women, men, and who should be the breadwinner in a relationship. Gender relationships boil down to social conditioning, and in the end, if we don’t face our own inner voices, we’ll never know who we really our. We can ask for equality until we’re blue in the face, but if women fighting for their own rights can’t be honest with their lovers, what’s the point?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Upstarts and why I write for them

There are endless possibilities in today’s modern age for me to make sure my voice is heard. I have my blog, I have my
page, and I have built my resume at The Tampa Tribune, Creative Loafing, and other publications.

Even with a busy life, I still try to support and write for smaller publications. If no one worked to build up their dreams, what would the world be like? Think about it.

The two newest publications I’m writing for are Mookychick and Tres Femme. Both are trying to get girls thinking and doing, instead of just standing around on the sidelines watching the boys have all the fun. We need more strong, capable women getting their hands dirty out in the real world.

In fact, my newest Mookychick article came out today. You can check it out here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Welcome surprises

I received a surprise gift today, and surprise gifts are the best kind. I discovered a brand-new book to review was shipped to my mother’s house from Random House. Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy was waiting for me in a plain manila envelope. (Nobodies was written by The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine contributor John Bowe, which makes me feel I’ve moved up in the literary world a few pegs.)

While not the lightest of reads, the discovery of this envelope elated me. A book from Random House gives me a new level of freedom.

Normally, I receive my review copies from The Tampa Tribune. Therefore, The Trib owns my reviews. When I receive a book directly from the publishing house, I own my reviews and can send them out to whomever I like. If I feel a review would fit best in The Trib it will go to them, but if it would be better served in a niche magazine like Bitch or even Geek Monthly, I can branch out to other publications.

The downside is that I have less control over what makes it way into my collection. With The Trib, I usually go to their office and go through the massive piles of books publishers send to the paper.

For authors who wonder why their books don’t make it into reviews, this is a large reason. Reporters and reviewers go through the books and choose the ones they want to

read. I pick the broadest range possible and usually go by covers and glance at the blurbs on the back. I’ll usually take home somewhere around 30-40 books and review 75

percent of them. 90 percent of my reviews usually get published.

With so many books competing for journalistic readership, it can be easy for a few to get

lost in the shuffle, whether it’s because the subject matter doesn’t grab anyone’s attention or another of a broad selection of reasons.

Once I have a book home, I read the first 30 pages, and if I can get through those, I finish it and review the book. I’m already up to page 57 in Nobodies. Hopefully, I’ll be typing out the review in the next few days.

While I love diving into the stacks of books at The Trib, I hope Random House sends me more books in the future. Receiving an unexpected book in the mail is always a treat.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The death of a master

Madeleine L’Engle is dead.

I discovered this after going through the articles at Thanks to Laurel Snyder, I now know that one of the most defining authors of my childhood will write no more.

Snyder’s own memorial of L’Engle can be found at

I began my love affair with L’Engle’s work in the third grade, with A Wrinkle in Time. I quickly moved on to her other books chronicling the lives of the Murry family; they were a realistic literary clan who helped me through the difficulties of my first few years as a religious skeptic. L’Engle also provided a foundation which has led to my current interest in anthropology and mysticism.

L’Engle provided me and millions of other readers with a world where physics and faith intertwined and kids struggling with school and complex issues could find themselves mixed up in wild adventures. Going back and participating in biblical legends and meeting celestial beings were possible.

Looking back, I related to Charles Wallace the most, even though Meg was a strong female lead unafraid to step forward into the unknown. While I enjoyed keeping up with her story, Charles Wallace’s vulnerability and unlimited intelligence drew me into the story. Instead of fostering his creativity and intellect, society and his school stifled and did little to understand where he was coming from, let alone the advanced theories and evolved abilities he demonstrated.

The world will miss L’Engle’s ability to see into the world of childhood and write without talking down to her audience. Even though she wrote many books for adults, I will always remember the multiple times I read her children’s books growing up. In a world where little girls are given low-rise jeans and tank tops at the age of four and told to tread quietly and consume all that is pink and princess-related, L’Engle’s universe of strong, capable role models is needed more than ever.

For more information on L’Engle, and her service to be held on September 15, 2007, please visit And, if you get the time, read her books.

My response to Anchorwoman

Barbara Walters. Diane Sawyer. Katie Couric. Lauren Jones?

On an ordinary Wednesday evening in August, Lauren Jones became the newest anchorwoman mass-marketed to American audiences. The catch: small-town CBS news station KYTX in Tyler Texas hired Jones because she was a former bikini model and WWE Diva; her lack of journalistic credentials would have disqualified her for the position if the station’s ratings hadn’t been lagging.

Hyped by the Fox Broadcasting Company as a scripted reality/comedy show similar to The Simple Life, Anchorwoman was supposed to highlight Jones’s transformation from “B” celebrity to a respectable member of the news media. However, Fox made some miscalculations and cancelled the series after the first two episodes aired for its premiere.

It is easy to see why Anchorwoman was a bad idea for KYTX and Fox. Jones wasn’t the kind of woman most of the conservative members of Tyler wanted to see on the evening news. When the station used sex appeal in their billboard campaign, citizens complained. Her low-cut blouses made managers and reporters in the station worry about the image they were sending out to viewers. And, by the second episode, Jones proved her lack of professionalism by goofing around while another reporter taped a segment in the newsroom. The tape shows Jones falling out of her chair, waving her arms in the air, and dancing in the background.

While Jones displayed enthusiasm for the position (she said the anchorwoman position was a dream come true), she was over her head in a job where the audience’s first impression can make or break a career. In an era where survey after survey states the American public does not trust the news media, Jones was put in an unfair position where she could not gain her audience’s trust. Her superiors made other reporters write her stories, and by the second episode it was clear she was hired over existing reporters at the station who couldn’t fill out a swimsuit quite as well as her.

In a sitcom world where Americans tune into Paris Hilton living The Simple Life and Hogan Knows Best and The Osbournes showcase dysfunctional family life, the questions becomes “Why didn’t Anchorwoman work?”

Bad press may be to blame. Journalists all over the United States publicly gasped in horror when the show was unveiled. Critics from Newsday to blasted the show before it aired, then giddily reported on the its failure.

Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times reported female anchors at a seminar at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies were less than impressed with Anchorwoman and its star. Martha Hunn from WBTW in Myrtle Beach, S.C. said the show played up negative stereotypes and “bastardized” her career.

In a media market inundated with shallow attempts to gain viewers and a line blurring reality and fiction more each day, why should Lauren Jones’s attempt to diversify her career skills and take a step up the job ladder strike an unhappy chord with so many people?

I think it’s the message the media is trying desperately to get out there: You can trust us. Most of us are ethical professionals who care about the news and informing our viewers.

By jumping over the heads of more qualified applicants for the news anchor job, it sends the message that a beautiful face will trump a keen intellect any day of the week, no matter what position they’re going for. It says that it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a women, a pretty girl will win out in a competition. In a world full of Plain Jane and Johns struggling to grasp at beauty through cosmetics, treatments, and surgeries, this is a dangerous message indeed.

Will Jones become America’s next top news anchor?

At least this question can be answered with a resounding “no.” reported in July that Jones returned to the world of modeling after her stint as an anchor. One day, if she works her way up through the ranks of a news station, writing reports under pressure and for little praise, Jones may prove her ability to get back into the anchor game. Until then, I wish her luck. At least she tried.

Welcome to my blog

As a woman, I often have responses to things that happen in the world around me. Sometimes I agree with today’s feminists; sometimes I vehemently disagree. Either way, I have decided to start this blog, so I can have a place to publish my responses to issues important to me.