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Sunday Reads: DIY beauty, shopping without spending, FLOR rugs, political ambitions, birthday treats

by Meagan Francis on March 18, 2012

Happy Sunday! It’s an absolutely gorgeous day here, and we’re heading out to the local Home & Garden show shortly (anyone else love home shows? I’ve been in love with them since the first one I attended when I was eight years old.) I haven’t done much reading during this beautiful weekend, but I did spot a few great posts for your pleasure:

Fun: DIY yogurt mask – Petit Elefant. In my younger years my friends and I used to regularly have “spa nights” where we’d whip up a bunch of beauty concoctions and do our toenails. I’m thinking I need to bring this tradition back.

Frugal Living: Want to shop a lot without spending a lot? Collect something small and useful – FrugalMama. Similar to my antiquing rule of only buying things I can use immediately or that I absolutely LOVE. It makes shopping a fun adventure that’s just as much about the thrill of the hunt as the purchase…in fact, often I buy nothing at all.

Functional (and pretty!): Check out Tracey’s FLOR rug. I’ve been admiring these carpet tiles from afar for years but absolutely love what she’s done with them in her kitchen. I’m thinking they could work great under my dining-room table…

Female ambition: If you’ve ever thought about running for political office (whether Senate or your local school board) you might be interested in this video featuring PunditMom, all about why more women don’t run for office (and why they should!)

Food and family: My latest Babble Voices post shares 5 creative birthday treats for sloppy moms (you know, those of us without much artistic ability.) The rainbow cakes pictured above (hat tip to MomAdvice) were Clara’s birthday treat, and inspired the post. As evidence of my sloppy-ness, we forgot to layer the colors properly (i.e. with the secondary colors in between the primary colors). Guess it’s more of a “stripe cake” than a “rainbow”…but it’s still cute, eh?

That’s it for today – I’m off to enjoy the sun! Feel free to share any great stuff you’ve read recently in the comments.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen L March 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Wow, that Female Ambition video p*ssed me off. What’s the problem with getting women into politics? Women of course. Women being women. Awesome.

How about f*ing patriarchy? How about continuing imbalances in unpaid work? How about campaigning is expensive and women have less access to capital? How about every young woman who sees what Sandra Fluke went through knows that when you speak out, some people will ignore what you say and attack you in a very gendered way, just for having the gall to exist in the public sphere? Sorry for all the “excuses” but patriarchy is not dead.

Loved the three White women and their girl power, though.


Meagan Francis March 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Karen, I don’t think you’re wrong on any counts, but couldn’t you argue that all of those things are what lead to women having less confidence in the political sphere? I don’t think anyone is saying “women are the problem”, more that the problem has led women to feel less comfortable with the idea of getting politically involved in general.

Of course we are working within a deeply flawed system, but the only thing we really have power to change is ourselves.

I have actually wondered if I am undermining my own potential because I have zero desire to get involved in politics on any level. Is that because I’m REALLY not interested, though, or because I subconsciously see it as a man’s world?


Karen L March 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm

You wrote: “But couldn’t you argue that all of those things are what lead to women having less confidence in the political sphere?” Of course. I think that was my (obviously ill-expressed) point.

But I think that confidence is a symptom, not a cause, which is ongoing institutional marginalization. Treating symptoms will usually only get you so far. I suppose it is *possible* that bolstering confidence will improve numbers enough that some kind of critical mass is achieved that overturns everyone’s thinking, men included. But I find that rather, um, optimistic. IMHO Anglo countries lag in gender balance because they are by and large not using institutional mechanisms to address institutional barriers. I find that it is very Anglo thinking to dismiss ongoing inequality as largely a function of the dysfunctional culture of the marginalized group because the Civil Rights Era (supposedly) cured all the systemic inequalities. Hence “no more excuses.”

You wrote: “I don’t think anyone is saying “women are the problem”.” Well, I am reading between the lines a little but I don’t think it’s a stretch at all. How about changing the advice from “Ladies, stop thinking before you speak” (women being women) to “Gentlemen, you have got to stop interrupting. Rude, entitled, and not conducive to productive discussion.” Raising confident daughters is great. Raising sons who will pay more than lip-service to equality and who will overturn their unearned male privileges, where possible, is more important.

Trust me, I am all FOR women having the confidence to enter the political arena. I just think that promoting confidence is a bandaid solution.


Meagan Francis March 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Hi Karen, so sorry it took me so long to get back to you on this! I’ve been mulling this over all week but haven’t had time to sit down and type my thoughts.

I think that there are different ways to go about achieving the same objective. I’m thinking of many debates I’ve had with my sister. She takes an intellectual, critical large-scale view at problems through the social, systemic context. I tend to focus in on details about what I can do, today, to improve my circumstances or help other people improve theirs. We used to fight constantly about politics until we realized that actually, we agree on most things, but just have such different approaches to how to go about bringing change that it SEEMED like we were disagreeing.

Anyway, to me, promoting confidence or desire to enter the political sphere is a micro approach (which I relate to), while changing the system is a macro approach. Neither approach is wrong, but I think the more women who start infiltrating the political sphere – and who perhaps do so because they feel inspired or empowered to – the more likely it is for large-scale changes to happen for women as a whole.

But I do agree that the “no excuses!” line is annoying and off-putting. And also glosses over the reason a lot of women aren’t politically driven, as though we would all be President if we weren’t so busy making excuses for ourselves.


Karen L March 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

To be clear, I don’t think, Meagan, that YOU are dismissing ongoing inequality (I get that you get it), but that lots of people do. But that video, which in fairness, I know is very short, barely touched on systemic and cultural sexism, despite those being central to imbalance in the political sphere.


Holly from 300 Pounds Down March 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

The rainbow cakes are cool!!


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