Balanced, Innovative Perspectives

BIP CRITICAL THINKING

By Coralie Raia Darsey-Malloy and David Malloy

We have been working together in the media as television talk show hosts and producers, writing, producing and presenting seminars, public speaking, free-lancing and reporting for local newspapers since 1990. When we started in the field one of our mentors was an old time reporter and he always emphasized the importance of balanced fact finding without personal opinion in the articles. That approach has stayed with us and we carry it through in everything we write, produce and present to the public. In our view much of what is trending in the media and politics today is filled with more commentary than balanced, innovative reporting. We created this blog and other related links so we could gather and present perspectives in innovative, ways.

Clients and followers often ask how to determine what balanced perspectives actually are. Here are some of the definitions and guidelines we strive for in gathering information to share with others are outlined below. When speaking of balanced the image that often comes to mind is the scale of justice. Ideally, it does not tip too much in either direction and we keep the scale of justice in mind when sourcing out information. Our goal is to present information in a balanced way that encourages critical thinking skills so clients and readers make informed choices.

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The scale of justice symbolizes justice and the ability and power to make informed decisions. Sharing balanced innovative perspectives requires a presentation of ideas within state of equilibrium or equipoise; equality in amount, weight, value, or importance. We are active participants in social media and frequently bear witness to those who either silently or openly resist any opinion other than their own. The loud clunk and the sound of minds closing reveals   they are not interested in the facts because their minds are made up. Whenever we observe polarization in conversational styles, it is clear they are heavily invested in their current mindset. So much so that they are unable to respect what anyone else thinks. Whether it is conspiracy theorists, fear-mongers, religious zealots, gun fanatics or a whole host of other dogmatic ideologies for many out

Words hold great power and as communicators and motivators it is always enjoyable when ideas are expressed in balanced ways that lead to pleasing harmonious proportions where clauses, phrases, ideas, etc. have parallel constructions for rhetorical effect. When presenting ideas we find a rightness of conviction without a respect for differing viewpoints is not respectful and at times the self-important and authorities ring is arrogant and irritating to those looking for middle ground through critical analysis. Comparatively speaking when there is openness to opposing views or equal-opportunity presentations through factual data content it has a more harmonious feel when listening and reading.

Whenever ideas are presented in balanced, innovative ways it allows the readership to  sift and sort through the information and commentary in ways that   comparess ideas in relative importance and value. There is always more than one angle to any story and keeping things in a healthy balance involves the ability to think outside the box of conditioned thinking and keep things in a state of equilibrium. From our perception it is not so much about winning the argument as it is getting to the truth through critical thinking and fact checking. It is something we strive for in all we are and do.

As life coaches, motivational speakers and seminar leaders we share a commimtent to   fosterog a more universal sense of community by honouring differences, encouraging people to open their hearts and minds and sharingtheir knowledge, culture, beliefs and perspectives through respectful dialog. For more information about who we are and what we do check out the website for our personal development company Fresh Beginnings: www.fresh-beginnings.com and a book Coralie wrote about her spiritual journey to health and wholeness that became the foundation for Fresh Beginnings to build upon. www.ibtbook.com

BIP ELEPHANT BALANCE

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The Feminine Mystique’ at 50: Three Feminists on Betty Freidan’s Legacy

Betty Freidan's lifelong commitment to women's rights and equality lives on.

Betty Freidan’s lifelong commitment to women’s rights and equality lives on.

I have been a feminist since the discovering the powerful message while divorcing my first husband. Betty Freidan, Helen Gurley Brown and Gloria Steinman were role models for me as I struggled to redfine and reinvent myself. I also valued the original philosopjy that the women’s movement was about equality for both genders without one or the other being superior. From that time I incorporated those ideas into my belief and value system. Thankfully, I am married to a man who is a feminist with the same outlook.

Men who embrace feminism understand it does not emasculate men. Instead, it holds to equality and human rights for everyofne.

Men who embrace feminism understand it does not emasculate men. Instead, it holds to equality and human rights for everyofne.

This timely article includes the original source and authors at the bottom on the page.

Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published 50 years ago this month, all but bringing the nascent second-wave feminist movement to the national spotlight. We asked three feminists, each representing a different generation, to discuss the intellectual legacy of the book. Letty Cottin Pogrebin is the founding editor of the groundbreaking feminist Ms. Magazine; Alisa Solomon is a drama critic and a journalism professor at Columbia University; Jessica Bennett is the executive editor of Tumblr and a former Newsweek senior writer. Here’s what they thought of the classic text and the issues that it dealt with in Friedan’s time.

Three feminists from different generations revisit Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking book on its 50th anniversary. Does the work still hold up?

Jess: I’ve been thinking all week about having to sheepishly reveal to you all that I had never actually read The Feminist Mystique before this! Maybe I didn’t need to read it—I think, for a lot of us, it felt like we’d had Friedan’s message ingrained in us since we were teens. You can do anything! Don’t hold yourself back! But reading the text for the first time this week, what struck me was just how relevant how many of her points remain. Consumer culture, women’s magazines, depiction of our bodies, fear—there are parts that could have been written yesterday.

Alisa: I was an undergraduate in a progressive program at the University of Michigan called the Residential College, a place where feminism was taken for granted. It was the mid-‘70s and we were feeling the impact of Title IX, which had just gone into effect. I remember being impatient with the book’s repetitiveness and relentlessness and sensed that it wasn’t really talking to me since my friends and I already knew so ardently that we would not be looking for total fulfillment as housewives. Looking back now, I can see that so much of her critique did actually speak to our experiences beyond the context of “occupation: housewife” much as we may have felt we were past all that.

Betty Friedan at the National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas on Nov. 20, 1977. (Greg Smith/AP)

Letty: I read it in 1963, the year it was published, which was the year I was married. Back then I felt it was “natural” for me to fulfill the feminine role—come home from work and cook dinner. But I didn’t feel the book was about me; I felt it was about my mother’s generation of housewives who were trapped in their suburban kitchens while I was a hippy “career woman” who also happened to have a husband.

I mostly read it on the bus to and from work. The women at the publishing house where I worked were all reading it. The married ones with kids found it especially fascinating that a woman could complain out loud about “the problem that has no name.” We all had homemaker friends who were on Valium or drank booze as soon as they got the husband off to work and the kids to the school bus. The book was a phenomenon in terms of its sales so everyone in publishing was reading it and paying attention. The men at the water cooler at my office—think “Mad Men” which was exactly the atmosphere in which I worked throughout the 60s—found it laughable that any woman dared find fault with her life of luxury since they were providing their wives with “allowances,” closets full of clothing, jewelry, charge accounts at the hairdresser’s as well as food, status, sex, and patio furniture. The idea that a woman might feel infantilized by having to get her husband’s signature to open a Bloomingdale’s credit card never occurred to these guys.

In fact it never occurred to me either. I, too, needed my husband’s signature for such things—back then women couldn’t get loans, insurance, or bank accounts in their own names. But at work I had a Diner’s Club card in my own name and I took men to lunch as part of my job so maybe I felt some compensatory social power. In short, while I was clearly disavowing the book’s relevance to me, I was also admiring what it was doing for other women.

Embracing the feminist philosophy transformed my thinking and gave me the strength to move beyond the victimhood mindset in my earlier days. Empowered and free!

Embracing the feminist philosophy transformed my thinking and gave me the strength to move beyond the victimhood mindset in my earlier days. Empowered and free!

Alisa: I was struck by the rhetorical strategies and astonishing scope of the book. Friedan takes on psychology, advertising, education, media. And I was impressed by the tone of sympathy. There’s no victim-blaming, but a sense of solidarity with her subjects (despite many differences in her own life). The impact of social, political, economic change on women in the post-war era when, as she put it, “the nation stopped growing up”—her laying out and marshalling of the context—is part of what achieves that tone. It’s the hard analysis—not any touchy-feely bromides—that helps create a sense of fellow (sister?) feeling.

In the epilogue Friedan decries the impact the “man-haters” were having on the nascent feminist movement. It sounded like her buying into an anti-feminist stereotype and maybe a coded condemnation of what she infamously described as the “lavender menace.”

Letty: “Man-haters” may have been a coded condemnation of lesbians—and Friedan certainly had problems incorporating lesbian issues into her feminist ethos—but I don’t think it’s simply that. She knew that many of the more outspoken radicals were straight women whose extreme anti-male rhetoric was a shock-and-awe tactic intended to garner media attention—which it did in spades in the early years. In fact, she and her fur-coat wearing colleagues who marched on McSorleys were often eclipsed by women in overalls and combat books screaming about male chauvinism. I think she resented their spotlight-stealing capacity.

I think her railing against that sort of feminist was at its core an expression of a deeply personal need: Friedan was, to the very end of her life, a flirt and a man-pleaser. She wanted male approval even as she excoriated “men.” She played to the guys at the dinner table, the men in any room, and even if dozens of women had their hands up, she always took the first question from a man in the audience. Later in her life, she dreamed of transforming the women’s movement into a men-and-women’s movement with battalions of men advocating for women’s rights, and both genders marching arm-in-arm into the sunset.

I always believed her favoring of men over women must have had roots in her childhood and early romantic experiences: maybe she had to work hard to be loved. I know the end of her marriage was fiercely painful to her. She always struck me as someone who wanted to improve women’s condition without losing men’s love.

Alisa: I confess to feeling uncomfortable about bringing personality into the conversation. Not because it’s not relevant—especially for someone like you who was there—but I fear that the all-important issues might be dismissed or feminists further mischaracterized as bitchy, and so on. I’m inclined, therefore—and likely also because I didn’t know Friedan personally—to step back and wonder what the costs of fighting for intellectual space might have been for Friedan in the early ‘60s in New York.

Was this a case of shouting ever more abrasively to be heard and recognized—even to the point of not being able to see the extent to which she was, in fact, heard and recognized? Did the amazing sweep and brashness of her prose in The Feminine Mystique somehow come with a price-tag of public brashness in general? Maybe neither she nor the culture was ready to deal with the book’s explosive power. The culture could figure out how to absorb the work without really changing sufficiently—the “repressive tolerance” Marcuse wrote of at about the same time—while it curdled something in her, perhaps.

Jess: It’s hard to read the text objectively knowing what a controversial figure she became.

Alisa: The assumption that one risked men’s love by working to improve women’s condition seems to be an internalization of everything she was writing against—the “mystique” doing its work.

Jess: In the book, a young woman says, “Maybe education is a liability” because “even the brightest boys just want a sweet, pretty girl.” A young woman today might not call education a liability (I hope), but I do think she has internalized cultural messages that tell her it’s OK to be smart, but not too smart. It reminds me of a study I was reading recently about women in math and science. Some of the girls told researchers that they didn’t want to take math classes, even though they liked the subject, for fear it would make them less “dateable.”

Letty: In the 1950s, my mother always warned me to downplay my knowledge/ vocabulary/opinions. “Smart girls scare boys,” she said, along with other classic ‘50s advice such as “Beauty hurts. Just grin and bear the misery of those 3-inch heels.” Or, “Remember your ABCs: Always Be Charming!” And of course, “Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” Which accounts for me stumbling through high school and college until contact lenses were invented.

Alisa: I, too, heard too many echoes in those comments, from the deep caves of my grad school days (yes, a professor slapped my butt and told me not to aspire to be a writer; sexual harassment was rampant and unmentionable). And yet, when I read the 1997 addendum that Friedan wrote for an edition published then—“Metamorphosis: Two Generations Later”—I was practically shouting back at her. That chapter is so sanguine and cheery. While it’s right and proper to name and celebrate all the achievements, I was thinking: Are you kidding? The Gingrich Congress was just installed! Abortion rights are dwindling all over the country!

 

 

We need to stand up for the right of free choice. It is not a decision any governement should be deciding.

We need to stand up for the right of free choice. It is not a decision any governement should be deciding.

Jess: Anybody read about New York City Council candidate Ed Hartzog? He asked a female reporter at a press conference what “a pretty girl like her” was doing reading campaign finance reports.

Letty: Hartzog’s comment reminds me of Congresswoman Pat Schroeder’s experience. When she got to the House for the first time in 1973, a member said, “How can you be a Congresswoman and a mother, too?”

Pat famously replied, “Because I have a brain and a uterus and I use both.”

Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.

Jessica Bennett, formerly of Newsweek, is executive editor of Tumblr. Find her online.

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a founding editor of Ms. magazine, is the author of many books, including Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America and the upcoming How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick. She is a past president of Americans for Peace Now, co-founder of the (now-defunct) International Center for Peace in the Middle East, and co-founder of several Palestinian/Jewish dialogue groups, one of which has been ongoing for three years. She is also a former president of The Authors Guild.

Alisa Solomon is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the Arts and Culture concentration in the M.A. program. She is the author of Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender and, with Tony Kushner, co-editor of Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com

Feb 11, 2013

 

The progression of equal rights for women has come a long way since the Feminine Mystique was written 50 years ago...we need to stand together to assure that human rights continues to move forward by working together for the greatest good of the all.

The progression of equal rights for women has come a long way since the Feminine Mystique was written 50 years ago…we need to stand together to assure that human rights continues to move forward by working together for the greatest good of the all.

 

Sharing Perspectives With Respectful Dialog

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This graphic suggests 20 ways to create loving, healthy relationships

This graphic suggests 20 ways to create loving, healthy relationships

Respectful Dialog 101

Respectful Dialog 101

By Coralie Raia Darsey-Malloy

There are some who refuse to think…they just rearrange their prejudices.–Dr. Robert Anthony

This article has been previously published and all rights are reserved. If you choose to share please include CRDM Writing Road as the original source.
In our work as group leaders, life coaches and public speakers, some advise against discussing religion, politics and spirituality. We choose to do so and find that it is not the ideas that are offensive. More often than not, it is the tone and presentation that offends. In our interactions, we find people with open hearts and minds discuss most anything. Our approach involves something we call “respectful dialog.” This method allows each side to listen attentively so they can hear differing points of view. It requires understanding and a respect for differences.

Respectful dialog is not about polarization through black/white/right/wrong thinking. It looks for common ground. Even when there does not appear to be any; an acceptance that people have a right to their opinions, choices and lifestyles whether others agree or not. Respectful dialog involves attentive listening, openness and acceptance in the face of differing opinions.

The biggest clue that they are not receptive to another point of view is the tendency to divert attention back to their position. They override, discredit and/or ignore opinions other than their own. We had one person who was bold enough to emphatically state, “I don’t care what the facts are I believe what I think is “right.” That loud clunk is the sound of minds’ closing.

Some reporters in the media follow “trends” rather than verifying facts. Consequently, uninformed participants in social media share it through sources without checking sources or verifying information. When critical thinking is absent, some develop conspiracy theories without hard evidence. Whether the information is visual or hard copy a heavy investment and need to “prove the point” may create a need to misconstrue information. Some use edited snippets to slant information in the desired direction. Sometimes the small fragments of truth are believable enough to sway perceptions.

Basic human rights involve right of choice. At times one cannot control life events but everyone has control over how they respond. In our view…the cause and effect of every thought and action has a ripple or “butterfly” effect. That is why we consistently suggest that every point of view has merit and with that approach, differences do not create discord.

Conflicts develop when communication styles are accusatory attacks with right/wrong judgments and/or condescending demeanors. Who are we to judge? Who makes anyone else the authority in the lives of others? Are we ever really qualified to cast stones? Critical thinkers with open hearts and compassionate sight understand that their views may be erroneous. Perception is not truth and those living within a conditioned existence and rigid beliefs it can be daunting to consider opposing positions.

Loving behaviors towards others does not include judgments, condemnations, superiority, bigotry, pride, control and belittling. Those who keep their heart-minds open show compassion and respect for differences. With love as a core belief, they allow others to create life as they choose without any need to interfere or dictate how or what anyone else is, or is not doing. Perceptions about “truth” are in reality…just that. Perceptions based on teachings passed down by others and eventually integrated as one’s own. Shaping and claiming it to be “truth” is, in many cases conditioned existence where “normal” is whatever one is used to experiencing.

When one is able to explore views and information from a variety of sources, they naturally avoid self-righteousness. Life would be less complicated with a higher emphasis causing harm to none, unity and consensus over diverseness and judgments. The spiritual perspectives we will be offering here are ones based an abiding respect for the opinions of others whether we agree or not. Comments and feedback are always welcome when offered with respectful dialog.

The Faces of Feminism today

Patriarchy creates stereotypical expectations for men and limit the ability to express the full range of human emotion.

Patriarchy creates stereotypical expectations for men and limit the ability to express the full range of human emotion.

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Strong women walk their path in quietness, confidence and strength without guilt or justification.

Strong women walk their path in quietness, confidence and strength without guilt or justification.

Divine love from my Heart Flame and blesses all Life as it passes by.. ♥ ● ¸. ★ °:. *. Light ○ ° ★☾ . *:. *. ° ○ °.. *.☾° Divine Love *♥¸ . ☾ °☆. • * ¨ `* • Grace ¸. * ● ¸*♥¸ . ☾ °☆. • * ¨Glory `* •  ¸. * ● ¸*♥Beauty¸ . ☾ °☆. • * ¨ Victory `* •  ¸. * ● ¸

What do America Ferrera, Larry David, and Amy Brenneman have in common? They’re all proud to call themselves feminists.Celebrate Women’s History Month with them and other feminists by watching the special This Is What A Feminist Looks Like video.