Tag Archives: women

post truth


the world has equalized
#MeToo needlessly ruining lives
protect the artists and politicians
as work is more relevant than any dark deeds

the meek shall inherit
everything left
after corporate tax breaks

racism is extinct
every man for himself
pulling hard on those bootstraps
achieves the dream

choice in education
paves the way
to brighter students
versus heavier pockets
for the few

dreamers can dream
all they want
and live anywhere freely
in those wild imaginings

if you die violently
you should have been carrying
unless your skin is black or brown
in which case it is always your fault

the intricacies of female anatomy
are better managed
by those who are most effected
leave it to the wise men

smaller more efficient government
must include consolidating
legislative, judicial, and executive
branches need pruning

opinions are more relevant
and significant than facts
the showman has earned
his time on the boards

this sleeping dog lies

we are free
we are safe
we are happy

Day 29




She passed through the gauntlet
of foul smelling men
gathered in an unkept bunch
near the barbershop entrance
the lines of their bodies
radiating hostility
rather than welcome
she looked away and frowned
angled a path behind them
as she hunched her shoulders
and quickened her pace

She had been inclined
to stay her course
as she approached the group
pass directly in front of their cluster
nod her head in greeting
and smile as she moved by
wishing them a good day

But she’d learned long ago
that it is critical
to try and read people
rather than assume anything
by their appearance or scent

As disagreeable as those men appeared
she knew that a freshly showered,
enticingly cologned man
with a winning grin and open arms
could be far more dangerous
than someone whose spooling
string of bad breaks
had brought them to a life
lived on the streets

Day 24

What To Say to a Woman


The other night, five female friends and I were in a nearly empty movie theater watching Harry Dean Stanton’s final film, Lucky. There were maybe three other viewers scattered throughout the place. A man entered and took a seat immediately in front of us. He spent some time at one end of our group, then got up and moved down a few seats to sit directly in front of me.

Right away, after he took the seat in front me, I felt slightly uncomfortable. Why, in such an empty theater, would he choose to sit in the row in front of us? He also didn’t sit and look ahead at the screen, but instead slumped sideways in his seat, resting the side of his head on the seat back, almost as if he planned to sleep. Eventually, I noticed the light of his cell phone on. Yes, impolite for your cell phone screen to be glowing in a theater, but not criminal. But then, he slipped his cell phone down low between the seat and just above the floor in our aisle, giving his camera a clear view of our bottoms.

By this point, the friends on either side of me were also noticing his behavior and concerned, uncomfortable, and upset. They didn’t see him slide the cell phone through, but just his odd behavior of sitting right by us, sitting sideways, and not watching the movie and instead having his cell phone glowing seemed potentially threatening somehow.

I whispered to my friend what I’d seen with his phone and we decided to move. One of our group said something to the man as she passed him. About ten minutes after we moved, he got up and left. The movie was only half over.

Was he trying to up-skirt our group? Probably. When the movie ended, I sought out theater staff to alert them to his odd behavior and tell them they may want to keep and eye out for him in the future.

So this is what it is like to be a woman. You trust your instincts and watch the creep meter, but you also don’t want to assume men mean to exploit you, objectify you, or do you harm. It’s a challenging line to walk and get right — and your safety depends on getting it right.

As I relayed the account of what happened to a male friend, I ended by making a frustrated comment like, “come on men, you can do better!” He took offense and chose to try and school me for being sexist and over-generalizing.

Here is what I’d like to say to men out there about our current, highly charged climate regarding sexually abuse and how you can be supportive of your female friends, co-workers, relatives, and partners.

1) If we are opening up and sharing our experience of harassment, abuse, or sexual assault with you, we obviously trust you and consider you a safe person. Please don’t get defensive and feel like you need to explain to us that not all men are jerks or abusive. We obviously know that, since we feel like we can talk to you. But that doesn’t not change the fact that most women experience harassment, abuse, and even sexual assault throughout their life. That doesn’t mean the women don’t have to be on guard in a way around men that men will never have to be on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis around women. That doesn’t mean the woman speaking to you dislikes or distrusts all men, but she unfortunately probably has not just had one or two, but dozens, possibly hundreds of experiences were she has been harassed and verbally or physically assaulted by men in almost every setting you can imagine — on the street, in school, at work, while babysitting, at home, on a date, in the subway, during a job interview, at the grocery store. It is ubiquitous. Think of it this way, if a friend of yours who is African American is telling you about how they were followed throughout the store by a white security guard when they went in to buy a shirt the other day, and then later that same week were pulled over by a white officer for a taillight being out and were asked to step out of the car, pushed down on the hood spread eagle, and patted down, and they say, “what is up with white people? Why are they always assuming if you’re black, you’re a criminal?” Would you listen to them and believe them and understand where their frustration is coming from or would you lecture them about being racist?

2) Just listen and be empathetic. Tell them you are willing to listen, that you believe them, and you are sorry that this happened to them. Try to imagine how it feels to be treated like an object instead of a human being. Understand harassing and assaulting women is a way to try and steal away their power and make them less than. Sympathize with whatever emotions the encounter raised for them, whether that is fear, anger, frustration, sadness, rage, despair, or a sense of helplessness. Don’t judge them for how the situation made them feel or tell them what they should have done or said. Provide a strong shoulder, a non-judgmental ear, and an open heart.

3) Offer your support emotionally or even physically if it is appropriate. Be an ally. If they are being harassed by someone you know, offer to stand with them in the future and call out the harassment and abuse. There is strength in numbers. Don’t remain silent and be complicit when you see sexual harassment or abuse happening. It is not “boys being boys.” Some might argue it is only words or gestures and, therefore, harmless, but since one in four women is raped in her lifetime, women are horrifyingly aware that inappropriate and disrespectful words spoken about women and tolerated by those listening creates an unsafe environment for women. A guy yelling “nice ass” to you on the street doesn’t make you feel flattered, but much more likely makes you feel intimidated and fearful if you are a woman. You wonder about what else he might say or do. Will he follow you?

4) Do not blame or shame a woman by asking questions or making comments about where they were at the time, what they were doing or not doing there, and what they were wearing or not wearing. The only thing that can prevent a woman from being harassed or assaulted is if a man does not engage in that behavior. A woman’s age, appearance, state of alertness, or physical location cannot keep her harassment or assault free. Harassment and sexual assault can, and does, happen to every type of woman in every type of place. Do not perpetuate the false narrative that if a woman dressed more modestly, behaved more demurely, stayed out of certain locations, and remained always hyper alert, she would not be harassed or assaulted. That is a lie, plain and simple. When something does happen, she is the victim. There is nothing she did that explains or justifies harassment and abuse. Not ever.

As a rape survivor myself, I am keenly sensitized to the issue of female harassment and abuse. As virginal sixteen-year-old wearing corduroys, a sweater, and ski jacket, I never expected to by sexually assaulted by the young man I had been dating. But it happened, and I’ve had to work to recover from that assault and not let it destroy my life. Because I am a rape survivor does not mean I hate or distrust men. But it does mean that I am painfully aware that even people you know can potentially hurt you. Despite that, I hold on fiercely to the belief that all people are good and kind and trustworthy. Everyone has their story that brought them to this moment in this way. Everyone is trying to find happiness and reduce their own pain. We are all capable of growing and evolving and overcoming our pasts.

#Metoo is highlighting what a huge problem we still face when it comes to sexual equality and treating one another with respect. Let’s view this as an opportunity for growth. Let’s do better by one another. Let’s believe one another. Let’s support each other. Let’s change up the dance steps. Let’s make our world safer and kinder. Let’s overcome our past.

Eyed Up


Standing at the edge of the soccer field
She swung her rope
Jumped again
Varying her speed to vary her heart rate
Intense bursts followed by leisurely hops
She kept her eyes on her son’s practice
His perspiring brow mirroring her own
As he sprinted towards the goal

Other eyes were on her
Some of the moms
Some of the dads
Some dads’ eyes lingering
Assuming she performed for them
Versus her health
Her form fitting yoga pants and sports shirt
Selected by her for comfort
And to insure her clothing didn’t obstruct her workout
Kept her safe and cool
Moved well with her
And made her feel confident
Must really have been slipped into
They believed
To entice men to stop and stare
Excite a biological imperative to ogle each curve
And assess her attractiveness
Her motives
Her worth

How shameful for a busy mom
To multitask on a beautiful day
Attend her son’s practice
And still fit in some exercise
Before stopping at the store
To pick up her family’s own groceries
As well as those of her elderly mother
Swing by her mom’s place to drop off the bags
Carry them all in and unload them
And encourage her sweaty, antsy son to sit by his grandma
And swap stories about their day
As she threw out the expired yogurt and milk in the fridge
Print so small her mom could never spot the spoil
Change her sheets
Fill her mom’s pill box for the week
And make sure she had everything she needs

Finally, setting out her trash cans on the curb
Before climbing back in her car
To rush home in time to prepare dinner
For her two hungry boys and hungrier husband
Put her own groceries away
Then run her other son to swim practice
And remain poolside to praise his progress
Before heading back home and throwing in two loads of laundry
Paying the bills
While helping both boys with their homework
Fill out permissions slips for upcoming field trips
Clean up after the dog in the yard before the sun set
And throw a ball for their ancient spaniel to chase
Scratch her belly and giving her a treat
Pack everyone’s lunches for the next day
Fold the now clean laundry and set it atop appropriate dressers
Load the dishwasher
Wipe off the counters
Ask her husband about his day
And talk about his frustration with his boss
And the state of the country
And their shared distaste over the unfathomable resurgence of high-waisted jeans
Finalize the schedule for the upcoming weekend
To determine which parent is taking which child to which game
As they perfectly conflict on Saturday
Before she set out her clothes for the next day
So when she gets up before the sun rises
She won’t need to turn on the light
And disturb her husband as she gets ready for work
Sets out the cereal boxes and bowls for the family
Rinses blueberries and places them in the center of the table
Along with a note, “Love you all. Boys, please turn in the signed permissions slips that I put in your folders in your backpacks or you won’t be able to go on the trip to Philly. Have a wonderful day!”
And heads out the door in the still dark
To go make money
To help pay for the team fees and the groceries and the gas
And veterinarian bills

Let us judge this mom
Let’s put pictures of her jumping rope on social media
Let’s assume she chose to stand where she stood so everyone could best see her
Instead of where she had room to jump and still see the field
And let’s talk to all of our friends about her disparagingly
Criticize her for her ostentatious show
Of fitness and a concern for her own health and wellbeing
As she carries the weight of her family
On her capable, well defined shoulders every day
With enthusiasm and love

Why I Don’t Want to March…



Why I Don’t Want To March in Washington D.C. On 1/21/17…

• I’m fairly short and can get claustrophobic in big crowds.
• My knees need to be replaced and have this inconsiderate habit of dislocating easily.
• I’m not fond of cold despite having grown up in Minnesota, or maybe because of growing up in Minnesota.
• I am acutely aware of how excruciating it can be to need to use a restroom and not be able to access one for hours and hours and hours to the point where peeing in a cup in public seems preferable to holding it one more second – and I never wish to experience that dilemma again.
• I, minute by minute, navigate an incredibly complicated and stressful life as a working mother of two children who both have very demanding, and time consuming to manage, special needs.
• I don’t really have the spare minutes that make the hours that make a day to devote to fighting traffic and crowds to get into and out of DC.
• I’ve had MS for 25 years and when I get really, really cold, I can become incapacitated, like quaking-statue-fixed-to-a-spot-incapacitated.
• There is enough on my plate already every day to make the dish split under the weight and rain the messy contents to the floor.
• My heart is pinched with worry about the actual survival of my children because of their health issues (that is not hyperbole).
• What would happen to my special needs kids if something bad happened to me?! It would be awful, scary, and a time suck to be arrested for protesting – or even worse, to be a victim of violence while I participate in my civil right to march.
• I don’t want to draw attention to myself or my political beliefs and thereby draw ill will from anyone and jeopardize relationships or employment.
• I wish I could just stick my head in the sand and avoid the news and wait these next four years out – hope for the best – let people with healthier bodies, who are younger, with less demands on their time, not as much at stake, and more resources, to do the heavy lifting politically.

Why I Will Be Marching In Washington D.C. On 1/21/17

• Because I am a mother of two children with special needs. The Affordable Care Act, although far from perfect and in need to revision, guaranteed my children could be covered on my private insurance until they were 26, that they could not be turned down for insurance because of pre-existing conditions, and that there would be no life-time caps on coverage.
• Because no person deserves to lead this nation who is so insensitve,  and lacks the emotional and political savvy, that s/he mocks anyone with a disability.
• Because women know best, in consultation with their doctors, about decisions related to their bodies and when, if, and if ever, to become a mother. I am horrified by the thought that my developmentally disabled daughter may be blocked from having access to birth control that prevents her from getting periods, which she cannot manage on her own. Or that, an even more terrifying thought, if she were to become pregnant, all options regarding her health and well being would not be available to her. Abortion needs to be safe, legal, affordable, and accessible for all.
• Because I am a sexual assault survivor and will not accept excuses for the perpetuation of a rape culture by dismissing vulgar, objectification of women and girls as “locker room talk” and something that is acceptable and normal and to be tolerated.
• Because I am a woman and should be paid equally for my contributions to the work force as any man might be paid for the same job.
• Because I value and celebrate diversity and acknowledge this country is mostly made up of immigrants. Our cultural differences, various religious beliefs, numerous ethnicities makes this country stronger.
• Because I believe the best path to our future will be forged through diplomacy and cooperation instead of amassing greater arsenals, threatening military action, or engaging in war.
• Because our Earth home has finite resources and we need to protect the environment for current and future generations to be able to thrive…and survive.
• Because I believe it is fundamentally wrong to give tax breaks to the super rich and subsidize corporations when citizens of the United States are going hungry, do not have safe and warm homes, or good healthcare.
• Because it doesn’t matter who you love, but that you love. Everyone has a right to be just who they are without fear of judgement and marry who they love and have equal protection under the law.
• Because I believe in supporting great pubic education for all, which includes access to affordable higher education.
• Because guns are used to kill people, not just for hunting or self defense, and there needs to be sensible regulations restricting assault weapons, and stockpiling guns, etc.
• Because Islam is not our enemy. Muslims are not our enemy. Extremism is the real issue – whether that extremism is expressed under the guise of Islam, Judaism, OR Christianity…
• Because Black Lives Matter. That does not mean Blue Lives don’t matter, or All Lives Don’t matter, but our black citizens, friends, family, coworkers, are being profiled and abused and killed and we should all care and speak up and not tolerate bias and discrimination.
• Because the PEOTUS has repeatedly shown he is quick to anger, vindictive, untruthful… all qualities that could cost us all dearly and lead to many people dying.
• Because the only one who can make anything better, ever, change things from bad to worse, is all of us taking the time to speak up and let our voices and concerns be heard.

I have a heart full of love, not hate. I believe in our democracy. I know our country can do better and be better.

I’ll be there. I’ll march. I’ll advocate. I won’t give in or give up.




Curled and quiet
She lay on her side
Watching the yellow wallpaper age
Wondering if the shadows
Playing there
Were only shifting light

Too tired to lift her arms
She lacked the will
To peel the paper back
And change her view
Instead preferring to seethe
At its daily sameness

Once she’d been a painter
Every wall a potential
Mural or statement
Bold and fearless
She’d shaped the world
To her perfect vision

Now she sighed
And shifted from side to side
The view the same from right
Or left
She suspended in the bland
changeless nowhere

Weary of hoisting paint brushes
She dreamt of a match


Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 27

Data Driven




A recent study reported that when women were asked at what age did they think men were most attractive, they listed an age that correlated closely to their own. If the woman was 42, she found men 40-45 to be at their physical peak and appealing. Women who were 20, thought men in their early 20s were handsome. Your 57-year-old women preferred the look of men in their mid 50s. And so on. The pattern entirely uniform. Predictable.

Men surveyed were equally predictable. If the man was in his 20s,
he thought a 21-year-old woman was the measure of perfection.
If a man was 32, he found a 21-year-old most appealing. As did a man
who was 44, and 56, or 72, and 85. Every age male surveyed reported
with certainty that a woman is most attractive to him, most desirable,
worthy of pursuit and adoration, the person they would want to date
and mate, when she is 21-years-old. Even if the man was 107. This
pattern entirely uniform. Predictable.

So women admire and enjoy someone who is likely to be their emotional
and intellectual equal, whereas, men prefer, above all else,
tits that ride reasonably high.

April 2015 

Julie Ayers 

NaPoWriMo Day 6