Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Lessons of Good Sisterhood

-Don’t hit on your friend’s boyfriends or husbands (duh!)

-Don’t call your friend’s boyfriend/husband without asking her first

-If your best male friend is dating, don’t see him alone or have long conversations about his relationship. See him with his new girlfriend and try to befriend her too. No dinners behind her back.

-Just because he is your male friend, don’t defend him if he treats his girlfriend poorly or lies and cheats on her. Remember it can happen to you too..

-If your girlfriend complains about her boyfriend, listen but don’t butt in. If they stay together you will pay the price if you tell her to leave him.

-Never be a married man’s confidante. Tell him to find a therapist.

-Avoid emotional cheating by being civil but not too close to married men at work.

-If you hear that your girlfriend’s boyfriend or husband is cheating, or if he hits on you, tell her. You may lose her friendship but you will help her get rid of an asshole.

-Don’t tell your girlfriend’s boyfriend or husband her secrets or anything that can make her uncomfortable.

 

The same can be applied to men.

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September 10, 2014 Posted by | Being a woman, Relationships | Leave a comment

Women in the Middle East

libraryAn interesting experience to share:  see the meme on the left about women in Saudi Arabia not being able to go to a library alone? Well, I had the chance of listening to a Muslim woman in a party I went to last Friday. This woman said that even though we see Muslim women as victims of oppressive men, THEY are the ones who want to maintain the status quo, in particular the ones from rich families. The system that keeps women from enjoying the freedom that we have here also “protects” them in her view. They don’t have to work and they sometimes have a beautiful home and everything material they need. They like to take care of their husbands because they are the providers. They are scared of being homeless, live in poverty or become single mothers. So they like their golden cage.

Which makes me think that women have not yet found power, and never will until they have money. Money rules. A woman who can support herself and well doesn’t need to subjugate to anyone. There are many who have achieved this in the western world, but overall women continue to have the simplest positions and the lowest paying jobs. Therefore, they turn to men to save them. We all know that a man can be fat, old and bald that he can still find a younger woman who is attractive as long as she sees him as a good provider. Money has an interesting way to create “love”. Obviously, she will move on to a better provider if she has the chance.

It’s a vicious circle. Education is the route to financial independence; so it entrepreneurship. Many women feel they can’t compete so they lag behind. A man is the only way to feel safe and secure, especially when children are involved. That is one of the reasons women stay in bad relationships and “fall in love” for men with money. In third world countries that is very common. So I was presented with this other angle of the “poor Middle Eastern oppressed women”. This lady also said the mothers raise their own sons that way, to feel more important and more valuable than a woman, and have sisters cater to their brothers since a young age.

I say education is key, but women’s desire to be protected keeps them from achieving.

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Being a woman, Difference between cultures, Society | | 1 Comment

Brazilian women and the American suburbs

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I have heard many stories about Brazilian women who marry American men (either they meet in Brazil or in the US) and then go live in a suburban house-many times far from neighbors and shops or downtown areas. Many of these stories have similar endings: the woman falls into deep depression. Some go back to Brazil. Some beg their husbands to move to a more urban area. I hope this serves as a warning to any American man reading this blog, as well as Brazilian women who are planning to move to the US and live with a new husband in a more isolated area.
Why does this happen? Simple: Brazilian cities were built around a downtown area. People live mostly in high rises to be close to downtown, shops and restaurants. People walk everywhere or take public transportation. Living in an isolated suburban house in America is like living in a farm for Brazilians. A typical Brazilian leaves their house and meets people they know everywhere in their neighborhood, even in large cities. They usually have family, relatives and long time friends around, as well as maids to talk to. When they move to an American suburb, they don’t imagine how quiet it can be. Many people are at work. Few people know their neighbors. Everything is far away. You can’t walk to the nearest bakery like in Brazil to buy freshly baked French bread. You have to take your car for everything you need, many times without seeing a human being. You drive in highways. In the winter, the days are short and there is little sunlight, adding to depression.
What can be done? There needs to be a conversation between the couple as to what they want in terms of living arrangements. An American needs to understand the Brazilian need to be around people and communicate. A Brazilian woman can make her life more bearable by trying to make friends and joining groups, especially if she is at home raising small kids. The depression among Brazilian women in isolated American suburbs is real. While I am sure many women adjust just fine, there are many stories that shouldn’t be ignored. International couples need to be aware of that.

January 8, 2013 Posted by | Being a woman, Difference between cultures | 3 Comments

11 Amazing Atheist Women Profiles

Below are some strong, smart and beautiful atheist women. There are others out there, but I am listing these first:

1. Susan Jacoby: Susan is member of the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America, a national lobbying organization representing the interests of secular Americans and is program director of the New York branch of the Center for Inquiry. She is currently a panelist for “On Faith,” a Washington Post-Newsweek blog on religion. She is the author of ten books, such as “The Age of American Unreason” and “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism” and a frequent contributor to national magazines and newspapers, and the recipient of numerous awards.

2. Margaret Downey: Margaret founded the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) and the Anti-Discrimination Support Network (ADSN) in 1993. In 1994 Margaret founded the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee.She is active in issues such as maintaining the Jeffersonian wall of church/state separation, freedom from religious intrusion, freedom of choice, and death with dignity. ADSN is concerned with discrimination against the Atheist community. ADSN monitors public office positions and public schools. In December of 1991 Margaret filed a discrimination case against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) through the Human Relations Commission of Pennsylvania. After nearly eight years she lost her case against BSA. In the U.S. Supreme court case James Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, BSA declared itself “private” to avoid the question of open membership thus ending her appeal and many other court cases against BSA’s discriminatory membership policy. ADSN efforts are responsible for convincing movie producer Steven Spielberg to disassociate himself from BSA. In the year 2002, Margaret became the first Secular Humanist Celebrant in Pennsylvania. Taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s “Self-Uniting” marriage licenses; Margaret performs godless weddings and funeral ceremonies.

3. Ellen Johnson: Ellen is an activist for atheist rights and the separation of church and state in the United States. She was president of American Atheists from 1995–2008. 2005 she appeared on an ABC special, “Heaven – Where Is It? How Do We Get There?”, for which she was interviewed by Barbara Walters. She appeared on Larry King Live in April 2005, Good Morning America in December 2005, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country on December 14, 2004, and appeared on Fox News three times in November and December 2003, and MSNBC’s Phil Donahue.

4. Julia Sweeney: Julia is an actress and comedian who worked in productions such as the big screen in Pulp Fiction, Clockstoppers, Whatever It Takes, and Stuart Little. She was also partr of the SNL cast from 1990-1994. Sweeney has created and performed three autobiographical monologues, God Said Ha!, In the Family Way, and Letting Go of God.

5. Annie Laurie Gaylor: Co-founder and Co-president (along with Dan Barker) of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (http://www.ffrf.org). Executive editor of Freethought Today and author of “Woe to the Women: the Bible tells Me So”, “Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children”, & “Women Without Superstition: No Gods – No Masters”

6. Melody Hensley: Melody is the Executive Director for Center for Inquiry DC. The Center for Inquiry is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes defends reason, science, and freedom of inquiry in all areas of human endeavor.

7. Lori Lipman Brown: Lori has served as a state senator, lobbyist, lawyer, educator, and social worker supporter. She served as the founding director of the Secular Coalition for America from 2005 to 2009. In this position, she was the first Congressional lobbyist explicitly representing nontheistic Americans. During her directorship, the organization grew from a coalition of 5 national organizations with one staff, to a coalition of 10 national organizations with six staff.

8. Shelley Mountjoy: Shelley Mountjoy is a graduate student at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia where she is President of the Secular Student Alliance (GMU) and Vice President of the Graduate and Student Professional Association. Off campus, Shelley serves as a leader of several local groups and has organized over 300 educational, activist, community service, and social events. In July of 2009, Shelley co-founded District of Columbia Atheists, Inc. (DCA); she is currently President. DCA is organized as a representative democracy and is the first and only formal organization for atheists in the Nation’s Capital. She’s currently writing a book with Christopher Arntzen (former head of GAYLAH) called “godless DC” which will be released in late 2010. Shelley is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Secular Student Alliance.

9. Lorena Rios: Lorena is the president of Aelis Realty Group, LLC, a green company specializing in Earth Friendly homes and sustainable real estate. She is also an member of the Capital Beltway Atheists, a large group of atheists in the Virginia, Maryland and DC area.

10. Andrea Griffith: Andrea, The Social I.Q. Lady™, is an expert in Social Intelligence. She uses that expertise to help atheists combat the everyday problems associated with superstition, religion, and ignorance. Know exactly what to say and do when someone says, “God bless you” after you sneeze or wants to pray before a meal. Learn how to counter the arguments of the religious right using facts and logic at http://blog.socialiqlady.com.

11. EllenBeth Wachs: EllenBeth is President of the Humanists of Florida Association as well as Vice President and Legal Affairs Coordinator for the Atheists of Florida, Inc. She is an outspoken activist demanding equal rights for atheists and absolute separation of church and state. She has taken on her local City Commission, School Board and a fundamental Christian Sheriff over constitutional violations and has paid for it with her freedom. The sheriff initiated investigations and trumped up charges to silence this vocal activist. She is also an outspoken advocate for the secular sobriety movement and founded a local chapter of SOS, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a rational alternative to the 12 step faith-based model.

May 31, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Being a woman | 7 Comments

Women and Education

What is the most important tool for the empowerment of women? Education. Education is the path to better paid jobs which can make women become independent, not victims. Education can also be training or access to information, which in turn may facilitate professional success.

It is sad to see women all over the world depending on somebody else for their survival. Is it sad to see how women accept things they would normally not accept if they had enough money to support themselves. It is sad to see women in abusive marriages afraid of leaving because they don’t know how they are going to feel themselves and their children. We’ve come a long way, but there are still stories of dependence in every part of the world, especially in the Middle East.

Stories of dependence exist here In the United States, as well as in other so-called Western civilized countries. The very traditional values imposed by men and for men through Evangelical congregations particularly in the American Red States make women stay home and make babies (Quiverfull movement). The more babies they have, the more dependant they are. Decades ago Catholic Ireland followed the Pope’s commandments against birth control, so Irish Catholic families had at least 3 or 4 children. These women would have to put up with philandering husbands, out of wedlock children, alcoholic and abusive husbands. There was no way out.

Women who make their own money look, feel and live differently. They have a much higher self esteem, they act more confident, and they do whatever they want with their lives, including deciding to live it at its fullest.

In that respect, why do many young women still choose “female professions”, or “find-a -husband degrees”? Are they afraid of the hard work that comes with more challenging degrees such as engineering and medicine? Do they have more problems with math which makes them avoid more scientific professions? Do they think they will go to College but then settle down with a man who will take care of them? The truth is that women still choose careers that pay less. Society has to encourage girls to take on the harder subjects and to enroll in more scientific and lucrative fields at school.

In Brazil, raising girls to be mothers and wives has always always been more pronounced than in the USA and Western Europe. Girls are encouraged to take ballet lesson and have more feminine actitivities. Not many girls get into competitive sports as in the USA.

With each generation that has passed though, things have gotten better. My mom’s generation was marriage first and maybe a job to complement the household income. I remember growing up and hearing “her salary is for her cosmetics”. The woman was not expected to be a major bread winner. My generation mixed both career and motherhood a lot better, but we still took a sidestep to our husband’s careers. We grew up thinking we would have a man’s protection, and that marriage would provide us with stability.

Not anymore. I suspect the new generations coming out of high school know they will have to fend for themselves. They’ve witnessed their parents’ divorce, and they’ve been through recession periods when the breadwinner sometimes has to be the woman. Furthermore, the role of men has changed. They are much more involved with childcare, and they split in half housework, carpooling, care giving. The truth is, only women can bear children, and women are no doubt more involved in a child’s early infancy. To expect them to suddenly become as successful as men is to disregard the biological and gender differences. However, there are three things parents should teach their daughters:

1) Only have as many children as you can afford;
2) Choose more competitive careers; don’t be afraid of trying male territory;
3) Never assume a man will take care of you for the rest of your life. There is death, divorce, unemployment and disease.

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Being a woman, Difference between cultures, Society | 2 Comments

Seven reasons SATC and RHONY are successful

“Sex and the City” and “The Real Housewives of New York City” have gained popularity to the point that many people recognize these acronyms. Both shows, one based on fictitious characters and the other based on real characters in probably fictitious or scripted situations, center themselves on the lives of quasi-middle aged women who are friends or socialize together. Both shows have been an enormous success. Why is that?

I suppose there are a few reasons:

1) The women in these shows look great for their age. They wear designer duds and have great figures. Every woman their age in America would love to look exactly like them, and most don’t.

2) Every woman has a different personality. Women usually identify themselves with one of them or see bits and pieces of their personality on each one of them.

3) Women love tales of love and sex and conversations about relationships, which these shows have an abundance of.

4) Many of these women go through bad experiences with men and through bad break ups, which most women can relate to.

5) Both of these shows are in NYC, a city considered a “playgound for adults”.  A housewife from small town America can daydream for a whole hour about walking the streets of Manhattan in her 4 inch stilletos, looking sophisticated and worldly . For that short period of time, they live vicariously through these glamorous women.

6) Female friendships have been more celebrated since women’s lib. Women desire having a group of friends they can share things with. In the past, women would have girlfriends from school and once married, their contact with other women would be limited to other couples. Nowadays, it is ok for married women to have their own friends and do things with them.

7) Gossip. Men and women alike love gossip. Gossip is a bestselling commodity in America, and these shows are full of it!

8) For many women, it gives them hope that their lives, one day, may be full of parties, fashion shows, handsome men and limo rides.

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Being a woman | Leave a comment

The 15th birthday party tradition

Different cultures have different traditions.  When Jewish children turn 13, they may have a Bar Mitzvah (for boys) or Bat Mitzvah (for girls). Depending on the family’s resources, it can be a lavish celebration in luxury hotels, with gourmet food and a hired band.

In the Latin cultures, a girl’s 15th birthday is an excuse for a big celebration. Some families spend enormous amounts of money to “introduce her to society”. Unfortunately, it’s not really about the teenager. Many times wealthy parents just want to show off to their friends and family how much money they have. That’s specially true of the “nouveau riche”.

When I turned 15, I was living in Brazil and I knew I did not want a lavish party.  I was skeptical of the whole idea of being introduced to society. At the age of 15, I was still a kid. I was told that the 15 birthday was important since girls could start officially dating. I wasn’t prepared to date anyone seriously, which at my age I felt was utterly ridiculous. My job was to study, get good grades, have friends and obey my parents. I wasn’t wiling to be introduced to society nor I wanted to have a serious boyfriend who I would date exclusively and marry a few years later.

Several decades later, the 15th birthday tradition seems sexist and backwards as ever. It’s from a time when women were married off to desirable men at a very young age. It’s from a time when women had few options in life other than get married and have babies. It comes from a position of class and privilege since girls from poor families could not be properly introduced to “society”.

The tradition still exists among the more traditional families in Brazil and Mexico (called the Quincañera), as well as other South American countries. In the US, the closest thing to this tradition are the debutante balls in NYC and  the sweet 16th birthday party for girls. However, the Sweet 16th it is not meant to be an “introduction to society” as much as a landmark of a girl becoming a woman, and debutante balls are really demode..  I imagine there may be some families that  throw lavish parties for 16 year olds, but I think they are very rare.

More important  is to give girls tools to become adults. To teach them empowerment, to help them discover their strengths and talents and guide them into a career where they can be useful to society and be happy. Teach them about safe sex, nutrition, health and personal safety. Leave the ball gowns for when they really become a woman.

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Being a woman, Difference between cultures | 2 Comments

The Real Housewives of NYC: wannabe teenagers

If you have watched the Bravo Series “The Real Housewives of NYC”   you know what I am trying to say: middle aged women are nowadays going through a second adolescence.  Remember Edwina Monson, the character played by Jennifer Saunders in  “Absolutely Fabulous”, the very funny British show from the 80’s? Precisely the same behavior.  Female Peter Pans.  What makes these over 40 women behave like that? Fear of aging? Fear of dying?

It is undeniable that access to cosmetics and procedures that delay aging, such as botox, fillers, lipos and lifts have changed the way most  middle aged women look.  I remember some tidbits about what was considered age appropriate when I was a child growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s. Teenagers were not supposed to wear grown up clothes or make up, while women over 40 were not supposed to show too much skin or wear anything too tight or colorful. Hair below your shoulders after 40? A no no.  

Grandmas looked like grandmas: long dresses with small flowery print, salt and pepper conservatively styled hair, flats, little pearl necklaces.  Women from poor backgrounds looked even older, from sun exposure working the fields, lack of moisturizer and very hard lives. They could look 80 when they were only 50.

How times have changed. Forty and fifty somethings now dress exactly like their 17 year old daughters. Miniskirts? Check. Knee high boots? Check. Plunging necklines? Check.  Long and flowy hair? Check. No one is surprised anymore to see a woman past her prime wearing a short dress with heels if her body is relatively well kept.  

Obviously, with more and more women making their own money and being more successful, they can afford to look more like a 20 year old vixen than grandma.  Unfortunately, along with looking hot and young, middle aged women also are behaving like their daughters.  The Real Housewives of NYC party like youngsters, talk like teenagers and fight just like high school girls.  Watching them is like watching a freak show.  Very entertaining, utterly ridiculous and you end up feeling embarrassed for them.  Do they realize how ridiculous they seem? Probably not, since they are all laughing all the way to the bank.  After all, in this day and age of reality TV and parents pimping their children, apparently anything  is worth having more cash in the bank.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Being a woman, Lifestyle, Society | Leave a comment

The woman’s checklist

beauty-tipsIt seems that women have so much to do in order to keep up the appearances, literally. Especially as we age, there are so many things we need to do on a regular basis not only to look good but to be healthy. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, and most of us work full time,  sleep about 7 hours a night and sometimes have a husband, boyfriend (or a girlfriend), children or a pet. We also want to watch a favorite show on TV, read the news, listen to music or browse the internet. Some of us even try to keep a blog, however sparingly we write on it 🙂

On top of all that, there are the little things we need to do to ensure we don’t look like old hags from the outside, and all the healthful things to ensure that our insides don’t look like raggedy as well. Because after a certain age, all those annoying things start happening to our bodies, and if we don’t prevent them, we will be just like our old great-aunt who complained of every pain under the sun. Tennis elbow, hemroids, Aquilles tendon, heartburn, restless legs syndrome, cellulite, ingrown nail, cervical cancer, high cholesterol….the list goes on.

So besides eating healthy foods and getting your daily exercise, what other things do we normally have to do to keep ourselves looking good inside and out?

-floss daily

-take multivatimins and calcium daily

-do our nails, once a week or so

-wax or shave pubic hair, underarm hair, legs, moustache..:)

-tweeze those unwanted hairs on our chin that start after the age of 30

-pluck or wax your eyebrows

-retouch your roots every time they show, whether they are dark or grey.

-style or blowdry your hair after you wash it

-botox once every 6 months

-fillers if you are over 45 +

-Pap smear (every year)

-colonoscopy every 10 years if you have no polyps

-mammography every one or two years

-endoscopy if you have any stomach ache/heartburn

-densitometry

-moisturize your face every morning and evening

-moisturize your hands

-moisturize your feet

-moisturize your whole body!

-get a tan, whether a suntan or fake tan to look better

-walk on uncomfortable high heels to look sexy

-have a complete check up every year-heart, blood tests, etc

-put on make up every single day

-wear jewelry almost every day

-make sure your shoes match your outfit and your purse

-go shopping for clothes from the “new season”

-take a shower every day

-make sure you have bowel movements and defecate every day 🙂

-brush your teeth completely twice a day

-pluck those nose hairs if you have them

-file your nails

-have plastic surgery when things start going downhill too much

Some men also follow many of the items listed above, and some metrossexuals do it all, but it is clear that the modern woman has many things to remember on her day to day. Whenever we forget any of the above we feel miserable, as if we were neglecting ourselves.  A lot of women know that feeling. The thing is: we are not perfect, and we cannot control everything. Let’s not beat ourselves on the head if we aren’t able to do it all. Life is too short!

 

 

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Being a woman | Leave a comment

Mid-Age and female friendships

scarlett1When girls become teenagers, they usually have a best friend at school or in their neighborhood. As they become adults, life changes such as new jobs, marriage, kids and relocation sometimes makes the best female friend fall into the backdrop of life. Some young women while vying for male attention become very competitive, and prefer to surround themselves with male friends instead of female ones. And many of us while married prioritize the relationship with our husbands, children and the new family unit we build for ourselves.

Something happens though after our forties: we need our female friends more than ever. Middle age can be a time of our lives where big changes happens: menopause, divorce, empty nest, cancer, loneliness, aging parents…life stresses that all of us can go through. That is when having a network of good female friends can be a buffer, a respite, a support. Women are less competitive when more mature. We know we do not have the power to seduce every man that walks by any longer, so we are not so focused on who looks better than who. We don’t see other women as competition.

Additionally, we see many of our “sisters” going through the same life changes that we do, and a bond is formed.  Finally, we have more common interests with these women from our generation than with the men in our lives.  Ah, and we all share our cheap reading glasses when we go out 🙂

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Being a woman | Leave a comment