Men and women ARE different, and how we interact with the opposite sex is significant, and depicted about how we view our roles in society. I just had an interesting conversation with two 20-something women* about male/female dynamics in budding relationships. Laney’s been married one year, Mona’s been dating a guy for one month, and me, married for 5 years.

Mona is anxious to know if her relationship has reached exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend status, but isn’t sure about how to find out. She’s considering having a friend ask the guy, in a round-a-bout way. Laney advises to ‘hold off’ and let the guy take the initiative in that respect. Laney finds it best to wait for men to say ‘I love you’ first because ‘men like to do things like that’. She believes woman can be assertive without being dominant, and that not letting the man take the initiative is usurping his dominance. She says women can be assertive by ‘getting what they want’ without having to have a discussion. She has a girlfriend who’s been wanting to say she loves her guy since a few months into their relationship, but has been waiting for 3 years for him to say it first, and therefore doesn’t quite know where their relationship stands. I say, if you are in a relationship (where you desire longevity), ask questions flat out, clearly, and as they arise. I don’t see a place for poor communication and inhibition in a healthy adult relationship. I see finding a back-door way of talking about things with your partner so that he feels more like the ‘direction-setter’ as a form of playing games that everyone should avoid. I am a big believer and appreciator of feminine wiles, but I like to ‘get what I want’ by talking it out.

I’m sure part of my POV comes from my distaste for men who shy away from assertive women. Is being ‘too domineering’ a concern that women in fledgling relationships ?All men are different, as are situations and relationships. Most would agree that there are times when the woman should say ‘I love you’ first and such. But the true question is: Is there ANY circumstance where a woman who questions the status of her relationship should wait for the man to establish it before asking questions? Is she gonna ‘run off’ the potential love of her life? Should you ever stay silent from your partner when you have questions? Should you play ‘harmless’ covert games to find out what you need to know?

I feel like NOT asking questions as they arise is putting your life on hold. If he wants to be exclusive and so do you, fine; but if he doesn’t, and you don’t find out, then you are going to turn down other dating opportunities. How’s that fair?

*Names have been changed to protect Mai

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Yikes, touchy subject right? This issue is on the minds of millions. But this is essentially the response that Miss America first runner-up California’s Carrie Prejean gave last night on the Miss America Pageant contest. Infamous online celebrity gossiper, and totally gay dude Perez Hilton asked Prejean the tough question. (I felt sorry for the girl when she got it. I mean Miss Arizona had to answer a question about how she got her childhood nickname- lame.) Hilton was obviously not excited by her answer. Though it was neck in neck all night between the top two, Miss North Carolina’s Kristen Dalton (gorgeous blue gown btw) won the title. So did that question cause the title for California? And would that be ‘just’?

Its funny that Prejean is from California because I tend to think of Cali as a liberal, (somewhat hedonistic), live and let live, anything goes sort of atmosphere, though of course you get all types everywhere… (I mean I don’t think fiery Miss Utah was Mormon but I don’t know…)

There is never going to be a time where everyone in the country supports marriage equality. There’s never going to be a time where we all agree on everything. Keeping that in mind, should Perez Hilton ‘hold that against’ Prejean? Can a Miss America who doesn’t support marriage equality accurately represent this increasingly diverse nation?

I too was brought up with a religious background that doesn’t support gay lifestyle. That shouldn’t be a big surprise, I dont think most people are. However, I was also brought up not to pass judgement on people. You can still like people and recognize that people are good people without agreeing with everything they do, basically. I also happen to be pretty liberal. And I think that politics and laws are not currently governed by religious morals (beautiful wicked world)…. so therefore, its not just (by law/politics/etc) to have unequal marriage rights, en mon avis…

I say all that to say, thought I dont agree with Prejean ‘per se’ it had to be pretty difficult for her to answer Hilton as she did. And there’s a lot to be said for standing your ground. I’m proud of that in her, and I’d like to be proud of Miss America.

I’ve never subscribed to ANY political party. But if I were to, the Republican party would not be high up on mai list. I don’t identify with their general sensibilities or views of society and economic hierarchy. However, I greatly appreciate what Sarah Palin has done (vastly inadvertent) for women in politics. Thank you Sarah.

Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, George W. Bush, George Washington, the list goes on and on for men in politics with reprehensible behavior. Men in politics represent the noble, the greedy, the detestable, and the (nearly) righteous. Truly the spectrum of men in politics is wider than women. Therefore, men are seen as multi-dimensional figures. Of course some of them are bad, of course some of them are ugly, of course some of them will make mistakes, and make bad choices, and force the country into turmoil. Because even though that is part of their character’s capacity, so is the other extreme for doing good.

Women in politics aren’t seen the same way to the same extent. Our most notable women are Clinton, Pelosi, Chisholm, and Rice. Lesser known politicians are Maxine Waters and C. Delores Tucker. But for the most part (nothing is total of course), women in the history of politics have been respectable do-gooders. This is a nice legacy to uphold. But I am constantly defending Palin. Not because I agree with her book banning, wolf aerial hunting, victims pay for forensic rape kits, charging Alaskan tax-payers to foot the bill for her daughters to see the world, pulling strings to get her in-laws unjustly hired and fired antics. But because she is one more woman sculpting the national, political view. One more woman to crack a ceiling. One more woman to add to the face of women in politics. She has shaped an idea of what women can be in American politics, at this point, for good or bad isn’t that important.

Though I’m SURE I will never subscribe to any political party in my life (save, perhaps the Nunya Party*) I have to give Palin her props, just for existing. I ‘love’ her ideology even less than I ‘love’ the Constitution (Problem with that? There isn’t a dayum thing you can do about it, I’m not going anywhere, and frankly its none of your business). It’s none of your business how a person votes AND if they choose to vote or abstain from voting one and all. But I defiantly hope Palin’s accomplishment is not as forgotten as those of Geraldine Ferraro.

*http://www.progressiveu.org/blog/51282-nunya-party

Its no big secret that the image of the woman has been dragged through the mud in hip hop over the past 17 years. In the July 2008 edition of Rolling Stone, President Elect Barack Obama call Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, and Ludacris “great talents and great businessmen.” He went on to say, “I am troubled sometimes by the misogyny and materialism of a lot of rap lyrics…It would be nice if I could have my daughters listen to their music without me worrying that they were getting bad images of themselves.”

We have seen this trend move from name calling “bitch” and “ho” to images of women being led around on leashes like animals in the 50 cent video “P.I.M.P.”. However, I think the image of women as conveyed through hip hop is back on the upswing. Artists are realizing that not only women and our elders, but the majority of the population is really getting sick and tired of hearing misogynistic themes and side-notes in music. While flipping through the radio (which I try to do as little as possible) you may hear more positive depictions of females like in Independent by Webbie featuring Soulja Boy and Lil Phat from 3 Deep:

“Independent do you know what that mean?
She got to her own house
She got her own car
Two jobs work hard you a bad broad”

Or perhaps in Ride by Ace Hood ft Trey Songz:

“See mama, all I want you to do is hold it down for me
I want you to be my ride or die
while I go get this money, I promise Im get us out the hood baby”

I know what them girls like by Ludacris ft Chris Brown is another positive example. No these examples are far from perfect and generally don’t leave out their eagerness to get them into bed, but hip hops got to start somewhere.

Rhythm and Blues (R&B) music has consistently been a more woman-loving, baby-making style of music, therefore this trend has not been nearly as apparent. However, songs like Ms. Independent, and the even better Ms. Independent/She got her own Remix with Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxx, and Fabolous has has overwhelming success and popularity as Ne-Yo attempts to bring focus back to the image of the gentleman. Let’s all hope this is not a fad but is an new attitude that is going to stay.
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