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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Yesterday, I indulged in the ultimate luxury. I spent hours reading The New York Times. In addition to the Sunday edition, I also had a pile of "catch-up" reading; I subscribe to all seven days, so that pile gets pretty big some weeks. Everything from science to food to international affairs. Many, many thought-provoking and inspiring stories about innovation, courage and - yes - progress. Sure, the world is full of tragedy, trauma, risks, and conflict. But, it's always been that way. Check out the book The Rational Optimist for a different perspective. Believe it or not - civilization keeps getting more civilized. Here's a link to his blog too. So, it was a lovely day of literary gluttony. Then I got to Timothy Egan's The Clown and the Cop. *Sigh* Trapped with a Fox News big screen in my stable of trotters at the gym a few weeks ago, I took in the worldview that may give the White House to Republicans this year. After burning 400 calories, I was ready to torch the capital. For almost half an hour I heard another rehash of how my tax dollars were spent on a clown, a comic and a mind reader at a retreat for government workers outside Las Vegas in 2010. Those tin-eared bureaucrats in the General Services Administration spent a total of $835,000. An outrage, of course, and it was typical, I was informed, of runaway government spending under Barack Obama. Not mentioned during my face time with Fox was a defense bill passed by the House that same day authorizing $642 billion in spending next year — almost $8 billion more than the Defense Department asked for. And this vote broke a promise by the Tea Party-backed Congress, when they agreed last year to cut defense spending over 10 years. I finished the article, did my usual eyeroll...and...right then and there I decided no more. I'm going to stop reading about: the GOP, Fox Noise, and Romney's campaign. And, it's not because I'm an Obama supporter (which I am). The reason I'm going to do my best to ignore the GOP, Fox and Romney is that I'm done with hate, ignorance and stupidity. I'm simply not going to waste any more time. I already know that no matter what Obama does, the opposition hates him - so why waste my time reading (or listening to) yet one more screamin' spewin' jerk? (As Jon Stewart noted about Rush Limbaugh during the Flum hoo-ha, we've always known Limbaugh is a terrible person. And, thankfully, his "fans" are a relatively small percentage of the population.) I already know that Congress is going to continue to act like a bunch of toddlers in a sandbox. So why waste energy getting upset? I already know that Fox and the GOP are anti-science, anti-education, anti-environment, and anti-women - so why waste my time on their promotion of ignorance? (That spinning noise we all hear - it's Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Dwight Eisenhower spinning in their graves. Wait! I think even Nixon is starting to roll...he did create the EPA after all.) I already know - as proven in the primaries and previous campaigns - that Mitt Romney will literally say anything if he thinks it'll help him get ahead. So, why waste my time reading more of the same ol' same ol'? I already know that far too many groups pander to the American sense of entitlement, so why waste my time on their ridiculous spins? (No, we're not "special" or "better" just because we say we are...) I didn't say, however, that I'm giving up. I'll vote. I'll contribute to campaigns. I'll write to my elected officials. I'll recycle. I'll give back. I'll support worthy causes. I'll even post comments here and there on Facebook and blogs in an attempt to get people to stop and think, including offering reading lists (Seriously. If you're going to compare anyone in American politics to Hitler and the Nazis, you should know the reality.) I'll also post links to the actual data (for example, on government spending). Whatever the "anti-troll" is - that's me. (Of course, you can't get through to some people. They've made up their minds. They hate. They scream. They seem to want to be unhappy. Those folks - you give it one polite try and move on.) It's not that bad, really. Unless we let it be. P.S. Need a quick, low-cost pick-me-up? Get a stack of Smithsonian magazines. Pour an adult libation. Sit on the front porch. Wave to neighbors. Drink. Read. Think. Repeat as necessary. Works for me. Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Me. Last Friday. Hulking out. Hulk no like experts! (Yet another expert pitchin' on a LinkedIn "discussion" set me off...You won't like me when I'm angry.) But seriously, I find it simpler to not be angry. It's better for me (and everyone else) for me to be generous, practice loving kindness and (Grrrrr, *CRASH*, *SMASH!*) let it go. However, to get to simple, I've had to do a lot of hard work...with daily spiritual maintenance. So, I get a wee bit irked (let it go...let it go) with the eleventy billion experts purporting they can help you make seemingly everything in life SIMPLE! In only five (or ten or twelve) steps. (Anyone in AA can tell you that 12-step program is a killer. Simple to read and repeat, difficult to live.) Same goes for business. The simpler it looks, the more work went into it (or should.) For example, I'm in the last throes of putting together the cells for my upcoming social media workshop. Very few words. Lots of graphics. Simple...looking. Lots of research, analysis and thinking went into getting to that look. With more work on the soundtrack that goes with the images. So, I get more than a wee bit irked with the gazillion social media experts who promote that social media is free, easy, simple...quick (in only 60 minutes a day!)...whatever. Get ya snake oil right here! ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEED! Saying social media is free is like saying if you pick up a hammer on the street, you're an expert carpenter. Easy? Oh sure. If you want to sweat blood on your keyboard on a regular basis. Simple? Well, yeah. A hammer is basically simple too. So is a screwdriver which...no, no, I'm not going there, way too easy. Let it go...let it go. And, as Peter Shankman noted in his classic post - ur - rant, notes, I Will Never Hire a "Social Media Expert and Neither Should You. I was going to call this article “All “Social Media Experts” need to go die in a fire,” but I figured I should be nicer than that... Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge. We’re making the same mistakes that we made during the dotcom era, where everyone thought that just adding the term .com to your corporate logo made you instantly credible. It didn’t. If that’s all you did, you emphasized even more strongly how pathetic your company was. He said it, I didn't. I'd just like to hunt down the experts and beat them in a forehead with a brick (with the utmost loving kindness of course. The Buddha would be so proud.) (It's also worth noting that Thoreau, who was all "simplify, simplify", had his mom doing his laundry and cooking his meals...and his cabin in the "wilderness" was about a mile from town.) Oh yeah. That social media workshop - It's not free.:) But if you'd like to see how I fit Rube Goldberg, happy dogs, flip-flops and selling thong underwear to 1.3B Chinese into my presentations, join us! It'll be both fun and educational (and your teeth will be instantly whiter) - absolutely GUARANTEED! Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Choosing to operate from abundance not scarcity. Once you make the decision, all other choices flow from that foundation. And, I'm not talking about how to make more money. You don't have to pay a life coach. You don't have to buy books. You don't have to attend seminars. You don't have to sign up for webinars. You don't have to research "how" to practice abundance. You don't even have to talk about it with others. You can keep it very, very simple. You choose to operate from a perspective of abundance (or, as some people say, to practice abundance.) The choice is a matter of deciding, in a flash of a synapse. Sure, you'll have your bad days, 3 a.m. fear attacks, and selfish thoughts. I certainly do. But I always come back around to abundance. It makes me far happier and works far better than anger, distrust, and fear. Some days it's more of a struggle than others. My mother, unfortunately, operates from scarcity, and always has, even before her move into assisted living. So, I get a daily chance to reaffirm my choice of abundance (and - I admit - some days I walk all the way home fuming...deep, cleansing breaths, Mary...) As for mo' money - I could use it. I don't obsess about it. I've long said, "It's only money. I'll make more." And - as my friend Janet notes - "We have money, Mary. We just don't know where it is." Scarcity of spirit is too depressing. Simply choose abundance. P.S. Simple isn't always the same as easy, is it? Read more: Abundance Vs. Scarcity Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Following on Yvonne's post last week, The Power of A Woman's Face I admit - I look at "stars without makeup" photos on occasion. Most of whom look like normal, pretty people on their day off. And, I'd certainly hate to have people taking shots of me shuffling out - in my bathrobe, flip-flops and Clark Kent glasses - to get the paper off the driveway every morning. Like Yvonne, as I've gotten older I've gotten more comfortable. At one time, I would never, ever have left the house without my full make-up. These days, my daily routine is often simply slathering on moisturizer and - if I'm feeling a bit fancy - a bit of eyeliner and mascara. And, if I'm tired, the contacts stay in the case. Staring at a computer screen makes for dry eyeballs; you feel like you've put the lens in with super glue...about two days ago. So, the world-shaking "news" that Hillary Clinton appeared without makeup and in her glasses was less than shakin' for me. I can relate. And, as I noted on Yvonne's post, Ms. Clinton looks like she does a great job of moisturizing (No mean feat given how much she flies...After a full day of flying I look like an extra from The Mummy Returns.) However, there's a big difference between "comfortable" and "sloppy." As Ms. Clinton well knows. She looked professional and put together in those photos, albeit a bit tired and wan. Personally, I'd be sitting in a chair, in a bathrobe, guzzling a 'tooni if I'd put in her hours...but I digress... We can be ourselves without - as we say down south - lettin' ourselves go. For example, one reason that I avoid Wal-Mart - aside from their corporate policies - is the shoppers. Need an appetite suppressant? Visit The People of Walmart. (Warning: Today's featured photo is particularly awful.) Snarky and all that...but these are real people who go out in public, literally exposing themselves for all to (glag and gag) see. I think it's great if we women are comfortable with our real faces and bodies, given the totally unrealistic standards set by the media. HOWEVER, (and yes, I'm yelling just a bit), fat is not healthy, as proven again and again in medical studies and statistics. Morbid obesity is really not healthy. And - no, thanks, really, Walmart people - I don't want to look at you in skin-tight short shorts. (Seriously? How can that even be comfortable???) Overweight should not be the new normal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and a third, some 72 million people, are considered obese. From 1980 to 2008, obesity rates doubled for adults and tripled for children, with 17 percent, or 9 million children over 6, classified as obese. The average American is 23 pounds heavier than the ideal body weight. Experts blame the usual bugaboos: lack of exercise and side-splitting food consumption. "There's definitely a new norm," said Dr. Robert Kushner, clinical director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity at Northwestern University in Illinois. "It's a norm that, 'My entire family and my community is overweight, and that's what I am.' " Certainly, many of us are carrying a few extra pounds as we age,or what we have - um - has moved around a bit...but we should also have a bit of discretion, self-awareness - and - yes - good old-fashioned self-respect. (There's a reason nobody's seen my hips since about 2005.) The other day, I couldn't go through a double-wide door at the same time as another person because we both wouldn't fit...and I wasn't the problem, middle-aged hips and all. Wouldn't that make you stop and think, hey, maybe I need to drop a few pounds? (And not circle the parking lot for 1/2 an hour to get the spot closest to the door? Just sayin'.) Now, I've got to head out for my power walk, so I'm not one of the "new normal." Oh, and in solidarity with Ms. Clinton, here I am without makeup and with my Clark Kent glasses (which I love. They're fun. Gracias to the new hipster generation for making nerdom cool.:) Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
By Guest Blogger Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, recently admitted that she leaves work at 5:30. And has been doing so ever since her children were born. I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I'm home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I've been doing that since I had kids. I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it's not until the last year, two years, that I'm brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn't lie, but I wasn't running around giving speeches on it. If she can do it, why can't everyone else? Yes, yes, I know. She's a COO. She's a major power player. (And, I do wonder what time her assistant leaves...) Some people have to appear to be working killer hours. Some actually do work killer hours. But, then again...the key word here is "work." Are you busy...or producing results? There's a difference. P.S. Having kids shouldn't be the sole reason for leaving at a sane hour. Having a life should be the only reason needed. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Ann Romney hasn't worked a day in her life. - Hilary Rosen Some of my favorite people are moms (Hey, Yvonne!) I still have a mom. But, now that the outrage has died down a bit, I encourage us to not forget the key point. Ms. Romney was not attacked for being a "stay-at-home" mom. Hilary Rosen (a mom herself) wasn't saying mothers don't work. What she was trying to say (albeit, badly) was Ms. Romney can't relate to what many women face every day - economic uncertainty, tight budgets, and low-paying jobs. Yet, she's the one that her husband apparently relies on for the "woman's perspective." Of course, the kersnuffle was a gift to the Romney campaign. Ms. Romney was even overheard saying the remark was an "early birthday gift" and told an NRA conference that she was "proud to have stayed at home." (I'm resisting digressing re gun control here, really, as difficult as that is...) *Sigh* Please. Let's not let the GOP treat women as if we're all too stupid to understand the real issue. It's about the money, not the motherhood. Then there's the dark nasty secret (that we all know but it's terribly politically incorrect to say out loud.) Being a good mom is very hard work, regardless if you stay at home or not. The key word here is "good." Haven't we all known moms that - well - were terrible? The kids ran wild; the house was a mess; dinner came out of a box or can and the mom watched a lot of soap operas. Or, if they had money, the housekeeper and cook did their jobs, the mom spent a lot of time shopping and lunching...and the kids ran wild. My mom stayed at home and operated a bookkeeping service from a desk in the living room. She also had a paper route. Whatever it took to bring in the money. All while keeping an immaculate house (I never used a towel twice...and she ironed my dad's boxer shorts!), making dinners from scratch...and apparently never sleeping. Now, Ann Romney may be a wonderful woman and a great mom...but she never got up at 3 a.m. for her paper route because her family needed the money. Remember. It's about the money, not the motherhood. Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter Last Friday was my - ahem - 54th b'day...and as luck would have it, Yvonne chose that day, in her Friday musings, to talk about the aging face in the mirror. Like me, she loves her life...and yet...where did the time go? What was I doing all those years? Sometimes I feel I wasted a lot of time. But then again... When all is said and done...I had to put in the time to get where I am today. I was growing up. Becoming. Learning. Making incredibly stupid mistakes. Falling wildly in love with wildly inappropriate men. Married (and divorced) my best friend. Charged up the corporate ladder, only to find I didn't want to sell my soul for the next rung. Moved around. Traveled. Made a million or two (on paper. Good thing I didn't spend it.) Bought a couple of houses. And so on and so forth. You know, the stuff of life that we all do. And, if we're lucky we learn from those stupid mistakes, appreciate the memories of the wild times, and discover what really makes us happy. So, here I am. Over 50 and - most days - totally fine with that. Sure, I used to be cute(r), but I was also clueless. I was so busy living I didn't appreciate life. As Yvonne noted in her post, the moment is really all we have...this one right here. Now WHAT? :) (both of the above images from Gapingvoid) Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Over lunch the other day, a friend sighed, "I'm torn between caring and not caring." As we were discussing, there is JUST.SO.MUCH. involved in being a responsible, caring person. Combine our personal challenges with the constant bombardment of bad/good/BREAKING news...and it's easy to see how someone could be torn. What should we really get upset about? When should we take the time to do more than click a "like" button on Facebook? When do we truly care, about what? How do we pick our battles? What really matters to us? Well, I can't speak for all women, everywhere...but... I care about a woman's reproductive rights. I care deeply. And, turns out my friend does too. She got fire in her eye and passion in her voice when remembering the battles and injustices of the past. Look, regardless of how you feel about abortion (Yep, we're going there...), most people are "pro-life." However, that should include the life of the potential mother as well. Things have gotten so crazy lately, we're back to fighting over contraception. And, some poor, ignorant souls posting on Facebook actually believe birth control pills cause abortions. The hard cold fact is that women are (still) the ones who bear the brunt of responsibility for birth control and child-rearing. And, we're the ones who put our bodies on the line, literally. If a man could get pregnant, we'd have every form of birth control (and yes, abortificants) right up there by the breath mints and chewing gum at the local mini-mart. (Oh, and they'd all be covered by most insurance, just like Viagra is today.) But, men can't get pregnant; however, they feel entitled to control women (yes, still, in 2012). Don't believe me? Check out what's going at the state level. ...over all, the pattern has been retrograde: humiliating obstacles to abortions, cuts in family-planning programs, and limits on comprehensive sex education in schools. If you're a young woman living in Texas, for example, you'll very likely receive little to no sex education in school (Why, that's dirty! Go pray, girl!); can't obtain any kind of family planning (Texas cut funding by 66% (1); and will be subjected to rape (well, I'd call it that, as do many others) if you go for an abortion. Planned parenthood is much better than unplanned. And, Ronald Reagan apparently agreed with me. He didn't have any problem funding the group. (1) In case you didn't follow that link, this is important. "Perry and lawmakers curtailed funding for Planned Parenthood earlier this year by cutting the state's family planning budget by nearly 66 percent, from $111.5 million last biennium to $37.9 million in the next two years. In Texas, these state-funded family planning services have included birth control, STD testing, breast cancer exams, and pap smears that screen for HPV, the virus that can lead to cervical cancer — but not abortions." Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Women make up the majority of bloggers, and half of bloggers are aged 18-34 More women vote than men. In 2008, almost 55 percent of women ages 18 – 22 voted in the presidential election, about 8 percentage points more than men of the same age group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since the eighties, voter turnout for women of all ages has been higher than for their male counterparts according to the Center for American Women and Politics. More women are working than men. Over the last few decades, women have been steadily claiming a greater share of the nation’s payrolls. In 1964, the first year for which the government began collecting this data, less than a third of the nation’s nonfarm payroll jobs were held by women. But it was the recession that finally pushed women into the majority. - NYT, 2010 The majority of the elderly (65 and older) are women. And, the older we get, the more we outnumber the men. Just check out the U.S. census...or visit your local nursing home. Then there's the money, honey. - We make the majority of purchase decisions. (Do a quick google and you'll see all kinds of stats...here are the top 30 in marketing to women.) - Senior women age 50 and older control net worth of $19 trillion and own more than three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth. (MassMutual Financial Group–2007) So, why do we often allow ourselves to be treated as a minority? Beats me. Oh, wait. I do know. Because that's the way it's always been. The little woman. The helpmate. The woman behind the man. The glass ceiling. Blah-blah-blaahhhh... I don't know about you, but I'm really tired of the way "it's always been." Don't take "no" for an answer. Speak up. Email. Volunteer. Ask for that raise. Get busy. (Yes, we have made progress. But, it's that's very progress that is apparently driving some people absolutely crazy. For example, insanity is the only sane explanation for what's been going on at the state level. As Gail Collins notes, in Physicians Swinging Stethoscopes, "...sex and state legislators. Never a good combo.") Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter One of my and Yvonne's friends on Facebook posted a link to the news re Limbaugh losing advertisers. Emboldened by Rush Limbaugh’s public apology over the weekend to a law school student whom he had called a “slut” and a “prostitute,” critics of the radio talk show host are intensifying their online campaign against his advertisers. Sho' 'nuf - the following comment almost immediately popped up. *Sigh* Where is the outrage for Maher calling Palin a C*nt? Is it OK to insult women if you lean far left? My response? No. It's not okay. Not ever. But, we weren't talking about Palin. That said, Bill Maher is a stand-up comedian. A group of people not exactly renowned for their taste, tact or restraint. Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, is a leader (yes, a leader) of the GOP (or at least the most vocal part of it) and was viciously attacking a young woman (for days; he's got to fill a lot of air time to justify his making $50 mil a year, doncha know?) because she had the audacity to testify that health insurers should cover contraceptives. The nerve! How DARE she? As one columnist noted, perhaps Mr. Limbaugh is confusing contraception with his little blue pills...which are - ahem - covered by insurance plans. Anyway...back to Maher and Palin. No, it's never ever the - um - right thing to call a woman such a name. That said, I'm really, really tired of the immature responses whenever anyone has the audacity to point out that Limbaugh or any of the other toxic fringe clowns are spewing venom and lies. "But, Mommmm, EVERYONE else does it!" Let's all grow up, people. Look, I don't like Ms. Palin. She's a pathetic insult to intelligent women everywhere - on both the left and the right. Dim. Mean-spirited. Hateful. Spiteful. Petty. Proud of her ignorance. See? I can say what I think of Ms. Palin without resorting to gutter speak. (Hmmm...wonder how the last election would have went if McCain had chosen Olympia Snowe as his running mate? Intelligent. Qualified. Respected by both left and right.) Oh. Wait. Never mind. According to some of the blogs supporting him, Rush was making a joke! No harm intended! Geez, you liberals are so thin-skinned. Silly us. It was simply a matter of "insulting word choices" - which are - oopsie! - a bad habit of his...maybe he's still hitting some of those other funny little pills he used to so enjoy. And, of course, it's all really okay since someone somewhere else insulted Sarah Palin, a different woman, in a different situation, for different reasons. P.S. There was a lot of outrage - all over the blogosphere....back in March 2011 when Maher did his bit. But, hey, he was just making a joke. Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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I do. Evil characters are often more interesting and more complex (and stronger) than the "good" ones. Not to mention smarter...and funnier. (Remember Kevin Costner's Robin Hood movie? Alan Rickman, the evil Sheriff, was terrific and hilarious. Kevin, not so much.) Pick the movie or soap of your choice. Think about it. I'll wait. 'K. We're back. One of my not-so-guilty pleasures is Once (Upon A Time), the show where all the fairy tale characters you've ever read about have been magically transported to this world by an evil queen's curse. Yeah. I hear ya (almost). I thought that too when I first read the show synopsis. Lame. One-shot story. But then I watched. Then I watched again. Got hooked. Because of the "evil" characters. Sure, there's a lot of black, but also some interesting shades of gray, just like real life. Good people do bad things. Bad people do good things. Bad people might not have always been that way. Evil people seldom see themselves as evil. And so it goes. Throughout history strong, accomplished women have been portrayed as evil, from Cleopatra to Hillary Clinton. Although I remain mystified as to why Ms. Clinton still causes such seething hatred and throbbin' neck veins in some men. Oh. wait. I already answered my own question. Never mind. ANYWAY, back to our regularly scheduled program... The queen in Once is mean, dastardly...works constantly to keep Snow White and Prince Charming apart. Boo! Hiss! Um - heh - maybe not. I find myself rooting for her. She's by far the strongest woman (and character) on the show. And, to some extent misunderstood. (There's pain in those eyes. Lost love. Hardened heart. And she seems to genuinely care about her adopted son. See? Gray.) Snow and Charming are - well - sorta boring, not to mention a little dense ad more than a little irritating. I can only watch so many teary-eyed close-ups. Not happy? DO something about it already! The "good" lead, Emma Swan, the town sheriff, is - I'm sorry - as dumb as a stump. I mean, c'mon. If you were the sheriff of a town...that a ten-year-old boy told you was magically moved to this world by the Queen (and everyone had amnesia)... ...where nobody ever leaves. In fact, they CAN'T leave. ...where nobody ever seems to visit (except for that strangely hairy, weird guy on the motorcycle, with a mysterious box) ...where really weird stuff keeps happening. Wouldn't you be a wee bit curious? Well, not our Ms. Emma. She's pretty much oblivious. Munching on donuts. Girl talkin' with Snow. Staring slack-jawed as she loses yet another verbal exchange with the mayor (who's always at least two steps ahead of poor Emma)...worrying about Henry (her biological son, adopted by the mayor; stay with me here, we're almost done)...yet never really doing much about anything. Even when she does rouse herself a bit, she gives up awfully easily. Oh. well. Back to the office. (This woman needs to watch a couple of seasons of Buffy, stat. Seriously.) Even if you were peculiarly lacking in curiosity, wouldn't you be just a bit perturbed that your son's adoptee mother was evil? Even if you didn't believe the fairy tales, the queen, as mayor, does her fair share of dastardly deeds. P.S. The other major evil character, Mr. Gold, breaks my heart. Poor guy. Really. Watching him with that chipped tea cup, I actually got a little teary-eyed myself. (You'll have to watch the show to get that reference.) P.P.S. Once is available on Hulu. Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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Yep. I know. That sounds way over the top. But it's not really. Stay with me here. We'll never be able to save the whole world. But, we can save a bit of it. Those bits could (eventually) add up to the whole. I've been writing about our Adopt-A-Village project for several weeks now, at my blog, here, and at All The Single Girlfriends. Good news. Wonderful photos. Examples. All well and good, but now's the time for us to step up and make a difference. That difference is 4 dimes a day. Still with me? Good. Think of all the things you CAN'T buy with 40 cents: You can't buy a cup of coffee with 40 cents. You can't buy a bottle of water with 40 cents. You can't buy a lipstick for 40 cents. Yet, if you join the Tanah Keke village, that's 40 cents a day ($12/month). That 40 cents will help women in a forgotten part of the world create a better life for themselves and their families. Only 100 of us can join the village. And, if we choose, we can even visit the village in May. Why only 100? Because GHNI is serious about staying focused on low-cost, low-tech solutions to a village’s core problems. So they've decided that 100 partners at $12 per month provides enough funding. Achievable. Doable. Real. They're not asking for a lot. They can just do a lot. With your 40 cents a day. Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter When Toby Bloomberg, Yvonne and I had our first con call with Jeff Power, of Global Hope Network Int'l, re our Adopt-A-Village project, at one point, I said, "No offense, but if you want it done, give to a woman." Jeff's reply: "No argument from me!" And, here's yet another example of woman power, from GHNI's web site (posted by Jeff). A peace walk near GHNI's Kenyan villages. From Jeff's post: "Isiolo town is our GHNI base in central Kenya, as our staff diligently help the surrounding poor villages. Violence between tribal groups escalated again in recent months, ebbing and flowing. Deaths have occurred sometimes weekly. Our staff are wisely limiting their movement to and from our villages, as they daily monitor and evaluate safety conditions. There is hope, and our staff are among those contributing to it. Many people are passionately working toward lasting peace and a change of mentalities. Just this week for instance, hundreds of women in Isiolo formed a Peace Walk to urge everyone toward reconciliation and peaceful cooperation." Hundreds. Yes, hundreds. I think the sign sums it up better than I ever could. "We belong to each other." Indeed. They may be all the way over in Kenya, but it's a very, very small world. We belong to each other. More on GHNI (my All The Single Girlfriends posts) Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Following on my post of last week, "Teach us," is the cry of the women where we introduced the Adopt-A-Village project we're working on with Global Hope Network International (GHNI). We all get so much bad news; it's great to read the good. And, Global Hope Network International shares much good news. No matter how dire the situation, things are improving here and there. People can accomplish incredible things with just a little help. For example, a group of women have formed a sewing enterprise in Indonesia. From the news report: These women are amazing! Their sewing enterprises have taken off, and they’re so proud of the progress they’re making in their TCD Income Generation program. There are two sewing groups: the beginners group and the advanced group. The beginners group is using this month to practice sewing on old rags and pieces of clothes, and the advanced group has already begun to make beautiful aprons to sell. The money generated from the sales of these aprons will help the women pay back the investment for the new sewing machines. Once they have made a certain amount of aprons, they will own their own machine. That's the "new" machine there. I think my grandmother had one just like it. And, here's Tiffany, one of GHNI's trainers with some of the women. Like I've said before. It doesn't take much to make a big difference. P.S. I'll find out where we can get some aprons. :) Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter This is a quote from the Global Hope Network International's web site about a village in Afghanistan the group is helping become self-sustaining. Qala e Nadar is a small village framed by rugged mountains on one side and less than fifteen kilometers from Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan on the other. Overlooked and forgotten, Qala e Nadar is small and too close to the city to merit help. Thirty years ago, the traditionally nomadic community settled on this dry, arid and barren plain. There is no accessible school, no local bazaar, no immediate health care, no electricity, no running water, and no literate adult. The community is sustained by some of the men and teenage boys who get periodic work in nearby brickworks... “Teach us,” is the cry of the women of Qala e Nadar. A start has been made. Of course, there are many women who need help - throughout the world. So many, in fact, it's totally overwhelming. And, in a google search there were about 191,000 results for "adopt a village." What's so special about GHNI's program? Here's what's special. Good old-fashioned face-to-face connection. Mine with Jeff Power, US Partnership Director. (That's his smiling face on the left.) That of village adopters with the villagers, through trips as well as blogs and video conferences. People talking to people. What a concept! I met Jeff at SOBCon Northwest last fall. He gave a great presentation about how GHNI helps the poorest of the poor, by giving them a hand up NOT a hand out. As he and I discussed over - ahem - more than one martini, many "do gooder" organizations actually don't do much good. Lots of money gets thrown around. Well-meaning people fly in and out. Food sits rotting on docks (or is sold on the black market.) The white folks swoop in to give patronizing, boilerplate advice (Kinda like big-timus consultants do to big corporations. I can relate.) GHNI does it differently. They hire locals and focus on solving the root causes of the problem(s). Since I'm a problem-solver by nature, this approach really excited me. Instead of simply asking for donations, GHNI asks people to get involved and to build relationships. And, they make it pretty easy to do so. You can take a trip, adopt a village...or, yes, "simply" make a donation (money is always welcome.) Long story short (well sorta), I want to adopt a village. But, I can't do it alone. That's where the readers (and writers) of Lipsticking, along with All the Single Girlfriends come in. (Thanks Yvonne and Toby!) Over the next several weeks, we'll be firming up the details of what/who/how with Jeff and his team. So stay tuned! P.S. If you want to get involved RIGHT now, that'd be terrific. Just let me know via comment below. Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter From Christian Science Monitor: Why did Michele Bachmann's campaign crater? Gaffes...defections...and - ta-da! Women. You would think the only female candidate in the GOP race might attract a disproportionate share of woman voters. But Bachmann didn’t. According to an Iowa State University poll taken in late December, her vote share was about 7.2 percent with both genders. Well, duh. Really? It shouldn't have surprised anyone. Anyone who knows anything about women, that is. But, gee, it's so gosh darn perplexing, say the shallow pundits and lazy marketers. After all, she's a mom! She's raised 23 foster kids! She looks good (but not too good.) Many women do like her...and (what they perceive as) her good Christian values. Surely, what's not to like about any of that? So, why didn't she get a lot more votes? Well, maybe - just maybe - because not all women think alike, even when we have things in common. Maybe - just maybe - we're interested in more than one (or two) issues. As one columnist noted, Bachmann kept saying the same thing, over and over. And - while a basic of media training is "stay on message" - people get bored with the same ol' same ol'. "Obama bad" - even if you believe it - doesn't tell you anything about the candidate's knowledge of foreign policy. Yeah, yeah, we've heard that! What else ya got? Last, but certainly not least. Just because she's got girlie parts doesn't mean we don't knew stupidity and lying when we see it. (Yes, yes...I know. That's rather rude of me. But, c'mon. We can and must do better. Personally, I find Ms. Bachmann highly amusing when she's goes off into whopper-land and does that crazy eyes thing, but that's entertainment, not leadership.) Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2012 at Lip-Sticking
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter We all love getting gifts, especially if they're unexpected. However - unless you're some hideously spoiled rotten socialite - it really is the thought that counts. And, according to the NYT, gift giving doesn't have to be expensive or painful. Traditionalists and etiquette mavens are complaining, but the rest of us can thank social scientists this season. They have come up with experimental evidence to support three revolutionary rules for people who hate shopping for holiday gifts: 1. You don’t have to spend any time looking for “thoughtful” gifts. 2. You don’t have to spend much money, either. 3. Actually, you may not have to spend any money. Try telling that to my mother. She's a bit down that she "can't do anything for Christmas this year." Her being here in Albuquerque is more than enough for me...but she can't give me an actual thing, however small. As an only child, I always had an embarrassment of riches at Christmas time. Santa apparently spent like a drunken sailor...bringing everything on my list...and then some more. I actually hid things before my friends came over. Too, too much. Of course, I loved it. Who am I kidding? However, I don't remember many of the actual things. What I remember (and treasure) is the fun. The fun I had...and the fun my mom had planning, cooking, wrapping. (She made about a thousand batches of fudge and other candy). Those memories are my mother's best gift to me. This year and every year. So, really. Stop shopping now and start enjoying...Life's too short to stand in yet another line (even online). Happy holidays to one and all! Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter People talk a lot about giving thanks, being grateful, giving back, mellowing out and such during the holiday season. We write feel-good blog posts. Tweel uplifting quotes. Post heart-warming FB links. Stuff dollars into the Salvation Army kettle...hug our grandmas... Then January rolls around...and not so much...then drab, nothin-doin' February. Before you know it, we're back to snarky, snippy "real life." And, I freely admit, I can be amongst the snarkiest and snippiest. After all, there's so much material! Politicians. Trolls. Big Clueless Companies. The (gag) Kardashians (oops, went snarky there for a sec)...etc. etc. etc. Ah, well, the holiday season was nice while it lasted. 2011 was a hard year for me and mine and I'm more than ready for a bright, shiny new year of possibilities. That said, there was a lot of good in 2011, including my developing gratitude habit (addiction?) There are about a billion self-help books out there (for only $25.95!) that will "teach" you how to be grateful. But, here, I'll save you $25.95. Keep it simple (and I think this was in a book somewhere) - every morning when you wake, think of three things for which you're grateful. Every night when you go to bed, think of three things for which you're grateful. Once you start, you'll find that it's tough to stop at just three. For example: My standing three every morning are: 1. The thought of that first cup of coffee; 2. Knowing the New York Times is waiting in my driveway; 3. I don't have a clock in my bedroom; I wake up any old time. Inevitably at least two or three more sneak into the brain before I put feet on the floor. At bedtime, the usual three are: 1. I HAVE a clean, comfortable bed; 2. The cats are happy and healthy (and - um - taking up way too much space on that bed); 3. My mother lives just down the street and is comfortable and safe (Yeah, she can drive me nuts if I let her...but she's the only mother I'll ever have.) Now, if cranky, snarky me can practice daily gratitude, I bet you can too. Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter It's that time of year again... When the Trader Joe's parking lot (and store) resemble a war zone (I actually saw a fist fight last year, complete with bloody noses, over a parking space.) When I take my life into my hands to walk by the Christmas tree sales lot (Hurry! Hurry! We've got to get home and get into the spirit!) When I avoid all big box stores and malls. I don't go there much anyway, but this time of year, it's at best unpleasant, at worst downright dangerous. (Cue all the stories of Black Friday shopper fights and arrests.) Rush, rush, push, push, SHOVE, SHOVE! Gotta get that! (Of course, this time in 2012, will anyone remember what was so absolutely critical for 2011 Xmas? My bet is no...yet, they may well still be paying for it.) And, as I (reluctantly) drive one of the major interstates or streets here in town, I wonder, just where are all these people going? In such a rush? With phones to their ears and scowls on their faces? Seems people simply don't have enough time to get everything done, especially during the holidays. (So, what do you think? Do people use "the holidays" as a reason or an excuse? I mean, really. You don't have 1/2 hour for a phone call; an hour for a meeting; one single dinner or lunch hour free? 15 minutes for doing nothing? For over a month? C'mon.) Granted I'm either terribly spoiled or fortunate, depending on your perspective. I don't even have a clock in my bedroom. I gave away all my watches years ago. I practice "Zen coffee" time most every morning, fresh-ground french press coffee in hand, cat(s) in lap, and not much going through the brain. ...and yet...I find myself saying, "I don't have time to __________!" When, in reality, I've got an abundance of time. It's all in my perspective...and choice. Seems we can always find time to waste in our lives...but have difficulty finding time to LIVE our lives. Now, I think I'll indulge and go have a third cup of coffee... Here's hoping you can have a slow Friday. Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter Note I didn't say I don't shop online. But, buying? Well, that can be difficult. Way too often it seems that companies don't want to sell you anything, based on their web site designs. In my grumpier moments I think this must be because most web sites are designed and planned by - grump, grump - men. You know, the same ones who design kitchens with cabinets way up there and sports arenas with way too few facilities for women. Way annoying. Most men don't see shopping as a recreation or sport. Most women do. (I don't shop big boxes or mass market stuff much, but I love to find that extra-special unique "thing" in that cool little shop or thrift store.) Thus, men design web sites so they make perfect sense to them, and actually "work" functionally. "Hey, you can buy it, what's your problem?" But, then just try to buy something easily and quickly. Ah, then the "fun" begins. Here are just three recent examples of why I didn't buy (and wanted to, really. Had the credit card all ready to roll): 1. Asking me to create an account when all I wanted to do was check out. No thanks. I really don't want to be added to junk email blasts or spend the time filling in a lot of fields. Please. Just let me buy the damned thing. 2. Waiting until I've gone through the whole process, including providing shipping and credit card info only to tell me "Sorry, out=of-stock." Grrrrr.... 3. Requiring me to create an account before giving me any pricing or availability info. Great way to never sell anything there, folks. ...then there are the sites that force you to buy.one.thing.at.time, expecting you to go through the whole process for each single item. Um, why have a "shopping cart?" Hello? So, sure, the sites probably "work" for the male techie...just not for customers. (P.S. To be fair, some of the worst sites I've ever seen were planned by women biz owners and implemented by women techies. Ouch.) Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter, LLC As regular readers know, I don't own a television, so I watch shows online. Of course, there are still commercials. And, really, I don't have a problem with that. I understand that the networks/show producers need to make money. I even enjoy some of the ads, including the Mayhem spots (the raccoon in the attic is a favorite.) Some of the commercials such as the Hail to the V! series are at best annoying; at worst, insulting. My latest peeve is the bra ad which runs seemingly incessantly with CW shows. I actually got up and left the room last night; I was that sick and tired of it. (Yes, now I can have a bra that makes me look two cup sizes larger!) However, it's just a commercial...so why do I so utterly loathe it? Because it depicts what we would - um - call a "skank" back in the day. You know, the one the guys could always "depend" on if nothing better came along. Ratty hair, drug-addled look on her face, dancin' around the campfire in her scanty underwear. Yeah. Real class act; I wanta be her! *Sigh* Irritating, insulting, demeaning to women. And, here's the real kicker - I can't remember the company's name. Atria? Avia? Avian? Huh? Please just go away and take the skank with you. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter Hey, it's Friday - let's talk a little mindless fun. Yes, me and about a million teenagers. So, here I am. A woman of a certain age blowing the viewer demographics once again. Or am I? Now that I've TOTALLY blown my cred as a responsible, mature biz woman... In asking around, I find any number of "grown-up" women watch the show (as well my other not-so-guilty CW pleasure, Supernatural.) I don't, however, have ANY interest in "joining us" on Facebook (as a TVD character urges on the site)...or to buy any of the TVD junk merchandise pitched (if for no other reason than I'd look ridiculous in it.) I also have no urge to follow, like or otherwise share my viewing habit. Hey, guess there's some age difference kicking in after all. The show, if you've not seen it, is rather like Twilight for grown-ups. Sure, it's mind candy, junk food for the brain, silliness in a slick, fun package. (Vampirism in TVD's world isn't much more bothersome than acne - you just gotta wear a ring and refrain from eating your history teacher and you're fine. Plus, the sex is stellar!) ANYWAY, how did I get hooked? Well, I watched four episodes back to back one evening when I couldn't sleep. It was the end of a very bad, sad, horrible no-good day and I needed to totally turn off the brain. And a good vampire yarn is one of my favorite way to veg. (That said, I think the whole vampire romance sub genre has gotten completely out of control.) So, why am I looking forward to the next episode? (Um, could the above picture of Damon give you any clue? Bad, bad Mary.) The show IS silly...but...it's quality silliness. Ian Somerhalder (the actor who plays Damon) has a way with a line; everyone seems to be having a good time with their part; and it's just - well - fun. Quality. fun. good-looking people. A great combo, regardless of your target audience's age. P.S. I did find the first couple of episodes of the first season to be almost unbearably saccharine, and stopped watching. The good boy vampire (Stefan, Damon's brother) was whining and moping around, scribbling away in a diary. However, things have really changed. No more dreary moping or diary scribblings. Stefan has turned very, very bad...and very interesting. Oh, those bad boys... Now, I think I'll go find my old copy of Dracula for yet another read. Bwaaa-HAAAAA-HHAAAAAA! Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter (Title of NYT article, 10/17/11) Yay! Us! But, hey on second look...The target reader is age 24-34. And, it's all about fashion...and Katie Holmes is on the cover...with an exclusive "Behind The Scenes at Katie's Day Job." Oh. Well. 'Cuse me. Gotta go soak my teeth and re-read my classic CYA memo files from my glory days in Big, Bad Corporate America. Contrary to what some regular readers may think, I'm not anti-fashion or opposed to looking good, regardless of age. I am anti-looking dumb and spending obscene amounts of money on labels...and, really NOBODY over size 4 should wear some things. But I digress. Back to the article re Marie Claire @work. It's a supplement devoted to working women. All well and good. Who doesn't work these days? (Sometimes at more than one job.) And, as noted in the article, 87% of Marie Claire readers work. So, why am I'm doing my cranky eye roll? Because the focus seems to be ALL on externals. Style Yourself To The Top! BYE-BYE to shoulder pads. HELLO Fab Dresses, Power Bags, Sexy Shoes, Bold Basics. Oh. Dear. Shoulder pads went out decades ago. (I also wore some ab-fab dresses back in my big bad Corporate days.) Even the readers' moms don't wear them anymore. *Sigh* So, why shoulder pads? To not-so-subtly differentiate from the momsters, you silly girl! The EVP of Express notes, "MarieClaire@Work seemed to be targeting that exact same girl we were interested in," she added, a shopper who wants to to "look professional" when dressing for work but not look like her mom in a suit." Ouch! Burnnnn. Never mind that I'd bet that at least one or two of those 57 secrets from successful women touted on the cover come from - um - a mom in a suit (perhaps a $3K Versace ensemble, but still a suit.) I also wince at the use of the word "girl." Really, if you're 24-34 and on a career track...or even working the grinding, miserable night shift at an urban Mickey D's...aren't you a woman already? By all means, Marie Claire and Express, let's keep encouraging the old white guys (still) at the top of Corporate America to think of us femmes as "girls." And, girls, if you really want to impress the CEO (who may actually be a mom in a suit) leave this 'zine out on your desk... Of course, this focus on surface, surface, surface isn't surprising since its primary sponsor (and sole one of the digital edition) is Express. However, don't we already have enough fashion media? Even Better Homes and Gardens has what I think is a pretty good section every month, with actual working women featured. Nary a shoulder pad in sight. Which brings me to my next eye-rollin' point. Katie Holmes may be a wonderful woman and a terrific mom. She and Tom Cruise may in reality be a blissfully happy couple. I hope they are. But I can't see how her day job is even remotely like that of the typical 24-34 working woman. (I rode a private jet a time or two in my career, but it wasn't owned by my husband...and I wasn't hopping between New York and Paris to shop.) What people really want to know, in their petty little hearts of hearts, from Ms. Holmes is: Did you sign a marriage contract with him? Was one of the conditions having at least one baby? How much do you get in the pre-nup? Is Tom as nutty and controlling as some tabloids say? See? Nothing about her day job (which is - no matter how wonderful she may be - being the wife of a mega-wealthy celebrity, mom to his daughter...and occasionally taking an acting job.) But enough of my pick-pick-picking on a advertising supplement that will be forgotten about two minutes after it hits the mailboxes. What do I think should be covered in a supplement for young working women? Here's a sample. Forget everything you learned in B-school. (Could be a series, with a whole article devoted to marketing classes.) Spreadsheets aren't customers. Basic business writing. Yes! really! In complete sentences! Lose the exclamation points! (Yeah. Boring. But I've worked with any number of young people, with high-dollar degrees, who could barely put noun next to verb. How they graduated is a marvel to me.) How to write a killer CYA memo. (Like it or not, politics are a reality in any job. Learn to deal and deal well.) Living and working happily in your cubicle. (Sorry, young grads, but you probably aren't going to get a corner office...or even a wall for a few years.) Your mentor may not be your friend. (Mentors aren't always a good idea anyway. See above re politics.) Pantyhose - not always a bad idea. (Recently, I sat through a presentation by an otherwise impressive, accomplished young woman. But I was so distracted by her glaringly fish-belly white NAKED legs, in a short skirt, perched on sky-high stilettos, natch...I had a hard time listening. She looked so COLD and so - well - NAKED.) Of course, nobody would probably actually buy such a magazine. Reality. It's so boring and icky. As much as I've ragged on Marie Claire here, shoe companies need to sell shoes. Most women like to buy them. Cosmetics are a pretty good idea for pretty much everyone. Clothes are fun, even for cranky oldsters like me (I bought this divine hand-painted jacket in Portland, at the airport!) Surface does matter. But, it can't all be about surface. Yet, that's where most marketing focuses - ad nauseum advertising. Even breast cancer often appears reduced to pink ribbons, cute teddy bears, and - for this month only! - pink products! With lots and lots of photos of perky, happy cancer survivors! (Yeah, if I had cancer, I'd do my best to be positive, but c'mon.) How much pink can you throw at people... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter I don't see many commercials, since I don't own a television (and I go do something else while the online ones play.) I had read about the Summer's Eve "Hail The V" campaign, however, and thought it sounded both offensive and stupid. I finally saw one of the commercials and - yep - I was right. Offensive, stupid and - oh yeah - historically inaccurate (Cleopatra was Greek, not native African.) They were also blasted as being racist. But, all of this ya-yahhing, blasting and outrage happened months ago - positively prehistoric in Web time. (And the commercials are still playing. Seriously. In 2011? For a product nobody needs? I was amazed to find out SE was even still around.) So, why am I bringing the whole thing up now? Well, recently Dr. Pepper came out with a campaign "Not for Women" to promote their new 10 calorie drink. It's for men who “prefer the full-flavor experience of regular Dr Pepper but want a lower-calorie option without the diet imagery.” Yippee! As a consumer I'm constantly looking for that "full-flavor experience without that diet imagery." (Warning! Warning! meaningless marketing pitch speak!) However, I don't have a problem with Dr. Pepper. It's kinda silly, but at least they're not saying "Hail to the P!" Can you imagine the outrage? Burning torches. Ropes. Angry mobs. Etc. etc.) Overall, based on what I've read and seen on-line, looks pretty harmless and tongue-in-cheek. (I like DP, so I'll try the new one.) Where am I going with all this? Let's circle all the way back to that V that apparently needs to be hailed. (and constantly - um - attended - so as not to offend.) As Barbara and Shannon Kelley noted in their Huffpo post: "Don't get me wrong: We're all for Girl Power, and an end to the hideous pattern of victim-blaming that continues to rage against survivors of sexual assault. And we're pretty fond of our Vs. But what about the rest of us? What about the feminine aspect, that je ne sais quoi that makes women women?...To discuss the feminine as something real, something distinct, yes, different even, well it's still perceived as dangerous. Threatening." ...not to mention smelly. *Sigh* Look, folks. We ARE different. We do think differently. We have different body parts. And, I've got to give Summer's Eve points for - um - balls. I mean, talking hands (with crayon hair?!) mimicking talking Vs? Wow. I'd love to have seen the CEO's face when pitched that one. But, c'mon. Seriously? Yeah, I keep saying that, but seriously. No woman needs their product, and in fact it could cause harm. (Which, of course, makes for marketer desperation which leads to massive stupidity.) Here we are in 2011, and apparently we femmes still don't know how to care for our own body parts...and men fear them? Good God amody, as my grandmom would say (whom I'm sure never spent a second worrying about feminine hygiene. She was too busy living, lovin' granddad and having lots of babies). If you were going to fear anything about me, it'd be my brain, not my vagina. (And, please no genuflecting, in either case.) Silly commercial aside, here's what really made my eyeballs roll, from Google result, SE web site: "ID the V. Nearly 70% of women cannot identify five major parts of their own genitalia. Can you? Take this chance to find out – and when you ace it, Summer's" No. I really don't want to know what they'll give me if I ace it. Thank you, Google, for the text limit. Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2011 at Lip-Sticking
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By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter BBC: Nobel Peace Prize Recognises Women Rights Activists This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to three women - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen. Hmmm...Liberia and Yemen. Not exactly easy places to live, much less make a difference. And yet... The other day, I got a bit cranky on Facebook when reading about one young unemployed woman's problem with her student loans; the longer she doesn't pay them, the more they increase. A legitimate problem - and certainly no fun. (I also had student loans that - gulp - charged interest.) But here's the thing. She took the loans. She got the education. She's still got access to technology. And, to much of the world, she would appear to be incredibly wealthy. (She now walks dogs for $6/hour, according to her post.) Yes, we've got problems here in the U.S. and who can argue with the sentiments on the sign? However, the 99% movement also gets on my nerves a bit. Lots and lots of people telling how bad they've got it, and - at least in the photos I've seen - they're all clothed and look well-fed. After awhile, it starts to look suspiciously like - um - whining. Somebody should do something! I agree. However, who is "somebody? abd what is the "something?" How? Where? (I always get hung up on practicalities, dang it.) Another problem I have with all this is that it's based on a zero-sum economic view. There's a finite amount of "stuff" and in order for one group to have more, another group has to suffer. If that were really true, entrepreneurs would never get out of bed in the morning, much less keep creating companies and jobs. Do I think it's totally out of whack that some people working on Wall Street can make such obscene amounts of money? Absolutely. But that sort of thing has happened throughout human history; we just now KNOW how the 1% lives. (The peasants would have revolted far sooner if they'd actually seen the inside of the Tsar's palaces. That class warfare didn't turn out very well either; the top people were soon taking a disproportionate share of wealth and sending their "comrades" to prison.) I'm all for standing up, speaking out and marching...but for something specific. Just as Ms. Gbowee led a march through the Liberian capital, Monrovia, demanding an end to the rape of women by soldiers. Wow. I can't even imagine the guts that took. Say what you will about the differences in economies, societies and cultures - these three women didn't expect somebody to do something. They simply went out and did it. Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2011 at Lip-Sticking