Melinda's Blog

Searching for Real Life in a World Built on Projected Images

Knowledge is power January 7, 2010

Filed under: deep thoughts — Melinda @ 8:43 am
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We’ve all heard it. “Knowledge is power”.

The thing is, we often think the power comes in sharing knowledge before anyone else has it.  “Did you hear what happened with Tiger Woods? He lost his ‘such-and-such’ endorsement.”  “Hey – did you hear about GM? They’re releasing a future-focused super-car in Q’4 2010. But don’t tell anyone…” Or “hey, don’t tell anyone, but I overheard that Billy is getting promoted tomorrow…”

Oh, and that phrase! “But don’t tell anyone…”  Or “Don’t tell anyone I told you but…”

There is power in knowing before others.  And we feel powerful when we are the ones who get to tell.  And we ask others to not tell knowledge sometimes, which is like putting candy in front of a small child and asking them not to eat, then leaving the room.  People can’t seem to help themselves.  Having juicy info?  Powerful.

And yet, I’m here to tell you that I believe the power comes in knowing the info and yet not sharing it. In my world, the info can be about people or about authors or big happenings in the publishing world.  That’s just my world, and when I first started working (in my immature 22/23-year-old days) it was so much fun to have insider knowledge and I wanted to share it with everyone. It made me feel powerful, important. And in some ways, it made me able to ‘one-up’ others.

But now in my oh-so-mature 28-year old days (haha!), I find the greatest pleasure in knowing things but not sharing them.  I carry information and secrets with me, and yet find myself realising that true power is in not sharing. Being trustworthy and responsible with information is a big deal. 

So, what do you think as I turn a common perception on its head?  That how we use ‘knowledge as power’ is not, in fact, the most powerful way to use it?  Would love your thoughts…

 

‘Twilight’ as emotional porn January 5, 2010

Filed under: Pop Culture — Melinda @ 9:39 am
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The Twilight book series is impressively popular. I got roped in by girlfriends at work – mostly because lunches were becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with when the convo switched into talking about Bella, Edward, Jacob and Alice. So I watched the first movie with them to be a part of something with my friends, and then picked up the first book.

I found myself quite surprised at how much the book was dripping with neediness on Bella’s part, how much sexual and lustful pull was in the book (though glossed over by using blood lust instead), and how often Bella spoke of how ‘unbelievably perfect’ Edward was.

    Then I read the rest of the series, and in the midst of that attended the release of New Moon (the second book) in the theater. Inside the theater were tween girls around 12-14 years old, women my age (25-30 years old), moms in their 40s, and many more in between. What struck me was how much the women in our society today lust after movie stars (and even more gross, how many older women are attracted to a 17-year-old boy’s body)…but even moreso, how many girls and women don’t see that reading these books, and any other romance novel – no matter how it is disguised, damages their view of men in their life in the same way that porn damages how men view the women in their life.

      Before you start thinking that this is an outrageous claim, think about it with me. Men view porn and see an ‘ideal/perfect’ woman. Then they start comparing their girlfriend or wife to this image, and over time can become extremely disappointed and extremely bored with the woman they have since she’s not like who they see on their TV or computer screen. And women are up in arms over this, as they well should be! I would hate to be compared in that way and to be forced to live up to a false expectation – some other woman’s fake body and fake actions.

        Now, romance novels give women men who are emotionally perfect. These men meet every single need before the woman can even think of it or voice it. These men revolve their lives around the woman in the book, and take painstaking efforts to prove and show their love for this woman.

        Twilight is no different. In fact, in reading these books, i remember thinking in the first one that in real life, Bella and/or Edward would both be considered stalkers. Both in thought and in action. And, in these books, Edward is the perfect emotional man. He’s strong and fierce, yet remarkably calm and patient and emotionally available to Bella. The books drip with her praise of Edward, and how he is perfect both physically and emotionally.

          This is NOT real life. And there are many, many tweens, teens, and adult women reading these books and not realizing that they are now ready to compare their boyfriends or husbands to these fictional characters of Edward and Jacob. (In fact, just this weekend I heard a story about a boy who was dumped for Edward. He was dumped for a fictional character who is not at all real and whose ‘perfect’ traits cannot be found in any real, live, human man.)

            So in my opinion, this is doing the exact same thing that porn does to men. What do you think – are these Twilight books cleverly disguised emotional porn?

             

            Feminine Santa Claus December 7, 2009

            Filed under: Uncategorized — Melinda @ 9:00 pm
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            I was watching TV the other night (not something I do super often so bear with me if you’ve seen this already!) and I saw a commercial that somewhat surprised me.

            It was for Wal-Mart, I believe, and in it was a woman and her husband working to get everything ready for Christmas. At the end, the ‘typical bumbling husband’ turns and says something about Santa..and trails off as he sees the kid opening the gift from Santa. The Mom completes the dad’s thoughts with:

              Dad: “Santa…
              Mom: …doesn’t need any help.”

                Wow.

                I was struck by this – I guess first by the image of Mom as Santa (in the past, it was always the ‘guy’ role), and second by the subtle yet affirming message in this commercial of “women do it all, from house work to Santa, and the guy is an idiot who can’t do anything on his own.”

                What kind of message does that send our sons, our husbands, our fathers, our guy friends? Are women being conditioned to see the men in their life this way?

                Think back to ‘Tim-the-Tool-Man Taylor’. What a funny show to watch growing up, but as an adult, I see how much of this feminist “women rule, boys drool” message was layered into the banter, into the conversations Jill had with her women friends, in the convos and actions of Tim when he was away from home. And I can’t help but feel that this is detrimental for our society.

                  There are many reasons for this – and I’ll unpack this idea more as we move into the week. But for now: what are your thoughts on this TV commercial? What do you think – is this a subtle way to re-inforce our feministic western worldview, or nothing but a simple and harmless advertising message?

                   

                  Plain Jane’s Not Welcome Here December 4, 2009

                  Filed under: Uncategorized — Melinda @ 8:06 pm
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                  Plain Jane’s aren’t welcome? What is this about, you may be asking?

                  I’ll tell ya – it’s because there is no such thing as a “plain jane”. First, let’s explore the roots of this phrase. Many believe that this idea came from Jane Eyre (only one of the best reads of all time), as the title character attended a school that enforced and praised plainness and conformity. Wikipedia tells us that the phrase refers to “a woman who tends to avoid using makeup, fussing with her hair, and wearing stylish clothing, or to a woman who does, but simply is of average or unexceptional appearance.”

                  Here’s my problem – I don’t believe that any woman is plain. Ok, so some women dress up often, or have a great natural sense of flair and style, or some are trendy. Others of us feel great in our sweatshirt and jeans (or flannel pajamas!). Ponytail or up-do, nobody is ‘plain’.

                  We are EACH of us uniquely created, uniquely gifted, uniquely inspired. I used to self-identify with being a ‘plain jane’ because to be honest, make-up and hair product are not things I can often be bothered with. And sometimes my undesire and lack of motivation to bother with my outside appearance made me feel plain, and less than others.

                  But I’m learning that no one, not one single beautiful wonderful woman is plain. We each are beautiful, and we each are wonderful.

                  This blog is a place for every woman, to be inspired and to inspire others. But the thing of it is, plain jane’s aren’t welcome. Why? Because there aren’t any.

                  So take a hand and walk along on this journey as we all learn to live freely and fully.

                   

                  Namaste. November 20, 2009

                  Filed under: Uncategorized — Melinda @ 3:30 pm
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                    “Welcome to the world of blogging!”

                  This is how WordPress greeted me when I signed up. I’ve ‘blogged’ for a while over at http://www.melindavankirk.blogspot.com, but for 3 reasons I made the switch:

                • I got married and my last name changed. 🙂
                • I decided that I don’t want my blog to really just be a public journal anymore. I want to post meaningful words that create conversation and spark other ideas for other people.
                • I continually hear how WordPress is way better than blogspot, so we’ll see!

                  I’m struggling with how to title this thing. I don’t want it to be my name – I want it to be something that encompasses where I want to take this bad boy. I can’t explain why, but I’m feeling excited at the idea of having something to create, and to shape and mold. It’s only a blog, everyone knows the last thing this world needs is another blog, but for me it feels exciting.

                  I’d be honored if you join me on the journey…

                  And since I’ve been watching LOST a ton lately, namaste.

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