Saturday, January 28, 2012

Notable Sussex Women

Think of some famous women who worked in Sussex in the 19th or early 20th centuries. I bet you're thinking about someone like Virginia Woolf, or Catherine Cookson. Can you name the Gaiety Girl who became an MP? The white woman who led a protest march of 20 000 black Africans? The heiress who gave away £12m? The rally driver who beat Stirling Moss? Thought not.

In 19th Century England, there were women working in most walks of life. Working class women did whatever they could to raise the money to feed their families and were paid scandalously little for their efforts. Middle and upper class women were involved in a far wider range of occupations but it was not 'nice' for them to accept payment and they rarely got the credit or respect a man doing the same work would have expected.

We tend to forget what a long way women have come in a short time. Although there are quite a few famous women whose deeds date from before the 20th century, there are far more who were the 'movers and shakers' of their time and yet have been forgotten.

This is not the first book Helena Wojtczak has written on this subject and she says that, when she was researching her previous books ('Women of Victorian Sussex' - a social history, and 'Railway Women') it struck her that town monuments and records offices all had their lists of local worthies displayed proudly, and that there were remarkably few women on those lists. This realisation was, at least in part, the inspiration for 'Notable Sussex Women'. By unearthing and recording details of some of these forgotten women, and giving them a well-deserved place amongst the more famous names of their era, Helena Wojtczak has gone a good way towards redressing the balance.

As well as 580 biographical sketches, there are some fabulous photos in this book. It is a rewarding book to own as a coffee-table book for Sunday morning browsing as well as being a candidate for local historians' reference shelves. But for me personally, what makes it irresistible is the collection of quotes, poems and polemics by women from the last two centuries who knew a woman's place all to well and had a fair deal to say about it. Here are some choice ones...

The philosophers seem to know that hard work never unsexes a woman: only wages can do that - Mrs Swisshelm

Anonymous was a woman. - Virginia Woolf

A blank wall of social and professional antagonism faces the woman physician that forms a situation of singular and painful loneliness, leaving her without support, respect or professional counsel. - Dr Elizabeth Blackwell.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Battered Women

Walker's interviews with battered women are disturbing. Some of the incidents are graphic; some are detestable; and all are difficult to imagine. Yet, it happens. Statistics show that hundreds of women kill their batterers every year in self-defense. But there are many more incidents that are never reported.

What role do our social institutions play in preventing a woman from reporting these brutal attacks? Let's begin with law enforcement. It is clear that some domestic disturbance calls are not handled by the police as it should be. They do not seem to want to get involved in these kinds of disputes. They visit the home, talk to the couple and, unless the wife wishes to file charges, they leave.

More often than not, the wife will not file charges. She is so fearful of the consequences that she will instead make excuses for her husband if there is any hint of locking him away. Such was the case of Tracey Thurman, a Connecticut housewife, who was brutally stabbed and beaten by her husband, and left a quadriplegic.

She filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut Police Department and, as a result, the Thurman Law was enacted. This law requires police to treat a domestic disturbance call with the same care and seriousness that any other violent crime is treated.

However, society's apathy towards the battered woman extends far beyond our social institutions. It really begins in the family unit. Dr. Susan Forward authored a book entitled "Men Who Hate Women and The Women Who Love Them." In it, she clarifies through interviews with batterers, the reasoning behind this monstrous behavior. She describes the batterer as a "misogynist" or woman-hater.

Lenore Walker outlines the "Cycle Theory of Violence" in her book. This theory explains the three phases of battery.

Phase One is the "Tension Building Stage" and begins with "minor incidents" in which the battered woman assumes blame and re-adjusts her thinking to avoid any future confrontations. The battered woman justified the batterer's actions by internalizing her own actions and how she may have prevented the incident.

Phase Two is the "Acute Battering Incident," which is described as "all out rage" on the part of the batterer. Since he felt he was able to get away with Phase One or that it was readily accepted by his partner, the batterer feels he has permission to escalate his attacks. These attacks tend to be more brutal over a shorter period of time. It is during this stage that the psychological damage to the woman is ore severe. It leaves her helpless, hopeless, and terrified.

Phase Three is "Kindness and Contrite Loving Behavior" which manifests itself by the batterer by asking forgiveness and promising that it will never happen again. The batterer overextends himself by doing anything he can to make up for the pain he caused.

A woman usually forgives the batterer because, in the case of an isolated incident, she re-adjusts her own mindset so that she does not set him off again. She accepts his gifts and his promises. All is forgiven, right? Wrong!

Before too long, the batterer begins the cycle all over again until the woman has become totally desensitized. She has lost all sense of identity, control, herself. The cycle becomes a routine, a ritual. Thus, as long as there are batterers; there will be victims.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bacterial Vaginosis Freedom

Bacterial vaginosis can be the bane of your life. If you have ever suffered from this condition you'll know what I'm talking about! Just take a look on popular women's health forums and you'll find that posts for BV (bacterial vaginosis) have an enormous amount of viewings and replies.

So what exactly do you get? The eBook itself is well presented, and has 68 pages. It is written by someone who was a chronic sufferer of BV and has found a cure. You can read the eBook and digest all the information in a couple of hours, depending on how fast you can read. There's no nonsense fill in bits - it's all good information. The aim of the eBook is to cure BV using 3 steps in 3 days. Alas, I'm not able to spill all the beans and tell you the cure - that would be a little unfair and besides would probably result in this review being taken off the internet!

What I can tell you more or less are the contents. The eBook has 4 chapters. The first chapter goes through the specific symptoms and what can cause BV. Elena Peterson has tried many "cures" and seen many medical practitioners, which she talks about in this first chapter - which ends talking about the natural approach and how and why this is the best way for a permanent cure.

The second chapter is all about bacteria and antibiotics. The eBook doesn't recommend antibiotics for a permanent cure but talks about the natural balance of good and bad bacteria, your PH balance and what the effect of antibiotics is on this delicate balance in your body. I think that what she says about the dark side of antibiotics is very relevant!

The 3rd chapter is most likely holds the reason for your purchase (if you buy it). Here she gives the 3 step cure. It is simple yet effective. You could get this information free on the internet from forums etc, but it would take a lot of time and experimentation - which is why this eBook sells so well I guess. I have seen this information on medical and health forums, but it is usually amongst lots of other formulas and supposed cures. The 4th chapter wraps it up and gives more information on herbs that have also proven effective, and information on your diet which plays a major role in preventing the condition in the first place and making sure it doesn't come back!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Women Want

The book also includes advice from celebrities. Madonna, Demi Moore and Cameron Diaz share their views on dating in "That's What She Said: Women Reveal What Mean Really Need to Know." The book was put together by Punk'd producer TJ Jefferson. Moore's husband, Ashton Kutcher, writes a forward in the book. touts the book as a good one for men and women to read together.

In the 224 page paperback book, you can find more than 100 tips from women around the world.

According to the description on Amazon, if you are looking for a one-night stand, this book is not going to help. "For men, it's not a book on how to get a woman to go home with you but on how to keep her attention once you have it. And for women, think of it as an entertaining look at what other ladies are going through. You may find vindication ("amen, sister") or put it down, relieved that you aren't "as crazy as her" or that your man isn't a complete cad."

The Amazon says the book includes sections on love, sex, beauty, lying, and listening and is "the ultimate look into the mind of today's modern woman."

"As a man I could only guess what women wanted us to know," Jefferson writes. "Sometimes you gotta go to the source. If you're toilet is backed up you don't call your dentist, you call a plumber. If you want to know something about a woman, do what I did - ask her. Trust me. She'll be more than happy to let you know what's on her mind."

Here are some tips that Moore, Madonna and Diaz gave:

"If you want to get our clothes off focus on what you're giving, not on what you can get! You may be able to score once - but we can smell the stink of selfish desires a mile away and are not interested." Moore says.

Madonna was brutally honest as always: "Women are here to smash man's ego, plain and simple. Accept this and life will be better."

Diaz wants to lose herself in the "wonder of love, beauty and sexiness."

One woman interviewed said that all women want significantly different things and that there is a huge difference between what a girl wants and what a woman wants. She says in order for a relationship to be successful each person needs to maintain their own separate life apart from their relationship as a couple.