Strength Times Three

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Last weekend was Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., and I gave myself a break in posting.  To make up for the omission, I’m distributing a second post today.

Part of my mission in authoring this blog is to share inspirational stories about women and to encourage equal rights for women across the world.  Today’s post is dedicated to three brave and inspirational women and has been drafted in that spirit:

Diana Nyad  – What more can be said about the 64-year-old woman with a 35-year-old dream who never gave up on achieving that dream?  Her advice to “never, ever give up,” is not only good advice for women and girls facing hardships and challenges but is also equally valuable advice for men and boys.  And, from now on, when we hear or read the words, “Cuba-to-Florida,” we’ll certainly remember Diana and the fact that a woman was the first person to achieve the milestone of swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage and without swim fins

Venus Williams – The final women’s match of the 2013 U.S. Open Tennis Championships is being played today.  Though she’s not playing, Venus Williams deserves some recognition by the two women who are playing (one of whom is her sister) and by all the other women who play on today’s professional tennis circuit.  Why?  Because Venus took a major step to advance the reality of equal pay for women tennis players.  Do you know the story of how Venus argued for equal pay among women at Wimbledon?  Though I’m not a professional tennis player, I still would like to say “thank you” to Venus.  It’s hard to believe that it was only six years ago that female Wimbledon winners were being paid less than their male counterparts.

Sushmita Banerjee – Also known as Sushmita Bandhopadhyandian, Sushmita wrote a memoir about her dramatic escape from the Taliban that became a Bollywood movie, Escape from Taliban.  On Thursday, Sushmita was shot dead by militants, allegedly members of the Taliban, in Afghanistan.  Sushmita was a brave woman who likely endured 20 bullets for her beliefs related to freedom and equality for women.  I want to ask every woman who is reading this page to consider these questions:

  • Who among you wishes to live in a world where you can’t run a business, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you wishes to be ordered to wear a burkha or another article of clothing, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you longs to be denied the right to walk outside of your home unaccompanied, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you wants to be forced to have your husband’s name tattooed on your left hand, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you is willing to die, as Sushmita did, to defend and protect your rights as a woman?

In October 2012, feminist Gloria Steinem told a San Diego, California audience that the global women’s movement still has a long way to go.  Women like Diana, Venus and Sushmita are the ones lighting the way.

Calling All Crybabies…

crybaby imageWhen you were born, it’s likely that your first interaction with the world was a cry.

And, throughout your infanthood, childhood and teenage years, it’s probable that you shed many a tear.

So, when was the last time you cried as an adult?  What provoked your tears?  And, did your crying serve a purpose?

As adults, we are not necessarily encouraged to express ourselves through tears.  For example, in 1978, with her famous Don’t Cry Out Loud album and single track of the same name, Melissa Manchester instructed us through her song lyrics to “…keep it inside, and learn how to hide your feelings.”

Are there times, however, when crying out loud is justified?  And, are there times when crying serves or helps to serve a positive individual or group purpose?

What about the battle cry?  Some may argue that battle cries are more show than substance, but surely some movements for good have been aided with an inspiring call for action.

And, consider sports.  Think about the individual athletes who seem to be aided in their efforts through the release of cries.

Have you ever heard Venus and Serena Williams grunting as they play a point during a doubles tennis match?  Watch and listen to this example.  And, have you ever seen and heard a heavyweight lifter lifting hundreds of pounds?

There is also a great deal of screaming in martial arts.  Some explanations are that yelling helps to make martial arts techniques more accurate, allowing the martial artist increased focus for kicks, strikes, punches, etc.

When it comes to sports, fans may be the biggest examples of crybabies.  Actively yelling to cheer on one’s favorite athlete or team has got to make a positive difference, right?

Crying seems to have a sad and negative associated connotation.  I’d love to hear your examples of instances where crying has been a good thing.

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