The following is a blog series based on my new daily habit: Reading one entry from “What Every American Should Know About Women’s History.” Not only are there all these bits of women’s history time has neglected, but within them are lessons that are super relevant to living a meaningful and productive life today. I want one […]
The Grimké Sisters DNGAF at a time when NGAF could ruin a woman’s life in no shortage of ways. I’d already set these women on my shelf of revered feminists after reading “The Invention of Wings,” a fictionalized account of their lives as abolitionists and feminists by Sue Monk Kidd. A new theme about their story emerged for me, however, in their short (non-fictionalized) entry in “What Every American Should Know About Women’s History.” It turns out that one of the biggest audacities of their audacious lives was lecturing to same-sex audiences on abolitionism.
I’m changing my name back. I know. After all the the serious thought, hemming and hawing I put into the decision to become Natalie Burg Vial, I picked the wrong choice. I was just wrong. I tried it on, and it didn’t fit.
I have been annoyed at every piece of mail that has come addressed to Natalie Vial. I roll my eyes at the people in my doctor’s office who look up my file and say, “Oh, Natalie Burg Vial?” Which is insane, because the only reason they have me filed that way is because I told them that was my name. But it feels wrong. It feels like a lie. It’s not romantic or sweet. Every time I hear myself referred too by the (actually rather cool) last name of my (wonderful and loving) husband, I feel the crushing weight of thousands of years of patriarchy grind on my bones.
Every Wednesday, three self-employed friends and I get together for co-working. We’re all successful, entrepreneurial women, so feminism and women’s roles in various industries is a common thread in our conversations. Okay, I’ll be honest, that’s a common thread in all conversations I have with all people. But anyway, I had ensconced myself in my friend’s living room to do an interview while the rest of them were working away in the kitchen when I saw, mid-interview, an email pop up in my inbox from a co-co-worker in the other room with the subject line, “Non-dude show host.”
The biggest synonym-related issue I keep bumping up against lately in my writing (as opposed to all of the other synonym-related issues) has been coming up with new ways to describe blurred lines. Hazy boundaries? Fuzzy fringes? Petering perimeters?
The thing that makes this rhetorical quandary interesting is that it’s not due to any one particular trend happening in one particular industry. I cover a number of topics, and in the last few months I’ve written about the blurring lines between brand publishing and advertising, engineering and medicine, women and tech leadership, art and economic development, media companies and technology firms, and, most recently, between urban and suburban places (coming soon!).
While doing some web research on women in government in Michigan (yes, I was in want of more information on this topic), I Googled the same. As we all know Google suggests search terms based on the most commonly searched things, what I found was pretty depressing:
There were a number of happy things about the recent holidays for me, and among them was reading all of the Harry Potter books again, from start to finish. It took a long time, but was a delightful exercise in experiencing something old in a new way. Some books I’d read multiple times; some only once. Years separated reading each book before, just as years have changed me since my last reading of them.