BOOMERBROADcast

Enjoy, laugh, disagree or simply empathize with those who lived life in THE sixties and are now rockin' life in THEIR sixties, and beyond.


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Ivanka Trump. The real deal or deal me out?


Long before Donald Trump’s name rose from the swamp to become a contender for President of the United States, I was wowed by his daughter, Ivanka. Having watched her on a couple of talk shows and read her early book The Trump Card several years ago, I was impressed with the articulate, beautiful daughter of the real estate mogul. She won me over with comments that were critical of the sense of entitlement that was common among her contemporaries. She denounced the expectation of reward without working for it.

Ivanka Trump is a young, beautiful, intelligent working mother of three children. Educated and articulate, she projects sensibility in the midst of mayhem. One could say she moves serenely in the eye of the hurricane. Her vocal support of women’s business development programs and childcare issues is commendable but is our perception representative of the reality? Let’s face it, Ivanka is someone who may have been working for Daddy’s businesses when she was still in a training bra, MC’ing his beauty contests and walking around construction sites in designer jeans and jewelry, but she lives in a parallel universe. Her life is and never has been anything like what we mere mortals experience.

Ivanka Trump was defensive about her father’s track record on women’s issues.

I first experienced doubts about my faith in her when Donald Trump was campaigning. Ivanka appeared immune to the obvious examples of his shortcomings, the blatant lies, the sexism, racism and the incongruities. His cabinet choices of old, white rich guys speaks volumes. Understandably, she knows criticism is part of the package but she didn’t seem to be relaying these concerns to her father. Or, more likely, he wouldn’t listen.

She was invited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to be a guest panelist at the 2017 W20 Women’s Summit in Berlin recently. When called upon to comment on her father’s disregard for women and minorities, Ivanka understandably defended him by referring to his track record of promoting women within his own organization. The resulting hisses and boos from the audience knocked her off balance for a mere split second. Then, she switched into full-on offensive mode, disregarding the perception of the majority of women.

The truth is self-evident. Trump does not hold women in high regard with the possible exception of his exceptional daughter. Notwithstanding the position of power held by Kelley Anne Conway within his organization, Donald Trump’s track record is dismal and verifiable. My opinion of Ivanka dropped like a rock when I witnessed her reaction to the criticism. When I saw the horror on her face at the suggestion he was a misogynist and how she immediately slipped into her own fantasy-based world of daddy-worship, I was disappointed, to say the least. Perhaps I was naive in hoping she would acknowledge he needs to listen to the criticism and work on improving his attitude and behaviours.

Trump’s statement “no one in the world has more respect for women than I do” is meaningless. His lingo, always delivered in sweeping superlatives is not backed up by fact and affirmative action. I was hoping Ivanka would be the voice of reason whispering sense into the ear of an unreasonable man. What I saw was life viewed by a disillusioned woman on the other side of a gold-plated one-way mirror. And it doesn’t look good for all the other women who are on our side. If we can reach her, we can only hope she will reach him. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

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Caitlyn Jenner is a poor example of womanhood


Caitlyn Jenner’s change of gender from a man known as Bruce to a woman is a subject just too ripe for comment to ignore. Let me state up front that my views on LGBT issues are extremely liberal. I was one of those individuals born thoroughly female and heterosexual so I can only imagine how painful and confusing it must be for those who are born with a more ambiguous gender identity. When I was in my early twenties I read the story of Christine Jorgensen, the Danish man who finally put an end to his painful gender identity and transitioned into a woman. Her articulate and honest autobiography made me aware of an issue I’d previously given little thought to.

caitlinThen, along comes Caitlyn Jenner. There are many aspects to this story that I find confusing, starting with the fact she has stated she will continue dating women. Does that make her a lesbian (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or just a man who likes to wear women’s clothes. Looking at the cover photo of Caitlyn on Vanity Fair gave me a creepy feeling similar to the one I experienced seeing the pictures of convicted murderer and former military Colonel Russell Williams wearing women’s underwear stolen from his victims. I’m certainly not suggesting Jenner is a murderer or criminally-inclined deviant in any way, but despite proclaiming her life-long struggle to release the woman within, Jenner has chosen to present as the kind of woman most of us who are born with the XX chromosome do not identify with, while acknowledging we’re not all alike and we’re quite imperfect.

For starters, how many sixty-five-year-old Boomer women do you know who go by the name Caitlyn? I’m surprised she didn’t spell it with a “K”. It’s a girlie Gen X name, certainly not one associated with someone who attended high school in the sixties and is the product of parents who grew up during the Depression. With all the hair extensions, Photoshopping, makeup and wardrobe styling required to produce the plastic-looking image on the cover of Vanity Fair, I think the name “Barbie” would have been more appropriate. And what Boomer broad do you know who would tart herself up in a satin merry widow and suck in her crotch for a photo shoot?

Jenner would have had so much more credibility and support if she’d presented herself as a Diane Keaton-type representing the pretty side of the Boomer broad spectrum or as someone with actual substance such as authors Catherine Gildiner and Jeannette Walls or Canada’s own Mary Walsh, not another Khardashian spin-off. Our generation and our gender are working hard to undo the stereotypes that depict women as empty-headed narcissists who spend our days shopping, going to the salon and binge-watching Real Housewives. We’re a generation of Janet Yellens, Angela Merkels and Oprah Winfreys.

Hey Caitlyn! Try this look on for size. This is what real Boomer women look like.

Hey Caitlyn! Try this look on for size. This is what real Boomer women look like.

Regretfully, Caitlyn Jenner does not and never will truly incorporate the qualities required to be a real woman. She has never endured monthly periods or enjoyed the perils of menopause, worked for seventy-six cents on the dollar for a chauvinistic boss or tried to get back into her jeans after giving birth. She has never struggled as a single mother to feed her three children by herself because her worthless husband eschewed his responsibility. She has never had to get up at 5:30 in the morning to go to a minimum wage job after getting her family ready for school, helping with homework in the evening after working all day on her feet and trying to raise children with positive values.

I’ll never earn a place on the cover of Vanity Fair because as a real Boomer Broad I have substance, experience and the vital street cred earned during sixty-seven years of living life as real woman not one who’s surgically enhanced and enjoyed a privileged, elitist life of superficial self-indulgence. It’s not too late for Jenner to rise above life as a Khardashian Barbie doll (to read my earlier blog about them, click here) but the money’s so good I doubt she’ll change. So, let’s be clear. Caitlyn Jenner’s take on being a women is from an oddly male perspective. She merely bought into the commercially-generated visual stereotype and that’s not what being a woman is about. And I find that hard to characterize as courageous. Am I right or am I wrong?


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You can’t always judge a magazine by its cover


elleOne of my (many) dirty little secrets is that I’m a subscriber to ELLE Canada magazine. I don’t advertise this as I wouldn’t want anyone to label me as shallow, superficial and materialistic. Subscribing to a seemingly fluff magazine targeted at young, hip fashionistas would certainly lead one to think this is the case, but after reading the March 2015 issue I feel somewhat vindicated.

First of all, it’s the Canadian edition so I’m supporting Canadian retailers and contributors to the publishing side of the magazine. But it also surprises me from time to time with content that is intelligent and relevant to all age groups. For example,  the March issue’s theme is feminism and that’s definitely a subject dear to my heart. Baby Boomers cleared the way for a lot of the rights and freedoms that young women take for granted today such as subsidized maternity and paternity leave, gay/lesbian marriage, abortion rights and pay equity. The struggles are far from over but progress is being made.

Vakis Boutsalis in A Dangerous Game wrote a thought-provoking article about his conflicted feelings (yes, a guy discussing “feelings”) surrounding sports. As the father of a daughter, he wants her to appreciate the positive values inherent in sports such as teamwork and the value of hard work. However, he is equally concerned about the violence displayed by the players of professional sports and acknowledges that this is not a new phenomenon; professional sports has a history of domestic violence but with social and expanded media today we are now more aware of it. Boutsalis struggles with how to best explain this aspect of sports to his daughter.

Kudos to Kade Spade New York for featuring ninety-something Iris Apfel in their spring fashion ads.

Kudos to Kade Spade New York for featuring ninety-something Iris Apfel in their spring fashion ads.

In Feminism’s On-Line Renaissance Antonia Zerbisias takes on the issue of feminism and social media in describing the outpouring of discourse from women responding to #BEENRAPEDNEVERREPORTED. As the victims of Jian Ghomeshi have proven, women are finally speaking up and demanding action.

In The Ties That Bind Heather O’Neill, author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and Lullabies for Little Criminals describes her experience with friendships lost and friendships found and the value of female friendships, something Boomer Broads live and experience every day. And, there’s the usual assortment of eye candy—fashion, the latest birth control news, as well as skin, hair and makeup must-haves that promise to make all our dreams come true. I particularly loved Kate Spade’s ad with Iris Apfel.

As a confirmed magazine junkie (I subscribe to eighteen each month) I appreciate many forms of print but the March issue of ELLE reminded me that all may not be as they appear on the cover. The issue of feminism is still important and young women shouldn’t toss it off as not relevant to them. Boomer women covered a lot of ground over the years but we still don’t have equal pay and we are still subjected to prejudices that many men will never experience or completely understand.

My annual subscription to ELLE Canada costs only twelve dollars and I’d say I get my money’s worth. And my girlfriends love my hand-me-downs. We get a lot of mileage out of my bad habits. We just wish more publications recognized that we’re a huge demographic and Boomer women are not yet ready to be put out to pasture. And when we are, it’ll be with red fingernails, blonde highlights, sexy shoes and tight jeans. Because we are women and we still care about important issues beyond fashion.

For further insights into the Boomer perspective on business, fashion, mind and body, book and movie reviews, order my book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess or birthday gift as well as just a fun read.

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Microsoft’s CEO should know better


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

When I read about Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella’s comments last week about women in high-tech asking for raises I nearly choked on my Geritol. According to him, women shouldn’t be asking for raises. Instead, they should simply trust in the system that there’s more coming their way. I’m so apoplectic I can hardly articulate a response. If I learned nothing else during my forty years in the corporate world it’s that no one is going to walk down the hall and pat you on the head for being a good girl and back it up with a nice raise. If Nadella had his way, women would toil silently and blissfully alongside men doing the same work while watching the men reap the benefits while the women wait for a few crumbs to be thrown in their direction, if they’re very good girls.

Women's work according to S D. Keep your mouth shut and keep working.

Women’s work according to Satya Nadella.  Keep your mouth shut and keep working.

If I had taken his advice I would have spent my entire career on a reception desk, making a subsistence salary while probably simultaneously running the entire office, directing sales, handling P.R., keeping the company solvent, setting corporate policy and generally doing the work of three or four people. I’ve watched mediocre, poorly qualified men rise to the top simply because they were great self-promoters while brilliant, hard-working women are passed over. You know what I’m talking about don’t you Boomer Broads. We’ve all witnessed the subtle discrimination over the years and while the business world has improved, Nadella’s comments demonstrate there is still an underlying layer of prejudice. Not all CEOs think like he does but these dinosaurs still do exist.

Here’s an excerpt from my book, BOOMERBROADcast on the issue:

Take care of yourself in business. We’ve watched men to do it without hesitation.  If I’d taken better care of myself, I’d have had more job satisfaction, a fatter pension and much lower cortisol levels. Do not be the dutiful, hardworking girl waiting for a pat on the head. Set your goals. State what you want and if you deserve it, ask for it. The worst they can say is no. At best, you’ll be able to buy a condo and take a vacation. You’re worth it. And buying your own diamonds proves it.

Protect your interests and take care of yourself first. We’re all familiar with the airline safety procedure telling us to put the oxygen mask over our own face before that of children. The benefits may seem obvious to most of us but not everyone gets it. This metaphor applies to life in general and in my experience no more so than in the business world. Boomer Broads were raised to be dutiful, considerate, self-effacing models of compliance. In a generation of women who were now expected to also hold our own in the working world, we carried these values into the workplace. As a result, we were easily taken advantage of and not always given our just rewards. How many Boomers and other women do you know who worked their asses off and never received the recognition they deserved.

. . . . . What I learned is that it’s the responsibility of each one of us when we are doing an excellent job to insist upon the commensurate rewards. That may take the form of a higher salary, a promotion, an extra week of vacation or some other type of recognition. I worked for a very enlightened employer who would probably have complied if I had raised the issue of higher salary or more staff. The fault was my own. Instead of asking for additional staff, my way of coping was to string yellow “CAUTION” tape up around my desk and work until midnight.”

How can a man achieve the level of CEO of Microsoft when he has the temerity to say something so patently stupid. I hope Melissa Gates had a word with him. While Nadella later apologized for his comments, the damage has been done. As a result of his Freudian slip we now know what he’s really thinking.

Click on the link to order directly.

Click on the link to order directly.

 

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Baby Boomer reflects on the journey from living life in the Sixties to living life in her Sixties, at

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