Seven Brief Thoughts...on women and power

 October 2018

A hundred years ago when my mother was born, women did not yet have the right to vote.

I was born a mere 24 years after women gained the right to vote.

I’ve voted in every election since I was old enough. When I was out of town at college, I voted by absentee ballot.

Now, 98 years after women were granted the right to vote, we still do not have political and workplace power equal to men.

I hope to live long enough that women will not have to march in the streets to be heard.

I hope to live long enough to see the glass ceiling broken with the election of a female president.

This is our country and each one of us has not only the right but the responsibility to VOTE!  


September 21, 2018

Wasted, a play at Baltimore’s Center Stage through tomorrow, strikes a current chord of controversy and thrusts sharp questions into our complacency about consent in relationships. It raises new uncertainties in an increasing muddied arena.

When I bought tickets to this play, I had a feeling that it would be unlike any other stage performance I had seen. First of all, the audience arrived and walked onto the stage where we ordered and paid for drinks from a bar that was part of the set, and meandered talking with other audience members in a disco atmosphere of music and moving spotlights.

At 7:30, the audience was still on the stage when the play began with two characters making an entrance into the “bar” and beginning their dialogue. When the “bar” closed, everyone was told to leave and go home, at which point the audience went down a few steps and watched the rest of the performance from the seats.

Will Hearle plays Oli and Serena Jennings plays Emma in the play written and directed by Kat Woods. They also skillfully play other characters in the narrative such as friends, Oli’s mother and officials involved with rape investigation. Stage setting is minimalist, as well as costumes. The strength in the production is the script, directing and acting. It is definitely worth seeing.

This play is especially relevant considering the #metoo movement and accusations of sexual misconduct (perhaps attempted rape) at a teenage party several decades ago made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Jurist Kavanaugh’s boyhood friend Mark Judge writes about their social teen life of drunken parties. Kavanaugh and Judge deny Ford’s allegations.

But back to Wasted, where two young people get wasted with booze that leads them to dark places with consequences that can affect them for years. The next morning, Emma can’t remember what happened but has a bad feeling. Her friend suggests that Oli had sex with her without her consent while she was passed out. Then things go down the rabbit hole.

Like the purported Kavanaugh teen party, both of these stories begin with alcohol—way too much. Things happen, some of which players do not remember. Emma blames herself and Oli is shocked when it is suggested that he had raped someone. Kavanaugh alleges that it never happened and that he doesn’t remember the party. Ford says she remembers being held down, hands pulling at her clothes and a hand over her mouth, and these memories have remained with her across decades, even while trying to forget.

Playwright Woods does not judge but, rather, presents the story from different perspectives. The audience holds empathy for both characters because truth is sometimes murky. She leaves it up to the audience to come up with their own answers.

The big question is how to define consent and this was addressed after the play in a Q&A between the audience, cast members, playwright and Katie Wicklund a legal advocate from the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

When I was growing up, there was no sex education in schools, but this has gradually changed. Wicklund says sex education is evolving into consent education, eventually to be taught age-appropriately to kindergarten through college.

We’ve come a long way and now understand that we need to define consent and communicate this to young people. There have been too many lives wasted because no one knows the definition.

Feet or Brains?

A few thoughts...

Close crop of a news photo. Instead of balancing on their toes all day, men walk in comfort.

Before 1920, we women could not vote. Slowly we are gaining ground at many levels, including the political arena, but not enough and not fast enough. "Over the course of our nation's history, we have had nearly two thousand men in the Senate--but only fifty women!" [Nevertheless She Persisted by Senator Amy Klobuchar] Despite progress in female political representation, a woman has yet to be elected to the highest office

A hundred years ago, many men believed "women shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about politics." The best option for our gender to gain power used to be through the men we "caught" and married. In those times, surface impressions were especially important for a woman's climb upward but today, in the 21st century, women seem to continue to seek power through outward appearances. 

I am talking especially about women's feet. We torture ourselves with our footwear choices. Why? Studies have shown that women get more positive attention from men when wearing stilettos.* This helps our self-esteem. We feel sexier because of how high heels make our legs look longer and how these shoes force our hips to move in an alluring way. There is also the additional height that brings us closer to eye-to-eye contact with men.

But this is at a cost to our spines and the health of our feet. Is it really worth it? Perhaps, instead of accepting what has long been the norm, we should work on changing universal perceptions.

Think about this. What man would go through this type of pain to attract attention? What man would sacrifice his feet for power? What man would wear stilettos and accept that it is necessary to be successful?

We women are at least as smart as men but our choices do not always show it. When it comes to raising ourselves up, stilettos only accomplish this on a superficial level.  It's about time we used our brains instead of our feet!

* For a much better perspective on this topic, readers should check out an informative and balanced article by Stacey Hutson.

(Like all females, Bonnie Schupp once coveted very high heels as a teenager, looking forward to the sophistication and status associated with this footwear. After a short time, however, she concluded that she was not a masochist and does not own high heeled shoes. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Liberal Arts and a Doctor of Communication Design. Her feet are happy.)

Other articles you might want to explore: 

"Some female festival-goers were barred from the red carpet for wearing flat shoes. Mais naturellement – because in order to be truly chic, a woman should be hobbled and in physical pain from her footwear."   

The Most Unfeminist Clothing in History. 

The Fate of Women.

Recipe For Fascist Stew

 Recipe for Fascist Stew
from Food section of Fake News Daily

You will need a large compliant pot and a ladle for constant stirring.

•    A gallon of water. (Make sure water is not from Flint)   
•    A can of scapegoats with immigrants for seasoning
•    A quart of fear
•    Unlimited lies
•    One ton of tweeting characters
•    Toss everything into the pot and turn on the flame.
•    Announce that you alone will make stew great again.
•    Sprinkle 10 tablespoons of  lies every half hour
•    Stir in 280 characters at least six times a day.
•    Simmer for four years.


•    Pour the slumgullion into red, white and blue bowls.
•    Serve only to those who rave about your meal.
•    Throw out the pot.

© Bonnie Schupp, 2018

The Fate of Women

  Photo crop of Melania Trump's feet with toes forced  into unnatural pointed shapes. Stilettos  force the body forward so that  the balls of the foot must   weight in an unnatural manor. (1)
Her poor feet!
Photo crop of Melania Trump's feet with toes crunched
into unnatural points. Stilettos force the
body forward so that the balls of the feet must
 support weight in an unnatural manner. (1)   

Recent images from the news media have drawn my attention to women’s dress but before I explain what bothers me, let me make some things clear from the start:

- I am a woman. I am not a prude.

- I do not blame women for being assaulted if they are wearing skimpy clothing. It is the man’s fault for not controlling himself. 

- I also feel women should dress sexy in appropriate settings if they wish. Show some cleavage and strut your stuff. Have fun!

- I have experienced beaches in France and have no problem with topless women (or men) on the beach.

- I am not a fan of shaming women. There has been too much of that throughout history.

I do, however, have a problem with expectations concerning women’s dress in today’s professional world.

For example, why do women continue to wear tortuous footwear such as pointy toes, high heels and stilettos? Men say it is sexy and women say it makes them feel sexy. A 2015 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior concluded that the higher the heel, the more attention men paid to women. (1) Some women say it makes them feel and look more powerful. Some say it helps them advance in their careers. Really? 

When I was 12-years-old, my mother told me I was finally old enough to wear high heels. I was excited; I had come of age! This was a big deal for me—until I started wearing pointy shoes with high heels and realized that it wasn’t all it was chalked up to be. Although it was uncomfortable, as a teen, I followed female fashion and was always eager to kick off my shoes as soon as I could. It has been more than 50 years since I’ve attempted to wear really high heels and, although I’m in my 70’s now, my feet look rather young. I’ve never had bunions, hammertoes, metatarsalgia or pump bump—conditions resulting from fashionable footwear. Personally, I am not a masochist.

Podiatrist Michael Liebow claimed to the Washington Post, “Women will wear their high-heeled shoes until their feet are bloody stumps.” (2) In a 2014 study, the American Podiatric Association found that 38 percent of women reported they would wear shoes they liked even if they were uncomfortable. And 71 percent said they have foot problems related to high heels. (3)

In 2018, we are participating in a modern version of the ancient Chinese tradition of foot binding, the result of societal pressure. "The practice of binding feet was not only considered beautiful, it was considered necessary in order to get married and to have a better life." (4) Does this sound familiar to the claim today that high heels are sexy and help women to succeed? We may not bind feet but we certainly shackle women’s ability to be pain free and to move with the same ease as men.

Television screen shot of CNN
I also wonder why women feel obligated to wear dresses and skirts for state events. Notice on television, when women sit while wearing skirts and dresses, they wind up  constantly tugging at their clothing to pull it down. It is okay in an entertainment situation but not in professional situations. Look at the image of Sarah Sanders in her “professional” situation, showing most of her thigh. Can you imagine a man in a professional situation unbuttoning his shirt so you can see his chest hair? Of course not! It would be too undignified. And it is too undignified for a professional woman to expose herself as Sarah did in her press conference setting. Hillary Clinton has received a lot of flak about her pants suits but she’s one of the few serious women in politics who consistently goes against the “expectation” that women should wear skirts and dresses. And she doesn’t wear stilettos either. Good for her! Some might argue that professional men are expected to wear a tie. Okay, but wearing a tie does not demean or damage health.

Women may “hold up half the sky” but we are not yet represented equally in professional and government positions. Why do women continue to dress according to “expectations” even at the expense of our health, dignity and freedom? Social expectations can subjugate women. When it comes to dress in the professional world, women make themselves victims. We will never hold up half the sky professionally until we quit bowing to men’s dress expectations.



“Foot-binding is said to have been inspired by a tenth-century court dancer named Yao Niang who bound her feet into the shape of a new moon. She entranced Emperor Li Yu by dancing on her toes inside a six-foot golden lotus festooned with ribbons and precious stones. In addition to altering the shape of the foot, the practice also produced a particular sort of gait that relied on the thigh and buttock muscles for support. From the start, foot-binding was imbued with erotic overtones. Gradually, other court ladies—with money, time and a void to fill—took up foot-binding, making it a status symbol among the elite.”

12 Ways Americans Solved Safety Prolems

February 15, 2018 (The Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, the deadliest school massacre in our history, cries out for us to look at the big picture and examine how our country handles health problems.)

Americans have a history of looking a problem straight in the eye and taking action to solve or lessen the problem. These are a handful of examples:
    1. Sports safety equipment has evolved so fewer athletes are injured.
    2. Tooth decay, sometimes leading to abscess and sepsis, affected quality of life and sometimes led to death. Toothbrushes, modern dental care and fluoride have led to better dental heath.
    3. Houseflies used to homes and spread deadly microbes. Screens were invented.
    4. Drivers could not see the edges of their lanes which often led to fatal accidents. Bott’s Dots were invented and used on roads to help motorists see boundaries and stay in their lanes.
    5. Years ago, contaminated milk was killing children. Pasteurization of milk changed this.
    6. Too many accidents were happening in work places. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was formed to reduce these accidents.
    7. Some toys can kill children. The consumer Product Safety Commission was formed to oversee this problem and recall toys that could kill children.
    8. Before stethoscopes, doctors put their ear to the patient’s chest to listen to the heart. Now they use stethoscopes for better heart hearing.
    9. Years ago, patients who had to have legs amputated or teeth extracted suffered great pain during these procedures. Anesthesia was invented.
    10. Children used to suffer from whooping cough (I did) and it was especially life-threatening in babies. Babies and children now are vaccinated with DTaP to prevent this disease.

    11.  When so many people were being killed in automobile accidents, seat belts and airbags were invented and legislated.
    12. Current problem: “When a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults with an assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, it rattled Newtown, Conn., and reverberated across the world. Since then, there have been at least 273 school shootings nationwide. In those incidents, 439 people were shot, 121 of whom were killed.” (NYT, 2/15/18)    Solution? Send thoughts and prayers and listen to the NRA?