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I'm Not A Social Media Expert

It's a Woman's World - Are You Part Of It? I'm Not.

Yvonne-DiVita This week I was on a conference call set up by Maria Shriver - you know, Arnold's wife, and a Kennedy at heart? She invited bloggers and 30 of us called in. Now, I'm name-dropping on purpose because Maria has partnered with some key people (celebs and other 'well-known' names) to create what she calls A Woman's Nation, based on The Shriver Report.

So far, so good, right? Wrong.

I can see that Maria Shriver is attempting to do good. I can see that her over 400 page report (who is going to read ALL of that?) has content relevant to women and women's issues, including wages, home life, and the power women of a woman's purse. But, her website and her women's conference turns me off. Why? Because all I see are big names, powerful celebrities, a lot of promoting of Maria and her friends. These are not women reflective of ME!

Interestingly, Melanie Notkin was a bit unhappy with Maria's conference call and her work, also. For those who don't know Melanie she is the founder of Savvy Auntie - a powerful group of women who represent close to 50% of the female population in the U.S. These are women who are not *** shock *** Moms! (can I say that? aren't Moms all powerful? don't I write about them all the time? yikes...Melanie sure set me straight and I'm now setting you straight)Melanie-notkin-savvy-auntie

In Melanie's letter on her Savvy Auntie site, she takes Maria to task for focusing almost exclusively on the Moms and families that are inclusive of Moms and Dads. She says, "...when speaking of the nation's women and the economy, women without children who love, nurture and support the children in their lives should be part of the conversation. The women who have discretionary income and time that they spend on our economy should have a voice."

Well, who can argue with that? Not me. I know many PANKS, as Melanie calls them (Professional Aunts No Kids). I so agree that Melanie and I discussed this issue on the phone and I will share that with you next week. We had quite the conversation.

In the end, Maria Shriver did what the wowowow gals did - they tapped into celebrities, big names, famous people, women of influence in business - good women, all. But, not reflective of me. Not, dear reader, necessarily reflective of you.

Shriver-report There is no diversity in this movement; it lacks the very substance it promises to deliver. Ok, it may be chock full of stats and reports, and while it reflects the world we live in today, it does not help us solve anything.

Because beyond the report, Maria and her 'friends' are stuck in the box the U.S. likes to put women - a box that not only ignores PANKS but ignores me. I'm a Grandmother - divorced and living with my partner, Tom. I'm an entrepreneur. I'm a woman who lives in the real world, with you, all of my Lip-sticking readers. And, if Maria wants me to 'join' her movement (A woman's nation changes everything), she needs to include women like me on her panel, in her website, and especially on her homepage(s). At present, the "box" she lives in contains Moms with children of indeterminate age, and usually, a Dad... the predictable American Family.

Before I join, before I participate, I need to see you there, dear reader. I need to see women who are as diverse as the big outdoors. We are all different. We are all powerful in some way. We are not all Moms (let's define that - today, a "Mom" is a married woman with children, who is between the ages of 25-35, IMHO; she's the one the brands are pursuing like crazy!).

WE, the women of the U.S. I live in, are also PANKS and GrandMoms and gays with children. We're women of influence because we are out there helping our sisters be all that they want to be! We have come a long way - just on a different path than the celebs Maria culled for her movement. Our path is one that leads to creating leadership out of talent, not celebrity.

Let's tell Maria we'd like to be included in her movement, but she needs to invite some of us in to her inner circle - to give voice to the large number of women her report that her "woman's nation" ignores. 

Here's my last word (until you get to listen to my podcast with Melanie): I do not want women who have never walked a day in my shoes to read stats and do research and then tell me how I feel and what my life is like. I am open to embracing the cause - it's a good one. But, when they clearly do not understand me, or many of my closest friends, I have trouble believing they can, or want to, help me.

My cynical nature says they want to be applauded for stepping up - and bringing their fancy friends with them.

p.s. to all the partners at a woman's nation: hey, niche blogs like mine and sites like Melanie's are also worth your attention - we can reach the real women who need and buy your products.


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Condo Blues

I'm sad but not surprised that nonMoms weren't included in The Shriver Report. I'm sure that Maria and friends researched and wrote the report from their own frame of reference - Mothers with husbands. I agree wtih Nerdy Gurl JayCee, we nonMoms should participate and make our voices heard. Only then can we make a difference.

Tiffany Jonas

Hear, hear! Thanks much for bringing attention to the rest of us. (In my case, a DINK woman entrepreneur---loved the link to the Savvy Auntie site!)

Melanie Notkin

Bella - I loved your article in psychology today and I hope everyone will read that too!

Founding Broad Susan

It seems the problem is a lack of vision in how to look at women. The problem is one of trying to come up with a single iconic image of women. This report reflects the other failures in the culture to even just recognize women as they are.

I run a film festival for women who write and direct comedy. Many of our filmmakers have chosen art over family and so are often outside the mommyshpere. But we also are in a business that looks down on "mommies." More than once, I've heard industry players say they won't hire a woman to direct because she might get pregnant. No wonder there is no place in the entertainment biz for women who look like us on screen telling stories about the lives we actually lead. And so the cultural dialogue on women, lacking iconic role models, remains shallow.

Broad Humor is working on models for changing this as we put on our festival, now heading into its fifth year, to celebrate the women who make their films despite all the odds.

Bella DePaulo

I actually did read every page of the Shriver Report, searching, searching, for the section where I, as a single woman without children, would be taken seriously. Didn't happen. Unless you count a 2-page essay in a 454-page book.

--Bella DePaulo

Yvonne - I had no idea that I was a double 50 percenter, a PANK and a worker bee. Thank you for delivering your valuable point of view to the market - AGAIN! I had to post about your post...

Yvonne DiVita

@MicheleMiller - I was hoping you were aware and would be adding your voice. I am eager to see what you have to say. Wonderbranding is a prime source for the women's market - but I have my doubts that Ms. Shriver is aware of your power - she certainly wasn't aware of mine! (do I have power?)

Thanks for stopping by here first - my email will alert me to your post and I'll be one of the first to read it.

Michele Miller

Yvonne, you beat me to the punch. I have been struggling with this topic all week and am putting together a blog post.

I, too, was on that call and while I see the good in having information like this to share, the way it's been handled is "so 20th century." I'll definitely be referencing your post in MY post!

Yvonne DiVita

@NerdyGurl, you are totally right, of course. Except - my point was that we, you and I, and all the other women who are not represented, can accomplish more together, than by joining Maria Shriver on her soapbox.

I don't want to be on a soapbox. I want to get things done. I want to have women like you recognized up front, not as one of the many invisible faces behind the scenes.

And, it's a great idea to join the movement, but it's a better idea for Maria to notice the real women who are the driving force. She knows we are significant, but she has not yet given us a voice. She wants us to use her voice.

Thanks for writing and making great points. So glad you stopped by. Your voice is important to me.

Nerdy Gurl

I hear what you're saying but I think that boycotting or not participating in this new "movement" of women is the wrong thing to do. You should participate in order to voice your opinion and represent the population of women you say are missing. I don't think that Ms. Shriver recognized you and then decided you were not significant... I believe it is a lack of education on her part. You have to remember HOW many of these extremely privileged women have lived their lives. Sorry to say, but they seem to have a ever present bubble around their heads, and it is hard from them to see every point of view no matter which surveys or amount of education they get their hands on. By running, you do an injustice to other women like yourself. I hope someone is there representing women like myself.

Nerdy Gurl JayCee

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