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Date archive for: April 2014

A Woman Unglued

There’s a delicious moment in Sandra Tsing Loh’s new menopausal memoir when she sinks into a hot bath to read Anna Quindlen’s menopausal memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. For an instant, I believe that two of my favorite nonfiction writers are going to melt together into a smart, steamy, sisterhoody, say-what-we’re-all-thinking sort of soup.

But the soak only made Loh — divorced, sleepless, bloated, and at the frayed, thready end of her tightly wound rope — feel like “a hideous monster failure” compared to the “warm, sensible” and alcohol-abstaining Quindlen, who is still married to her high school sweetheart.

And what Loh wrote next was even better than sassy-scribe stew: “Anna Quindlen is a judgmental beeyotch masquerading as a nice person, and I hate her. I realize this puts me in the can’t-win position of attacking a clearly very nice and successful person … But if only we could see women crash around a bit more, particularly in middle age.”

Plenty of such crashing can be seen in Loh’s new book, The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, a startlingly, refreshingly honest account of life as a modern woman being dragged — writhing and wailing — out of her forties. A writer and radio commentator who is coming to UCSB’s Campbell Hall in May, Loh describes her imperfect relationships with her lover, ailing father, adolescent daughters, and irritating therapist and her failure to cope gracefully with the weight gain, hot flashes, forgetfulness, and panic attacks of perimenopause.

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Ban 'Bossy'? Over My Bossy Body

Crybaby. Tattletale. Mama’s boy. Kids can be nasty little name-callers, can’t they?

It’s easy to deflect some schoolyard slurs — the ones we know for sure aren’t true. Scaredy-cat? In your dreams. Goody Two-shoes? Puh-leeze. But other labels — shorty, for instance, or carrot-top —are so obviously, undeniably true, there’s no point in even ducking their well-aimed wallop.

For me, bossy was one of those labels. The no-denying kind. The kind you can only answer with an “Oh, yeah? Well, so what!” and go on about your life.

I’m bossy. It’s not an endearing quality, nothing to brag about. But my classmates and I can attest that it’s absolutely accurate. It’s also the reason I’m about to put Sheryl Sandberg in her place.

Sandberg, Facebook’s COO and the author of Lean In, has joined forces with the Girl Scouts in a campaign to retire the word “bossy” from public lexicon. Their argument: It quashes girls’ leadership instincts.

“We know that by middle school, more boys than girls want to lead,” Sandberg told ABC News, “and if you ask girls why they don’t want to lead, whether it’s the school project all the way on to running for office, they don’t want to be called bossy, and they don’t want to be disliked.”

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