About that ‘Catcalling’ Video…

Personal Space, Women Stuff

 

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I wasn’t going to post about the recent video produced by Hollaback, an organization dedicated to ending street harassment. You know… the one showing harassment of one woman over a ten-hour period. There are already so many opinions about it out there. But then I read some of the comments* about the video and my blood beat a little harder and my jaw clenched a little tighter. The comments that struck me were the ones griping – how is a man supposed to converse with women if not on the street? Shouldn’t she just be flattered? Is no one allowed to talk to anyone or make a pleasant conversation anymore? She is begging for the attention, what with her sexy, plain back t-shirt and jeans! Ugh.

Here is the thing, as many have already pointed out, far more eloquently than I, women know, women feel, that it isn’t just a pleasant comment. For example, recently I was heading to a meeting at around 7pm on a Thursday, just five blocks from my apartment. I reasoned that taking my car could lead to parking five blocks away anyway in a different direction, looking for a cab would mean standing on the street for a long time, and there were plenty of street lights so it wouldn’t be that dark. So off I set on foot. Halfway there, I turned down a block and the only other person on it was a man coming the other way. I assumed the usual woman walking alone in the city position, hands in my pockets and eyes on the ground. I assumed we would pass silently, maybe with a friendly nod, or at most a ‘good evening.’ Feet in front of me, he suddenly ducked to look into my face and yelled “Hey there beautiful, what are you up to tonight?”

This is what gets me about this whole debate on street harassment… context can be everything. The words “Hey there beautiful, what are you up to tonight?” are, in and of themselves, fine. Uttered at a bar, they may be a bit cheesy. Sent via text from a boyfriend or close friend they are sweet. Accompanying a guitar in G major and you have a pop hit. But on the street, when I’m alone, they is scary.

The internet is clogged with opinions about why such an interaction shouldn’t be considered harassment. For example, what was I wearing and was I seeking attention through my outfit? There is a blog, But What Was She Wearing dedicated to this ridiculous idea, where women can share their stories. For the record, I was wearing business casual slacks, button down, boxy jacket and my glasses. It isn’t about what women are wearing, but about so much more. Besides being annoying, being yelled at/followed/aggressively come on to in the street reminds women that they are vulnerable, that they may not be safe, because there are many women who have not been safe walking alone in the street. At least in my experience, a woman will not think ‘Gee, that guys thinks I’m sexy, how nice!’ upon hearing comments growled behind her about her posterior. Rather, she may think ‘I hope someone else starts walking here so I won’t be alone in this situation” while clutching her keys and quickening her pace.

But men are just trying to be friendly and connect… WHY IS NO ONE ALLOWED TO BE FRIENDLY ANYMORE?! I’m not saying this is never true, just that it is rarely true. I have never had a man on the street stop me to talk to me, comment on my outfit, tell me to smile, introduce himself, opine on my appearance, or whistle while I’m walking with my husband. So, either there is a hole in this argument, or men on the street are only trying to “connect” to women walking alone, because they don’t yell at women in couples and they don’t make comments at other men.

The sad thing is, it is possible to be friendly and interact with strangers without being creepy. Yet some creepers just ruin it for the rest of us. Obviously, even though I use the general term ‘men’ for this post, street harassment applies only to some men. And some men talk to women they don’t know, give them a compliment and it is taken as such – but again, context matters. To contrast my story above, I was walking to an appointment one morning in the same city when I stopped at a traffic light. There was a man sitting alone at a cafe table on the corner, feet from where I was standing, drinking a cup of coffee and apparently enjoying the morning. We were the only people on that particular corner, but there were people bustling along the other sidewalks. He smiled and said good morning, so I smiled back. He asked if I was headed somewhere important because I was dressed very sharply (in a suit), then told me to knock ‘em dead and have a great week. I said thanks, also wished him a nice day. The traffic light turned, and away I went. Now I know that these stories have similarities – I’m alone both times, the man is alone both times, he comments about my appearance. But, the second interaction felt different because it started with just a smile, he didn’t get in my face, he only continued to talk to me after I responded, his comment about my appearance (although I could have done without it) was not sexual in nature but about being dressed to impress (in the business world) and looking confident. There was no lasciviousness, no mention of beauty or any of my body parts, no move to follow me, no intrusion into my personal space to force me to interact with him. It felt like a friendly conversation on a street corner on a sunny fall morning.

Obviously some women/people do not want to be talked to at all while out going about their day. That should be respected. Personally, I do enjoy saying hello to people, at the post office, in a store, or in an elevator – always nice to be nice, ya know? If, however, you can’t see the difference in these interactions described above, can’t tell that one of them is invasive, and imposes on me instead of an interaction with me, then maybe don’t try to talk to women walking alone on the street. It’s about respect.

 

*I’m not talking about the comments that pointed out the possible racial bias in the editing, even Hollaback has acknowledged the point and promised to do better.

 

When Sexism Becomes a Joke

Women Stuff

“It’s just a joke” is one of the most watertight defenses for a discourteous comment. You can say a lot of things under the guise of a shrug and a smile, claiming it’s just funny. Well, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, but making jokes about the opposite gender is a delicate business.

Recently Emma Watson addressed the U.N. on the issue of gender equality, promoting the new HeForShe campaign. One of her many salient points touched on the need to get men on board with gender equality discussions. As with any complex societal topic – often eliciting impassioned responses – there are a variety of attitudes toward forwarding discussion. The impression that issues affecting women must evoke an “anti-man” response from proponents of gender equality in order to further an agenda, is bantied about with regularity on twitter/comment boards/the internet generally. Ms. Watson’s speech directly targeted this idea, and instead invited men and boys to join the conversation. She posited that in so doing, they become better men by helping the world become better for women and thus better for everyone. With all due respect to the many approaches over time toward bringing women’s issues to the fore, I am inclined to agree that bringing men into the discussion can only help.

I was fortunate to grow up under circumstances where I was encouraged to do or be  anything. I not only had the encouragement, but the means through my parents’ support (both personal and economic) to thrive in whatever direction I chose. As Emma Watson discussed, she had the privilege to be raised in a place and a family where gender did not matter. I too experienced this privilege. Perhaps that is why I am always taken aback when I see, or feel, a ripple of the sexism that still pervades in areas of the world as a whole, or my own personal world. Just as an example, I was working on an issue with three male colleagues in my same field of work. (I’ve touched in the past on the occasional disparity  in the ratio of men to women in my field). For the record, we had all met each other for the first time about twenty minutes prior, and they were older than I. Needing someone to take notes as we came to a resolution, the man heading up the project asked me to take down our progress, adding “I didn’t ask you to do that because you are the woman.” Followed by a feeble joke about maybe asking me to run and get them coffees when I was done taking notes. Everyone chuckled.

I, too, laughed off the comment and finished up the project, but later I began thinking about the encounter. Perhaps it was just a tasteless comment, an attempt at humor, from an otherwise, seemingly, pleasant and respectful man. Likely he had just randomly assigned the dictation to me, then perceived that it may have given the wrong impression. In which case, his comments were an apology of sorts. Whatever the intention, I found it all a little uncomfortable.

Here is why the comment made me squirm. First, I had the same credentials as the men in the room and was contributing equally to the conversation, yet drawing attention to my gender dredged up the madmen-esque stereotypes of the past where men were professionals and women were their assistants. Suddenly we were all thinking that 40 years ago, in this setting, I would have been his secretary. Second, making a joke about taking dictation and doing coffee runs, feels patronizing toward those types of assistant roles, which by the way, are valuable in their own right. Third, talking in jest about a more “traditional” role of a woman in the workplace, to a woman working in a profession that, only a mere few decades ago was dominated by men… well, I’m not sure what kind of message that is supposed to send. Are you trying to tell me that you are okay with my presence? Are you still working through the transition from the assumption (safe decades ago) that women are ‘only’ secretaries, to the reality of professional life today?

Through this very small, hardly-worth-mentioning example, I’d just like to point out that even in situations where women are provided equal opportunity, there is still room for a conversation. Jokes like the one directed at me take us from a group of colleagues to a group of men and one woman. We may not speak up at the time, because we feel outnumbered, or don’t want to “make a scene,” or be perceived as sensitive or difficult, but such comments still make an impression.

I remember in middle school, when boys were first noticing girls, and girls were noticing boys. It became very popular to tell somewhat naughty jokes, and some of them were downright sexist. But the girls always laughed, because they liked the boys, and the boys told more jokes because the girls were laughing. Now, of course I love a good joke as much as the next guy (or gal)! There is plenty of humor to be derived from the differences between men and women. But the context, the intention, and the taste level of the joke matter. And just because a woman is smiling at a joke about antiquated gender roles doesn’t mean she thinks it’s funny.

Why I Am Asked My Age At Work

Career Cares, Personal Space, Women Stuff

It is an unusually cool morning for late August, but, in my dress shirt, suit and makeup, I am grateful for the lack of typical Pennsylvania humidity. I stroll into the conference room, place my briefcase on one of the chairs surrounding the large dark wood table and extend a hand and smile to the older couple waiting nervously. The woman, dressed beautifully in a light sweater, her white hair pinned neatly behind her ears, is my client. She returns my smile, and says “I thought when we spoke on the phone that you were a young girl, just from the sound of your voice.”

Close your eyes and imagine people in various professions. First picture a librarian. Then think of how a nurse would look. Now envision a lawyer.

Let me guess, that last one is a man, wearing a clean, sharp suit and bright tie. Perhaps graying around his temples, perhaps already balding. His voice has deepened with age, and his eyes, while bright and playful are creased at the corners. Maybe he wears glasses, which he then pulls off in court and uses to point with for emphasis. His briefcase is worn from attending many, many, many meetings.

I am none of these things.

I graduated from college just as this county was tottering into the recession, and thus decided to postpone the ‘real world’ a few more years and pursue an additional degree. That was several years ago, yet despite years in school, and a few years working, I am usually the youngest person in the room. Different areas of law probably have varying cultures, some I am sure, are dominated by women, some by younger attorneys. My chosen area, however, does seem to have a high percentage of men matching the description above.

For the most part, being a so-called ‘young professional’ has not been a problem, although one attorney noted on the record that I am his child’s age – cue uncomfortable laugh. And of course youth, and the lesser level of experience that comes with it, can have advantages. Others in the field, even opponents, can be very encouraging, occasionally giving practice tips, or asking about my experience thus far. Being young makes you stick out as being new, and that engenders a certain amount of gentleness.

Where I am the most awkward, and aware of my age, is when interacting with clients. I feel that my youthful appearance somehow let’s them down. Often I interact with a client over the phone prior to meeting them in person. We have a great chat, we make a plan, we set a meeting, and then I show up. That is when they ask my age. I am quick to tell them that I am being supervised by a more senior practitioner. I waive comments off, saying that I look younger than I am. I have even told clients that I hope my appearance does not change their level of confidence in me. I am usually told that it does not, yet every new client has the same initial reaction.

In a world that is youth-obsessed in so many respects (see, any show on tv), it is a strange experience to find pockets where youth works against you. I spend my evenings at the gym or slathering on night cream to stave off wrinkles, but in the morning I choose conservative suits and solemn shades of makeup in an attempt to look more mature.

It is difficult to find fault with people for wanting a representative who looks experienced. Surely some day, when clients no longer bluntly ask my age, I will sigh and remember the days of being a young (new) lawyer. Until then, my girlish appearance is incentive to be very professional, so as to win their trust.

 

 

 

One Day Until the Vote on Scottish Independence

Places

Edinburgh

Tomorrow Scotland faces a monumental vote which will decide whether Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom or splits to become independent, leaving the Kingdom a little less united.

On the one hand, I have no right to say what is best for a country where I do not live, on the other, Scotland is one of my favorite places and I care about its future. I first visited Scotland during a semester abroad in college. Many of my fellow English Majors were determined to go to London, but I wanted to try something a little different. I knew nothing about Scotland, save for a beautiful glossy brochure advertising the University of Edinburgh, and that somewhere in my ancestry there were Scots roots. So I applied for a visa, filled out the necessary paper work for my college, packed a suitcase and hopped a plane. What ensued were some of the most exciting a stimulating months of my life.

Scotland is a beautiful country, with a long, rugged history, mysterious rain-drenched landscapes, and friendly, passionate people. I was instantly enamored and have made many subsequent trips back to Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Glasglow, Inverness and the Highlands.

Coincidentally, I timed my first stay in Scotland for the 300th anniversary of unification with England. (The Kingdom of England including Wales and the Kingdom of Scotland unified in 1707, although the countries had shared a monarchy since James VI of Scotland become James I of England in 1603). In 2007, there was a palpable desire toward independence, that at the time seemed unlikely to come to fruition. Street graffiti declared ‘Scottish not British’ and Scotland was already operating with its own parliament.

As an American it is interesting to watch another country contemplate separation from the United Kingdom. (Sure, when we did it the situation was colonization, and globalization wasn’t what it is today, but it still draws a curious parallel.) Could September 18th become Scotland’s version of our July 4th? Any time there is upheaval in country partnerships there are always people on both sides of the debate, because both sides have valid concerns and aspirations. I do not know what the right answer is for Scotland or the United Kingdom. If Scotland votes Yes it will fulfill a national dream that until now appeared unattainable. However, the repercussions will be many and are sure to create a tangle of consequences, some currently unforeseen. And yet, voting No, is saying no to a real chance to implement a long-time desire for independence. The question is a truly politically, culturally and historically complex query.

Until recent weeks the United Kingdom and the world were certain that the No votes would prevail, but now, with less than a day until the vote, it is too close to call. As Scottish poet Robert Burns said, “there is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”

The world will just have to wait and see what Scotland decides.

A Station by Any Other Name … On Re-Naming Philly’s Transportation Stops

Out & About

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We all know, or at least Shakespeare has lead us to believe, that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet … but would it smell as nostalgic? That is a question drifting around Philadelphia these days, where several transportation spots are slated to be renamed.

The station formerly known as Market East will soon be re-named Jefferson Station. The change comes after Jefferson Hospital inked a deal with Titan (advertising for Septa).  SEPTA’s tight budget is no secret, and certainly bargaining with the naming rights of stations is a way to approach this fiscal issue. Press coverage, including some releases by Septa itself, have focused largely on Jefferson’s recent push to become more visible in the Philly healthcare market. Naming the closest station after the hospital can help cut confusion for arriving patients, and solidify Jefferson’s brand presence in the area. Seems like a win-win for both institutions.

However, the name deal is only for a few years, with an option to renew. So after five years, what happens to the name? Will it go back to being the bland but currently accepted Market East? Will Jefferson Hospital renew and continue the name in perpetuity? Will another school/company/organization take over the name-option and re-name the station something else entirely?

This is not the first SEPTA station to gain a new moniker – At&t station (formerly Pattison) is a relatively new addition to the southern end of the Broad Street line. Many cities also keep with the tradition of re-naming streets or plazas after famous figures. In fact, it was recently announced the 30th Street Station will be renamed in honor of William H. Gray III. That seemed to cause a fair amount of consternation as well. Not because the honor isn’t well deserved, but because 30th Street has always been, well, 30th Street.

With this flurry of renaming train stations, should we even consider whether there are downsides? After all, in a free market even names have a value and why not allow SEPTA to cash in on that value. (I’m all for improvements to the Philly subway system!) But in a city as historically rich as Philadelphia, carving names of landmarks (even just transportation stations) into five year deals seems disjointed. Maybe I’m just old fashioned at heart, but I’m imagining touring Philly with my future kids telling them “And this used to be Market East…”

If the venture proves successful, and with the At&t deal coming to a close, and the new deal with Jefferson about to begin, it appears that if SEPTA finds the prospect successful, we will have to wait and see if all SEPTA stops will have sponsorship in the future.

Or maybe people will just stick with saying the old names, no matter what the station signs say.

Sweaters, Sweaters Everywhere

Career Cares, Style

I try to style my work wardrobe to lean more Marnie from Girls and less Emma from Glee.  However, there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that looks both as cute, and as professional as the perfect cardigan. Like the classic LBD, or those impeccable heels, a great cardigan is a professional closet requisite.  I have been in search of the cardigan for years.

J Crew’s jackie cardigan was my top contender for some time.  I bought an olive green version on Michigan Ave., in Chicago while shopping with a friend one crisp October afternoon.  That was around four years ago, and although I’ve worn it unceasingly to work since, and the cuffs are beginning to show the wear, it still hangs in my closet and I can’t seem to get rid of it.  It should be noted, that I also purchased a full cotton version of a j crew cardigan, however it stretched after a few wears and now looks loose and baggy in places.

Next, I tried to replicate my love for the jackie with a deep purple cotton and wool blend cardigan from Gap.  Although it was a cute sweater, after a  few washes it just did not hold its shape like the j crew version.  It appears appealing when buttoned over a blouse, but does not have that classic adorable cardigan shape I’m after.

Well, I’ve recently found the next great cardigan!  I was walking through the mall when a rack of colorful sleeves and buttons caught my eye.  Halogen brand has a great line of cardigans in a myriad of colors (they also have some delectable skirts as well).  The only down side for this busy girl, is that they need to be hand washed.* They are made of rayon, so they are very light weight and hold their shape wonderfully over any shirt, top or blouse.  The saturated, deep colors really make them pop, so it’s easy to throw one on over those plain black trouser pants and basic white shirt.  I now have five in different colors!

I didn’t think that I could devote an entire post to sweaters, but with fall coming sooner than I’d like, it’s almost time to dig out the cooler wardrobe. Sigh.

* This can be done with a little woolite in your bathroom sink.

And they all lived happily ever after in his home town … When the Bachelorette Moves for Love

House & Home, Personal Space, Women Stuff

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Everyone should have a secret or two. Here is one of mine, sometimes I watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette. Not regularly, and usually not an entire episode, but over the years I’ve probably seen my fair share of glittery dresses, accusations of fakery and loooong pauses before roses are doled out. It’s fun, its full of drama and even though the point is to find a life partner/bestfriend/soulmate in a few short months on national television, it all looks a bit like a vacation. Sure, there are tears and triumphant declarations of love, but the same sentiments are expressed so often on the show, a show where few couples have actually made it, that it is hard to take everything seriously.

These Bachelor/ette shows have faced a certain amount of (often deserved) criticism over the years. Many of the viewers probably do not pay much attention to it – after all, it is the viewing equivalent of eating cupcakes, no matter how many times they remind us that it is serious for those involved! However, there is one conversation that gets me every time. And it always comes up, usually around home-town weeks when the contestants suitors take the Bachelorette home to meet the family. This trip sparks the inevitable conversation about where the blissful pair will live after everyone else is sent packing. And it usually goes something along the lines of:

Guy:    Hey, do you think you can handle moving to (my town) after we get engaged?

Girl:     Absolutely/Sure/Yes/Probably/I think so

Why is the woman always moving?! At first I thought maybe whoever is the Bachelor/Bachelorette gets to stay in their town, and any contestant that ‘wins’ moves? Not so. (See Ashley & JP). Then I thought maybe whoever has the strongest family ties in one place stays? No. (See Emily & Brad, she moved with her daughter). Perhaps whoever has the most settled career? (This season Andi talked over moving to Iowa, but I’m guessing she didn’t have an attorney’s license in that state yet).

I do not know any of these people, so perhaps they all had great reasons for making the moving decisions that they did. I’m not judging individual couples for their decisions – do what works – but thinking over the seasons I’ve seen, there is a pattern. And of course someone will have to move – if you throw together two dozen single people from across the country, they are bound to be from geographically diverse locations. I also haven’t seen every season (whew) so maybe there was a guy who moved for the girl, I’m just saying it doesn’t happen often on this show.

Here is the thing about last night’s Bachelorette finale, it is the first one that circumvented the entire issue of who will move, and where, and why, and when. (Actually, maybe it isn’t the first, but I’m not a reality tv historian, so…) Andi and her beloved are actually from the same city, as was mentioned on the show.  This led to a lot of sneaking around in wigs, and secret dates over the last few weeks, because even though they are engaged they had to maintain radio silence for ABC. This is either cute, or giving you flashbacks to that 11th grade boyfriend your parents didn’t like. The point is, she chose someone from her home town, so no one had to move. That will probably make it easier in the long run. It will also evades the first big, real decision that most Bachelor/ette couples face after the cameras are off.

Maybe it’s a coincidence. Perhaps I just happened to watch every season where its the woman packing her suitcases at the end, as they ride into the sunset. Kidding aside, I don’t know why the shows end this way – maybe ABC only casts women who dislike their home cities, maybe women on the Bachelorette are more willing to compromise, or maybe they feel like they are expected to?

Something to think about next season.

 

Plagiarism ~ Wrong but also a Nuanced Concept

Writing & Creativity

The other day I came across an interesting article by Jessica Lahey, in The Atlantic, entitled “What a plagiarizing 12 Year Old has in Common with a US Senator.” The article addresses the recent controversy surrounding Ph.D. candidate Zack Jud, sixth grader Lauren Arrington, and research involving lionfish. The thrust of the piece explains that when children make missteps, it is up to the adults surrounding them to point out the error, explain the reasoning and redirect the child toward accuracy and integrity.

When I was young, very young, I copied some illustrations from a picture book. My six or seven year-old drawing ability was not on par with the illustrator of the book, but I tried my best to copy the adorable hamster cartoons. They were depicted engaged in various activities like jumping rope, cooking and lounging at the beach. Pleased with my results I shared my drawings with my mom’s friend, an artist.  I recall her telling me how creative the pictures were, and although I did not know why, her compliments felt somewhat sour.

As a youngster, I had not yet learned the complexity or even the concept of plagiarism. I loved drawing and took a few children’s level art classes where I often copied lines drawn by a teacher, or was encouraged to mimic the shapes and shades of famous works with my own colored pencils. I used many images for drawing practice – family photos, magazine ads, National Geographic spreads. Children learn by watching and imitating. In copying anything I enjoyed, including book illustrations, I was simply trying to understand how to make something that I admired. But eventually comes an awaking to the ideas of personal creativity, ownership of ideas, and credit.

I later understood my discomfort with the praise I received for “my” hamster drawings. I had copied the illustrations as a means to improve my technical abilities, while the friend instead praised the idea behind the drawings, which was not my own. I discerned the difference when I read a book about Helen Keller detailing the controversy surrounding “The Frost King” a published story written by a young Keller, but later revealed to be strikingly similar to “Frost Fairies” by Margaret Canby. I suddenly understood – ideas can belong to people, and taking someone’s idea is like taking their car or dog.

As a senior in college, a fellow English major and I gave a small talk about plagiarism to teachers at a local high school. The internet was fast becoming students’ research tool of choice and Wikipedia was catching on, so the teachers wanted to be able to keep pace. If students were going to google research topics, the school was going to google their final term papers right back. We focused our presentation on how to detect planned, intentional, internet-based plagiarism. We did not consider why eleventh graders might be stealing writings about the battle of Belmont, or appropriating lines of E.E. Cummings – only how to catch them. There was also little discussion of why plagiarism is such a threat to integrity, especially in young adults who are presented with new ideas daily, and are learning to differentiate for themselves, and others, the distinction between their own work and another’s.

I agree with Ms. Lahey, and others, including Jud himself, who have written or spoken recently about this lionfish research debacle, that parents have the responsibility to teach this concept to their kids (as well as a myriad of other things we expect them to learn as they reach maturity). Throw teachers in there too, because they often uncover the indiscretion and dole out the penalty.  But just how should this lesson be conveyed to children?

We all agree that a person’s ideas are her own, and that taking those ideas for profit, or holding them out as your own without credit to the source, is wrong. We have copious amounts of intellectual property law to back this up. It is a black and white concept that appears easy to explain: plagiarism is like stealing and stealing is wrong. Here is something to consider though, if you unpack the idea of using unoriginal work, many gradations of gray are revealed.

For instance, in a law firm, the phrase “don’t reinvent the wheel” is often invoked. Meaning, if Fred down the hall wrote a motion on the same topic last week, why not use Fred’s motion and just make a few edits? The lawyer does not then footnote his motion attributing any turns of phrase to Fred. However, when it comes to referencing statues, regulations or case law, lawyers carefully and specifically cite each reference. The critical legal information is cited, but the common practice of sharing work within an office abrogates the need to credit Fred, even though motion number two borrowed entire paragraphs of Fred’s writing. This method prioritizes time-saving and presenting the best argument, over protection of any one person’s creativity in their work within a firm. On the other hand, such a practice would be completely unacceptable for a final paper in a college course.

Other arenas where using another’s work or ideas is objectionable are academia, invention and writing, among others. We all know that there are many themes that have been written about time and time again – man v. nature for instance. It is acceptable to write an original story with this theme, but wrong to copy words from The Old Man and the Sea. And then there are new works that are retellings of prior works – My Fair Lady and Pygmalion, as an example.

As children grow into adults, immersing themselves in different environments as they learn – academic, a specific profession, a field of work – they experience context based norms for crediting others work. As copyright law shows, it is possible for several people to have the same or very similar idea separately, yet we also want to protect ideas and the people who have them and develop them first. It’s a tricky concept for kids (and perhaps even some adults) but it is important that we all learn to respect the work of others, and use it to grow, but not as our own.

 

 

 

 

 

3 things from a 5K

Feeling Fit

 

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Remember a few months ago I wrote about signing myself up for a 5K run … No? Well, here is a reminder. Anyway, I completed the race and figured out a few things along the way.

  1. Cute Shoes Matter.
  2. Having a Buddy Helps.
  3. My Time is Good Enough.

In other words, I wore an old pair of sneakers because I was afraid to buy new ones just before a race. Bad move. I got a blister from my old (supposedly broken in) shoes. They just were not the right ones for this road run. I now have a new pair of adorable shoes that are much more comfortable.

I also convinced a friend to sign up for the run too. It was more fun to have someone to run with, and someone to help you keep a steadier pace. Also great to have a brunch buddy who is also sweaty for after the run!

Last thing, the run was chip-timed. I spent more time than I should admit looking up finish results from years past. Checking finish times for ladies in my age group against my own pace. I should not have done this. Sure you don’t want to sign up for a race that only caters to professional runners if you are a newbie, but this was a Saturday morning charity race. Next time I will worry more about beating my own pace and letting the other numbers go.