A Woman’s Place

susanbAs the mother of four daughters, and grandma to several granddaughters, I’m frequently asked (okay, twice) what advice I’d give to young women. Women are stronger than ever before, yet many men try to drag us back to the Victorian Era.

Men keep gettin’ up in our bizness, drafting regulations about our bodies, creating rules about everything from prom wear to breastfeeding, and making sure we’re slut-shamed if we behave out-of-line.

We’re called hysterical. We’re labeled as trouble-makers. We’re branded as unreasonable. We’re given a warm glass of milk, a pat on the head and sent to the kids’ table.

Men have had thousands of years to run the world – and I’m not impressed. Maybe it’s time they step aside and let women do the heavy lifting. (Which we can totally do.)
Here’s what young women (of every age) should know:

Own your voice. Don’t waste time explaining yourself and don’t apologize for being a smart, confident, breath of fresh air. Shout your brilliance from the rooftops and ignore those grumpy old men who slam their windows to block out the noise.

Live an authentic life. Travel. Get educated. Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Wear what you want. If a man’s morals are compromised because he caught a glimpse of your shoulders (or ankles, or earlobes) – not your problem. Instead of adding layers to our wardrobes, how about men get their minds out of the damn gutter?

Raise your standards. Life’s too short to be with someone who doesn’t appreciate your greatness. If your partner is fighting with you instead of for you, time to show them the door.

Think big. Remember that amazing idea you had? Remember how you set it aside because you thought you had to be something else? Dust that idea off. Shower it with love and attention. Don’t be afraid of big ideas. The world needs your creativity.

Plant yourself at the table. We’re tired of being dismissed. We’re sick to death of being talked down to (mansplaining, anyone?). We’re capable, functioning adults and we have something to say. Ladies, don’t back away when you’re described as “shrill” or “harsh” or “bitchy” or any other words men use to slap us down.

Give yourself permission to be human. We’re not robots who smile 24/7, tidy up after meetings and schedule luncheons. Don’t feel self-conscious if your expression isn’t “happy” enough. Look serious. Who cares? Men certainly aren’t smiling, cheerful androids.

Stand your ground. When you’re being pushed aside, refuse to budge. There are generations of women who fought for your right to stand tall, raise your voice and share your truth. They’re cheering you on. You can feel their energy, right?

Embrace your goddess self. The Greek goddess Athena is my go-to deity. She’s not only the goddess of wisdom, but the goddess of war. There are times you need to sit back and listen, and there are times you need to put on your kick-ass shoes and, well, kick ass.

Lift other women. Like a rising tide lifts all boats, a rising woman can lift an entire generation. Don’t gossip, it doesn’t serve you. Don’t be envious, it sinks your success. Link arms with the women around you and march forward celebrating each other’s triumphs. There is strength in numbers and our numbers are vast.

Listen up, men. We’re tired of playing small. Either join with us so we can move forward together, creating a world where our granddaughters and their granddaughters can thrive, or slink back to your Victorian mindset. There is no more middle ground.


Originally published in the Davis Clipper and The City Journals.


The REAL Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Unless you’ve been living in the Gobi Desert, hiding from the toxic political atmosphere, you’re well aware that Bravo will air the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” in 2020. As if 2020 wasn’t going to be terrible enough.


Just a housewife. In a dress. With her horse. They’re so like us.

If you’re not familiar with the intellectual and thought-provoking series, executive producer Andy Cohen flies to town in his invisible helicopter, rounds up glamourous white women, tells them to act like idiots, then throws a diamond necklace into a swimming pool to watch them jump in wearing slinky evening gowns.

It started in 2006 with “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and then spread like the plague through New York, Atlanta, Beverly Hills and other unsuspecting cities. In any given episode, you can expect nanny drama, coiffed eyebrows, white woman problems, plastic surgery cleavage, mean gossip, pouty lips, cats, jewelry for cats, catty behavior and lots of big hair.

But why Utah? Well, the series tends to be overwhelmingly white, so I guess Utah makes sense. And I’ve heard that some women in Utah live glamourous lives in upper-class communities. That rules me out. My glamorous life consists of digging through laundry for a pair of matching socks.

What I want to see is “The REAL Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

Episode #1: Judy is late for church. She’s wrangling her seven children into their Sunday best while her husband spends the morning in church meetings. He calls to ask why she’s late again and she throws her phone into the garbage disposal and takes all the kids to Denny’s for breakfast.

Episode #2: Carol has been asked to plan a girl’s camp for a swarm of 12-year-olds. She hates camping. And 12-year-old girls. She reaches out to her friends to create a fun week-long adventure in the Wasatch Mountains. Carol hides a flask of “Holy Water” in her scriptures.

Episode #3: Brittany sewed matching pajamas for her entire family but no one wants to wear them for the family Christmas picture. Brittany locks herself in the bathroom to cry while her husband insists he loves the purple-plaid, footed pajamas that he’ll wear for the photo if she’ll JUST STOP CRYING!

Episode #4: Shelly is a wonderful cook. She makes cinnamon rolls to DIE for. Her best friend asks Shelly for her recipe. Shelly happily obliges, but changes all the measurements so her friend’s cinnamon rolls will taste like s***.

Episode #5: Alexa is in love. At 18 years old, she just wants her returned missionary boyfriend to propose so they can live happily ever after. There’s a lot of seductive hand-holding, late-night scripture reading and even a sleepover, which is actually just a New Year’s Eve party with six other couples playing Skip-Bo and drinking sparkling cider.

Instead of all these genuine Salt Lake City scenarios, the new show will feature your basic Housewives’ dilemmas. Boo. Here’s Stefon from Saturday Night Live to explain what we’ll see during the show (because I miss him and want him to return to SNL so much).

stefon“If you’re watching ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ you can expect hysteria at the highest levels. There will be screeching, low cut gowns, pygmy goats directing traffic, Aquanet toothpaste, a jewelry heist, several cans of Pillsbury pizza crust, a lusty affair with a diesel mechanic, Spam, cabana boys with cowboy hats, Golden Retrievers wearing red pumps and a gala at Salt Lake’s newest club, Spork.”

Actually, that might actually make 2020 bearable.

2017: Year of the Woman


Declaring 2017 to be the Year of the Woman, I googled “Men doing good things for women” to get examples of equality and understanding.

Instead, the first page offered topics like “10 things men LOVE women to do during hot sex” and “8 things men wished women knew about sex.”

Heavy sigh.

This only re-emphasizes how men seem to only relate to women on a sexual basis. Not as humans, but as toys. Maybe this explains the recent abhorrent behavior that includes efforts to shut down Planned Parenthood clinics, a woman’s right to abortion or contraception being hindered, police departments destroying untested rape kits and the fact that a misogynistic, pussy-grabbing caveman is the leader of our country.

Women are furious. Don’t blame our hormones. Blame a society that continues to devalue our talents and abilities. We’re sad. Not because it’s “That time of the month” but because it’s heartbreaking to see inequality and sexism continue in another generation of young people.

We’ve focused on raising our daughters to be brave and bold like our sons, but we need to raise our sons to be empathetic and kind like our daughters. We need our sons and grandsons to understand that respecting women goes far beyond opening doors, it’s about being seen and treated as equals.

Female celebrities are embracing the cause:

  • After President-Elect Trump’s “Nasty woman” comment to Hillary Clinton during a debate, Samantha Bee made “Nasty Woman” a rallying cry–and a super-cool T-shirt.
  • Jennifer Aniston, firing back at tabloid news agencies, explained she doesn’t need a husband and children to be complete.
  • Amy Schumer shut down the haters when it was announced she would be in the new Barbie movie.schumer

“We need to laugh at the haters and sympathize with them. They can scream as loud as they want. We can’t hear them because we are getting shit done. I am proud to lead by example.”–Amy Schumer

  • Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles stated, “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.”
  • In her heartbreaking concession speech, Hillary Clinton said, “To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”
  • And Michelle Obama, one of the country’s strongest leaders, stated, “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”


This Saturday, thousands of women around the country will march in conjunction with The Women’s March on Washington. They march to send a message to the new president that women’s rights are human rights. They march to let the world know that we are rising and men need to stop holding us down out of fear we’ll fly higher than they ever imagined. What could we accomplish if men actually encouraged our flight?

“America is still a great country and it is still worth fighting for. . .  And if Ms. Rodham’s not in the White House that’s okay — one of those girls is going to be. We still have millions of Nasty Women who aren’t going away, and as long as women over 25 are still allowed on television, I’ll be here, cheering them on.”–Samantha Bee


Top 5 Things You Should NEVER Say To a Woman

Consider this blog a public service for anyone who’s ever dealt with a female. I get it. We can be moody, unpredictable, pouty and, yes, even grouchy—but we have cause. The cause is usually a man saying something thoughtless.

If you’ve ever said these things to a woman–vow to never do so again.

1. “You look tired.”  Are you stupid? This is the equivalent of telling a woman she looks 10 years older than she is. I don’t care if my eyes are closed and I’m snoring, do NOT tell me I look tired.

2. “Do you want me to explain that to you?” Oh, please, would you? My small little brain can’t understand the concept of this intricate plot involving fast cars, women in mini-skirts and assault rifles. Maybe later we can practice my colors.

3. “Is it That Time of the Month?” If by “That Time of the Month” you mean “Time to Stab People,” then yes. Yes, it is.

4. “Are you feeling bloated today?” Or anything similar, including but not limited to: Your face looks fuller today. Is that medium top going to fit? What diet are you on today? You shouldn’t eat that—with your decreased metabolism, impending menopause, and all. Are you sure you want fries? Those jeans look a little tight.

bloated(Maybe it’s not bloating. Maybe it’s a toxic megacolon.)

5. “What’s for dinner?” Unless I look like a microwave oven, you can assume you’ll never get another meal out of me if you continue to ask this question. Why do I have to cook dinner? Are your arms painted on? Did you lose the use of your hands in WWII? Can you not read a cookbook? Is pouring a bowl of cereal for yourself too difficult?

By avoiding these insanely stupid questions, men and women might live in relative peace. At least until women ask things like, “Are you watching Sports Center again?” or “Do you really need all those lawn tools?” or “Haven’t you had enough beer?”

And the battle goes on . . .

Top 5 Things Men Should Stop Doing

I appreciate women can be difficult. We’re uber-smart, super strong, overly capable and do a variety of activities while wearing six-inch heels and applying lip gloss. But, for some reason, men continue to patronize us while totally ignoring the fact we’re intelligent beings.

Here are the top 5 things men should just stop doing. Right now. I mean it. Stop it.


1. Talk down to us: Nothing is more insulting than hearing, “Look how hard she’s trying” or “Isn’t it cute how much effort she’s making?” We’re not stupid pets, gentlemen. We don’t need our heads patted or our bellies rubbed. Keep it up and you might find a pencil stuck in one of your sinus cavities.

2. Lecture: Because men are obviously SO MUCH SMARTER than women, men tend to lecture us about things that a) we already know or b) are total bulls***.  Shut up already. And don’t think you need to explain things to us. We get it. I promise.

(“How’s that knife wound in your kidney workin’ for ya?”)

3. Brag: It’s just dandy that you were a high school football star—20 years ago. I’m happy that you like to participate in triathlons on the weekends–and talk about it all week. Killed a moose with your bare hands? Rode a rabid ostrich through the Outback? Took down a terrorist cell with a plastic hanger and a Tootsie Pop? Great. Now, don’t you have something else you should be doing? Like working?

4. Describe your perfect woman: Yes, we know your dream girl looks NOTHING like us. We’re not constantly being airbrushed, made up, tousled, surgically enhanced or pouting seductively. So stop telling us what we lack. Either appreciate it or get lost.

5. Act Like You’re Listening: Granted, women like to talk about their “feelings” or their “lack of validation.” I understand that gets boring at times for you men, and it’s hard to listen when it’s your turn at Draw Something. But, dammit, we listen to your inane recounts of basketball games, baseball highlights, golf scores, video game activities and how much you hate your boss. Blankly staring at us does NOT constitute listening. Are you listening?!?!?

Dropping these bad habits will ensure a life-long appreciation from the women in your life. Just sayin’.