#RHONY, Bravo TV, Dating, Psychology, Reality TV

#RHONY: Is There a Shortage of Men in Manhattan?!

Two decades ago, when I was a single woman living and dating in NYC, it seemed like every guy of “average” level looks, intelligence and personality had 9 incredible women in hot pursuit of him.

I was in a certain, very niche- specific dating scene because of my religious background, and once I expanded my social circles, this 9 to 1 ratio of eligible single ladies to eligible single men no longer seemed to be as much of a thing. However, I did notice that “normal” men seemed harder to find than outstanding women, and while the male population of NYC is currently at 47.38 percent versus the 52.62 percent of females (a disparity that doesn’t seem outrageous and was quite similar twenty years ago), a good man is hard to find.

It takes only a five minute conversation with a NYC single gal today to gauge this problem, while a man always seems to have more dating prospects on the horizon.

I suspect this was particularly prescient to me due to my former religious circles wherein matchmakers pounce upon a widowed man because of the devotion he had to his wife and noted past ability to commit. I realize this sounds awfully vulture-like to the reader, but it’s so hard for a religious Jewish woman to find a man who is self-assured, charismatic and committed. Matchmakers are fully aware of this. There just happen to be more marriage-minded women than men in major metropolitan cities.

This brings us to the ladies of Real Housewives of New York. They’re not in the Jewish dating scene, but are in a niche specific one of their own. It is one where men of a certain middle aged and above cohort are acclimating still to the idea of a highly successful, independent and self-sufficient, affluent woman (though some of these ladies are more modern and self sufficient than others are). The majority of these men have been indoctrinated with the notion of man as provider and, despite protest, many do feel threatened by a women of means who could be the provider herself. RHONY fans often ask “why are these woman always dating the same loser, or arguing over the same man who doesn’t seem so spectacular?”

I mention my “9 to 1” theory to Rori Sassoon, Founder of NYC matchmaking service Platinum Poire. Rori hosted the speed dating event that we recently saw on RHONY. It was where all the ladies seemed interested in the red scarf adorned Brian Krauss. “Aren’t there more men for these women to date?” viewers asked.

Rori agrees that the rationale I developed from my dating days is not off at all and adds: “It is unfortunately still the same. It’s also much harder for women because the man is the one who is doing the pursuing. I also find that if a man wants to be in a relationship, he can make that happen a lot more quickly than a woman can. Because of that, a lot of women do not choose their partner, they are chosen, which can lead to a relationship with an expiration date.”

If all of this sounds terribly antiquated in today’s 2018 culture of #MeToo, #TimesUp, Feminism and shifts from heteronormative stereotypes, we have not progressed as much as you naively thought. A certain level of traditional thinking still abounds amidst the modernity of NYC, especially when it comes to the Gen X and Boomer contingents.

For every Tom, Harry and Brian, there is a group of women hovering in the wings, trying to catch a glimpse of an extinct breed: a seemingly Ok male specimen. Due to the depressing rarity of this find, the bar is not set especially high, and disappointment in NYC dating can seem as inevitable as a streetlight on every corner.

Thinking outside of the box and beyond the city limits is a strategy some of these Housewives have employed because the pickings are slim. It is why so much is not taboo and hiring a matchmaker is not something to be shunned. It’s also why you shouldn’t be ashamed if it suddenly dawns on you that your uncle in Schenectady would be the perfect match for Ramona Singer. Hey, you never know. Vet it through Rori. Crazier things have happened in this world than Ramona becoming your aunt.

Hear Rori Sassoon discuss the RHONY speed dating event and trying to match up the ladies of the cast on the Pink Shade with Erin Martin podcast.

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Gender Stereotypes, Women in the workplace, Uncategorized

#Google: Is the “Images” Platform Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes In the Workplace?

A new study indicates that Google images may be reinforcing gender stereotypes in the work place.

As you can see in the above table, images for a certain profession often align with what people perceive to be prevalent jobs for a specific gender. If you were to, say, type the word “CEO” into Google Images, you would find only 11% of female CEOs represented in the results, as opposed to an actual 28% reported in the US Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.

The study goes on to show that if you type the word “journalist,” females are underrepresented by 28% in the search results. When it comes to “bus drivers,” our minds typically conjure up a male image and Google Images represents that in its platform results. Women are underrepresented by 29% in comparison to US Labor Force Statistics data.

AdView analyzed United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics data, along with the results of Google Image searches for a range of job roles.

Psychology dictates that we come to know and understand things based on what we are shown. It is perplexing to think that societal perceptions could be so influenced by a popular search engine – when we are not getting accurate representations from that popular search engine!

More astonishing is this fact: After the search giant’s most recent annual report was released, it was revealed that Google has had a mere 0.3% growth in the percentage of women employed since 2014.

The misrepresentation of genders within job roles on Google Images is particularly salient because between May 2017 and May 2018, Google held 87% of the search engine market share in the US.

The Most Underrepresented Roles for Females on Google images are:

Baker – females are underrepresented by 33% on Google Images

Bus Driver – females are underrepresented by 29% on Google Images

Journalist – females are underrepresented by 28% on Google Images

Hairdresser – females are underrepresented by 24% on Google Images

CEO – females are underrepresented by 17% on Google Images.

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Cults

#NXIVM: Thinking of Catherine Oxenberg

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I’m thinking about one mom who had a difficult day, not one that can be whimsically captured in snapshots of breakfast in bed with a cup of coffee, an omelet with a side of blissful, emotional fulfillment. For Catherine Oxenberg, it is an anxious period. The Dynasty actress has been intent on rescuing her daughter India Oxenberg from the cult NXIVM, but reports from Frank Parlato (of the Frank Report) indicate that India may be named as co-conspirator number 2 in the Keith Raniere-Allison Mack-NXIVM debacle.

Allison Mack was “number 1” in recruiting young women for the sexual slavery “DOS” division of NXIVM and it’s difficult to learn that young India could have been the one to report directly to her in those trafficking efforts. Hearing Catherine discuss how India was severely brainwashed by Raniere, had lost a ton of weight and the toll it had taken on her (the stopping of menses, hair loss and thinning), along with being physically branded in the pubic region, I cannot even imagine the mother’s added stress about her daughter potentially facing the legal system.

My thoughts and wishes for the best possible outcome here are with Catherine. She has proven to be a tenacious and stalwart advocate for rescuing her daughter. I hope she can be even stronger for whatever comes next.

Here is the latest Frank Report on India Oxenberg: https://frankreport.com/2018/05/13/leaked-screenshots-provide-evidence-india-oxenberg-is-co-conspirator-2/

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Moms, Psychology

SH*T People Say To Pregnant Women

twins not twins

I was recently on the Buttered Pop podcast to recap an episode of the wildly popular Bravo show Vanderpump Rules. While there are no pregnant characters on the show… yet, there was a story-line about a character receiving unsolicited comments on her body from another (male) character. While delving into this with the podcast host Armin Mahramzadeh, he and I discussed the concept of a man weighing in to criticize and heavily scrutinize a woman’s body. We wondered if 2018 would finally be the year for men to take a second look at this habitual and (also unfortunately) historic behavior,  realizing how wrong it is to issue these types of intrusive remarks.

pregnant fat

Even men who profess to be feminists and to understand women, should think before making a nasty barb about the female bod…

Because guess what, men? You are men. Whether you are gay or straight, single or in a relationship, live with a woman or do not: You have no firsthand understanding of the female anatomy, hormones and related weight fluctuations like someone with an actual female body has. Often enough, you’ve exhibited that you have no concept of what a realistic female body type is, what is desirable versus what is achievable.

I feel the above frustrations as a woman and I also remember feeling a great deal of annoyance – amplified by overwhelming surges in hormones – when I was pregnant.

Until I actually started to show during my first pregnancy, I had no idea that that time period in my life would open the floodgates to all sorts of unsolicited commentary. It boggled my mind then that folks felt they had license to issue all sorts of rude and tasteless insults to the most hormonal people on the planet, expecting it to roll right off their backs. With the subsequent two pregnancies, I still remained aghast though perhaps, I was a bit prepared. Otherwise, pregnancy is a blessing and having gone the fertility route to achieve a sustainable pregnancy, I felt super thankful and appreciative to even have this time to complain…..Still, the sorts of things that people will say – I will never forget some of those comments!

just one baby

In retrospect, I can laugh at the ridiculousness, but in the moment, I really just wanted to school people on the things they shouldn’t be saying.

Can you imagine if  I walked over to a man and said “Oh my God, you are so fucking bald! What happened to all of your hair?” Something tells me it wouldn’t go over well at all, that it would be seriously shocking and be perceived as terribly inappropriate. So the fact that it is far less shocking to tell a  woman “You are huge!” while staring at her belly (pregnant or not, because people never cease to amaze me) is appalling.

when is it ok pregnant

BUZZFEED

My experience with pregnancy – three times- is what inspired me to write a little skit that was performed in an Off Broadway production a few years ago under the directorship of Aliza Shane and the 3V Theater company.

big isnt compliment pregnancy

PINTEREST

Without further adieu, I present you with “Sh*t People Say to Pregnant Women” and perhaps after you read it, you’ll remember to insert your own pregnant pauses into conversations about women’s bodies:

“Are you seriously eating that?”

“Are you going to eat ALL that?!”

“I never ate that much when I was pregnant…”

[Laughing and pointing] “Talk about ‘eating for two’!”

“You know that you don’t really need to’ eat for two.’ The baby is the size of a lima bean.”

“YOU are going to gain so…much…WEIGHT!”

“Oh wow, [slaps head] you’re pregnant! I thought you just got fat.”

“Your nose has gotten wider; you must be having a girl!”

“Your nose has gotten wider; you must be having a boy!”

“You must be having a girl. Girls suck out all your beauty…”

“Don’t you love how now you can just let yourself go and eat whatever you want?”

“Oh, no wonder you’re letting yourself go!”

“No wonder you’re eating so much!”

“Oh, you’re showing early because you’re so skinny.”

“My other friend who’s pregnant didn’t show as early because SHE’S thin.”

“I wasn’t sure it was a PREGNANT belly. I thought it might just be a MARRIED belly.”

“Oh, I knew it! I just knew it! I knew it before you told me!”

“I thought your face was getting a little fat.”

“I noticed your boobs were looking bigger.”

“Oh, phew, I really was wondering why you were suddenly getting so chunky.”

“Ohhhh. Can I touch it?”

“Should you be eating that?”

“Should you be drinking that?”

“You know you shouldn’t be eating that.”

“You SURE you’re not having twins?”

“Twins? You are going to BURST!”

“One’s gotta be hiding behind another. That happened to my mother’s sister’s cousin-in-law’s best friend’s aunt’s daughter.”

[Whispers confidentially] “Could it be triplets?”

“Well, it definitely has to be twins! You’re too big to be carrying only one. I don’t believe you…”

“You’re too small. Are you sure you’re eating enough?”

“I don’t care what your Doctor says, I KNOW you’re having twins!”

“You’re HUGE! …oh, it’s twins? [Nervously] you’re really carrying small. I hope the babies are ok.”

“Are you taking folic acid?”

“Are you taking your prenatal vitamin?”

“Natural or IVF?”

“Wow, you got pregnant fast at your age!”

“I guess your eggs weren’t fried after all, girl!”

“Wow, so close to your last baby?!”

“Weren’t you JUST pregnant?”

“Didn’t you just get married?”

“Don’t you believe in birth control?”

“What’s the rush?”

“Was this planned or…a surprise?”

“You’re having a baby?… I am so NOT a ‘kids person’!”

“Oh, I so hope it’s a girl since you already have a boy!”

“Will you be disappointed if it’s ANOTHER boy?”

“Are you finding out what you’re having?”

“Are you keeping it?”

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Bravo TV

#TimesUp, But Will Men Change How They Speak to Women?

‘Vanderpump’ party planner: I was joking about Katie’s weight

PAGE SIX, Katie Maloney and Kevin Lee

I shouldn’t let a man rattle me with his words or frighten me into this type of paralysis.

I have a severe case of “writer’s block” and it all began with a man’s rant. This was someone I had championed and promoted, whose work I had lauded to others, but with one swift misunderstanding, he lashed out publicly rather than reaching out to chat one-on-one. After clearing up the complete misunderstanding and apologizing, I am left with that residual crummy feeling from the insults hurled my way.

“Nothing to worry about, all’s fine,” he said at the end, to wave a magic wand over it all and make me forget his temper had erupted like Mount Vesuvius. Can you take back that awful jab about my writing? I wanted to ask . He had implied that I do not take what I do seriously, which could not be farther from the truth. Not only do I take everything I do way too seriously, but when I pour myself into work, it is something I put significant time and effort into (There is not only writing, after all. There is also fact-checking, editing, revising…There is waking in the middle of the night as another thought comes to me and rushing to rewrite a portion. I could go on and on). In this case, male bravado was at the center of the storm.  This was someone who was worried that I had inadvertently tarnished his tough guy image. Ire had gotten the best of him and he immediately lashed out impulsively. A couple of comments were issued to me to make me perfectly aware that no woman should ever do that to him and no woman would again.

While I am not the first woman to feel intimidated by a man, I am more attune than ever now to the idea of women who are afraid to speak out. While sexual harassment in particular is a current focus, there are other types of fears women face when it comes to the opposite gender. It is not always about trepidation. Sometimes it’s about hesitation.

A friend of mine is afraid to tell her male boss she is pregnant because of the disparaging remarks she knows he will make. The last time she was pregnant, this same boss gave her hell and spoke derogatorily of her to their colleagues.

“I won’t be disclosing this until my pregnant belly is staring him in the face and it’s impossible to hide,” she tells me, “He will start complaining and laying a major guilt trip on me with regard to what will happen to my position, with the employees I manage, and with our clients. I’m perfectly capable of running this entire corporation and having everything go smoothly through my maternity leave. I know precisely who to delegate tasks to in that period of time…Yet, he was awful the last time I was pregnant. He made me feel as if I had committed the gravest injustice to our company. Otherwise, I love working here. I don’t want to ever feel chased out. I have been dreading how I’ll eventually have to let him know I’m pregnant this time around.”

Despite what we would expect from the Corporate America of 2018, being pregnant or being a mom comes with its own challenges in the workplace. Our kids come first, but having to leave a meeting due to a child’s allergic reaction (this happened with me years ago) can illicit obnoxious remarks from the higher ups. When dealing with male – as opposed to female – bosses, we smack our heads against the wall in frustration. How will this person ever get it? He’s never going to become pregnant or physically give birth to a child.

On the subject of “getting it” and truly understanding women, let’s talk about women’s bodies. Over the years I have been horrified hearing men opine in an unsolicited manner on the female form. Two nights ago, on Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules, Lisa Vanderpump’s party planner Kevin Lee approached server Katie Maloney at an event to express shock over (his perception of ) her weight gain. As it happens, Katie is svelte and absolutely stunning, but not ask stick thin as some of her cast mates are. “What happened to you?” Kevin asked, which immediately took Katie aback. He proceeded to tell her she must take care of her body and that he was “worried” about her.

Publicly castigating a young woman before the cameras about her appearance does not smack of worry to me…but perhaps that’s just me. My personal contention is that Kevin was being catty.

In his non-pology to Page Six https://pagesix.com/2018/02/06/vanderpump-party-planner-i-was-joking-about-katies-weight/, Kevin gave the excuse of being Katie’s “friend” and declared that she’s been so “sensitive” lately. Congratulations, Kevin. Like so many great male deflectors before you, you turned it around to blame the woman you insulted. You expressed that the fault lies in her psychological makeup.

It also pays to note that Kevin is one of those extremely thin men who could consume cheeseburgers for lunch and dinner daily, but still fall over when the wind blows. I have doubts about his understanding of female hormones and related weight fluctuations, the challenges of staying in shape and the unbalanced amount of criticism women (versus men) receive about appearance and physical fitness.

While it might prove inaccurate to state that Katie Maloney was fearful of Kevin Lee, something in her made it impossible to respond with anything other than a quick initial defense. She was essentially rendered speechless and this is not an uncommon response to the shocking things men will say to women. Historically men have felt they have the license to comment on women’s bodies, to let them know they appear fuller than they used to, to suggest they lose weight and imply they aren’t trying — when that most often is so far from the truth. With #MeToo and #TimesUp, men are starting to pause before making sexually suggestive comments to women..so… can we also school them on refraining from commenting on a woman’s weight?

I have been horrified about this for years and I’m hoping that 2018 might finally usher in some progress. I’ve been married for close to two decades, but I remember a blind date from many years ago who stared at my waist. “I normally date women who are a size zero or two,” he told me unabashedly. At the time, I was a slender 4-6 and was appalled, but also incredibly frustrated. I exercised on a daily basis and tried to cut down on junk food..and it seemed all for naught. I was probably even more conscientious of watching my weight then because I was in a brutal Jewish Manhattan dating scene where Natalie Portman was every man’s ideal. While I could not change what my date was attracted to, the fact that a man had actually said this to me, and that I ended up feeling apologetic to him at that time, reflects something that was wrong with society.

When I was pregnant many years later, a guy who happened to be rather portly and disheveled approached me to loudly declare “wow, that’s HUGE!”, pointing to my stomach. I looked at him dead-on and without realizing I was reenacting a scene from Sex and the City, (one that must have been stuck in my subconscious) I replied “I’m pregnant! What’s YOUR excuse?”

The problem we face today is that we, as a society, are still conditioned to men speaking a certain way to women. In Kevin Lee’s mind, it was OK to justify Katie’s hurt as the result her being too sensitive. When our president was accused of making the moves on a female reporter, one of his initial responses was “Have you seen her? I don’t think so.” While two wrongs don’t make a right, my immediate thought was “Donald Trump, have you seen you?!”

But you see, this is not the response that comes to others’ minds. Why? Because wealthy and powerful men “can” make these types of statements and they “can” demand to be flanked by beautiful women. Our society has long rewarded these men throughout history. Luckily now in 2018, women are starting to say that this type of treatment is no longer tolerable.

I saw far fewer people comment on Katie’s physique after Monday night’s episode of Vanderpump Rules than those who lambasted Kevin Lee on social media. If the episode had aired 10…even 5 years ago, I think more people would have chosen to comment on Katie and scathingly scrutinize her body type. I’d like to think we are making progress, that we are getting bolder and speaking up for ourselves. Unfortunately,  I also know firsthand that we still have a long way to go.

 

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