Dirty Words on Clean Skin Offers Up a Gratitude Sandwich

One year ago, I became a published author.  Dirty Words on Clean Skin, my journey from fearful news junkie to activist, detailed the revolting media treatment Hillary Clinton and other politically inconvenient women received in 2008 and beyond. Notwithstanding the teeth gnashing involved in reliving those events, bringing this effort to fruition has been the adventure of my life.  Since I was honored to have this wonderful blog as my launching pad, I’d like to share some of that adventure with you.

This is what the process of writing Dirty Words felt like:

cropped anita rafts 1

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

First things first.  To be accurate, one year ago, I became a self-published author.  No matter the quality of the writing or value of the subject matter, no literary agent would take it on.  Were they afraid to call mainstream media out on the carpet for their grotesque sexism and one-sided reporting?  Did they really believe there was no market for the way women are still treated in this country?

Every part of me screamed that it was necessary to release the book through traditional channels.  While generating significant interest, in the end, too many changes were demanded.  Agents insisted that anything personal be taken out of the book, but what I had to offer went beyond reportage.  It was necessary that the reader be with us in the trenches since pundits’ foul behavior and their ensuing revisionist history had an effect on millions that cannot be underestimated.  Many books and essays were released pushing the “it was all Hillary’s fault” mantra.  The idea that the truth of these events would be buried without so much as a whimper was unconscionable.  Since Dirty Words proved that domestic abuse played out on a national level, the choice to tell this story in a non-traditional manner meant going my own way.

Literary agents also said it was too late for this book and no one would care — unless Hillary planned to run again.  They were right insofar as this has not been an easy sell.  But guess what?  Hillary Clinton’s popularity is through the roof, she is doing much to remain in the public eye and her energy shows no sign of waning.  To the surprise of naysayers in the literati, she is looking pretty good to run in 2016, although it would be foolish to imagine the fight won’t be just as tough.  So, no, it is never too late to talk about the treatment of 52% of the population.

I remained terrified of pushing the snowball up the hill without the backing or street cred of a publisher.  In the fall of 2011, the finished book was ready.  I handed it to my best friend of 30 years, an apolitical and deadly honest person who I thought would be bored to tears.  Her reaction was quite the opposite.   Seeing that I was dragging my feet on taking the next step, she urged me forward.  Her words will stay with me forever:

“You wrote a book about this brilliant woman who the media told to sit down and shut up.  How long are you going to wait for someone to give you permission to have your voice?”

Six months later, I launched my book on this wonderful site.  I cannot thank each of you enough, especially the lovely Miss Uppity, for cradling this effort and giving me so much support.   But the moments before and after were not without their real life drama.  At the end of January 2012,  my mother collapsed.  With her in and out of hospitals and skilled nursing for the months that followed, I almost abandoned putting the whole project out altogether.   I’m sure many have had the experience of family crises pushing their own goals to the back burner.  I made the decision to be there for her and myself at the same time.

DWOCS Front Book Cover onlyIn March, when I had the proof copy, I raced to the hospital to put the book in Mom’s hands, since it is dedicated to her.  She needed to know that I had finished what I started.  Once it started selling and her health was a bit better, I went back for my daily visit and read her a few paragraphs.  With her charming Italian accent, Mom stuck her elbows out and said “Fly, fly.  Spread your wings and fly.”

She must have been channeling.  I’d never heard her say anything like that.

While I made some early mistakes in marketing, I found great publicists who got me on every imaginable radio outlet.  TV, predictably was harder.  I am now often introduced and regarded as an expert on all things Hillary and all things sexist!  And due to the support of another amazing blogger on this site, my book is on the curriculum at Pasadena City College.  I love going to speak to the students there.  A young man said to me, “Well I’m not a feminist but…”  I stopped him and we had the following exchange:

Me: Do you believe a woman is equal to a man?
Him: Yes.
Me: Do you believe women should get equal pay for equal work?
Him: Yes.
Me: Do believe there should be an end to violence against women?
Him: Yes.
Me: Congratulations.  You’re a feminist.

Dirty Words on Clean Skin has spent 16 weeks as #1 on Women in Politics books on Amazon.

It was a nice ego boost to see my name above Christiane Amanpour’s.  She must have looked at the stats and thought – who the hell is Anita Finlay!   While that may not make the book a best-seller by traditional standards, it has sold far more than the vast majority of  self-published works (with the exception of Fifty Shades of Grey, of course.  Maybe there’s a future for me in chick-porn, but I doubt it…)

The book has also sold more than quite a few traditionally published books but, more important, I’ve been able, via radio, to get this message out to millions of people.  It is something I continue to do, both as an ongoing commentator on America’s Radio News Network and The Jerry Doyle Show (#3 in syndication in the country).  I’ve been invited to write for a number of different sites and am now a regular contributor at a large, independent news site, Epic Times, which has its official launch soon.

Five years ago, I blogged under a pseudonym.  Considering that I had spent so much of my life terrified to let anyone know my opinion, to be so public is a sea change that had to be seen to be believed.  As I wrote, “Watching Hillary stand up taught me to stand up.”

Support and respect has come from some unexpected places.  Good things can happen when you walk into the lion’s den.  2012 was a fierce year.  I grew up and out of my old container.  Perhaps dealing with my mother’s failing health the entire time helped the courage quotient since her situation became the scary part, making me less afraid to sign my name to what I thought was risky work.

Sometimes, I’ll listen back to an mp3 of a radio interview and I am bloody shocked at my own outspokenness.  I like that I have learned to speak out.  I’m still wobbly sometimes.  But I do it.

The best news is that Mom is well enough that she just asked for a large print version of the book so she can finally read it.  She gets to enjoy me being a loudmouth, too.

Her life experience is what inspired me to write Dirty Words on Clean Skin in the first place.  It is only fitting that the new book I am working on be about our journey together — and that’ll be a hoot, I promise you!

Having long made my living as an actor, I still managed to get a few gigs last year, but I feel such a pull into this new world that the idea of getting a radio show and reaching out to others, to get past limiting messages that keep otherwise likeminded people divided, is much more where my sensibilities are today.  I am working on it.

pic 2 from HAcker shoot - Copy

All of that started here.

For a trip down memory lane, click here: Anita Finlay Press Kit 4 12 2013

As a thank you, last Christmas I got a great response when I offered two signed books for the price of one.  In honor of Mother’s Day, I am offering that same special from now through the end of May.  If you know of anyone who would be interested, just mention Uppity Woman and write to me at anita@anitafinlay.com and you will be taken care of!  Feel free to pass the word along.  I’d like to make this as affordable for people to read as possible.

Please know that I hold each of  you in my heart for every kind word and generous gesture on your part.  I will always appreciate you for taking my virtual hand and jumping into the deep end of the pool with me.

By the way…what kinds of topics would you like to see a book tackle, whether social or political, familial, personal or professional?

If you could blow the lid off anything, what would it be?  Inquiring minds want to know…

**************************

Visit anitafinlay.com

Like Anita Finlay, Author on Facebook.

Follow @AnitaFinlay on Twitter.

Advertisements

Ask A Woman What She Thinks!

Men Rule Media Coverage on Women’s News,” Abigail Pesta’s recent Daily Beast article, makes clear that men still control the news narrative at all levels.  The data presented is taken from Silenced: Gender Gap in the 2012 Election Coverage, a six-month study detailing researchers’ troubling findings after tracking thousands of print articles and TV segments, logging almost 51,000 quotes. 

 Here’s what I think…

And a picture is worth a thousand words…

What do you think?

*************************

Visit my website: www.anitafinlay.com

Like Anita Finlay, Author on Facebook

Follow Anita Finlay on Twitter

Recommend my book to a friend:  Dirty Words on Clean Skin: Sexism and Sabotage, a Hillary Supporter’s Rude Awakening, available at Amazon in print and Kindle editions and at Barnes & Noble.

A Ray of Hope from the Younger Set…

Since writing about sexism in politics and the demeaning treatment of women seems to have become my raison d’etre, I have to share an exciting video that came to my attention courtesy of writer Mona Gable at BlogHer.  She reports that Vlogger Nineteen Percent takes issue with Beyonce’s new song Girl (Who Rule The Word)….

Not so fast! says this fabulous woman…

I was as blown away by her command of the subject as I was by the younger demographic she represents.  Particularly since so many young women seem to gloss over the need for any reform in this area.

This video also made me reflect on an experience I had recently, courtesy a lovely blogger friend (imust) who helped arrange for me to speak at the Women’s Leadership Forum at Pasadena City College as part of a panel of local women legislators and entrepreneurs.  The Forum held a mixer after the event and a number of students chatted me up, very knowledgeable about current events and a biased media more predisposed to infotainment and smear than real news.  One young man, probably nineteen who to me, looked fifteen, was so much in agreement with me regarding the tactics of the drive-by hit squad otherwise known as MSNBC, CNN, NBC et al, he could have been my twin!  I was also pleased to see a number of men in the Feminist Club.  And they didn’t look like they were there to ‘hit on the chicks.’

One young lady asked me, “How do we get the message out about the equality and fair treatment of women to girls who are addicted to the Kardashians?”

Exactly!  Her brilliant question brought to mind the late, great George Carlin, who said the media (and our government) does not want you to think critically.  They prefer we be distracted daily with bread and circuses, keeping up with the Joneses and something glamorous outside ourselves that keeps us in a perpetual state of want.

As blogger DWP was kind enough to share:

“I am exhausted that we are still making such faint progress.  In 1855 while speaking about the issues women face, Lucy Stone famously said”

“…In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman’s heart until she bows down to it no longer.” Over 150 years later, women are still overwhelmingly spoils of war and chattel denied income, equal rights, education, safety, and justice.”

Other students with whom I spoke chimed in about the obsession over a woman’s appearance and were none too pleased at the chokehold they felt this demeaning construct has over female political candidates.

In search of more encouragement, have you found examples recently of young people who have wised up beyond the cult-worshipping culture of 2008?

I realized I did not have the greatest answer to the Kardashian’s question, beyond telling the young lady to make a stand on the issues — hoping that with enough passion and reason, some kernel of sense would penetrate her reality-tv addled target.  But I think, honestly, mine was a rather lame retort.  What would you have said?

Fears of emasculation would disappear if men could just accept that they are not superior to women!

(Diagram from here)

e·mas·cu·late

e·mas·cu·lat·ed, e·mas·cu·lat·ing, adjective

verb (used with object)

1.

to castrate.
2.

to deprive of strength or vigor; weaken.
adjective
3.

deprived of or lacking strength or vigor; effeminate.
Synonyms
1.  debilitate, undermine, devitalize, soften.

Related Words for : emasculate

cissy, effeminate, epicene, sissified, sissy

I was listening to Ani’s latest great blog talk radio interview today, and the subject of “emasculation” came up.  The common usage of this word has always blown me away.  Emasculation in the physical sense is really not something that men have to fear in our society.  Emasculation tends to always be used in the figurative sense.

And what IS the figurative sense of emasculation?  Basically, that a man will become less than a man, effeminate, a sissy.  Those poor men, if they fall one centimeter beneath the absolutely lowest level of “masculinity”, they become like a woman!  Because of course, women are BENEATH men, second class, inferior, “less than”.  This hierarchical ordering of the genders is certainly tied very strongly to patriarchy, but flowing from that is the long-indoctrinated belief in both genders that women and men are two totally different creatures.  If you were to imagine a Venn-type diagram, our circles just don’t meet!

And that’s just ridiculous.  We are more alike than we are different, but those differences have been exaggerated and blown up so that we’re taught and reinforced for viewing ourselves as very different – even opposite – and in a hierarchical arrangement!

We’re all born with the ability to show empathy, to be strong, to be courageous, to be nurturant, to be goal driven, to put a toilet seat down!  We can all learn to change diapers, to be the higher earner in the family, to be the person who stays home with the kids.  Yet all of these HUMAN abilities were long ago split up into gender categories – so that now if a man develops more of his HUMAN abilities, becomes more actualized as a HUMAN, he’s becoming like a woman and “losing rank” – and this is a terrible, terrible fate for the poor big strong man.  He’s so “strong”, he’s terrified of evolving past the little gender box he was raised to be in.  And remember again, we’re not talking about physical castration – we’re just talking about expanding their human abilities!

If a woman does something to a man, she is said to be “emasculating” the man.  She’s a ball-breaker!  Women LIVE just to emasculate men!  Mothers strive hard to emasculate their sons, and then when the sons get married, the wives take over!  It’s a PLOT!  You can TELL this guy is NO LONGER a man – he has an APRON on!!!!  Everyone knows god said men cannot wear aprons!!!  If he wears an apron, his penis and testicles FALL OFF and he grows breasts and ovaries!!!!  There has historically been SUCH a pushback from men from stepping outside of the MAN box, that these genital transitions must literally happen!

And just WHAT are these horrendous acts that women do that pull the poor big strong men down below the acceptable level of “manliness”?  Oh, let’s think of some examples:

Making more money than her boyfriend.

Asking her boyfriend to carry her purse for a block.

Expecting her husband to help change the baby’s diapers.

Sharing the dinner cooking responsibilities, even when both spouses work

Letting a woman drive the car while the man sits in the passenger seat (this one is going away, but still exists in the older crowd!  But it was a HUGE no-no for half of my life!)

Being better at a sport than the man is (even if he is better than the woman at others!  He must be best in ALL!)

Being a better plumber than her husband is.

So, apparently, when a woman is equal to a man, she is emasculating him and making him slip down into inferior feminine land!  He must be superior or he is not a man.  He can not be equal and be a real man.  If men could accept that they’re equal and not base their identity on some presumed sense of superiority to women, a lot of the rest of this crap would disappear.  And there would be no such thing as (figurative) “emasculation”.

Basically, I believe that the person closest to the door may hold the door for the person behind them.  I believe that a person’s nurturance should come out because there is a baby crying.  I believe that a person’s bravery should come out because a deaf dog is lying in the street and you have time to dash out and pull it out of the way of the oncoming car.  I didn’t have to mention gender in any of those examples!  In other words, our gender shouldn’t determine our reactions to events in our lives – the events themselves should determine our reactions!

If we could get to the SENSIBLE place where people exhibit their HUMAN emotions based on events in front of them (or internal), then men would be free to expand their horizons without feeling emasculated, and without thinking they have some superior perch to protect!  A man could be a really tough prosecuting attorney by day, but go home and be a sweet, loving caregiver to his child – and maybe even put on an apron and help his wife, who also just got home from work, get the dinner ready!!!

Otherwise, we’re stuck with this:

Likewise, there wouldn’t have been all the jabs at Hillary, the huge conundrum of how such a cold, too-strong woman could CRY!  In a better world, we would understand that Hillary is strong in situations that require it, reserved in situations that need it, and emotional in situations that evoke it.

In a reasonable world, Hillary’s tearing up would have meant exactly what it did – that she is someone who cares deeply about the country, and she was very worried that we were going to go backwards.  A deeply felt love, and a deeply felt concern.  A true, hardworking public servant would have these feelings.  But hey, it’s way more fun to be sexist and give her grief when she is strong and shows her “masculine” side, and give her grief when she shows her “feminine” side and gets teary.  Yes, way more fun to attack her from every angle, because she doesn’t neatly fit the little gender role box she was assigned.  What an Uppity Woman – what nerve she must have to develop her whole human potential!!!   Arrrgghhh!

I just get so tired of this whole “emasculating” thing.  Men, you are not superior to us, and you don’t “become” us, or less of a man, for meeting us in the middle.  You’ve had centuries and centuries.  Time to get over it!  Seriously, if men could accept the fact that they are equal to us, they wouldn’t be worried about losing ground and becoming like 2nd class citizens, because there would be NO second class citizens!

This completes my rant!   And now for something more uplifting!

=================================================

If you haven’t had a chance to catch all of Ani’s great interviews for her new book Dirty Words on Clean Skin, I’ve listed the links below for your easy listening pleasure!  The first one listed is the most recent.

..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..

Dirty Words on Clean Skin by Anita Finlay — Website Launch!

In an election year, we can be sure of two things:  First, the incumbent and his opponent are going to pander to groups where their poll numbers need shoring up.  Second, we can count on the mainstream media to function as the de facto PR firm for their favored son, further ginning up whatever problem said politician avers we need to solve, coincidentally ensuring his re-election.  In this case, that favored son is President Obama.

The current pandering is aimed squarely at the hearts and minds of women.  First, we had the contraceptive debate designed to whip us into a frenzy and now, suddenly, and as if it had not occurred to anyone else before him, the President deigns to tell us women we are not cookie cutter people and need to be dealt with as individuals.  Will this political pander work?  Of course it will.  If I’d learned anything in 2008, it is that women have an endless capacity to settle for crumbs rather than standing up to claim the cake.  That is the only way we could have witnessed the more qualified female candidate dragged through the mud, only to watch Ms. Magazine offer up a cover photo of Mr. Obama and declare, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.”

The real war on women is something entirely different than we are led to believe.  It cannot be contained in soundbites and certainly will not be explained in worthy fashion by someone who advantaged himself at every turn by the sexist rhetoric that was used to take down his worthy primary opponent.  In the name of changing the narrative and reclaiming the debate, my book Dirty Words On Clean Skin asks us all to examine the daily media and political brainwashing that deliberately shames, marginalizes and abuses women.  I am so pleased to launch my website to further this cause…please help it to go viral!

Also on the website is a video that shares more information about the book — and why it advantages all of us to get involved:

Please visit my site at www.AnitaFinlay.com.

DIRTY WORDS ON CLEAN SKIN is now available for purchase on Amazon, and is now also available on KINDLE.

Thank you very much for your support of my work!