September 30, 2012

{Half the Sky}

[This post and book excerpt is in honor of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women—the book and the two-part PBS program broadcast in October. This particular excerpt from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Princess Diana Rescued the Damsel in Distress, is from a section called "Women Attending Women."] 

There are times when we may feel love is not enough, especially when we have to explain some difficult things to our children since television and the Internet bring a volatile, hostile world graphically into our laps. The fears that rise up with the changes in global societies are also bringing increased abuse to women and children around the world. When we learn of these atrocities via the news, documentaries, books and films, it’s hard to know sometimes what to do to help or what to tell our children. During her lifetime, Princess Diana went straight into this fire with open arms to bring her loving energy and to put the world on notice: Women and children will not be denied a voice!

The book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Pulitzer Prize winners (and husband and wife) Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, is a passionate call to arms against what has been called “our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.” Kristof also added: “These kinds of abuses—along with more banal injustices, like slapping a girlfriend or paying women less for their work—arise out of a social context in which women are, often, second-class citizens. That’s a context that religions have helped shape, and not pushed hard to change.” Through stories in their book, the couple shows how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls; they assist us in seeing that “the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential” and they share ways how we can do our part.

from Half the Sky on PBS
Half the Sky also explains—the 2010 book as well as the subsequent PBS special inspired by it two years later—that throughout much of the world “the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population….” Kristof goes on to say that “countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy.” Take this information as your call to arms. It’s so easy to fall into the “but what can I do?” syndrome. Yet, one person can/has changed the world.

That’s one reason I appreciate the life of Princess Diana. Granted she had a spot-lit, high profile, privileged life that few others had or have—certainly not the ‘you and me’ of the world. But what I point to in this book regarding Diana’s impact is that it was made through the heart. Not by what she knew or because she had a perfect and happy life or that she was without faults, but she made a difference with something we all have: the ability to open our heart and take action from there. When we allow the love and compassion that comes from our open heart be our guide, we can rock the world. When we encourage other women to do the same, nothing is impossible.
So “circle up the women-folk” in your world! Connect; share; take action; encourage; love. ~

September 21, 2012

{Protecting Love}

[This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Considering the recent "topless sunbathing scandal" involving the intrusive press and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, I added the last two paragraphs below to my exisiting text in the third chapter.]
“Whatever view you take of her conduct,” Allison Pearson wrote about Diana in the Telegraph a few days before William and Kate’s wedding, “the Princess’s love can be seen as a force field which insulated her boys from royal hauteur and schooled them to be better husbands than the one she had. ‘I put it to William,’ Diana told Martin Bashir in that notorious Panorama interview, ‘that, if you find someone you love in life you must hang onto it and look after it, and if you were lucky enough to find someone who loved you then one must protect it.’”

And protect Kate he will. William’s friends say his “dominant, driving characteristic” is protectiveness. So as the couple “emerge[s] into the merciless adoration of global celebrity,” in the words of Pearson, “Diana’s son will never allow [the press] do to his wife what they did to his mother.” How much Diana was manipulated by or manipulated the press herself is up for question, but clearly it will be different for Kate.

Even in light of the “topless sunbathing scandal” in September 2012—where a photographer with a very long lens intruded on the royal couple’s private vacation—it was Prince William who probably took the publication of revealing photos harder than the exposed Kate. (How could it not be an extraordinarily sensitive issue for him after his mother's death?)
However, to truly feel “protected,” one must feel secure within; secure in knowing that no intrusion from “out there” can take away your own truth, dignity or grounded sense of self—unless you let it. I believe William’s Kate has that inner dignity down pat; and her strength buoys his. As the power of unconditional love shields them, as it can do for all of us, it deepens its own foundation. Can we really “protect” love or can we only diminish or strengthen it? ~

September 12, 2012

{Lady Gaga's Fashion Ode to Princess Diana}

"'Since I was a very little girl, the people's Princess Diana was the most important person in me and my mother's life,'" Lady Gaga is quoted as saying in an article by Phong Luu in the UK's Telegraph

The September 10th article announced: "Controversial singer, lady Gaga, takes to dressing in wedding gowns and tiaras ahead of the release of 'Princess D.I.E.', her new song in tribute to the late Princess of Wales."

Perhaps a cryptic tribute, but it seems from the heart!
Click here for lyrics and video. [Photographs courtesy of]

September 5, 2012

{Kate's Lace}

[This begins and links to a recent article by Phong Luu in the Telegraph UK newspaper about the lace used in Kate Middleton's wedding dress.]

The Sophie Hallette factory in France has been quietly going about its business providing lace for leading couturiers for years. Then Alexander McQueen used its lace in "that" wedding dress.

Click here to take a tour with the makers of the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress lace and enjoy Ms. Luu's wonderful article.

29 April 2011