Not So Ordinary Women


from Huffington Post

Anita Sarkeesian, a TIME 100 honoree, blogger and founder of Feminist Frequency, launched her Ordinary Women video series this week. Frustrated by the way history books weigh heavily on male accomplishment, giving students the impression that only men have made all the strides worth hearing about. Anita took the initiative to engage us through stories of women who dared greatly, so that our young girls may find their own voice, value their female experiences and find more role models as they learn to see themselves as important in their own intrinsic humanity.

The Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History series’ first feature on youtube is Russian political freedom fighter Emma Goldman who shares my sentiment: If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution. This series will feature four other women leaders and innovators from different cultures and fields of expertise who have been largely left out of history books. I’m looking forward to learning about Ching Shih, a fearsome 19th century pirate who commandeered a massive fleet. Yes, women excel even as villains! ūüėČ May our girls and young women expand their possibilities beyond obsessing about beauty and ¬†being supporting characters in the stories of¬†men!

Click “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you find power in¬†your own voice. Thank you, Anita, for the inspiration every girl needs!



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Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Shrinking Women

I have great faith in fools–

self-confidence, my friends call it.  

Edgar Allan Poe



“Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers

Happy April Fools, Everyone! ¬† These Huffington Post beauty image heroes remind us there are other ways of getting a good laugh without¬†making fools of ourselves–even when it’s not April:


Shailene Woodley, star of the movie “Divergent.” refuses to wear makeup at events after seeing how her photographs published in magazines show bigger boobs, flawless skin, a flatter stomach that she doesn’t have. ¬†“I realized that, growing up and looking at magazines, I was comparing myself to images like that — and most of it isn‚Äôt real.”



Artist Nikolay Lamm¬†used CDC measurements of an average 19-year-old woman to create a 3-D model which he then Photoshopped to look like a Barbie doll. There is quite a gap between a “normal” Barbie¬†next to the doll sold in stores. ¬†(Never mind that my neighbor’s brunette daughter asked for a blonde doll, firmly believing she will grow up to be just as blonde one day.)


Plus size model Jennie Runk says, “I remember often feeling like I should be unhappy with my body, but it was confusing, because I never thought there was anything wrong with it until people started talking about it.” ¬†H&M won raves for featuring her¬†in their May 2013 swimwear campaign. ¬†In a piece for the BBC, Runk wrote of her newfound media attention: “This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve always wanted to accomplish, showing women that it’s ok to be confident¬†even if you’re not the popular notion of ‘perfect.’… There’s no need to glamorise one body type and slam another.”


Trina Hall Dallas yoga

Trina Hall, a Dallas-based yoga instructor, abandoned all¬†diets last¬†year to see how her body changed and how people in her life reacted. The results of her project were not what she expected. ¬†She gained 40 pounds but, ¬†“The people who didn’t know, who were just with me in my life — there was no difference in the way that they treated me. The difference came in my own perceptions of myself. ¬†I became very judgmental.¬†Instead of looking at the whole of my body, I would look at different parts and analyze what’s wrong with them.¬†My most shocking discovery through the process is that I‚Äôm afraid of¬†not being loved. ¬†I noticed the self-talk was that my beauty is only on the surface.”


Sheila Pree Bright’s photo series¬†“Plastic Bodies”¬†examines how beauty ideals affect women, especially women of color. Her striking images combine doll parts with segments of human bodies, and the discord between the two is startling. She told HuffPost in an email:
American concepts of the ‚Äúperfect female body‚ÄĚ are clearly exemplified through commercialism, portraying ‚Äúimage as everything‚ÄĚ and introducing trends that many spend hundreds of dollars to imitate. It is more common than ever that women are enlarging breasts with silicone, making short hair longer with synthetic hair weaves, covering natural nails with acrylic fill-ins, or perhaps replacing natural eyes with contacts.
Even on magazine covers, graphic artists are airbrushing and manipulating photographs in software programs, making the image of a small waist and clear skin flawless. As a result, the female body becomes a replica of a doll, and the essence of natural beauty in popular American culture is replaced by fantasy.
Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share a foolish fantasy.


Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

A Day Without Buts

You and I are not what we eat.  

We are what we think.

Walter Anderson

Today’s featured articles on Huffington Post for International Women’s Day run the gamut of “How to Unleash the Power of Women,” “Give Women the Right Not to Choose,” to “Let’s Make Today the Last International Women’s Day.” ¬† Strong voices rant over blatant injustices and impossible arbitrary demands that continue to be imposed by culture, religion, work and family. ¬† What about our self-admnistered doses of unkindness that seem so innocuous we actually consider them normal? ¬†“I look pretty good for my age, but I’m 10 lbs overweight.” ¬†“Thank you for the gift, but you didn’t have to!” ¬†“I’m sorry ¬†if I hurt you, but what I’m saying is right, you know.”

How different might our life be if we make the choice each day to put a period (instead of a but) when we say:

I’m sorry.

Thank you.

I love you.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother



The Guru Within

Cultures are different as can be,

but in their souls, women want the same things:

 dignity, respect, love, freedom.

Jodi Cobb

No other country can claim to be both mecca and inspiration for the proliferation of gurus as India. ¬†Whether the expertise be yoga, business, finances, self-improvement, romance, beauty, etc…, being a devotee to someone who is supposed to know better helps us rise above challenges with the aspiration that “If (s)he can do it, so can I.” ¬†Then there is also the convenience of having ¬†someone else to blame when things go awry. ūüėČ

Author Meryl Davis Landau (Downward Dog, Upward Fog) writes in Huffington Post about gurus who admit they are only human, too: How Three Top Yoga Masters Find Balance, Both On and Off the Mat.

Seane Corn, cofounder of nonprofit activist group Off the Mat, Into the World: ¬†I used to feel envious of people I felt were living their lives fully in ease and integrity. Now I recognize that no matter how I might perceive them, everyone is dealing with issues that I can’t begin to understand. If a shadow of judgment towards others comes up, I’ll immediately come back to me: ¬†What’s coming up for me, what does it remind me of, how can I heal it in myself?

John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga: ¬†After getting over the feelings of betrayal and violateion when my bookkeeper embezzled all my money, I applied the ‘three As’ from Anusara yoga.¬†Attitude, in terms of first opening myself to the pain without denying what I was feeling, but then being optimistic that I had the capacity to get everything back.¬†Alignment, by, instead of putting all the blame on her, taking responsibility that I had put myself in that situation by turning my finances over to another person. ¬†This calms the mind because by taking back control I knew I was reducing the likelihood it could happen again. And¬†action, by creating a plan to get money in the bank to pay the bills.

Ana T. Forrest, creator of Forrest Yoga and author of¬†Fierce Medicine: ¬† ¬†¬†Never waste a good trigger. Triggers — something someone says that gets you white-hot angry or terrified out of proportion — are horribly uncomfortable, yet they can teach you so much. My own childhood abuse led to two key triggers: my quickness to anger and my tendency to plummet instantaneously into an emotional abyss. ¬†A messy room left by my ex triggered my ‘unable to deal’ avoidance feelings and heart stress. He left in March 2008, but I was retriggered by this again just the other day. ¬† I intend to clear any and all emotional trash that I find connected to this. I am okay with being a work in progress. My philosophy encompasses growing, making mistakes and learning from them as a lifelong process.

How do you pay attention to your Inner Guru?

© Sharon Birke

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

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