Susan Speaks: Right on, Sister!


I’m a pretty polarizing woman. It seems you either love me or hate me (or: you get me or you’re scared of me). I’m a strong woman, and I’m proud of that.

I would need you guys to tell me how much of that shines through in my fiction and the rest of this blog. But that’s not the point today. I don’t need the strokes I seem to be asking for.

Rather, I want you guys to read this.

Think about what it means to be a strong woman. Think about people you know who are threatened by us strong women, and think about the ways in which we can do MORE for ourselves and our fellow sisters.

Since this is Memorial Day in the States, maybe take a minute and think about the women brave enough to die in combat, too. A lot of my friends have told me I’m brave, but I’m nothing compared to the men and women who enlist and defend this country.



  1. IndyPindy

    May 25, 2007 5:06 pm

    Wow, thanks for bringing me to that fantastic blog! What happened to that poor girl is a travesty.BR/BR/My mom is a very strong woman. She has to be to handle a Siberian Husky! Mom says that she likes Huskies because they are independent and strong, like her. BR/BR/It’s so sad that we even have to argue that all living things should be treated with respect.BR/BR/Here via Michele’s.

  2. Wylie Kinson

    May 25, 2007 6:31 pm

    I got to the second line and stopped. BR/You know what? I am a WIMP when it comes to facing these HORRIFIC displays of BRUTALITY. BR/As a woman/mother/writer — with an extremely sensitive/empathetic nature — I learned that I must stick my head in the sand sometimes, for my own sanity. I ‘heard’ about the stoning but just can’t bear to read the details. BR/(Sorry – that was totally off topic)BR/BR/Susan – I only know you from your blog, but you come off as an imaginative, interesting, creative, fun, supportive, and ROCKIN’ sistah-friend.

  3. Dewey

    May 25, 2007 6:48 pm

    Thank you for that link. I’ve been reading about that situations all day.

  4. Susan Helene Gottfried

    May 25, 2007 7:41 pm

    Wylie, I stick my head in the sand A LOT. I had to yank it out this time because of the overriding message in this woman’s blog: stand up for ourselves. Make the world a better place. BR/BR/And thanks for the compliments. I needed them today; been a rough one on the Mommy front.

  5. julia

    May 25, 2007 8:54 pm

    I tend to think of things in large, historical arcs. The relatively recent development in the western world of women’s equality has sent the highly conservative cultures into a tailspin. These cultures are nosediving and they are well aware of that fact.BR/BR/In response to the infiltration of liberal influences, via the world wide web, films, tv and easy international travel, the predictable reaction is to hold tighter to that which is slipping away.BR/BR/The individual horror of the 17-year-old victim of mob violence is very disturbing. It should be.BR/BR/But I feel very strongly that within the next 100 years the values held by the west will be irretrievably absorbed into the cultures of the ultra conservative east. The reason all dictatorships strive to silence artists (among others)is plain. Once knowledge is gained, people become powerful. Women in these cultures are learning that other societies don’t accept this treatment any longer. (For us in the west, don’t forget, it’s only been 100 years since women have been ‘persons’ under the law.)BR/BR/I have faith in the human race. Male backlash = female empowerment. I see more signs of the feminine in world politics (inclusion, equalization) than traditional male models (conquest, domination.)BR/BR/Hold hands, Sisters! Red Rover, Red Rover cannot bust through when we hold fast to one another.

  6. Susan Helene Gottfried

    May 25, 2007 8:56 pm

    Wow, Julia, I pray you’re right.BR/BR/Btw, you gave me goosebumps which are now coming in WAVES, they are so strong. BR/BR/From your typing fingers to God’s eyeballs, to give a familiar phrase a modern twist…

  7. utenzi

    May 25, 2007 9:48 pm

    Libba seems a little grumpy. Probably something to do with writing for teen girls.BR/BR/Michele sent me over to celebrate Memorial Day on a Friday. Who knew?

  8. This Eclectic Life

    May 25, 2007 10:01 pm

    I have a newspaper article from a Fort Worth paper back in the 1990s that told about a couple near New Delhi who were of different caste. Similar punishment was inflicted on them for their “crime.” What people do to each other (not just to women)in the name of their God is a crying shame.

  9. littlebirdblue

    May 26, 2007 12:06 am

    Right on, Susan! Rock it.

  10. Carmi

    May 26, 2007 8:56 am

    I’ve long wondered what the deal is with religious societies that deliberately suppress the rights of women. It’s almost as if they’re too individually and collectively stupid to follow any other path.BR/BR/Not that our somewhat more secularized society is much better. But at least we’re not stoning girls in the street and then cheering on the supposedly righteous murderers.BR/BR/What a world. At least there are great writers – and people like you to share their own talent, as well as the talent of others.

  11. Devon Ellington

    May 26, 2007 11:50 am

    Absolutely.BR/BR/And it won’t be stopped until people– WOMEN — stop sticking their heads in the sand. BR/BR/Each of us has a personal responsibility to stop this kind of violence and hatred.BR/BR/Apathy equals condonement.BR/BR/You better believe I’ve been writing letters to elected officials telling them if they expect my vote, they better start taking public action.BR/BR/And empowerment programs need to come to countries where this treatment is the norm. Until the women internally take a stand, nothing will change.

  12. karen!

    May 26, 2007 4:55 pm

    thanks, S.

  13. ~A:F~

    May 26, 2007 5:16 pm

    I’m back after a few days away, and your post was just what I needed to knock some sense back into me. I was feeling a bit down and sad about my situation, but boy, this girl’s story sure put things into perspective for me. BR/BR/Here’s to all Strong Women.

  14. Catherine

    May 26, 2007 9:42 pm

    You’ve got me thinking here – I have problems with recognising the bravery of those who fight, as opposed to the bravery of those who refuse to. The latter being even more difficult, in some cases. Michele sent me.

  15. Vic Grace

    May 26, 2007 11:34 pm

    I have had several traumatic occasions in my life and I have amazed myself at the strength that has arisen to deal with each situation.BR/BR/I think strength of character in either male or female is described best by an analogy that I like.BR/BR/A stallion is a powerful animal which allows its master to rule it. Meaning our strength is only powerful if we allow self-control to rule it. In fact without self-control what might be considered strength of character is actually weakness.

  16. Pearl

    May 27, 2007 9:29 am

    Thanks for posting that link. Complacency with lesser and different status for women is something we need to red flag and talk about.

  17. craziequeen

    May 27, 2007 2:52 pm

    Michele sent me to say hi…..BR/BR/One of my regular bloglinks is a wonderfully strong woman who is battling cancer. Minerva is strong with a capital S.BR/BR/Honour killings are not as common as in earlier years but we do still get them occasionally here in the UK.BR/BR/Every day we pray that the world will see honour killings for what they are.BR/But then, killing in the name of religion or purity will, sadly, probably never stop.BR/BR/cq

  18. carli

    May 27, 2007 4:29 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that in some places, things are f’d up in ways we don’t need to imagine. This is the stuff we should be watching on the news every night. It’s a much worthier cause than Lindsay Lohan.

  19. colleen

    May 27, 2007 7:10 pm

    I’m thankful for strong women who speak out against war too. I think we’d be better of with more women in places of power. Micheleing.

  20. Nicholas

    May 28, 2007 5:15 am

    Not all of us (men) are threatened by strong women. Some of us actually seek out their company and rejoice in their presence. Men who are threatened by strong women are themselves weak.BR/BR/This honour killing — or disgraceful murder for the sake of supertitious drivel, to give it its rightful name — shames us all. Why were the media going on about P Hilton’s jail sentence and some other usless airhead’s drunk driving, when we should all have been thinking about this and getting angry?


    May 28, 2007 11:51 am

    Firstly, I fall into the I love you category. Secondly, I read that blog and can’t believe it. That things like that should happen still…uurgh, what is this world coming to?

  22. Susan Helene Gottfried

    May 28, 2007 11:54 am

    Ooh, thanks, Red. BR/BR/As to the second question you posed: I don’t know, but I’m scared. I have a daughter and I am afraid of what her future may hold.

  23. Thomma Lyn

    May 28, 2007 5:26 pm

    Thank you, both for your thoughtful post and for sharing that link. It’s something everyone should read, but especially us women, who must be ever-vigilant when it comes to safeguarding our precious autonomy and our precious freedom.BR/BR/All my life it has horrified me, the extent to which women worldwide are subject to brutal prejudice, violence, and confinement to rigid roles in life simply by virtue of their sex. We women in the U.S. have it pretty good, but we sisters must never forget to keep shouting loudly and proudly that each woman upon this earth is an individual, no less than any man, and that she has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, same as any man. Period.BR/BR/Thank you for being the strong woman you are; thank you for being you.

  24. Arukiyomi

    May 29, 2007 8:13 am

    Surprise at any human atrocity is simply evidence of a lack of self-reflection.

  25. Susan Helene Gottfried

    May 29, 2007 10:43 am

    Arukiyomi, I have to disagree with you. Strongly. BR/BR/Being shocked when people act like animals is a human response. It shows that I care about my fellow human. It shows that I believe we are capable of so much more. BR/BR/Self-reflection has nothing to do with it. BR/BR/Idealism does.

  26. finnbiker

    May 29, 2007 5:24 pm

    Sorry, Susan, but Arukiyomi is right. We are flattering ourselves if we think that we are immune from committing heinous acts, were we under the influence of an evil and twisted religion. Regardless of whatever religion, if any, we’re engaged in, we are STILL capable of bad stuff.BR/ BR/I disagree with about 80% of the views expressed in that blog, but it was a moderately interesting read, nevertheless. Thanks for including me.

  27. Susan Helene Gottfried

    May 29, 2007 5:31 pm

    I disagree. I can and will continue to be shocked that people WILL act this way. Not that we CAN; I know fully well I’d do my best to kill any man who tried to rape me. BR/BR/That it continues to happen is shocking and sickening. That people allow themselves to act this way is revolting. BR/BR/People also can be amazing and wonderful and I continue to believe that potential exists in us all. Thus, I will always be shocked by the sort of behavior that spurred this entire discussion.

  28. Marcia (MeeAugraphie)

    May 30, 2007 5:24 pm

    Susan. I have stuffed my head so far in the sand at times, it is a wonder it has not been worn smooth.BR/BR/And I am still too scared at times to speak out every time I could. I am getting braver, but braver is not always enough.BR/BR/To belabor a discussion in comments. It is not that I am shocked or should be shocked over man or ourselves being Icapable/I of such horrors – it is the shock for me that they would ALLOW themselves to believe that any good existed in the act, that they would not question it as a person who also feels pain and emotional hurt. BR/BR/Every time I think it is safe to pull my head out of the sand, something this horrid slams it back down. I really don’t understand any of it, although I do understand fear and going with the flow when you have no backing to fight it.BR/BR/I’m glad you sent us to the other site, but I hate it. . . but I read every word. And, I am trying to keep that last inch or so of my head from burying itself today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *