Photo: Nicholas Vigier

This week’s blog-lot is pretty meaty, including musings on synapses and suffrage lessons, women and disasters, and a new film helmed by the standout star of Up in the Air.

  • OK, Best Blog Title Ever award goes to Marcia Mayo’s Well Aged With Some Marbling, which this week offers some thoughts on keeping our brains sharp when the opportunity arises. Mayo writes of taking a new late-career position in her company — “I’m no longer climbing the ladder to success.  The rungs are too old and rusty (or perhaps the problem is that they are too slick and new) and I’m afraid of heights.  And so, I wondered if I’d made a big mistake.” Then she remembered something: “Not long ago I read somewhere (not surprisingly I can’t recall where) that one reason older people lose mental functioning is because they become so set in their ways, so routine oriented, they are no longer making new synapse connections.” The new gig, Mayo writes, offers many opportunities to create new ones: “I’m feeling a few synapses begin to wake up from their well-deserved five-year-nap, stretching and scratching their sleepy heads. They’re a little pissy and put out, needing a caffeine boost, but last I heard, they’re in their tiny cerebral Corolla, careening to the firing range, after stopping for a 12 pack of Diet Cokes.”
  • While celebrating Women’s Equality Day last week, we noticed this excellent musing on 1920’s feminist Crystal Eastman by Eve Weinbaum and Rachel Roth at RH Reality Check. Eastman, they note, had a four-point program for actualizing the promise of suffrage: “economic independence for women (including freedom to choose an occupation and equal pay), gender equality at home (raising ‘feminist sons’ to share the responsibilities of family life), ‘voluntary motherhood’ (reproductive freedom) and ‘motherhood endowment,’ or financial support for child-rearing and homemaking.” The current challenge, they add, is that “our institutions must become more responsive. . . . Arranging a more just world will require a new wave of political action at all levels, from local to national, home to workplace.” Click over for details.
  • Between earthquakes and hurricanes, do we have enough to take care of everyone? At Women and Media News, Margaret Morganroth Gullette worries that older women will be left behind: “Rescuers make unconscious choices, about who gets into the boat or on the bus, who gets sought if missing, who receives warm blankets, extra water, radiation tests, emergency housing. Gifts of life or sentences of death in many cases. They are spur-of-the-moment and can be based on bias. . . . Ageism is one such possible bias. We see it everywhere in the deficit atmosphere, a triage situation that is being artificially created in a recession to diminish aid to those over 65 as well as others in need.” Our Diane Vacca would likely agree.
  • Ever since the recent dismissal of a class-action discrimination suit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against financial services corporation Bloomberg L.P., we’ve been wondering whether it was fallout from Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Not exactly, writes Nanette Fondas at MomsRising, but close: “At a time when work, workers and the workplace are ‘job one’ for the struggling U.S. economy, it’s discouraging to find out that the nation just can’t get serious about taking half of its workforce seriously. The female half . . . Working moms just can’t get a break. First the Supreme Court ruled in the Wal-Mart class-action suit that the number of women alleging discrimination was too big. Now a U.S. District Court in Manhattan rules that the group of Bloomberg claimants was too small to prove that pregnancy discrimination was ‘standard operating procedure.’”
  • When we first saw Vera Farmiga steal a movie from George Clooney last year, we suspected there was more behind those incredible eyes. Now, with the release of her first film as a director (see clip below), an exclusive interview at Women’s Media Center shows us a little of that power. Although she hadn’t directed before, Farmiga decided to take the challenge, seeing it as a way to work on a story that was gratifying for her unlike some of the scripts she gets. “I’m tired of complaining about it,” she said about the lack of good parts for women in movies. “I’ve been in this profession a long time. I have a certain measure of attention and responsibility that comes with that spotlight.” […] Farmiga has recently played parts written for a man – in “Source Code” and in the upcoming “Safe House” with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds where she plays a CIA supervisor. She also sees scripts with interesting female parts, but, as with “Higher Ground,” they can’t get financing. “I’m seeing great roles, she said. “What I want is to see them greenlit.”

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