Sunday, August 21, 2011

Am I A Tough Girl?

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but recently my other blog Can-Do Women, was mentioned by Huffington Post contributor Peg Aloi, in Tough Girls: Do They Still Exist?

Apparently there's a dearth of tough "gals" out there and women are simply "girly" again.  And "the blogosphere proves it!"

Peg writes;
Maybe it's the "new" (crappy) economy, or our fear of the imminent zombie-vampire-Tea Partier apocalypse, or the realization that teaching our kids self-reliance instead of whiny entitlement really is the best approach to parenting, but there's so much emphasis on, well, ultra-femme domestic activity these days. This weird retro world of cooking, heirloom tomatoes and Jane Austen is starting to feel a bit smug and smothering. Where's the fun?
My blog's mentioned under the auspices of "heirloom tomatoes" and whether this is "fun"?

Well readers, you know I couldn't leave well enough alone.  Here's my retort to this brassy little article;

Thank you for mentioning my blog under the auspices of "Heirloom Tomatoes" (www.candow­omen.wordp­ in seeking to answer the question of whether tough girls still do exist? 
 Funny, I've never thought of myself as particular­ly "girly" or indeed "anti-femi­nist", although I do love to cook. And in answer to your question as whether I may personally qualify as tough? Before you or your readers judge me, perhaps I should include a link to my other blog; the one where I blog about my life as a women in her early forties dealing with metastatic breast cancer (see http://can­cerculture­now.blogsp­­1/01/can-d­o-spirit.h­tml) 
Your post reminds me that both my blogs have been sadly neglected of late due to all the "fun" my illness has been serving up to me, leaving with very little time, ability or gumption to pursue the things I really like to do. Like being a tough bad-ass breast cancer activist blogger, as well as someone who enjoys a bloody good heirloom tomato.

 Tough "gal"? You be the judge.

Courtesy of Past Expiry Cartoon


  1. You Go Girl!. You are one of the toughest girls I know.
    You are brave, you suffer tremendous pain and you are still out there trying to help your fellow breast cancer sisters and brothers.
    You are a hero to me!

  2. What exactly is so bloody "girlie" about heirloom tomatoes? The last time I checked, gardening is hard work. Silly git.

  3. The way I see it we all have freedom of choice. Thankfully, I get lots of variety with amazing writers that go about doing what they love to do.
    Thanks for making a difference in my life...

  4. What a shock! I know you only from here (and that activism conference we attended together this spring) and tough is actually a word that comes to mid to describe you!

    Not to worry, friend -- your readers here know the truth!

  5. Okay, I tried to post this before but I don't think it worked.

    Feminism doesn't benefit from dismissing and devaluing traditionally female work. Loving to cook -and loving real food - isn't ultra-femme and it certainly has nothing to do with whether or not you're "tough". To suggest otherwise is offensive and decidedly un-feminist.

    Keep up the good fight and stay tough!

  6. huffpo S*CKS.

    class dismissed.

    xo Dorry

  7. Oh i LOVE your response. What a bunch of idiots.

    Btw, I love heirloom tomatoes and I love to cook. I guess that makes me an anti-feminist. Grrr. So sorry they "used" your blog. But, what a great retort you wrote! I hope you a wonderful rest of your Sunday.


  8. Great response to a really insensitive reference to your blog -- which they never actually read, it seems.

    You are one tough WOMAN!!

  9. I have ceased to be amazed that women are sometimes each other's own worst enemies - it happens so much. Peg is a beeuch and your reply was right on target. As a cancer survivor myself, I'm about to undergo my yearly check up. Evidently I need to wear a plaid shirt and lumberjack boots to my appointment. And, BTW, I grow a boatload of heirloom tomatoes - so piss off, Peg.

  10. Please don't beat me up Rach! You can have my lunch money!!

    Obviously they don't know who they are messing with!

  11. Mine didn't work before either so I'm trying again. This is what she gets for ASS-uming that liking heirloom tomatoes is somehow mutually exclusive with being a bad-ass. I asked her if living with metastatic cancer is bad-ass enough for her. She puts the ASS in asinine.

    Don't worry, your bad-ass credentials as an activist and cancer warrior are impeccable and we've got your back! xox Jacks

  12. The thing that gets me is the utter lack of logic employed by Peg Aloi. Is there some weird association she has with growing tomatoes that symbolizes for her the essence of girlyness? Do the gardeners she knows work on their gardens in high heels and mini-skirts and mascara?? Anytime I've ever grown tomatoes or seen anyone work on growing tomatoes, we've all generally been sweaty and dirty, after performing such apparently ultra-femme tasks as digging, shoveling, hoeing, weeding, picking bugs off the developing fruit, etcetera and so forth. Who knew such activity was considered 'girly'?? Hmm. We'll all just have to revise our gardening habits now and stop keeping our pinkies in the air as we thrust our pitchforks into the ground.

  13. This is just priceless! Just goes to show how important it is to research what you're writing about... something that HuffPost writer CLEARLY did not do or she would have known that the Can-Do women you write about (and represent) not only appreciate life in a variety of ways (including juicy red tomatoes), but also have the clarity and guts to go up against one of the most powerful, wealthy, and institutionalized machines U.S. culture has so seamlessly sold to American women. Wow, that person should have done some homework!

    And, why is there such a need to create an artificial juxtaposition between the 'girlie girls' and the 'bad asses'? It is exactly this kind of binary thinking that limits deep thought and the social change necessary to enable women - the diversity of women - to achieve their full personhood.


  14. I've tried commenting 3 times at Huff Post & it's not getting through on my HuffPost or Twitter accounts. It shows a comment is pending--then nothing.

    So here's what I've been trying to say on your/our behalf-too harsh? :) -xox Jacks

    This post has too many things wrong to count, so let me hit two. First, who the hell cares what we choose to blog about? How is it that blogging about tomatoes, knitting and Jane Austen is girly? Why isn't it foodie, crafty, and literary? Why does it have to fit on your self-appointed bad-ass meter?

    More to the point, you are assuming that blogging about tomatoes and being a bad-ass are mutually exclusive. They are not. My friend Rachel at the Can-Do Women blog is an activist in every sense of the word. She focuses her laser intelligence and her CPA skills on things like showing where Komen's money goes (Hint: It's not to research.) Oh yeah, and she happens to be living with and thumbing her nose at metastatic breast cancer. Is that bad-ass enough for you?

    You want to know where the bad-ass women are; open your eyes, they're all around you. They're living with cancer or helping those they love live with cancer or another bad hand. They may or may not be drinking whiskey or knitting or both.

    You do know what they say about assuming, right? Assume makes an ASS out of U and ME. In this case, I think it's just you.

  15. So hang on people (assuming there are men also reading your blogs ;-D)..this female is insinuating because a woman can cook, grow their own produce she finds it smoothering.. damn thats sad.. she needs re educating into understanding being independant & health aware.. why do certain women feel so threatened by those that are correcting a heap of mess that is detrimental to their health and future off spring.. I grow my own strawberries but does that mean I will make strawberry jam.. hell yeah if I knew my young daughter would at least give me a chance.. i'm a yorkshire women we believe in saving cash not spending.. Oh and my father in law showed me how to make a lovely apple chutney does that mean when the lights are out he is wearing my lippy..

    if this woman is smart she should apologise.. making assumptions about a blog she knows nothing about to me is taking the fem argument to far..


  16. So glad HuffPost mentioned you, but they really don't know how tough you are or what makes you such a great role model for the rest of us. Your come back to them was perfect!


  17. Thank you all for your awesome, hilarious, and totally validating comments. They remind of the incredible group of " tough girls" who I run with everyday in the blogosphere and I'm honored to be a member of the gang. It was also great to find out that besides having cancer, my efforts to grow heirloom tomatoes were appreciated by so many (click counter was off the wall on that post!) and were even considered badass and subversive activities on their own! Who knew my first bit of national press would have come my love of the humble tomato. Hilarious!

  18. And not to be outdone in retorts to Pegs article, here's the badass response from the Garden Rant bloggers who were also picked on for not being "tough girls". I hope Peg never meets these girls inna dark alley......

  19. This was so ridiculous; it got my blood boiling a bit too! Oh wait, boiling, that's a cooking term, right? I think the one who sounds smug and smothering here is Peg Aloi.

    Your retort was truly priceless!

  20. Fantastic reply! The best part - your response was a better piece of writing (and more interesting) than the original article.

  21. Ha! That woman got an earful, and she deserves it. Nothing 'girly' about having to have your breast(s) removed.


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