March 8, International Women’s Day, follows very shortly after the closing of the Olympic Games in Sochi. And what a wonderful Games it was for our Canadian women athletes. In fact, we can celebrate the fact that our women held their own during those Games and captured even more GOLD medals (6 medals) than the men did (4 medals).
I’m not writing this piece to gloat about women’s achievements over men. Actually, I’m writing it because I’m dismayed with the media and their inability to create heroines, though they are mightily adept at creating heroes.
International Women’s Day is a day meant to examine the status of women around the world, and how we can improve gender equality at home and away.
In Canada, as a nation, we were glued to our television screens to watch our Canadian women come from behind after a USA 2-0 lead in the closing minutes of their game. With skill and sheer determination, these women won gloriously in overtime. They were our modern day "warriors" fighting to defend our nation’s hockey supremacy.
When these players took off their protective helmets it was sweet to see the pearl earrings, traces of eyeliner, and ponytails—the signs of their femininity that ten minutes earlier were hidden in their fierce fight for the puck and opportunities to score.
For a day they were our darlings, our heroines, beautifully feted on TV and in newspapers, and then the media’s attention quickly shifted to the men’s playoff for GOLD.
The hype leading up to the game was incredible. Though we had to get up at dawn on a Sunday morning, lights were on in homes all over Canada. Sports bars across the country were given the license to serve booze at 7:00 in the A.M. and they were filled to overflowing with faithful fans. We were going to watch our heroes, the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team fight for the puck with Sweden. When our team won handily, Twitter and Facebook erupted with jubilation. It was a well-deserved victory for a beautifully played game. And, as an aside, it was interesting for me to note that the Swedes when they were down by two goals did not play with half the ferocity that our women did when it was called for.
Fast forward to the next day when I picked up my Globe and Mail newspaper. There, in living colour, was a full-blown, two-page poster of our Canadian heroes—the guys who brought the GOLD home.
No matter that these guys are professionals that during the year are paid millions to play hockey. These are not sport amateurs hopefully coming to the Olympics for recognition. These heroes earn millions for doing what they do best—play hockey—and I in no way minimize their victory.
Yet, wouldn’t it have been a coup for the Globe and Mail to shift their attention to the women, our heroines, and a poster of them? Why not put aside the testosterone-laden accolades? Let’s give little girls (and bigger ones, too) something more to celebrate than princesses, bikinis, and red carpets.
We need heroines for our female youngsters to emulate. Maybe on International Women’s Day we’ll see a full section in the Globe and Mail on all the Canadian women who represented us so beautifully in Sochi. That would be something that mothers across Canada would definitely celebrate. That’s something I, as a grandmother would love to see on teens’ walls beside their One Direction and Katy Perry posters.
P.S. Not to just single out the Globe and Mail that otherwise offered excellent coverage of the 2014 Games—the Toronto Star also erred in a very questionable way during the 2006 Olympics. In that year, when the men's hockey team didn't win GOLD, the paper's front page headline was, "What's wrong with Team Canada?" The next day, the women's hockey team did win GOLD. Did they get the front page headline? No, the Star gave it to sexually perverted murderer, Paul Bernardo. I rest my case.
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Before you become a "believer," there are a few things you should know about me. Yes, I really am a 73-year-old grandmother. Up until four years ago, I didn’t own an iPhone (or a Blackberry) and I have no idea what HootSuite does. My travel website, journeywoman.com, was posted 17 years ago and the template has never been changed. In fact, it’s so old that I’m now getting awards for retro design. Knowing all this, do you still trust me and want to read further?
Okay, here are my credentials. I may be digitally deficient, but in a few short years I’ve managed to amass almost 32,000 Twitter followers. "How can that be?" you ask. My answer is simple—by thinking outside the box, by being yourself, and by posting good content.
Grandma Twitter Rule #1: Be authentic. Forget the experts who tell you that whatever you put up on that Twitter feed will haunt you for the rest of your life. If you are a reasonably sane person, you will not embarrass yourself, but your true personality will come through. Dare to be funny. Dare to challenge Tweets without being hurtful. Dare to fly your freak flag without going overboard. Peeps will begin to follow, because they want to get to know YOU—the interesting person, not some persona that your IT Consultant has dreamed up.
Grandma Twitter Rule #2: The know-it-alls may tell you to schedule your tweets so you can get the word out without actually monitoring your Twitter posts. Really? To me that’s like getting a robocall out of the blue. I hear the message, but there’s nobody on the other end to answer when I tweet back to ask a question, make a remark, or simply RT (re-tweet). Forget about acknowledging me three hours later, the momentum is long gone.
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Grandma Twitter Rule #3: Think about this. Your audience is ever changing. There are a gazillion people on Twitter and together they are posting every second of the day and night. That means that depending on whom you want to reach, you should tweet accordingly. I direct early morning tweets to moms enjoying their first cup of coffee while the rest of the family is still sleeping. Those tweets might include a terrific recipe for dinner that night or a thoughtful piece on childcare. Around four in the afternoon as everybody is winding done, it’s time for fun, entertaining tweets. And, late at night, I target those other night owls with interesting travel ideas that they can go to bed dreaming about.
Grandma Twitter Rule #4: (Disclaimer: Please don’t set your alarm to get up in the middle of the night to do this. That would be crazy!) This next rule is about expanding your reader base. Yes, you have lots of followers in your own country, but what about that other Twitterverse around the world? When I have a sleepless night, I get out of bed for a half hour, log onto Twitter, and have great conversations in England and Australia. I introduce my latest blog post or YMC recipe, and before you know it, new friends (and their friends) are made and, as if by magic, my follower base becomes even more international.
Grandma Rule #5: Be a real friend! Take note of what is going on in people's lives—whether they live up the street or around the world. Follow up on their personal projects and travel. Send birthday wishes and tweets of congratulations. Take time to address their concerns if you have answers that may help, and don’t forget to include some XOXO whenever it is needed. That true Twitter Love will come back to you ten-fold.
P.S. Now take that money that you were going to pay a Twitter expert for their staid advice and go out and buy yourself something that you’ve had your eye on for a while. And. Enjoy.
P.P.S. I invite you to follow my crazy Twitter feed—@journeywoman
From Grandma who loves you and is Aging Disgracefully.
For more of the Aging Disgracefully blog, check out: "Older Grandmother Seeks Younger Granddad For Cavorting" and "Help! I'm Captive In A Movie Theatre."