A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s Health: Stress, Health and African American Women: A Black History Month Notation

Women’s Health: Stress, Health and African American Women: A Black History Month Notation

Women’s News: Short Women In A Tall World

Women’s News: Short Women In A Tall World

Women’s News: Short Women In A Tall World

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Leslie Rasmussen

Creator of Marriage-Project.com

I’ll admit it; I’m only five feet tall. OK, that’s not true; I’m actually under five feet. I don’t say that very often, because just admitting it, even to myself, is not easy. There aren’t a lot of people my height; so, the majority of people don’t understand what it’s like being this short. In my life, I’ve heard every comment about my stature from, “You know, good things come in small packages,” to “Wow, you’re so tiny, I want to squeeze you.” At 6 that was fine, but at my age, it’s patronizing. Most people know better than to comment if you’re overweight, but for some reason, height is seen as everyone’s business. And the fact that most people think their comments are compliments, is like me saying: “That extra weight around your middle is so cute, like having a St. Bernard strapped to your stomach; I just want to pet it.”

In the fashion industry, they like to call people like me petite. What a cute name it would be if the word petite didn’t actually mean women under five feet, four inches tall. 5″4? I’d give away my children if I could be 5″4. Being my height can make me feel self-conscious, especially when I buy clothes. I can’t buy a pair of pants without having them hemmed. And when I say hemmed, I mean you could almost clothe a small village with the excess material that’s cut off my pants. Recently, I was in a store where they sent the pants to an outside tailor to be hemmed. After being measured and leaving the store, I actually got a call from the tailor himself. He was sure the person who measured my pants made a mistake, because after all, who could possible need that much material taken off.

When you are my size, weight is also an issue. If I gain three pounds, it’s like there’s a boulder sticking out of my stomach. When you’re taller and you gain three pounds, it might make your pinkie look bigger, which is probably not going to affect you zipping up your skirt.

My friends all tell me they wish they were small like me. Really, I don’t think so. They can stand in a group of people and be heard. When I’m in a group of people, I have to yell louder because my head is at their chest. Sometimes, their stomachs and usually their chest and stomach doesn’t think what I have said is that interesting.

My kids passed my height by the time they were preteens, which is hard when you’re trying to discipline them. I’ve always told them they may be taller than me, but I’ll always be meaner. But that’s hard to sell when your 16-year-old hunches his body into a C-shape to hug you and your 14-year-old thinks it’s funny to try to pick you up and carry you around the house. Although, on the positive side, when I can’t reach something, I no longer have to climb on the cabinets. I just call one of my tall kids and they get it for me with only the smallest amount of teasing.

My height also seems to give people the license to treat me like a child. I once climbed on a seat on an airplane to smash my luggage into the overhead compartment. The flight attendant watched me for a while and when I completed the task, replied: “Good girl, you did it.” This happened last week and the flight attendant was in her thirties.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some positives to being this height. I admit I’ve used my height to my advantage at times. I got into the movies for a child’s price into my twenties, I was able to get good-looking men to reach things for me on top shelves at the market and I could always have an excuse to stand in front of people at a crowded exhibit. I’m also often told how young I look. I’m 50 years old, and despite a few wrinkles and gray hairs (the latter of which I do not have unless my hairdresser’s out of town), people assume I’m more youthful than I am. This is nice, although thinking that just because a person is short means they’re younger is pretty ridiculous. When I was pregnant with my first child, an older woman in her 60s approached me and proceeded to chastise me that young girls should not be getting pregnant at my age. When I told her I was 34, she looked at me like I had just opened my mouth and a unicorn flew out of it.

I realize that everyone has something about themselves they’d change, something they feel puts them at a disadvantage in their life. Mine just happens to be obvious to everyone. Even being short, I married a great guy, had two fabulous kids and enjoy my work. When it’s all said and done, except for the fact you’ll never catch me in flat shoes, I’ve come to terms with my height. Although, the next time you see an adult who’s vertically challenged, remember they know they’re short and don’t need you to remind them. Please don’t comment on it, unless it’s to say they’re the most beautiful person you’ve seen in a long time. That, I would take in a second.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-rasmussen/short-women-im-small-not-a-child_b_2774670.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s Health: Stress, Health and African American Women: A Black History Month Notation

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Carol J. Scott, M.D.

StressReliefRadio Host, Corporate Keynote Speaker & Coach, Emergency Room Physician, health educator and author, ‘Optimal Stress: Living in Your Best Stress Zone’

February is African-American History Month, an annual observance for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. This observance is the most visible legacy of the son of former slaves and scholar Carter G. Woodson who held a Masters Degree from University of Chicago and a Ph.D from Harvard University one hundred years ago in 1912. He pioneered defining a category of history related to ethnic culture and race.

African American women, stress and health: According to solid research, historically African American women are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of race-related stress, given their socially constructed identities as African Americans and as women. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that racial discrimination is a chronic stressor that can negatively impact the cardiovascular health of African Americans through pathogenic processes associated with serious negative reactive changes in blood pressure and heart rate. 2 African American women report more frequent encounters with everyday unfair treatment than Caucasian women. African American women who live in the city report a greater number of acute life events as stressors (divorce, marriage, job loss, etc) than Caucasian women. It’s no surprise that socioeconomic status, everyday experiences with unfair treatment and acute life events each make a significant contribution to differences in women’s health status.3

Coping with Stress:”Black women appear to handle stress somewhat differently from men or white women. Men are more likely to do battle with whoever or whatever is causing stress, or they simply remove themselves from the situation. Caucasian women seem more likely to find stress relief by devoting time to their children or seeking support and friendship from others.” Stress researcher Shelly Taylor calls this a “tend and befriend” response. According to Angela Barnet, Black women’s stress responses are intriguing; “we tend, befriend, mend, and keep it in.” 4

The role of religiosity and spirituality is highly cited when it comes to stress in African American women. A study focused on African American women suggests how religion helps: “(1) accepting reality, (2) gaining the insight and courage needed to engage in spiritual surrender, (3) confront and transcend limitations, (4) identify and grapple with existential questions and life lessons, (5) recognize purpose and destiny, (6) define character and act within subjectively meaningful moral principles, (7) achieve growth, and (8) trust in the viability of transcendent sources of knowledge and communication.” 5 The African Americans Women’s Voices Project gathered the stories of 400 women who spoke about their triumphs and challenges in Dr. Shorter-Gooden and Charisse Jones’ recently published book, Shifting – The Double Lives of Black Women in America.

Health Impact: Research suggests subtle mistreatment (micro-inequities) leads to a increased surges in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) for African American women but not white women. And those African American women who say racial discrimination is the cause of their mistreatment showed greater average reactive surge in blood pressure. Compared with Caucasian women, African-American women have an 85 percent higher rate of ambulatory medical care visits for high blood pressure. The rate of high blood pressure for non-Hispanic black females age 20 and older is 45 percent. Elevated blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and as many as 20 percent of all deaths in hypertensive African-American women may be due to their high blood pressure. The authors found that for African American women higher degrees of Afro centric cultural values were associated with greater perceived stigma about counseling and greater self-concealment. 7Women who were more overweight were experiencing more stress. Also, 50 percent of the women thought that stress negatively affected their weight-control behavior. Additionally, occupational stressors related to racism, sexism, and workload were major stressors for this group of women. 8Like men and women of all ethnicities, constant and ongoing stressors damages feelings of being in control of your lives and makes you less resilient.

The Future: This blog shares historical and scientific data. It is not intended to stereotype or promote being ‘stuck’ in the past. This information should not to be misconstrued as applicable to all African American women. Quite the opposite. African American women are not monolithic and rightfully claim many identities which shape individual experiences of the world.

Finally, the good news is that Generation X, Millennials and the new Silent Generation are shaping a new world and texture which will allow this historical data to inform but not guide the future success, health and wellness of all Americans.

What’s your opinion? Do you think the experience of stress for women in contemporary American daily life is influenced by race and/or ethnicity?

Sources:

T. M. Greer. Coping Strategies as Moderators of the Relation Between Individual Race-Related Stress and Mental Health Symptoms for African American Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2011; 35 (2): 215
2 Discrimination and unfair treatment: Relationship to cardiovascular reactivity among African American and European American women. Guyll, Max;Matthews, Karen A.;Bromberger, Joyce T.
Health Psychology, Vol 20(5), Sep 2001, 315-325.
3 A Schulz, B Israel, D Williams, E Parker, A Becker, S James, Social inequalities, stressors and self reported health status among African American and white women in the Detroit metropolitan area, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 51, Issue 11, 1 December 2000, Pages 1639-1653,
4 Angela Neal-Barnet. (2003) Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman’s Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Fear. Simon & Shuster, inc. New York, NY.
5 Mattis, J. S. (2002), Religion and Spirituality in the Meaning-Making and Coping Experiences of African American Women: A Qualitative Analysis. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26: 309-321.
6 Discrimination and unfair treatment: Relationship to cardiovascular reactivity among African American and European American women. Guyll, Max;Matthews, Karen A.;Bromberger, Joyce T.
Health Psychology, Vol 20(5), Sep 2001, 315-325.
7 Wallace, B.C., & Constantine, M.G. (2005). Africentric cultural values, psychological help-seeking attitudes, and self-concealment in African American college students. Journal of Black Psychology, 31(4), 369-385
8 Walcott-McQuigg JA. The relationship between stress and weight-control behavior in African-American women. J Natl Med Assoc. 1995;87(6):427-432.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-j-scott-md/stresshealth-and-african-_b_2772596.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

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