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It’s said “Behind every great man is a strong woman.”
Ever wonder where this quote originates from? Well, it isn’t entirely clear, but the first citation to this goes to Meryll Frost, the star quarterback for the 1945 Dartmouth Football team. After suffering terrible burns to his face during WWII that required numerous surgeries, quarterback Frost returned to captain the 1945 team (he later coached the team). The Philadelphia Sportswriters Association named him “The Most Courageous Athlete of 1945.” Upon receiving the honor, he was quoted as saying, “They say behind every great man there’s a woman. While I’m not a great man, there’s a great woman behind me.” Who was this “great woman”? Well, that was much harder to find. After a bit of digging around, the “great woman” appears to have been Pauline MacKenzie, Frost’s high school sweetheart. As a testament to her position “behind” her husband, I could find nothing more on this “great woman.”
Times have certainly changed—quite a bit—since Frost’s days in the red zone. Women are no longer content with merely the supporting role. Whether in sports (40% of all sports participants are female), business (42% of all US businesses are owned by women), or even at home (30% of women make more money than their husbands), women continue to eat away at a market share that was once dominated by men. What does this signify, though? First, it proves false the notion that there’s only enough success to go around for half the human population. There was, indeed, plenty of empty square footage under the spotlight of success, and women have been eagerly taking the stage. But, I also think it speaks to the many men who were quite content to take a backseat—not in their partnerships with women, but in the leadership their careers demanded, and the attention that such leadership often invites.
What do I mean by this, specifically?
This week on the podcast, I invite two men–one of whom you definitely know, and another you may only know about as well as Pauline MacKenzie–to talk about how they’ve found themselves behind the women who’ve launched themselves into public facing careers and helmed the prows of their own businesses.
Listen to This Week’s Podcast Episode!
This Week’s Recipe Inspo.
Spice Up Your Life.
Spicy Ramen Salt
A spicy, umami packed blend of seasonings that’ll enrich your broths, pop your popcorn, and heat up your pasta sauce!
Watching. Upon the recommendation of a friend, we watched Arnold, the three-part docu-series on Arnold Schwartzenegger. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminds me a lot of the Michael Jordan docu-series we all huddled around during the early days of the pandemic. Oddly enough, it was panned by many critics as a puff piece, but neither Anthony nor I viewed it that way. For me, I learned a lot about a man I only knew snippets of, and found the whole thing quite diverting. Highly recommended! Watch –>
Reading. I’ve been spending a great deal of time sifting through materials that provide both historical context, as well as political insight, on the Palestine v. Israel conflict. Here are links to a few articles I’ve read and found helpful for just background information (dates, timeline, policy, etc.):
Listening To. I was invited to be a guest on The Hairy Butthole Podcast hosted by comedian and writer, Youngmi Mayer. This has to be one of my favorite podcast interviews of all time–we covered the history of plant-based food in Korea, the role of women in healing through food, and my “sad story that we can now laugh about.” I listened to this episode on my run the other day and found myself laughing out loud between breaths! Listen –>
Like many of you, I’ve been disturbed by the recent events in the Middle East. I had a friend visiting his family in Israel during the attack and was worried for his safety. But, that is the extent of my direct personal connection to the ongoing unrest. In these types of situations, I’ve found that it’s my time to read, query, research, and study, as my ignorance can do a great deal of harm to those who do have a direct personal stake in the matter.
I’ve always been a bit slower than others to form opinions on things and, sometimes, I think that annoys people. This was particularly true at work, where it was my job to form and share opinions. But that’s the thing–I hated showing up to court to discover that I hadn’t adequately done my homework, and sometimes, homework can take a while. Every time I think I have a handle on what’s happening in the Middle East, I learn that my appalling deficiency in basic geography (we all have gaps), combined with my own bias (we all have blinders), prevent the kind of clarity that facilitates the confidence of opinion.
If was for this reason that I was hesitant to say anything at all back in May 2021 (the last major Hamas-Israel confrontation), but I also felt at that time that it was important to acknowledge the pain of anyone in my community–The Korean Vegan community–whether or not I adequately understood the cause of that pain. I debated for hours on whether I should simply say nothing at all today, but, as was the case back then, I determined that pretending nothing happened could cause its own sort of injury to those who are already suffering.
Emotions are running high, people are losing their lives as I write, and millennia of history simmer beneath the present conflict. My hope is that we can show compassion to those who are grieving, remain respectful to those who are feeling rage, and stay open to learning from those who know more.
Wishing you all the best,