Anne-Marie Slaughter‘s recent article in the Atlantic,“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” has once again raised in public a question that has been privately vexing women for the past several decades (…or longer): How can we pursue our talents and contribute to culture significantly and be the devoted mothers that so many educated women want to be?
How do we slay this dragon? Slaughter, who should get many kudos for her frank presentation of the whole megillah of this dilemma for women at the highest echelons, falters here. Sure, I agree when she says that we need new values to make this work. But which values? The tricky thing is that there are two competing value sets from the two spheres of modern life: public (business and politics) for men and private (children and home) for women. The private sphere’s system … Read More »
O.M.G… Hillary Clinton in public without makeup. That this is news or newsworthy is bananas, and once again points to the bizarreobsession with women’s appearance in contexts where one should just, as Jezebel’s caption read, “give zero fuc*s.” But it does count as more evidence of just how smokin’ she is.
Oh yeah, this is the woman who has the distinct honor of having a nutcracker created in her likeness during the 2008 primary season. Her relentless commitment to a higher goal enabled her to endure during the campaign and, now, thrive as a Secretary of State who has placed girls (child marriage, education, sex slavery) and women (domestic abuse, rape, economic rights) in the center of diplomatic relations around the world. The“Texts from Hillary” mini-meme that was such a sensation a few weeks back cemented the growing recognition that Hillz is cool. But I’d like to suggest that … Read More »
The War on Women has many fronts — here in the U.S.,abroad, and across forums on the Internet. In the U.S., the range of hostilities spans the gamut from lewd(Limbaugh) to degrading (state-sanctioned vaginal penetration) to downright dangerous (making the murder of abortion providers “justifiable homicide”). This year has been quite a wake-up call for any woman who has thought that women’s rights and sexual freedom are guaranteed in this country. (It still blows my mind that, although this country was founded on the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal,” the truth is that it’s still only men who are given the right to equal treatment under the law by the Constitution. Suffragists spent more than 70 years to get the right to vote in the U.S., and a Constitutional amendment that would give women equal rights under the law was first introduced in 1923… … Read More »
In “honor” of Fifty Shades of Grey hitting the cinema, I thought I would re-post my blog about the phenomenon. Full disclosure: I haven’t read the book, nor do I plan to see the movie. The picture to the left sums it up for me: the submissive little girl with her fingers in her mouth or biting her lip. There are themes that the book and film are both playing with that have to do with women’s, um, position not only in bed, but in more fundamental ways.
In last week’s Newsweek cover story, “Spanking Goes Mainstream,” author Katie Roiphe set the blogosphere atwitter with her commentary on the cultural trend of bright young women willingly engaged in BDSM relationships: 50 Shades of Grey, Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls —even the wedding night of teen heart throbs Bella and Edward in the third Twilight movie. Roiphe pointed to the paradox that our … Read More »
When you think about women and spiritual practice, what pops into your mind? Leggy ladies in tights doing a downward dog? Wafty women in white flowing robes dancing among flickering candles? Pop cultural images of women interested in spirituality often imply that the goal of spiritual practice for women is to become hyperfeminine. (Click for a send up of the “Yoga Girl” image.) Yoga or sacred dance are beautiful, and we certainly need more beauty in the world. And yoga can lead to significant transformation—the inspiring story of Ana Forrest is just one testament to that—but too few of us set our sights on real, tangible, spiritual evolution as the goal of our practice. Becoming more fit and calm and lovely is fine. But becoming more femme is hardly a transformation that’s going to rock the world. As Ken Wilber … Read More »
A few news events have caught my eye this past week—particularly, the Orthodox Jewish newspaper that photoshopped Hillary Clinton out of the iconic Situation Room photo and The Atlantic Monthly’s report “Danger: Falling Tyrants” by Jeffrey Goldberg on the move toward democracy in the Middle East. But it was an email exchange with one of our former editors/writers, Maura O’Connor, who is reporting from Afghanistan where she’s embedded among US troops, that made me think about these events in the context of our responsibility, as sophisticated postmodern individuals who are living in a pluralistic global society. We often literally brush up against those who have very different worldviews—radically different ways of understanding reality and human relationship.
Maura told me that she and a friend, another young American female journalist, were talking about whether to wear headscarves in … Read More »
“My generation, really sadly, is not going to change the numbers at the top. They are just not moving. We are 50% of the population, in my generation there will not be 50% of women at the top of any industry,” said Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg at TEDWomen. I felt a kind of cold chill hearing that. Sandberg is in her early forties–the generation that grew up believing that the world was wide open to women and that nothing could stop us. Now, as she notes, it’s pretty obvious that we’re a long way off from achieving parity at the top in business, politics, law, science, or academics. Estimates say that it will be at least another hundred years before the U.S. Congress is half women and half men. Moreover, in terms of equality at home, Sandberg notes that there has been even … Read More »
Thomas de Zengotita’s 2005 stealth bomb Mediated: How the Media Shapes Our World and the Way We Live in It leaves a permanent crater in your consciousness–after reading it, you awaken to a haunting perspective on the narcissistic self-referentiality of postmodern media culture. You know what I mean: the world where reality TV isn’t and yet is creating reality at the same time; or where authenticity is a brand for those who dare to be real… We pegged the book as an instant classic–time will tell, but at this point it is far too underappreciated. We have considered ourselves very fortunate to have Tom write for us on occasion (check here or read a review of Mediated.) We had followed his writing since the days that he wrote–crafted?–lengthy breakthrough pieces for Harper’s magazine before it joined the Political … Read More »
Today, the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, women in Egypt stepped into history by marching in Tahrir Square by the hundreds. They had optimistically called their action “The Million Women March” and although they were not joined on the streets by millions of women, the entire world watched as they moved forward for millions of their sisters in Egypt and across this awakening region. Men met them with abuse and violence, which only made the courage of their actions more apparent.
It’s extraordinary to see women rising up, being the instigators in the Revolutions that are toppling entrenched regimes. Young women are shaming their male peers by daring to speak out and take to the streets.
And while this is a wholly different reality from the one that those of us privileged postmoderns in the West live in, women … Read More »
As our sisters in Egypt risked their lives by marching in Tahrir Square today, it made me think about those of us in the West who have already won the right to walk where we please, say what we want, and pretty much do want we want with our lives. Even so, the changes here have been relatively recent, and the patterns in our psyches to take the subordinate position and to hold onto our sense of having been wronged, victimized, are still so strong. Somehow I can’t help but think that our sisters in Egypt would want us to step beyond these patterns and take up the responsibility that comes with opportunity. We are very much missing at the top.
So, while I find the video below very powerful–and realize that many women even in the West are struggling for … Read More »