The day after my very first appearance on New York cable TV—it was the 80s, so cable was new and small—I got a message at my office at the National Organization for Women where I was VP. It was from a well-known Dr. Oz-type doctor who did health reports on one of the big TV networks. I had no idea who he was, but my colleagues were all excited, thinking that this could be a real break for us to reach a bigger audience. He had seen my appearance on the local cable program, where I was speaking about women’s rights and equality, and he wanted me to call him.
I was nervous, but I called the number at the TV network that he gave me. It was his private line and he picked up the phone himself. As … Read More »
The United Nations declared 1976-1985 the Decade of Women, which created an international consensus on the importance of women’s political and social equality. The African Women’s Decade began in 2010. And in the United States, analysts have called 1992, 2012, and 2013 the Year of the Woman. For the last forty-plus years, since the student revolts of the ‘68 generation, media pundits, activists, and cultural savants have repeatedly announced that women have toppled male hegemony. Recent books, even those written by men such as The Athena Doctrine, explain that women’s ways of thinking or leading will lead to greater success in our highly interdependent, networked world.
It’s now women’s time. Finally. After many, many millennia of male domination, patriarchy is dying and women are stepping forward. Let’s heave a big sigh of relief and embrace the new era of women….
Well, I … Read More »
As I picked my jaw up off the floor after hearing Rep. Todd Akin’s now infamous statement that women’s uteruses have the magical power to resist impregnation in the case of rape, I wondered, “Where could he have gotten that idea?” Laura Helmuth, writing for Salon.com’s XXfactor, noted that his “statement was a crystallization of Akin’s worldview: sexist, blame-shifting, and profoundly ignorant.”
Then it clicked for me — yes, it’s a worldview but in a much deeper way than Helmuth realizes. The Onion hit the nail on the head when one of their “experts” noted that “It’s almost as if these people are unaware that the Enlightenment, the scientific revolution, various civil rights movements, and the entirety of social progress over the previous several centuries even occurred.”
That’s right. Akin’s views are positively medieval. I mean this literally. Medieval means prerational. And the problem is that rationality, the capacity to … Read More »
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 »
Last month — Women’s History Month- – I was struck by an exchange between Sheryl Sandberg and Gloria Steinem at the Women in the World Conference because I felt it captured important generational difference among feminists. Business Insider reported that Sandberg asked Steinem if we’re in the midst of a stalled revolution for women. In other words, since the late-1960’s, women have seized opportunities and moved into all arenas of public life, but the percentage of women at the top has stayed between 15-18% for years. In no sector of public life — including the nonprofit arena — have women reached even 20% of the top positions consistently. To Sandberg, that was a sign of being stuck. But not to Steinem. Steinem argued that women are “at a critical mass stage” and getting more resistance. She further argued that revolutions create new kinds of work … Read More »
March is Women’s History Month. Doesn’t that sound dreadfully boring, like some required course from college? These thirty-one days actually commemorate women’s courageous struggles for self-determination and justice but with that almost academic label on it, it all seems rather, well, passé. History, obviously, is all in the past. So, what if we re-named March “Women Making History Month”? Because this month in 2012, we certainly have some history-making to do.
These placid and well-intentioned commemorations blunt the restless spirit that we are supposed to be celebrating. It’s the same with International Women’s Day, March 8. We note this day in history because of a series of revolts in the first decade of the 20th century by women garment workers who went on strike against brutal working conditions. In the former Soviet bloc countries, this day morphed from being a rallying … 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 »
I just read a fascinating interview with Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. Apparently, just the title–and the suggestion of “settling” in a relationship–has made women go bonkers. Gottlieb says that women are angrily buzzing in the blogosphere about the book, even though many haven’t read it. It goes right up against the romantic fantasy that we women have been spoonfed since Disney’s The Little Mermaid: look, there’s a REAL PRINCE out there who will take one look at you and sweep you off your feet so that you will live in a castle happily ever after. Oh sure, we’re now too old and sophisticated to believe in that stuff…or are we?
Gottlieb mentions a study in which men and women were asked: if you could get 80% of the things that you want most … Read More »
The Super Bowl isn’t just the annual playoff of pro football’s league champions–a day of beer, betting, whistling, cheers, and potato chips. Every year, the commercials that run during football’s most frenzied fan space provide a glimpse into the current status of the war between the sexes. Years ago, in fact, rumors that Super Bowl Sunday caused the highest incidences of domestic violence of any day in the year led to commericals for women’s shelters and hotlines to be advertised during game time. The truth is that there is no such correlation. But the myth persisted for years because it simply fit neatly into our ideas of men who watch football and the women who serve them their beer and snacks. Super Bowl Sunday, we seem to say as a culture, doesn’t belong to God but to King Testosterone. While advertisers seem to forget that women watch … Read More »