Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On Gender Stereotypes

By Guest Bloggers Cheryl, Emily, and Laura of Catalyst

Gender stereotypes can be quite insidious when it comes to emotional display. A recent Penn State study featured on last week's New York Times shows that perceptions of crying vary depending on whether it’s a woman or a man doing the crying. “A moist eye was viewed much more positively than open crying, and males got the most positive responses,” the study suggests.

Why are gender stereotypes to blame? Because gender stereotypes portray women as more “emotional,” a crying woman is almost expected and – as such – not taken seriously. A crying man, on the other hand, must really have a valid reason to be crying. Or he is viewed as a sensitive person, capable of expressing their emotions in a healthy fashion...

Here is another telling excerpt from the article:
"Women are not making it up when they say they're damned if they do, damned if they don't," said Stephanie Shields, the psychology professor who conducted the study. "If you don't express any emotion, you're seen as not human, like Mr. Spock on 'Star Trek,'" she said. "But too much crying, or the wrong kind, and you're labeled as overemotional, out of control, and possibly irrational."
And, unfortunately for women, it doesn't take much for women to be labeled as overemotional.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why undermining Cinderella still matters

Guest post by Alison Piepmeier of Baxter Sez.

I'm giving a talk at Auburn University next week about why feminism still matters. In part of the talk, I map out a familiar feminist concept about oppression operating on three levels--the individual, the symbolic, and the institutional. The individual level is pretty self-explanatory: our thoughts, feelings, and actions perpetuate racism, sexism, and homophobia. The institutional level is a little harder for my students to grasp: this is where we see sexist or other oppressive ways of thinking helping to structure our societal institutions. The higher up we look in economic, educational, political, and religious institutions in our society, the more likely we are to see straight white men--that's an example of oppression operating on the institutional level.

And then there's the symbolic level. This is the realm of ideology, imagery, symbolism, and narrative. It's the realm where common sense is created and perpetuated. Most of my research focuses on this level. I'm studying zines created by girls and women, for instance, and one of the reasons I find these little funky self-produced booklets so fascinating is because they're intervening in the symbolic realm, offering resistant interpretations of familiar icons of girlhood or ideals of femininity.

On the left you'll see a page from the zine Mend My Dress by Neely Bat Chestnut in which she's creatively messing with the Cinderella myth. This issue of her zine is all about her relationship with her grandmother. Here she layers an excerpt from a description of a 1950s mental institution and a sentence from the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Little Match Girl" over repeated images of the fairy godmother from Disney's Cinderella. I won't go into great detail here, but I think this is an incredibly complex zine. Chestnut's stories of her conflicted (and heartbreaking) relationship with her real grandmother, who was institutionalized for mental illness, undermine the fairy-tale images of the grandmother she reproduces on this page. Her zine shows us that the fairy godmother isn't actually coming, and that the Cinderella story is a lie--an appealing lie, but one that doesn't help women.

So all of this is leading to a question (two questions, really). When one of my colleagues read over the talk, she observed that much of the activist work young feminists are doing these days seems to take place at the symbolic level: zines, blogs, magazines about pop culture, books, even Radical Cheerleading. Is this accurate? And if so, is it because we live in an increasingly mediated, informationally overstimulated, visually frenetic cultural moment--a moment in which the symbolic seems to be where all the action is?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Guest Blogger Elizabeth M.Curtis...Blog Carnival Enthusiast


By way of introduction, I wanted to share a link with all of you loyal GWP readers so that you will have some great feminist blog material to get you through Deborah's absence. Check out the 46th Carnival of Feminists on Cubically Challenged. The Carnival of Feminists is one of my favorite blog carnivals.

I am sure that many of you are already familiar with blog carnivals, which are collections of the hottests posts on a specific topic that have appeared in the blogosphere during a specific period of time. Bloggers take turn hosting blog carnivals, which travel from blog to blog like a traveling fair and build strong blog networks. I studied blogging and the creation of feminist networks online with a focus on blog carnivals in my M.A. thesis. If you're interested in this topic, you can learn more at my blog, A Blog Without a Bicycle.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Introducing Next Week's Guest Bloggers

I'm going under for a few days! But while I'm under, GWP will be alive and kicking. Stay tuned for some savvy commentary from a slew of hand-picked smart-n-feisty girls with pens: Patti Binder, Elizabeth Curtis, Helaine Olen, Alison Piepmeier, some amazing women who work at one of my fave organizations (Catalyst)...and maybe more!

PS. If anyone who has guest posted here on GWP before would like to sign up to post next week, please email me by the end of today at deborahsiege@gmail.com and we'll set you up. (Guidelines for guest posting available here.)

Photo cred: Wolfs Den Crafts

Alpha Kitties on the Prowl

Cougars, move over. Here comes Alpha Kitty.

I've been a fan of the White House Project's partnership with CosmoGirl over the years. I'm all for mixing politics and pop culture, and meeting teens where they are. (And do check out the latest poll from this partnership, on whether the next generation is ready for a female president, and whether they'd be more likely to vote if a woman was on the presidential ballot,via Women's e-News. The answers, not suprisingly, are yes and yes.)

So I just learned that CosmoGirl's founding editor-in-chief, Atoosa Rubenstein, who I met once at a Barnard function (and was impressed by, in spite of being underwhelmed by the magazine) has now left Seventeen to pursue other ventures--and is currently circulating a proposal for a book called Alpha Kitty: I Made My Dreams Come True, Despite What the Haters Say, So Can You. Says the New York Times, "Ms. Rubenstein's alpha-kitty philosophy is the electronic version of the girl-power gospel that Ms. Rubenstein's mentor, Helen Gurley Brown, advocated at Cosmopolitan." Rubenstein describes an alpha kitty as a fearless, fashion-conscious woman, who pursue what she wants. Go girl. I just hope that Atoosa keeps the politics somewhere in her prowl.

(Thanks, Mom, for the heads up.)

"Savvy, Saturated, and Scared"

Our dear Courtney Martin has done it again. Check out her retort to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's recent op-ed on "Generation Q" over at American Prospect. In Friedman's piece, Q is for Quiet. Courtney's called hers "Generation Overwhelmed." If this girl ain't emerging as one of the most important voices of a generation, I don't know who is.

(Full disclosure: I was at the party Courtney mentions in her piece. Marco and I were the oldest ones in the room, representing Boomer and Gen X respectively, and we were, as usual, deeply inspired by the FOCs--friends of Courtney--we met that night.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Make It Pop!

Are you an academically-inclined writer with a great idea for a book but aren't sure how to write a trade book proposal that sells, or whether your idea is ready for primetime, or how to think about things like "market" and "platform" in this age of new media? Sign up NOW for my fall bloginar,"Making It Pop: Translating Your Ideas for Trade" which consists of six Tuesday evening conference calls (8-9:15 PM ET) beginning Nov. 6 and an accompanying online forum.

Read more about MAKING IT POP (and its instructor) in Women's eNews and the New York Times. And see what past participants are saying about the course here.

Next week is the last week to register! I'm jazzed about the format this time. The online component is going to be a private group blog, where participants post as we go, and I will comment. Participants will also "meet" with my by phone (aka weekly group conference calls), during which I'll interview editors, agents, academics-turned-journalists, and publicists and then open it up for Q&A. To whet your appetite, here are bios for just a few of our fabulous interviewees:

Tracy Brown is President of the Tracy Brown Literary Agency. Tracy held senior editorial and executive positions in book publishing for 25 years before becoming a literary agent in 2003. He was Editor in Chief of Book-of-the-Month-Club, Editorial Director of Back Bay/Little, Brown, Editorial Director of Quality Paperback Book Club, Executive Editor at Holt, and Senior Editor at Ballantine. As an editor he acquired such New York Times bestsellers as Real Boys by William Pollack, and The Six Day War by Michael Oren. He worked with such esteemed writers as Larry Brown, Rikki Ducornet, Barry Gifford, Greil Marcus, Stewart O’Nan, Salman Rushdie, Jeff Shaara, and Alison Weir. In 2003 Brown began his career as an agent in association with Wendy Sherman Associates. His clients include Esther Perel (MATING IN CAPTIVITY/sold to HarperCollins), Courtney E. Martin (PERFECT GIRLS, STARVING DAUGHTERS/sold to Free Press), Deborah Siegel and Daphne Uviller (ONLY CHILD/sold to Harmony), Clifton Leaf (WHY WE’RE LOSING THE WAR ON CANCER/sold to Knopf), Joie Jager-Hyman (FAT ENVELOPE FRENZY/sold to HarperCollins), and Jessica Valenti (FULL FRONTAL FEMINISM/sold to Seal Press). In January 2007 he opened his own agency: Tracy Brown Literary Agency (TBLA).

Jean Casella
is a freelance book editor who offers a full range of editorial services to authors, publishers, and non-profit organizations, from project development and "book doctoring" through line editing and copy editing. Previously she worked in independent publishing for more the twenty years, most recently as publisher and editorial director of the Feminist Press at the City University of New York, a publisher of international women's literature, U.S. literary classics, and nonfiction for the trade and academic markets, where she oversaw acquisition, editing, production, and marketing of twenty new titles annually and backlist of 250 titles. Jean is co-editor of two anthologies, Almost Touching the Skies: Women's Coming of Age Stories and Cast a Cold Eye: American Opinion Writing, and is currently collaborating with journalist James Ridgeway on a book about the political fallout of Hurricane Katrina.

Laura Mazer is the managing editor of Seal Press, a trade imprint of Perseus Books. Previously, Laura edited Op-Ed columns for nationally syndicated writers, including Tony Snow, Molly Ivins, Arianna Huffington, and Hillary Clinton, and lifestyle columns by writers such as Ann Landers. She was a senior editor at Brill's Content magazine and the special sections editor for the Los Angeles Times. She also managed the bestselling Rick Steves series of travel books.

To register, shoot me an email at deborahsiege@gmail.com and we'll take it from there.

Gobby Girls, Chefs, and Feminist Sex

A few random-like quick hits in feminist news this morning, cause this is how my brain feels (aka all over the map): The Times Online chronicles the rise of the "gobby girl," while New York mag chronicles the scarcity of top female chefs. Meanwhile, The Toronto Star comments on Canadian feminism and generations, and that article in Sex Roles on how feminists do it better goes live. In case you missed the latter:

The two-part study asked 242 undergraduates and 289 older adults about feminism and their relationships. The results...showed that women who identify themselves as feminists are more likely than non-feminists to be dating or married, and that men and women with feminist partners tend to be happier with their relationships and more satisfied with their sex lives.

Can't say that we're surprised!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dangerous Boys, Meet Daring Girls

Check it out! The Daring Book for Girls now has an accompanying must-see video.

CONGRATS and heartfelt kudos to Miriam and Andi, the ingenius authors, who are also the women behind the ingenius blog tour community known as MotherTalk. This book is going to kill. In fact, already is, at #132 on Amazon, and it's not even out yet! I'll be blogging about it in December, as part of their blog tour. And I'm dreaming up other ways to help them get ink too--because they so deserve it. Well done, ladies.

For anyone remotely skeptical, here's the book description, straight from their website:

THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS is the manual for everything that girls need to know –– and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it's female heroes in history, secret note–passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it's not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers –– although that's included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly–girls, or a little bit of both, this book is every girl's invitation to adventure.

The authors' appearances--including a spot on The Today Show on Oct. 31--are posted here. Spread the word!

Politics and the "F" Word Panel Tomorrow

So women make up more than 50% of the population, and although we have a female Speaker of the House and leading presidential candidate, women currently hold less than 25% of all elected offices in the United States. If women are choosing not to run for office, how do we change that, and should we be concerned about equal representation? (Um, YEAH!)

So goes the description for this panel tomorrow sponsored by the Women's Campaign Forum and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service called Politics and the “F” Word: Does Feminism Matter? (um yeah part added by me.)

During what sounds like a hard hitting and interactive panel discussion, Hillary for President Senior Advisor Ann Lewis, Us Weekly Editor Janice Min, United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, NYU’s SVP of Public Affairs Lynne Brown and Community Board 1 Chair and WCF Board Member Julie Menin will address the important question of whether a “women’s agenda” still exists in today’s political life. In other words, why is it important for more gender-based representation to address women’s issues such as health care, child and elder care, education, etc?

Date: Tuesday, October 23rd
Location: NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, The Puck Building, 2nd Floor, 295 Lafayette Street
Time: 8:30AM Breakfast, Program: 9:00AM – 10:00AM
RSVP online or by phone at:
212-981-5285
FREE ADMISSION

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm (Gulp) Old

Last night I went to my 20th high school reunion. It was kind of like walking into a fun house where you recognize the core, but everything is distorted. Must be how I looked to others, I'm sure, too.

Most of the men were money managers. Lots of women were home with their kids. The women looked hot. The men were balding and preppy. But then, I guess preppy is now back in style. The clique-y kids are still clique-y. The math geeks are now math professors. Plus c'est change, and all that.

This is a pic (well, sort of) of me with my two besties, Busy Lane (yes, that's really her name) and Kathy Chaitin. Highlights included reunionizing with them, Ila Abramson, Molly Lane, Larry Goldstick, and Jill Oberman, who is now a sculptor; Sean Gourley, stay-at-home dad (who I *so* want to talk to for my next book!); Hetty Helfand (always loved that girl's name); and Bob Emmanuel (who I walked down the isle with at graduation, lives in Wicker Park, is a lawyer, and collects art).

Tremendous kudos to the organizers, and to the folks who donated for the silent auction--including Christine Albrect who donated all the cool autographed stuff from her friend Gwen Stefani. Hey, I know Jessica Valenti, and Dee Dee Myers emailed me last week. Does that count?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Slate Goes Girl

Slate has a new all-women blog. Check out The XX Factor. Here's a self-reflexive post on their early reviews. Eager to check it out over time and see how it sounds. But hells, I say, welcome!

Kudos to GWN!

Not that you can tell at all, but this is a pic of the much-acclaimed novelist Tayari Jones reading brilliantly last night at the packed Girls Write Now Friendraiser at the Slipper Room. Tayari was preceded by a surprise Slipper Room guest. Let's just say it was my first official foray into the wilds of neo-Burlesque. (Won't be my last!) More on my recent thoughts on the whole neo thing, btw, here, at the end of this Reuters article. But I digress. I hope the GWN ladies sold oodles of chapbooks and raised scores of new friends--they, and their writing girls, have so got it going on.

Go, Vote, Blog!

One of my alltime fave blogs, feministing, is a finalist for the Top 3 Political Blogs Blogger's Choice Award. If you, like me, can't live without the reportage, humor, and wit of these sassy savvy brave feminista ladies, vote for them! They're up against sites like Daily Kos--also cool and probably a shoe-in, but how great would it be for our gals to win too. Voting ends today. Vote aqui.

(If this isn't the creepiest image I've posted here--it's from the Blogger's Choice site, but I'm not holding it against them. Especially if feministing wins.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Thelma and Louise Do-Over for Gen Y

As I've mentioned here before, photographer Emma Bee Bernstein and writer Nona Willis-Aronowitz (daughter of Ellen Willis) are writing a book based on a six-week road trip across the USA. I have a sense this book is going to be big. Read about it already in the Metro. They're photographing and talking to young, smart, ambitious women about what they think and feel about feminism. They're also talking to feminists of their mother's generation and beyond, to ask them about the past and future of feminism. (Um, I am not their mothers' generation but I got talked to about the future of feminism and let's just say that Nona is another who I would follow anywhere. Love that girl.)

They started in Chicago, have taken weekend trips to Minneapolis and the Detroit area, and a couple days ago, they started on the long stretch across the country. I've set them up with my dear friend Shelby in Wyoming. Can't wait to hear how that goes. Check out their blog, from the road, GIRLdrive. Here's a lil taste:
Both of our mothers were deeply involved in Second Wave feminism, so we are closely connected to the movement’s history. But our roadtrip seeks to discover how other women our age grapple with this history of freedom, equality, joy, ambition, sex, and love.

This book is about our generation. It’s about gutsy young women across the American cityscape. It’s about the past and the present, and it glimmers on the future. It’s about the promise of the open road. It’s about us—girls with drive who can’t even take a road trip without turning it into a book.

Now how's that, Jack Kerouac.

So, please check out their blog and comment away--but know that the blog comments are fair game for the book, hehe.

Girl Writers, Write On...

I love it when all things converge. New York Times columnist and writing teacher extraordinaire Verlyn Klinkenborg recently wrote a rather poignant reflection on young women writers and authority. Tonight I'm headed to the Girls Write Now friendraiser. And this week the Woodhull Institute has online modules up on "Your Authentic Voice and Advocacy" over at the Dove Real Women, Real Success Stories site. To honor said convergences, I'm posting a long expert from the dear ole Verlyn here:

I’ve often noticed a habit of polite self-negation among my female students, a self-deprecatory way of talking that is meant, I suppose, to help create a sense of shared space, a shared social connection. It sounds like the language of constant apology, and the form I often hear is the sentence that begins, “My problem is ...”

Even though this way of talking is conventional, and perhaps socially placating, it has a way of defining a young writer — a young woman — in negative terms, as if she were basically incapable and always giving offense. You simply cannot pretend that the words you use about yourself have no meaning. Why not, I asked, be as smart and perceptive as you really are? Why not accept what you’re capable of? Why not believe that what you notice matters?

Another young woman at the table asked — this is a bald translation — won’t that make us seem too tough, too masculine? I could see the subtext in her face: who will love us if we’re like that? I’ve heard other young women, with more experience, ask this question in a way that means, Won’t the world punish us for being too sure of ourselves?....

These are poignant questions, and they always give me pause, because they allow me to see, as nothing else does, the cultural frame these young women have grown up in. I can hear them questioning the very nature of their perceptions, doubting the evidence of their senses, distrusting the clarity of their thoughts....I’m always struck by how well fitted these young women are to be writers, if only there weren’t also something within them saying, Who cares what you notice? Who authorized you? Don’t you owe someone an apology?....But whenever I see this transformation — a young woman suddenly understanding the power of her perceptions, ready to look at the world unapologetically — I realize how much has been lost because of the culture of polite, self-negating silence in which they were raised.


(Thank you, Lori, for the heads up.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Women Taking the Lead in Muslim Societies

Earlier this week I attended the awards ceremony for the Gruber Foundation International Women's Rights Prize--which is a hefty prize of $500K. The recipient, Pinar Ilkkaracan, took my breath away. Based in Istanbul, Ilkkaracan heped establish two organizations that are working to reform Turkish laws and advance the rights of Muslim women. The ceremony was followed by a stellar panel on the theme of women taking the lead in Muslim societies, which unfortunately I missed, but since you probably did too, you can join me in catching bits of it here.

(Panelists included Ilkkaracan; Daisy Khan, Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement; Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International; and Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning and 2004 Gruber Women’s Rights Prize Laureate. Emmy award-winning filmmaker Anisa Mehdi moderated.)

Egal Marriage, Mommy Wage Gap, Dad Involvement...Oh My!

On the heels my post below on work/life, gender, and families, this just in: Council on Contemporary Families co-chair Steve Mintz sent me abstracts from the November 2007 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Families. Check out the following three tidbits. Now, why can't we get more of this in the popular media convo about what's really going on?

Title: College Women’s Plans for Different Types of Egalitarian Marriages (Francine M. Deutsch, Amy P. Kokot, and Katherine S. Binder)

This study examined college women's plans for egalitarian marriages. One hundred and forty-four heterosexual undergraduate women completed surveys about their preferences for different life scenarios and their attitudes about work and family life. The pattern of their preferences showed a distinction between home-centered, balanced, and job-centered egalitarian families. Regressions showed that gender ideology, ideas about parenting and motherhood, career orientation, and family dynamics were associated differentially with the three types of egalitarian families, which reflected the different values that underlay the pursuit of each. The results also cast doubt on whether outsourcing is truly an egalitarian path. Outsourcing domestic labor may simply be a means for women to pursue careers without achieving real equality in families.

Title: Marriage and the Motherhood Wage Penalty Among African Americans, Hispanics, and Whites (Rebecca Glauber)

This study draws on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N = 5,929) to analyze the moderating effects of race and marriage on the motherhood wage penalty. Fixed-effects models reveal that for Hispanic women, motherhood is not associated with a wage penalty. For African Americans, only married mothers with more than two children pay a wage penalty. For Whites, all married mothers pay a wage penalty, as do all never-married mothers and divorced mothers with one or two children. These findings imply that racial differences in the motherhood wage penalty persist even for women with similar marital statuses, and they suggest that patterns of racial stratification shape women’s family experiences and labor market outcomes.

Title: Parental Childrearing Attitudes as Correlates of Father Involvement During Infancy (Bridget M. Gaertner, Tracy L. Spinrad, Nancy Eisenberg, and Karissa A. Greving)

Using daily diary data to document involvement with infants at 6 - 8 months of age (n = 142) and 6 months later (n = 95), we examined relations between reported childrearing attitudes and resident fathers’ relative (as compared to mothers’) involvement with children. Fathers’ authoritarian views related negatively to their relative involvement on weekdays, and this relation held over time for caregiving and playing activities. Mothers’ protective attitudes had concurrent negative associations with fathers’ relative weekend involvement. Findings suggest that fathers’ authoritarian and mothers’ protective attitudes relate to how parenting responsibilities are shared within families and may be detrimental to how much fathers become, or choose to become, directly involved in the care of their infants in comparison to mothers.

Working Moms Panel Redux

I'm back. Thank you for all your warm wishes and kind thoughts yesterday. I was very touched and moved.

My belated grandmother was the director of a nursery school for 20 years. My other grandma (the grey haired one below, who turns 90 next week) was a head nurse who later worked at a Planned Parenthood-like clinic. I've always felt proud to have had what I've thought of as rather high-powered grandmothers. So last night at The New School-sponsored panel on Working Moms (with work/life all-stars Joan Williams, Linda Hirshman, Ellen Bravo, EJ Graff, Heather Boushey, Pam Stone), sitting in a row flanked by "next generation" feminists Jen Pozner, Kara Jesella, and Lisa Jervis, I had generations of women in mind. It seems so frustrating that after 40 years, as Ellen Bravo reminded us, we're still waiting for families--or rather, the rigidly gendered dynamics of families--to change.

Is the solution to work/life conflict personal or is it political? This was one throughline of the discussion last night, with Williams and Bravo (and Stone) angling heavily for the structural, and Hirshman making a case for both. Another important throughline was class. And despite my fixation on the contemporary travels of the ole slogan ("The Personal Is Political"--which I write about a ton in Sisterhood, Interrupted) and my utter frustration that the popular convo remains narrowly focused on "trends" among the elite, my favorite part of the conversation was an extended digression on men. Why aren't they involved in the work/life conversation? Why does it always have to be about women? Why did I just write "digression" instead of "centerpiece"? Because there's a "frigid climate for fathers" at work, says Joan Williams. Men will pursue these roles when they stop being punished for it in the workplace. And maybe that's when we'll all start putting men at the center of the conversation, too. Chicken, egg? Or rather, chicken, sperm.

In any event, instead of summarizing, I thought I'd just share some memorable quips. Because these ladies all have a knack for rhetorical flair, I leave it in their words (and forgive me or correct me if I've mangled anything!):

Linda Hirshman defending the methodology behind her feisty, controversial book, Get to Work: "I am not Lisa Belkin. I didn't decide there was an opt-out revolution and then go looking for the revolutionaries. I didn't just call up my friends. And I didn't expect to find what I found."

Linda Hirshman on why it's personal: "We can't run away from the unjust family by focusing solely on the unjust workplace."

Joan Williams on why it's structural: "I think we've been waiting for 40 years for families to change. If we keep waiting, women will lose."

Heather Boushey on the popularity of the opt-out narrative: "The media likes the women-are-heading-home story because it solves all our social policy problems--problems like family leave, child care, sick leave....The state continues to act as if all workers have a stay-at-home spouse to take care of the sicks, the sick, the elders."

Heather Boushey on framing: "When men lose their jobs, we call it a recession. When women lose thir jobs, we say they wanted to go home and hang out with the kids."

EJ Graff on "choice" rhetoric: "If women are getting pushed out of the workplace, why do they tell journalists 'I chose to stay at home'? Because, as psychologists say, we want to want what we've got. It gives us a sense of control that we may not actually have."

Ellen Bravo on, well, everything: "Family values generally stop at the workplace door." "Sons and brothers would be better husbands and fathers if they did not get punished for it at work." "We don't want to smash glass ceilings. We want to redesign the building from the bottom up so that one doesn't have to have a wife at home in order to succeed."

And while I'm at it, did you know...

...that the U.S. has a steeper part-time penalty than many other countries? Part-time workers here earn 21% less/hour--and don't have benefits. That's 7 times less than part-timers in Sweden. I'm packing my bags. Who's joining me?

(Photo cred)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In Memorium: Grandma

Early this morning my grandmother, Pearl Pearlman, died. Grandma Pearl is the grandmother to my right. She was 98, and she died peacefully in her sleep. She lived her last four months in the loving care of my parents, in their guest room, on the second floor.

GWP is going to be pretty quiet today, as I work on something to be read at her funeral in Minneapolis later this week.

Go in peace, rest in peace, Grandma Pearl. We love you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why I Heart Girls Write Now


Quick pitch: So this year I've joined the Advisory Board of Girls Write Now. Staffed almost exclusively by volunteers, GWN runs a lean operation. We need help to continue and expand our services to more girls in New York City. Before the year's end, I'm hoping to be making the largest donation I have ever made to any organization. Please join me in supporting GWN with a (tax deductible) donation. Your contribution will be put to immediate use, and help us keep this valuable organization vibrant and thriving for another year. Here’s how.

And/or if you're in New York, join me at our fall friendraiser on October 18 (this Thursday!) at Bluestockings, the feminist bookstore, at 5:30pm and then cross the street to The Slipper Room for fun, drinks, and music at 7:30 (NO COVER). Author and “girlbomb” Janice Erlbaum, award-winning novelist Tayari Jones, and hotshot indy rockers Royal Pink will all be there. (And so will I!)

The video above showcases some amazing girls from the June 2007 Girls Write Now Spring Reading at Barnes & Noble Astor Place in New York City. Click play and you'll see why I love this organization so much.

That Newsweek Article on Young Feminism...


...that one I mentioned earlier today is here, and it's called "From Barricades to Blogs." Reporter Jennie Yabroff spoke to some feministas across the generations and cites some great quips from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Katha Pollitt, Susan Faludi, and Jessica Valenti. (She mentions my book! Whahoo!!)

Drew Faust Assumes Harvard's Podium...

Harvard President Drew Faust's Oct. 12 inauguration speech is posted here. Pitter patter. Loved the bit that Broadsheet quotes, about how her presence in that position was unimaginable not so long ago, but I found this tidbit about the unimaginable particularly interesting, too:
Last week I was given a brown manila envelope that had been entrusted to the University Archives in 1951 by James B. Conant, Harvard’s 23rd president. He left instructions that it should be opened by the Harvard president at the outset of the next century “and not before.” I broke the seal on the mysterious package to find a remarkable letter from my predecessor. It was addressed to “My dear Sir.” Conant wrote with a sense of imminent danger. He feared an impending World War III that would make “the destruction of our cities including Cambridge quite possible.”...“We all wonder,” he continued, “how the free world is going to get through the next fifty years.”
And we wonder about the next fifty, starting from here. Not to get all fatalistic or anything. But, well, you know.

Feminist All-Stars at New School Tomorrow

As Ann over at feministing says, it's like the work/life all-stars over at the New School tomorrow. Just a reminder to come hear the preeminent thinkers on women, work, motherhood, and the so-called "opt-out revolution":

WORKING MOTHERS: WHO'S OPTING OUT?
Tuesday, October 16, 7 p.m., $8 admission
The New School, New York City
Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor (enter at 66 West 12th Street)

You've read the articles--and gotten angry at the debate. Are vast numbers of working mothers bolting the career track--or dreaming of doing so? Are elite women betraying feminism by staying home with their children? Or do the Opt-Out stories rely too heavily on anecdotal evidence--while shoving aside actual labor statistics and working families' needs?

JOIN US as some of the KEY THINKERS and CRITICS of the "opt-out" storyline DISCUSS & DEBATE the real state of working motherhood in America today.

Moderated by E.J. Graff, senior researcher, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University, collaborator on Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men and What to Do About It. The panel includes Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and author of Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It; Linda Hirshman, lawyer, professor emeritus Brandeis University and author of Get to Work; Heather Boushey, senior economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research, and co-author of Hardships in America and The Real Story of Working Families; and Ellen Bravo, author of Taking On the Big Boys: Why Feminism Is Good for Families and Business and the Nation.

More info here. I'm totally planning to go...

Er, I Like Mixing It Up...

So the current issue of On Campus with Women --an online publication of the American Association of Colleges and Universities--focuses on "Women on the Web." It includes an article on Facebook Feminism by Kathy Fischer, one called "Women Harnessing the Power of Internet Publishing" by Genevieve Brown, an essay on"Academic Blogging as Intercultural Exchange", and a personal essay by moi, which begins:

Technological innovation can transform a culture, but it can also transform a career. It did mine. When I started out as a PhD student in English and American Literature at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, I could hardly imagine that fourteen years later I’d be calling myself “Girl with Pen” in public, living in New York City, and writing for The Guardian. That pen, really, is a keyboard. But I like mixing it up....
Read more

Power Women

I saw Elizabeth on Friday night. Enjoyed the spectacle, even if this one was a bit, well, over the top with the wide-angle. (Apologies for the confused metaphors; it's Monday.) So remember Warner Bros. president of production Jeff Robinov's lovely comment the other week that "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead"? Definitely check out Rebecca Traister's chat with 10 of the most powerful women in Hollywood and see what they say about it all.

Meanwhile, I'm still paging through Newsweek's spread on women leaders. The issue that hits the stands this week has an article on young women and feminism in it--I think I'm quoted. Really enjoyed talking with the supersavvy reporter, Jennie Yabroff, on this one. Off to get a copy...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

If You're Looking for a Media Coach...

People often ask me about media coaches. I've worked with a fabulous one, Karen Braga, who is more of a "performance coach." Karen helps writers with book talks as well as media appearances. (And graciously fielded my "I'm-going-on-MSNBC-help!" call last week.) She works with writers individually and in groups. Her method is more mind-body than put-your-arms-here-and-your-eyes-there. She helps you feel like you, but on stage, and writ large. If you ask me, the woman works magic. Interested? Email me and I'll send you her email. Happy to share a good thing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Next Book on My Shelf...

The Brits sure are talking it up. The Myth of Mars and Venus pubs here on October 19. Check out coverage at The Guardian here, here and here. Author Deborah Cameron is the Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University. My what an interestingly named chair.

Bottom line: Counter to all the John Greyism out there, there is as much similarity and variation within each gender as between men and women. I'll let you know what I think...soon...! Venus here signing off til Sunday. Have an excellent Saturday, and see you then!

"Best" Sociologists Weigh in on Transition to Adulthood

I'd like to add to New York Times columnist David Brooks' short list of "country's best sociologists" in his op-ed today, "The Odyssey Years." UPenn sociologist (and fellow Council on Contemporary Families member) Frank Furstenberg is the bomb on this one. And for a wider look at the latest thinking about the expanded transition to adulthood, check out what the good folks over at the Network on Transitions to Adulthood have to say about it all. I imagine you'll find a more rounded view of the phenomenon--and not just Brooksian calls of "hook ups!" and "no more church!"

'Fessing Up about Finances over at NYTimes Blog

In response to Shifting Careers blogger Marci Alboher's recent profile, a reader wrote in to ask how free agents--like me--make ends meet. Do we have inheritances? Divorce settlements? Lottery winnings? Would that it were true!

Marci posted my response today, here, and I thought I'd expand on it a bit. I earn my living freelancing for magazines, writing books, giving talks, consulting for organizations, and teaching (sign up for my online course, "Making It Pop: Translating Your Ideas for Trade"!). You could say I live a life of improv. I don't always know where a venture is leading me, but I've learned to have tremendous faith in the journey and to trust my instincts. It's been well worth the ride so far.

ASK GWP: Books and the Blogosphere

So here's a little clip Elizabeth Curtis (a 20something mentee/tor o' mine) and I did, as part of a larger project, as we like to say, about authors using the blogosphere to spread word about their books. Note: I was having a very bad hair day here. Please don't hold it against me. video

CONGRATULATIONS, Doris and Al!


Nobel Prize committee, kudos: Doris Lessing. Al Gore. Who's wooden now?!

Broadsheet has a good one up on Lessing. Upon learning the news, apparently, quod she: "I can't say I'm overwhelmed with surprise." Lessing continued, "I'm 88 years old and they can't give the Nobel to someone who's dead, so I think they were probably thinking they'd probably better give it to me now before I've popped off." I loves me a salty Nobel prize winner.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ziegfield...Follies?

Since I know my boy's gonna post somewhere on Blade Runner at the Ziegfield soon, I thought I'd beat him to the punch (left)--hehe. I'm home vege-ing out over Big Shots, which btw has got to be the stupidest new show of fall. Though the guys do throw out some superintelligent zingers. Like this:

"Quick! Someone talk about baseball so they don't kick us out of the men's steam room!"

I'll take Harrison Ford over these caricatures any day. Happy birthday, Blade.

Live from the LES...

So tonight, while Marco was (ahem) watching Blade Runner at the Zeigfield with the boys, I was moderating a panel at the Tenement Museum on the LES--with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Pulitzer-prize winning historian and author most recently of the much-anticipated Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History) and Pam Thompson (far left), author of the just-released novel, Every Past Thing.

Pam's writing is gorgeous and I highly recommend her book. Here's Pam on YouTube. Meanwhile, Laurel's title has launched a thousand t-shirts and has, of late, been the subject of much discussion. For more on the travels of the slogan since its emergence in 1976, definitely check out Laurel's introduction, where she writes:

“The ambiguity of the slogan surely accounts for its appeal….To a few it may say, ‘Good girls get no credit.’ To a lot more, ‘Bad girls have more fun.’ Its popularity proves its point.”

BTW, the young lady to my right is Amanda Lydon, who organized us all and is a true dynamo. The house was full, and I loved the generational span. Ann Snitow was there, and told me about a course she's teaching at The New School called--guess what--Feminist New York! Oh to be a fly on that wall....

Of Bras and History

Congrats to Women in Media and News (and Jen Pozner) on their successful action to correct history in the Tampa Tribune. The Tribune ran a follow-up article ("No Bras Burned, But They Did Revolt") to correct the myth they were perpetuating in an earlier piece. The correction begins:

It’s a myth so pervasive, most of us believe it’s true.

I know I did.

So when information about ‘feminist bra burning rallies’ turned up in a timeline Maidenform provided for a Sept. 27 story on the history of the bra, I didn’t think twice about using it.

Bra-burning women’s libbers have become an important part of 1960s lore. I’ve heard stories about them. I’ve read about them in books and magazines.

The problem is, things didn’t go down quite the way those stories tell it.

That’s not to say bra-burning never happened as a public protest anywhere during the turbulent ’60s. But feminists didn’t set their bras ablaze in the spectacular way that has become legend....

In the groovy pic above, an unidentified member of the Women's Liberation Party drops a bra in the trash barrel in protest of the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 7, 1968.

And speaking of getting history straight, if you're in or around NYC, don't forget to come to the Feminist New York panel I'm moderating at the Tenement Museum tonight! Details here.

Pink Think

It's breast cancer awareness month, and everyone is seeing pink. Check out what PunditMom has to say about it all here. Tara Parker Pope weighs in at the New York Times blog, Well. And definitely don't miss the Think Before You Pink website.

On a related note, the Feminist Law Professors weigh in on pink guns.

All in all, pink sure is a loaded color. When a boy recently wore a pink shirt to his new school, he got made fun of and called gay. But check out the solidarity of his male classmates, who showed up the next day, along with all the other boys they could rally, in pink tank tops, showing their support of the boy who was bullied. Gives a whole 'nother meaning to pink solidarity, huh.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Girls Fight, We Watch

As Marco noted below, I was slated to speak on MSNBC this afternoon and got bumped. So instead, I'm posting some of my thoughts about the YouTube video of two middle-school girls fighting in a school locker room here and will just pretend that I said them on tv. (Sorry Mom, false alarm!)

As an astute observer noted in response to a previous girl fight also posted on YouTube, meanness and occasional violence among teenage girls is nothing new. The voyeurism around it is. American culture is obsessed with the girlfight—-think about the popular obsession with female mud-wrestling. Images of grown women fighting are often sexualized, staged, and designed to scintillate. Like porn. The girls are getting younger. And the fights are getting real.

But what’s really new (again, with homage to said astute observer) is the speed with which actual bad behavior is becoming entertainment. All it takes is a click of a phone. Notice that the girl who shot the clip with the camera on her cell phone made no attempt to break the fight or run to get adult help. Maybe she thought she was watching reality tv. Whatever the case, she was a spectator. Just like the thousands of spectators who then viewed the clip on YouTube. And the tv viewers (like me) who stared in awe as FOX News rolled the clip over and over again this morning on the air.

The YouTube clip is part of a trend. There are entire sites now, like www.girlfightsdump.com and www.fightdump.com, virtual repositories of girls behaving badly. I'm terrified at the way this has become entertainment. The violence in the video is scary. And so is the Cleveland school shooting for which I got bumped.

(An early plug for my friend Jessie Klein's excellent book on school shootings, coming from Rutgers UP. The book, The Gender Police, focuses on boys. But Jessie has a chapter on girl fighting, too. Thank you, Jessie, for prepping me today. This post's for you.)

GWP in NYT!

Girl with Pen in New York Times blog today! In response to questions I've been getting, there ARE a few slots left in my "Making It Pop: Translating Your Ideas for Trade" webinar this fall. Please see this post and this one for more.

GUEST POST: Girl Fights and Boy Toys





Suggestion: for a quick, deep glimpse into the heart of the beast, go for half-hour treadmill workout at your local gym where you can gaze at a battery of overhead flatscreen TVs, each tuned to a different channel.

A random sequence of images from this morning's visit:
—an endlessly repeated video clip of a vicious girl fight in a high school locker room
—a promo for the Bionic Woman (much running, jumping, drop-kicking of bad-guys)
—a music video of Jennifer Lopez beating the crap out of more bad-guys in a brothel or something, setting an example for the oppressed sistahs
—a Hummer barrels menacingly towards the viewer through a nighttime wilderness, scaring off would-be attackers (wolves, scorpions); in a second ad the Hummer is shown from a gamer's POV, barreling into a morphing sequence of rough terrains (desert, arctic, tundra).
— yet another news story on a private "security" firm killing more civilians in Iraq, two women shot dead in their car

What seems to be the signal cutting through all the media noise? Is it that it's OK now for women to be violent, because, hey, we all get to watch, while men have ramped up to the next level and gone invisible (and unaccountable), inside our all-terrain, obstacle-and-reality-proof paramilitary vehicles? We can't be sure. But let wolves, scorpions, the environment and helpless civilians beware.

[UPDATE: Deborah Siegel was originally slated to appear on MSNBC this afternoon to comment on the Ohio middle school girl fight video mentioned above, but the story was preempted by the tragic school shooting in Cleveland. With shock and sadness we recognize that the two events are part of a broader ongoing crisis — rage and violence amidst our children — which seems to compound itself day by day. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims in Cleveland and their families.]

Talkin It Up from LES to Hudson Valley...

Just a quick reminder about tomorrow's panel...Come one, come all! It's free, there's food, and there's feminists.

The Tenement Museum presents…

Feminist New York

Thursday, October 11
6-8 PM

Lower East Side Tenement Museum Shop
108 Orchard Street at Delancey

I'll be moderating the discussion with Pamela Thompson & Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, authors of the recently published Every Past Thing and Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History. RSVPs requested (Bookclub@tenement.org). Check out Megan Marshall's review of the latter in Slate, and Kathyrn Harrison's review in the New York Times.

And next Wednesday, I'll be speaking about Sisterhood, Interrupted at a private salon hosted by the illustrious Heather Hewett--the Gertrude Stein of the Valley (Hudson Valley). The same Heather Hewett who organized that fabulous conference on girlhood last weekend at SUNY-New Paltz, the one that featured "my gal" Courtney Martin. Can't wait to see what Heather does next!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

When Breadwinning Is Not Enough

Did ya'll see that article in Newsweek from Sept. 30, "Father Time"? Well, I just caught it and the most interesting finding, I thought, was this: The researchers expected that the dads who were really involved were going to be the dads who had working spouses. But that wasn't the case. "In fact," explains University of Maryland sociologist Suzanne Bianchi, "dads are more involved over time whether their spouse is working outside the home or not.”

And why are dadly responsibilities changing? Says Bianchi,
"Dads had a clearer message in the 1960s about how they were supposed to behave: they were supposed to earn a living. Maybe now it’s less clear that breadwinning is enough. We still expect dads to be good breadwinners, but it’s not sufficient: you’re also supposed to be caring and nurturing your children. I think men are also taking cues from their wives. Just because moms go to work doesn’t mean they lose the feeling they should be involved moms. And dads are also picking up the message."
(Hey Paul, dude, fatherman, when are we going for lunch?!)

This Book-and-Blogging Life...

Inspired by Alex Juhasz (who is currently teaching a course on YouTube about YouTube), I've decided to teach my fall webinar "Making It Pop: Translating Your Ideas for Trade" as a bloginar. Meaning, the online part of the class will take place as--you guessed it--a blog.

What better way to learn about using the blogosphere as a platform for your books than by becoming more familiar with a blog, right?

So the class blog--private, of course!--will provide a forum where participants can post elements of their book proposals, or thoughts toward ideas, as we go along. And get feedback. I'll be walking participants through the mechanics on our first conference call (that would be Nov 6). We've got some great NYC-based agents and editors lined up for the calls. And while I'm at it, and for those of you who like to get ahead (you know who you are), the suggested reading for the course will be from: Thinking like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction and Get It Published. More info--dates, cost, rationale--here.

I think Marco took this (goofy) pic of me the day I got my current laptop. Boy, do I love me my MacBook.

Girl President Obsession, Continued...

I know I'm starting to sound like a Hillary supporter over here. Full disclosure: I am still undecided, as my feelings keep evolving. But I'm just riveted by the spectacle of her running. Not merely *her* running, but the fact that a viable woman candidate is.

So check this out: According to the most recent Newsweek poll (61,093 responses, 51% believe American voters would elect a woman to the White House in 2008, while 41% do not (8.4% aren't sure). Everyone I talk to around this town these days (and granted, I'm talking about a rarefied urban island) seems to feel a woman can't win. The Newsweek poll is (as they themselves note) not scientific. Has anyone seen a recent one that is?

Best Wedding Toppers Ever


These pics are from the amazing dude ranch wedding I went to the other week. (Congratulations, Rebeccemy!)

Must the Hillary Doll be Clothing Optional?

Now I know the good folks of Ratify ERA Florida are well intentioned. But the description of this "Hillary" doll that appears on their website is a bit...much:
This is the exclusive, celebrated President doll with the shirt that thrills us all, seen enlarged. You will not find “Hillary” anywhere else. She is 15 inches tall, finely-made, soft and completely undressable.

Meanwhile, the not-so-good folks at Walmart had a different objection:
“Hillary” announces that "Someday a Woman will be President" on her shirt that Wal-Mart banned from its shelves. They claim that having a woman in the White House "is against 'Family Values' ". We think it is most timely and just perfect.
Yeah, ok, I'll give it to them there.

Monday, October 8, 2007

And One More Feminist Response to 9/11...

As Elizabeth Curtis reminds me, Judith Butler's book, Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence, came out in 2005. The book begins, "Since the events of September 11, we have seen both a rise of anti-intellectualism and a growing acceptance of censorship within the media." Uh huh. And I also hear it's one of her more accessible ones.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for the heads up!

Bionic...Wha?

I recently got a "hey, how are ya" email from Elana Levine, a colleague of mine from grad school, who has written what sounds like a fabulous book. It's called Wallowing in Sex: The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television. Love the cover (left).

And meanwhile, Annalee Newitz expresses her disappointment at the remake of Bionic Woman over at AlterNet:
This time around, Jaime [Sommers, the bionic woman] isn't an independent career jock: she's a 23-year-old bartender and college dropout who has just gotten pregnant and is about to marry her surgeon boyfriend. When she asks said boyfriend why he likes her, despite her lack of professional success, he replies, "You're the one thing my father didn't plan for me."
Newitz says much more, and concludes that "there's something deeply wrong about a science fiction show, allegedly about a woman of the future, whose message seems taken from a past much further back than the show's origins in the 1970s."

Darn. I loved that show.

See you at HuffPo....

My HuffPo po is now live, here. Please check it out, and comment away! I'll be responding over there later today.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Watch HuffPo on Monday...

Moved by Naomi Wolf's talk on The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot on Friday at Labyrinth, and having finished Susan Faludi's Terror Dreams yesterday, today I wrote a post on them both that should go live in the politics section of HuffPo tomorrow.

If you like it, please click "I'm a fan of this blogger" (or whatever that button says) and post comments!

Jews with Tents

I love it when tradition meets practicality. Last weekend, at my friend Rebecca Segall's wedding on a dude ranch in upstate New York, some friends pitched a sukkah in celebration of the Jewish holiday, Sukkot. Now, "pitch" isn't usually the word you use to describe putting up a sukkah--that would be "build." But this one, no mistake, was pitched. The friends got it from a website, www.popupsukkah.com, and it was basically a tent with a bamboo roof.

Overheard, from the (Jewish) groom: "Is this so Jews can camp?"

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Welcome East, Bitch!

The ladies of Bitch magazine are currently touring the East Coast...I'm off to a welcome party. Meanwhile, on the topic of feminist responses to pop culture (which is what Bitch does so well), I was thrilled to read Faludi's deconstruction of the opt-out media frenzy, from Sylvia Ann Hewlett (2001) to Lisa Belkin (2003) to Louise Story (2005). Basically, what most sociologists and economists have been saying all along. For those of you looking for a cheat sheet, it's on pages 141-45 of The Terror Dream.

Friday, October 5, 2007

GUEST POST: Terror Dreams and Awakenings



Like Dee, I'm really looking forward to reading Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream, which I believe is the first book to deal in depth with the psycho/sexual political/domestic alchemical reaction we had as a nation to 9/11. Her thesis, that we regressed to a kind of frontier mentality wherein men are the defenders of women, hearth, and home, seems broadly correct; but I may take issue with some of her specifics, based on what I've read leading up to the book release.

Dee, in her post below on The Terror Dream, makes a case for authentic sentiment and emotion around some of the mythic tropes proposed by Faludi. As for myself, I personally don't recall any gender scripting by the media in the immediate aftermath of that terrible day, but maybe that's because being a New Yorker I didn't see how the story played out in the national media. What I do remember are the faces of lost loved ones covering the blank spaces in the city; the faces of men and women: husbands, wives, fiánces, mothers, fathers, sons, sisters, brothers, daughters. The city was in collective domestic shock and mourning. And while many Americans may have been shocked by inconceivable catastrophe into settling down ("life is too short") and adopting the American script, many have also taken the opposite trajectory, impelled to shake off lethargy and shelter and to discard scripts completely: the "You only live once" camp.

In any case, I'm sure Faludi's book will be rich in data and reflection on wounds which have barely begun to heal, and whose scars are only beginning to be revealed to light of day and reason.

2 NYC Events Coming Up...

WOMEN TAKING THE LEAD IN MUSLIM SOCIETIES
2007 Gruber Women’s Rights Symposium

On October 16 at New York University School of Law, Emmy-award winning filmmaker Anisa Mehdi will lead an exciting panel discussion about how women are breaking new ground in advancing their rights and roles in Muslim societies. Panelists include 2007 Gruber Women’s Rights Prize recipient Pinar Ilkkaracan of Turkey; Daisy Khan, Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement; Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International; and Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning and 2004 Gruber Women’s Rights Prize Laureate.

The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation will present its 2007 Women’s Right Prize to Pinar Ilkkaracan of Istanbul, Turkey, and two organizations she helped establish. Ms. Ilkkaracan, Women for Women’s Human Rights – New Ways (WWHR) and the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR) will share the unrestricted $500,000 (US) award. The symposium will immediately follow the Prize ceremony. Video of the symposium will be available worldwide beginning Thursday, October 18, 2007 on the Gruber website

GIRLS WRITE NOW 10TH ANNIVERSARY FALL "FRIENDRAISER"
Come celebrate 10 years of bold, articulate chicks--and one of my favorite organizations, Girls Write Now--on Thursday, October 18th at Bluestockings Bookstore: 172 Allen Street @ Stanton & Rivington.

The fun starts with a Mentor-Mentee Pair Reading and Chapbook Showcase at Bluestockings, from 5:30-6:30pm, then continues across the street from 7-9:30pm with a party at The Slipper Room with author and "girlbomb" Janice Erlbaum, award-winning novelist Tayari Jones and hotshot indy rockers Royal Pink. (No cover!)

Welcome, Womenandhollywood blog!

A hearty blogospheric welcome to Melissa Silverstein, who has launched a blog offering news and commentary about Hollywood from a feminist perspective.

Says Melissa, "Hollywood is so male oriented that women and their stories and expertise get shunted to the side. This blog will focus on what's going on for women in Hollywood - what movies are being made; what directors are getting jobs; what actors are working; and anything else that will help tip the balance." Also helpful is Melissa's list of upcoming movies to check out. Welcome, Melissa!

The Happy Gap

Are women less happy than men? New research says "yeah." There's an interesting, researchy thread on it all over at Language Log. And do check out Marci Alboher's smart post over at her new New York Times blog, Shifting Careers. She quotes one of my favorite sociologists, Virginia Rutter. (Go Virginia!)