Friday, November 30, 2007

Disney, Penney, and a Girl's "Real Love"


My piece on the Disney movie "Enchanted" is now up over at the Women's Media Center. Here's a little addendum to that piece, to leave with you with this weekend:

Everyone's singing the praises of Amy Adams, who plays the fluttery protagonist, Giselle. I loved her performance in Junebug (where, as Roger Ebert reminds us, she tells her snake of a husband: "God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way.") And while Adams herself is entirely enchanting in Enchanted, truth be told, what enchanted me more was the two-minute JC Penney commercial from Saatchi & Saatchi that ran just before the film.

The Penney spot is called “Aviator.” John Lennon’s “Real Love” plays in the background as a bespectacled, determined little girl gets the ultimate revenge on the neighborhood bullies by transforming herself from local outcast to local hero by using her imagination and ingenuity. As AdWeek aptly describes it, the spot opens with her quietly drawing a picture about traveling to the North Pole on her porch when the boys of the 'hood pelt her with water balloons. She runs inside to dry her picture with a blow dryer and then begins on a construction project. Riding her Big Wheel back and forth from a neighbor who supplies her with materials, she begins to build her "secret" project. The boys are soon intrigued and serve as her bodyguards. When she is finally ready to debut her creation, the entire neighborhood has gathered for the unveiling. She's built a rocket-like "North Pole Voyager." And the boys end up saluting her. The spot ends with the on-screen tagline, "Today's the day to believe." Ok, so it’s a gosh darn Christmas ad from JC Penney. But I'm telling you, it made me teary. See for yourself, above.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coming Attractions: Bella, Girl's Guide, and Guest Bloggers!



Just wanted to throw out there that I'll be posting an interview with Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity, next week sometime. Stay tuned!

And on my pile of books to muse on next is one with the longest and most kick-ass subtitle ever--Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom's Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied against War and for the Planet and Shook Up Politics Along the Way--and another by a Woodhull alum that sounds like just what I need right about now, On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl's Guide to Personal Finance by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar.

And do keep an eye out for some guest posting in this space from some of the incredibly talented women taking my Making It Pop bloginar...Coming soon!

Writing Wisdom from Mindy Lewis

Those lines I posted from Rebecca Solnit the other day (from her book A Field Guide to Getting Lost) generated additional wisdom from writer friends who have been there too, in the form of emails that lifted my spirits and made me re-commit to keep on going with the proposal writing process, even though I was feeling a bit at sea.

One of my favorite responses came from a dear friend (and a gorgeous memoirist), Mindy Lewis, who teaches nonfiction writing at The Writers Voice and knows a thing or two about process. Mindy and I shared tea and sympathy (and Zabar'srugelah) yesterday, and then she emailed me this, about cultivating the art of being at home in the unknown:

"That's the spirit! So elusive, hard to get there and stay there, but always the right place to be."

YESSS.

(Look for Mindy's next oeuvre, an anthology, in 2009!)

Feminism Ain't About Superwomen

So says my gal and resident Gen Y-er Courtney. Writes C:

The ugly truth about superwomen, my generation has come to realize, is that they tend to be exhausted, self-sacrificing, unsatisfied, and sometimes even self-loathing and sick. Feminism—and the progress it envisions—was never supposed to compromise women’s health. It was supposed to lead to richer, more enlightened, authentic lives characterized by a deep sense of wellness.


Read the rest, and more, over at The New Statesman this week, where Courtney is blogging it up on behalf of feministing, which was asked to elucidate why they care deeply about a particular spiritual or intellectual philosophy. Courtney is writing her take on, as she says, what feminism ain't, what it is, and what it could be.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Here an event, There an event...

Hey, did anyone go to Woodhull dinner seminar with Leslie Morgan Steiner last night while I was out careening at Helaine Olen's book party?! BTW, that book party had the best party food ever--little tea sandwiches with cucumber and yogurt, artichoke crostini, and so forth. Party goers included Jessie Klein (who is writing a fabulous book on gender and school violence), Esther Perel (whose book Mating in Captivity just came out in paper) and my better half, Daphne Uviller (who co-edited Only Child with me). Helaine looked radiant in her little red dress, and it was fun meeting some of the women currently running Mediabistro. I may be teaching an intensive with Mediabistro soon--will blab about it here if I do.

And here's another event some of you might be interested in, here in town:

New York Women in Communications Presents:

An Evening with Wall Street Insider
Maria Bartiromo

Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Location: MSN, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Floor
Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm

Maria Bartiromo, host and managing editor of "The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo," and anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell" will be interviewed by Robert Dilenschneider, CEO of The Dilenschneider Group and author of the recently released "Power and Influence: The Rules Have Changed" (McGrawHill) on Tuesday, December 18th, 6:00 PM at MSN.

Bob will speak with Maria about her stellar career as a financial journalist, her skill at getting important people such as Condoleezza Rice, Alan Greenspan and President Bush to sit down and talk to her about issues facing the economy and how publicists and corporate PR people should work with the financial media.

Cost: $35 for members, $50 for nonmembers, $20 for student members.

Seating is limited, register here.

Presidentials on Sex

Alison Bower of Womens eNews has the low down on where the presidential hopefuls stand on the issue of sex education. She reminds us that the U.S. has spent about $1 billion on abstinence-only education in the last decade and the White House seeks $28 million more. Infuriating doesn't begin to describe it. Read more, here.

Princesses v. Irregulars


So I'll be posting in this space as an official part of the Daring Book for Girls blogtour on Sunday, but I've been thinking a lot, as I read the book and saw Enchanted this weekend and subsequently checked out Disney's new site for the movie, about the digital playground available to girls. For an astounding contrast, check this out:

Kikistrike and the Irregulars v. Princess Nation.

The Kiki Strike site is based on a book series created by Kirsten Miller. In the series (according to the LJ review), Ananka Fishbein, a seventh grader at an expensive New York City school, wakes up one Saturday morning and finds that the small park across the street has become a sinkhole, and her decision to explore it transforms her existence. She meets the mysterious Kiki Strike, and subsequently the group of girls (each with a particular talent) who call themselves the Irregulars, and they embark on an adventure that involves exploring the Shadow City, a series of tunnels under Manhattan. The series is filled with international politics and intrigue, and chapter endings are punctuated with selections from Ananka's guidebook on essential skills. Says LJ, "Kiki Strike celebrates the courage and daring of seemingly ordinary girls, and it will thrill those who long for adventure and excitement while they impatiently await the next installment."

And then there's Princess Nation, sponsored by wedding dress designer site Vera Wang. And a sponsor, in turn, of Disney's Enchanted. I'll leave it to you to explore, but I'm sure you can guess what the site's goal is. Sigh.

(Thanks to Marco for the heads up on Kiki.)

Slash Careers Conversation on The Today Show

Drat--I missed it! But if you did too, you can still catch my fave career journalist/guru Marci Alboher on The Today Show. To see the clip, click here. And for those of you who aren't sure what a slash career is, a slash implies multiple professions in a single career.

(Addendum 11/28: Check out what Marci learned from the appearance--and about publicity in general--on her Shifting Careers blog at the NYTimes, here.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Unbalanced and Exploding

This just in from my friends at Woodhull:

On Wednesday, Nov. 28 here in NYC, Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of the best selling anthology "Mommy Wars" and the writer of the WashingtonPost.com column "On Balance" opens up about her struggles to manage life as mother with ambitious career goals. At this seminar, she will discuss how she navigates through the hectic world of "having it all" and what she's learned from talking with all types of mothers about how they made their choices to stay at home or go to work.

Completely Unbalanced: Exploding Work/Life Myths
When: Wednesday, November 28, 2007; 6:30 PM -8:30 PM
Where: The Woodhull Office, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004
Cost: $10


For more information about this event, click here. To reserve your spot, contact rsvp@woodhull.org

Truth in Women's Studies

Cheers to Elizabeth Curtis on her retort to recent (yet to my mind, and Elizabeth's, tired) attacks on the discipline of Women's Studies. You tell 'em, E :)

I Heart This Icon

Nice, huh! Courtesy of a Women Political Bloggers , a site that answers the question, "Where Are the Women Political Bloggers?" by posting a list of 250 of 'em. Ha.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Introducing: Dame Magazine

It's new, it's smart, it's Dame! And my gal Courtney has a column in it. That girl just makes me kvell. Check out Courtney's profile of Ladies Who Launch, and keep an eye out for the paper version of the mag soon. The mag's tagline? "For Women Who Know Better." Nice.

The A-Word at the Movies

While waiting for the feature movie, Enchanted, with my family this week in Yonkers (long story, will tell another time), I watched trailer for the movie Juno--another film that centers around an unplanned pregnancy. And it got me thinking....

The latest figures from the Guttmacher Institute find that in America, about one in five pregnancies end in abortion. Yet, as Carrie Rickey, film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, just noted, in recent American movies, every unplanned pregnancy is carried to term. What gives? Writes Rickey, turning to my number 1 favorite sociologist for a quote,

From Knocked Up to Waitress to Juno, opening Dec. 14, abortion is The Great Unmentionable, euphemized as "shmashmortion" (Knocked Up), "we don't perform, uh, -" (Waitress), and "nipped it in the bud" (Juno), comedies in which pregnancy is the situation. Abortion is likewise obliquely referenced, if actually considered, in the drama Bella, now in theaters. "It's as if there's an 'every conception deserves delivery' policy being observed," says Virginia Rutter, senior scholar at the Council on Contemporary Families, a Chicago-based organization of academics and public health professionals.

You said it, Rutter. And then, this nice bit from my favorite historian, Stephanie Coontz:

Perhaps when abortion is illegal, it makes a better story for filmmakers, says Stephanie Coontz, a family historian and author of Marriage, a History, in describing the motivating conflict behind Cider House, Vera Drake, and Four Months. "When you don't have powerful stories about women whose lives have been derailed by unplanned pregnancy," Coontz says, "there will be a tendency to sweep the subject of abortion under the rug." Historically, she notes, abortions were common among respectable married women in the 19th century and were easier to obtain in the 1930s than in the 1950s.

How much do I love it when such smartie pants scholars are actually quoted in the press?! I'm looking forward to seeing both Stephanie and Virginia at the May 2008 Council on Contemporary Families conference in Chicago...but I don't think I'll be running to Juno anytime soon.

The Writing Life: Being at Home with Being Lost...

So as I gear back up for the week, a confession: I'm in proposal writing stage--the stage I find most unsettling, as a writer. I hate this stage. It makes me want to do anything else but write, though I know that write is often exactly what I need to do.

Since I know lots of other folks who are in this phase right now too, thought I'd share some wisdom from a writer who is new to me, Rebecca Solnit. A few tidbits from her book A Field Guide to Getting Lost:

"'How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?'...The question...struck me as the basic tactical question in life. The things we want are transformative, and we don't know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation."

"[There's an art] of being at home in the unknown, so that being in its midst isn't cause for panic or suffering, of being at home with being lost."

"Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found."

Um, here's to being at home with being lost?! Anyone else got good some good quotes to share?!

Post-Thanksgiving Gratitude Post

I hope ya'll had a fabulous feast!

Five things I'm feeling grateful for right about now:

1. My family and friends, who have embraced Marco and me with incredible warmth and love
2. Stuffing
3. Health
4. Central Park
5. That book you unwittingly come upon that gives you just what you need...!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tips on Writing for Trade--The 7 Questions

So it's the part of my Making It Pop seminar where participants are starting to really work on their book proposals. Thought I'd post the questions here that I urge folks to answer BEFORE sitting down to write, for those of you working on your props right now, too. Here we go:

1. In one sentence, what is this book about? (If you're an academic or wonkily-inclined writer, be careful to phrase this in a way that will appeal to nonacademic readers)
2. What is your argument? (What is your thesis?) If you don’t yet have an argument, for now, answer this instead: What is the main question driving your book?
3. What’s new about this book? How is it different from existing books?
4. Why are you the person to write it?
5. Why is now the time to publish it?
6. Who is going to read it? Why will they find it appealing?
7. How will your book be organized? What is its structure?

Very likely however, you, like me, are thinking about turkey and stuffing right about now, and, in case I don't get back here much over the next few days, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

(Image cred.)

Hillary as Feminist John Wayne?


I'm a little late to the table on this one, but interesting post by Susan Faludi over at Women's Voices group blog, on Hillary and the gender card. Says Faludi, tying it all back to her recent book:

Keep in mind: The gender card is always played. It’s even played in presidential campaigns where all the candidates are men....Given the political culture — and for reasons embedded in our history — that card usually involves a morality play in which men are the rescuers and women the victims in need of rescuing....Hillary Clinton’s rescue of women departs from the previous male version. In the old model, helpless women were saved from perilous danger by men. In the new, women are granted authority and agency to rescue themselves. Understanding the distinction is essential to an evaluation of current American politics.

Following the thread of Faludi's new book, then, does that make Hillary, um, the girlfriend's own inner John Wayne?

(Photo cred: The Plate Lady)

Looking Back, Ahead, and Within

Just saw this article in Women's eNews about that National Women's Conference 30th anniversary conference at Hunter that I attended part of the other week. Again, while intentions were good, I found the whole thing kind of depressing, as this account kind of details:

Held at a high point of the women's movement in the United States, Houston '77 marked the only time the federal government ever sponsored a gathering of women for equality. With $5 million in funding from Congress organizers drew more than 20,000, including three first ladies--Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford and Lady Bird Johnson.

This time only a few politicians made the event.

Presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton sent her regrets from her campaign in Iowa.

Media coverage was thin, with most of the coverage going to comedian, television and film star Rosie O'Donnell. And the attention wasn't on what she had to say on the subject of women. It was more about her losing the deal to host a talk show on MSNBC.

Houston '77 served as a beacon that lit up the organized women's movement of its time, and Freedom on Our Terms was designed to rekindle those sparks and galvanize activists across the generations.

"There has to be a re-energizing, a re-igniting between younger women, older women and women in between," conference leader Liz Abzug said as the two-day event wound up. "I want you to spread the word: Feminism is alive and well and moving into the 21st century."


Yeah, well, you already know how I feel about that. (Are you seeing the young women in this picture? Cuz I'm not. Though they were definitely in the audience. Hmmm.)

On the up side, participants agreed to develop a 10-point "feminist action plan" to present to the presidential candidates, who will be asked to commit to implementing it during their first 100 days in office. According to Women's eNews:

Among the issues that could make the top 10 list: elimination of abstinence-only sex education; paid leave for family care; improved child care; ratification of the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; national single-payer health care; reform of the Federal Communications Commission to reverse media consolidation; changes in the tax code to put a value on labor spent for homemaking; and renewal of the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, reintroduced into Congress this year.


All of it sounds pretty good to me, but do young folk know/care about the ERA? Would its passage at this point be a largely symbolic gesture, or would it actually change the quality of young women's lives? I wonder.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Choosing Our Prez: The Beer and Babysitter Tests

So PunditMom asks a great question over at HuffPo today: Does Lifetime's Every Woman Counts poll--which is geared toward increasing the participation of women in the political process by encouraging more women to vote and to increase the national spotlight on issues that are important to women--take women seriously? The poll's questions include:

1. Which candidate would you rather receive a gift from?
2. Which candidate would you be most comfortable leaving your children with?
3. Which candidate would you most like to have dinner with over the holiday season?

PunditMom writes,

What do questions like this add to the "political dialogue" other than making politicians think that we care more about popularity contests than health care or the environment?...If we really want to count and be counted, let's not provide any more ammunition for the politicians to think that we're not serious voters.

And I'm with her. But I also wonder this: Since the pollsters are constantly asking men which candidate they'd rather have a beer with, aren't questions 2 and 3 above really just the equal opportunity equivalent for women? To be sure, I've always thought the beer question was a stupid way to choose a President. I'm not sure the babysitter test is any better.

Research on Hook Ups, Shack Ups, and Marriage

Do more "hook ups" mean less marriage? Well, the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family kind of points that way, but I wouldn't base everything on one study. Still, according to the authors of an article titled "Of Sex and Romance: Late Adolescent Relationships and Young Adult Union Formation," adolescents involved in romantic relationships at the end of high school are more likely to marry and to cohabit in early adulthood, while those involved in "nonromantic sexual relationships" tend to just shack up. But wait--aren't we getting married later and later these days? And so I ask the sociologists out there: a study that ends in early adulthood isn't going to tell us much about the longterm prospects for marriage, oui?

(Image cred)

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Shifting Landscape of Journalism

Shifting Careers guru Marci Alboher has an interesting post up today at her NYT blog, on the changing landscape of journalism. Says Marci, who attended a panel on said subject at the Columbia J-School last week,

"I left the discussion convinced that the future of journalism will rely on good storytelling coupled with an ever-increasing array of new technology, and that those of us who don’t embrace the new technology are not likely to survive." Read more about it here.

Yet another plug for "learning" to blog, I say.
(Photo cred)

I'm a Little Bit Country...

He's a little bit rock-n-roll? Or maybe it's the other way around. Not sure, but with the Osmonds all over the news these days, I couldn't resist. Anyway, this here's a pic of an engagement present our friends Rebecca and Jeremy Wallace-Segall (aka Rebeccemy) and Katie Orenstein gave Marco and me the other night. The photo on our chests was taken of us, in our cowboy hats, at Rebeccemy's wedding (runaway bride scene now immortalized on YouTube) earlier this fall.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Red, the Book Party

These here are pics from last night's party for RED--at a dim sum palace. I finally learned why this title. "RED," it was explained to me, signals the outpouring of feeling that 58 emerging teenage girl writers spill onto the page of this anthology, which the editor referred to as "The real Daring Book for Girls." (Hey, I still maintain the original Daring Book is daring too.)

The girls were terrific--talented, moving, and real. And it was fun hanging with Laura from Catalyst, Lauren Sandler, and Lauren's awesome dude Justin, too (pictured above, from left to right). More on the book here.

I am SO having my next book party somewhere where they serve sticky pork buns. Mmmm.

Must See TV!

Tonight on The O'Reilly Factor at 8pm EST,Courtney Martin will be battling it out with conservative pundit Laura Ingraham over issues of sexual freedom, and more. Courtney, you're my hero. Hang tough.

Woodhull's Public Speaking Trainings Now Online

A quick update from the Woodhull Institute of Ethical Leadership (which has partnered with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty in order "to share success building tools through online training sessions that promote ethical development and empower women to act as agents of positive social change"):

Right now, Public Speaking trainings instructed by Woodhull co-founder Naomi Wolf and non-profit development professional and poet Tara Bracco are available online, here. There's also an opportunity to "ask the experts," Naomi and Tara, your questions.

The next module, Negotiation, will begin on December 3, 2007, and is led by our own dear Susan Devenyi. More info on all the online trainings here.

Musical Friend Plug

Sometimes I am just blown away at the talent of friends in my midst. This week, I ran into an old friend (um, crush?) at a film screening, who I found out has cut two CDs of late. I downloaded Racing Grey by "Steven Mark" and love it. His other one is called Aloneaphobe. If you're into folk rock, I highly recommend.

And if that weren't enough, my 23-year-old friend Sarah Ann Corkum is part of a band called Cordoroy Days (pictured left). They played on the Lower East Side this week to much acclaim. Their album is called Lose the Map and falls under alt-country-folk-rock. Killer harmonizing, Sarah Ann!

Man, and I can't even play the tambourine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Where are the Women BloggingHEADS?

We know that men dominate the op-ed pages, left and right. (My friend Catherine Orenstein is doing much to counter that.) But you would think that in a new media mode, like the video opinion site Bloggingheads.tv, and the related feature at the New York Times online, there might be an effort to correct the imbalance from the start. Right? Wrong. I just did a count and only 3 of the 20 bloggingheads debating issues of the day at the New York Times online are women. And there's nary a woman on Bloggingheads.tv homepage. I don't know how the heads are chosen, but come on. Can't we do a little better?

For those of you unfamiliar with this new opinion format--and for the female among you who are ready to step up and offer yourself up to Bloggingheads.tv--here are some samples:

Battleship Hillary
Is Rudy Creepy?

CONGRATULATIONS, FEMINISTING!

I am inwardly jumping up and down with excitement at this news: feministing has won the Bloggers Choice Award for Best Political Blog--by a landslide! As the gals over there might say, hells yeah! Angryharry came in second, and DailyKos came in third.

My heartfelt congrats--and kudos!--to Jessica, Ann, Vanessa, Samhita, Courtney, and everyone else who works so hard to make feministing the sassy, savvy, edgy, witty, informative, provocative, intelligent blog that it is. And do check out the very prolific Jessica Valenti's new book, already available for pre-order, here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Getting "Scooped"

Just wanted to gush for a moment about the participants in my current "Making It Pop: Translating Your Ideas for Trade" class. I'm jazzed by the book projects they're working on, and last night we had Seal Press managing editor Laura Mazer as our guest via conference call, fielding their questions. She was, as always terrific, and I definitely learned a thing or two (or ten) myself.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd start sharing here some of the "advice" that my guests and I are dishing out on the private group blog I've established for participants of the course, in the hope that it might be helpful to others of you out there. For what it's worth!

A few participants asked me the question the other week, "What if I get scooped?" Meaning, what if you find out, as you're working on your book proposal, that someone else is coming out with a book that sounds frighteningly similar to yours. Here's my response:

NO one else has your brain, your particular constellation of experience and perspective. So even if you hear of someone else writing about the very topic that has become your heart and soul, TRY not to let it get you down. It's hard, I know. I learned this the hard way.

Let's say, however, that you just learned through the grapevine about something in the works that feels way too similar to your vision. There are infinite ways to regroup. Say you were working on a proposal for a cultural history of single women, structured chronologically from the early 20th century-present, and you just heard about a book coming out called Bachelor Girl, that is already in galleys, and that follows, gulp, the very same structure. (This happened to me. My cousin knew the book's editor.) Instead of folding up your tent in defeat--which is, ahem, exactly what I did--you could considering transforming your idea into an anthology. Or into a compilation of writings about singleness written by single women through the ages. Or you could ask to see a copy of the galley and find out what that other author is *not* covering and make that your jumping off point. There is never just one book that can be written on a subject. If the topic is worth one book, chances are it's worth more.

Reviewers like to review books in twos and threes, so overlap sometimes works to your advantage, if the timing is right. Also, remember that a newspaper or magazine article is not the same as a book. Often, the journalist who writes a piece that's close to your topic, or your perspective, can become your ally (and review your book later on!). Chances are, he or she is not already writing your book. Because your book is YOUR book. It's you.

That said, there is, as they say, very little that's truly new, under the sun. Much of what we write and think and teach is a continuation of what's already out there. So the trick is to tap into your particular contribution--from the start. What perspective/experience/angle do you have, because of who you are, that others don't? Answer that, and you will never, ever, be "scooped."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Awards for Women's Studies Books

Does anyone know of any? Do they exist? Someone recently asked me for a list, and I'm not sure where to look. Thanks for any tips out there!

Are You an Academic Seeking "Out"...

...but can't envision your next step?

Once again, something--or rather, someone--I've come upon who is too good not to share. Her name is Shari Cohen, and she's the Principal at Intersections Resources, her coaching firm.

I know Shari through her work at Demos, where she currently heads up the Fellows program. Shari has been helping leaders (including thought leaders) solve problems more effectively for ten years and brings the depth of a political sociologist, the breadth of a scenario planner, and the insight of a coach and a teacher to her work coaching individuals and organizations. And let's just say she "gets" academics who decide to leave academia. She has a Ph.D. from Berkeley in political science.

Shari has worked with individuals in international development, health, philanthropy, advocacy, market research, technology, and publishing. (Organizational clients include the World Bank, Charney Research, Demos, SHARE, and the Carnegie Corporation.)

If you're wondering what it's like to work with a career coach, do give her a shout at sjc@intersectionsresources.net. Shari is generously offering a 20-minute sample session and a special rate on her five session package to readers of Girl with Pen. (Just mention that you heard about her through this post.)

Love Works

And speaking of the 1970s (I'm on a roll here with linking this week's posts!), the median age of marriage for women in 1970 was 21; for men, 23. These days, according to the Census Bureau, the median age of marriage for women is just shy of 26; for men, 27. The age goes up with advanced degrees. So it comes as little surprise that more and more of us are meeting our matches (or mismatches as the case may be) on the job. A 2007 Careerbuilder survey reveals that almost half of all American workers will date a colleague at least once.

And this week, a new book called Office Mate hit the shelves. I know one of the authors, Helaine Olen, and she has a very feminist-y sensibility, so I'll be interested to see how that comes through in the book. Read more on the subject (and a quote from Jessica Valenti) in this San Francisco Chronicle article by Helaine's coauthor, Stephanie Losee.

And more on Office Mate here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Revisiting the 1970s...yeah, yeah, no?

So this Saturday I spent some time at the Freedom on Our Terms conference, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the National Women's Conference in Houston back in 1977. A few great quips from the afternoon plenary:

Rosie O'Donnell on the Bush Administration: "What they're feeding you is McDonalds. It gives you diarrhea and ultimately it kills you."

Rosie on Mos Def: "Mos Def said the best line on Bill Maher: 'From Bush to Clinton to Bush to Clinton, they're passing around the Presidency like a party joint."

Rosie on the solution to it all: "Ingest art."

Liz Holtzman on Bella Abzug in Congress: "They made her take her hat off, but they couldn't shut her up."

The spirit of Bella infused the afternoon. It was moving. The goal of the conference was to create "a 21st century agenda for action," updating the planks from 1977. Two young women, Lala Wu and Kate Collier, coauthored a fabulous-looking document for the conference, called "The National Plan of Action: Then and Now." It's a great status report. Tons of younger women were in attendance. But I was frustrated by the lack of real intergenerational conversation during the bits that I saw.

It's easy to be a critic, and I know how much goes into planning this kind of event. So hats off to the organizers, and I know that hearts are in absolutely the right place. But it bothered me that the line-up of younger women at the afternoon plenary were left with only a few minutes each to talk about their organizations, and that there was no time left for them to dialog amongst themselves, or with older feminists. The reason for the time crunch? From what I could tell, the movement veterans slated to speak--and there were many of them--had used up all the time and things were running late. But maybe there was another reason too? Maybe Rosie showed up late? (I came midway through her speech.) In any event, it was frustrating not to hear more from the young women on the stage at the end.

The media panel I went to, on the other hand, was fantastic--Laura Flanders, Emily McKahnn from The Motherhood, Sonia Ossioro (Pres. of NOW-NYC, which recently landed a media coup of their own), and Lauren Brill, a kick-ass young stringer for the WNBA. The room was so full, we were sitting on desks and window sills. The crowd spanned the ages, and the discussion could have gone on for hours. I kind of wish it had. I would have loved to have heard more from some of those in attendance--Shelby Knox was there! I'm looking forward to more of this kind of discussion at this year's Women, Action, and the Media Conference, on March 28-30, at MIT.

(Photo cred. Check out this and some great photos from Houston 1977 here.)

Revisitng the '60s....yeah, yeah yeah

Steven Heller has an interesting bit in the NYT Book Review on a new book that explains the 1960s to kids. Writes Heller,

"The ’60s are often portrayed now as a permissive, hedonistic moment when sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll reigned supreme. Though all that is true, they were also an incredibly volatile period when youth culture challenged politics and society in ways that continue to exert influence. The decade was more than a mere freak show of baby-boomer rebels. It was a time when young people acted positively, as individuals and en masse, to redress a slew of grievances. So it’s about time that today’s kids were introduced to the period in a manner that is not simply a reprise of camp clich├ęs."

The titles under discussion are a new book version of Puff the Magic Dragon and a book called America Dreaming, by Laban Carrick Hill. Full disclosure: my not-quite-hippie parents sang me Peter, Paul, and Mary songs and I still remember every single word.

Girls in Cleats

A new book by Laura Pappano and Eileen McDonagh, Playing With The Boys: Why Separate Is Not Equal, challenges the popular perception that since girls now play soccer, all is now equal when it comes to women and sports.

Says Pappano in an interview at the publisher's website, "The biggest challenge is that women are often afraid to challenge the status quo for fear of losing what “progress” has been made. The problem is that we have codified a system of organized sports which places male athletes at the center and female athletes at the periphery."

And what about Title IX?: "Title IX opened doors for females to play sports, but it opened sex-segregated doors, effectively limiting women’s athletics to second-class status. Title IX never demanded equality - only improvement - and it is not well-enforced and budgets for female sports dwarf spending on men’s sports, particularly football. Ticket prices for women’s events are lower than comparable men’s teams- even when a team (like the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team) far outperforms its male counterpart on the national stage. Publicity, television and print exposure for men’s teams remain the primary focus of college sports offices. This is not fair, particularly at institutions receiving federal funds. We need a wholesale re-thinking of the way organized sports are structured and supported."

(The pic is Zoe Fairlie, daughter of my bestie on the west coast, Rebecca London.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Older Dads, Older Sperm...

Paul Raeburn had a great post the other week up at HuffPo on older dads on the campaign trail. Yep, Sen. Christopher Dodd, 63, has two daughters, age 6 and 2, with his second wife Jackie Clegg Dodd. And Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, 65, has two toddlers with his second wife, Jeri Kehn.

What exactly do we read in these tea leaves?, asks Paul. First, that these two candidates mirror a demographic trend. Older fathers are on the rise. That's not too surprising. But here's the rub: the children of older fathers face particularly high risks of schizophrenia and autism. Drrr. On a personal level, I hate hearing that stuff. But do check out Paul's post. Paul is a journalist who writes quite smartly about various permutations of contemporary fatherhood. I keep trying to get him to guest post here, and sense that one day soon, he will!

Also on the dad front, check out Judith Warner's response to Charlie LeDuff's essay in Men's Vogue, which she titles"Daddy Wars," and which begins like so:

"One of the more pleasant outcomes of the slowly growing trend toward highly involved fatherhood has been, I’ve found, the ability to plainly see that total ninnyishness is not a uniquely female thing." Read more.

(Photo cred)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Abstinence-Only a Crock--Surprise!

This just came to me via the Council on Contemporary Families:

Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenage sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancies. The report is being released today by the nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. A spending bill before Congress for the Department of Health and Human Services would provide $141 million in assistance for community-based, abstinence-only sex education programs, $4 million more than President Bush requested. The study – conducted by a senior research scientist at ETR Associates – says that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex-education programs were having “positive outcomes,” including teenagers “delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.” ETR Associates developed and markets several of the sex-education curricula reviewed in the report.


Come on kids. Are we surprised? Read more about it in this past Wednesday's Arizona Daily Star.

Cute Toddler Friday!

Ok, I credit this post to having gotten "engaged." Yesterday, my friend Daphne trusted me (trusted ME!) to hang out with her toddler, Talia, while she went to an event. This here's a very blurry picture of said toddler, outside the dog run in Washington Square. Pretty darn cute, huh? And I neither tipped her stroller, nor let her get eaten by a dog. Feeling pretty proud of myself today.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Revisiting Houston circa 1977

The seventies are IN! In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the First National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas 1977, The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute and Girls Speak Out are sponsoring a conference at Hunter College this weekend called the National Conference for Women and Girls, Freedom on Our Terms: From Houston 1977 - NY 2007. The schedule is posted here.

A very breathy and ambitious (and I'll admit, inspiring) description of it all is posted here (scroll down to the program summary). In a nutshell, participants will examine the 26 planks that resulted in the original National Platform for Action established in Houston back when I was, um, 8 years old, which dealt with all aspects of women’s lives. The goal of the weekend is to "boldly strategize to update the platform to the present, and identify and target goals for the future." Sounds good, and my hope is that the feeling there will be authentically intergenerational.

NOW Victory: No More "Asian Bunnies"

Well now this is interesting--and on a continuum, somehow, with the National Organization for Women's late 1960s protests against sex-segregated help-wanted ads in the New York Times. As Lynn Harris reports over at Broadsheet, my local NOW chapter (NYC-NOW) has scored a homerun with their anti-human trafficking campaign. Specifically, New York magazine announced this week that it would no longer be running ads for sexual services, including escort agencies and suspicious "massage." And according to the New York Post, it's the 15th publication to do so this year.

Writes Lynn, in good third-wave feminist style,
To be sure, not every "Punjab Princess" advertising in New York is doing "bodywork" against her will. And it's hard to imagine that Pink Orchid is going to close up shop just because it can no longer snare New York readers pretending to be looking for the Approval Matrix. But those are hardly good reasons to shrug and keep running the ads, or to dodge an opportunity to make a move based on principle. One of NOW's stated goals is to "shed light on how the trafficking industry is a part of the local economy and identify the legitimate businesses that do business with traffickers." At very least, it's a necessary reminder that women and men are trafficked not just in Bangkok, and not just in hidden brothels, but right next to our own crossword puzzles.

Journalists v. Book Publicists

It is a truth universally acknowledged that writers often express mixed feelings about publicists--their own, and others'. (If you're reading this, Cheryl, I love you. I honestly truly do!)

Yesterday, Marci Alboher of NYTimes blog Shifting Careers fame posted an excellent list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" for publicists--aka other authors' publicists--who seek her attention. Marci is my hero. It's really a very good list.

(Note: Marci's post is inspired by Wired magazine editor and book author Chris Anderson's, which has inspired much ado. You see, Anderson very publicly published a list of e-mail addresses of publicists he never wants to hear from again.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Where's the beach?!










And WTF are my bangs doing in this picture? Because it's freezing in NYC today and I'm having a hard time remembering what it was like being in the tropics last week, thought I'd post some pics to remind myself I was there! To the left, Marco all geared up for snorkeling. To the right, me goofing around submerged. Ah, Puerto Rico....I miss ya already.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Working the Work/Life Circuit

Yesterday I attended a Corporate Circle panel at Lehman Brothers on flexibility in the workplace, sponsored by my colleagues at the National Council for Research on Women. Flex in the city. Flex appeal. Ok, I'm having way too much fun here with "flex." Because the term itself is out of vogue.

Flexibility has become the new "f-word" among savvy work/life researchers, advocates, and implementers. Why, you ask? Because the word places the emphasis on accommodating or satisfying employees rather than on the business imperative to create agile workplaces that are more in sync with the changing needs of the 21st century workforce--which is where the emphasis belongs.

Other ways corporate change-makers are talking about what used to be"flex": "mass career customization" (Deloitte) and "the agile workplace" (Catalyst).

And speaking of ahead-of the-curve, here's a call for proposals for a hot conference--do pass it on!:

Families and Work Institute and The Conference Board are seeking proposals on innovative work life practices and approaches for our 2008 Work Life Conference, How We Work and Live Today: The Impact on Employee Engagement and Talent Management, which will be held March 5-6 in Atlanta, GA at the Westin Buckhead Hotel. The online workshop submission form is available here. Suggested workshop topics include:

* What’s really going on with men and women in the workplace today—what’s changed, what’s the same?
* Best practices in responding to the needs of employees at different career and life stages
* How to “flex” flexibly
* Beyond rhetoric—what does it mean to create a respectful workplace?
* How does technology affect work life—and what are companies doing to respond?
* What are companies doing to promote health, wellness, and stress reduction?
* How to help front-line managers deal with their own work life issues so that they can deal better with those of their employees
* Work life and hourly/entry-level employees—what’s new, what’s working?
* New practices in full life cycle dependent care

The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2007.

I Was a Teenage Anthology

And speaking of girls who dare....I just heard about a cool anthology that's about to launch. It's called Red the Book, and while I'm not sure I fully get the title yet (do you? am I missing something here?), the substance sounds amazing. Here's the blurbage:

A vivid portrait of what it means to be a teenage girl in America today, from 58 of the country's finest, most credentialed writers on the subject

If you're a teenage girl today, you live your life in words-in text and instant messages, on blogs and social network pages. It's how you conduct your friendships and present yourself to the world. Every day, you're creating a formidable body of personal written work.

This generation's unprecedented comfort level with the written word has led to a fearless new American literature. These collected essays, at last, offer a key to understanding the inscrutable teenage girl-one of the most mislabeled and underestimated members of society, argues editor and writer Amy Goldwasser, whose work has appeared in Seventeen, Vogue, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. And while psychologists and other experts have tried to explain the teen girl in recent years, no book since Ophelia Speaks has given her the opportunity to speak for herself-until now.

In this eye-opening collection, nearly sixty teenage girls from across the country speak out, writing about everything from post-Katrina New Orleans to Johnny Depp; from learning to rock climb to starting a rock band; from the loneliness of losing a best friend to the loathing or pride they feel about their bodies. Ranging in age from 13 to 19, and hailing from Park Avenue to rural Nevada, Georgia to Hawaii, the girls in RED-whose essays were selected from more than 800 contributions-represent a diverse spectrum of socioeconomic, political, racial, and religious backgrounds, creating a rich portrait of life as a teen girl in America today.

Revealing the complicated inner lives, humor, hopes, struggles, thrills, and obsessions of this generation, RED ultimately provides today's teen girl with much-needed community, perspective, and validation-and helps the rest of us to better understand her.

Ok, so can someone explain to me the title? Is it a riff on Little Red Riding Hook? Red Book? Read the Book? Red, like your period? (Sorry -- I'm just kind of confused, and I know there's something I'm missing here....)

Thanks to the ever-savvy Lauren Sandler for the heads up!

Too Cool for Daring Book?

I'm not a mom of a girl, so perhaps my take on this is off. But I really dig The Daring Book for Girls. Though that's just the point, argues Judith Warner at Domestic Disturbances (and, echoing her, Tracy Clark-Flory at Broadsheet). What's cool to Gen Xers is too cool for school to their progeny. But I'm voting girls will dig it. Has anyone test-driven the book with girls yet? I'd be eager to hear the results!

Meanwhile, judge for yourself. There's an excerpt from the book and a video of the authors' Today Show appearance here. And a listing of other upcoming appearances and events here.

(I'll be posting more fully on my response to the book in December, as part of the book's blog tour.)

Feminine Critiques

Ok, so maybe I'm just catching up after being in la-la land for a few days, but I just saw that Lisa Belkin wrote a nice piece the other day called "The Feminine Critique," in which she cites Catalyst's recent report on the double-binds women in leadership face. I don't quite agree with Vanessa at feministing's take on this research and urge folks to read the actual report for more.

Meeoowww

Due to my obsessive Hillary fascination, I can't help but comment on ABC's trumped up catfight story: Pelosi v. Hillary. Since Jessica at feministing said it best, I'm just going to send you to her. What's next? Hillary and Nancy get naked and fling mud? Jeesh.

Meanwhile, check out Reuter's mini-survey of what some feminist thinkers think about the possibility of electing Hillary Clinton to the White House. (Stop the presses: Feminists, it turns out, aren't interested in choosing a candidate based on his or her gender.) And note Carol Jenkin's take on the male-dominated media's roll in it all. After more than 20 debates, in which only six women have participated as moderators and questioners compared to more than 30 men, Carol asks, “Where is the slate of newswomen who consistently get to ask the big, important questions? How can we not think of what we’re witnessing as anything but the traditional all-boys club?” Hmm...

Finally, if you're looking for a satisfying chuckle, do check out Ann and Jessica's feisty letter to male politicians to please stop playing the male gender card, here. To wit: "It's just wrong to expect men to vote for you because you smell like Aqua Velva and cigar smoke, because you own a huge ranch and the Western wear to prove it, because you think America needs a "commanding Daddy" to torture the bad guys." Hehe.

We're Gettin Hitched!

Yep, Marco and I have decided to do the marriage thing. We're feeling rather ecstatic -- nearly missed a hurricane, spent a few glorious days on a beach, and are now very joyfully kvelling with family and friends!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hillary Studies

I've been reading galleys for THIRTY WAYS OF LOOKING AT HILLARY: Reflections by Women Writers, edited by New Yorker editor Susan Morrison. Kirkus gives it a rave review, and I wholeheartedly agree with their take. Here tis:

An exploration of Hillary Clinton by 30 leading contemporary female essayists. Even though Hillary is one of the most dissected public figures in American life, this volume is a worthwhile addition to what Morrison calls—quoting Walter Shapiro, the Washington bureau chief for Salon—“Hillary Studies.” The editor assembles a thoughtful collection penned by writers who represent a wide range of the ideological and cultural spectrum. Among the stellar cast are Katha Pollitt, Ariel Levy, Susan Orlean, Roz Chast, Daphne Merkin, Elizabeth Kolbert, Lionel Shriver and Lorrie Moore. Much is made of Hillary’s fashion sense, as well aswhy it has become such a hot topic. Morrison smartly includes the Washington Post’s fashion critic, Robin Givhan, who caused a storm this summer when she wrote a piece examining Hillary’s rare display of cleavage on the Senate floor. Givhan defends her position by arguing that fashion reflects a public persona—even if it doesn’t reveal who a person is, it at least reveals who they would like to be. Exactly who Hillary is provides the primary focus here, along with the question of why more women aren’t celebrating a female presidential candidate, and why so many find Hillary to be such an inauthentic, calculating figure. The writers also grapple with other questions regarding gender: What does it mean if the first female president of the United States is presumed to have achieved the position largely riding on her husband’s coattails? What’s the significance of a female president in a time when so much about the role of women in American society is subject to debate? Each essay is well-written and approachable, even if they occasionally devolve into navel-gazing. A sharp, important book sure to become increasingly relevant.

The book comes out in February, so perhaps this post is a tease, because folks have to wait. But I wanted to give y'all a heads up, because this collection is just too good to keep to myself. And for the literati among you, here's a link to one of my favorite poems, actually, Wallace Steven's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," after which, one presumes, the collection is named.

(Image cred: ethandraws.com)

Women's Ethical Leadership Retreat - This Weekend!

GUEST POST BY ELIZABETH CURTIS

Clearly, I can't get enough of guest posting here at GWP. But I just wanted to share a cool opportunity with the GWP community - because working with ya'll has been so much fun!

When I'm not wearing my blogger hat, I'm wearing my program coordinator hat at the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership. You may remember Deborah mentioning Woodhull in the past, as she is a fellow at the Institute. Well, this weekend we are having a Women's Ethical Leadership Retreat at our retreat center in Ancramdale, NY (2.5 hours north of NYC and just a MetroNorth ride away). There are still a few spots left - and I would love to see a GWP reader take advantage of this chance to work on building one's personal and professional ethical leadership skills.

And what exactly does this retreat entail, you ask...Well! Woodhull offers thought-provoking roundtables on ways to bring ethics into the each participant’s life. Participants brush up on best-practices for communication strategies and learn how to negotiate in your personal and professional life. They discuss how to add balance to a busy life and explore ways to navigate changes - big and small - confidently and creatively. Through workshops, they sharpen tools in the areas of finance and investment. Participants also have the option of joining in a yoga class, hike, or swim and spending personal time journaling or reading. More information about the Women’s Ethical Leadership Retreat can be found at http://www.woodhull.org/womansRetreat.php.

I hope I'll see you there!

Men in Bjorns


Marc (aka Feminist Dad) posted a comment here the other day in response to my Skirt essay which I'd like to share, cuz I'm going to be writing/thinking a lot about this topic over the next few months for a project I'm working on, and cuz I think his comment is really interesting. Writes Marc:

It's funny, I have been that sole guy in the audience several times, but I usually don't think to ask this question [the question being the one I mention in my Skirt piece, "what does contemporary feminism have to say to a new generation of men?" - GWP]. Before I was a Dad, I thought there was a new generation of transformed men. Now that I stay at home part time with my daughter, I have entered a decidedly Mom's World. I now think the public role for men has shifted to make them *appear* more sensitive. Take for example, the Baby Bjorn. Usually men wear them - at least in pictures - it's their public role of baby carrying. Does this translate to more time spent at home doing housework or child care? I don't think so, and as you say in your article, the research doesn't support it. We seem to have a new generation of men, but one where public and symbolic caring is the norm. Finally, feminism should have nothing to say *to* the men. If men are feminists, then what practices can they offer to support their sentiment?

(Thank you, Marc!)

I found it interesting that on the Baby Bjorn site's homepage, it's a dad wearing the bjorn :) Public and symbolic caring and carrying? Or emblem of transforming roles?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Few Good Texts on Sex and Entitlement...

Another dear friend, sociologist and sex researcher Virginia Rutter, is revising her classic, The Gender of Sexuality, and is in search of blog, columns, books, and articles to reference in the new edition. Specifically, she is looking for 3rd-wavey writings on contemporary women's sense of entitlement with regard to sexuality and sexual activity. I've suggested Lisa Johnson's Jane Sexes It Up: True Confessions of Feminist Desire and also (though less 3rd-wavey) Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs. Does anyone have titles/articles/blog suggestions to add to the list? Feel free to post em here, and I will compose a mini-biblio in a post to share with all.

Friend Plug!


Friend plug alert! Two of my besties are doing very cool things in NYC this next week. On Sunday, Nov. 11, documentary filmmaker Ilana Trachtman will be screening her amazingly moving film, Praying with Lior, at theMargaret Mead Film Festival here at the Museum of Natural History. If you have the chance to see it--and Ilana is touring the country with it this year--do!

Then, on Monday, Nov. 12, Rebecca Wallace-Segall--the mastermind behind WritopiaLab--will be hosting a reading at the Lincoln Square B&N in which young writers from her workshops read from their work. Rebecca has also started a blog with her emerging writers, and is raising some interesting issues about youth, writing, imagination, and culture. For instance, she asks, "Can some video games (violent ones included) sometimes play a positive role in inspiring the minds of youth? Can they transcend their insidious time-wasting, violence-encouraging, obesity-making, inclinations?" Hmm...Marco?!

I Was a Teenage Feminist

Cool event going on in my neighborhood today, which sadly I can't attend. But maybe someone else out there can, and can tell me about it!

Join filmmaker Therese Shechter as she takes a funny, moving and very personal journey into the heart of modern Feminism with her film, "I Was a Teenage Feminist." Armed with a video camera and an irreverent sense of humor, Therese talks with Feminist superstars, rowdy frat boys, liberated Cosmo girls and Radical Cheerleaders, all in her quest to find out whether Feminism can still be a source of personal and political power. With music by Ani DiFranco, Lavababy, Gina Young, Moxie Starpark and the legendary Helen Reddy,"I Was A Teenage Feminist" redefines the F Word for a new generation. If you, like me, can't be there, you can still click here to watch some clips from the film.

The Girls Project Film Series
Symphony Space
Sunday, November 4th
6:00 pm


2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York. Click here for tickets and info

(Thanks to Lani--who is debutting her own film, Praying with Lior, in Boston today--for the heads up!)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Have Men Changed?

The current issue of Skirt magazine is now out, and I have an essay in it that begins like so:

As I crisscrossed the country this summer giving talks and reading from my new book, Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, women in Birkenstocks, girls in flip flops, and ageless ladies with open faces asked me thoughtful questions about feminism, future and past. And in every audience, there he was, too. Often sitting alone, sometimes with his girlfriend, a brave young son of feminism invariably wanted to know what a new generation’s feminism had to say to a new generation of men.

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself of late. Because I’m gripped by the flipside of that question too: Women have changed so much over the course of the past four decades. Have men?
Read more

Alison Piepmeier has an essay in it too!

Friday, November 2, 2007

I'm Back!

The bilingual parrot on my shoulder in this pic is named Compeche. He lives at the Gallery Inn, in Old San Juan, where we stayed for part of the week, weathering out a tropical storm....

But before anything else, a mongo shout out to Elizabeth Curtis, Alison Piepmeier, and the Catalyst gals (Cheryl, Emily, and Laura) for guest posting in my absence! Elizabeth has been a techy mentor to me these past months, leading me into the wilds of v-logging and elsewhere, and we've thrown in to do a panel together (along with Courtney Martin) at this summer's National Women's Studies Association--will let you know. In response to the Catalystas' post, Marco (who cries, bless his male heart) once thought of a starting a blog (or something) called Real Men Cry at the Movies. I still think he should. And Alison is so spot on with her post in trying to figure out where and how the institutional fits in to a younger generation's feminism, which has been labeled as largely engaged at the personal and symbolic levels. I love Courtney's response to Alison's post, which I'm elevating to post space in case you missed it. Writes Courtney:

In an age of social networking where everyone is painstakingly creating a profile of themselves online, adolescents get a crash course in the individual and the symbolic from day one, and repeated entres on a daily basis. I'm heartened that some of these social networking spaces are getting more political, as in Facebook's cause function, but there is still so much more work to do if we are to reinvent what "social action" means to a new generation of feminists.

I strongly encourage GWP readers to check out these gals' blogs: A Blog without a Bicycle (Elizabeth), Baxter Sez (Alison), Crucial Minutiae (Courtney--who is currently blogging from her midwest speaking tour). Also check out Alison's snazzy new website--love the t-shirt she's wearing, of course!