Thursday, January 31, 2008

Indecision 2008

That debate made nothin' any easier. To even the score and balance all my Hillary blogging, here's an Obama reader to cap off the day:

"The Visionary Minimalist: Toward a Theory of Obama-ism" by Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic

"What Counts as an "Issue" In the Clinton-Obama Race?" by George Lakoff, Huffington Post

(Thanks V., S., others--you know who you are.)

What. A. Day.

For the first time in my voting life, I’m torn. In five days, I’ll need to pull a lever in a New York Democratic Primary that matters. And I don’t know what to do. I want to vote for Hillary. I want her to be electable. She moves me. And so does Barak. I like much of what both of them stand for. I want to speak out publicly for one of them. But who?

Every day this week feels heavy with meaning and momentum. Take yesterday. My Wednesday begins with the forum I created for More magazine (“If Hillary Wins…”) going live. On my way to the luncheon to celebrate Susan Morrison’s new book 30 Ways of Looking at Hillary, scrambling for a public place with wireless so I can email the contributors and broadcast the news, I end up in the great phallic palace, Trump Tower.

At mid-day comes the paramsean emulsion, served up at Daniel along with brilliance from Morrison and a number of the contributors to her anthology. Between walnut-crusted fish filet and hot chocolate upside down cake, and chats with Leslie Bennetts and Leslie Savan, I jot down the following:

Among the many comments that served as impetus for Morrison’s book, there's this one: “I’d sooner vote for a ticket of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan that pull the lever for Hillary.” Gross. “I take Hillary personally, too personally,” writes Jane Kramer in the book. Yes, and don’t we all? Letty Cottin Pogrebin, repeating a sentiment oft overheard, notes “Hillary is Presidential, Obama is inspirational; it depends what you’re looking for.” Judith Thurman feels “Hillary is using her husband’s credit card.” Sorry, I don’t buy it. Susan Morrison: “Clearly, we haven’t all collectively figured out what we want from a woman leader.” Personally, I couldn’t agree more.

The day ends with my beloved Only Child coeditor (now a novelist!) sending out her “First and Last Political Email.” “Dear Friends,” Daphne writes:

I'm choosing to be thrilled that we have two such qualified candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, and in November I plan to fully throw my support behind whoever is nominated, as I'm sure will all of you (unless I've accidentally sent this to Republicans).

That said, I agree with the NYTimes: inspiring plans to start anew and beautiful rhetoric aside, I believe Hillary Clinton is the most qualified to hit the ground running next January. I've wavered on my support of her because, though her campaign keeps talking about experience, I've never been educated on the nitty-gritty details. So I was happily surprised to receive a quick and impressive rundown recently by one of her full-time volunteers.

I've gone through her website and weeded out all the promises and plans, which any candidate can persuasively and confidently lay out. Instead, I've highlighted her actual concrete accomplishments. Attached is a brief cheat sheet for anyone who, like me, is leaning toward Hillary, but can't articulate why.

Feel free to delete it, or to continue your passionate campaigns for Obama, as I know many of you are, and with great reasons. Please don't reply to this e-mail, and know that I will not send another political e-mail until 2012 (hopefully, not til 2016). I hope I haven't stepped on any toes.

If anyone would like the cheat sheet, email me (my email’s at the bottom of the blog) and I’ll pass it on. And ok, Girl with Pen, embarrassment of riches notwithstanding, it’s time to take a stand. Stay tuned.

30 Ways of Serving Up Hillary

I've just GOT to tell you all about this crazyamazing event I went to yesterday to celebrate Susan Morrison's new edited collection, 30 Ways of Looking at Hillary, thrown by More magazine, at the swanky restaurant Daniel. I'm still trying to figure out how to write about it--and not just the nine herb ravioli with Jerusalem arthichoke puree and parmesean emulsion.

In the meantime, check out coverage in New York Daily News. An NPR interview with Susan is downloadable here.

(PunditMom: Did you get your copy?)

Fab Book Writing Seminar in SF

Laura Mazer (left) is a powerhouse. She's also my sister-in-pigtails. We'll be doing a panel together at WAM!, in Cambridge, in March. Deets to follow soon. In the meantime, if in the SF-area and hungry for the secrets behind writing and selling your first book, I highly recommend this one-day intensive with Laura:

A one-day Media Bistro seminar, February 10, 10 AM-4 PM, Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, with Laura Mazer

Do you have a great idea for a book but don't know how to go about writing and selling it? Or have you written a book but are stalled trying to get the attention of agents and publishers? Whether you're just starting to develop your project or have already written the entire manuscript, this workshop will give you all the tools you need to get your first book project written, sold, published, and on the shelves in bookstores.

FEE: $125

To enroll, go to and click on "courses," or call 310.659.5668, or send an email to:

A Biography of The Feminine Mystique!

My friend and personal hero Stephanie Coontz is working on a cool new project and I've offered to help her recruit. She's writing a study of the influence of Betty Friedan’s 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique. It's a biography, not of Betty Friedan, but of the book itself – its history and influence over the decades (or, perhaps, its lack of influence after a particular date). Stephanie is eager to hear from younger women, as well as people who read the book when it first came out, about how it impacted them--or in some cases, among those who read it later, disappointed them--then.

If you are willing to talk about this, or can direct Stephanie to someone else who might, you can send your memories directly, or Stephanie can send you a few survey questions. Please address correspondence to

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Quick Hits - Election Roundup

My o my what a day.

PunditMom bids a bientot to John Edwards, as he drops from the race. (Watch Edwards' withdrawal speech here. We'll miss you, John.)

Rebecca Traister goes on video with a round-up of the latest in anti-Hillary slogans and tees (Read more in Broadsheet).

Avis Jones-DeWeever revisits thoughts about Gloria Steinem's NYTimes op-ed after hearing Gloria tell of the parts that got cut out.

Maya Angelou writes a poem in support of Hillary, and Salon's Laura Miller sounds off on the battle for literary endorsements.

Caroline Kennedy speaks in a new ad that uses images of President Kennedy and Barack Obama, and Uncle Teddy and Barak appear together on The Today Show.

Hillary Studies 2.0

I've been thinking so much about Hillary these days. And lately, I've been thinking about how media coverage of an "intergenerational divide" in women's support of her may be fueling, and not just documenting, discord among women across generations. I'm very eager to see some analysis of the age divide after primary season is over and we've all had a chance to chill.

My feelings about Hillary keep evolving. But no matter what you think of her, it's still hard not to be intrigued by the prospect of a woman in the White House.

As I mentioned here recently, the February issue of More, my new favorite magazine (hey, I'm almost 40!), includes a forum in which I asked women who have themselves accomplished many firsts to weigh in on what a Hillary presidency might look like. I'm pleased to announce that the much extended, online version is now live. Check out the very different perspectives of Margaret Cho, Daphne Merkin, Lynn Harris, Dee Dee Myers, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Suzanne Braun Levine, Mary Catherine Bateson, Marie Wilson, Gloria Feldt, Pat Schroeder, Pepper Schwartz, Jane Swift, Nell Merlino, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Linda Hirshman, Kellyanne Conway, and Seema Gahlaut--and please feel free to share the link! The forum is rich--far richer than the squabbles we keep hearing about in the news--and I feel it's so very important to infuse substance, even if speculative, as is the case of this forum, into the public conversation. So, have at it. Please join the conversation and share your comments over at More's site.

And for an interesting More article on Hillary and the age divide, don't miss "Our Hillary Problem". Here, Katherine Lanpher interviews Donna Brazille and asks why some older, elite women voters are ambivalent on Hillary Clinton's candidacy. I don't need to refer you to articles on younger women's ambivalence, because you've probably all read them by now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Report from Progressive Women's Voices Project (This Time, My Own)

So as promised, a bit about my experience participating in the Progressive Women's Voices Project, a new media training and spokesperson program from the Women’s Media Center to connect media professionals with media-savvy women experts in a variety of fields. Funded by a grant from the NoVo Foundation, the program provides its participants with intensive media training and ongoing support "to promote their perspective and message into the national dialogue."

Let me first say that the WMC--founded by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan--is graced with an amazingly talented staff. The joint expertise of our trainers (Carol Jenkins, Glennda Testone, and Kathy Vermazen) knocked my socks off. On camera practice with these women? Invaluable. Learning from women with tremendous experience being out there in the public eye? Priceless. To wit: Board member Gloria Feldt shared savvy wisdom about the importance of embracing controversy, and Gloria Steinem shared an adage that has stayed with me: "Progress lies in the direction you haven't been."

The group of participants is in a word, well, powerful. Aside from soaking up massive doses of inspiration from these women and some of the best messaging training I've seen, we supplemented whatever knowledge we already had about a range of media tools--including blogging. And, as readers know, whenever I go somewhere where an experienced blogger shares tips on blogging, I like to pass them on. See one, do one, teach one and all that. Emily McCann of The Motherhood and the Been There Clearinghouse stopped by on Sunday to share her know-how with us and here's some of what I gleaned:

-Want to post images in your blog, legally? In addition to Wikipedia and Photos from the Library of Congress on Flickr, other sources for open source images include Creative Commons, also at Flickr, and Photobucket.

-Seen some term or techy acronym on a blog recently and had no clue what it meant? Check out blogossary, a site billed as the blogosphere's dictionary.

-Ready to create your own wiki? Check out pbwiki and wetpaint. (Confession: I came home and created one right away. I'm hooked.)

-Lastly, two hugely popular blogs that I hadn't heard of and sound interesting include How to Change the World Blog, and 37days.

And speaking of changing the world, did you know that more women than men are now online? And also, women are twice as likely as men to pass forward an idea about a campaign or a cause? More on that in a book coming out in June 2008 by another of the weekend's speakers, Lisa Witter. The book is cleverly titled The She Spot: Why Women Are the Market for Changing the World--and How to Reach Them.

This little report is the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the trainings, each week we participate in an issues briefing conference call, with experts from different realms. This week's call was with economist and President of Bennett College Dr. Julianne Malveaux. Today, the economy. Tomorrow, the world!

Ok, I'm getting carried away. It's only been a week in The Program.

I'll post here when the WMC posts a notice for future applications. To would-be pundits out there: Trust me. If you have the opportunity, this is something you don't want to miss.

Progressive Women's Voices Weekend Recap

Some really great recap-blogging going on out there about the Progressive Women's Voices Project that I'm feeling extremely humbled and honored to be participating in. Here's Courtney Martin on the evening we all went to dinner and had a collective kiniption fit when the restaurant turned the channel from CNN (it was the night of the South Carolina primary) to the Sports Channel. Here's Joanne Cronrath Bamberger on what you do when Gloria Steinem calls. And here's Linda Lowan (of's Women's Issues blog) on democracy in action. Thank you to these three for sharing their thoughts so far, and I promise to throw in soon too!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bachelor Dudes

Check out this fresh take on those who are male, single and not your stereotype in the Canadian Press.

In sum, the article argues, a lot of attention gets paid to single women, who can cheer themselves with chick flicks, self-help books and shows like "Sex and the City," which aim to empower female consumers to think of singledom as independence or self-reliance. But while single women have seemingly banded together to change their image in the popular culture, there's been no such battle cry for men, who have a whole different set of stereotypes to fight: They're confirmed bachelors, James Bond-style playboys, cranky old men or gay.

Ok, I get the point. But somehow this just isn't resonating for me. Thoughts?

Abortion Myths and Facts

Two interesting tidbits about abortion in the news recently:

In American pop culture, the face of abortion is often a frightened teenager, nervously choosing to terminate an unexpected pregnancy. The numbers tell a far more complex story in which financial stress can play a pivotal role. Half of the roughly 1.2 million U.S. women who have abortions each year are 25 or older. Only about 17 percent are teens. About 60 percent have given birth to least one child prior to getting an abortion. Read more.

Second, as abortion rate drops (as we all know they have), use of RU-486 is on rise, as WaPo's Rob Stein reports. On the market since 2000, more than 840,000 U.S. women have used mifepristone since it was approved, according to Danco Laboratories, which sells it. More than half of abortion providers now offer the option, a 70 percent increase from the first half of 2001, according the Guttmacher Institute. Yep, thirty-five years after the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, a pill that has largely faded from the rancorous public debate over abortion has slowly and quietly begun to transform the experience of ending a pregnancy in the United States. Read the rest.

(Thanks again to CCF for the heads up.)

Latina Girls More Likely to Attempt Suicide

Just learned this piece of bad news, via the Council on Contemporary Families:

According to an article in WaPo last week by Laura Sessions Stepp, Latinas ages 12 to 17 –- the largest minority group of girls in the country –- are more likely to try to take their lives than any other racial or ethnic group their age. Twenty-five percent say they’ve thought about suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and about 15 percent attempt it, compared with approximately 10 percent of white and black teen girls. Luis Zayas, a psychologist and professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, is in the middle of a five-year study of more than 150 young Latina girls who have attempted suicide. As experts note, Latina girls rarely seek help partly because they and their parents are suspicious of mental health services and believe in keeping family troubles in the family. And, as Stepp notes, American popular culture encourages girls to be sexy and assertive, but the families of many young Latinas prize girls who are modest and submissive. As they’re pulled in different directions, there’s increasing evidence of their distress.

Margaret Cho on America's Next Top President

Another take--or rather, takedown--on the racegenderpolitics discussion, over at HuffPo. GWP guest blogger Cathy Prendergast wrote more about the CNN website debacle Cho refers to in her post, here. (Thanks to Ann at feministing for the heads up.)

Addendum: This just in, via Cathy: Toni Morrison to Endorse Obama. As Cathy suggests, "probably her way of taking the 'Clinton first black president' remark." Um, yep.

Girls Write Now Event Recap

You can now read about it, on the GWN blog, here.

And in case you missed this one, you can catch Girls Write Now next at the New School on March 8 (5-7pm), for a beautiful celebration of International Women's Day, and GWN's 10th anniversary too! Anne Landsman will be guest reading, along with the girls, and there's a reception to follow. Other surprises lined up as well. More on it all here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Announcing: Economic Justice for Women Summit

Join the National Organization for Women Foundation, National Council of Negro Women, and the Institute for Women's Policy Research for the 2008 Summit on Economic Justice for Women, April 11-12 in Atlanta, Georgia. The summit is dedicated to "Bringing Together Research and Advocacy--from Local to Global--to Advance Economic Justice and Empowerment for Women." To register, click here.

Goals for the conference include expanding the body of knowledge on critical economic issues; increasing our understanding of the global economic challenges women face; building and strengthening alliances in the economic justice movement; developing recommendations and strategies for enhancing women's economic empowerment; and informing policies globally and locally, including helping to shape the 2008 U.S. presidential election debate.

It's not too late to submit a workshop or research paper. Workshops will blend research and grassroots action, offering participants an opportunity to hear from experts and apply action strategies to address economic inequality. The deadline to submit a proposal is Feb. 15 (hey--that's my birthday!!)

And hey, while we're on the subject of economic justice and just economics, do check out the latest HuffPo piece from PursePundit, called "Quickfixonomics." PursePundit suggests we check out what George Soros has to say about the current financial crisis, too. How is this all affecting women? Stay tuned. More on that very soon.

Must We Fear Adolescent Sexuality?

Hey--check out the vibrant conversation going on in comments over at feministing around Courtney's Thursday post ("Must We Fear Adolescent Sexuality?"), which links back to fresh research mentioned in sociologist Virginia Rutter's review of Juno here on GWP. (Thanks, C, for posting!)

Friday, January 25, 2008

America Ferrera and Other Young Peeps for Hillary

Young people are giving Hillary Clinton the love, and not just Barak Obama. Just sayin'.

Addendum, later that day: I just read that the NYTimes is endorsing Hillary and John McCain.

Introducing: PursePundit!

One of my favorite things about what I do is when I’m able to bring other women into the fold. Blogging is contagious, and it is a joy beyond measure to see feminists find their online voice.

And so I am thrilled - THRILLED! - to formally introduce a new blog on the block: PursePundit. The host pundit over there, Jacki Zehner, is a frequent commentator on women’s success in the workplace, women and wealth, investing, and philanthropy. And she knows from whence she speaks--she was the youngest woman, and first female trader, to be invited into the partnership of Goldman Sachs.

Jacki's since been recognized not only as a “Wall Street Trailblazer” but as a “next-generation role model” for women navigating the complex constellation of work, family, civic service, and social activism. Jacki’s work is informed by her own journey from humble beginnings to Wall Street success. She learned early on the power of the dollar working as a cashier in her father’s grocery store. An impassioned philanthropic visionary committed to the economic empowerment of women, she now serves on the boards of The Women’s Funding Network, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The Center for Work Life Policy, and more. I met Jacki when she was on the board of the National Council for Research on Women, where I used to work.

Like me, the gal’s a bridger. These days, through multiple platforms, Jacki leverages her access and expertise by bridging knowledge across corporate, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors. I learn things from this wonder woman daily. Visit for musings on "markets, money, and changing the world" and I guarantee, you'll learn from her too.

I’m equally thrilled to announce that Girl with Pen (aka me) and PursePundit will be teaming up on a number of projects around women’s economic empowerment and financial literacy this year. Our first collaboration has been a series of posts on the crazy market events of the past week, over in the Business section at Huffington Post. In case ya missed them, they are here, here, and here. More on our emerging partnership, soon. In the meantime, please help me welcome my new favorite blogger friend, a woman who inspires the heck out of me and has one of the largest hearts of anyone I know.

Do More MEN Think Us Ready for Madame President?

So as part of my participation in the Women's Media Center's new Progressive Women's Voices Project, I've been reading up on polls and found something* very interesting to share. Did you know that more men may think our nation is ready for a woman president than women do?

Historically, women and men have felt almost the same about their willingness to vote for a woman from their party if she were qualified for the job. Acccording to survey data from the years between 1958 and 1969, both women and men said they would consider voting for a such a gal, but the men were actually more positive: 50-53 percent of women and 55-60 percent of men answered "YES" when asked whether they would vote for a woman if she were their party's nominee. Today, of course, post-women's movement, those numbers have spiked. According to a CBS/New York Times Poll in January 2006, 92 percent of respondents said they would vote for a woman from their party if she were qualified for the job.

But now get this: That same year, 2006, when asked about the U.S. public's readiness to elect a woman head of state, much smaller percentages said they thought the country was ready (92 percent versus 55 percent in the CBS News/New York Times Poll). And when you analyze these responses by gender, the men come out on top: 60 percent of men versus 51 percent of women think the country is ready for a female Commander in Chief.

So, ladies, what gives? I asked Ruth Mandel, Director of the Center for American Women in Politics, this question. Her answer was telling. Apparently, the same holds true for African Americans (though I have yet to see the actual data). The group that is historically on the outside of the presidency feels less sanguine than the in-group about the public's readiness to see a member of the out-group at the helm.

Is this some form of internalized oppression, to use a word from back in the day? Or are the out-groups' intuitions right on? Psychology is deep. And so are women's--and African Americans'--feelings about the readiness of this country to elect someone other than another White Male.

But I'd love to know if these percentages have changed now that we've been through a few primaries and have seen that, on the Dem side at least, some states are actually ready to put a Hillary or a Barak in office. Anyone seen any more recent data on "readiness perception"? Thoughts?

*Data drawn from a book chapter, "She's the Candidate!", by Ruth Mandel, published in Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change, edited by Barbara Kellerman and Deborah L. Rhode (Jossey-Bass, 2007). Full chapter available here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gone Visiting: Girl with Pen at HuffPo Again Today

New blogger on the block/financial whiz girl Jacki Zehner and I coauthored another one today over at HuffPo. Come visit, and read our take on the week's market events! There's a groundhog involved. For reals.

New Study Debunks Dark Version of Teen Pregnancy Fairy Tale

Frank F. Furstenberg, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and Senior Fellow at the Council on Contemporary Families, has just released a briefing paper intended to stimulate discussion among researchers and clinicians in advance of the Council's 11th annual conference, April 25-26, University of Illinois at Chicago--where I'll definitely be! Join me?

Here's the jist, via AScribe Newswire:

Teen Pregnancy and Poverty: 30-Year-Study Confirms That Living in Economically-Depressed Neighborhoods, Not Teen Motherhood, Perpetuates Poverty

-- In fairy tales, there are two possible outcomes for a young girl. In the Disney version, the handsome prince rescues her, then marries her, and everyone lives happily ever after. In the dark version, the heroine makes a dreadful mistake that leads to disaster. For the past 15 years, political pundits have been telling us a dark fairy tale about American teens, blaming America's high poverty rates on the actions of teenage girls who have babies out of wedlock. This assumption guided the welfare reform act of 1996, which promised to write America a happy ending by getting teens to stop having babies, get married, and thus end poverty.

But a new longitudinal study by Frank Furstenberg (University of Pennsylvania) shows that fairy tales have no place in the realm of policy-making. His data reveal that teen childbearing is NOT the reason that many Americans have been trapped in poverty over the past three decades....Furstenberg reports that

- teen motherhood tends to occur among people ALREADY trapped in poverty

- postponing motherhood does not make much of a difference to people's chances of escaping poverty.

- impoverished girls who bear children as teens do almost as well educationally and economically -- or as poorly -- as the girls who postpone childbearing.

Preventing and reducing teen pregnancy is a valuable social goal, says CCF Fellow Furstenberg. In fact the United States had a dramatic decline in teen pregnancies--and abortions--from 1991 to 2005. But, using observations from his Baltimore study, and supplementing it with current reports from demographers, economists, and demographers, sociologist Frank Furstenberg reminds us that the phrase, "it's the economy, stupid" is not yet out of date. For details and policy recommendations, check out Furstenberg's full briefing report at

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Announcing: Work Life Conference

The Conference Board/Families and Work Institute Work Life Conference on March 5-6, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia will explore the critical business issue of how employees work and live today, and what the impact of these changes is on employee engagement and talent management. Highlights include:

· New Research: Families and Work Institute and Catalyst will release for the first time ever findings from our 2008 study, Leaders in a Global Economy: Developing Talent in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

· Company Best Practices: Senior business executives from leading companies will discuss their approaches to talent management and promoting employee engagement.

· Individual Strategies: An expert panel will discuss the latest thinking on how individuals can develop their careers in holistic ways to thrive at work, at home, and in their communities.

Speakers include executives from Accenture, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, Bright Horizons, Deloitte & Touche, Hay Group, IBM Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, LLP, Marriott International, MetLife, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RSM McGladrey, Singapore’s Employer Alliance and many more.

To reserve a space, call The Conference Board Customer Service Department at 212-339-0345 or click here.

Questions? Please contact Tyler Wigton, Conference Coordinator, at 212-465-2044 x224 or

GUEST POST: Can We Talk About Love, Please?

Virginia Rutter (the gal who brought us "Who Votes Their Gender?" the other week) took time out from writing college lectures to pen this excellent review of Juno from the perspective of a sex researcher. As you likely know by now, Juno was just nominated by the Academy for four Oscars, including Best Film, and Best Actress (Ellen Page). We're bound to see a continued discussion of the issues the film raises in coming months, and here Virginia calls our attention to something other reviewers have overlooked: the way our culture talks about--or rather, doesn't talk about--luuuvvv. -GWP

Can We Talk about Love, Please?

The movies are giving demographers, sociologists, and sex researchers a boost these days. Movies about unwanted pregnancy that eschew abortion, such as Juno, Knocked Up, and Waitress, are giving gifted columnists (like Ellen Goodman and Carrie Rickey) a chance to contemplate where the culture stands with respect to unwanted pregnancy, early motherhood, and all things youthful, tawdry, and anxiety producing for those of us who consider ourselves grown ups now. Those kids are different from us grown ups, and the problems that they have are about the mechanics of sex, and the rules and practices around abortion, adoption, and teen delivery.

Meanwhile, it is Christmas in January for a sex researcher. There is a lot of important teen sex and unwanted pregnancy news out there, too. Abortion rates are down, Guttmacher reports. The fantasized link between teen pregnancy and poverty is screwy, as reported to the Council on Contemporary Families, and instead, poverty is caused by (who'd a thunk it?) the economy. Ouch. How unromantic.

But I don't want to write about that, any more than I want to write my sociology lectures or finish my latest sex data analysis, right now. The cultural theme that Juno raised for a lot of commentators is whether we as a society are making sex and reproductive decisions look too easy and too simple.

Mind you, the main theme, focused on a woman's body, seems to have crowded up some other ideas that matter. I have wondered why we haven't detected a cultural story to be told here in this movie about the fact that:

1. Consequences of sex are a component of the plot in Juno, just as they are in Knocked Up; and

2. The boy, Paulie Bleeker (played by Michael Cera), though not as touched by the pregnancy crisis as the girl, Juno MacGuff (played by Ellen Page) remains a large focus of the unfolding story of the consequences of sex.

But, like I said, none of this grips me. You know what grips me? Love. And I'm convinced that we just don't talk about it enough.
The value and pleasure of Juno was that it was a story of love—where the kids sing to each other "you're a part time lover and full time friend." In the messy, dull, weird world of conformity and reticence that dominates high school relationships, Juno sweetly offers a story of shy, sweet, but steadfast friendship and romantic love.

Family love was there too. I was touched by the love and acceptance that the father showed his daughter, even as he was befuddled by her choices. I cheered at the loyalty portrayed by the stepmother when she dressed down the judgmental ultrasound operator. This is the kind of love we can live with, the kind of love that we need in order to live, survive, thrive, and just be good people. It isn't "kill yourself love" like we get from movies like Titanic, which is the kind of love we are more likely to glamorize and talk about.

Cultural commentators, chief among them Stephanie Coontz, highlight the way in which marriage itself has been transformed from an institution based on commitment to an institution based on love. We've got a host of politicians who respond to this reality with hand-wringing about the loss of old-fashioned commitment. But we will do well to contemplate, elucidate, illustrate and talk about ways to love skillfully, kindly, and with compassion and acceptance that were illustrated in Juno. In the end, love—doable, realistic, everyday love--was the protective envelope (not marriage, not traditional values) that made us see that Juno the teen mother was going to be okay. In other words, love, done right, serves the kind of social purpose that commitment and traditional values do. And jeepers, the songs are so sweet when they are about love.

Since, despite my impulses, I have to keep working on my sociology lectures and my sex research, I have a nice little social science illustration for why love matters that brings us full circle to thinking about teen sex. In her research, Amy Schalet (UMass-Amherst) contrasted how teens and their parents in the United States think about and communicate about sexuality as compared to in The Netherlands. She found that Dutch parents and teens actually believe that young people can experience love, can be in love, and that love is an important prerequisite to sexual activity, while in the United States, parents are skeptical of their teenagers' capacity to be in love, and instead keep expressing the view that boys and girls must be in some kind of antagonistic, sexual arms race. The lesson in Professor Schalet's work: the age of first sex is higher and the rates of unwanted pregnancy and STDs are lower among Dutch versus American youth. Valuing love works. Don't forget it.

I say, up with Juno! Up with love! Now, to write lectures and look at data.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy 35th Anniversary, Roe v. Wade

Today, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, has become Blog for Choice Day. Some poignant blogging going on around the blogosphere. Thought I'd share a few of the posts that have most caught my eye:

Gloria Feldt at Huffington Post, "I Am Roe"
Courtney Martin at Huffington Post, "Admitting the Complexities of Abortion"
Erica Jong at Huffington Post, "If Men Could Get Pregnant, Abortion Would Be a Sacrament"
Jill Filipovic, "10 Reasons to Support Reproductive Justice on Roe Day"
Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman at The Nation, "Long Roe to Hoe"
Susie Bright at Susie Bright's Journal, "Anatomy of a Smushmortion"


The Guttmacher Institute's newly released report finds that the U.S. abortion rate is the lowest it has been in more than three decades. Commentary by Tracy Clark-Flory at Broadsheet, here.

Salon asked a number of feminists to talk about the court case that changed their lives, and why it matters more than ever. Read their responses here.

And the ever-wonderful Feministing will be blogging reproductive justice all day long.

GUEST POST: Breaking Up with Bill

Catherine Prendergast is Professor of English and Co-Director of the Ethnography of the University Initiative at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. She is the author of Literacy and Racial Justice: The Politics of Learning after Brown v. Board of Education, a book Gloria Ladson-Billings called "a breath of fresh air in what has been a very stale atmosphere.” As I think you'll agree after reading Cathy's post here, she's also one of the freshest thinkers on the much-blogged topic of race in this race around. On top of that, she's a dear friend of mine from graduate school and can twirl a me pirouette. Here's Cathy:

Breaking up with Bill

Out of the ashes of the South Carolina Democratic debate, uninspiring in so many ways, I saw a glimmer of hope. It wasn't in the CNN debate itself or the punditry afterwards, but rather in a related article on CNN's website which saw the media monolith scarfing down a little humble pie. It seems that within minutes of running a story in which it was speculated whether black women in South Carolina would vote their race or vote their gender, CNN was barraged with angry emails decrying the characterization of black women and their "unique" dilemma. Black women weighed in with the obvious (though apparently not obvious to CNN) point that they might also have other options, including voting on (gasp!) the issues. Did CNN really imagine black women so dumb that they would only perceive two choices in front of them? "Pull this racist crap off" one angry reader responded. But perhaps the most revealing comment came from a white man who wrote "Since Edwards no longer officially exists, as a white male I face the same choice - either I vote my race (Clinton) or my gender (Obama)."

What did this man reveal? Whiteness, plain and simple. That state of being that is invisible and somehow transcendant, allowed to be raceless because it takes place against a continually racialized other. People have been quick lately to recall Toni Morrison's description of Bill Clinton as our first black president. They've been less apt to recall her more substantial observation that white people have always resisted shifting the racializing gaze to themselves. Morrison, for a related reason, refuses to don the mantle of feminist writer just because she writes about women. She finds such labels suspicious: "No one says Solzhenitsyn is writing only about those Russians, I mean, what is the matter with him? Why doesn't he write about Vermont?"

So when Bill Clinton, in speech the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, assured listeners that he could well understand why African-Americans would want to vote for the first "intelligent" African American presidential candidate they've ever had the chance to vote for, I cringed. Clinton may have been called our first black president, but he certainly was never called our first "intelligent" black president, which is why, of course, he never was black, and was never called white.

Since this is a blog honoring women writers, let me quote one of my favorites, whose words have been bouncing around in my head ever since this primary season began: Susan Sontag in the days after 9/11, when surrounded by those who asked "why us," famously answered, "Let's by all means grieve together. But let's not be stupid together." What is going to make this current election different, if it is going to be different, is not the presence of a black (male) or (white) female candidate as front-runners for the first time. It will be the continued presence of all the extraordinary people who wrote speedily back to CNN, and in so many words, said, "Let's by all means vote together. But let's not be stupid together." Here's to those people. They point the way ahead.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Coming Soon: Sex Researcher's Review of Juno

Virginia Rutter, whose last post "Who Votes Their Gender?" traveled across the blogosphere far and near, will be reviewing Juno in this space later this week She's one savvy lady, a helluva sex researcher, and an astute cultural observer too. Stay tuned.

Happy MLK Day!

Wrote he:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live."

"Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it."


Girls Write Now Event ROCKED!

In response to Katka's request, while I don't yet have pix of Friday's event, I DO have this one of my friend Andrea's little girl Grace reading a book, taken at my apartment yesterday. A girl-write-now of the future!

30 Ways of Looking at 30 Ways Book

I'm late to this one, but just read Michiko's review of Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary. (Thanks, Heather!). Michiko writes, referring to Hillary's teary moment the other week,
The 24/7 replaying of that moment on cable television...reminds us how relentlessly Mrs. Clinton has been dissected, deconstructed and decoded over the years: by now her marriage, her hair, her pantsuits, her voice and her laugh have been more minutely anatomized than her voting record on Iraq, her (mis-)handling of health care during her husband’s administration or her stands on Iran, Social Security and immigration. This willful focus on the personal is underscored by “Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary,” an intriguing but highly uneven anthology of reflections about Mrs. Clinton by a spectrum of well-known female writers.

Michiko criticizes the book by noting that in these authors' essays, Hillary's actual résumé and record are largely shoved to the side. I'm still reading the book, so not yet weighing in on that one, but it's an interesting point (and one I keep blogging about here). A few of the contributors submitted comments for the Hillary forum I've put together for More magazine (going live soon!), and I'm attending a lunch soon in celebration of the book. Very much looking forward. Promise to report on it here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Saw Cloverfield

Yes I did.

Being a New Yorker who lived through 9/11, I had very mixed feelings about going to see a movie in which a monster takes down our city. I'd seen that one before. But Marco, a lover of monster movies and a dude who goes with me to chick flicks, pleaded. And so I went.

Interesting discussed ensued on the way subway ride home. Marco reminded me that Godzilla came out in Japan 10 years after the bombing of Hiroshima. Does Cloverfield perform some kind of cultural work that has to do with the processing of the unimaginable in the American imagination? Is this movie, which puts the takedown of Manhattan back into the realm of horror fantasy, a wish for an earlier day, when such monstrous things only happened on the silver screen? Many are arguing, and I understand the point, that the movie is merely exploiting America's trauma for dollars. But the cultural studies girl in me wonders if, in addition, there is something deeper going on.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Meet You Over at HuffPo Today....

Busy day over here in real space, and hence no time to post! You can catch me online however at HuffPo, where feminist philanthropist/pundit/all around wonder woman Jacki Zehner and I co-authored a post today ("The Confidence Man") in response to the latest economic news delivered by the Bush administration. Our heads are pasted together, left. Our joint post begins like so:
Today's announcement by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is but the latest effort by the current administration to downplay the severity of the current economic crisis. In the grand old American tradition of hucksterism, Paulson's prescription is a sorely misleading sell....

Read more

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Join Me Tomorrow at GWN Winter Reading!

Come one, come all!!!

(I publicly excuse my man Marco for not coming just this once, because I know how excited he is about seeing Cloverfield the day it premieres. He's been talking about it for days.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On Stands Now: MORE Forum on Hillary, Inc.

Check out the Feburary issue of More magazine (on stands this week!) for a look at the women running Hillary's campaign, by journalist Ann Gerhart. And don't miss the accompanying forum, called "If Hillary Wins," compiled by yours truly.

I had an amazing time putting together this forum--and a shout out to everyone who helped (you know who you are)! The assignment was to ask a handful of opinionated women over 40, who themselves have seen plenty of firsts, to muse about how life might change if a woman became the 44th president. I had the chance to commune with incredible women, whose comments appear in the issue, including former potential presidential candidate Pat Schroeder, Jane Swift (former Gov of Mass., now campaigning for John McCain), Eleanor Roosevelt biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook, comedian Margaret Cho, author and philosopher Linda Hirshman, essayist Daphne Merkin, Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, trade and security expert Seema Gahlaut, and first female White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers. Their cumulative comments are funny, outrageous, poignant, serious, irreverent, and surprising. I hope you'll check it out, and pass it along to friends, regardless of which candidate you support :)

Stay tuned to More's newly relaunched website for fuller responses from these women, and many, many more! I'll post more about that web forum here on GWP very soon....

Old Issue, New Study, New Book

A new study finds that girls' self-image, namely, the extent to which they think they're popular, may affect their future weight. As reported on, the study found that "[t]hose who believed they were unpopular gained more weight over a two-year period than girls who viewed themselves as more popular."

And meanwhiile, former Miss America swimsuit competition winner and Harvard women’s studies graduate Nancy Redd has come out with what sounds like a must-read for today's girls. It's a book called BODY DRAMA: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real Answers . As blogger and feminist media studies teacher Megan Pincus Kajitani notes in a recent review,

“Bottom line, what Nancy Redd says, and shows, girls and women in this book is, in a word, revolutionary. It’s not for the prim our faint-hearted, I warn you. Although I also think those are the ones who may need this book most. Nancy Redd leaves no taboo body topic undiscussed — or [un]photographed — in this book, unlike any I’ve ever seen. (Not at all shocking to this Vagina Monologues veteran, but I have no doubt this book will be burned in certain sectors, like many truth-telling tales before it.)"

Redd's message? Embrace your body. Respect yourself. Be healthy without striving for “perfect.” Sounds like many of us grown-up girls--myself included--need this book too.

(For more, check out the blog tour going on over at MotherTalk.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Three (thousand) cheers for NYTimes columnist Bob Herbert. What he said. Yess.

Interview: Esther Perel Sexes It Up (now in paperback!)

Esther Perel is a Belgium-born therapist whose book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Domestic and the Erotic,--just out in paper--has been said to read like a cross between Jaques Lacan and French Women Don’t Get Fat. Personally, I think it’s Fear of Flying meets Jane Sexes It Up—an implicitly sexy and intellectually fearless 21st century manifesto on sex inside marriage, for both women and men. According to Perel, mating in captivity is not a problem to solve. Rather, it’s a paradox to manage. And manage we can.

I recently had the chance to sit down with this brilliant, vivacious thinker at her Manhattan home. Snippets from our follow-up below.


DS: What made you decide to write this book?

EP: There were a number of converging motivations. At the time of the Clinton affair I was intrigued at how adultery could become a matter of national political agenda in the US. Why was it I wondered, that this country showed a lot of tolerance for divorce, but was rather intransigent vis a vis infidelity when the rest of the world had traditionally been more tolerant of infidelity and less so of divorce.

In my professional life, I would attend conferences and be struck by an overemphasis on pathology and dysfunction and a tendency to leave out of the conversations the notions of pleasure and eroticism when addressing a couple’s sexual life.

The claim that sexual problems were always the result of relational problem and that one should fix the relation and the sex would follow, did not bear true for me. I saw many couples who’s relationship would improve significantly and it would do little to their sex life. I would see loving caring couples whose desire flat lined and not because of a breakdown in intimacy. I began to rethink what had often struck me, that it isn’t always the lack of closeness that stifles desire, but sometimes too much closeness. So I started to question a host of assumptions on the nature of erotic desire over the long haul that are held as truths and could use deeper examination. A number of questions occupied me: Why does great sex so often fade in couples who claim to love each other as much as ever? Can we want what we already have? Why is the forbidden so erotic? Why does good intimacy not guarantee great sex? And why does the transition to parenthood so often spell erotic disaster in couples?

DS: Your book is being published in 22 countries and 20 languages, and has just come out in paperback. I loved seeing all the different covers all lined up on your shelf. What aspect has surprised you the most about the book's international reception?

EP: I originally wrote MIC from the position of a foreign therapist observing American sexuality. Now that the book has been translated broadly, what stands out is the pervasiveness of the breakdown of desire in all societies where the romantic ideal has entered. Never before did we have a model of long-term sexuality that was rooted in desire. People had sex for reproduction, or out of marital duty. Bringing lust home is the next taboo. Everywhere people are wondering about this fading of desire, they fill pages of books and magazine to spice things up. But if it were so simple, we wouldn’t need a new recipe each week.

The covers alone speak volumes about how each society deals with sexuality.
In my travels to 16 countries this year I got to experience some the unique tensions and changes that are at play in each society. It was as if in each country there was a theme that emerged: female infidelity in Argentina and Mexico, homosexuality in Turkey, the shift from reproductive sexuality when people had 12 children on the farms of Norway to the 2 or 3 kid family or the sexual consequences of the egalitarian model of Sweden to name but a few.


DS: I've been thinking a lot these days about the word "egalitarianism"—or rather, the expectation women my generation grew up with here in the U.S. that our relationships with men would be marked by this sense of reciprocity and mutuality in all realms. Including the bedroom. And I'm interested in your argument that "mutuality," "democracy." and "equity" in bed result in very boring sex. Did feminism do something to sex? Tell us more about why what you call politically incorrect sex is so important for couples today.

EP: Indeed I do think that America’s best features--the belief in democracy, equality, consensus, fairness, mutual tolerance—can, when carried too punctiliously in the bedroom, result in very boring sex. Feminism fought hard to eradicate differences, and abuses of power, and we are still far from victorious. While I very much recognize these momentous achievements, I do think that it brought with it unanticipated consequences. To extricate power, aggression, difference is antithetical to erotic desire.

Sexual desire doesn’t always play by the rules of good citizenship. What excites us most at night is sometimes the very thing we fight against in daytime. There is a subversion at play in the erotic realm. The erotic mind is politically incorrect, thriving on power plays, role reversals, unfair advantages, imperious demands, seductive manipulations, and subtle cruelties. if we all fantasized about a bed of roses, we would not have such a hard time talking about all this, but the erotic mind is not always neat, or docile. There is a whole other side to eros.

DS: Have you had any particularly interesting conversations with feminist thinkers on this point of late that you can share? And generally speaking, what has been the feminist response to your book? (Not that there's ever just one feminist response of course…But just curious!)

EP: I read the French feminist psychoanalysts like Luce Irigaray, and Elizabeth Badinter. I found the writings of Camille Paglia and Laura Kipnis most interesting. I was in a conversation with her at the New York Public Library and, as is often the case, any open conversation on the vicissitudes of desire leads to talking about the limits of monogamy.

The feminist thinkers in my field listen to me apprehensively sometimes wondering if I undervalue the importance for the need for security and safety for women to experience sex.

Others have engaged with me in conversations about how I choose to define the word “Intimacy”. But mostly I have received very positive feedback from feminist writers and practitioners that has really touched me. I feared that I may be taken to an extreme I did not mean to go, and it did not happen luckily. Mostly I am told that I wrote what we all know, think, feel and don’t say out loud. Now in the last months I have been preparing a series of talks on female sexual desire, or lack thereof, where I am introducing a different way to conceptualize female desire than the dominant models, and we shall see.

DS: I personally don't buy into the concept of postfemnism, but is there such a thing as postfeminist sex? What would it look like? (Will I know it when I see it?)

EP: A few points come to mind: a focus that that expands from sexual sovereignty to sexual pleasure. The idea that we don’t have one sexuality, but a few sexualities in the course of our life. The shift to a more androgynous view of love that transcends the binary models of gender thinking. And an understanding that what is emotionally nurturing isn’t the same as what is sexually exciting. These are two different needs that spring from different sources and pull us in different directions.


DS: You write, "American men and women, shaped by the feminist movement and its egalitarian ideas, often find themselves challenged by these contradictions." Please say more about how younger men—the sons of feminism, that is—are challenged by contradictions. Of what sort?

EP: In heterosexual couples, I see men who struggle to find a place for themselves sexually with their partner, and with how to express a masculinity that includes a striving force, a drive, assertiveness and that will be welcomed by the women. They are reluctant to reveal their sexual turn ons to their partner for fear of insulting her. Moreover, having lost the male privilege of a woman who’ll perform her wifely duty, they need to keep her erotically engaged, seduce her, make her feel desirable and interested in him. The idea that committed sex is intentional, premeditated consciously willed clashes against the myth of spontaneity. Another point is that if women can do all what the man does, where does that leave him? What is specific to him? Ou est la difference?

It is important for him to convey to her that the language of intimacy for him is often not verbal, but physical and sexual. Additionally, he wonders how to bring the erotic home, be safely ruthless with the woman he loves and respects.

Given the power shifts, men often struggle to integrate masculinity and sexuality in their intimate relationships.

DS: When we last spoke, you mentioned that you've seen more and more men struggling with a loss of sexual desire at younger and younger ages. Why do men seem to be experiencing this loss so early on? What's changed? The women? Or the men?

EP: Well, we live in a time that focuses on instant gratification. The current generation of boys and girls, raised in a way where they never have to feel any frustration nor boredom, is turning out to be the one with the greatest difficulties with sustaining desire. If you have never wanted something, longed for it etc., you cannot know desire. Where there is no frustration there is no desire.

I am interested in the role of porn in the lives of coupled men, as well as the degree of sexual honesty and communication in relationships. The all-out exposure of sex on billboards does not translate in the privacy of our bedrooms.

To order Mating in Captivity, click here

Rebecca Walker, Paul Krugman Take Stands

More excellent follow-up to Steinem's New York Times op-ed now up over at HuffPo from third waver (and GS goddaughter) Rebecca Walker, titled "The Fence." As in on the fence. As in the fence often constructed between second-wave and third-wave feminists. Writes Walker,

Young women are not stupid. The idea that young women are too naive to realize the pervasiveness of sexism is an old Second Wave trope used to dismiss and discredit an entire generation, many of whom now support Obama because he doesn't insult them. As a result, there are a few women lining up behind the "feminist" placard, but many more running in the other direction.

Yes. And it's so very important that we are talking about this. In my effort to keep us focused and informed, too, on additional issues, check out Paul Krugman's latest column on the candidates' stances on economic policy in light of the latest round of bad news. Explains Krugman,
On the Democratic side, John Edwards, although never the front-runner, has been driving his party’s policy agenda. He’s done it again on economic stimulus: last month, before the economic consensus turned as negative as it now has, he proposed a stimulus package including aid to unemployed workers, aid to cash-strapped state and local governments, public investment in alternative energy, and other measures.

Last week Hillary Clinton offered a broadly similar but somewhat larger proposal. (It also includes aid to families having trouble paying heating bills, which seems like a clever way to put cash in the hands of people likely to spend it.) The Edwards and Clinton proposals both contain provisions for bigger stimulus if the economy worsens....

The Obama campaign’s initial response to the latest wave of bad economic news was, I’m sorry to say, disreputable: Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser claimed that the long-term tax-cut plan the candidate announced months ago is just what we need to keep the slump from “morphing into a drastic decline in consumer spending.” Hmm: claiming that the candidate is all-seeing, and that a tax cut originally proposed for other reasons is also a recession-fighting measure — doesn’t that sound familiar?

Anyway, on Sunday Mr. Obama came out with a real stimulus plan. As was the case with his health care plan, which fell short of universal coverage, his stimulus proposal is similar to those of the other Democratic candidates, but tilted to the right.

For example, the Obama plan appears to contain none of the alternative energy initiatives that are in both the Edwards and Clinton proposals, and emphasizes across-the-board tax cuts over both aid to the hardest-hit families and help for state and local governments. I know that Mr. Obama’s supporters hate to hear this, but he really is less progressive than his rivals on matters of domestic policy.

In short, the stimulus debate offers a pretty good portrait of the men and woman who would be president. And I haven’t said a word about their hairstyles.

So here's my concern: Third-wave feminism is about incorporating into one's feminism other movements like those focused on the environment, and, of course, class, and progressive economic policies. And it's complicated. The very fact of a black man and a white woman running for the nation's top office seems to be forcing women of color into what was once thought the narrow second-wave position of having to choose.

Help Woodhull Win $50,000!

On your marks, get set, donate! Today begins the 24-hour period (starts at 3PM Eastern/12PM Pacific today and goes through through 3PM Eastern/12PM Pacific tomorrow) in which Woodhull is asking members of its community and friends to donate $10. To do it, click here.

As part of what I think is a rather brilliant Giving Challenge, Facebook will award money to Causes with the most amount of unique donors. That's right - not the highest amount of money raised, but the highest number of unique donors. The Cause with the most unique donors in the given period wins $1,000. But there is also a 50-day challenge, where the prize is $50K....Read more about the challenge here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Follow-Up to Steinem's NYT Op-Ed

For those of us left pondering the extent to which women of color are being left out of conversations on race and gender around the 2008 elections, Carol Jenkin's article "Invisible Woman," is this week's must-read from the Women's Media Center. Writes Jenkins,

[W]hile a white woman and a black man now run for the most powerful position in world, that fact doesn’t yet translate into possibilities for a woman of color. Her disadvantage—money, connections—is too deep. Read more.

For more WMC coverage on the women's vote and the 2008 election, check out:

-The NH Vote—How Did Hillary Pull It Off? By Peggy Simpson, 1/9/08
-New Hampshire Women Voters Struggle to Make Up Their Minds by Michele Filgate, 1/7/08
-Iowa Voters Reject Front Runners by Peggy Simpson, 1/4/07
-Many Tests Are Posed by the Iowa Caucuses by Peggy Simpson, 1/2/07
-Oprah & Hillary—No Last Names Necessary by Carol Jenkins, 21/10/07
-WMC Reprint: Words Matter—McCain and Politics ’08 by Sara K. Gould, 11/20/07
-Hillary Clinton’s Masculine Communication Style Just Might Win the Prize by Nichola D. Gutgold, 11/13/07
-In Boy Versus Girl, It's Hillary 1, Media 0 by Carol Jenkins, 11/5/07
-Hillary Evens the Score on the Sunday Morning Circuit by Carol Jenkins, 9/24/07
-Hillary’s Rove Factor by Peggy Simpson, 96/07
-Hillary Gets Down by Kristal Brent Zook, 8/22/07
-Right Candidates, Wrong Question by Gloria Steinem, 3/21/07
-Black Enough? Obama’s Dilemma and Mine by Kristal Brent Zook, 3/8/07

Coming Soon: My Interview with Esther Perel

I'm so pleased to post here--soon!--snippets from an interview I did with brilliant marriage and family therapist Esther Perel, whose book Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Domestic and the Erotic, just came out in paperback. The book is currently available in 15 countries and will soon be published in Greece, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Turkey. Not like I'm jealous or anything. Jeesh.

But seriously, Esther's book is one that I've been recommending left and right, and if you haven't gotten hold of it yet, and are wondering about the paradox laid out in the book's subtitle, I urge you to run (don't walk) to your nearest local bookstore in pick it up. And for the partnered among you: get a copy for your mate.

Girl with Book

Me, at Marco's folks' house in FLA, during the break...That dude's always catching me at goofy lookin moments I tell ya.

I Was a Teenage Feminist - Screening Jan. 16

In case you missed it, here's another chance!

An Afternoon at the Movies
National Council of Jewish Women
See "I Was a Teenage Feminist," winner of the Ellie Award for Best Film in the 2006 Jewish Women's Film Festival. Light lunch will be served.

Why is it that young, independent, progressive women feel uncomfortable identifying with the F- word? Armed with a video camera and an irreverent sense of humor, Therese Shechter 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.

Screening in NY January 16th @ 12:30pm

Eleanor Leff Jewish Women's Resource Center
NCJW NY Section
820 Second Avenue (bet. 43rd & 44th)
New York NY

212-687-5030 x10
$15/members, $20/non-members

Writing Workshop Intensive with Savvy Ladies

Calling writers near Berkeley! Brooke and Krista are from Seal Press, and I imagine this workshop will be pretty amazing.


Sat., January 26, 2008 10am to 5pm
At Northbrae Church in Berkeley, CA

For more information, click here. To Register:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friend Plugs: Upcoming Events

I am freakishly proud of--and inspired by--my two friends:

Film Premiere!

Praying with Lior, a film by filmmaking genius Ilana Trachtman, opens at Cinema Village in NYC on February 1st. I saw Lior at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in November and, like the rest of the sold-out crowd, was moved to tears. The film has inspired standing ovations, sold out screenings, Audience Awards for Best Documentary, op-eds and rave reviews. Ilana will do Q & A at all evening screenings opening weekend. Cinema Village is at 22 E.12th St. Buy Individual Tickets here. Group tickets: Joe or Minos, CV 212-924-3364.

On January 15, the Jewish Museum will screen Praying with Lior at 3:00 and 6:30. Lior's parents will do Q & A after the 6:30 show, followed by panel on disability in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Distinguished panelists are William Gaventa, M.Div, Editor of Religion and Disability, Rabbi Dan Grossman, Adath Israel Congregation, and Sarah Lawrence Professor of Islamic Studies Kristin Zahra Sands. NYU"s Professor Faye Ginsburg will moderate. My mom and I will be in the audience too :) Tickets.

Lior is also playing at film festivals around the country--Atlanta, L.A., Minneapolis, Tampa, Denver, San Diego, Houston, Hartford, Ithaca, Seattle, Cherry Hill, West Orange, Westchester, and Boston. And Caracas! Dates and tickets. You can watch the trailer here.

CD Release Party!

Superstar Sarah Ann Corkum will be jamming on tambourine with her band Corduroy Days tonight at R Bar (218 Bowery). The night starts off at 7 with an open bar (until 8pm) and the band goes on around 9. Of course, if not in NYC you can check out the music at their website and get your groove on, too.

Who Voted Their Gender? (take two!)

In case you missed it here, Virginia Rutter's guest post, "Who Voted Their Gender in Iowa?" (hint: it wasn't women) is now up over at AlterNet. Please feel free to go there and comment away!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Of (Young) Men and War

Ok, so clearly I'm on an image raid this morning. This is the cover of a new collection of short stories that circle around the themes of contemporary masculinity and war, which Courtney reviewed. Says she, these "stories explore domestic violence, rape, thwarted love, miscarriages, familial relationships etc. Basically there isn’t a hot button issue concerning masculinity and violence that this volume doesn’t touch, although always in an artful, complex way." I think this just became the book I'm reading next. (Thanks, C!)

Sexism is a Bitch

And while we're on the topic of images (see post below), this just in, from feministing's Hillary Sexism Watch. Very original, dudes.

New Blog on the Block

I recently discovered a very cool new blog called Sociological Images, run by Professor Lisa D. Wade at Occidental College. Sometimes, images speak more than a thousand words. Much, much more, here. (Thanks, Virginia, for the heads up!)