Thursday, June 28, 2007

Courtney, Me, and a Marquee!

The sign that greeted us outside of Women and Children First (feminist bookstore in Andersonville) last night. Need we say more?!

See ya in St. Charles...

Hard as it is to pull myself away from the cushy comfort of my hometown (Mom, Dad: thanks for the memories!), Courtney and I head to St. Charles, IL for the National Women's Studies Association conference first thing tomorrow. If you're there, come say hi. On Friday and Saturday, we'll be signing books together (depending on how much sleep we've had, we may start signing each others'...) and then on Sunday at 10am, I'll be leading a workshop on publishing books for trade -- here's what it's about:

Publishing in Women's Studies: A Public Voice
Sun, Jul 1 - 10:00am - 12:30pm
Women's studies scholars and students write about topics central to public debate. Yet too often our work fails to reach an audience outside of the academy. At the same time, to write a book in today's competitive publishing climate, scholars must appeal to a broader audience than was necessary in the past. This session brings together the people who can help facilitate these translations-literary agents and editors-with scholars who are currently negotiating the traverse. Panelists will discuss the components of a successful book proposal, the writerly and professional payoffs of "crossing over," and the scholarly challenges of writing "pop" while pursuing tenure.

Session Leaders
Deborah Siegel, Author and Consultant
Jean Casella, Editor

Nancy Crossman, Crossman Literary Agency

Book Tour Blogging, Stop Three

Chicago - SO my kind of town. (Well, NYC my kind of town too, but, well, you know...)

I'm still high from Tuesday's reading at The Book Stall - the place I went to pick out books when I was twelve. Not only did I have my two grandmas in the house and my high school English teacher to whom the book is partly dedicated, but a 9-mo.-pregnant-and-about-to-pop dear friend from high school (pictured left) and my soulmate from graduate school, Eileen (pictured right), were there too. Also attending: my parents' beloved shrink friends, two great-aunts, Aunt Shellie and Uncle Jim, and, yes, even some folks I didn't know. It was so comfy, I felt like I was reading in my parents' living room. Thank you to all for such a warm homecoming -- and for such lively post-reading conversation!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Women Center Stage Celebrated Opening Night...and I Missed It

It was on Monday down in Soho, and I am lame for not posting this in time! Not that you can still go or anything, but just so folks know how very cool Culture Project (the sponsoring org) is, here's what went on -- you know, so you can feel bummed that you missed it too:

Jennifer Buffett moderated a conversation between and about women making serious change in the world, on a variety of platforms: Aisha al-Adawiya (Women In Islam), Gloria Feldt (activist, author, former president of Planned Parenthood), Carol Jenkins (Women's Media Center), Idelisse Malave (Tides Foundation), and Letty Cottin Pogrebin (activist and author). And here's how they describe it:
Culture Project's Women Center Stage a multi-disciplinary festival featuring women artists whose work calls attention to human struggles globally. From Pulitzer Prize-winner Samantha Power to Chinese-Jamaican spoken word poet Staceyann Chin, Eve Ensler to Iranian comedian Negin Farsad, Carol Gilligan to Azar Nafisi, a play about human trafficking to a film about Hurricane Katrina (in 2007 alone) – we don't represent everyone and everything, but we make a pretty strong effort at gathering most of it.

Now that's a festival I want to join.

Girls Gone Mild...?

Greetings from sweet home Chicago! I'm happily ensconsed at Mom and Dad's, preparing for the Chicago book-related activities this week. Still, can't help the surfing, and boy oh boy - I just got to get me this book: Girls Gone Mild by Wendy Shalit. More from me on the subject as soon as I have a chance to check it out, but in the meantime, WSJ piece on it here.

Mom, Dad, and I watched "Age of Love" last night (cougars -- women in their 40s -- versus kittens -- women in their 20s -- duking it out for the love of a bachelor). And then part of "Science of Love" (go Pepper Schwartz!). I have TONS to say, but no time at present. Book tour -- and my amazing 97-year-old grandmother who now lives here with my parents -- calls. But stay tuned!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Event Announcement - Moms Who Work: Myth & Reality

How much am I loving the Women's Leadership Initiative at Demos? They're sponsoring a forum on my book on July 26 in NYC (save the date!). But I also love them for highlighting "fresh thinking, research and writing by and about the importance of women's leadership in building a strong democracy and securing economic prosperity." I mean, what's better than that?

If in the area, don't miss their forum this week on Moms Who Work: Myth and Reality

Thurs., June 28, 2007
Program from 12:15-1:45 pm at Demos
220 Fifth Ave, 5th Floor
New York, NY

Here's the deal:

Join Demos
and co-sponsors for a discussion with E.J. Graff on the realities faced by working mothers (and their families) in the U.S. today. Drawing upon her article "The Opt Out Myth" published in the March/April 2007 edition of the Columbia Journalism Review, Graff will dispel myths perpetuated by misleading reporting and media hype, such as the "opt-out revolution" and the "mommy wars"-- and will discuss how those storylines can harm public policy.

Panelists will respond to Graff with research, analysis, and discussion about the real issues facing various groups of working women; how advocates are creating policies to support women and their families; and what more still needs to be done: Carol Jenkins, Women's Media Center; Linda Lisi Juergens, National Association of Mothers' Centers (NAMC); and Lois K. Backon, Families and Work Institute. This event will be moderated by Linda Tarr-Whelan, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos.

Co-sponsored by: The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, Women’s Media Center, Families & Work Institute, National Association of Mothers Centers, The Columbia Journalism Review

Saturday, June 23, 2007

From Bluestockings to Mermaids...

I had a blast reading at Bluestockings last night and was totally touched by Jennifer Baumgardner's introduction. What a natural high to look out on a hometown crowd that's full of friends and loved ones. Thank you to all of you who attended (full house!), to Marco and Elizabeth for pouring wine, and to all those who came for a drink at Lolita Bar post-reading.

Moving from the serious to the silly, I spent the day recovering at Coney Island, watching the Mermaid Parade. What a hoot. I want to dress up next year in glitter, bikini (keeping the top on, thank you), and tail. One part Mardi Gras, one part summer Halloween, and fully New York City, it was a dreamy way to kick off the season and take a quick break from The Tour. If you've never been, I highly recommend. Even if the idea of shells and rollerblades doesn't turn you on, it's a great spectator's event, and very up-with-people and all. I found myself unmistakably moved by the irreverent celebration of beauty, bodies, and sea.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Book Tour Blogging: Stop Two

Washington DC.

My friend Heather once told me, soon after she had her first baby, that all the things that worry you about motherhood when you're pregnant are none of the things you worry about once you have that kid. You worry about different things instead. I feel a bit like that about this book (Sisterhood, Interrupted). Before it was born, I worried (well, worried is strong - more like wondered) that I'd offend older women readers or alienate younger ones. Or both. Or that I'd be accused of adding fuel to the flame by writing about feminist fights. So far, nope.

In that miraculous stroke of stars in alignment and timing (I think being published right after Jessica and Courtney's books took off like wildfire, starting crucial debates, was fortuitous), my book seems to be hitting folks in just the way I had hoped -- and is drumming up some panels and forums for cross-generational conversation among gals old and young. (Stay tuned for more details - but the first one is a Demos Forum on July 26th. Lots more in the works for Fall.)

So what are the worries, a week post-delivery? Only the silly stuff. Like forgetting my camera on the South Jersey trip and not being able to preserve the memory of walking down Alice Paul's staircase at Paulsdale, or not publicly thanking the manager of Olsson's Bookstore last night in DC (THANK YOU, Olsson's!), or not taking a photo (brought the camera this time) of Emily Napalo and Diana, assistants to Ellie Smeal at Feminist Majority Foundation and Kim Gandy at NOW respectively, who came to the reading, to post here on the blog....

So before I forget, a warm shout out to those in DC: Emily, Diana, Michal Avni, Heather Boushey, Allison Kimmich, Sarah Blustain, Ann Friedman, and especially to my host John Schmidt. And to the young women (esp Danielle) who interviewed me for PBS's To the Contrary. You all totally made my day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sisterhood Observed

A thoughtful, intergenerational review of Sisterhood, Interrupted--by Linda Hirshman and then Nona Willis-Aronowitz appears in today's New York Observer.

I'm off to catch a train to DC for a PBS taping and a reading tonight at Olsson's, DuPont Circle. If you're in the DC area, please, come say hello!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

That HuffPo po now online...

Here we go: "Sex Wars Old and New".

Favorite comments from "williepilgrim," who writes,
Why not consider the following: no matter how much we wish it weren't so, objective truth in reality is a direction in which to travel. It will never be a destination at which one resides.

...and "Lon," who writes:
Are these debates about sexuality to be contrasted with debates about religion and ethics which we are so good at resolving once and for all?

Book Tour Blogging, Stop One

Official tour kicked off this week with a reading at a Border's near Philly, hosted by the South Jersey Alice Paul chapter of NOW. Proceeds from the day went to the chapter -- I hope they collected oodles! The audience was my ideal group, and I'm afraid they set the standard, now, for this tour. The president of the chapter was in her late 20s, and there were members there in their 60s as well.

Before the event, my host, the amazing, inspiring, long-time activist Judy Buckman, brought me to visit Paulsdale, the birthplace of Alice Paul. Apparently, during the long, hard suffrage campaign, Alice occasionally came there to recharge. Surrounded by acres of beautiful country, Paulsdale was her personal retreat. Judy told me about the more recent fight circa 1991 to register the place as a historic landmark ("Now it'd be easier if, say, you were talking about the home of Thomas Jefferson," the Paulsdale crusaders were told.) The gorgeously restored farmhouse (above) is now home to the Alice Paul Institute, complete with leadership programs for young women and girls. I can't wait to introduce the Woodhull (yes, as in Victoria) Institute to Alice's Institute, if they aren't friends already. I find it intensely moving the way first-wave heroines are being reclaimed by women's institutions today.

In a stroke of perfect timing, Iron Jawed Angels arrived from Netflix last night. Can't wait to check out Hilary Swank's impersonation of Alice. Yeah, like I'm now on first-name basis with the author of the ERA. Guess that's what happens when you visit Paulsdale. There's something truly magical and inspirited about the place. Go there. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Response to AlterNet interview: the beat goes on...and on...

Coming this week on HuffPo: I just sent off a post, "Sex Wars Old and New," commenting on the 103 (!) comments posted in response to Courtney Martin's interview with me on AlterNet last week (“Why Feminists Fight”). Let me know what you think. It should be up soon.

Also this week: Watch for an excerpt of Sisterhood, Interrupted in the next edition Mothers Movement Online!

Rock for Young Women - and Does My Book Match My Dress?

If I weren't going to be in Illinois at the National Women's Studies conference on June 29, I'd be at the Knitting Factory in NYC that night, here:

Rock for Young Women will feature musical performances by Bouva, Boyskout, Tamara Fishman, Frank Hoier, and Receptor. Molly Kelleher and Maryann Schaub of Broad Comedy will present "It's Great To Wait," written by Katie Goodman. The evening will also include several spoken word performances.

Tickets at the door will be $20 with half of the proceeds going to GEMS (an organization that provides preventive and transitional services to young women, ages 12-21 years, who are at risk for or involved in sexual exploitation and violence) and the other half to the New York metro chapter of the Younger Women's Task Force (which does great work on reproductive rights, voter education, and other issues important to young women in New York City). Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Knitting Factory (74 Leonard Street). Purchase advance tickets from the Knitting Factory for $15.

Thanks to Patti Binder for passing it on. And to someone named Nathan, whose graphic (above) I stole. I'm very into hot pink today - I'm doing my first bookstore reading for Sisterhood, Interrupted, which has a hot pink cover. Fashion advice needed: Is it tacky to wear a dress that matches your book?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Intergenerational Panel Hits the Road

It's real - and I'm jazzed. Starting this fall, I’ll be touring campuses and elsewhere as part of an intergenerational panel with three AMAZING fellow writers/speakers:

Courtney Martin (author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters)

Kristal Brent Zook
(author of Black Women’s Lives: Stories of Pain and Power)

Gloria Feldt (author of The War on Choice and former president of Planned Parenthood)

Together, we feel it’s time that women of all ages talked and listened to one another instead of rehashing the same complaints in isolation. We want to reopen the dialogue about women’s lives, power, entitlement, and the future of feminism, but this time, with a rich, cross-generational understanding. If you're connected to a campus or organization and are interested in bringing us your way, please contact Taryn at

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Almost Father's Day!

As much fun as I'm having over here, I hate it that geography and book tour are keeping me from being with Dadio (pictured left, with yours truly) on Father's Day this year. To ease my angst, I've been soaking up a bit of the bloggy goodness going on around Dad's Day this year as I get ready to hit the road. A few highlights:

With trademark savvyness, Cali Yost at Work + Life Fit blog reminds us work/life negotiations are an "everyone issue" and reports on a just-released survey where 58% of fathers felt their employers should be more considerate of their needs as working dads, and a majority appreciate having a flexible work schedule.

Lovely piece via Women's eNews on the evolution of the father-daughter bond...

Interesting "resource kit" page for journalists covering same-sex parents, over at G.L.A.A.D.'s website, via Pseudo-Adrienne over at Liberal Feminist Bias...

Congrats to Feminist Dad on the birth of Edie Andrew, and kudos to him in general! I love this guy. You've gotta check it out...

And P.S. Heartfelt congratulations to Michael Heller on becoming a dad this week!

GUEST POST: Judith Glick Buckman, South Jersey NOW

I'm so excited to go for dinner with the women of NOW before my reading at Border's in Jersey on Monday! Judith Glick Buckman, one of the founders of the Alice Paul Chapter - which is one of the oldest and largest chapters, I believe - wrote a very moving letter about intergenerational issues, and her experiences. Here's Judy:

When I was 7 months pregnant I attended a National NOW conference. My daughter, who is now 31, literally got feminism with her mother’s milk and attended many demonstrations in her stroller holding a picket sign.

My greatest fear is that she, like so many women of her generation, assume the battles have been won and due to this complacence, their tenuous right to choose will be pulled out from under them before they know what hit them, much less have the skills or the willingness to counter attack.

I’ve been an activist with South Jersey NOW—Alice Paul chapter for more than 30 years. The good news AND the bad news, is that we are a multi-generational group of women and men from the teen-aged years to the 80s. While we do our best to work together to ensure equal rights, sometimes that goal seems more difficult to achieve than our ongoing battles against the conservative forces in this country.

Based on Deborah Siegel’s insight into this situation and her determination to serve as an interpreter between the second and third waves of feminism, I am excited and confident that her book will be an invaluable guide enabling us to bridge that divide.

When I was the age my daughter is now, I had no idea what gifts awaited me through my women’s right activism--nothing else in my life has given me the same sense of power, accomplishment, sisterhood and satisfaction, which I quite literally could not have imagined in my 20’s. Apart from the great changes to society that the second wave has accomplished, the act of fighting the battles has been one of the most positive and enriching forces in my life.

Deborah Siegel’s message is one that all who care about women’s rights, regardless of age, needs to hear. As well as alerting my daughter’s generation that we need to fight the rest of the battles together, my most fervent wish is that Ms. Siegel’s book will teach those of us in the second wave, how to pass the torch in a way that will not extinguish the flame.

Thank you, Judy! How I loves me that metaphor - passing the torch without extinguishing the flame....Much food for thought. Readers, your thoughts?

Up for air...!

Coming up for air (still high on cloud nine) to catch up on this and that and reality for a moment! I'm reading at Border's in Marlton New Jersey on Monday at an event sponsored by the South Jersey Alice Paul Chapter of NOW. then heading to DC on Weds for a PBS taping and a reading at Olsson's (1 DuPont Circle) on Weds night, so if you're in Jersey, Philly, or DC, I would SO LOVE to see ya. More info bout upcoming events on my website.

So this just in from my hometown paper, The Chicago Tribune, sent via Laura over at Catalyst:
Like bickering relatives at the end of a long holiday dinner, women have been arguing about whether the gender revolution is over and more mothers are choosing to leave work and stay home with the children.

Now experts who shared their latest research at [the Council on Contemporary Families] conference in May say that far from reverting to more traditional sex roles, women and men are becoming more alike in their attitudes toward balancing life at home and at work.

Not crazyloving the bickering relatives bit, but, well, I can't say it ain't so. The article, by the very savvy Patricia Cohen, goes on to discuss how men's and women's desires when it comes to work/life negotiations are more similar than different, debunking the old Venus/Mars theory of gender that still dominate popular culture on this front. Explains Cohen,
Of course, most people recognize that mothers are working more and doing less housework, and men are working less and doing more housework and child care than a generation ago. But what much of the recent research has tried to tease out is more information on attitudes and desires. And so far, the evidence points toward men and women having increasingly similar goals.

Let's hope this evidence, this reality, keeps making headline news. Glad it's made its way, for instance, from the Times to the Trib of my heartland. As for the bickering, I know I'm not alone in longing for the day when women stop fighting each other, pop culture stops polarizing gender roles, and we all start fighting together for things like paid leave and subsidized childcare and eldercare and better healthcare and all that good shit. I mean, stuff.

The article originally appeared on May 31 in The New York Times. In case you missed it the first time, check the rest out here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sisterhood, Buzz

I am so excitedly overwhelmed at the response yesterday. Profound gratitude to all who have sent me such kind words of enthusiasm and support! People are starting to ask how I think we might foster better and rich conversations across generations of feminists. So here is my initial response:

1. Host or gather a group of women, girls, and grrls across the generations and use the DISCUSSION GUIDE in the back of the back of Sisterhood, Interrupted to spark conversations about our differences, our similarities, the unfinished business of feminism, and how we move forward from here.

2. Take a younger/older feminist to LUNCH! Do it today. Connections are far best when they're one-on-one.

3. If you're an academic wanting to join the more popular conversation about feminism and add nuance and you have a book that you think could go trade, take my online course this fall, "MAKING IT POP: TRANSLATING YOUR IDEAS FOR TRADE" (more details on that soon, via Girl w/Pen email list)

4. If you can, participate in a LEADERSHIP RETREAT at the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership. I'm a Fellow there, and we offer leadership retreats for women in their 20s/30s, another one for women over 50, and many, of course, that are intergenerational. (Scholarships are available.)

5. Stay current and in touch by reading FEMINIST BLOGS (if unfamiliar, check out my blogroll, for a gateway). They provide to-the-minute coverage on wide-ranging topics and are places where rich intergenerational discussion, ideally, can begin.

6. Send me suggestions of your own and I promise to post them here. Or join my Facebook group and start dialogue there.

Thank you again, and happy reading!! I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Ok, I'm more than a little psyched - PUB DAY IS HERE!! This morning I was carrying a copy of Sisterhood, Interrupted (which Marco has started to refer to for some reason as "Sisterrupted") as I was waiting in line at Starbucks and the woman behind me asked "Is that book good? I like the title" and I got to say, "I wrote it!" Very fun way to start the day. That, and with a link to the awesome Courtney Martin's piece on my book in AlterNet today. Also going live today is an interview by the amazing ladies over at the Center for New Words.

I forgot to mention yesterday how inspired I was by the Annual Spring Reading I went to on Sunday for Girls Write Now. Those girls have got it going on. The store (B&N at Astor Place) was jam packed, and the girls--all in their teens--read their heartfelt, beautiful, painful, poignant, courageous writing to the crowd. The fearless and ever-inspiring Jessica Valenti kicked it off. Congrats Patti and Maya and all the others over at GWN on such a stupendous event! And thank you for giving this grown up girl renewed energy and inspiration as I launch into this week!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cartoons, Feminism, and Bluestockings - Oh My!

Sadly, I can't make this reading (hey Marco, when it's comics, is it a showing?) tonight at Bluestockings Book Store down there on the Lower East Side. But I urge those who can and are looking for fun to go. Congratulations, Mikhaela & Masheka! I can't wait to get my hands on your new books.

Shameless Hawking: Top 5 Ways to Help...

My book Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild officially goes on sale tomorrow (gulp) and people have been asking (bless their hearts!) how they can help. Here are some suggestions:


2. Tell someone else to buy the book, or buy it for your mother / daughter / sister / friend (it might make a strange Father's Day present, but hey, why not! Hey Dad - guess what you're getting this year!)

3. Write about it - on your blog, in a note to your mother/daughter, on the bathroom wall...

4. Come out to a reading, or tell friends, sisters, and aunts about a reading in the cities I'm going to (events posted here)

5. Host or gather a group of women, girls, and grrls across the generations and use the discussion guide in the back of the book to spark conversations about our differences, our similarities, the unfinished business of feminism, and what we all can do...!

And thank you, Girl with Pen readers, for all your support. It means the world to me that people are excited to read the book! You bigtime make my day. You do. I really mean that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

So who are these "Grrls Gone Wild" in your title?

I'm staring down my pub date (JUNE 12!) and I spent the weekend doing all these online interviews - which was hugely fun! One interviewer asked me about the subtitle, and I thought I'd post my response here:

The radical women are the radical feminists who appear in the early chapters of the book—the ones who came of age in the Civil Rights and antiwar movements and the New Left, grew tired of pouring coffee and licking stamps (and, though I didn't say this in the interview, licking other things) for the male heavies, formed a movement of their own, and gave voice to that transformative slogan, “The Personal Is Political.” Grrl is the young feminist appropriation of “girl” first voiced by the Riot Grrls—punk girls who grew tired of playing sexual side dish to the drummer and started creating their own scene, which included all-girl bands. This is just one example, but there are continuities here that I think are lost on women from both these generations. Sometimes older women today think the boob-flashing on the video series Girls Gone Wild is all there is to a younger generation’s so-called feminism, when really there’s SO much else going on.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Only Children and the The New York Times

Ok, I'm more than a little happy that the letter to the editor Daphne and I wrote in response to the New York Times June 3 story on only children made it in! (Happy dance image here.) Not that we're bitter that the article didn't mention our book cough cough. Nope, not at all.

Announcing: The Daring Book for Girls

Yep, you guessed it! It's coming! And it's going to be GOOD, cuz my friend and blogospheric idol Miriam Peskowitz is coauthoring it with her MotherTalk partner Andi Buchanan. Read more about it here.

The Latest in Opt Out: Opting Back In

Perhaps, finally, we're beginning to see a reality check on the "opt out" mythology: witness the astute coverage of recent books and articles on mom professionals who opt back in. Don't miss Helaine Olen's interview with Pamela Stone (author of Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home) on Babble. And check out the excellent forum with Stone, Bennetts, and others in the current issue of More, and the accompanying article by Leslie Morgan Steiner titled, aptly, "Back in Business."

Among the enticing stack of books currently on my desk is one called Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin--two Harvard MBAs who sucessfully relaunched after staying home full-time with their kids. And perhaps of greatest interest to Girl with Pen Terrified And Excited About The Concept of Motherhood is another one called Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Knocked Up Continued: Readers Respond

These comments are just too good to leave as comments, so I'm elevating them to post status. Thank you, Veronica, Marco, and Feminist Review for weighing in on my recent post about Knocked Up! The points you all make are quite excellent and astute.

Veronica said...

I haven't seen it, but I know I will. My lust for Paul Rudd aside...Isn't it just horribly difficult to watch a movie without our feminist alarms going off? I try so hard to turn it off and enjoy a movie, but like you, after some time that 'guilt' creeps over me and I have to face the fact that if they had done this or that, well you get the picture. From 40yr Virgin to Ron Burgundy, we get just enough feminism to keep us smiling.

Marco Acevedo said...

OK, boyly-boy Marco here... I thinks it's fair to say I loved the movie with some of the same reservations... it's clearly a geek fantasy dressed as cautionary/coming-of-age fable, while managing to feel honest in its character interactions. But I resent the idea it's an every-guy movie. We don't all feel the need to bond by nesting together in our own refuse, or to be that crass in front of the ladies. The constant pop-culture-referencing, though, is pretty spot-on.

FeministReview said...

While I agree that the female anatomy (esp. when being used for procreation) should not be on par with fart jokes as a grossout gag, I think that some might be taking this a little too seriously. Your entry is a balanced review of this film (I viewed the film in much the same way), but the Slate review annoyed me. It's not necessarily Apatow's job as a director to address abortion as a viable choice for women. But he does. Katherine Heigl's character considers it and decides that she wants to keep the baby. She made a choice. And it was completely her's. That's something. Just because the character doesn't choose abortion doesn't mean that she's the product of a man's misinformed imagination. And I also think that Apatow shows that even though his male characters are completely clueless, they are harmless schlubs. While much of the guy bonding is comprised of misogynist endeavors (porn sites, sex mimicry, blow job jokes), it's not malicious. I am not saying it's right and I don't think Apatow is either. He's not claiming that he or any or his characters are in touch with the female psyche. At least they are trying.

Knocking It Up Over at HuffPo Today...

My post on Knocked Up is now up at HuffPo. Check it out, and tell me if you agree/disagree!

(And ps Jessica was a hoot on The Colbert Show last night! Loved that she opened by giving him a t-shirt that said "Feminist Chicks Dig Me" - cuz we do.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Don't miss Jessica tonight on The Colbert Show

Jessica Valenti will be on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" discussing her book, Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters, tonight. Tune in at 11:30pm Eastern! (GO JESSICA!)

Happy Launch Day, Death By Chick Lit!

If you're looking for a summer read to kick off the season, I highly recommend Lynn Harris' Death By Chick Lit. Maybe I'm enjoying it so much because I'm about to launch a book and am drinking that complicated cocktail of selfish envy and altruistic delight for all my friends who are currently publishing books to great acclaim. Or maybe I'm enjoying it because it's just damn lol funny. Enough about why. Just read it. Because it will make you laugh. If you don't believe me, ask Marco, or ask my cat, because it's been making them laugh out loud too. (Ok, that cat line proves it: *I* am not funny.)

Here's a teaser:


You’ve heard of Lola Somerville. Or not. Her first novel, much anticipated by her mother, was promptly eclipsed by…everyone else’s first novel. These days, seems no one Lola knows can write a letter to the editor without having it optioned for a major motion picture. Sure, Lola thinks, I have a great geek-hottie husband and a cool apartment in “up and coming” Brooklyn—but just once, can’t I write some random article and have Jodie Foster call me for the film rights? Or jeez, okay, Minnie Driver. Just something?

Then one night at a swanky book party, Lola finds her frenemy Mimi McKee, author of Gay Best Friend, dead in the basement, throat slashed with a broken martini glass. And when the bodies of It-Girl writers begin to pile up, Lola starts asking dangerous questions: Are the murders connected? Am I next? If not, um, why not? If I solve the mystery, then will my agent remember my name? And as Lola digs deeper, the stakes get higher. Will getting her hands on the killer—and the book deal bound to follow—mean losing the people she loves most?

Knocked Up is a Knock Out - Unless You're a Girly Girl Like Me...

As I mentioned, I came home from a very heady feminist conference this weekend in the mood for some slightly lighter fare. So on Sunday Marco and I went to see Knocked Up--the original plan was Spiderman 3, but Judd Apatow won out. Yesterday, my dear boy sent me the links to reviews in Salon and Slate. "Both positive, but Slate has gender issues."

So did I.

Let me say first that I enjoyed the movie, wholeheartedly. I laughed. And I cringed. Maybe it was my feminist hangover from the conference, but I pretty quickly got the sense that Knocked Up was a pregnancy movie for boys by boys. Which is great. I mean, we need those, and we need them badly. Men are parents too. It's about time we had some sensitive stories about what it's like for men to become fathers--when they're so-called ready and especially when they're not. I love that the Ben character (Seth Rogen) walks the three miles to the gyno's office even after Allison (Katherine Heigl) throws him out of the car, and that he eventually reads the pregnancy books. And Apatow's portrayal of male bonding throughout the movie was disgustingly sweet--by which I mean disgusting at times, according to this perhaps-too-easily-grossed-out girly girl reviewer, but I get it: genuine and sweet.

Still, I agree with Slate's Dana Stevens, who comments that, in this movie at least, Apatow doesn't get (or write) chicks as well as he writes (and gets) dudes. Knocked Up is eons from being misogynist. But the movie's two basic premises--that, boom! young rising professional Allison wants to keep the baby, recent-life-changing-promotion-notwithstanding, and that she's willing to take such a heartfelt second look at the guy who severely grossed her out the morning after--struck me as forced vocabulary. This is Guyland indeed: pregnant is "knocked up," abortion is referred to in euphemism ("rhymes with 'shmashmortion"), and (spoiler alert!!) the geek gets the prom queen. In other words, it's a fantasy about the sensitive slacker who, learns, through impending fatherhood, to grow up--and gets the girl. (The girl, to be fair, finds love where she least expects it. Fairy tale endings for all!) (Spoiler ends here.)

When the lights came up and my beloved dude turned to me and said, "I loved it!", I didn't want to be a spoilsport and offered up an enthusiastic, "Me too!" But truth be told, my love's qualified. Sure, I'm willing to suspend disbelief when the Grey's Anatomy hottie grew soft on a guy she couldn't even get through breakfast with, and even after he flunked the second date. But when the image of a crowning baby head elicited the same "eew!" as the scene where Ben's roomies transmit pink eye by farting on each other's pillows (don't ask), my grossdar got offended. Next time someone makes a movie about pregnancy for guys, maybe someone could throw us lingering feminist girly girls a little more than just a bone?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Death of Hissy, Gen Y Women at Work, and Good Ole Missy Suicide

I just got back from the National Council for Research on Women's 25th anniversary conference at Spelman, in Atlanta. Very historically rich feeling to be on that particular campus--and to hear directly from Moya Bailey, one of the Spelman students behind the Nelly protests. The conference was deliciously rich too. I had big fun unfurling the "Milestones in Women's Research" banner I'd been working on with NCRW, and giving a workshop on translating research for trade. To balance things out a bit, I went to see Knocked Up last night with my beau. Since I haven't had time for a real post since coming back, I'm vicariously offering up the following tidbits in the interim:

The New York Times has a piece today on new shows including The Starter Wife by Alessandra Stanley, who has an interesting observation on female bonding/fighting:
The fact that nowadays women are allowed to like one another, even at the expense of men, is at the core of ladies-night hits like “Grey’s Anatomy.” So atavistic series like “The Bachelor” and “Desperate Housewives” that play down female camaraderie and instead showcase hissy fits and catfights have a naughty, contrarian tang.

Let's hear it for the death of hissy. Bonding is in!

Over on HuffPo Courtney Martin serves up some intergenerational wisdom in her
review of Hannah Seligson's new book
, New Girl on the Job: Advice from the Trenches, which, says Courtney, "speaks directly to this disappointed generation of highly ambitious and more than slightly unrealistic women" aka Gen Y:
The New Girl on the Job uncovers the new American Dream. It's not the perfect house, the white picket fence, and the 2.5 kids -- it is fulfilling work and respect. We don't just want to make a good living and put food on the table anymore, we want to be professional creatives, entrepreneurs, inventors, visionaries, and influentials. Sure it is a tall order. Sure we're a little entitled. But isn't this what you raised us to believe was possible?

Seligson sees the intergenerational rifts and addresses them very matter-of-factly: "You shouldn't fear that the arrival of a new girl will undermine your position, or write off the older women you work with as out of touch. There is room for all of us."

Yes and yes.

And many thanks to Veronica Arreola at the Women in Science and Engineering Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago for calling my attention to CNN's latest bit on GGW and porn that includes an uncharacteristically nice little bow (sort of) to the Suicide Girls.

More tomorrow for reals, promise!