Dear Mr. President, Please Put a Sock in It

Kamala-HarrisIt took me five attempts to decide on the title of this post, with each version growing progressively less snarky and more measured. Though I’m feeling rather put off by Obama’s boneheaded comments about California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ looks yesterday (note to POTUS: if the brain trust at Fox & Friends takes your side, consider it a bad sign) on balance I think President Obama is a friend to the ladies. [Read more...]

Points of Entry, or Why Everyone’s Yelling About Sheryl Sandberg

sandbergThere’s an argument that the American women’s movement has been having with itself on and off since since the late 1800’s, and it looks like we’re in for another round this week. It’s an argument about authenticity and the movement’s true purpose, about what qualifies as a real feminist concern and, by extension, who qualifies as a real feminist. In the 19th century you would have heard Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone shouting each other down (politely, over tea) about the enfranchisement of African American men; in 2013 you get feminists tweeting (less politely, beer in hand) about Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” which was released today and is causing quite the uproar in ladyblogger circles. [Read more...]

I Don’t Give a Crap if Katy Perry’s Not a Feminist

Katyperry Not FeministOK, Internet, I’ll bite. For the past week you’ve been insisting that people like me should be outraged that, upon receiving her Billboard Woman of the Year Award, Katy Perry felt constrained to note that she’s not a feminist. Like anyone was asking, which they weren’t, but maybe “Woman of the Year” sounded too serious to someone beloved for her willingness to attach sparklers to her boobs? [Read more...]

I’m Calling to Urge Your Support

When I signed on to be a full-time activist, I didn’t realize how many phone calls would be involved. I don’t have the kind of job that requires me to show up in person to protest things—I’ve probably done that twice in nearly a decade of anti-domestic violence work—mine is more a “sit and think about policy” and “write position letters” kind of a gig. But phone calls are another matter. During the course of the average week I receive huge volumes of emails of the “Take Action!” variety, and while my first response is to mutter “I took action by coming to work, what do you want from me?” I do still often feel moved to act as an individual citizen and dial those 1-888 numbers. A polite if rather stilted conversation ensues, in which whomever was lucky enough to answer the phone in Congress Member X’s office gets to hear me read (eloquently, one assumes) from the script provided by whomever asked me to call them. [Read more...]

Happy Anniversary, Joe Biden (A Political Love Story)

I’ve been looking forward to the Vice Presidential debate ever since Paul Ryan’s candidacy was announced, because I fully expect that Joe Biden is going to eat that smirking plutocrat for lunch. The media narrative of Biden as America’s Daffy Uncle belies the accomplished legislator and ass-kicking partisan he really is. But so much the better; low expectations, plus Ryan’s entirely undeserved reputation as a policy wonk can only work to Old Uncle Joe’s benefit. He will smile genially, wave to the crowd, then rip Paul Ryan a new one. I cannot wait. I heart Joe.

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Shilling the Angel in the House

Because I am a glutton for a very particular kind of punishment, I just read the transcript of Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican Convention last night. I knew going in that Mrs. Romney and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on the GOP’s lady-friendliness, but I was interested to see what use the Party would make of her. Given the absolutely banner year of crap the GOP has had with women’s issues, I assumed that her speech would try to repair some of the damage done by the Legitimate Rape Brigade  by distracting us with a few examples of times her husband’s party was not being overtly hostile to women. Couldn’t hurt, right? [Read more...]

Supreme Court to Walmart Plaintiffs: Shut Up, You Dumb Girls

Good news for all you misogynist bosses out there: the Supreme Court totally has your back, bro. Apparently all you have to do is write a policy saying you’re not allowed to discriminate against women, and then you can safely discriminate against women on a massive fucking scale and you will be totally fine. Because: the written policy!  It’s genius, really. Not since the Citizens United decision have I been so forcefully reminded that the conservative majority of our nation’s highest court is a pack of absolute, unrepentant hypocrites. I actually like to be reminded of that; I find it bracing, like a cold shower or a sudden blow to the head. Gets the adrenalin flowing! God, they’re terrible. But I digress.

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Saudi Women Protesters “Brave”; U.S. Still a Total Wuss

Saudi Arabia is seriously the worst. Of all the many, many places on earth where it thoroughly sucks to be female, they rank impressively high. Basically women there have the legal status of minors, only permanently. Women can’t vote, they can’t go out in public unless accompanied by a man; they can’t even get a job without written permission from a male “guardian” which, what the hell? And as many now know because of last Friday’s protests, Saudi Arabian women are not allowed to drive. Anywhere, ever. I mean, they can, but they get arrested for it, which is a pretty good deterrent. When weighing the costs and benefits of a trip to the grocery store, I’m guessing “will go to jail” is a fairly convincing argument against running errands. [Read more...]

BREAKING: Anthony Weiner’s Wife’s Fetus Not Actually Your Business

Well, it’s over. Congressman Crotch Shot is stepping down, giving way at last beneath the weight of the nation’s collective scolding. I haven’t yet been persuaded that his toolish behavior constituted a firing offense; he committed no crimes that we know of, it was mostly the media coverage that made it impossible for him to do his job. The press of course went for the easy kill, focusing on what was personally salacious rather than professionally relevant. And Americans, never ones to miss out on a public shaming, set upon Weiner like pack of self-righteous hyenas.  Weiner should lose his seat, they argued, not because he was bad at his job, but because he was a bad man. Yikes! Tough audience. [Read more...]

Top Five Ways To Lose the GOP Nomination

#5: FORGET TO PRETEND YOU’RE NOT A BIGOT

Oh, Haley Barbour. Where do I even start with your dumb, racist ass? Such a high-rolling big fish in your stagnant pond of corrupt lobbyists and good ol’ boy operators, you actually started to believe your own hype and thought you might have a shot at the Presidency. Alas, a few months outside your native Mississippi and in the national spotlight, and you withered like a Kudzu vine in a swamp fire, officially declaring an end to your non-candidacy on Monday. Why? Because you just couldn’t keep your mouth shut about black people. [Read more...]