Linda Gordon Says the Feminist Movement Has Become 'Very Individualist'

Library of Congress
'First woman jury, Los Angeles,' November 1911.
While the women's movement was just beginning to ferment in 1969, Linda Gordon was a young woman working toward a Ph.D. in history and teaching at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. One night, a friend took her to a dinner party where she heard a woman say the most unbelievable things. Women were expected to be the passive partner in romantic and sexual relationships, this woman said. It's discrimination. "Some people say it's like a click," Gordon says, describing the feeling of hearing these sentiments for the first time. "It was like, That's right. Why didn't I think of that?"

That dinner-party conversation, led by the writer Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, changed the course of Gordon's life. Yet as Dunbar-Ortiz remembers it, "It seemed to me she was a full-grown feminist." Nearly five decades later, Gordon is a leading historian of the women's movement in particular and social movements in general. A professor of history at NYU and the author of eight books ranging in topic from the women's movement to Cossack uprisings to the life of the photographer Dorothea Lange, Gordon has both participated in and documented the rise of women's liberation, or feminism, as we now call it.

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Un'Ruly's Union Square African Hair-Touching Experiment Wasn't as Creepy as We Thought It Would Be

Categories: Feminism, Hair

From left: Maliha Ahmad, Joliana Hunter, and Jade Gardner hold signs for un'ruly's social experiment.
It doesn't matter what you look like: Walking, riding, standing, or existing in New York City while female (or gender nonconforming) is bound to get you unwanted attention. Whether it's that dude smirking at you on the subway or a drunk person shouting "faggot priest!" in your face (true story, happened to me this week), living here means accepting the fact that your personal appearance will be scrutinized and vocally critiqued, maybe even on a daily basis.

On top of that, black women also have to deal with a pervasive, often invasive fascination with their hair. "Are we so different that touching us is as intriguing as touching a snake? Is our hair taboo?" Antonia Opiah asked in a Huffington Post op-ed last month about white people's embarrassing tendency to pet African hair like a curious baby grabbing at cat fur.

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Two Members of Pussy Riot Popped Up at Bluestockings This Week

maitea6 via Compfight cc
When two members of Pussy Riot took off their balaclavas at the Lower East Side's Bluestockings Monday evening, it probably made that night one of the most internationally significant, if clandestine, moments in the feminist bookstore's 14-year history. The event, kept under a strict 48-hour embargo, was covered by the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman, who attended the small gathering with "50-odd" activists who learned about the appearance by word of mouth.

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Twitter Inventor Jack Dorsey Helps Launch Reshma Saujani Campaign for NYC Public Advocate

Reshma Saudani and Jack Dorsey at her Manhattan campaign launch.
Reshma Saujani, 37, and a quintet of journalists are tucked inside the green room at swanky Village cabaret, (Le) Poisson Rouge. Every so often a staffer or groomed coif of the NYC tech glitterati will poke around the door, but Ms. Saujani has staked out five minutes--not easy after stepping offstage with Jack Dorsey, the inventor of Twitter.

"I'm a man of few characters, so I'm going to keep this very, very brief," Dorsey told the packed crowd earlier at Saujani's Manhattan campaign launch for public advocate Monday night. "We need more strong women leaders in this country. We need more revolutionaries. That is Reshma."

The daughter of Indian refugees who fled the regime of Idi Amin in Uganda, Saujani earned advanced degrees at Harvard and Yale, then moved to New York City with $200,000 in student loan debt. She interned at the White House during the Clinton administration, went on to work for Hillary's campaign, litigated for Wall Street, paid off those loans, and sent money home. She ran for Congress in 2009 (the first South Asian woman to do so) in New York's 14th district, and was then appointed to the position of Deputy Public Advocate. There, she created the DREAM fellowship to give undocumented immigrant students a shot at higher education.

She's not afraid of the F-word, either.

"Would you consider yourself a feminist?"

"Absolutely," Saujani tells the Voice backstage, with zero hesitation.

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When to Get Married? Breathing New Life Into the Old Debate

The past week has been a big one for thinking and talking about marriage. At the same time as the nation has been gripped in the same-sex marriage debate, another conversation has been playing out on the sidelines--not about who people should marry, but when.

The chatter started at the end of last week, when Princeton alumna Susan Patton wrote an open letter to The Daily Princetonian urging female students to find a husband on campus before graduating. She wanted to tell "the daughters I never had" what she wished she could have said: "Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out," she wrote, "Here's what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate." It wasn't surprising that Patton's "excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships," as Maureen O'Connor put it in The Cut, was met with a firestorm of criticism. The Daily Princetonian has since removed the letter from its website.

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Sandra Day O'Connor and Madeleine Albright Answer the Question, "Can Women Have It All?"

Three women sat around a table last night in the New York Public Library and debated the hot and highly contested question: "Can women have it all?" These weren't three ordinary ladies whispering upstairs in the reading room. They were on stage before an audience of more than 500. And the library's auditorium was at maximum capacity with good reason. New Yorkers were there to see Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (the first woman on the Supreme Court) and Madeleine Albright (the first female secretary of state) in a conversation moderated by Anne Marie Slaughter (the first female director of policy planning at the State Department, but most recently famous for her controversial 2012 article in The Atlantic on the very question of having it all).

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Pamela Geller Jihads against Vaguely Creepy Breastfeeding Doll on Dr. Drew

Categories: Feminism

When we last saw Pamela Geller, she was doing what she does best: trying to offend as many people as possible with anti-Islam, hate-mongering transit ads while saying she does it all for her love of Islam. So imagine our surprise when she posted a YouTube clip of herself this morning on HLN's Dr. Drew on Call (what happened, Doc?) debating the appropriateness of a new breastfeeding doll for young girls that makes cooing noises when its head comes in contact witha flowery fake-nipple bib the girls wear over their chests.

It was pretty creepy for reasons that remain unclear, so for once, the Voice deferred to Geller, who, for all her faults, is a loving mother of four daughters.

"This is again robbing our children, robbing our girls of their childhood," Geller told the panel. "I think this is akin to teaching sex education in first grade. It is a cheapening of the culture. I mean, what's next, an anatomically-correct doll, a boy and girl?"

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Q&A: Danielle Henderson, Author of Feminist Ryan Gosling : Feminist Theory (as Imagined) from Your Favorite Sensitive Movie Dude

Danielle Henderson
Danielle Henderson, author of Feminist Ryan Gosling, is no fan-girl

Despite launching a website featuring Ryan Gosling that became an overnight hit, and recently publishing a book filled with Gosling's broodingly sexy photos, Danielle Henderson is not a Ryan Gosling fan-girl. The New York native is actually a graduate student in women and gender studies at the University of Wisconsin and began the site as way to create "flashcards" to memorize complicated feminist theory.

After its first night on the web Feminist Ryan Gosling was featured on Jezebel, and soon after Henderson was getting calls for a book deal. We chatted with Henderson about Ryan Gosling's masterful face-acting, the fans of FRG and the surprised reactions she gets when people find out she's a black woman behind the whole thing.

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The Paycheck Fairness Act Fails (Again)

Well, that's that.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have would required that employers explain pay disparities between men and women, so that said staffers would know whether the differences are sex-based or not, failed 52-47 in the Senate, according to Politico. The proposed law -- which would have prohibited employers "from retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose salary information with their co-workers" needed 60 votes to advance to debate.

But is anyone that surprised?

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Grace Perez, Domestic and Sex Offense Expert, on Nechemya Weberman and Ultra-Orthodox Jews' Reactions to Sex Abuse Allegations

If you have been following the story of Nechemya Weberman, an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man accused of being a child molester, you might have thought that it sounds all too familiar.

Weberman, 53, had been working as an unlicensed therapist in the uber-insular community. One of his patients, a young girl who attended "sessions intended to promote her religious practice," accused him of sexually assaulting her beginning when she was 12, according to the New York Times. The community has rallied behind him, it seems, with thousands attending a fundraiser for his legal defense Wednesday evening and a mere hundred people protesting in defense of the victim, who has been lambasted as a "liar."

Rewind to May 2011. The Voice detailed a similar saga taking place in El Barrio: Juan Caceres, a prominent leader of the Mexican community, had been convicted of repeatedly raping his own daughter. Instead of rallying behind her, they publicly villified her.

The Voice wanted to get a better understanding of why this shaming takes place. So we reached out to Grace Perez. She has worked as a sex abuse and domestic violence victims advocate in the New York metropolitan area for some 30 years and organizes the annual Brides March. What did she say?

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