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.

More »

Women Nearly Absent From the New York State Ballot

Categories: Women

By Dsw4 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Politics: It's a lonely road to walk, ladies.

As New Yorkers head to the polls this morning, they may be shocked to find that despite voting in what is supposedly one of the most progressive states in the country, women will be conspicuously absent from the ballot in races for New York's executive leadership roles.

Kathy Hochul is on the ballot for lieutenant governor as Andrew Cuomo's running mate. And Theresa Portelli is the Green (no-hope) candidate for comptroller.

And that's it.

More »

Hidden-Camera Actress Who Was the Subject of Catcalls Is a Sexual-Assault Survivor

Categories: Women

Don't. Read. The comments.

As if you needed a reminder.

Filmmaker Rob Bliss and actress Shoshana Roberts teamed up with a well-known anti-street-harassment advocacy group called Hollaback to make a video of the daily sexual harassment so many women know about in New York City.

"We got an email from [Bliss] and he said his girlfriend got street-harassed all the time," said Hollaback executive director Emily May. "He thought, 'If they understood what it felt like, they wouldn't do it anymore.' "

And so the two-minute video, which has been spreading through the internet like a wildfire, tracks Roberts as she walks through Manhattan, putting together all the so-called "best" (worst) footage of guys trying to get her attention.

"It was a documentary," May said. "We didn't set anyone up. We didn't have to, unfortunately."

And as if trolls really, really wanted to prove that this video was necessary, some of the YouTube comments Roberts got were cruel.

More »

A Brief New York Post Guide to Womanhood

Another week, another brilliant, thoughtful, nuanced New York Post story about a prominent woman. This week it was their front-page headline about how Chirlane McCray was a "bad mom" for not wanting to spend every second with baby Chiara. McCray talked to New York magazine about how, as a later in life first-time mother, she struggled to switch gears: "I could not spend every day with her," she told the magazine. "I didn't want to do that. I looked for all kinds of reason not to do it. I love her. I have thousands of photos of her--every 1-month birthday, 2-month birthday. But I've been working since I was 14, and that part of me is me. It took a long time for me to get into 'I'm taking care of kids,' and what that means."

In their writeup, the Post's Bruce Golding boiled that down to McCray "neglecting" Chiara, who, he notes, went into treatment for substance abuse 18 years later. Coincidence? Or bad mom-ing?

By now, of course, that Golding story has been roundly raged about and mocked and thoughtfully analyzed every which way. But maybe the New York Post is right. Maybe all of us, not just Chirlane, are doing it wrong. As mothers. As wives. As women. Instead of continually messing up your life, why not just relax and let the Post tell you how to behave? Much like wandering out into the snow to die, it only feels cold at first. A few helpful hints:

More »

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).

More »

Think Being a Working Mom is Preferable? You Might Be a Working Mom

Categories: Women

Sheryl Sandberg
The question of the workplace and work-family balance is proving to be a particularly hot topic this week. Former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan published a wistful essay in Sunday's New York Times, where she says she wishes she'd had more of a life beyond work. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book came out on Monday and tells ladies to "lean in" if they want to make it, and make strides, in corporate America. And today the results of a brand-new study on modern parenting by Pew Research Center were released, making the perfect punctuation to Sandberg's manifesto.

The Modern Parenthood Study shows a strikingly significant spike in the rates of working mothers (be it part-time or full-time) who say working full-time is preferable, up from 21 percent in 2007 to 37 percent today. And roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under age 18 have two working parents.

More »

NOW Outlines Expectations In JCOPE's Probe Of Vito Lopez's Pervy-Ness -- And Silver's Coverup

James King
NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio urges JCOPE to get to the bottom of allegations of sexual misconduct against Assemblyman Vito Lopez -- and the Shelly Silver-driven coverup that followed.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez is a grade-A pervert. That much we know (for example, he would prefer you not wear a bra to work, ladies). But the lengths to which Assembly leaders -- most notably Lopez's former pal/current Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver -- went to coverup Lopez's multiple gropings of young, female staffers remains a mystery.

New York's Joint Commission On Public Ethics (JCOPE) is investigating multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Lopez, and how those allegations were handled by legislative leaders. This morning, the National Organization for Women and Common Cause/NY explained what they expect of the Commission's investigation.

Additionally, NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio says it's absurd to prohibit women under 21 years old from working in Lopez's office -- a policy Silver implemented for the assemblyman when he was formally censured by the Legislature in August.

"Is that really one of Sheldon Silver's answers," Ossorio asks. "If a lawmaker harasses interns and 20-year-olds, don't hire interns and 20-year-olds?"

More »

Brooklyn Gets Federal Bucks to Combat Domestic Violence Against Immigrant Women

Categories: Immigrants, Women
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office will get $900,000 to beef up its program aimed at supporting domestically abused immigrant women.

The Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women awarded the grant to the borough in order to help Brooklyn better assist domestically abused women who face language and cultural barriers.

"This grant will help my office continue to break down the linguistic and cultural barriers that isolate domestic violence victims and protect their batterers," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes said in a release. "I would like to thank [Sen. Chuck Schumer] for his work in securing this important funding."

More »

Susan G. Komen for The Cure Resignations: Do They Matter?

So there has apparently been a big leadership shakeup at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the country's best known breast cancer charity, after its stupid, stupid decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood in January resulted in public outrage.

The changes? As per Komen P.R.: "Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker announced plans to move to a new management role focusing on revenue creation, strategy and global growth as chair of the Komen Board Executive Committee when the search for a new senior executive has been completed. At the same time, Komen President Liz Thompson announced plans to leave the organization in September."

Also: "Board members Brenda Lauderback and Linda Law, who have served on the Komen board since 2008 and 2009 respectively, are leaving the board of directors."

This announcement comes, of course, after Karen Handel, Komen's vice president for public policy, stepped down in February.

For what it's worth (probably nothing), Komen spokespeople totally promise that these changes have nothing to do with the January mess.

All that said, we wonder: Can these changes make any difference?

More »

Nan Hayworth's Lady Problems: Did Her Campaign Manager Tell Women 'To Wear as Little As Possible' To Party?

An example of a woman.
Let's say -- completely hypothetically, simply for the sake of argument, of course -- that you are running a Congressional campaign.

And let's also say -- again, completely hypothetically, simply for the sake of argument -- that your first campaign manager spokesman recently resigned after writing a Facebook wall post that said: "Let's hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won't abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector."

It would seem -- once more, completely hypothetically, simply for the sake of argument -- that your next campaign staffer probably shouldn't also have a history of saying sketchy things about women, because that would be (A) dodgy and (B) just plain bad politics.

For Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth, of New York's 18th Congressional District, however, this (perplexingly) is not a hypothetical at all.

More »