Monday, April 21, 2008

More Than a Mother-Daughter Debate

Right before heading out to our Harvard panel, I discovered that famed-controversy starter Linda Hirshman had used me as the lead to her latest provocation. Basically, she argued that the woman's vote in this election could be boiled down to a mother-daughter dynamic. Here's a piece I wrote in response, which argues essentially that intergenerational interactions within feminism are most productive, joyful, and fortifying when they acknowledge all of our complexity. I used my disappointing and exciting experiences along the way on our still-building tour as evidence. An excerpt:
I have gained an immeasurable amount from the wise, older women who have challenged my views on this election and other issues within a context of complexity. These women have made me a better thinker, a better writer, a better feminist, and a better human. And because of them, I will not cower, but I promise to be grateful. I will not forget, but I must also move on. I will not be a dutiful daughter, but I promise to be an impassioned, authentic, and brave inheritor.
Thanks to Debbie and Kristal for the encouragement to pen this piece on the way home Saturday morning!

The WGLs Go to Harvard

We're back from our WomenGirlsLadies event at Harvard, orchestrated by the Harvard Women's Center--a center which didn't exist, we learned, until just 2 years ago. Not that Harvard hasn't been in need of this center or anything before then (ahem). Shout outs to Susan Marine, Sandra Ullman, Natasha, Annemarie, Andreas, and the rest of the crew over there for bringing us to town (we had a blast!), but mostly for the important work you do on campus all year long.

We always try very hard to turn the panel (subtitle: A FRESH Conversation about Feminism across Generations) into audience conversations, and after our presentation this time a very interesting Q&A ensued. Courtney is writing about it in her column today over at The American Prospect, so stay tuned.

And ohhh but it's been an interesting week in the land of intergenerational feminist convo around the election! In case you missed it, here's a quick recap:

Amy Tiemann in Women's eNews (with a follow-up on her blog)
Amanda Fortini in New York Magazine
Rebecca Traister in Salon
Linda Hirshman in Slate

Commentary to follow--I'll be doing a podcast this morning over at with my 2cents on it all and promise to post the link.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Feminist Awakening at Age 14

The WGLs as a group do not support the same candidate, but I just had to share this post from 14-year old feminist Samantha French, over at my blog today, Girl with Pen. It begins:

As we all know, the buzz around America’s college campuses is Barack Obama and how he represents change for America. According to the media, he has overwhelming appeal to the country’s so-called “youth.” And it’s true. The phrase “yes we can” is being inhaled faster than pot brownies and Jell-O shots at a frat party. However, what the media seems to be consistently ignoring is the opinions of the country’s real, good old-fashioned, disenfranchised youth: high school students. Who are almost unanimously pro-Hilary.

OK, so I’m dreaming.

As a female freshman in Bard High School Early College, one of New York’s more liberal high schools where nearly two-thirds of the student body are females, there is not huge support for Hillary, which makes me sad. Many people at Bard, both male and female, support Obama because they are “tired of the Clintons” (a notion which they have obviously been fed by their parents. Think about it: the last time a Clinton was in office they were eight at the very most).

At first, I agreed with them. My dad’s a die-hard Obama supporter and so are a lot of my friends. But the turning point came for me when I saw how upset and truly devoted Hillary was to the race after her defeat at the Iowa caucus. The moment that the cameras revealed her sad eyes, I realized that I was seeing in her something rarely seen in any presidential candidate: a human being. While my father continued to be very pro-Obama (re-recording Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock,” titled, I Want Barak,)—and put pressure on me to agree with him—I felt a connection with Hillary after that night.

Sam is a student at Writopia Lab, a writing enrichment program located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. You can read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Feminists Gettin' Intergenerational at The New School...

Here's a recap of the intergenerational feminist panel I spoke on last week at The New School, organized by Ann Snitow. (Thank you, Kristen, for that incredibly thoughtful write-up!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

WGL @ The New York Times!

Check out the guest blog Debbie and I did for our favorite gal, Marci Alboher, who runs the Shifting Careers blog over at The New York Times. An excerpt:

DS: I’m noticing that the younger women in our audiences frequently talk about a lack of mentoring at nonprofit organizations. The older women we talk to—the college professors, the nonprofit execs—tell us younger women expect too much from them. Why do you think there seems to be such a disconnect in expectations at this point in time?

CM: I think we were a generation told, “You can be anything!” and we mistranslated it as “I have to be everything.” Our outlandish expectations of our mentors are just a reflection of our outlandish expectation of ourselves. The hardest thing is to find balance between going for your wildest dreams and having reasonable, healthy goals. Any advice?