All posts tagged: Feminism

How to Lose at Wife-Carrying, and Win at Marriage

Author and journalist Jo Piazza had no idea what to do when she got engaged. She was terrified of taking on the role of someone’s wife. To figure it out, she traveled to 20 countries on five continents for her new memoir, How to Be Married: What I Learned From Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage. Told in honest prose with astute reporting, the book is a survival guide for the first year of marriage. The following is an adapted excerpt from the book. Most dating advice given to newlyweds is horrible. Maybe not horrible, but at least not terrifically helpful. It’s like the people writing the advice wrote sitcoms in the ‘80s where the laugh track covered the sadness and every problem was fixed in 28 minutes, including commercials. There’s a lot of “don’t forget to have a date night,” and “never go to bed angry,” and “say ‘I love you’ at least once a day.” In other words, there’s a lot of bullshit. In the …

Why I Marched: 9 Women Across The Country Share Their Reasons

Planned as a protest in Washington, D.C. to the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States the day before, the January 21st  Women’s March on Washington surpassed all expectations of size and scope. Millions of people showed up in D.C. and in cities all over the country—and beyond that to all seven continents—to march, chant, and listen to speakers, united in focus on resisting Donald Trump’s agenda. Many of the women wore the famed pink knit “pussy hats,” although headgear was entirely optional, and most carried signs with pro-woman and equality, anti-Trump and fascism messages.  I talked to several women about why they marched, what steps they plan to take next, and if they consider this day the birth of a movement. Sandie Angulo Chen, writer Maryland I marched in Atlanta while attending the American Library Association’s annual midwinter conference. I marched because as Rep. John Lewis reminded us, we can’t afford for our nation to take even one step backwards when it comes to human rights, civil rights, women’s rights. Since then, …

Margit’s Note:  Thanks, Sis

It was a chilly 4:30am morning in Brooklyn, and I was bundled up and headed to the Women’s March in D.C. My bus was packed with pink pussy hats, mostly women —  and three guys. No one was quite awake yet. But no one wants coffee yet. It’s too damn early. I knew the organizer Sara and her sister Amy, but otherwise I didn’t know a soul. I’d nabbed one highly coveted seat to get to D.C.; I needed to be there, to represent, to feel connected in a world that seemed more and more divided. For me, this trip was semi ambitious — it was the first time I’d done anything this physically challenging since I’d recovered from cancer treatment. The idea of hoofing it and standing around for eight hours made me a little nervous, but for some reason I wanted to do this on my own, without my husband, mainly in the company of women. It wasn’t more than 10 minutes before I’d met the sparkly Yoon and Kathleen, two moms sitting across from me, cracking open their hard-boiled eggs. We bonded …

We Toast 2016: Some Good Things Actually Happened

Man, it has been a shitty year. From the music world alone, we lost Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and Sharon Jones. We lost our chance at electing the first woman president of the United States. And, everyday, we get to watch our buffoon of a President Elect attempt to distract us from his disastrous cabinet appointments with the Twitter stream of a toddler. Good times! Still, throughout this terrible year, many wonderful things did bring us joy. We asked several TueNight contributors to write in with their toasts to some of their favorite moments of the year.   Mallory Kasdan 2016 has been marred by loss and violence constant enough to numb. So I’ve found it helpful to cling to art, and especially to music, as a salve. Released days after a disastrous and surreal presidential election, A Tribe Called Quest’s final album WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE THANK U 4 YOUR SERVICE is potent and prescient, calling out for justice and healing in these raw times. Phife Dawg, who died suddenly in 2016 …

How to Throw a Party for Your Pussy

I want to talk about sex. Though my friends will tell you I always want to talk about sex. Anyway, my freshman year in college, I went to a fraternity party and met many people, both male and female, who would go on to become my dear friends. I also met a really good-looking guy who caught my attention; he was shy and yet, once engaged, very direct and smart. I ended up upstairs with him in his loft bed, peeling out of my Norma Kamali snap-front dress with that satisfying pop pop pop, trying not to hit my head on the ceiling as I did so. We laughed a lot, and we had fun. Truth be told, I can’t remember exactly what we did sexually – if we went “all the way” or not – but I am positive we had a lot of fun. The next night, I went back to that same fraternity with my dorm hallmates and circulated around the party. I saw my previous night’s lover across the room, waggled …

How A Fox News Feminist Changed Things From the Inside Out

Fun fact: I never considered myself a “feminist.” I hated the word as well as the connotations it suggested. But my mother — my biggest fan and toughest critic — changed all of that. She, too, started out as a reluctant feminist.  Sure she believed in women’s rights. Yet, when she came to the United States, she strived to be the opposite: a quiet Indian immigrant, existing between the lines as a med school resident, striving to be the best doctor she could be, but never questioning authority or stirring the pot. That was until the director of Yale School of Medicine told her she could be chief resident if she was more assertive. “Assertive” meant she was committed. “Committed” was a direct shot to chief resident, and “chief resident” meant she would be the BEST.  She would be granted access to what was known as the “Vatican” of Yale medical school. At 27 years old, she would have instant street cred, clout and a possible bump in salary. It also meant she could cut …

Getting Free from the Stigma of Pretty

I have a pussy. I also have uneven saggy boobs, a substantial belly and a pretty face. And while I can’t say anyone ever directly took those things from me, I’ve only recently begun to feel like they are MINE. I grew up with a feminist mother, but I also grew up in Los Angeles where everyone seemed beautiful and thin and highly valued for it — including me (ok, maybe not thin but close enough). I was smart and funny and magnetic, but pretty was by far the most praised — by loved ones, by strangers, by boyfriends and by the girls at school who hated me because, “I thought I was the shit.” I remember being interested in my appearance at a young age, and in looking back during all the painful unpacking work I’ve done, I can’t help but wonder how much of that was actually innate and how much was social expectation — a desire to be “good,” to be validated. But I was more than just pretty; I was sexy — …

TueNight Live: Photos From Our Pussy Party

We had to do something. So we decided to host a Pussy Party — an election-prepping, Thursday night edition of our typical TueNight Live events. For this live storytelling evening, where we read many of the stories in this issue, we partnered with Industrious, who hosted us in their lovely Brooklyn second floor cafe. Through ticket and t-shirt sales, and a matching offer from the Harnisch Foundation, we were able to donate $1000 to RAINN and $1000 to Crisis Text Line. Here are some of the photos from a rowdy, sassy and moving evening of tales, courage and women.   TueNight Editor-in-Chief Margit started us off with her Pussy Grabs Back t-shirt and a big party whoop.   Diane Di Costanzo warmed up the crowd with her piece The Boss of Me  —  the true story of a naive new hire and a too-forward boss.   Powerhouse Hitha Herzog brought her perspective about being a feminist on Fox News. And Instagram star Melinda Alexander (@MuMuMansion) wowed us via video with her plan for us all to #GetFree. As always, the crowd used break …

Women in Midlife Share Memories of Sexual Assault

When we talked about doing an issue around sexual assault, there was a collective head nod. So many of us have experienced incidents in one form or another. Now in our 30s, 40s and beyond, we may have shrugged off the minor incidents, worked through the more egregious attacks with our shrinks or kept them locked up in a secret brain vault. But we’ve never, ever forgotten. We asked a few of our contributors to share their stories — reading them we find a common theme of confusion and shame that lingers. Collected here, these vignettes remind us we’re not alone and that there’s power in sharing.   Il Bastardo I’m 20 years old in Europe traveling with a girlfriend over the summer. We’re in Pisa, having pizza at a cafe after the requisite tower viewing. My friend is an extrovert; I’m an introvert. At the cafe, she’s talking and laughing with our waiter. She even asks him for a cigarette. This mortifies me, but I can’t tell if it’s because it seems potentially dangerous …

The Boss of Me

He was the editor of a well-known men’s magazine. A short man. Not an attractive man. After I interviewed with him I said to my boyfriend at the time, “Why he looks just as much like a turtle as a man can look.” This was the 1980s. This was my first media job, although we called it publishing back then. I interviewed in a navy linen suit from Bonwit Teller, nude pantyhose and navy pumps trimmed with flat grosgrain ribbons. I was a 22-year-old from Iowa and I thought the look I should be going for was “appropriate.” Inexplicably, I was hired. And I realized within the first hour of my first day that I had it all wrong. “Cool” was the style that prevailed among the girls on staff. A girl called Muney wore a pink tutu and black motorcycle jacket like Cyndi Lauper. A girl called April, who was whippet thin and wore lank bangs in her eyes, rimmed all around in kohl, wore leather jeans, the first I’d ever seen. Let’s just say …

Why I Don’t Need You to “Mansplain” It to Me

As I walked to my seat at a gathering last week, a male acquaintance grabbed me by the elbow, spilling my coffee. “Whoa,” I said. “What are you doing?” “That’s what you get for not saying hello to me,” he said. “You spilled my coffee,” I said and kept walking. I could focus on the details here of how I know this person casually and that he has previously told me out of the blue that I’m “intimidating” and that I don’t speak to him as much as he’d like me to. I could get into how I get nervous in groups and how I generally need to locate a safe spot and/or a safe person in the room, and in that process I can skip acknowledging people accidentally. And God knows I probably don’t smile enough at anyone, especially men, based on feedback I’ve gotten whether I’ve asked for it or not. I can note how I was walking to that safe spot the other night with my too-full coffee when he interrupted me …

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Margit’s Note: Ms. Independence

Writing about independence is no easy task. I’ve written this little note to you three or four times, scrapping each edition and littering the page with words like “Liberty” “Freedom” and “Inalienable Rights.” It’s like Thomas Jefferson is all up in my grill. Come on Tom, back off. I’m trying to explain to my readers about we women of a certain age and independence, that the word means something particular to us because we’ve cultivated it over the years — and we fight for it every damn day. We can’t take it for granted. The point is, we need to light the sparklers and fist pump to Freedom — the freedom that a woman earns over the course of her life, that guides her decisions and allows her to forge and determine her own crazy, sexy path. As we see this week on TueNight, our path might be on a boat, on a motorcycle, in a van or even in a wheelchair. Yeah, I found independence in a wheelchair for a day. Go figure. I …

Interview: Artist Raven Schlossberg on Women’s Bodies, Kicking Ass (NSFW)

Raven Schlossberg’s world is a psychedelic, technicolor utopia of sexual symbols — think The Garden of Eden on acid — with woman as subject and object both.  The collage artist, born in Paradise, California in 1973,  has been exhibiting her paintings for over 20 years, with solo exhibitions in New York, Dallas, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Konstanz, Basel and Paris. I first saw her work in an exclusive gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, children in tow, and found myself knocked out by their loopy genius. My daughters, as well, were mesmerized. Raven was kind enough to talk to us about her work: what inspires her, what it means to her, and in keeping with this week’s theme, whether her own work makes her blush.   Your images of naked (or semi-naked) women in your artwork are consistent — what do they represent to you? First of all, I absolutely love the female form. I love its beauty, mystery and power. In my work, I celebrate the eroticism and dynamism of the female body, often nude or semi-nude as part …

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Policing My Mouth: On the Art of Self-Censorship

My second grade teacher, the truculent Mrs. Dunham, masking-taped my mouth shut. She pulled the shrieking roll of tape all the way around my head thrice in front of the entire class. My crime? Announcing in the middle of math drills that the Bookmobile was circling and circling the parking lot because its regular spot was blocked and it had nowhere to park. My classmates’ faces silently told me they were on my side and that I had shared news they needed immediately. What would the driver do? Why was that truck in the Bookmobile spot? It was almost Bookmobile time, so time was of the essence! Someone needed to go do something before the Bookmobile drove away! Mrs. Dunham didn’t want to do anything except punish me for talking. Again. So while the Bookmobile looped like a man without a country, the class beheld the new spectacle of me called to the front of the class while Mrs. Dunham attempted censorship via brown tape. Around it went, sticking to my hair but not truly …

I Got Dumped – and Madonna Made It Okay

In the summer of 1989 just before our senior year of college, my friend Jen and I confessed to each over the phone that we were really loving Madonna’s song “Express Yourself.” This was a confession rather than a plain old conversation because we both fancied ourselves cooler and more indie than your average pop music fan. But nobody sang about girl power and washing-that-man-out-of-your hair better than Madge did, and we both had men in there that it looked like they might need to be washed out. I hate to say it but, musically speaking, “Express Yourself” hasn’t held up for me. The song was remastered and heavily smeared with ‘80s horns somewhere along the way, which hasn’t helped matters any. But that song meant a lot to me that summer, and its sentimental value has endured. [pullquote]School breaks were no good. Love died over them. This had apparently been proven by science.[/pullquote] The song came out when I had my first serious boyfriend, whom we’re going to call Chad. The guy I’d dated …

She Must Be My Lucky Star

For the first 12 or so years of my life, I was the good girl. My first act of rebellion came in seventh grade when I threw a bunch of baby carrots in the bathroom at church. (I have no idea know why I did this.) Before I could even be accused of the carrot caper, I confessed. Bowing down to authority seemed to be inked into my DNA. While other middle schoolers were experimenting with smoking, I could be found in the school band. I didn’t even play a cool instrument like the drums or the saxophone. No, I played the oboe, and the oboe is just about the nerdiest of the nerdy instruments a junior high schooler could play. Then in 8th grade, MTV came bursting into my room. That year, I spent every afternoon glued to the TV. I was enthralled by Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf. I escaped through a-ha’s comic book-styled world in Take On Me. I spent hours learning the moves to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. But the song that captivated …

I Learned To Be a Feminist From My Single Mom

She just stood there, not moving, staring at a closed door. I was standing behind her, having come to the same complete stop as she did. I was confused as to why she wasn’t moving anymore. I was seven. Then it dawned on me: she was waiting for me to open that door for her. She didn’t tell me as such; she showed me. That was my mom. The household I grew up in placed a high premium on manners. There was a way things worked, and it was not to be fucked with. That last sentence, for example, would not have flown in my house. My sister and I were taught all about elbows and tables and sir and ma’am and eye contact and, of course, door holding. Though we resided below the Mason Dixon line, barely (Bethesda, Maryland), this all had nothing to do with Southern concepts of proper behavior. In fact, it had more to do with feminism. I am a feminist. I have been one my whole life, though I didn’t …

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The TueDo List: Period Reads, New Jams and Judy Blume

This week’s issue is about that time of the month, which may or may not be this weekend depending on your life and cycle. But is it ever really a bad time for chocolate, good stories from good women, pretty songs and Judy Blume? Nope. So happy weekend — whether or not there’s a cramp currently in your style. Period Jams No one compares to Karen Carpenter, says this ‘70s child raised on her music. But Rumer’s voice comes pretty close, as do her tunes perfect for a lazy afternoon. Her new album, Into Colour, isn’t out in the U.S. until early 2015, but it dropped this week in the UK and Japan and you can get a free download of the single “Sam” from her website. Meanwhile, I’m catching up on her previous releases and feeling like I’m on a sweet musical trip to when my flare jeans were much tinier. In other women-in-music news, Ani DiFranco released Allergic to Water, and the wildly talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tift Merritt joins D.C. area legend Mary Chapin Carpenter and …

Why Women’s Equality is Essential To This Father

On November 4, Americans all over the country will be voting in yet another important election. My fellow New Yorkers and I have a governor to re-elect or elect. Lots of big races across the country will be closely monitored on Tuesday. I know I will be staying up late that night to check out the latest results. I do hope my daughter will be interested in politics. I think what might help is to develop an interest in some issues and platforms while she matures. One of those issues is certainly Women’s Equality. I am a father of a daughter, a husband of a wife, and son of a mother. I sincerely believe it is my duty to support them and other women in the drive to create more equity in terms of work compensation. I know that I want what is best for my daughter. I want her to be validated and respected and not negatively labeled because she is female. I want her to feel safe and secure when she ventures to …

Why I Want My Son to Be a Feminist

As a parent, one of your strongest instincts is to protect your children from harm or hurt, physical or emotional. My grade-school-age daughter came home one day and looked a little glum. I asked her what happened. “I wanted to play kickball with the boys,” she said. “But one of them said that girls couldn’t play.” My own school days started coming back to me in a flash. “Did you ask him why girls couldn’t join the game?” I asked. “Did the other boys stand up for you?” “He said that girls couldn’t play well enough. I’m a good player, Mom! And no, the other boys just snapped in line. They decided I could be the referee.” [pullquote]My son noticed that something unfair was going on, and though he had the wrong word for it, knew inherently that it was discriminatory.[/pullquote] My son, who is a year younger than his sister, was listening to our exchange. He looked up from doing his homework. And said: “He’s just racist.” My daughter looked at me with raised …

How Do We Get More Women in Office? Ask Them To Run

Think about it. You probably know at least few women who would be incredible in political or civic office — whether on a local council, state senate or heck, POTUS. But let’s slow our roll.  Baby steps. I easily rattled around a few in my brain and sent three “Invitation Nation” postcards — a campaign to encourage 500,000 women to run and lead by 2016. Took me five minutes. As I was writing this piece, one of them responded. First she wrote, “Are you crazy? I can barely surface for air.” And then the next day, she sent me another email. “You know, maybe you’re not crazy.” Ask a woman to run for office? As simple as sending a postcard — that’s one of the promises of VoteRunLead, a national, nonpartisan organization that “unleashes the power of women leaders in democracy through training, technology and community.” Simply put, if you’re interested, they’ll get you there. Originally, VoteRunLead was the training arm of The White House Project, a program which prepared over 15,000 women for civic …

You Can’t Play Drums in a Dress

I was never a girly-girl. To hear my mother tell it, there were no pants tough enough to escape my wrath —  there’d be holes in the knees the first day out. She could buy Danskins or Levis. No matter. I despised sitting still.  I had to chase and run and climb. I  couldn’t help climbing that tree. I had to. Oh, that tree. It was a weeping willow. I’d climb to the second perch and it was exactly perfect for reading and hanging out.  Exactly perfect. Even now, all these years later, I can close my eyes and be in that tree. I can feel the way the branches came together to make me a nest. I can smell the fresh, leafy scent and the faint aroma from the stream down the hill. My parents let me be exactly who I was. They didn’t assign gender roles. Sure, I had Barbies, but I also played with the Erector Set and Incredible Edibles. I was not the little girl who played dress up and planned …

Margit’s Note: Flick on the Switch

We turn on the light and we don’t think much about it. Behind that switch plate are wires that run through the wall, out to the street, on to a power plant where the power is generated. There’s a source, but we never really see it. That is until things go dark, the power shuts down and we’re fumbling around for flashlights. Where does this little switch go anyway? We often think about power as the switch, winning an election, making SVP. But there’s a complex network feeding that power, a network of knowledge, access, money, strength. A light goes off, we’re caught off guard and we realize we need to investigate — and challenge — the mechanisms that prevent us from power. That’s Feminism. Challenging and confronting a powerful network that keeps us from making more than 71 percent of what men make, feeling safe and secure when we walk out the door, or even playing baseball. Hey, Mo’ne. Because if you’re the best player out there, you should be on the team. This week we’re feeling the …

The TueDo List: BFF Edition

My best friend is on vacation this weekend, so I’m going to need to live vicariously through those of you who can snag some quality time with your BFFs. And if you can’t? At least schedule a phone date. A good phone gab can go a long way. Talk The coolest thing about best friends is that you can talk to them about anything. And photographer/actress/writer/producer/director and mom Amanda de Cadenet seems to agree. Her new live talk show Undone premiered Thursday on Lifetime, and she promises to share her take on news, pop culture, entertainment and life in general. Amanda’s last Lifetime offering was the 2012 interview show The Conversation, produced with Demi Moore, which she says was her attempt to “capture the essence of women through our universal language of shared experiences and solutions.” Sounds like best friend material to me. Tag Team a New Activity Trying something new is more fun with company. This week, I discovered an activity called Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga and e-mailed a friend to ask her if she’d try it out with …

Day Job: Novelist, Former Network Exec Lindy DeKoven

Primetime Princess, Lindy DeKoven’s debut novel, centers on Alexa Ross, a female network executive trying to make it in a very male-dominated industry. If anyone would have the background to sink their teeth into this storyline, it would be DeKoven, who spent years as an executive at NBC Entertainment, Paramount/CBS and Walt Disney Television. At one point in her career, she was the only woman with the authority to green-light movies and miniseries. DeKoven has taken her experiences and twisted them into a Devil Wears Prada-esque story that is so enthralling you most likely won’t put the book down until you’re finished. On top of being an accomplished business woman and author, she has served as chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Previously, she served on the boards of Women in Film, the AFI Women’s Directing Workshop, and the Hollywood Radio & Television Society. What inspired you to write Primetime Princess? I wrote Primetime Princess because I had a story to tell. That subtext is about sexism in the workplace. I hope it’s …