All posts tagged: Power

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 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.” My son noticed that something unfair was going on, and though he had the wrong word for it, knew inherently that it was discriminatory. 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

A VoteRunLead training in Minneapolis in the mid-2000s (Photo courtesy Erin Vilardi) 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 …

5 Bands Who Represent the New Power in Pop Music

Power pop, power chords, powerhouse vocals, “The Power Of Love” — music has myriad ways to flip the switch. Here are five artists who are honing and, in some cases, redefining what the idea of power in pop music means. 1. EX HEX There are some days when only the power of classic rock can save you—thanks to its big chords, hip-shaking beats, and long-hair-don’t-care swagger. The Washington, D.C. trio Ex Hex—made up of Betsy Harris, Mary Timony, and Laura Wright—gets this. Their debut Rips (Merge), out next week, takes rock and roll’s biggest ideas and compresses them into shiny pop gems, dismissing the wanky tendencies of certain rock-radio staples while audibly delighting in those tropes that put the pedal to the metal—juicy solos, sticky hooks, oh-oh-oh backing vocals. 2. SLEATER-KINNEY Timony is an indie lifer; before she formed Ex Hex, she was in the supergroup Wild Flag. That quartet also counted among its members Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss from the Pacfiic Northwest guitar-guitar-drums trio Sleater-Kinney, whose assaultive take on postpunk showed one way that riot …

You Can’t Play Drums in a Dress

A young girl learns to play drums at the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (Photo: Emily August/Flickr) 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 …

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 …