When speaking about women’s accomplishments, Ann Richards said women could easily perform given the chance: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” The same can be said for Princess Leia, who did everything that Luke did. She just did it backwards and wearing an uncomfortable chainmail bikini after having been sexually assaulted by Jabba the Hutt. Think about that when you think about who counts as the heroes of Star Wars. Think about how long it took for Star Wars to tell the heroine’s quest. What does it mean for people to petitionRead More →

Breast cancer runs in my family, discussed by us for many years only in Southern whispers and associated with deep remorse. It also runs among close friends, whose families are less reserved, but who struggle with deep grief. My family whispers about breast cancer are oxymoronic given the number of books about the women’s health movement that line my bookcases. The women’s health movement ferrets out myths that mainstream science perpetuates about women’s bodies. Sometimes, even today, it’s still hard to distinguish “fact from fiction” in mainstream science without a copy of  Our Bodies and Ourselves, though. Is it true that childlessness causes women soRead More →

Today I had a hot flash in my office, which is a feat since my office is ice-box cold. My cheeks got red, my hair clung to my neck, and I got prickly both emotionally and physically. It was a full-fledged where’s-my-chainsaw inferno. To celebrate the hotflash in this blog entry, I searched for an amusing yet affirming cartoon-like picture of a uterus – something Alison Bechdel might draw or Betty White might have laughed at, oh, thirty years ago. All the uteri out there are hungry for babies, not old and happy to retire.  Pictures abound of pregnant women, women with headaches,  and relativelyRead More →

In the 1870s, Julia Ward Howe attempted to start a Mother’s Day for Peace. Anna Jarvis started Mother’s Day as a memorial for her mother, and did not appreciate its commercialization. My grandmother, a “right on woman,” completely agreed, but ate the candy anyway. Here is my grandmother, Anna Zuckerman, accepting an award for her service to the Susan B. Anthony branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.     We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth aRead More →

Last night I attended the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in the New Orleans Arena. After seeing Los Lonely Boys at the House of Blues in NOLA, my ears hurt for two days. This is the product of living with a rock band practicing in my living room every day as a child and attending too many concerts for forty years thereafter. I decided to wear earplugs last night. I need to protect my hearing because I am losing it. My father lost his. My generation is post-Beatles, post-Elvis. I did not live in a world without Rock and Roll. Perhaps there are other generation-relatedRead More →

The latest Rolling Stone has an offensive retrospective on Madonna. Although Madonna’s iconic look is always the subject of dispute, lately, the media has treated her like a clown. The only explanation is that she’s over 50. Fifty year old women, they say, shouldn’t prance around on a stage and spread their legs. It’s unbecoming. Rolling Stone frequently participates in this mistreatment even though they’ve helped turn Madonna into an icon.  Many of their pictures deliberately show her in an unflattering light. In this retrospective, they do put a handful of pictures of her in her 50s, but they fill the pages with the youthful,Read More →

Saturday was the kid’s graduation. The weekend was very frustrating and emotional for me. Frustrating because there was a lot of waiting around without anything to do, and because we had to pack up her dorm room. Emotional because…well…she’s graduating. It made me reflect nostalgically on my own high school graduation. It made me feel very old. As did listening to the 80s music at the PALS’ (Parents’ Association of the Louisiana School) graduation party. And also emotional because it means that the kid is leaving the nest. I wasn’t very sympathetic to my family when I left the nest and the kid isn’t veryRead More →