Monday, July 11, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Instead, I'm now the online managing editor at Washingtonian magazine. I'm just getting going there, but if you're really desperate to read some stuff written by me, you can read some morning roundups and daily questions I've put together over there.
But if you want to see me in real life, you should swing by the Women's Information Network offices tonight at 6:30 for me to present with some other folks on "Finding Your Voice Online: Political Blogging 101."
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I recently got around to watching The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a beautiful film about former Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby's struggle with the aftermath of a massively debilitating stroke. Though not super common, stories about a protagonist overcoming the complications of a disability are getting some attention, what with the Oscar-winning The King's Speech. Even the most recent season of Breaking Bad depicts DEA agent Hank Schrader working through physical therapy after a near-deadly shooting. These stories are part of a niche sub-genre of characters coming to terms with a disability.
As someone who teaches illness and disability memoirs - I've been convinced that it's because disability (or illness) brings masculinity into crisis and these narratives are all struggling with that point of social/cultural crisis.My knowledge of film history is nowhere near comprehensive, but I think the original point I raised is still a valid one.
Since Western masculinity is constructed as autonomous, with bodily control, physically powerful, etc. Lots of great things have been written about the hypermasculine disability narrative (or the male disability narrative struggling with masculinity/virility).
Friday, April 15, 2011
- Folks in Washington, D.C., are celebrating Emancipation Day, or the day when we as a country decided it was probably a bad call to let humans own other humans. Somehow, this is not recognized as a federal holiday and we'll take a day of for
ImperialismColumbus Day instead. [Washington City Paper]
- Is our business students learning? [The Chronicle of Higher Education]
- Mumford and Sons have a new song. [Paste]
- Wow, Peggy Ornstein is right. This gendering our children thing is starting at a younger and younger age. Now they have parties for your gender when you're still in the womb. [The Awl]
- Men should wear wedding rings, Hugo argues. [Good Men Project]
- After Congress negotiated away the District of Columbia's right to spend its own taxpayer money on abortion, private donations flooded in to make up the lack of Medicare payments. They raised $25,000, but still fall short. [Amanda Hess]
- Do you need something, anything cute to look at? [Cute Roulette]
Thursday, April 14, 2011
FLASH MOB ALERT!!!
FOX & Friends thinks we don’t need Planned Parenthood because women can just get their breast exams and pap smears at Walgreens (which is not true). Let’s prove them wrong by demanding these health services at Walgreens across the country and seeing what happens.
Here’s what to do this Saturday at 12 PM:
1) Pick your favorite local Walgreens
2) Get a group of friends together or connect with people via this event page.
3) Go try to get your pap smear!
4) Don’t forget to bring your video cameras and share your footage on YouTube!
View the Colbert Report’s take on Planned Parenthood: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/381282/april-11-2011/pap-smears-at-walgreens
New York City: 1471 Broadway, between 42nd and 43rd street http://tinyurl.com/4xpc3kz
DC: 1217 22nd Street NW, between M and N Streets.
Madison, WI: 15 E. Main Street (on the Square)
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
This post on Very Smart Brothas asks why women always seem to be biased against short men. Granted, this is completely anecdotal, but I hear women say things all the time like, "I just can't date a guy that's shorter than me." Warning: I am about to take a very controversial opinion on this: Women who discount men because they are short are, well, kind of bigots.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
- Famous authors and the typewriters they wrote on. [Flavorwire]
- How to pick up women, misogyny-free. [Good Men Project]
- I guess you're not surprised to learn the budget battle wasn't about money; it was about taking money away from "welfare sluts," Amanda Marcotte writes. [The Guardian]
- How Ayn Rand ruined one woman's life. [Salon]
- A new project on merging graphic art and journalism. [Graphic Journos]
- A graphic history of the Honduran coup. [Archcomix]
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I recently read this story about the Newport Beach library that's might get rid of its physical location and convert to a "Netflix-like" system in which patrons would pick up their books, DVDs, and other materials from lockers.
What you may not know is that the public library already works a lot like Netflix. Thanks to most municipal inter-library loan systems, you can request most books, television shows, and other forms of media (including comic books!) for free. Here's how you navigate this system in the District of Columbia—though I'd bet your local system works pretty much the same way:
Step one: Get a library card.
This is pretty essential to the whole process. You can go to this page to fill out a form for a provisional library card that they'll email to you, and they'll mail you a real one eventually. You can also just show up at your local branch and fill the form out there. All you need is a D.C., Maryland, or Virginia driver's license. If you don't have that, just show up in person to the MLK library downtown and pay $20 a year. (If you request a half-dozen things a year, it's probably worth it.)
Step two: Order books.
This seems confusing sometimes because what they call it at the library is "placing a hold" on an item. Say you want to read Live Wire by Harlan Coben, which is currently at the top of the New York Times fiction best sellers list. Go to the DC Library search page and search for "Live Wire." It'll bring up the item listing in the library catalog. In the top right corner of the item listing (next to some of the social media links) there's a link that says "place hold." It'll ask you to put in you library card number as your "user ID," which you should have had emailed to you—or handed to you if you went to the library in person—and your PIN number. For some reason, the library system just uses the last four digits of your library card number as your PIN. Then it will ask you where you want to pick it up. You can choose a library near your home or work—just be sure to check the hours, since most libraries are only open late a couple nights a week and most aren't open Sundays—and pick the one that works best for you. Click "send."
Step three: Wait.
Unfortunately the library system isn't quite as instantaneous as Netflix or Amazon Prime—sometimes you have to wait a few weeks for your hold to show up at the library where you requested it. If time is of the essence for what you're requesting, you'll probably have to pay for that. Sometimes, though, you'll be surprised at how quickly it's ready.
Step four: Pick up your items.
When your items are ready, you'll get an email telling you your hold is available. Just be sure to get there within a week—if you don't show up to get it before then, they'll route the item to the next person on the list. Go to the library and ask them where they keep their holds. Your item should be waiting there in alphabetical order under your last name. Check it out. Read it within three weeks or renew it if you're not done with it.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
I read a lot. I'm lucky I have enough free time to read so much, but I have to say, my recent addition to the library's inter-loan system has motivated me to finish books more quickly than when I purchased them. What can I say? I'm deadline-oriented. Keep in mind the post ahead is going to be a fully indulgent bunch of stats about me and my reading habits. If that's not your style, it's probably best to move on.
Friday, April 1, 2011
- Cool story on the chemistry of bloody marys, but where's the Old Bay? [NPR]
- The lovely Tracy Clark-Flory takes on America's obsession with "porn for women." [Salon]
- Reading Sinclair Lewis decades later. [Shani O. Hilton]
- Rants against girl gamers are so tired, you could play BINGO. [Feminist Fatale]
- The four main ways of thinking about motherhood. [Sociological Images]
- What is graphic journalism? Erin Polgreen, the raddest of comic ladies, takes this question on. [The Hooded Utilitarian]
- Sandra Lee, terrible as she is, is pretty feminist. [TAPPED]
- An Indiana state legislator delivers an emotional speech defending victims of rape, drawing on her six years of experience as a sex crimes investigator. [Think Progress]
- Tipping seems to reward flirting, not actual good service. [Smart Money]
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The new remake takes care to pluck some of the more feminist-themed language from the novel and depict some of the key scenes that transcend the relationship from fairy tale to realistically complicated relationship. Freedom is a key theme in Jane Eyre, and much of it has to do with the freedom of women in this time.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Each morning, Sherita Rooney wakes up around 6 a.m. She gets her 14-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son ready for the day. She makes breakfast and gets her children to school before driving an hour to West Chester University outside of Philadelphia, where she recently transferred after graduating from Montgomery County Community College.
Every day is difficult, but Tuesdays are especially so. She works from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. before class from 2 to 7. She picks up her kids, then brings them home and puts them to bed. As a math education major, she takes challenging classes that keep her up late studying. She goes to sleep around 2 a.m. each night. The next day, she gets up and does it over again.
Without the child care scholarship she found through the Philadelphia-based nonprofit, Family Care Solutions, Inc., Rooney says, she's not sure what she would do. She'll find out this summer, when she's signed up for classes but won't have the scholarship.
Student parents like Rooney make up about a quarter of all postsecondary students in the United States, according to a new report released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The report estimates that of the total of 3.9 million student parents in the country, more than half are low-income. About 12 percent of all undergraduate students in the United States are single parents, and of those more than three quarters are low-income. The vast majority of them are women.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
No fewer than three news articles this week detail how hard it is for women, both students and professors, at elite campuses. The New York Times reports that MIT, which made an effort some years ago to correct for a lack of female professors on campus, has made gains in recruiting and honoring female professors. But that's created a weird dynamic in which women who win accolades question whether their gender plays a role and feel they have to navigate gender stereotypes on campus. The Daily Beast writes about a study that shows women trail men in campus leadership positions as students, and another Beast article interviews the presidents of UPenn and Brown, both women, about how there's a similar leadership gap at their colleges.
Women represent less than one third of the main decision makers at news companies worldwide as gender inequality leaves top management and governance dominated by males, the International Women’s Media Foundation said.
Women occupy about 27 percent of the leading managerial jobs such as chief executive officer and about 26 percent of governing board positions, according to a survey of 522 newspaper, radio and television companies by the Washington-based advocacy group. Women hold 39 percent of the senior management positions that include managing editor and bureau chief, the two-year study released today shows.
This taps into tons of earlier discussions about women's representation in media. Still, it's startling to see the numbers.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Ugh. The Christian Science Monitor reported last week:
In a quiet push to more honestly address sexual crimes within the military, the Air Force will release a survey later this week that finds 1 in 5 women say they have been sexually assaulted since joining the service.Unfortunately, we're finding that sexual assault rates in the military are higher than rates among the general population. As horrible as this news is, it's encouraging the military is actually reporting the assaults. It's the first step in addressing the problem.
One of the most comprehensive studies undertaken by the US military to assess sexual assaults within its ranks, it could become a model for how the military as a whole begins to address the problem, defense officials say.
The Hairpin ran this really great piece on what to say when your friends get engaged. I personally found it rather helpful because I tend to be really bad at shutting up after I say "congratulations" to my friends when they tell me they're getting married. For every eye roll that came with an announcement of upcoming nuptials, I apologize.
"Hey I'm getting married!""Oh wow, that's great! Congratulations! I'm super happy for you."
"Can I see the ring?" (I have virtually no opinions on rings or jewelry that costs more than $30, which probably means my only opinion is that you spent too much money on it.)"Where/when will the wedding taking place?""Where are you going on your honeymoon?""Is your mom/dad acting really annoying about the whole thing?" (Most often, the answer seems to be yes.)"What color are your bridesmaid dresses going to be?""Who are your bridesmaids going to be?" (It's really OK if I'm not one of them. Don't worry. I won't freak out.)"What kind of cake will you get?""What's going to be your wedding favor?""Are you going to hand-address your invitations? My Aunt Edna said it's rude not to." (By the way, why do old people believe this? It's as if they really want you to waste a lot of time or pay someone else to waste a lot of time. They have computers now that address envelopes for you. Geez.)"Do you have a tiny relative to carry rings or flowers to you during the ceremony?"
1) Say "congrats."2) Show up on the day of the wedding if invited. (Also, totally not a big deal if you don't want to blow $100 on feeding me. I understand.)3) Bring a gift.4) Get drunk and dance at the reception.
Today the Chronicle of Higher Education has a really excellent piece on the current debate over sexual assault policies on campus. (Unfortunately, the story is behind a paywall, but I'll discuss some of the relevant bits below and for further context, you should read this really great series from the Center for Public Integrity on the problems with many campus sexual assault policies.)
Federal civil-rights law requires [colleges and universities] to resolve all reported offenses. And increasingly, public pressure bears down just as powerfully. [...] The watchdog group Security on Campus proposed broader federal legislation, even a requirement that colleges use the relatively low standard of evidence "more likely than not." And at Dickinson College this month, students occupied an administration building and demanded that expulsion be the only available penalty for rape.
Meanwhile, confusion over existing law persists. The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights recently found that two institutions, Eastern Michigan University and Notre Dame College, in Ohio, did not adequately consider the rights of sexual-assault victims. Observers expect the office to release more guidance this spring on how cases should proceed, apart from general campus-conduct systems.
For cases that are reported, single sanctions may decrease findings of responsibility. "If the hearing panel has any doubt at all, they're going to acquit," says Gary M. Pavela, a consultant to colleges on legal issues and a former director of student judicial programs at the University of Maryland at College Park. Technical explanations of standards of evidence don't matter, he says: "Your eyes glaze over and you do ultimately what you think is right."
The hallmark of Big Love is its ability to dive into modern social issues that are seemingly beyond the scope of the Utah polygamist family at its center. One of the show's creators said on a HBO featurette about the series, "There was something almost a little bit retro, you know, '50s American suburban family about the Henricksons and I think we were turning that idea on its head a little bit."Keep reading ...
Spoilers ahead with some final brief thoughts on the finale.
The series ended more or less with the same themes they'd established throughout the show. I thought the way they did away with Bill's character was a bit cheap, but it seemed obvious that Bill couldn't continue in his role as the patriarch of the family. This whole season demonstrated that he was slowly losing control over the life he had built for himself. Eventually everything gradually slipped away -- the casino, the state senate seat, Home Plus, his wives, and finally his life. Each of the women began to express desires for something beyond the family (which I talk about in my Atlantic piece).
Friday, March 18, 2011
- Can mainstream media ever responsibly cover race? Cord Jefferson takes on the question. [The American Prospect]
- Ann Friedman on late-20s girl genius. [On This Recording]
- Ever wonder what happens when the president or the first lady decide they're going to eat at your fancy restaurant? Now you know. [The Washington Post]
- Byron Hurt, a wonderful male anti-violence activist, explains why he's a black male feminist and why more men should pick up the f-word. [The Root]
- Here's kind of a neat info graphic by artist Kate Hersch. Did you know that 4 in 10 mothers are unmarried? [Pop Jolly]
- Did you know Neko Case registered as a Republican when she lived in Arizona? [GOOD]
- Via the hairpin, Caterina Fake examines how the "fear of missing out" is amplified in the age of social media. All I can say is, been there. [Caterina]
- SPACE FOR WOMEN. [Wherever You Go, There You Are]
- A woman in Iowa was jailed because she told a nurse she was thinking about having an abortion. [The Frisky]
Today Nick Baumann of Mother Jones reports more on the disastrous anti-choice bill Congress is debating, HR 3, or the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). See, since the legislation deals with how tax breaks can and can't be used (they can't be used for insurance that covers anything but
In some cases, the law would forbid using tax benefits—like credits or deductions—to pay for abortions or health insurance that covers abortion. If an American who used such a benefit were to be audited, Barthold said, the burden of proof would lie with the taxpayer to provide documentation, for example, that her abortion fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.
[Chair of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committe Thomas] Barthold replied that the taxpayer would have to prove that she had complied with all applicable abortion laws. Under standard audit procedure, a woman would have to provide evidence to corroborate facts about abortions, rapes, and cases of incest, says Marcus Owens, an accountant and former longtime IRS official. If a taxpayer received a deduction or tax credit for abortion costs related to a case of rape or incest, or because her life was endangered, then "on audit [she] would have to demonstrate or prove, ideally by contemporaneous written documentation, that it was incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger," Owens says. "It would be fairly intrusive for the woman."
Coontz surveys 188 women who read The Feminine Mystique and recounts how the work impacted these women. But she also places the work in the historical position that it belongs. The early chapters on the feminist and suffragist movements before Friedan published her work place the frustration women so felt with their roles as wives in important context. Coontz notes that these early women's movements had an impact on public opinion:
In a 1938 poll conducted by the Ladies' Home Journal, 60 percent of the female respondents disliked having the word "obey" in marriage vows, 75 percent favored joint decision-making between husband and wife, and a whopping 80 percent felt that an unemployed husband should keep house for his wife if she were working.Coontz is sure to note that in some ways, women's equality was backsliding:
From 1951 to 1955, female full-time workers earned 63.9 percent of what male full-time workers earned. By 1963, women's pay had fallen to less than 59 percent of men's Meanwhile the proportion of of women in high-prestige jobs declined: Fewer than 6 percent of woerking women held executive jobs in the 1950s.This means that the era in which Friedan was putting forth her message about women pursuing work they found fulfilling was happening in the midst of a social backlash to significant advancements in women's involvement in public life. Much of this backlash had to do with externalizes; women's work was viewed as less important during the Great Depression, when many were struggling to find work at all, and women who had advanced in the working world during the war were called on to give their jobs back to veterans—sometimes whether they wanted to or not.
Still, some of the things women faced in this era are somewhat shocking to read from the perspective of today (or at least, they were to me):
Even when a wife lived apart from her husband she could seldom rent or buy a home on her own. In 1972, the New York Times carried a story about a woman who could not rent an apartment until her husband, a patient in a mental hospital, signed the lease.And it is perhaps this context that I found so valuable about Coontz's work and what makes her such an important academic. Her previous book, Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, provided a clear and honest history of an institution about which many make mythic claims about its history. She does the same thing with A Strange Stirring, providing both mythbusting and context to an important cultural touchstone of women's rights in the last century. Since I can only read about that time in books, this was an important book for me to read.
In many states, a woman was obliged to take her husband's surname. In some, she could not return to her maiden name after divorce unless under the fault-based divorce system, she had proven that he was "at fault." A woman who did not change the name on her driver's license or voter registration upon marriage could have it revoked until she did.
Feminism didn't make good marriages go bad. But feminist reforms gave women the opportunity to get out of unhappy or unfair marriages, and in that sense feminism was the catalyst for many divorces in the 1970s and 1980s. When women no longer had to prove fault to get a divorce, many women whose marriages had been bad for years found it more possible to get a divorce. Before feminist-inspired reforms, for example, there were 42 states where a homemaker who could not prove fault in divorce (and often the criteria for fault were very stringent), had no claim at all on anything her husband had earned during the marriage, even if her housekeeping and child-raising had enabled his career. Furthermore, once feminist reforms gained women access to better jobs and outlawed discrimination in pay, hiring, and promotions, women who were unhappy in their marriages no longer had to stay married out of dire economic necessity.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Via Kevin Fallon at The Atlantic, Total Film has a list of the 100 greatest female characters of all time. Like any list, it's inevitably going to be incomplete and biased in various ways. It was, however, startling to see this flaw:
Only two characters of color are ranked—both played by Pam Grier and both corrupted by drugs. Furthermore, only one character based on a real person is on the list, Bonnie Parker from Bonnie and Clyde, and even that's a highly romanticized version of the historical figure.Emphasis added. This is, in many ways, reflective of Hollywood's bigger problems with offering up few roles for women of color or needlessly casting white actors in the roles of characters that are marked as people of color in the source content. The recent casting call for Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the popular young adult fiction series Hunger Games asked for an "underfed" Caucasian.
Hollywood's color problem is highly discussed, but often only among feminist and race blogs. Part of me wonders if there's any prodding on the part of executives and directors to diversify their films. Much in the same way editors are getting shamed for not diversifying their bylines enough, Hollywood executives need to feel pressure for continually casting white actors in films. (Television, for various reasons, tends to be slightly more diverse.)
After all, it would've been nice to see some great female characters of color make the list: Penelope Cruz' performance in Volver is supposed to be excellent, Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique were lauded for their performances in Precious, and let's not forget the many excellent performances in The Color Purple. I also really enjoyed Sydney Tamiia Poitier in Death Proof (even if lots of folks thought that film was the lesser of the Grindhouse double feature). And those are just films that come to mind without thinking very hard.
Maybe we need a Graphic Ladies or a Lady Journos for actresses of color.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I recently listened to Marueen Corrigan's review of feminist writer Anne Roiphe's new memoir, Art and Madness. I haven't read any of Roiphe's work—not even her highly acclaimed second novel, Up the Sandbox, which has been hailed as a "feminist classic"—but Corrigan's review certainly piqued my interest to read it. What I found most fascinating about Corrigan's review, though, was her thoughts on where Roiphe's new book fell in the sea of literature:
Art and Madness is a particularly hard-boiled addition to a distinct subgenre of female autobiography — memoirs written by women who came of age in the 1950s and who sublimated their own ambitions by attaching themselves to literary men. I'm thinking of testaments like How I Became Hettie Jones by the eponymous former wife of LeRoi Jones, later Amiri Baraka; Manhattan, When I Was Young by Mary Cantwell; and the especially magnificent Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson, onetime girlfriend of Jack Kerouac. Educated at Seven Sisters colleges or their like, these young women wanted to live for Art — which, in the 1950s translated into living for a man who thought of himself as an artist. They found a place for themselves in the New York boho scene of the time, pouring drinks or tending to the other appetites of the resident drunken geniuses.
[...] former Washington Post Executive Editor Benjamin Bradlee and Sally Quinn, an erstwhile Style staffer at that paper. Or Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn of the New York Times, who shared a 1989 Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on China. Or Ann Devroy of the Washington Post and Mark Matthews of Baltimore's Sun, married competitors. Merrill McLoughlin and Michael Ruby, who are married, are co-editors of U.S. News & World Report.
Friday, March 11, 2011
- What Star Trek teaches us about socialism. [Yglesias]
- I bet you'd be really shocked to learn that Gov. Scott Walker is also anti-contraception. [RH Reality Check]
- Latoya Peterson wants to stop being feminism's Ms. Nigga. I don't blame her. I'm also really glad she agreed to speak on the panel I helped organize. [Racialicious]
- Fetal pain laws are bad. Like, really, really bad. [The American Prospect]
- Shirley Sherrod has some thoughts on the modern era of racism. And they're as interesting as you'd think they are. [The American Prospect]
- This was kind of a neat little corporate video celebrating International Women's Day. [YouTube]
- Remember those "Choose Life" license plates proceeds that weren't actually going to support pregnant women? Yeah, now they just want to blatantly fund the anti-choice movement. Points for honesty? [The American Independent]
- Turns out attacking unions is also bad for the black middle class (and everyone else). [The Root]
- I'm sorry, this Kate Middleton doll is creepy. [The Frisky]
- So excited that Clarissa Explains It All is going to be back on the air! [Entertainment Weekly]
- Hey, so maybe when we write about rape, can we not include the pornographic descriptions? [Columbia Journalism Review (PDF)]
- Dolly Parton has a cookbook. [Dolly's Dixie Fixin's]
There’s been a lot of discussion about the dearth of female bylines in major intellectual magazines. It was the cause of inspiration for Ann Friedman to start her project, Lady Journos, which allows her to highlight some of the great reporting and writing women are doing. But it’s worth pointing out that women have been doing phenomenal, life-changing journalism for a long time. Here are just a few women—past and present—who have been exposing injustices with their fearless journalism.
1. Ida Tarbell
This lady journo often ranks among the most famous of historical muckraking journalists in the Progressive Era, during which a combination of investigative journalism and social activism sought to expose injustice. Her investigation of the Standard Oil trust was published in McClure's Magazine, which she later turned into a book, The History of the Standard Oil Company. Her portrayal was damning to the tactics and practices of big business at the time
2. Ida B. Wells
Wells was a journalist and early leader in the civil rights movement. She fearlessly documented lynching, which she published in Free Speech and Headlight, an anti-segregationist newspaper her husband owned and she edited. She later founded the National Association of Colored Women and the National Afro-American Council,an organization we know now as the NAACP.
3. Rachel Carson
Though Carson got her start as a marine biologist and nature writer, it was her expose of the effects of the pesticide DDT’s effects on animals, published in her book The Silent Spring, that spurred a generation of environmental activists. She is largely credited with the United States’ reversal on a policy of using dangerous pesticides.
4. Nellie Bly
When you talk about embedding yourself into a story, you can’t get much deeper than Bly did when she faked a mental illness to expose the horrific conditions women underwent at the mental institution on Blackwell’s Island. She later wrote a book on her experience, Ten Days in a Madhouse. Her work not only drastically increased funding and quality of care at the institution, but pushed such asylums to adopt policies to ensure committed patients were actually mentally ill.
5. Gloria Steinem
Though we now think of Steinem as the quintessential second-wave feminist activist, some forget that part of her work started in journalism, when she embedded herself as a Playboy bunny in the New York Playboy Club. Her report detailed working conditions at the club, and she later went on to found Ms. Magazine, one of the first overtly feminist women’s magazines.
6. Nancy Hicks Maynard
Maynard was the first African American journalist at The New York Times, where she covered vital issues like the race riots at Columbia and Cornell universities. She later went on to cover health care, including important Medicaid issues. She and her husband went on to found the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, which is based in Oakland, Calif.
7. Ethel Payne
Known as “the First Lady of the Black Press,” Payne helped define advocacy journalism. She covered issues important to the civil rights movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, desegregation at the University of Alabama, and the 1963 March on Washington.
8. Anna Politkovskaya
This Russian journalist opposed the Second Chechen War and the actions of then-Russian President Vladimir Putin. Her work exposing human rights violations was published in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta and earned her death threats. She even experienced a mock execution when arrested by the Chechen military. Politkovskaya was ultimately murdered under mysterious circumstances in 2006.
9. Margaret Fuller
Fuller was a feminist and author who became the first female full-time book reviewer in American history at the New York Tribune in 1844. Her book, Women in the Nineteenth Century, is a major feminist work. She later became the first female foreign correspondent in England and Italy for the Tribune.
10. Jane Mayer
Mayer is an investigative reporter for The New Yorker, writing major pieces on the right-wing Koch family, the bin Laden family, and the United States’ controversial policy on extraordinary rendition. She was the Wall Street Journal’s first female White House correspondent and in 2008 won the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism for the investigative reporting that was later published in The Dark Side.
11. Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery
The co-editors of Mother Jones have done an excellent job of leading a longstanding investigative publication into a new era of online journalism. Bauerlein was formerly the magazine’s investigative editor and once covered the negotiations to end the first Gulf War. Jaffery came to Mother Jones from Harper’s Magazine, where she was a senior editor. She edited six National Magazine Award nominees, including Barbara Ehrenreich’s magazine feature that later became Nickel and Dimed. Under the supervision of these two editors, the magazine has increased circulation and web traffic when many publications have laid off reporters and editors. Read Campus Progress’ interview with Bauerlein and Jaffery.
12. Isabel Wilkerson
The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her writing at the New York Times, Wilkerson won for her coverage of Midwestern floods in 1993 and her profile of a 10-year-old boy who was responsible for his four siblings. She is the author of the highly acclaimed 2010 book, The Warmth of Other Suns, which tracks the Great Migration of African Americans following the Civil War to Northern cities. Read Campus Progress’ interview with Wilkerson.
13. Katie Couric
Love her or hate her, Couric made history when she became the first female anchor of the CBS Evening News. Her interview with vice presidential candidate Sarah Plain won her the Walter Cronkite Award for Journalism Excellence.
14. Christiane Amanpour
The daughter of an Iranian father and a British mother, Amanpour did serious foreign coverage for CNN for decades, covering the Iraq-Iran War and the end of the Cold War. Last year, Amanpour moved to ABC News’ This Week one of the Sunday morning talk shows.
15. Gail Shister
Shister is widely regarded as the first “out” journalist in mainstream news. She joined the Philadelphia Inquirer as its first female sports writer in 1979. Her sports writing broke the same barrier at The New Orleans States-Item and the Buffalo Evening News in the 1970s.
16. Alexandra Pelosi
The daughter of the first female speaker of the house, Pelosi is breaking some barriers of her own. She started as a television producer at NBC covering George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. She’s created numerous award-winning documentaries, including Journeys with George, Diary of a Political Tourist, Sneaking into the Flying Circus, Friends of God, The Trials of Ted Haggard, and Right America: Feeling Wronged.
17. Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
These two documentary filmmakers have been pushing important stories. They co-directed The Devil Came on Horseback, which helped expose the genocide in Darfur and won seven festival awards. They also co-directed and produced The Trials of Darryl Hunt, a story about a man who spent 20 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn’t commit.
18. Lisa Ling
She may have really hit it big on Channel One News and The View, but Ling is a serious journalist who now does many investigative pieces for her show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. On her show, she’s reported on bride burning in India, gang rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre.Cross posted, and co-bylined with David Spett.