Can Feminists Be People Whose Views You Hate?

This handout image received on September 8, 20...
Image by AFP/Getty Images via @daylife

Love this thoughtful and insightful rant (they can be all those at once) about the death of third-wave feminism — by Mark Morford at, commenting on an Atlantic magazine think-piece by a woman:

It is something to behold. Right now I’m vainly attempting to cross-reference Hanna Rosin’s fascinating mixed-bag article from the Atlantic that ran under the delightfully obnoxious headline “The End of Men: How Women are Taking Control of Everything,” and mixing it with all the feverish stories about California’s landmark political races, Carly and Meg and Pelosi, too, influenced by everyone’s favorite winkin’ ditzball from hell, Sarah Palin.

And I’m tossing in a dash of pop culture, all the MIAs and Lady Gagas and Miley Cyruses, the Kathryn Bigelows and the ditzbombs of “Sex and the City,” trying to parse and understand and see some sort of through-line.

I am not having much success. Most women — and many of us men — are cheering madly at all the newfound roles, powers, titles, successes and attentions, from Hillary’s stunning presidential run to Bigelow’s Oscar to (even) Meg Whitman’s pile of billions that could very well buy her the election.

But…many are…entirely furious that many of third-wave feminism’s cornerstone values — abortion rights, humanitarianism, anti-racism, don’t kill stuff — are being violently, stupidly co-opted, inverted, perverted, repackaged…

In short, most progressive women are right now discovering a brutally painful truth, one that men have known for millennia: With power, glory and long overdue cultural advancement, comes a whole delightful s–bag of downsides, drawbacks, jackals and bitches to poison the party. Fun!

See, long was it believed, via some utopian/naive vision held by “enlightened” men and women alike, that if and when the feminist movement — all three waves of it, really, from Virginia Woolf to Betty Freidan, bell hooks to riot grrls — finally started to get everything it desired, there would surely be some wonderful sea change in the culture, a new paradigm to replace all the ugly, outdated structures of power and ego erected by old white men, something far more fluid and interesting, liberal and heartfelt and, well, nonmasculine.

Well, as if!

One of the delightful issues with power — wanting it, buying it, voting for it, getting it, keeping it, getting it back after you’ve blown it — is…you have to flex some serious muscle to get, own and keep it. Whether that power is physical, emotional, financial, political, intellectual (and they’re usually fairly entangled) sexual, or spiritual, some of it, if not all of it, is going to freak out and piss off a bunch of other women who think naked raw power — and showing how much you really want it — is a male thing.

That women are de facto gentler and kinder and all dance to the moonbeams’ glow. Snort.

While some women have been exercising whatever limited powers were granted to them (sexual, emotional) from the dawn of time — resentful others have silently seethed in the corner for having less-to-none of it.

If there’s anything more annoying than not having the power you so crave, it’s watching women whose behavior and values you loathe have tons of it and mis-using it. The economics of scarcity make it ugly.

But…claiming (your) power takes guts, putting your value out in front of others to judge. They may very well find you wanting.

That’s the price of admission to the boxing ring of power. Someone’s going to punch you in the face and you need a skilled and loyal cut man to keep you in the game.

Which is why I loved Hilary Swank in the 2004 Clint Eastwood film “Million Dollar Baby”. It’s nominally about a female boxer and her trainer but it’s just as much about finding a man (could be a woman) who knows what it takes to hit your peak and will push you to achieve it.

I hate Sarah Palin, Lady Gaga and many of the women who keep attracting media attention for polticial views I loathe, rampant stupidity and/or and tacky, skanky behavior.

But that’s the price of feminism, isn’t it? Everyone gets to play.

Girls' Summit Opens Today, Pre-Toronto G20, With Voices From Around The World

Personal photo of Belinda Stronach taken at Go...
Belinda Stronach. Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a novel idea — make sure that young women’s voices are included in global economic debate. The girls will meet at my alma mater, the University of Toronto, June 15 to 18. (The G20 are meeting in Toronto June 26-27.)

The idea comes from Belinda Stronach, whose foundation works with young girls worldwide. Stronach, well-known in Canada, is the daughter of Frank Stronach, an auto-parts magnate. As this picture makes clear, she’s a stylish blast of fresh air, wealthy enough she doesn’t have to please anyone but herself, and feisty enough to do it her way.

Reports The Globe and Mail:

Hosted and run by The Belinda Stronach Foundation, established by businesswoman and former politician Belinda Stronach, G(irls)20 has begun unveiling its delegates this week. Ms. Stronach talked to The Globe about why girls need a summit to call their own.

Where did the idea for the G(irls)20 Summit come from?

I established a foundation two years ago now and one of our key pillars is to improve the lives of girls and women around the globe. So in order to develop a strategy for this, to get further input in what we wanted to do, we gathered together young, influential media personalities in various areas – so from print to television, radio – a bunch of women. We got together and we had an informal dinner one night for several hours and we talked about what could we do in advance of the G8/G20 to create awareness about the challenges that young women and women around the globe face, but also … do something about it, try to develop solutions.

What concrete outcomes will result from the summit?

The summit itself is a gathering of 21 girls from around the globe, from the G20 countries plus … Malawi because we wanted to have an African presence there as well. So the young women will take this global conversation that’s being had through the 3.3 Billion Ways campaign and then we have what’s called Google Moderator distilling those ideas that are being submitted by everybody that signs on and gets a number. The young women, the girls, will then include those in their agenda while they’re here and they’ll discuss them. So the outcome will be that there will be a proposal or solutions put forward on how the well-being of girls in developing countries and around the world can be improved.

Stronach, a breast cancer survivor, twice divorced, was elected as a member of Parliament in 2004 for the Conservative Party then crossed the floor to join the Liberals. She left politics in 2008 to run the Magna Corporation.

No stranger to controversy or public attention, she’s tackling one of the biggest issues women face: their lack of political and economic clout.

Here’s a list of the girls participating; if you’re interested, the Globe is publishing two brief interviews a day with all the girls.

Nancy Pelosi — Mama Bear, Parish Priest, Pick Your Metaphor

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes rem...
Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Interesting profile of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Politico:

“I’m not big on showing weakness. It’s not my thing…I don’t like to have predictable losses.”

As a control freak myself (does anyone like losses? Of any kind?), I love watching people struggle to define a tough woman who knows what she wants and fights hard to get it. Having interviewed a few female legislators, I know — as every journo does — that the behind-the-scenes story always has nuances that disappear into 15-second sound bites or tired cliches.