“Quit Slacking Off with Your Baby”
5 Fathers Discuss Paternity Leave

dogs playing poker

I’m part of a group of women who come together to discuss current issues in feminism and gender equality. At a meeting a few years ago, we discussed paternity leave and discovered that many of the husbands of group members with adult children had taken little or no time off when their kids were born. When I got home that night, I asked my husband if he would take paternity leave if we had kids – and he immediately and reflexively answered “no.”

While his answer might be different if I asked him today, the swiftness and surety of his response startled me. Since then, many of our peers have started having kids of their own, so it’s a natural time to re-examine this issue and take a close look at how and why men make their decisions about parental leave. (read more…)

Is Being “High Maintenance” Inherited?

woman-at-her-toilette-wearing-a-purple-corset-1893

My grandmother instilled in me an appreciation for art and an understanding that determination keeps you moving. From her, I also inherited an overblown concern for how my hair looks.

People called my grandmother (my mom’s mom) “the last of the Great Ladies.” That meant she was elegant and paid a lot of attention to appearance, from her own to the flower arrangement on her dining room table. She went to the hair salon weekly until she died. A few years ago, she admitted to my sister that she regretted spending so much time on her appearance. This was a fluke moment of remorse, however. When she returned from the hair salon just before her 100th birthday party, I asked her about her fresh nail polish. “Of course,” she explained, “I had to match my nails to my lipstick.” (read more…)

My Boobs Are Just Fine

Vija Celmins

I hate shopping. I only go when I want something extremely specific. Last week, this “something specific” was an unpadded bra. The process made me realize how my changing relationship with myself is not at all reflected by the consumer nation.

I’m a small-breasted woman. I could probably arguably fit into a girl’s trainers bra. And I might have to because it seems the majority of A-cup bras have a ridiculous amount of padding in them. And if they don’t have pillows built in, they cup in a way that leaves a gap between where your boob ends and the bra starts. (read more…)

What Went Wrong with Feminism?

Image of a women's liberation protest by Warren K. Leffler
Image of a women’s liberation protest by Warren K. Leffler

 

I was at the heart of the second wave feminist uprising when I moved to Manhattan in 1969 at the age of 22. The help wanted ads in the newspaper were still divided into men’s jobs and women’s jobs (hard to imagine now), but women who had made the coffee and bore the babies for the rabble-rousing men of the Free Speech and Civil Rights movements were beginning to get restive.  What about our issues?

The male revolutionaries didn’t care about our issues, but they HAD taught us to organize, so we pressed for equality ourselves.  It was a heady time. Gloria Steinem was constantly in the news and Betty Friedan’s “The Second Sex” was being read widely.  We held consciousness-raising sessions in living rooms in Greenwich Village and eventually in larger spaces like churches and synagogues.  We marched for equal pay for equal work, for the right to safe and legal abortions, for equal opportunities to advance in business and the professions, and for the Equal Rights Amendment which would enshrine our status as the equals of men before the law in the Constitution.   (read more…)