Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Elitist Speaks

As someone who voted for Hillary Clinton who is neither blue collar, working class or a white man, I am starting to get a little annoyed, since apparently everyone who votes with her fits that description, if you believe what you read in the press.

David Brooks yesterday said that Democratic voters aren't split along class lines, but education lines, suggesting that Hillary's stance as a resilient fighter plays well "down market. " For the record, I had an iced latte yesterday, am class secretary for my Seven Sisters school, and am under 40. I don't wear a hard hat to work and, as far as I can tell, Clinton and Obama's records are about as different a graduate from Harvard vs. Yale.

Don't create differences where there are hardly any. The Democrats are split, and they're torn. Polls have been unpredictable because Dems can't decide, some until they walk into the polling station. When they can't decide, they usually go for Clinton last minute because she's known. This whole latte vs. beer thing between supporters of two liberal, Democratic candidates is all going to disappear soon enough, in time for the general election, when Red and Blue America will be back, big time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sex Sales

I am a proud third generation Bloomie's customer and if I could move in or have my house re-decorated to match the black and white flooring, I would. (Also love the pink suede furniture in the Diane von Furstenberg section, but I digress.) After college, jobless, I spent my days perfecting my rollerblading skills in NYC (did I mention it was 1991?) and showed up at the 59th Street store on wheels to purchase my signature color Chanel lipstick. Well, at least I had my priorities in order.

But even I have been keeping my distance from the department stores with the credit crisis (mine). Unless, of course, there's a sale. But not all sales are created equal.

While snapping up super-marked down cashmere sweaters at the pre-Christmas sale at Bloomie's, my gal pal and I picked up on it right away: the men's sweaters were cheaper to begin with, and marked off even more. (That worked out well for my husband, not so much for me. I left the still quite expensive cashmere for her on the rack.) Another friend who was helping her BF shop noticed the same thing at Macy's: menswear markdowns so low the silk and cashmere pullovers were practically cheaper than the lattes they picked up at Starbucks to fuel the spree.

OK, sure, I know I can find a $4 sweater at the bargain bin at Mervyn's, or some cheap knock-off at Target. But Macy's?

We know that men's clothing isn't less fabric, in fact, it's more. And the quality can't really be that different. A sweater is a sweater. No, I think the retailing industry has us women where they want us: Ready, willing and sort-of able to pay more.

Of course, without guidance, not all men can score the best deals. A co-worker confided in me that she was at Nordstrom the other day with her husband and a saleswoman helpfully pulled out an armload of shirts for him to try on. He seemed content until she stepped in and took a practical look at the price tag.

Mediocre, over-priced shirt: $500. Loving wife who saves her man from being manhandled: priceless.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What a Pill

It's hard enough these days trying to cover basics without your birth control pill costs going up, four to five times, what they've been at health clinics. Why? Oh, a little glitch in Congress caused drug companies to no longer offer the low, low prices that college gals and low-income women the benefit of low-cost pills. You can contact Congress today and get them to reverse this inadvertent increase.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Welcome to My World

Barack Obama was outed a few weeks ago during a fundraiser in elite San Francisco with his "elitist" comments on the bitter folks in Pennsylvania, clinging to their guns and religion in times of economic despair. Some say it was the bitter comment that lost him the white male vote in the Pennsylvania primary.

For the rest of the country, San Francisco is code word for elite, effete and indiscreet. So the whole affair came off as a bit redundant. But in thinking about it more, the country feels more like San Francisco then even San Francisco does these days.

Think about it.

The race: Two liberal democrats competing for your votes and a marginalized republican. See: Every San Francisco mayoral race.

The national conversation: Two candidates debating how fast we can end the war, who has a better universal health-care plan and how pro-choice they are. See: every conversation I have every day with my fellow San Franciscans. (Or my complaint e-mails to the Speaker of the House and crasher of the marble ceiling, Nancy Pelosi).

The weather: Not too hot, not too cold across the country. Basically, you are experiencing the weather we have year-round. I know it has nothing really to do with the election, I just wanted to rub it in.

So yes, maybe I am one of those people who believes in hope: the hope that this race never ends, so we keep on living the dream that the whole country is just like San Francisco.
We've (Sort of) Come a Long Way

With all the sniping around Hillary Clinton's win in PA (really, you would have thought she'd lost) on the way to the Democratic nomination for president, I thought it might be fun to cast our minds back to the year 1943. When Rosie the Riveter entered the workplace. Helpful tips on a workforce of women for the men who hired them. Guidelines like: husky women have better temperaments than their underweight sisters. Making sure to give women working in outside work a sense of time constraint, and allow those working in an office to change their duties a lot, because they tend to be nervous. (House slaves vs. field slaves, anyone?)

Well, aside from the fact that women still only make 77 cents on the dollar, at least we have a viable female candidate for president. Even if she seems to be the persona non want arounda for the Democratic Party.

Today, a lot of Obama supporters are annoyed that Hillary Clinton is still in the race so Obama can't win. But she gets to be a contender as long as she wants, especially if she's, well, winning. Rather than the press focusing on the fact that we still have two good candidates, why not focus on the fact that we have two good candidates, and actually ask real, substantive questions.

Oh, sorry, for a moment I thought I was in 1943.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Looking for Lots of Good Women

The Marines has scraped the bottom of the barely eligible barrel for male recruits -- felons, those who hadn't completed their high school education, a tad overweight. Not exactly the image portrayed in their ads, or their image. Their ads also sorta skipped a major demographic that could be open to being recruited (and to kick their sorry-ass male counterparts' butts): women. There's an idea!

The New York Times reports today there are now ads in women's mags like Self and Fitness, as well as -- wait for it -- on American Idol. Not sure who they're going for there. Chances of being a Marine are slightly higher than being the next Idol. And the humiliation factor might even be about the same for newbies.

There is something about this cynical type of targeting that makes my skin crawl. First it was going after high school students, then seriously under-qualified men. Now the desperate armed forces need to fill their ranks with more fodder. The few, the proud? I guess there are too few. Let's hope not too many women fall for that line.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What Gender Gap? Women Reign in Spain

I woke up this morning to a story on NPR interviewing macho men of Spain railing against their newest Minister of Defense. She's not just a woman (Dios!) but a pregnant woman. Not just a pregnant woman, but a seven-months-out about to burst pregnant. I am woman in full bloom pregnant. I am woman with child pregnant. The translator had some undone man railing against that pregnant chick . . . quick, everyone, let's invade Spain!

She's not the only one. Well, she may be the only visibly pregnant member of Spain's cabinet, which now boasts more women than men in power.

And in case this isn't delightful enough to hear, check out the new book arguing for more women in leadership positions.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Knowledge Gap

David Brooks, in his column in the New York Times today on the various forces that have transformed the work place, makes an egregious error. He asserts the proto-Republican pap that women coming into the workforce pushed down men's wages. Really. So why is that the women are still only making 77 cents to every dollar a man earns? Maybe everyone is earning less, but men are still earning more than women.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Refreshing Change

It's hard to imagine that for the Democratic party, with two competing, liberal senators both relatively new to politics competing for the mantle of change or experience.

To me, just having them dominate the airwaves with their post-Bush viewpoints has me quite happy. And if I represent anything of the electorate, it's why we ant the contest for a democratic candidate to go on. Forever. I want to just hear them talk about how to make the country better -- such a tonic after almost 8 years of republican rule.

For instance, talking about being pro-choice to a religious audience. Now that's change.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More B-Side Radio

Can't get enough of the B-Side? Well, lucky you: part 2 of the show on Clothes is now available for you. Click to listen.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Over 40? You've Got Options

When it comes to birth control, that is. Use to be, women after a certain age couldn't use the pill because of dangerous side effects of high doses of hormones. Now, hormone doses are lower, and more women over 40 are choosing to stay on the pill instead of tying their tubes -- just in case of a case they want to have kids at that age. When it comes to 40, it's really the new 20. At least in mindset, if not biology.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Abortion a Dirty Word?

John Hopkins reproductive search database and been scrubbed of the search term abortion to appease funders. Oh, so that would make the funders feel better? Ignore it and it goes away? Call it by any other name, but it's censorship. Apparently, scientists agreed since the decision was reversed when when met witha

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Burning for Change

You know, March is Women's History Month, (yah, I hope you celebrated). But I like to celebrate women's history year round. I was completely horrified when a friend of mine who shall go unnamed, a good 1o years younger, had no idea what ERA stood for. Or that bra burning was just a myth. So all you millennials out there, check out my entry on Huffington Post today.
Women In Action

Just returned from the WAM! conference (Women, Action and the Media) at Cambridge, MA. The attendance was the largest yet -- 600 spilling out of conference sessions, standing in the doorframe of the keynote address, and filling MIT with inspiring, smart voices. It was great to see people I usually just e-mail, like Lisa Jervis, founder of Bitch. Jessica Wakeman, a blog editor at Huffington Post. And Jennifer Pozner, of Women in Media and News, blogging at the conference and encouraging women to blog away. Here's a cool fact: half of all bloggers are women. And they're not all mom bloggers, either. Plenty of feminist bloggers are out there. What do we need? Money and power! When do we need it? Now!