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happy birthday, gloria steinem. I wish you didn’t matter.

Gloria Steinem spoke at my college graduation back in 1986. At the time, as a graduate of a woman’s college, I thought to myself “oh good lord, her. Couldn’t they find someone more relevant?”  It was the era of “divest now” and “free Mandela;” we’d just spent four years at a single-sex college where “gender issues” were as pervasive as the scent of the clove cigarettes many of us smoked. Yes, …

in which teaching becomes a metaphor. or something.

Next week I am teaching Virginia Woolf’s brilliant and amazing essay A Room of One’s Own. So on my list of “to do” for the weekend is this note, jotted down while I was in a meeting: “find a way in to Room.” Indeed. Of course, what I meant (I think) was that I need to figure out how to help my students tackle this long essay. But the metaphor? …

Friedan, Fifty Years Later…

Well, not Friedan, exactly, but The Feminine Mystique. It turned fifty last week, you know, and I have to say that I think it (she?) is holding up pretty well, all things considered.  As some of you have pointed out in comments, the book is flawed–there is no substantive discussion of race or class, and the attitude towards lesbians is, at best, uneasy.  I don’t want to gloss over those …