Israeli women pushed to the back of the bus

After many years of functioning as one of the most egalitarian nations on the planet, suddenly, religious extremists are pushing Jewish women into the shadows.  This new development flies in the face of the stance of the government, which adamantly supports equality between the sexes.  However, concessions are now being made to right-wingers and fanatics for the sake of getting their votes.

Who will be sacrificed in this scenario?  WOMEN.  The women of Israel.  All these years, I thought that the Israelis were better, smarter, and more enlightened than to pander to the fanatical sects who want to control and oppress women’s minds and bodies.  Gentlemen, is that not the job of your enemies? ... Read more.

Mina Harker: An Uncooperative Protagonist

From the first time that I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula in my teens, though I revered the work, I just knew that the character Mina Harker, Dracula’s obsession, was not satisfied with the role Mr. Stoker gave her—the quintessentially compliant Victorian virgin.  I knew that there had to be more to her than that.  (I knew that there had to be more to any woman than that.)

Anyone who has read my books knows that I am all about restoring grrrrl power to the historical record.  In Dracula in Love, I decided to tackle a work of fiction, reexamining an iconic female character that had not been given her due.  In a nutshell, my plan was to rescue Mina from Stoker’s sexist fantasy of the nice, cooperative girl, and empower her. ... Read more.

New Roles for Libyan women

Libyan women have been a visible and vital part of the revolution.

Libyan women have demonstrated bold and courageous acts during the revolution.  Will they go the way of Rosie the Riveter once peace is restored?  In Egypt, women were on the front lines of the revolution but NOT A SINGLE female is on the committee to rewrite the Egyptian constitution.  Will this document represent women’s rights?  Probably not.

Historically, once a revolution or war effort has used female talent, intelligence, energy, and drive, it sends those very women back into traditional roles, denying their evolution as active members of civic life.  What a shame it would be if the Arab Spring repeats that mistake.  I am hoping that the brave women of Tripoli are neither silenced not sent back into the kitchens. ... Read more.

Take Back the Tit

I had tea yesterday with a lovely friend who is a novelist and songwriter and a young mother of two.  She told me that in a class she attended on breastfeeding, a new mother admitted in a timid, guilty voice that she had to stop breastfeeding after several weeks because her nipples were cracked and bleeding and she could not produce enough milk.  The “teacher/expert,” some breast-feeding Brunhilde, callously replied, “Hey, you can’t be a wimp about it.”

Coincidentally, yesterday morning, I’d also struck up a conversation with a bedraggled-looking working mom who said that she wanted to give her six month old baby formula at night so that both she and the child could get some sleep but her breast-feeding friends shamed her into feeling that she would harm the child. ... Read more.