Irin Carmon

Irin Carmon is a national reporter at MSNBC, covering gender and politics. 

Recent Articles

What Women Need

Can women translate symbolic victories into durable progress on multiple fronts, from financial status to physical safety?

(Oxford University Press)
This book review is from the Fall 2014 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here. What Women Want: An Agenda for the Women's Movement By Deborah L. Rhode 256 pp. Oxford University Press $29.95 I n 2012, the young singer Taylor Swift was asked if she was a feminist. “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls,” she responded. “I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.” Two years later, in an interview with The Guardian , Swift recanted: “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men.” Swift wasn’t wrong that feminism is stigmatized, but by pop-culture standards, her turnaround came late. Another superstar, Beyoncé, had long since gone from hedging on feminism to embracing it. At roughly the...

Sheryl Sandberg’s Can-Do Feminism

AP Photo/Gregory Bull
AP Photo/Gregory Bull Sheryl Sandberg at a luncheon for the American Society of News Editors in San Diego in 2011 I n 1956, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg entered Harvard Law School, her class of more than 500 students included nine women and one black man. Erwin Griswold, the school’s dean, summoned the nine women and asked each to answer a question: How could she justify taking a place that would otherwise have gone to a man? Griswold would later insist he’d just been playing devil’s advocate. Ginsburg, who still tells this story with a tinge of resentment, emerged from the meeting determined to prove him wrong. A half-century later, Angie Kim, Harvard Law School class of ’93, surveyed 226 women in her class. A decade and a half after graduating, almost one-third of the women described themselves as stay-at-home mothers, which they indicated was a temporary status; nearly another third had arranged “mommy track” part-time or flexible work. With numbers like these among women with...