Ann Friedman

Ann Friedman is a columnist for New York magazine's website and for the Columbia Journalism Review. She also makes pie charts for The Hairpin and Los Angeles magazine. Her work has appeared in ELLE, Esquire, Newsweek, The Observer, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. She lives in Los Angeles, but travels so often the best place to find her is online at

Recent Articles

The Generation Trap

Today's social-justice activists start with very different conditions than those that existed in the 1960s.

Most young progressives have heard it at one point or another: the complaint that our generation is less active and engaged than the baby boomers were. As Phyllis Chesler (author of The Death of Feminism ) told USA Today in 2006, ''I think that to be a feminist in our time, it was very easy.'' She continued, ''By the 1980s -- and certainly into the '90s -- it became very not fashionable to be a feminist because it was equated with being a man-hater, a loser, an angry person. They'll say, 'I'm not one of those feminists, but I’m for equal rights.''' Quotations like these are often accompanied by black-and-white photos of women holding banners in the streets. It's true that we don't often see images of student-led Iraq War protests and boycotts of companies that violate human rights in today's newspapers. But actions like these are taking place, and a whole new activist world is flourishing online. That's why I can't seem to work up the same despair that some older liberals clearly feel...


Pam Spaulding passes on the Onion -like news that Sen. Liddy Dole wants to rename a bill to reauthorize AIDS treatment funding in honor of Jesse Helms . Dole wants to call the legislation "The Tom Lantos, Henry J. Hyde and Jesse Helms United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008." Other forthcoming Dole-sponsored legislation no doubt includes: The Henry Hyde Women's Reproductive Health Safety Act The Dick Cheney Detainee Treatment Reform Act The Ted Stevens Honesty in Government Act The George W. Bush Iraq Withdrawal Act The Don Young Pork Reduction Act The Trent Lott Racial Equality Act The Nancy Pelosi Communications Privacy Act The John McCain Internet Training and Education Act The Alberto Gonzales Justice Department Reorganization Act The Larry Craig and David Vitter Marriage Protection Act ( Oh, wait... ) --Ann Friedman


Today the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court injunction, allowing South Dakota's "informed consent" legislation to take effect. The legislation requires doctors to inform women seeking abortions that the procedure "ends a human life." In the 7-4 decision, the dissenters say the law meddles with doctors' rights because the state is forcing them to make value-laden statements. The case now goes back to the lower court. Last April, Sarah Blustain wrote about this case and other "informed consent" laws for TAP : This line of thinking makes clear that women are too ignorant to realize that they are carrying some sort of nascent life in them, and too weak to possibly decide for themselves whether to have an abortion. Even worse, drafters of the South Dakota law do not think women are competent to state whether they have absorbed all of this helpful state information properly: The law would require the doctor to certify, in writing, that he "believes she [the pregnant...


Over at his new place, Spencer points out that the latest iteration of the bill to create an amendment "protecting" the institution of marriage is cosponsored by none other than David Vitter and Larry Craig . What with the election going on and all, I'm sure everyone's forgotten all about last summer, when they were both outed as philanderers (Vitter in July and Craig in August). --Ann Friedman

Beyond Hillary: Strength in Numbers

The Year of the Woman was 16 years ago, and the number of women in elected office has flatlined. Herewith, some ideas on how to build a critical mass of female officeholders.

In 1992, the much-vaunted "Year of the Woman" when 27 women were elected to Congress, Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said, "Calling 1992 the Year of the Woman makes it sound like the Year of the Caribou or the Year of the Asparagus. We're not a fad, a fancy or a year." To a certain degree, Mikulski was right. It wasn't just a fad; the numbers of women in Congress have slowly and steadily increased since then. But there has never since been an election like 1992, with a sizable class of incoming women legislators. And, needless to say, women have yet to achieve anything close to parity at the highest levels of government. Hillary Clinton's historic campaign for president has inspired some important conversations about women in politics, mostly focused on how sexism has played out in her campaign, or how voters have responded to a female candidate for such a high office. But it's time for us to look down the pipeline. Progressives have a vested interest in getting more women into...