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 annfriedman.com.

Recent Articles

Whoa, Mama

Palin and her ilk claim to speak for moms but offer no policy solutions for working families.

(AP Photo/Al Grillo, file)
"There is a bear in the woods," goes the voice-over on a classic 1984 campaign ad of Ronald Reagan's. "Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it's vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who's right, isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear?" Twenty-six years later, the bear is back, courtesy of Sarah Palin, but the metaphor is entirely different. In a video posted to her political action committee's website in July, she heralds the arrival of the "mama grizzly," explaining that "this year will be remembered as the year when commonsense conservative women get things done for our country." I'm not sure about the commonsense part, but an unprecedented number of conservative women are indeed on the 2010 ballot. Fourteen Republican women are running for U.S. Senate, and 94 are seeking House seats. This, Palin declares in the video as photos of smiling white women flash across the screen, is a "mom awakening." While I don't agree with the candidates' politics, I do...

Behind Justice Ginsburg, a Strong Man.

The obit headline reads: Martin D. Ginsburg dies at 78; tax law expert, Supreme Court spouse It's so rare to read the obituary of a man who is identified, right up there in the headline, as a spouse -- the supportive partner of a woman who is much more well-known. The foundation of their relationship, they both said, was mutual respect and equality -- and a willingness to share domestic duties. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is rightfully recognized as a remarkable public advocate for women's rights. But it seems she also had the great fortune to spend her private life with a man who lived by feminist principles. [S]he recalled that Mr. Ginsburg, a gregarious varsity golf player, was "the only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain." Behind every great man, or so the old adage goes, is a woman. But even today, it's tough to argue that the flip side is consistently true. Even the most accomplished professional women often have a hard time achieving equality in the domestic sphere. They're...

Oil Spillover

A headline-dominating oil spill certainly should catalyze big changes in the way we power our country and regulate corporations.

Three women protesting BP across from the White House. (Flickr/mvjantsen)
As news reports came in that BP's "top kill" effort had failed to stanch the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon spill, some environmentally minded pundits squinted and tried to make out a silver lining. Maybe this disaster, Thomas Friedman and others wrote hopefully, will be the push America needs to finally kick the oil habit. Others were more pessimistic. "I'm curious to see how the public's mood shifts once it becomes clear that we are powerless in the face of this thing," wrote David Roberts at the environmental news site Grist . "What if there's just nothing we can do ? That's not a feeling to which Americans are accustomed." I actually think the opposite is true: Americans are quite accustomed to feeling like there's nothing we can do. One of the reasons such a wide swath of America found Barack Obama's hope-infused campaign refreshing was that he argued against a prevailing sentiment that we are powerless to change large-scale, deeply entrenched...

It's Not the End of Men

Despite lots of hand-wringing about the death of masculinity and the he-cession, the problem isn't men. It's traditional gender stereotypes.

(Vintage Pitney-Bowes Ad)
With each step that American women have taken on the road to equality, detractors have fretted about what their advancement means for men -- particularly the "manly man." The lumber jack. The quarterback. The captain of industry. Clint Eastwood. Sure, we occasionally see articles lamenting the end of traditional femininity and the difficulty of finding a submissive woman who derives all of life's pleasure from nurturing her family. But a far more common modern lament is the demise of masculinity. In 2000, Susan Faludi explored "the betrayal of the American man" in Stiffed . In 2001, Christina Hoff Sommers decried The War on Boys . In 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote that "this is turning into a woman's world," and Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens published a book about "saving our sons from falling behind in school and in life." In 2006, Harvey Mansfield eulogized Manliness , and a Newsweek cover story again warned of an impending "boy crisis." Last summer, in Foreign...

"Choices" and the Wage Gap.

Jon Chait points to research showing that the lack of women willing (or able) to work the night shift is one factor contributing to the wage gap. The night shift story is part of the same basic pattern: women are less willing or able than men to put in hours at work that are incompatible with family life. Working 60 hours a week to get ahead is very difficult for mothers, and so is working the night shift. The nub of the issue is that we live in a society where men often feel comfortable, or at least justified, working those sorts of hours even if they're parents, while women don't. Chait is spot-on in identifying the strong social pressures that push mothers to choose jobs with shorter or more convenient hours -- jobs that tend to pay less. But what about non-mothers? They face a wage gap, too. Women may want to work longer hours -- pick up an extra shift, stay late several nights a week to make partner -- but are still perceived as unwilling or unable to do so. In other words, women...

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