Edie Windsor, the plaintiff who toppled the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court, was named the number three runner up for Person of the Year by TIME magazine; she’s also the only woman on the list of five. (Number one was Pope Francis, and number two was NSA leaker Edward Snowden.)
The Forward also named Windsor in its top five list on the Forward 50, our annual ranking of people who have made the biggest difference in the American Jewish story. (We placed her at number two, after Newtown mother Veronique Pozner.)
The recent New York Times story about breast cancer in Israel focused, in part, on the low percentage of women who undergo the surgery after being told they’ve tested positive for BRCA1 or 2, which indicate a much greater risk for breast cancer. The story suggests that this is in part because doctors in Israel are reluctant to recommend women get mastectomies, because the (mostly male) doctors in Israel are sexist, and don’t want women to remove their breasts. The article also mentions how the Times op-ed written by Angelina Jolie about her own double mastectomy sparked a lot of debate in Israel, and caused many women to start thinking about and asking for the surgery.
Implicit in the article is a message that high risk women like myself are told over and over again: get a double mastectomy to save your own life. Angelina Jolie did it — why shouldn’t Israeli women? (Other things Angelina Jolie has done: have six children, wear a vial of blood around her neck, wear black rubber pants at her first wedding.)
It’s been a good (or perhaps bad) year for normal-woman outrage. I’m still pretty irked about being told to “Lean In,” and now there is yet another book by an uber-successful (and uber-lucky) woman who thinks her life lessons apply to the rest of us. If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about former Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg’s “Dot Complicated,” in which a one-percenter who was born in 1982, went to Harvard, and thinks her hometown of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. — which the New York Times once called “Exclusive on the Hudson” — is “typically suburban,” tells the rest of us how to live online.
Unlike “Lean In,” which was treated as a manual for all working women but truly applied only to those who wish to join a very select group of leaders in particular fields, the work-life balance tips in “Dot Complicated” are meant for everyone. Women, men, children, and even unborn babies; there is a frankly icky paragraph with the heading “Digital Identity Begins Before Birth.”
Can we please stop pretending that stay-at-home-dads are a viable, large-scale solution for gender equality? Fifty years after Betty Friedan encouraged women to get out of the house, men have not, in any statistically significant way, come to take their place. And yet, the stay-at-home dad continues to live on in our cultural imagination as a feminist success story when really it’s hardly anything resembling a trend.
The New York Times ran a story yesterday about the stay-at-home husbands of Wall Street in which we got a glimpse into the lives of the men who make their banker wives’ lives possible. Writers Jodi Kantor and Jessica Silver-Greenberg looked at the domestic arrangements, and masculine malaise, of the men who tend to the kids and home while their wives work 14 hour days reeling in serious dough.
According to the BBC, a quiet revolution is taking place among ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem. They have discovered the power of mascara.
There are, of course, numerous strict restrictions on these women when it comes to their appearance. They must wear modest clothes — no elbows, no collar bones — cover their heads, and many even cut off their hair. And yet, whether it is pressure from the secular world to look a certain kind of pretty or some deep-rooted desire in women to beautify oneself, they are heading to the beauty salon.