Discrimination

Time magazine: I can’t even.

Time magazine’s annual poll of the year’s “worst words” looks for words that make you “definitely cringe,” even “exhale pointedly,” even “seek out the nearest pair of chopsticks and thrust them through your own eardrums like straws through plastic lids.” And it asks people to “vote another word off the island” (and if I never hear that phrase again, I’ll be okay). This year’s poll includes bae, basic, bossy, disrupt, I can’t even…, influencer, kale, literally, om nom nom nom, obi, said no one ever, sorry not sorry, turnout, yaaasssss, and… feminist.

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What would you do if you needed an abortion in a country where it’s outlawed?

I’m in Brazil right now with the wonderful International Reporting Project, and while here I spoke with a young woman who, like many women around the world, got pregnant when she didn’t want to be. Here in Brazil, abortion is generally illegal. After trying several different methods unsuccessfully and reaching out to a variety of slightly-shady people for help, she decided to go the safest route: To say she had been raped and get a safe, legal abortion in a Brazilian hospital. Her story is here. Women in this country are understandably very afraid to speak with anyone about abortion, and lots of women die or are injured from unsafe procedures. I’m particularly grateful to this young woman, who I’m calling Juliana, for her generosity, her honesty and her courage in sharing an extremely complicated story.

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Anita Hill, 20 Years Later

Twenty-three years ago, Anita Hill testified before Congress in the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, who is now a Supreme Court justice. Hill’s testimony brought the term “sexual harassment” into the general American lexicon, and changed the way we talk about gender, power and the workplace. At the time, Hill was vilified by the media and treated horribly by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her testimony, and the hostility she faced, galvanized women and feminists across the U.S. On Friday, a new documentary called “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” will be released. I’ve seen it, and it’s excellent — go check it out.

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Hill — one of my personal heroes — and to interview her for Cosmopolitan. You can read the whole thing here. A bit of it:

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Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is always a good day to re-read not just the I Have a Dream speech, but King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Today is also a day when lots of great writing on race and equality tends to get published, so link what you’re reading in the comments.

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Do working men need feminism?

Stephanie Coontz says yes, and she makes a pretty convincing case.

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Happy New Year!

Hope you all celebrated and had a grand ol’ time. Sorry I’ve been MIA from the blog — December was a big month of travel for me, often without great internet. One of those trips was to Malawi, which is a fantastic country in East Africa, small and extremely poor but the locus of some really innovative development efforts. I met a lot of bright, interesting girls doing fantastic advocacy and activism work in their communities. Unfortunately, they’re looking at being defunded: Endemic corruption in Malawi is a national scandal, with millions in donor aid plundered by politicians. Now, many Western governments are suspending funds. I wrote about it for the Guardian, so click over and read the whole thing. I’m happy to start 2014 with a reminder that there are some pretty amazing young women advocating for their own futures all over the world.

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