Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mag Spotlight: Ms. Magazine Winter 2006 edition

Thanks to a friend who dropped off a care package (much needed after the Alito fan club aka "the hearings") which included chocolate and the new issue of Ms. which is supposed to go on sale Tuesday the seventeenth. It's been awhile since we've done a magazine report. But after today, we may really need one. (I'm tired, so forgive typos. Any in quotes are my typos and not the magazine's.)

We'll start with the cover story, Robin Morgan interviews Jane Fonda ("A Ms. Converstation: Jane Fonda Talks With Robin Morgan." Issues addressed include "clicking"*, empowerment, religion, you name it.

Here's an excerpt (page 38) that may provide perspective at the end of a depressing week:

Jane Fonda: So now I can support a real, grassroots, anti-war movement -- including male and female veterans' groups. It took seven years with Vietnam for soldiers to speak out, but at the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq as many as 4,800 people rallied outside Fort Bragg, the speakers vets and military families against the war!

The interview covers a wide range of topics.

[*"Clicking" Jane O'Reilly's "Click! The Housewife's Moment of Truth" appeared in Ms. -- I believe the first issue. The basis of this essay was about the moments when you share something "personal" that's just something that happens and someone else has experienced it as well. It's not just something that happens. "Click"s are those moments when a lightbulb goes off and you realize that something you thought was a personal problem is, in fact, a political one -- it's just that those establishing the guidelines hadn't ruled it as such.]

As always with Ms., the letters pages are worth reading (four pages). This isn't "When you used you 'shan't' perhaps you were unaware that you split the structure of the sentence . . ." This is people sharing what an article sparked for them, their own experiences, the things that speak to them. ("People" are predominately females but Ms. does have male readers and it does include male letters from time to time. Including two this issue. One of which is from the vice president of Moosehead Breweries explaining an ad and stating that the company "WILL NOT tolerate this type of sexism and tasteless work again.")

In "Keeping Score," one of Eddie's favorites is quoted:

I guess we're just a little tired of all the death that comes with the 'Culture of Life.'"
-- Randi Rhodes

You also get a rundown of five magazines ratio of female to male writers from September to December of 2005 and milestones.

Plan B and Susan Wood's reason for quitting the FDA over their disregard for science is addressed in "Denial by Delay."

"Reproductive Rights on Trial " is a feature we've already highlighted this week. "Anita Hill on Harriet Miers " should generate interest.

From the Ms. Calendar, we'll note "Girl Trouble" airing on PBS beginning January 17th (check your local PBS listings) since that's just around the corner (Tuesday). (Documentary on "the lives of three teenage girls caught up in San Francisco's juvenile justice system.) "Global" provides you with a look at news around the world including rape "as an international war crime" in Darfur (Femke Van Zeijl). We'll highlight Iraq Sunday in our "outside the mainstream US media" entry. (If I'd opened the issue before doing the indymedia roundups tonight, I would've included it there.)

Blanche Wiesen Cook's "WOMEN AND PEACE: The Legacy" is a must read (and comes with suggested additional readings). Excerpt from page 43:

The long war in Vietnam created another generation of women peace leaders. WILPF was refortified with younger activists who flocked to its meetings in every state. A great chain of being connected Jane Addams with Kay Camp, Ruth Gage-Colby, Anne Florant, Helen Kusman, Bea Siegel, Trudy Orris; with civil rights activists Virginia Durr, Fannie Lou Hamer, Flo Kennedy; and with a new generation of feminists in Crystal Eastman's tradition, notably Gloria Steinem. At a WILPF meeting in 1966, I met my partner Clare Coss. We worked, and created enduring friendships with Bella Abzug, Mim Kelber, Amy Swerdlow, Cora Weiss and Lyla Hoffman -- who were among the founders of Women Strike for Peace, organized in 1961 to protest nuclear armaments and nuclear poisons in our food supply, the result of atmospheric tests.

[WILPF is the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, founded in 1921.]

Katti Gray contributes "SILENCE=WAR: A new wave of feminist peace activists take it to the streets." Excerpt:

Mounting death tolls -- more than 2,100 at press time -- soaring costs, an ever-growing Iraqi insurgency and daily revelations of the Bush administration's disinformation campaign to garner U.S. support for the war have soured even those who may have initially backed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government. At the U.S. Capitol, not far from the converted townhouse in which WAND conducts its activism, U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat, also has her mind on war. "The Congress," she says, "has to catch up with the American people. And the American people are sick of the bloodshed."
Together with Democrats Maxine Water, Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky and four congressmen, Woolsey co-founded the House of Representatives' "Out of Iraq Caucus." Considering women make up only 10 of the 435 seats in the House, the 23 women in the 69-member caucus represent a disproportionate share of the groups. In November, the group filed a "discharge petition" that would require the president to begin bringing U.S. troops home.

Bay Fang provides text and Andrea Camuto photos to "A Brave Sisterhood: Women overcame years of gender apartheid -- and even bullets -- to run for office and vote in Afghnaistan's recent elections." Excerpt (pages 51-52) on Hossai Andar:

Andar had problems campaigning in Ghazni, a city which is largely under the control of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the feared leader of one of the main mujahideen groups that fought against the Soviets. "I don't trust my own mother," says Andar. "Everyone is from a political party. I tell them I'm running for one of the three seats set aside for women, but they know my campaign is very wide [in the constituency she hopes to serve]. People are tired of Sayyaf -- they want democrats, educated people."

Jeanne K. C. Clark remembers "The Booming Voice of Molly Yard: Celebrating the great feminist, human-rights leader and NOW president." Excerpt:

When Molly was elected national chair of the American Student Union, things really got interesting. That's when Eleanor Roosevelt came into her life.
The first lady had contacted Molly to talk to her about the criticisms Molly and the student union had made of Franklin Roosevelt's administration and policies. The result was a lifelong friendship and political alliance.
With Eleanor Roosevelt's guidance and support, Molly put forth her talents toward making the world better. She was active in every progressive campaign over the next 60 years. She was a founder of Americans for Democratic Action, worked to defeat Richard Nixon in his California Senate race and was a key organizer for progressive candidates in Pennsylvania. She was particularly active in the great battles for civil rights, working with black and white civil rights groups. She worked with Dorothy Height to integrate the YWCA, and helped organize the historic 1963 March onWashington.

Martha Burk provides "24 Hours in Arkansas: Or, how I wasn't fooled by Wal-Mart fawning over women." Donna Brazile provides "Poverty Is a Woman's Issue" and much, much more.

(Full content listing available here.)

The issue is a strong one so utilize your libraries, bookstores, grocery stores, Tower, et al. If you don't normally read Ms., pick up this issue and flip through it to see if it interests you. (My guess is it will.)

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