Tag Archives: New Yorker

Can a man be a feminist? a repost

Some time ago, the Harnisch Foundation awarded AlterNet a grant of $15,000 for our Gender Byline Project if we matched that amount from our readers, especially those who are on Facebook.

support women writers.

The reason for the project: In 2011, male writers still dominate the public discourse and have a much higher percentage of bylines in most corporate magazines online and off, even in progressive media. All of the money in this project would pay for content written by women.

Please help us support women writers.

Just last week, Ms. Magazine started a campaign against the New Yorker after the magazine went two full issues with only two or three contributions by female writers, in a close to 150-page magazine.

It’s not just the New Yorker. January’s issue of Harpers has only three out of 21 stories by women. The Nation’s latest print issue has four and a half female bylines out of 17 articles. The Atlantic did a little better, featuring five and a half female bylines, of 18 total stories.

Clearly, extra effort has to be invested in recruiting, assigning to, and developing emerging women writers, especially in areas where they are most underrepresented, such as politics, economics, and foreign affairs. We want to invest money in doing that. But truth be told, we have had a hard time raising this money. So far, only $4,000.

Please join us — Invest in women writers now.

Some of you, perhaps more our male readers, might wonder why gender byline fairness is important, given all the other challenges we face. It’s a fair question. But this is a personal issue for me and I think it’s extremely important. I want to tell you why.

Can I share a personal story?

I want to tell you a personal story about my growing up. I became a “feminist,” or let’s say I had my “consciousness raised,” as a young child, although I didn’t quite know what that was at the time. I think I was 7.

My female cousin was the same age as I, and almost a sibling since our families spent a lot of time together. As we grew, I started getting messages about how I was supposed to act around her: protect her, open the door for her, walk on the outside closer to the street. And there were other, more subtle messages that made me angry, but I didn’t know why.

As only a child with a fierce, idealistic sense of right and wrong can be, I tried to resist these messages without knowing what was really going on. But not very successfully. What I knew in my heart then was that my cousin was a better student than I, and much more talented as an artist, a dancer, and in other ways. But to people around us, my development – as the boy – seemed to be more important.

This pattern continued through high school and after. My uncle would give my father cigars when I scored touchdowns during high school football games, while my cousin would cheerlead in semi-obscurity. In student government, I was the president and she the secretary. And when my cousin wanted to go to law school, a conspiracy of her parents and her then-boyfriend convinced her not to go at that point, despite the fact that she was a superb student. Eventually her life took a downswing, involving serious struggles, and I can see a line from those first days when we were kids together.

Help us write a different story for women today.

The insight

Over the years it finally dawned on me why I was frustrated. I was being unfairly deprived — deprived of the talents, the ideas, the perspective of half of society. Often it was a point of view I very much wanted. Women’s voices and writing provided a balance to the macho orientation most successful boy students and athletes received when I was growing up in America.

When I came of age in the early ’70s I discovered amazing women writers — authors of sprawling, multi-layered novels like Marge Piercy and Sara Davidson. I was introduced to the work of brilliant thinkers like Dorothy Dinnerstein, Germaine Greer, and Shulamuth Firestone, whose ideas and social critiques made infinite sense to me, more so than many of the male thinkers did at that point.

The good news is, my cousin righted her life and went on to get her PhD. And in my life, I have sought out women writers, hired them, assigned them articles, because much of their writing and ideas have shaped me. They’ve been fundamental to who I am and what I value.

So that is why I think battling the gender byline gap — and it still is severe, we have tons of data to support it — is a key part of every issue we care about, and a lynch pin to our future success in creating the society we want. It’s important for men to get on board, because currently we are being deprived.

If you agree, would you consider making a donation? Help us battle the gender byline gap today.

So I don’t know if men should be called feminists. That’s probably up to women to decide. The important point is that despite the media hype about women out-numbering men in college and grad schools, those with the power and the big salaries in politics, business, and especially the media, are still men. Here’s a reminder if anyone needs one: the U.S. ranks 86th across the globe in the number of female elected officials. Don’t you agree with me that that is pathetic?

Please, men and women, consider investing in our “gender byline gap” project. All of the money will go to women writers. We would really like to free up the matching money sitting in a bank account somewhere and get it into the hands of women writers where it can do some good.

Thank you,

Don Hazen

Executive Editor


P.S. AlterNet is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 100% of your contribution to this effort is tax-deductible.

Official Google Blog

Happy 100th birthday, Charles Samuel Addams

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 09:01 PM PST

From time to time we invite guests to post about items of interest and are pleased to have H. Kevin Miserocchi, executive director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, join us today to talk about cartoonist Charles Samuel Addams. Addams is best known as the creator of the Addams Family, and is the subject of a doodle today in honor of his 100th birthday. -Ed.

I spent the summer of 1979 fundraising with Tee Matthews Miller for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. We spent most of our time in the home she shared with her cartoonist paramour—and too many dogs and cats to name—during his weekends away from Manhattan. I’d met her partner several times before I realized that behind all the stacks of paper and collectibles and layers of dust and pet fur in Tee’s office den, the walls were decorated with familiar art. Not just any art—the original artwork from the pages of The New Yorker magazines that my brother and I had cut up or crayoned across when we were boys. Tee’s boyfriend was the Charles Addams—the one with two d’s. I was home, and our friendship was forever cemented.

They were married in Tee’s pet cemetery in Water Mill, NY in 1980—a surprise for the 60 guests coming for cocktails during the Memorial Day weekend. The wedding party all wore black. It was the union of a wonderful woman of gentle spirit and great generosity and a beguiling man with a subtly wicked sense of humor. Bashful and soft-spoken as he was, he had a devil-child glint in his eyes and a Lugosi-like mouth when he laughed, showing none of his teeth.

Eleven years after his 1988 death, his widow and I formed the not-for-profit Tee and Charles Foundation to protect his legacy as an extraordinary cartoonist with a painterly technique, and to educate people about Charlie’s gift by exhibiting his work worldwide. Following Tee’s passing in 2002, the Foundation dedicated the couple’s Sagaponack homestead, “The Swamp,” as a museum. They had moved there in the mid-1980s, and in true Addams style, they took their cemetery with them—a sweet place where their ashes are interred alongside those of their beloved dogs and cats.

Of the thousands of works Charlie published in his 55 years of cartooning, only 150 were devoted to the group of characters who became known as The Addams Family. But the perfectly off-center humor behind these characters won worldwide adoration even before they became the television and film family we know today. Even for those who never had the thrill of knowing the classy gentleman behind this unique art, Charlie’s family continues to capture the hearts of new generations of cartoon aficionados. We hope today’s doodle inspires you to seek out more of his work.

Posted by H. Kevin Miserocchi, Executive Director, Tee and Charles Addams Foundation