When Amy Ferris asked me to contribute an essay to Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small, I wasn’t sure that I had any shame. Then, when I thought about it, I realized that I did.
With the baby boomers (those born from 1946-1964) aging in increasing numbers, many books are being written to help them navigate the terrain of aging. For women specifically, there are an abundance of titles that tackle issues from the nuts and bolts of older sexuality to their inner emotional lives.
On Saturday, March 10, the final morning of the Women in the World Third Annual Summit, The New York Times featured a four-column photo of Christine Lagarde, director of the International Monetary Fund with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The title was, “German Leader and I.M.F. Chief Split Over Debt.” Lagarde had been in Manhattan the previous evening for an interview before delegates at Women in the World, where she answered questions covering the global economy, the I.M.F., and her personal life challenges.
The image of a table of men—primarily from religious organizations— comprising a hearing devoted to birth control, became a snapshot emblematic of problems to follow. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) asked the obvious question when she inquired incredulously, “Where are the women?”
Attempts by Sandra Fluke, a college student that had hoped to speak about the wide role of birth control medicine in women’s health, had been rebuffed with the statement that she wasn’t “qualified to testify.” She has since been publicly vilified by Rush Limbaugh.
Grasping the power of social media—along with the need to decisively move forward—playwright, activist, and feminist Eve Ensler has revitalized the terrain with her announcement on February 14 outlining the launch of the ONE BILLION WOMEN initiative. The yearlong action will culminate on February 14th, 2013, the fifteenth anniversary of V-Day. The goal is to have one billion women and men “dancing, striking, rising” across borders to demonstrate their demand to end the global violence against women.