Powerful Women

If you’re a woman in the United States these days, you’re probably pretty pissed off. And if you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying close enough attention to the news and what’s going on with our country. And if you’re keeping up on all the ugly, outrageous news, and you’re still unphased by how women are ignored, maligned, mistreated, silenced, demonized, then please share your secret with me? How are you immune to the overwhelming anger I feel? 

This past month, I’ve seen two phenomenal women speak about the current climate: Rebecca Traister and Rebecca Solnit. They’re both prolific writers, brilliant minds and so amazingly knowledgeable and articulate. They also both have new books out, which sheds light on the historical and cultural context related to the all the BS happening.

I’ve been feeling ever more outraged since the Kavanaugh hearings—just feeling hopeless, frustrated and disgusted, and I guess I’m slightly mollified that both Rebeccas—Traister with fiery New York energy and Solnit with California stillness and steadiness—express moderate optimism. They believe groundwork has been laid and the genies have been released and things are going to change. It remains to be seen when, but at least there is momentum. 

And separate but related, how the hell have I never heard of Hanna Rosin? She wrote the opening piece for the brilliant New York Magazine Women Talk About Power cover story, and I’m totally enchanted by her voice and fascinated by all she’s done 

In the spirit of finding some sort of optimism these days, Rosin shares a simple idea for empowering women, gleaned from Mary Beard (who both Rebeccas reference. I guess you could say I’m getting a better-late-than-never education?). The idea is: change “power” from a noun to a verb. Instead of a trait that you are in possession of, turn power into an act. So it’s not something you “have,” it’s something you “do.” And then that “power do” can live on, can pass from person to person, and it doesn’t have to define you—or intimidate you or make you believe that you have to be a mega badass power all of the time.

Get out there and “do” some power, friends!