Click! My Church Is Against Battered Women’s Shelters?!

Phyllis-schlafly-2007-03 cc

“We’ve got to stop those feminists from setting up a battered women’s shelter!” So proclaimed my piano teacher in numerous post-lesson conversations with my mom. When she wasn’t grumbling about shelters she was remarking on how lovely Phyllis Schlafly’s bouffant looked alongside those long-haired feminists. I didn’t get it. “Why doesn’t she want shelters?” I […]

Click! My Catholic School Report Card

Report Card.

At St. Charles School in the mid 1960s, Father Foley, our parish pastor, came into our classroom to hand out the report cards. He said the same thing every year: You know, children, I look at these report cards Sister prepared so carefully for you, and the very first thing I look at is what? […]

Another Feminist Purim Shpiel*


Purim is one of the more obscure Jewish holidays. Celebrated around March, it commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from a genocidal plot, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther (Megilla). The Megilla begins with a party thrown by the Persian king Ahasuerus, the public disobedience of his wife Vashti, and her subsequent banishment. […]

The Whole Megillah*

esther and mordechai

Today, in Jewish synagogues all over the world, thousands of little girls will parade around in princess dresses or sparkling harem pants and declare themselves to be Queen Esther, a great beauty who married a King and saved her people. But far fewer will play Queen Vashti, who refused to answer to the King’s beck […]

A Novel Look Back at the U.S. Nuns Murdered in El Salvador


It is hard to believe that this past December marked 30 years since four U.S. Catholic churchwomen were murdered in El Salvador. Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel have gradually changed from being people some colleagues knew as friends to historical figures–women in photographs, martyrs, flattened versions of their vibrant selves. Like Mary […]

Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?

muslim women computer

Among other content, Islamic Horizons, the bi-monthly publication of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), runs personal ads. There are two sections: “Seeking Husband” and “Seeking Wife.” The personal ad below appears in the latest edition under “Seeking Husband,” and it is one of only two ads (among ten) in which a woman is […]

I Am Biblical Woman, Hear Me Roar?

Biblical Womanhood

Last week, The New York Times Magazine ran a feature article on “biblical womanhood,” a subject I wrote about extensively in my 2009 book, Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. In the far-right evangelical communities I reported on, “biblical womanhood” guidelines aimed to create a new evangelical, anti-feminist Renaissance Woman: a submissive warrior who obeys […]

Where Are All The Atheist Women? Right Here


Is it accurate when the media portrays the atheist movement as a club for old white men? It’s undeniable that most of the time men outnumber women, whether you’re looking at conference attendees or conference speakers, blog readers or best-selling authors. But when Monica Shores wrote that “no women are currently recognized as leaders or […]

Will “New Atheism” Make Room For Women?


If you’ve been following the rise of so-called “New Atheism” movement, you may have noticed that it sure looks a lot like old religion. The individuals most commonly associated with contemporary atheism—Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Victor Stenger—are all male, white and, well, kinda old (69, 61, 68 and 75). Sam Harris, another […]

On 9/11, Listening to Muslim Women’s Voices


Much has been said about Imam Abdul Rauf, the Imam behind the proposed Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center in New York City, which would stand a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks nine years ago today. In the intense controversy surrounding the construction of the community center, he has been called a […]