Feminism dominated the headlines in 2019—and Ms. was reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the movement’s front lines all year long. The bad news? You might have missed some of them. The good news? It’s not too late to read and share them!
Below are the five pieces we published in 2019 that readers like you clicked on and shared out the most. (The previous page has the rest of the top 10!) What were your favorites? Tell us on social by sharing them and tagging us @MsMagazine.
by Laurie Essig, professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies at Middlebury College and the author of Love, Inc.: Dating Apps, The Big White Weddings and Chasing The Happily Neverafter.
The problem is not mental illness. The problem is not violent video games. The problem is a social pathology of aggrieved entitlement and misogyny mixed with white supremacy, aided and abetted by 8Chan and Fox News and Donald Trump and corrupted lawmakers that would rather take money from the NRA than save our lives. The problem is a dysfunctional government that has left us with the easiest access to guns in the entire world and encouraged us to point them at each other.
We weren’t allowed to say that men were not alright in 2012 when a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 of them children—or at least I wasn’t. At the time, I was a blogger at Forbes, and after I wrote a piece about toxic masculinity and mass shootings, I was summarily fired and my page was erased. Admittedly, a feminist blogger at Forbes seems a bit impossible in the first place, but it was interesting to see my colleague—also a feminist sociologist, but, unlike me, male and straight—go on CNN and say that there’s something wrong with the culture of white heterosexual men. That was exactly what I had said.
Of course, this point of view was not completely accepted. After all, the comments section included this gem: “Wow, talk about missing the point. Masculinity is NOT the problem.”
But masculinity—white and straight—is the problem, and even though there are more than just a few of us saying it now, there still aren’t enough.
by Justine Andronici, a feminist lawyer, advocate, activist and analyst who has been working in the women’s rights arena for more than 20 years.
Trump exhibits many if not all the personality traits of an abuser: significant misogyny, a profound sense of entitlement and superiority and, perhaps most notably for this circumstance, the strong belief that the rules simply do not apply to him. In many ways, Trump can be understood as unremarkable in this respect—a run-of-the-mill abuser who thinks he can outwit, out-maneuver, bully and lie his way through any situation. It is only the scope of his control, his platform and the potentially devastating scale of his influence that make him different.
Trump’s current victim is the whole country—and, arguably, at this point, the entire planet. He has taken our national and international politics and culture on the same journey that millions of survivors across the world have walked. It is a painful and often dangerous journey. And just like for the many survivors who are experiencing violence in their relationships, there is a path forward beyond the abuse for America, but it is not easy, and it can be extremely dangerous.
As we begin to navigate our escape as a country, it is helpful to understand Trump and his tactics for what they are: tactics of a perpetrator.
by Kate Hoepke, Executive Director of San Francisco Village, Chair of Village Movement California and an Encore Public Voices fellow with the Op-Ed Project.
This is not where I expected to be in my mid-sixties. I launched into adulthood fueled by idealistic fervor and determination to right the wrongs of my parents’ generation. My generation fought for civil rights and spoke truth to power in unprecedented ways. Many of us envisioned a multi-cultural society defined by progressive values, and imagined that we’d leave the earth a better place than we found it.
Instead, my unborn grandchildren will inherit a planet on the brink of extinction; a social order riven by hatred, polarity and lies; an America where mass shootings are commonplace, children live in cages and my Oakland neighbors live in ramshackle tent cities under the freeway.
I’m heartsick and ashamed. How did we get here?
by Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, founding partners of Katz, Marshall & Banks who represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about being sexually assaulted as a teenager by now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
We are repeatedly asked: “How is Dr. Ford doing now?” The answer, unfortunately, is that the price to Dr. Ford and those around her has been enormous, and continues. Even though she has tried valiantly to return to life as a professor, scientist, mother, wife and private citizen, she has been thwarted at every turn. She continues to be subjected to hateful rhetoric and lies—including those regularly disseminated by a well-oiled attack machine, and repeated at the highest levels of our government.
These attacks have escalated in recent days as we approached the one-year anniversary of her testimony. Despite the obvious credibility of Dr. Ford and her testimony one year ago, the smear tactics against her and those around her have been relentless. In the last month alone, she was falsely attacked on the basis of an incomplete recording of a speech one of us recently gave at a feminist legal scholar conference. Conflating her attorney’s personal views with her own was deliberately dishonest and meant to further inflame the partisan attack machine that appears intent on destroying her. The Justice now retains a lifetime position of leadership, but his allies continue their relentless efforts to cruelly and unfairly smear Dr. Ford.
There have been many other baseless accusations against Dr. Ford and her family, so frequent and calculated that trying to respond to each would only lead to more attacks. We want to put to rest some of the repeated falsehoods.
by Carrie N. Baker, professor and director of the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College and author of The Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment and Fighting the US Youth Sex Trade: Gender, Race and Politics.
Kat Sullivan wanted to create a billboard with her perpetrator’s face and name alongside the word “rapist.” Two billboard companies said no. The third, Lamar, agreed, with some conditions: she could not name her rapist on the billboard, but she could refer to her website and post his name there after the billboards came down.
Sullivan purchased three billboards—one in Albany, near EWS; another in Stamford, Connecticut, near King School; and a third near South Hadley, Massachusetts, where Sargent was living at the time. “My constant fear has always been that people won’t know about him,” Sullivan told Ms. “I got as loud as I could get but I didn’t know how far that would reach. But I knew he was in South Hadley.”
The billboard in Massachusetts featured a man’s silhouette, listed Sullivan’s website’s URL and declared that “the truth will be revealed.” After his name was made public, Sargent reportedly resigned from the town historical commission, quit his job at Whole Foods and moved out of state.