Rest in Power, Sen. Dianne Feinstein: ‘The Feminist Movement Has Lost a True Friend’

Sen. Dianne Feinstein—the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first woman mayor of San Francisco, and one of two of the first women elected to the U.S. Senate from California, the same year (1992) as Sen. Barbara Boxer—died on Thursday, Sept. 28. She was 90 years old. 

As the longest serving woman in the Senate, Feinstein was also the first woman to have chaired the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as one of the first women to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She was known for her advocacy on many feminist and progressive issues, including abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, voting rights, banning assault weapons and gun reforms, LGBTQIA+ equality, the rights of children, the rights of prisoners, and healthcare access. Her legislative efforts—from reproductive rights and equal pay, to combating gender-based violence—have consistently reflected a deep understanding of the challenges faced by women in various spheres of life. 

Here’s what some of her colleagues and friends had to say about her legacy.

Our Abortion Stories: ‘I Didn’t Have the Support I Needed to Be the Parent I Wanted to Be’

Last summer, the Supreme Court overturned the longstanding precedents of Roe v. Wade, representing the largest blow to women’s constitutional rights in history. A series from Ms., Our Abortion Stories chronicles readers’ experiences of abortion pre- and post-Roe. Abortions are sought by a wide range of people for many different reasons. There is no single story. (Share your abortion story by emailing myabortionstory@msmagazine.com.)

“I wanted that baby, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

“The law was forcing this decision for me. I cried because I knew I needed to get an abortion but didn’t know how.”

“My life is better because of my decision.”

Ms. Magazine Wins PEN America’s Impact Award for ‘Contributions to Journalism, Feminism and Social Change’

On Tuesday, Sept. 19—the same day the Ms. book, 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution, was released—Ms. magazine was awarded PEN America’s Impact Award, in honor of the publication’s five decades of feminist journalism.

“Through its art, literature and journalism, Ms. magazine became a platform that educated, inspired and mobilized generations of feminists in support of equality,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel. “I am deeply honored to present the PEN America Impact Award … in recognition of Ms. magazine’s contributions to journalism, feminism and social change.”

In Novel ‘Bessie,’ Linda Kass Takes on Antisemitism Through the Story of the First and Only Jewish Miss America

“Bessie was not raised to be a beauty queen,” said Bessie novelist Linda Kass of Bess Myerson, the only Jewish Miss America. “She sought to have a voice, to make a difference.

“Antisemitism, racism and sexism were virulent, and homophobia was taken as a given. The arguments voiced then are similar to what we’re hearing and seeing today.”

New Memoir ‘Brave-ish’ Shows the Importance of Feminist Mentors and Representation

In September 2019, it was my honor to attend the United Nations General Assembly 74 as media on behalf of Ms. As I sat in the meeting for “Gender Equality: from the Biarritz Partnership to the Beijing+25 Generation Equality Forum” with U.N. Women, I kept thinking about the impact that Joannie Parker had on my life. This year she would have turned 90 years old and her teaching inspires me every day to do more and to do better. I wish I could call her to tell her that my memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty, will be published on Sept. 19, 2023.

The History of Asian American Labor Activism Is Essential for Today’s Students

The impact that Asian immigrants and Asian Americans have made in labor history is frequently missing from the media and textbooks, despite numerous roles of unionizing, rallying and organizing to inspire workers to fight for justice and better workplace conditions.

As legislation to teach Asian American history in schools increases, teaching Asian American labor activism is essential to prepare the next generation of leaders and civic actors concerned with solidarity and coalition building.

‘Oppenheimer’ and the Work of Wives

In Oppenheimer, Nolan’s depiction of atomic history is credited to one man. We sometimes see women and wives, albeit as a backdrop. Emily Blunt and Frances Pugh do great work with very few words spoken. The women’s work in—in this case meaning their function—is sexual: as muse, mistress, mama. But any potential power in these roles shifts at the whims of men. The real performances of this film—science, law, politics, violence, espionage—are seen and spoken without them.

“What work do wives do? They understand male scientific and military might and destruction from the perspective of the unwitting receiver (or observer or support), which is the role most of us play.”

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: How Black Suffragists Fought for Voting Rights; Women’s (In)Equality Day; Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Challenges Rick Scott

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: Despite Women’s Equality Day celebrations, the disparities in women’s representation—particularly in employment, wages and government—are still significantly low compared to our male counterparts; the numerous Black suffragists forgotten by history: Mary Church Terrell, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Fannie Barrier Williams, Sojourner Truth, Lugenia Burns Hope, Mary McLeod Bethune and Nannie Helen Burroughs; Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is running for Senate, posing a challenge to incumbent Republican Senator Rick Scott; and more.

Reviews Are In for ‘50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution’

50 YEARS OF Ms.: THE BEST OF THE PATHFINDING MAGAZINE THAT IGNITED A REVOLUTION (Alfred A. Knopf) is out Sept. 19, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with our readers—and with the entire world. We sent the book to some readers, publishers and editors, ahead of its September release—and we are thrilled that they love it too.

Here are some of our book’s early reviews.

50 Years of Ms. will be released on Sept. 19, 2023; you can pre-order your copy now. (This piece will be updated as new reviews become available. Last updated: Monday, Sept. 18, at 8:05 a.m. PT.)