Book Review: The Good Girls Revolt

Image courtesy of barnesandnoble.com

Lynn Povich’s The Good Girls Revolt tells the story of a class action lawsuit that was brought against Newsweek in 1970, by a number of the women then employed at the magazine. In their groundbreaking suit, the forty-six women charged Newsweek with discrimination in promotion and hiring; this was the first female class action lawsuit, and the first brought by female journalists.

One of the leaders of the suit, Povich deftly ties several narrative threads together in this fast-paced account. She simultaneously details the relevant history of the magazine; introduces the reader to a large cast of characters, including editors, researchers, attorneys and reporters; and paints a vivid picture of the work environment at the magazine in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While the story can become complicated at times, particularly when it comes to discussing the lawsuit’s aftermath, Povich’s writing style is straightforward and engaging.
It would be nice to think that Povich’s experience is one that resides safely in the past. But while great strides have been made for workplace equality – and gender equality in general – Povich makes it clear that women are still encountering workplace discrimination today, albeit in more subtle forms. She bookends her tale with the story of three young female Newsweek employees who, almost forty years after the lawsuit, navigate an environment that, in some ways, may not have changed as much as one would expect – and hope.
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Abortion Activism: A Newsweek Roundtable Discussion

On the heels of their articles “Remember Roe!” by Sarah Kliff, and “Remember Roe? Young Activists Say They’ve Never Forgotten” by Kate Dailey, Newsweek hosted a roundtable email discussion this week about abortion activists and the future of the pro-choice movement. The resulting piece is pretty fascinating, and I’m not just saying that because I participated. Rather, I think it raises some interesting and necessary questions about direction, messaging, and technology.

One theme that came up in the interviews I conducted for Generation Roe was how the pro-choice movement could do a better PR campaign, essentially. That point, like so many others, is open to argument, but I tend to agree with the activist who observed that women’s stories will always carry the day. I don’t think the movement has been great about sharing stories, but of course that’s an argument I’ve made time and again.

The direction is, of course, what interests me the most, even more than the stories (though of course, there is some overlap). What is the best way to frame the pro-choice issue? Should more of an emphasis be put on its importance in the larger reproductive justice movement? Should more of an effort be made to involve men? Are we doing just fine as is? My knee-jerk reactions are “say the word ‘abortion’ a lot more,” “yes,” “yes,” and “no,” but those are just facile, surface answers. The Newsweek piece explores these and related issues in more depth, and I hope that it will inspire both organizations and individual activists – myself included – to examine our approaches and work together to create a movement that can truly reflect just how important choice and justice truly is.

OMG It’s Monday! News Roundup

6monday31A Call to Action Across Generations of Feminists – Gloria Feldt
Is Janet Napolitano a Lez-bean? – New York Times
Trans Women in Male Prisons: Cruel & Unusual Punishment – Womanist Musings
Why Esquire’s Abortion Story Got It Wrong – Newsweek
A Detailed Examination of Health Care Reform Myths – Wichita NAACP Blog