17 July 2011


GLORIA STEINEM. When I was an undergrad at the University of Arizona, back during the Punic Wars, for two years I minored in Women's Studies. I'd been a supporter of the second wave of feminism for a long time, had thought and read about feminist/humanist issues of equality, and was a charter subscriber to Ms. magazine. All of which was well and good, but I sought a more direct, interactive involvement.

Back then, men made up 10 percent or less of Women's Studies students. Without exception, my professors and the director of the program were welcoming. Some of my women classmates, less so. I accepted their suspicion, or uncertainty, or animosity, as an opportunity to experience what most women feel in a male-dominated economy and culture. The classes themselves were a revelation -- women in American history, in philosophy, in literature (both as author and as protagonist). I'll always treasure that time as an essential part of my maturing.

Feminism doesn't seem to make the news as much these days. Clearly women remain an economically and socially oppressed group by any measure. Some gains toward equality have been made, but many remain unattained. Perhaps our attention has been diverted by other causes ~ war, unemployment, immigration, the increasing chasm between the wealthy few and the rest of us. If so, that is unfortunate. Women are half the population, nearly half the work force, yet they continue to be woefully underrepresented in politics and in corporate boardrooms.

One of feminism's icons (and one of my personal heroes) appeared recently in a "Need To Know" interview on PBS. The video segment, Gloria Steinem on Men, Women, and Power, is essential viewing for anyone who seeks to understand the roots of the social problems we face, not to mention the vast untapped reservoir of women's talent and creativity needed to solve those problems. Gloria Steinem (seen above, in 1972) is articulate, informed, and at ease ~ the kind of person one would wish to have for a friend and ally. She co-founded Ms. magazine in 1972, founded the Women's Media Center in 2005, and has written half a dozen well-regarded books over the years. Watch the video and see if you are not impressed, regardless of your political persuasions.

GOOGLE+ GUIDE. For Facebook users who may wonder what all the fuss is about, and even for those who feel they have no use for social media, Ben Parr's Google+: The Complete Guide is a handy tool. From "why would I be interested?" to "how does Google+ compare to Facebook?" to "what does this feature do?", this comprehensive article has the answers, complete with illustrations. I maintain a presence on both FB and G+, and find the latter to be superior on several levels. To learn why, check out his article.

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