Thursday, March 15, 2012

2012 Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize: Big Girls Don't Cry

Rebecca Traister and Tamala Edwards, at the Women's Way Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize event
Tamala Edwards and Rebecca Traister at the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize event

There is an excellent organization in Philadelphia called Women's Way, which among many of the other excellent things they do, awards an author every year for her contribution to feminist literature. I'm not sure how I found out about this event, because I wasn't familiar with Women's Way before seeing this, but I remember that when I saw the description of the event a couple months ago online I thought to myself, "Oh, shit, I loved Big Girls Don't Cry!" and signed up immediately.

So the day finally came, and I sat through my classes bursting with geeky, feminist excitement to get to this event, and it was well worth the wait.

After being introduced by the director of Women's Way, Rebecca Traister went on stage to be interviewed by Tamala Edwards, host of the morning news on 6abc News here in Philadelphia. Edwards asked Traister about specific parts of the book, how they related to the situation with women and politics now, and some questions about women in politics 4 years after the 2008 election.

What was one of the most striking parts of this conversation for me, was when Edwards asked if Traister thought if there would be a significant female presence in the 2016 election and Traister answered that one of the things that reminds her how much we have progressed even in the face of all this political mess is that there are several female politicians that should could imagine running on both the Republican and Democratic sides. It was historic enough when Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin got so far in 2008, but even though we still face relatively abysmal numbers for women's representation in elected positions, it is really significant that we're at a point when we can imagine several female candidates in a race.

Another high point--Traister said that despite all the attacks on women's reproductive freedom (fun fact: from January 1, 2012-March 14, 2012, there were 430 bills introduced about reproduction. Not all of them demonic freedom-restrictors, but that number is too damn high), she sees this as something that is ultimately bolstering the feminist movement in the US. This is an idea I've seen proposed around the feminist blogosphere, and the Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle is a good example, but it's true. It's a wakeup call. Women need to vote. Women need to be better represented in politics. We can't wait around because crazy people have a surprising amount of power in this country.

I've written about my love of Big Girls Don't Cry before, but I recommend you read it. If you know me, you can probably borrow one of my now two copies. And check out Rebecca Traister's stuff online, it's really important.

1 comment:

  1. Liz - Thanks so much for coming to the event last night and for your insightful blog post! It is so important to get more young women engaged in these issues!
    Best, Amanda Aronoff, Executive Director, WOMEN'S WAY