Creating Diversity Among Senior Management Women

Originally published May 23, 2013.

Updated and republished September 15, 2015.

Think about this observation from a male PhD in a LinkedIn discussion about women in senior management:

“…the most successful women leaders emerging these days
tend to be politically conservative…”

Conservative women are probably moving into senior management positions because conservative organizations encourage women to speak their own words and take their own actions in their daily lives. Conservative women gain experience, confidence, and a track record of success they can bring with them to senior management positions. For instance, during the 2012 presidential campaign, the conservative group Smart Girl Politics did all of the following:

Offered free online activist training, candidate training, and media interviewing training for any member

Trained thousands of women and men online and offline

Encouraged members to host house parties to introduce their friends to Smart Girl Politics Action (no longer in existence)

Celebrated women who “stepped up to the plate to make a difference in their community and in their state”

Celebrated women who became candidates for political office

Asked for women in almost 20 states “to step up as local and district leaders”

Asked for women to become “district leaders, volunteers, activists, researchers, and more” or to just say how they would like to get involved

Educated and mobilized women “across the country to help them voice their concerns in their communities…”

Smart Girl Politics Action also had a college smart girls page. SGPA leaders sought “self-starter” college women for internships that would give them “experience in community relations, marketing, new media and many other aspects of a nonprofit organization.” Interns would have “opportunities to work and interact with women from a variety of backgrounds across the country.” The internships would give them “experience to add to their resume before they begin a job search.”

Interns should have:

communication skills

management skills

Interns would be able to:

work independently

take initiative

Intern projects included:

event planning

fundraising

political and legislative research

drafting articles for the SPGA website

other projects

Feminist organizations like the National Organization for Women, on the other hand, do none of the above. Feminist leaders expect supporters to remain silent and passive. Feminist leaders reserve speaking and taking action for themselves. They train only national and state chapter leaders and people NOW leaders choose to be activists. (I suspect that NOW leaders carefully choose activists who will faithfully follow orders.)  Feminist leaders expect supporters to donate money so NOW staff and the chosen few can travel around the country for training and socializing.

Leaders at the National Organization for Women do not even allow NOW staffers who are younger and/or women of color to attend important meetings (as told by Jessica Valenti to More Magazine, November 2010). The January 14, 2013 issue of Time Magazine includes an article about abortion. Reporter Kate Pickert wrote that the older feminists are “reluctant to pass the torch” to younger feminists, creating a “power struggle”.

SPGA leaders pass power to young women while NOW leaders hoard power for themselves. The conservative young women who learn to hold and use power become the women who have the experience, confidence, and track record of success necessary to move into senior management positions.

Whether you want abortion legal or illegal is not my concern. My concern is moving progressive women into senior management positions to create another kind of diversity. Just as gender diversity, racial diversity, and ethnic diversity are important for senior management to be effective, political diversity is also important. But according to that observant male PhD on LinkedIn, we do not have political diversity among women in senior management. The better we are at collaborating with a variety of perspectives as coworkers, the more effective we will be at collaborating with a variety of perspectives as citizens.

This kind of collaboration has already produced life improvements for millions of women. Republican Senator Olympia Snowe and Democratic Senator Pat Schroeder were co-chairs on the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. They disagreed on abortion, but set that issue aside and worked on other issues. Their collaboration produced legislative funds to research and treat diseases affecting women. Support from the caucus “became a kind of Good Housekeeping seal of approval for legislation…” All women in the United States have benefited from the Good Housekeeping seal of approval created by two women who collaborated despite different political views.

We don’t have to wait for feminist leaders to start helping ordinary women move into senior management positions. An example of how anyone can encourage women to speak their own words and take their own actions so that they develop experience, confidence, and track records of success comes from Patty Dreier, County Executive in Portage County, Wisconsin. Portage County is a hotbed of spectacular success. The longest running and most successful renewable energy fair in the world takes place in Portage County, as does the world’s largest Trivia contest. It is also the birthplace of Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, which now holds workshops around the world. Other spectacular successes exist there.

Patty Dreier is lucky because she is surrounded by people who use their passions, talents, and ideas to create spectacular success. Dreier is smart because she makes connections between people with similar passions, talents, and ideas. When Patty Dreier connects people, she creates success opportunities. The people Dreier connects have the opportunity to collaborate and create various successes.

When Patty Dreier connects women with similar passions, talents, and ideas, she creates opportunities for women to develop the experience, confidence, and track record they need to be ready to take advantage of other success opportunities, including senior management positions. Patty Dreier is helping ordinary women move up in the world while the National Organization for Women is holding ordinary women down. You can read more about Patty Dreier in my blog post on “3 Styles of Best & Brightest Leadership”.

If you are already doing what Senator Olympia Snowe, Senator Pat Schroeder, and County Executive Patty Dreier do, please contact me so I can consider writing about you. If not, please start following their examples for increasing collaboration between ordinary women, between ordinary women and senior management women, and between senior management women. Snowe, Schroeder, and Dreier all demonstrate Girl Goodwill, at least at times. If every woman acted with Girl Goodwill, all women would benefit.

To encourage leaders at the National Organization for Women (NOW) to create success opportunities for women, contact them with these two questions:

1.  Why does NOW deny its ordinary members equal access to
the training they pay for and equal opportunity to take action?

2.  Why does NOW deny young feminists and feminists of color
equal access to important meetings and equal opportunity to
express their opinions?

For background information on the questions for NOW and more about conservative organizations, read these four posts:

If Feminist Leaders Want Equality, Why Do They Create Inequality?

A Dedicated Network of Glory Addicts

Maybe You Can Get An Answer…

Why Do Feminist Leaders Think You Can’t Remember Where You Are on the Internet?

Keep checking the “Feminist Leaders” category for more blog posts exposing how feminist leaders create inequality between women.

“What Choice?”
Kate Pickert
Time Magazine
January 14, 2013

“What the New Feminists Look Like”
News & Politics Editors
More Magazine
November 2010

Pat Schroeder: A Woman of the House
Joan A. Lowy
University of New Mexico Press, 2003, quote from page 8

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)
Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

blog.smilessparksuccess.com

Standards For Success Posters

Girl Grit

Girl Goodwill

Resource Rock Star Details

speakingfromtriumph.com

smilessparksuccess.com

For a wide ranging selection of articles on feminism and other topics,
see The Zawadi Nyong’o Daily

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As an American, I have freedom of speech.

As a woman, I have the right to express my opinion about anything the National Organization for Women claims to do for women.

In 2016, I started adding the section below to all of my new Feminist Leader blog posts. I also added it to all posts published before 2016.

The National Organization For Women
Silences Women

National NOW has blocked me on its Facebook page. I wrote comments based on my blog posts. All of my blog posts are based on a wide variety of evidence. Much of the evidence comes from National NOW’s website, emails and posts from NOW presidents, and emails from NOW staff members. I use no hostile language, no slurs, no profanity. I do use the phrase “glory addicts” in reference to NOW leaders. I also use “glory addiction”, “glory fixes”, and “a dedicated network of glory addicts”. Dr. Marsha Vanderford (Doyle) identified the glory needs of pro-choice leaders in her 1982 dissertation.

Feminist leaders have been silencing women for decades. bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf got together for a conversation that was published in Ms. Magazine in 1993. The discussion included why women choose not ta call themselves feminists. Did these four feminist leaders working for women’s equality ask women who choose not to call themselves feminist to speak for themselves? Of course not! The four feminist leaders silenced millions of women by speaking for them without first requesting permission to speak for them.

Imagine a group of women who choose not to call themselves feminists getting together for a conversation to be published in a magazine about why some women call themselves feminists. Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree with nonfeminist women denying them the opportunity to speak for themselves? Of course not! Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree that nonfeminist women had the right to speak for feminist women without their permission? Of course not!

My feminist leader blog posts provide evidence that feminist leaders still create glory for themselves while relegating supporters to “secondary importance”. Dr. Vanderford used the words “relegated” and “secondary importance” in her dissertation. Eoin Harnett of University College Cork in Ireland used the same “secondary importance” phrase:

“Throughout the ages, women were frequently characterised
and treated as inferior and of secondary importance to men.”

NOW leaders even relegated two of their supporters to secondary importance. The supporters responded to my last two comments on National NOW’s Facebook page with comments supporting NOW. NOW leaders silenced those supporters by removing their comments along with my comments. Instead of creating equality, NOW leaders treat other women the same way patriarchal men treat women:

NOW leaders silenced at least three women on Facebook while posting claims to be creating equality for women. Secondary importance is the opposite of equality, as women throughout the ages could testify.

In-House Rhetoric of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Special Interest Groups in Minnesota: Motivation and Alienation
Dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1982
Marsha Vanderford Doyle, Ph.D.
(Now Marsha Vanderford)
Quoted words on page 350.

“Let’s Get Real about Feminism: The Backlash, the Myths, the Movement.”
hooks, bell, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf.
Ms. Magazine.
Vol 4(2) September/October 1993: pages 34-43.

“Multitext Project in Irish History: Movements for Political & Social Reform, 1870-1914”
Eoin Hartnett
University College Cork, Ireland
No date
This project is no longer available online.

Updated April 30, 2017.

Why Do Feminist Leaders Think You Can’t Remember Where You Are On The Internet?

Originally published May 16, 2013.

Updated and republished September 14, 2015 after a web host transfer.

NOW‘s website has been revamped
since I wrote this blog post.

Smart Girl Politics Action no longer exists,
but Smart Girl Politics still exists.
It has also been revamped.

The National Organization for Women must think you and I are incapable of remembering where we are on the Internet.

I visit now.org occasionally to see what they write about. Every time I visit, I am astonished at how often I see a National Organization for Women identifier on the home page.

On April 26, 2013, I decided to count.

“National Organization for Women”        2 times
NOW Logo                                                    13 times
“NOW”                                                          25 times
“National Now”                                             2 times
“NationalNow”                                             11 times

On the same day I went to the home page of the conservative Smart Girl Politics Action site, sgpaction.com (no longer up), and counted.

“SGP”                                                               1 time
“Smart Girl Politics Action”                        1 time
“SBN”                                                               1 time
“SGS13”                                                           3 times

That’s 53 National Organization for Women identifiers versus 6 Smart Girl Politics Action identifiers.

NOW leaders expect their followers to remain silent and passive. The NOW home page is about what NOW and its leaders are saying and doing.

SGPA leaders expect their followers to be vocal and active. The SGPA home page is about what ordinary women are saying and doing.

NOW leaders apparently consider their followers so intellectually inferior that they need constant reminders to remember where they are on the Internet. SGPA leaders obviously see their followers as intellectually equal.

To those of you who have the same political beliefs as NOW, you may want to ask NOW leaders why they think you can’t remember where you are on the Internet.

To those of you who have the same political beliefs as SGPA, congratulations on receiving the respect and support all women deserve!

September 14, 2015 Update

NOW’s new website still has more identifiers than SGP’s new website. Pay attention to how many times you see NOW identifiers in the changing photographs at the top of the page. The changing photographs at SGP’s website are all about issues, not about SGP.

NOW leaders provide glory for themselves. SGP leaders provide information for ordinary conservative women. SGP did not help Mitt Romney win in 2012, but they are helping ordinary conservative women take action to advance conservative policies as part of their daily lives. Think restrictions on reproductive health care.

Perhaps you should ask the National Organization for Women why conservative leaders create more equality between women than feminist leaders.

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)
Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

blog.smilessparksuccess.com

Standards For Success Posters

Girl Grit

Girl Goodwill

Resource Rock Star Details

speakingfromtriumph.com

smilessparksuccess.com

For a wide ranging selection of articles on feminism and other topics,
see The Zawadi Nyong’o Daily

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As an American, I have freedom of speech.

As a woman, I have the right to express my opinion about anything the National Organization for Women claims to do for women.

In 2016, I started adding the section below to all of my new Feminist Leader blog posts. I also added it to all posts published before 2016.

The National Organization For Women
Silences Women

National NOW has blocked me on its Facebook page. I wrote comments based on my blog posts. All of my blog posts are based on a wide variety of evidence. Much of the evidence comes from National NOW’s website, emails and posts from NOW presidents, and emails from NOW staff members. I use no hostile language, no slurs, no profanity. I do use the phrase “glory addicts” in reference to NOW leaders. I also use “glory addiction”, “glory fixes”, and “a dedicated network of glory addicts”. Dr. Marsha Vanderford (Doyle) identified the glory needs of pro-choice leaders in her 1982 dissertation.

Feminist leaders have been silencing women for decades. bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf got together for a conversation that was published in Ms. Magazine in 1993. The discussion included why women choose not ta call themselves feminists. Did these four feminist leaders working for women’s equality ask women who choose not to call themselves feminist to speak for themselves? Of course not! The four feminist leaders silenced millions of women by speaking for them without first requesting permission to speak for them.

Imagine a group of women who choose not to call themselves feminists getting together for a conversation to be published in a magazine about why some women call themselves feminists. Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree with nonfeminist women denying them the opportunity to speak for themselves? Of course not! Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree that nonfeminist women had the right to speak for feminist women without their permission? Of course not!

My feminist leader blog posts provide evidence that feminist leaders still create glory for themselves while relegating supporters to “secondary importance”. Dr. Vanderford used the words “relegated” and “secondary importance” in her dissertation. Eoin Harnett of University College Cork in Ireland used the same “secondary importance” phrase:

“Throughout the ages, women were frequently characterised
and treated as inferior and of secondary importance to men.”

NOW leaders even relegated two of their supporters to secondary importance. The supporters responded to my last two comments on National NOW’s Facebook page with comments supporting NOW. NOW leaders silenced those supporters by removing their comments along with my comments. Instead of creating equality, NOW leaders treat other women the same way patriarchal men treat women:

NOW leaders silenced at least three women on Facebook while posting claims to be creating equality for women. Secondary importance is the opposite of equality, as women throughout the ages could testify.

In-House Rhetoric of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Special Interest Groups in Minnesota: Motivation and Alienation
Dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1982
Marsha Vanderford Doyle, Ph.D.
(Now Marsha Vanderford)
Quoted words on page 350.

“Let’s Get Real about Feminism: The Backlash, the Myths, the Movement.”
hooks, bell, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf.
Ms. Magazine.
Vol 4(2) September/October 1993: pages 34-43.

“Multitext Project in Irish History: Movements for Political & Social Reform, 1870-1914”
Eoin Hartnett
University College Cork, Ireland
No date
This project is no longer available online.

Updated April 30, 2017.

Maybe You Can Get An Answer…

Originally published February 7, 2012.

Updated and republished September 13, 2015 after a web host transfer.

This is an email I sent to Rachel Maddow, Reverend Al Sharpton, MoveOn.org, and OurSilverRibbon.org. NOW President Terry O’Neill appeared on Maddow’s and Sharpton’s shows in the fall of 2011. The National Organization For Women participated with MoveOn.org in the Silver Ribbon Campaign in January 2012. The subject line for my email was “Maybe you can get an answer”.

Email Message

Are you aware that the National Organization for Women creates inequality between women? Equality means equal access and equal opportunity.

Read What The New Feminists Look Like” in the November 2010 issue of More Magazine. Once upon a time, Jessica Valenti worked for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. Valenti told More that,

“Whenever there was a photo opportunity, all the young women and women
of color would be ushered to the front. But when it came to inviting us to
important meetings, that just wasn’t happening. When push came to shove,
no one really cared what our opinions were.”

Valenti left NOW and started feministing.com, a blog with readers and contributors from around the world. Feministing apparently has more readers than Ms. Magazine had in its heyday. The National Organization For Women does not even have chapters in every state.

NOW trains only state and national leaders to work on feminist causes. They claim to have “a dedicated network of grassroots activists” that takes action around the country. If NOW trains only state and national leaders, who are the “grassroots activists” in its dedicated network? Not the ordinary women who by definition are the grassroots of a cause. Instead of grassroots action, NOW takes grasstops action. NOW denies ordinary women equal access to training and equal opportunity to take action.

NOW President Terry O’Neill sends frequent emails asking “contributors” for money. (NOW Presidents like to always to be referred to by their title.) NOW President Terry O’Neill never explains how she uses the contributions. It seems to me that NOW uses the money so state and national leaders can travel around the country and socialize with each other while taking the training that is denied to the people who make the training possible.

For the 2012 presidential election, the conservative group Smart Girl Politics had online activist training that any member take. Minnesota Concerned Citizens For Life organizes a fall tour around the state offering training that any member can take. SGP and MCCL provide equal access to training and equal opportunity to take action.

During the 2012 election, SGP regularly sent out surveys to ask members their opinions. I have never seen a survey from NOW, and I signed up for emails years ago. The opinions of ordinary women, young feminists, and feminists of color are unimportant and meaningless to NOW leaders. Ordinary women like me have neither equal access nor equal opportunity to express our opinions.

The women behind Feministing give ordinary women equal access and equal opportunities. Ordinary women can submit posts to Feministing’s Community site. Some of the Community posts later appear on the front page of the Feministing site.

I began pushing NOW to create equality between women with a  letter I wrote in January 2010.  My pushing seems to have had some effect. Since my letter, the phrase “NOW President Terry O’Neill” did not appear on NOW’s old home page quite as often. (I once counted “NOW President Kim Gandy” eight times on NOW’s old home page.) In her frequent emails asking for money, NOW President Terry O’Neill has begun to acknowledge that the ordinary women donating money are part of any success NOW creates.

I’ve also left phone comments about emails from NOW Action Center. The “action” is forwarding “Your letter” to a politician, an email written by NOW. “Your letter” used to include one of these phrases:

“As a supporter of the National Organization for Women”

“As an active supporter of NOW”

“I am writing to you as member of the National Organization for Women”

Those phrases were often at the beginning of “Your letter” so that NOW got its organizational advertising in right away. After forwarding “Your letter”, contributors were also invited to send even more money.

After I left a message on their comment line expressing displeasure about those self-serving phrases, the inclusion of those phrases mostly ended. I hope other women complained about NOW’s blatant attempts for attention. Since self-promotion is most important to NOW President Terry O’Neill, she has never encouraged contributors to write their own letters with details from their own lives.

I plan to keep writing blog posts about feminist leaders because I want equality and feminist leaders are creating inequality.

If you want equality, ask NOW leaders why they deny most women equal access to training and equal opportunity to take action. I can think of only four reasons.

First Reason

SGP leaders and MCCL leaders are smarter than NOW leaders. (They train thousands more people to take action than NOW leaders train, so they are in a better position to influence outcomes.)

Second Reason

NOW leaders think most women are too stupid to train.

Third Reason

NOW leaders think most women are incapable of taking action.

Fourth Reason

NOW leaders are glory addicts who want to keep all the glory of taking action for themselves.

You could also ask NOW leaders why they deny most women equal access and equal opportunity to express their opinions. The reasons would be similar to those above.

Rachel Maddow and Al Sharpton should interview Jessica Valenti. Valenti has left Feministing, but the other feminists running it should know how to contact her or would probably be great interview subjects themselves. The interviews would also provide insights into what feminists from around the world are thinking and doing.

I am not trying to get on television myself. I have endured enough thoughtless and insensitive comments, questions, and advice concerning the tragedies I survived to last the rest of my life. If I appeared on television, even more people would feel they had a responsibility to bombard me with thoughtless and insensitive comments, questions, and advice. I am writing books that I will publish myself so that I can do only radio interviews to promote them.

I sent an email to about 45 state NOW chapters. Only one state president responded, and she decided I was off-putting. Since people in your organizations are on speaking terms with NOW President Terry O’Neill, perhaps a few of you could ask those questions about equal access and equal opportunity and get answers. NOW President Terry O’Neill would not answer those questions if I asked them.

Please consider asking NOW those questions so all women can enjoy equal access and equal opportunity.

Update February 2012

On February 16, 2012, NOW Action Center asked supporters to send “Your Letter” with this first sentence:

“As a supporter of the National Organization for Women, I am concerned
about the growing number of attacks in Congress and elsewhere on birth
control – which is basic  health care that should be available to all women
without controversy.”

Obviously, NOW only took a break from its organizational advertising. Details of real women’s lives still do not matter to the leaders of the National Organization for Women.

Update September 13, 2015

Nobody responded to my email.

“What the New Feminists Look Like”
More Magazine News & Politics Editors
November 2010

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

blog.smilessparksuccess.com

Standards For Success Posters

Girl Grit

Girl Goodwill

Resource Rock Star Details

speakingfromtriumph.com

smilessparksuccess.com

For a wide ranging selection of articles on feminism and other topics,
see The Zawadi Nyong’o Daily

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As an American, I have freedom of speech.

As a woman, I have the right to express my opinion about anything the National Organization for Women claims to do for women.

In 2016, I started adding the section below to all of my new Feminist Leader blog posts. I also added it to all posts published before 2016.

The National Organization For Women
Silences Women

National NOW has blocked me on its Facebook page. I wrote comments based on my blog posts. All of my blog posts are based on a wide variety of evidence. Much of the evidence comes from National NOW’s website, emails and posts from NOW presidents, and emails from NOW staff members. I use no hostile language, no slurs, no profanity. I do use the phrase “glory addicts” in reference to NOW leaders. I also use “glory addiction”, “glory fixes”, and “a dedicated network of glory addicts”. Dr. Marsha Vanderford (Doyle) identified the glory needs of pro-choice leaders in her 1982 dissertation.

Feminist leaders have been silencing women for decades. bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf got together for a conversation that was published in Ms. Magazine in 1993. The discussion included why women choose not ta call themselves feminists. Did these four feminist leaders working for women’s equality ask women who choose not to call themselves feminist to speak for themselves? Of course not! The four feminist leaders silenced millions of women by speaking for them without first requesting permission to speak for them.

Imagine a group of women who choose not to call themselves feminists getting together for a conversation to be published in a magazine about why some women call themselves feminists. Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree with nonfeminist women denying them the opportunity to speak for themselves? Of course not! Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree that nonfeminist women had the right to speak for feminist women without their permission? Of course not!

My feminist leader blog posts provide evidence that feminist leaders still create glory for themselves while relegating supporters to “secondary importance”. Dr. Vanderford used the words “relegated” and “secondary importance” in her dissertation. Eoin Harnett of University College Cork in Ireland used the same “secondary importance” phrase:

“Throughout the ages, women were frequently characterised
and treated as inferior and of secondary importance to men.”

NOW leaders even relegated two of their supporters to secondary importance. The supporters responded to my last two comments on National NOW’s Facebook page with comments supporting NOW. NOW leaders silenced those supporters by removing their comments along with my comments. Instead of creating equality, NOW leaders treat other women the same way patriarchal men treat women:

NOW leaders silenced at least three women on Facebook while posting claims to be creating equality for women. Secondary importance is the opposite of equality, as women throughout the ages could testify.

In-House Rhetoric of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Special Interest Groups in Minnesota: Motivation and Alienation
Dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1982
Marsha Vanderford Doyle, Ph.D.
(Now Marsha Vanderford)
Quoted words on page 350.

“Let’s Get Real about Feminism: The Backlash, the Myths, the Movement.”
hooks, bell, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf.
Ms. Magazine.
Vol 4(2) September/October 1993: pages 34-43.

“Multitext Project in Irish History: Movements for Political & Social Reform, 1870-1914”
Eoin Hartnett
University College Cork, Ireland
No date
This project is no longer available online.

Updated April 30, 2017.

If Feminist Leaders Want Equality, Why Do They Create Inequality?

Originally published February 18, 2011.

Updated and republished September 3, 2015 after a web host transfer.

I want to start by establishing that I have a background in feminism and women’s issues. I considered myself a feminist for approximately twenty years. I have a B.A. in Women’s Studies/Writing (an individually planned major). I read books about women’s history for a decade or more. Then, of course, I have my own life experience.

For thousands of years, men who felt superior to women decided their superiority entitled them to privileges women should not have. These men kept women silent and passive to keep them inferior and unequal. Feminist leaders also have a history of creating inequality. I first experienced inequality created by feminist leaders in the 1980s. I included examples of my own experiences plus examples that other women experienced.

1st Inequality Experience

During my college years, I worked at a women’s resource center. A woman who considered herself a feminist became the director. The new director did not work all of the hours she was scheduled to work. She claimed more time on her time card than she was scheduled to work. She gave her work to staff members and volunteers instead of doing it herself. She lied to the public, lied to the staff, lied to the board of directors. She verbally abused a number of staff members. After she left two more directors who considered themselves feminist behaved in all of the same ways. They did not work all the hours they were scheduled to work, claimed more time on their time cards than they were scheduled to work, gave their work to other staff members, lied to everyone, and verbally abused a number of staff members.

Creating equality would mean that all of the directors worked the hours they were scheduled to work, claimed only they time they actually worked, did their work themselves, were honest with the public, staff, and board, and treated staff members with respect. Instead, all three of the directors acted as if the title of director bestowed them with superiority and privilege.

2nd Inequality Experience

Around 1990, I received a letter from Eleanor Smeal. In exchange for completing an Abortion Rights Questionnaire and sending a “generous contribution”, Smeal promised that “at least four times a year we’ll notify you of pending actions nationally and locally and let you know what action steps you can take.”

Creating equality would mean giving women who support abortion rights opportunities to decide which actions they want to take and when they want to take action. Instead, Smeal creates inequality by keeping pro-choice supporters passive.

3rd Inequality Experience

The September/October 1993 issue of Ms. Magazine published a discussion between four feminists — bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf — about the myths of the feminist movement, the backlash to the feminist movement, and the movement itself. These four feminists also discussed why many women do not call themselves feminist.

Creating equality would mean feminists asking other women why they choose not to call themselves feminist. Instead, hooks, Steinem, Vaid, and Wolf created inequality by denying other women the right to speak for themselves.

After reading that article, I chose to stop calling myself feminist.

4th Inequality Experience

About this same time, an acquaintance told me she had found a feminist network in her field. She called the phone number listed and said she would like information about the network. The feminist on the other end of the line said, “We know who we are.” A couple of years after my acquaintance told me that story, I asked her about it again. I wanted to make sure I had heard her correctly. I had.

Creating equality would mean feminists in the network would welcome every other feminist in that profession. Instead, the feminist on the phone created inequality for my acquaintance by treating her as inferior. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that the network no longer exists.

5th Inequality Experience

In the early 1990s, I started working on my thesis. I asked a feminist professor to be my advisor. My thesis was about women as television talk show hosts. I had chosen my topic in 1988 after watching Oprah Winfrey betray a female guest on her show. Wanting to understand why Oprah would betray another woman, I watched every talk show hosted by a woman for several years. From the list I compiled of topics and guests, I identified four cultural themes women use to betray each other:

Women as mothers

Women and their appearance

Women as deviants

Teenage girls as threats to society

Females grow up in this society learning to betray each other according to these four cultural themes. I added historical patterns to my thesis with examples of women using these themes to betray each other. Six weeks before I was supposed to publicly talk about my thesis to other grad students, my advisor told me to base my thesis on the theories of feminist writers I had never heard of. She told me I could put only two paragraphs of history into my thesis. She verbally abused me in an attempt to get me to agree to being silenced. Then she insisted that I say “Thank you” for her “advice” to use someone else’s research instead of my own.

Creating equality would mean respecting what I wanted to say through my research. Instead, my advisor attempted to create inequality for me by silencing me.

6th Inequality Experience

In 2008, I started regularly visiting the National Organization for Women web site (now.org). I did not join but I did sign up for emails. Some of the emails I receive are from the NOW National Action Center. In the emails, NOW leaders ask supporters to take action by sending an already written email labeled “Your letter”.

Creating equality would mean NOW leaders encouraging supporters to use their own words to write letters and emails that are meaningful to them. Instead, NOW creates inequality by silencing their supporters.

7th Inequality Experience

In the October 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Susan Faludi wrote about a feminist conclave she attended. The feminists at the conclave discussed intergenerational issues without a single younger woman being present. When one of the feminists suggested inviting younger women to the next meeting, she was “promptly shot down”.

Creating equality would mean inviting younger woman to meetings on intergenerational issues so they could speak for themselves. Instead, feminist leaders silence younger women by denying them opportunities to speak for themselves.

8th Inequality Experience

In a number of interviews both in print and on television, Gloria Steinem has repeatedly used a version of the statement below:

“Women have two choices: Either she’s a feminist or a masochist.”

“You’re a feminist or a masochist.”

“It is not at all an exaggeration to say that feminism-the belief in the full social, economic and political equality of women-is mental health, and that the only alternative is masochism,”

“You know in my heart, I think the only alternative to being a feminist is being a masochist.”

Creating equality would mean supporting every woman’s right to define herself. Instead, Steinem silences every woman who chooses to define herself as something other than feminist.

What These Experiences Reveal

The above examples expose feelings of superiority in feminist leaders. Feelings of superiority mean expectations of privilege. Expectations of privilege require inequality. Feminist leaders create inequality for other women so they can maintain their superiority and privilege. By keeping other women passive and silent, feminist leaders are able to give themselves glory.

~~NOW has changed its website since I started writing about feminist leaders. The indented paragraph below is from the original version of this blog post. Visit the new now.org and click on the NOW Leaders page. You’ll see that feminist leaders create inequality by keeping secrets from the mostly female NOW members who pay their salaries.~~

Visit now.org to see whose names appear on the site. Sign up for emails and see whose names are mentioned. Do searches at the website for “training” and “activist”. See how many names of ordinary women you can find. Then look for NOW giving glory to the words and actions of ordinary women — women who are not officers of NOW chapters or in the “dedicated network of grassroots activists”. In an article about “4,000 Massachusetts NOW activists and their supporters” (search for “4000”), the only NOW activists quoted were:

NOW National Board member Ellen Zucker (mentioned two times)

NOW President Patricia Ireland (mentioned four times)

Massachusetts NOW President Ellen Convisser (mentioned two times)

Attendees at a spring 2005 NOW activist training weekend included 11 “new state presidents, coordinators and executive directors” as well as “33 activists from 14 states” who “braved the chill of an extended Washington, D.C., winter” (search for “33 activists”).

Feminist Leaders Create Inequality To Feel Glory

NOW leaders keep the glory for themselves and exaggerate situations to give themselves glory. (Braving a chill where the average low winter temperature is around 30º F? I will refrain from laughing even though I have lived through average winter lows below 10º F for more than two decades.)

Feminist leaders obviously demonstrate superiority priority. Psychologist Marty Sapp gives one example of superiority priority in the article, “School Counseling for African American Adolescents: The Alfred Adler Approach”. Adolescents with superiority priority are “striving to be socially superior to others at any cost” and need to be “most competent” and “most right”. This need for superiority is a way to avoid feelings of unimportance and meaninglessness. Adolescents with superiority priority evoke feelings of inferiority in other people.

Feminist leaders avoid feeling unimportant and meaningless by evoking feelings of inferiority in other women. They make other women feel unimportant and meaningless. When I read in Eleanor Smeal’s letter that she would contact me “four times a year” to let me know what actions step I could take, I felt I would be unimportant 361 days a year. Every time I receive an email from the NOW Action Center asking me to sign “Your letter”, I feel describing my experiences in my own words would be meaningless. How can feminist leaders convince men to treat women as important and meaningful when they cannot do it themselves? Feminist leaders create inequality between women so they can feel most competent, most right, most brave, and most deserving of glory to feed their own endless needs for importance and meaningfulness.

Leading up to the 2012 presidential election I found an example of conservative women leaders creating equality between women. Smart Girl Politics put ordinary women on its website so they could use their own words to describe what actions they took in their own lives. College students, employed mothers, at home mothers, and grandmothers who joined Smart Girl Politics Action could take a free weekly SPG101 interactive webinar. Smart Girl Politics did all this because its founders saw ordinary women as important and meaningful.

Any woman could sign up to be a Smart Girl member without paying a cent. New members could immediately post blogs or organize events. Any Smart Girl member oculd contact any other Smart Girl member. Smart Girls found ways to work together solving problems in their communities.

No nonmember can even email NOW without being assaulted by an automated email response with NOW membership information (“Join NOW!”). Joining NOW means paying a membership fee. NOW members are unable to contact each other or say anything at the NOW website beyond commenting on a staff written blog. NOW members cannot work together to solve problems in their own communities. What NOW wants from its members is a continual flow of money so NOW leaders and their “dedicated network of grassroots activists” can travel around the country and socialize with each other while pretending to create equality.

I read a number of blog posts listed at the SGP website. I agreed with some of them. I disagreed with some of them. I was offended by some of them. I am offended by everything I read at the NOW website because all of it is written with a “We’re superior, you’re inferior” tone.

Since NOW leaders don’t get what equality means, I will explain it to them. Equality means that NOW members get to do anything NOW leaders get to do. Since NOW leaders do not allow NOW members to do anything NOW leaders do, NOW leaders are only pretending to create equality.

It is telling that a conservative organization like Smart Girl Politics created equality for its supporters while a feminist organization like the National Organization for Women creates inequality for its supporters. Why would women call themselves feminist when they enjoy more equality by not calling themselves feminist?

I am one of the women Gloria Steinem would define as a “masochist” for choosing not to call myself feminist. I would be a masochist if I had set aside years of research and allowed my thesis advisor to silence me. Instead, I switched to a male advisor who helped me speak my words through my research.

I would be a masochist if I allowed feminist leaders to keep me passive. Instead, I take action any time I see an opportunity to take action.

I would be a masochistic if I allowed feminist leaders to silence me. Instead, I write letters and emails with words that are meaningful to me.

I would be a masochist if I ignored my life experiences to remain the silent and passive wallet feminist leaders expect me to be. Instead, I use my life experiences to show how feminist leaders create inequality.

I now call myself an equality advocate — I advocate equality between women, between men, and between men and women.

I tried being feminist for approximately twenty years. The experience left me emotionally battered and continuously unequal. As I see it, Ms. Steinem, one alternative to feminism is equality for all women.

Read the letter I wrote NOW in January 2010.

Note

Seven months after posting this blog, I came across the November 2010 issue of More magazine. That issue included an article about young feminists. One of them was Jessica Valenti, who once worked for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. Valenti’s experience working for NOW provides evidence to support my claim that feminist leaders create inequality so they can feel important and meaningful.

Valenti told More,

“Whenever there was a photo opportunity, all the young women and
women of color would be ushered to the front. But when it came to
inviting us to important meetings, that just wasn’t happening. When
push came to shove, no one really cared what our opinions were.”

The feminist leaders of NOW purposefully create inequality within NOW so they can keep every opportunity to feel important and meaningful for themselves.

To read the opinions feminist leaders purposefully ignore, go to feministing.com.

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)
Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

blog.smilessparksuccess.com

Standards For Success Posters

Girl Grit

Girl Goodwill

Resource Rock Star Details

speakingfromtriumph.com

smilessparksuccess.com

For a wide ranging selection of articles on feminism and other topics,
see The Zawadi Nyong’o Daily

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As an American, I have freedom of speech.

As a woman, I have the right to express my opinion about anything the National Organization for Women claims to do for women.

In 2016, I started adding the section below to all of my new Feminist Leader blog posts. I also added it to all posts published before 2016.

The National Organization For Women
Silences Women

National NOW has blocked me on its Facebook page. I wrote comments based on my blog posts. All of my blog posts are based on a wide variety of evidence. Much of the evidence comes from National NOW’s website, emails and posts from NOW presidents, and emails from NOW staff members. I use no hostile language, no slurs, no profanity. I do use the phrase “glory addicts” in reference to NOW leaders. I also use “glory addiction”, “glory fixes”, and “a dedicated network of glory addicts”. Dr. Marsha Vanderford (Doyle) identified the glory needs of pro-choice leaders in her 1982 dissertation.

Feminist leaders have been silencing women for decades. bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf got together for a conversation that was published in Ms. Magazine in 1993. The discussion included why women choose not ta call themselves feminists. Did these four feminist leaders working for women’s equality ask women who choose not to call themselves feminist to speak for themselves? Of course not! The four feminist leaders silenced millions of women by speaking for them without first requesting permission to speak for them.

Imagine a group of women who choose not to call themselves feminists getting together for a conversation to be published in a magazine about why some women call themselves feminists. Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree with nonfeminist women denying them the opportunity to speak for themselves? Of course not! Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree that nonfeminist women had the right to speak for feminist women without their permission? Of course not!

My feminist leader blog posts provide evidence that feminist leaders still create glory for themselves while relegating supporters to “secondary importance”. Dr. Vanderford used the words “relegated” and “secondary importance” in her dissertation. Eoin Harnett of University College Cork in Ireland used the same “secondary importance” phrase:

“Throughout the ages, women were frequently characterised
and treated as inferior and of secondary importance to men.”

NOW leaders even relegated two of their supporters to secondary importance. The supporters responded to my last two comments on National NOW’s Facebook page with comments supporting NOW. NOW leaders silenced those supporters by removing their comments along with my comments. Instead of creating equality, NOW leaders treat other women the same way patriarchal men treat women:

NOW leaders silenced at least three women on Facebook while posting claims to be creating equality for women. Secondary importance is the opposite of equality, as women throughout the ages could testify.

In-House Rhetoric of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Special Interest Groups in Minnesota: Motivation and Alienation
Dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1982
Marsha Vanderford Doyle, Ph.D.
(Now Marsha Vanderford)
Quoted words on page 350.

“Let’s Get Real about Feminism: The Backlash, the Myths, the Movement.”
hooks, bell, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf.
Ms. Magazine.
Vol 4(2) September/October 1993: pages 34-43.

“Multitext Project in Irish History: Movements for Political & Social Reform, 1870-1914”
Eoin Hartnett
University College Cork, Ireland
No date
This project is no longer available online.

Updated April 30, 2017.