Originally published August 27, 2014.
Updated and republished September 15, 2015 after a web host transfer.
For years, I have written about how the National Organization For Women (NOW) misuses the word grassroots, the glory addiction of feminist leaders, and the feminist leader view that most women are too unsophisticated to understand abortion. I have also written that NOW keeps asking for money so it can send it’s “dedicated network of grassroots activists” around the country for socializing and training that is denied to the women who pay the bills through donations.
An August 12, 2014 email from NOW, President Terry O’Neill kept up the inequality between the women who pay the bills and the “dedicated network of grassroots activists”. She wrote that:
“NOW’s supporters and activists are already stepping up and
working to send the extremist politicians in Congress, state
legislatures, and the U.S. Supreme Court packing.”
How does O’Neill intend to do this?
“To achieve these goals, we must first prevent a right-wing
takeover of the U.S. Senate in November. It also means we must
send more women’s rights supporters to the U.S. house of
Representatives and state legislatures across the country.”
Why “must” NOW “send more women’s rights supporters to the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures across the country?” Are the women who live in states across the country too unsophisticated to speak to their own state legislatures?
Feminist leaders like NOW President Terry O’Neill must see ordinary supporters of feminism as unsophisticated because they keep everything about the “dedicated network of grassroots activists” secret. I have asked NOW more than once about the activists and how they are chosen. I want to know if the network has enough diversity to represent all women in the United States. The only response I received was that NOW would not give out contact information. I did not ask for contact information. This was the third time a woman in power accused me of asking for something I did not ask for.
Take a moment to think about NOW’s one response to my many questions. The ‘dedicated network of grassroots activists’ needs to be protected from the supporters who donate money? I want equality with the “dedicated network of grassroots activists”. What is dangerous about that?
NOW President Terry O’Neill refuses to reveal how many women are traveling around the country and socializing with each other, who they are, how she picked them, or even what they say when they go out as “activists” in the name of the women who pay for their travel and socializing.
The truth is, NOW “must” send more women’s rights supporters around the country so they can get fixes for their glory addictions. The activists who keep other women silent and passive get to feel all the glory of being the heroines of the modern feminist movement. NOW “must” send more women’s rights supporters around the country to prevent ordinary women from speaking their own words and taking their own actions. It is too risky to let ordinary women speak for themselves because they might forget to give glory to the feminist leaders who ignore them.
I understand addiction. I was a compulsive overeater for 25 years. Instead of making my addiction to food more important than anything else, I continually looked for ways to end it. My wish to end my eating disorder came true in an unexpected way because I spoke my own words and took my own actions.
On August 24, 2014, I received an email from BoldProgressives.org. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) holds free P100 training sessions across the country for people who want to work on campaigns. As of that email, PCCC had trained 600 candidates and staffers in 16 states on campaign skills. They intend to train more. In the email’s first two paragraphs, PCCC proved that it did not have a glory addiction and that it understood the need to train as many people as possible to be effective on their own.
Unfortunately for ordinary feminists, glory addiction makes feminist leaders ineffective as leaders. In “The Arrogance of Feminist Leaders”, I quoted a female feminist professor who wrote about the “vast wasteland of obedient women” in the pro-life movement. From what I see, it’s the feminist leaders who expect obedience, as in obediently donating money and obediently clicking to forward “Your Letter” to politicians. According to several online sources:
“Email is by far the least effective way” to contact politicians and some politicians “do not even read email”.
“An influx of email” tells the politician “that someone has a good network”. This would be especially true when NOW inserts, “as a supporter of the National Organization For Women” in “Your Letter”.
Perhaps out of frustration, some politicians will decide that “the sender probably just cut and pasted what someone else said.”
One “Never” for contacting politicians is to “Fail to include your name and address, even in email letters”.
NOW has never asked me to include my name and address on a NOW form email. As you might have guessed, I have never forwarded an ineffective NOW form email.
I did find advice for writing effective letters to politicians. For people who are not used to writing letters, below is a suggested template. In general, people affected by the issue should include:
A description of who they are – single working mother, person with a disability, job training participant, ex-Marine.
The fact that they’re residents of the official’s district, or participants in a program in his district.
What they want the official to do.
Their connection to the issue – program participant, staff person, community volunteer, parent of a child with disabilities.
This template is the opposite of what NOW leaders expect NOW members to obediently forward to politicians who will decide to ignore emails that say little and represent no real people.
Lets’ go back to NOW’s “dedicated network of grassroots activists” for a moment and consider its effectiveness.
If politicians can dismiss emails for having the same words, then they can dismiss demonstrations for having the same faces. The only evidence NOW presents about demonstrations is that the same people keep showing up and saying the same words. Why should politicians pay any attention to the same faces saying the same words over and over again? Why should any politician assume that millions of women want anything only a few women are demanding? (We don’t know how many NOW activist faces there are, remember, because that’s a secret.)
Feminist leaders need to feed their glory addictions. They need to travel around the country and share their glory addictions with other glory addicts. They need to convince themselves that they deserve the glory because ordinary women are only capable of forwarding form emails and sending money. They need to keep secrets from those unsophisticated ordinary women to protect their special status as “dedicated grassroots activists”. Why would feminist leaders keep choosing to be ineffective?
Perhaps they are intentionally ineffective to hide their glory
Perhaps the power to keep secrets that give them control has
altered their brains.
Perhaps they are too unsophisticated to recognize the differences
between effectiveness and ineffectiveness.
Keeping secrets is a way to control supporters while pretending to work for the good of supporters. It’s also a good way to hide the leader attitude that supporters are too unsophisticated to be vocal and active on their own. If NOW supporters don’t know what the “dedicated network of grassroots activists” do, they’ll never figure out that they could do or already are doing all of the same things themselves. NOW President Terry O’Neill likes keeping secrets so much that she flaunts her power to keep secrets on NOW’s website.
I once used my website to make personal photographs available to someone in a different part of the country. I did not want to risk losing the photographs because they were irreplaceable to both of us. I created a hidden web page, uploaded the photographs to that page, and sent the page URL to the other person. The other person was able to get their own copies of the photographs without anyone else knowing.
Are NOW leaders so unsophisticated that they don’t know how to create hidden pages for passing information meant only for a certain few? Or are they purposely announcing their secrets as a way of satisfying their glory addictions?
If you want effectiveness in gaining anything for women, write your own letter about the details of your life and how a policy would affect you. Sign your name and give your address. Save your money for your own trip to a demonstration. Your individual words and your different face will have more of an impact than anything feminist leaders do with their form emails and form demonstrations. If you want to donate money, donate it to Boldprogressives.org so they can continue their training sessions around the country.
Early today, August 27, 2014, I received an email from PCCC listing the progressive candidates they had helped win primary elections:
Ruben Gallego, Arizona
Won his election for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bonnie Watson Coleman, New Jersey
Won her election for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Pat Murphy, Iowa
Mike Honda, California
Won his election for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Senator Brian Schatz, Hawaii
Won his re-election for the U.S. Senate
PCCC obviously knows how to be effective with its training on “cutting-edge” political campaigns. Their effectiveness proves that they deserve your money, not ineffective NOW.
Also, take advantage of any opportunity in your life to help other women succeed. The more successful any woman is, the more opportunities for success and equality all women will have, including feminist leaders.
August 29, 2014 Update
On August 28, 2014, I received an email from NOW with the subject line “Breaking: Terry arrested”.
I just got back from the White House and I wanted our supporters
to be the first to hear about this: Terry has participated in an act
of civil disobedience in support of immigration reform that is fair
Terry’s just been arrested. Share this graphic and help us spread
word that we need immigration reform that respects women
Further down the email says this:
Show your support for keeping families together — and stand
with Terry — by sharing our graphic with your loved ones.
The graphic is a photograph of Terry O’Neill being arrested.
Note that the author of this email, Chita Panjabi, starts her message by making herself look important:
“I just got back from the White House…”
Panjabi is well-versed in the art of creating glory fixes.
What does a graphic about Terry O’Neill getting arrested show about the need for immigration reform? Nothing.
Someone took the time to superimpose a quote from Terry O’Neill on top of the graphic:
“Immigration reform that respects women and families is a
The graphic does not represent “breaking” news.
O’Neill is wearing a red shirt with the NOW logo. She looks like she is talking into a microphone. Across the road in the background is a large crowd. If there are immigrant women and families in the graphic, they are in the crowd in the background. They are invisible, which makes them unimportant. Terry O’Neill is in the foreground, which makes her visible and important.
NOW President Terry O’Neill wants us to see for ourselves that she stands out from the crowd. The graphic is about Terry O’Neill and the National Organization for Women. It is not about immigration reform or immigrant families.
Which action is more effective in bringing about immigration reform?
Sharing the graphic of Terry O’Neill getting arrested while
wearing a shirt with a NOW logo?
Training progressive candidates to run effective campaigns
that win primary elections and general elections?
The graphic is yet another example of NOW President Terry O’Neill’s glory addiction and the lengths she will go to get a glory fix.
“How to Get Politicians’ Attention”
Electronic Frontiers Australia
September 20, 2004
“Protect Helena and Aurora Range (Bungalbin): Letter-writing guide & Example Letter.”
The Wilderness Society
“When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart”
August 10, 2013
National Public Radio
Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)
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.
Standards For Success Posters
Resource Rock Star Details
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
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.
Vol 4(2) September/October 1993: pages 34-43.
“Multitext Project in Irish History: Movements for Political & Social Reform, 1870-1914”
University College Cork, Ireland
This project is no longer available online.
Updated April 30, 2017.