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Is There A Penalty For Powerful Women Admitting Mental Illness?

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Is there a penalty for a woman who breaks through the glass ceiling and, then, from her position of power, admits that she struggled with mental illness in her past?

Yesterday New York City’s Speaker of the City Council and the Democratic candidate for mayor Christine Quinn revealed in the New York Times that she had suffered from bulimia and alcoholism for a good portion of her life. Quinn explained how her mom suffered through breast cancer throughout Quinn’s childhood and after her mom died, binge eating and purging gave her a brief feeling of relief. It was also in college that Quinn binge drank to the point of developing alcoholism. She checked into a rehab center at age 26 and got control of her eating disorder and her problematic drinking; it wasn’t until three years ago that Quinn, who is also the first mayoral candidate to be openly gay, went entirely dry.

Christine Quinn’s admission echoed another powerful woman’s recent decision to go public about a private struggle: “Morning Joe” cohost Mika Brzezinski revealed in MORE magazine that she has suffered from exercise bulimia for many years, meaning that she binges on food and then over-exercises to burn off the calories.

Brzezinski and Quinn aren’t the only two well-known women to admit to mental illness: Carrie Fisher and Catherine Zeta-Jones have both been public about their struggles with bipolar disorder, Lena Dunham talks about her OCD, and plenty of other celebs have been open about their mental health struggles, too. But I suppose that Christine Quinn and Mika Brzezinski fascinate me in particular because they both work in fairly male-dominated fields — the mainstream media and politics — that aren’t known for being warm and fuzzy.   Keep reading »

Werk: Mayor Bloomberg And Christine Quinn Are A Couple Of Bitchy Queens In This New York Mag Interview

This week’s New York magazine cover story, meant to help us get to know front-runner New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, is, unintentionally perhaps, peppered with witty one-liners that would make RuPaul and Michelle Visage jealous. The highlight is Mayor Bloomberg’s little cameo where he gestures toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown standing nearby and says to Quinn, “Look at the ass on her.” Sure, this can be seen as objectifying skeeviness, but when, in the next paragraph, Quinn talks about how Bloomberg doesn’t like her in flat boots, you get the picture that these two are the catty, shade-throwing queens of City Hall. They should really throw a ball and read politicians all night. I’d attend. Below, some of their best lines. Oh, and if you’re not familiar with Bloomberg, you should check out his parody Twitter account, @ElBloombito. [New York Magazine]

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