Plenty of politicians are whores to big business. But Vicksburg, Mississippi, mayoral candidate Linda Fondren has opened up about her own actual sex work past: she literally used to work as a legal prostitute in Nevada. “I was a working girl in a legal brothel over 30 years ago,” Fondren said. She said she began working at a brothel to support herself after she lost a parent and became pregnant at age 14. “I hated it. I hated it,” the businesswoman and former CNN Hero told the AP. But in a happy ending of sorts, Fondren met her husband, Jim, of 28 years while working as a prostitute. “It’s true, my husband was my client. My husband and I have been married 28 years,” she told WLBT-TV. Keep reading »
This piece was cross-posted with permission from the Ms. Magazine Blog.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaking with members of his reelection staff. Much of the conversation focused on actor Ashley Judd, who, until recently, was rumored to be mulling a run against the current Senate GOP leader. For the most part, the recording is typical opposition research. An aide rehearses Judd’s public politics: She loves Obamacare, is pro-gay marriage and self-identifies as a feminist.
None of this, of course, is much of a surprise — Judd campaigned for President Obama and has spoken publicly on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America. More disconcerting than the rehashing of Judd’s political ideology, however, is when the discussion veers from policy to Judd’s reproductive choices and then quickly to her mental health. Keep reading »
“Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There is an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the UK weather the storms of European monetary uncertainty. To have withstood the special hatred and ridicule, unprecedented in my opinion, leveled in our time at a public figure who was not a mass murderer; and to have managed to keep her convictions attached to fervent ideals and ideas — wrongheaded or misguided as we might see them now — without corruption — I see that as evidence of some kind of greatness, worthy for the argument of history to settle. To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable.”
— Here’s Meryl Streep, who portrayed former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 film “The Iron Lady,” remembering the politician, who died today at age 87.
After the jump, others remember the controversial yet pioneering Thatcher, who was Great Britain’s first and only female PM: Keep reading »
She may be leaving the Obama Administration, but this morning, Mrs. Clinton was back in action for her potentially final public act as Secretary of State.
I was thrilled to hear her sparring with Senators at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on the U.S. Embassy, which President Obama has called “an act of terror.” The attack left four Americans dead including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Secretary of State Clinton began the hearing with a prepared statement where she took full responsibility, quoted by The New York Times saying:
“Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger and more secure.” Keep reading »
Today in Stuff I Almost Don’t Want To Write About Because It Just Gives Them More Attention news:
Eric Golub, a “neoconservative comedian” and blogger for the conservative newspaper Washington Times, wants everyone to know he is writing a list of the 10 Ugliest Women in Politics. But don’t get your panties in a bunch, you oversensitive prisses with silly concerns about women being judged only on their looks — Eric Golub’s list of the 10 Ugliest Women will only include women whose character is ugly. Keep reading »
“I’m not going to mislead anybody. Politics is really hard. And it is harder for women. There’s a double standard, and you can’t complain about it. You just have to accept it, and be smart enough to navigate it. And you have to have a pretty tough skin. To paraphrase a favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: If a woman wants to be in politics, she has to have the skin of a rhinoceros. Most men who go into politics just think they’re great. They believe they can do anything. Most young women, not only in politics but in most areas, are more cautious and more likely to say, ‘Could I really do this? Am I good enough?’ I was talking to a friend and very successful businessman the other day, and he said, ‘The thing that still annoys me more than anything is that I see all these young women who are so much more capable than they allow themselves to believe. And I see so many young men who are so much less capable but who believe they are God’s gift to the world.’ I would just say to women: Try it! Put your foot in the pond and see if you want to swim.”
—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a Glamour reporter along while traveling in Africa and trying to empower women through the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. I admire Clinton for what she’s accomplished and for her realistic outlook on how women should get ahead. Here, she is echoing Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, who implored young women to think they’re as awesome as young men do. You’re God’s gift to the world, too, ladies! [Glamour] Keep reading »
Today from the “Seriously, Is Everyone In Congress Trapped In The 1950s?” file: a Congressman and a Congresswoman from Florida are unhappy with each other and he decided the best way to deal with this was to email her to tell her she is “not a lady.” Not a lady? Oh my stars!
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat, was apparently stepping on some toes while talking about Medicare. Eh, it happens. But Rep. Allen West, a Tea Partier/Republican, pitched a fit. Naturally, as you do in situations like this, he fired off an email with the subject line “Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz” to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and a whole bunch of other people. Let’s see what he had to say! Keep reading »
“I believe too many women are sitting on the sidelines and aren’t engaged in the issues that affect them. I’m particularly concerned about younger women — women 40 and under who are not engaged at all. Some of it has to do with the fact that women are busy; they’re focused on their careers; they’re focused on raising children. But a lot of women also believe that their voice doesn’t matter, that their views are not important, and that their vote doesn’t make a difference. And that’s really what I want to challenge with American women.
Right now, less than one percent of women in Congress are under 40. I want to really work over the next few years to bring more women off the sidelines and get them engaged. To care about the policies and decisions that are being made because I don’t want them waking up a year from now, two years from now, 10 years from now, and realizing that they don’t agree with the laws that are being written and the agenda of this country because they didn’t participate.”
—Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is my number one favorite politician right now, precisely because she utters quotes like this. Instead of being preachy about why we need more women in politics “just because” (which is how we could end up with President Michele Bachmann), Sen. Gillibrand is simply and succinctly pointing out that legislation is passed by those who care enough to make it work. Horrified that your state doesn’t recognize gay marriage or de-funded Planned Parenthood? Do something about it — run for office. If you don’t, someone else will! [Marie Claire] Keep reading »