Pen Pal Project

Feminist Anger is Back in Fashion

January 18, 2018

Dear Reva,

Well, that was quite a year, wasn’t it?

I kept trying to write you a letter, and then life and the news cycle would overtake it before I could finish it. Eventually, I fell into a kind of paralysis. But it’s a new year, and this is no time for paralysis. We have a lot of work to do.

The last time I was this angry, I was in university, and it was twenty-five years ago, and it was about … well, it was about all of the same things that I’m angry about now. ALL OF THE SAME THINGS. Which makes me even angrier than I was back then. On the upside, I care less about the backlash. I am infinitely less interested in whether or not my anger makes people (men) uncomfortable. I’m middle-aged, and I’ve had my kids, and I work for myself, and I own my own home. And that means that while I desire love and approval, I don’t need them for my survival.

That’s a privilege, a huge one. So I need to stay angry, and keep working.

I met Gloria Steinem this fall. It was a revelation. She is in her eighties, and a glowing, vibrant, magnetic spirit. She laughs a lot – a great booming laugh – and she swears frequently and cheerfully. She talks sense. She appears completely at peace with her life and work.

When she spoke, she reflected on all that women had achieved and all that still remained to be done, and when she was asked what made her angry, she said, laughing: “So many things!” People were puzzled. She was so apparently happy, after a lifetime in the feminist trenches. “How do you keep from being discouraged?” they asked. And she said, “There is always something to do. You just find the next helpful thing to do, and you do that. And then you do the next thing.”

It is a good recipe for activism and for life. And for the Pen Pal Project, really. So I was wondering…what do you think about a podcast?

Lots of love,


You can follow the Pen Pal Project here.

Leave a Reply