Big Girls Don’t Cry

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rebecca Traister, who covered the 2008 presidential election for Salon, explains how it was transformative for American women and for the nation. In Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, she looks at the ways the campaign sparked some of the most difficult American conversations—on gender, race, generational difference, about sexism on the left and feminism on the right: discussions crucial to improving our nation.


Rebecca Traister

Comments [22]

Loren from CT

I actually enjoyed the energy and tone of this conversation and thought Miles O'Brien brought new life and perspective to this show, as did Christopher Walken, though in a different way. While I often tune into to show for the guests, Leonard Lopate's voice often has this whiny drag to it that is somewhere between smug and a dull drone. This is particularly boring when a low-energy guest is being interviewed. The whole thing begins to sound like "Charlie Brown's Teacher" This afternoon, I was surprised to be drawn into a series of conversations where both parties seemed engaged and motivated each other. I thought everything they discussed regarding this topic was pertinent and food for thought.

Sep. 13 2010 02:14 PM
Barbara Kaslow from NYC

I am very sorry but I had to change the station during this chat. I had trouble listening to this guest. Yes, I get it, we as women have really come a long way. But the high pitched voice going at 90 miles an hour without pause in such an over excited manner really wore on me. We have a President Obama now and that for me is the real accomplishment. And yes, we also have Hilary Clinton as our Secretary of State. Fantastic! I don't get overly excited about feminism. If you need to make that argument than perhaps you should criticize the republicans for not picking a woman or considerably more legislative achievement. There was no progressiveness nor feminism involved in that decision to pick Governor Palin. The cynicism involved in the choice would negate that. WIth all due respect to the Governor (I am a democrat) she needs more experience in many areas of government.

Sep. 13 2010 01:00 PM
The Truth from Becky

Who exactly does it matter to Liam? I say it does not matter.

Sep. 13 2010 12:45 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Palin wasn't right in her "highest & hardest glass ceiling" remark. That's a description of being elected president, not of being chosen to run for vice president.

Sep. 13 2010 12:41 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Because looks do matter...
Presidential height...Lincoln...Washington...
Presidential Appearance....Pierce...Roosevelt (both of them for different reasons)...even goofy "W"...
You have to work with what you have got and stop getting exasperated.

Sep. 13 2010 12:41 PM
Abdul from Brooklyn

It seems feminism continues to ignore and leave out issues of racism even within the feminist movement in favor of purely gender themed discussions. Just in this very conversation you've touched on Sarah Palin's and Hillary Clinton's roles in the 2008 campaign, as well as Hillary's role as a 1st lady candidate during her husband's campaign, with nary a mention of Michelle Obama's role in the 2008 campaign, and the racist vitriol that was aimed at her throughout the race. This is why (at least in my experience/conversations) many African American women do not relate to the traditional feminist movement, because their needs are not met by a movement that tries to ignore color and the inevitable truth of racism in America because it doesn't fit the gender agenda.

Sep. 13 2010 12:37 PM
mrs robinson from nyc

becky--traister isn't even focused on her book, per se. this sounds more like a conversation between a couple of adolescents.

Sep. 13 2010 12:37 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Re-elect "Handsome" Frank...
As soon as cloning comes in.

Sep. 13 2010 12:36 PM
The Truth from Becky

Why does it matter how Sarah looks(ed)?? This is insane, why would he ask a question like that?

Rebecca keep him focused on the book!

One more stereotypical comment and I am outta here.

Sep. 13 2010 12:34 PM
mrs robinson from nyc

interesting discussion, but try not to over-do the caffeine, traister. when you get excited, your voice speeds up, gets louder--difficult to listen to.

Sep. 13 2010 12:33 PM
Megan from Brooklyn

One aspect I found underweighted of the election was how Obama's legacy was that of a child of a single parent. That, as a feminist and daughter of a single mom, was a huge factor in my preference for Obama. That accomplishment, being so successful despite the huge economic disadvantage children of single moms possess, was never talked about. And that Hillary has always been of significant means made me fear that she would not have the nuanced view Obama would have regarding low income single moms.

Sep. 13 2010 12:32 PM
The Truth from Becky

Very tough to listen to Rebecca with all the old cliche's and buzz phrases.

Sep. 13 2010 12:32 PM

I *never* buy books on politics, but I will buy this. Thank you so much for writing this book.
I would also recommend the Women's Media Center's "Sexism Sells, But We're Not Buying It" on, which graphically shows some of the horrors of how H.C. was treated. It starts, I believe, with "A ho' is a ho'" uttered by a national anchor.

Lastly, since you mentioned SNL humor,. I gotta mention that after Tina Fey's "Bitch is the new black", Tracy Morgan replied the following week with "Black is the new president, bitch". Great writing!

Sep. 13 2010 12:32 PM

Of course Hillary is an important figure in American politics. Many of us are still deeply disappointed that we can't seem to elevate an intelligent woman to high office. But it's sign of our dysfunctional times that Sara Palin a political neophyte with folksy simplistic views completely seduced the media who throughout the campaign treated Hillary like dirt -- just wanting her to go away. It's like Sarah is the kid sister -- annoying but someone you'd want to pal around with. While serious Hilary is the boring school marmy older sister who everybody loves to diss behind her back.

Sep. 13 2010 12:31 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Sarah was always known for doing the unpredictable in Alaska.

I wouldn't rule her out as having feminist values.

She just doesn't espouse (for now) the liberal social values.

Usually, pols adjust when they get in.
Hillary would be eaten alive by her own if she shifted even SLIGHTLY by characters like your guest-hardly an open minded view.

Sep. 13 2010 12:31 PM
don from NY

Is Lenny trying to DESTROY his listener base with these awful guests hosts (including Walken)?? It "doesn't get better that" sophmoronic Sat. Mite Live humor???
What are we-TWELVE YEARS OLD???
This is PATHETIC!!!

Sep. 13 2010 12:30 PM
Katherine Jackson from LES

Doesn't the new breed of right wing women, with their social and fiscal conservatism actually reinforce the patriarchal, male-dominated political culture? Anti-choice, emphasizing motherhood and the intuitions it brings, and pro-corporate (male-dominated) culture?

Sep. 13 2010 12:26 PM
Steve from Brooklyn

I think Hillary Clinton is a great politician and indeed great American. However, on balance the benefits of marriage to a former president must out weigh the negatives. Could you guest comment on how this boost should be regarded in terms of feminism?

Sep. 13 2010 12:21 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Sounds like a Hillary WHINER.

This is what a Hillary President might have been-good old fashion SET-ASIDES as have been done for unfair treatment over the last 50 years.

Problem is do you do this to get a woman elected to the Presidency?

I'd rather elect dumb-dumb from Alaska.
With good advisers, she'd be OK.
And makes a better appearance-sorry, it does matter.

Sorry, Hillary, don't cry for me FEO Argentina.

Hey, admit it-we elect the PRETTY.

Sep. 13 2010 12:19 PM

Many people seemed to ignore Hillary's accusation during one of the debates that Obama was soft on child predators.

Sep. 13 2010 12:16 PM

Come on. Instead of laying down laurels for Clinton because of her place in history (which shouldn't trump the present), the election came down to issues and who could articulate them better.

Obama in the end did a better job, he had a better team working for him.

What open being all too ready to court and cater to stupidity these days.

Sep. 13 2010 12:14 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

This must be said-Sarah Palin is sssssoooo hot.

No qualifications to be much in politics, but, so hot.
It seems this is a major qualifier for her.

Hillary, to most men, is the polar (to coin a SARAH phrase) opposite.

Sep. 13 2010 12:12 PM

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