Ann Friedman

Ann Friedman is a columnist for New York magazine's website and for the Columbia Journalism Review. She also makes pie charts for The Hairpin and Los Angeles magazine. Her work has appeared in ELLE, Esquire, Newsweek, The Observer, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. She lives in Los Angeles, but travels so often the best place to find her is online at

Recent Articles


Everyone seems to be very concerned that the outbreak of swine flu means they'll have to stop eating bacon and other delicious pig products. While health officials have assured the public that you can't contract this flu from your breakfast sausage, meat consumption just might be at the heart of the possible pandemic. Residents of the area where swine flu originated, the state of Veracruz, Mexico, say that a local Smithfield confined-hog operation is to blame , with its poop lagoons and untreated waste polluting the area. As far back as late March, roughly one-sixth of the residents in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz began complaining of respiratory infections that they say can be traced to a farm that lies upwind 8.5 kilometres to the north, in the town of Xaltepec. But Jose Luis Martinez, a 34-year-old resident of La Gloria, said he knew the minute he learned about the outbreak on the news and heard a description of the symptoms: fever, coughing, joint aches, severe headache and,...

A Give and Take on Immigration

One year after the largest raid in U.S. history, we rarely hear stories of small towns suffering in the absence of immigrants.

The dominant anti-immigrant narrative in this country -- despite paeans to the mythical "melting pot" we read about in grade-school social-studies textbooks -- is that immigrants take . They come here to take our jobs. They take up social services. They take formerly pristine street corners and make them disorderly by standing around looking for work. They take their earnings back home rather than spend them in the local community. These are the things I hear repeated on crap cable shows like Glenn Beck's or when I sit down to dinner with my conservative relatives. Several years ago I did some reporting in a small town -- Milan, Missouri -- where around 50 percent of the 2,000 or so residents were recent Latino immigrants who had come for jobs at the town's pork-processing plant. The fascinating thing about Milan (pronounced Mi -lan, not Mi- lan like the city in Italy) was that, prior to the pork plant opening and the immigrant influx, the tiny burg had been all but dead. A small...


Obama has made his final appointments to his controversial council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In the FundamentaList today, Sarah Posner summarizes what it means for reproductive rights: With his council appointments now complete, Obama has given far more seats on his council to religious leaders who are anti-choice than to ones who are openly pro-choice, even though the majority of Americans favor legal abortion. There are only two pro-choicers , and they're both Jewish. Reproductive-health advocates suggested several pro-choice Christians to the White House as worthy additions to the council. By not giving them seats, though, the administration shows that it is too afraid to challenge anti-choice evangelicals by putting their pro-choice brothers and sisters at the same table. Frances Kissling also points out that the appointments aren't just predominantly anti-choice -- they're also mostly men. Five of the council members recently signed on to a letter asking Obama...


As Dana points out , the engagement ring doesn't quite mean what it used to -- a downpayment on a woman's virginity. But I would argue that in many cases, an expensive diamond ring does still function as a signal to other men that a woman is "taken" by someone who has paid a lot of money to tell the world that she's his. The bigger the rock, the stronger the "off limits" signal. Though the meaning of an engagement ring has evolved somewhat, I still see it as an incredibly sexist tradition. No matter how much it costs. Or, as Michael A. Shea writes in comments to Dana's post, If you are concerned with the price of the traditional engagement ring, and take action in your own relationships, you won't have a feminist marriage. You would have a common sense marriage. The problem with the tradition engagement ring - at any price, at any salary - from a feminist perspective should be the implied gender roles, the implied differences in attitudes about sex and income. Exactly. --Ann Friedman


When I was growing up in Iowa, the state's marketing slogan was "Iowa, you make me smile." As disgruntled high schoolers, my friends and I would use the phrase sarcastically... But today, it's totally appropriate. Because this morning the Iowa Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex couples to marry . For 10 years, Iowa has had a law on the books defining marriage as "between a man and a woman," and the court unanimously ruled that that statute violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution. The Supreme Court decision comes after conservatives appealed a district court ruling in favor of gay marriage in 2007, the same year the state legislature passed a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Richard Socarides , a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay civil rights, said today’s decision could set the stage for other states. Socarides was was a senior political assistant for Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin in the early 1990s. “I...