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


In the debate between Ross Douthat and Will Saletan about reducing the number of abortions, Tim correctly points out that Saletan isn't proposing a new way of talking to the public about contraception. He's asking people who oppose abortion rights to get on board with spreading a pro-contraception message. It's frustrating to watch Saletan repeatedly misunderstand his target audience (as Tim puts it, "those who already believe that abortion should be illegal but go about counter-productively advocating abstinence-only sex education and anti-contraception policies") -- which includes Douthat. Most folks who self-identify as "pro-life" don't actually see it as counterproductive to oppose contraception and informative sex ed. They hold deeply entrenched beliefs about those so-called secondary issues -- namely, that they're not secondary at all. For them, comprehensive sex education IS extramarital sex IS contraception IS abortion. It's all the same issue. That's why Bush's "culture of...


Gawker caught this on John McCain's Twitter feed: Well, John, during the campaign you certainly had a few ideas about beaver management... --Ann Friedman

Broad Rights

Obama will be forced to decide whether reproductive health care is an essential service or merely a political chess piece.

After President Barack Obama signed his first piece of legislation, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, he remarked that it was a victory for workers and for civil rights. He did not say it was a victory for women but that "making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone." I, for one, was thrilled. While the Supreme Court case that led to the Ledbetter legislation was mainly discussed in the context of gender discrimination, the rights restored by the passage of the Ledbetter Act truly are good for all workers. Hearing a president articulate this was nothing short of revolutionary. Women's rights are civil rights. Women's rights are human rights. The reality that feminists have long grasped and conveyed to the public, with varying degrees of success, is that protecting women's rights is good for society as a whole. While different identity groups are often in need of different sorts of services or protections, their rights are, in fact, inseparable from those of the...


It's been fascinating to watch the media coverage of the economic meltdown as it relates gender (and class) in our society. In January, data showed that men's participation in the workforce was declining faster than women's. Basically, in recessions, more men tend to lose their jobs than women, hence there is a greater percentage of women in the workforce. (Hmm... if what's bad for the economy is also bad for traditional gender roles, you'd think the right wing would have clamored a little harder for the stimulus package.) The New York Times was inspired to publish an article on the implications for masculinity: Mr. Steuer, 43, was recently laid off from his job at a small research business. "It's hard not to imagine yourself as the breadwinner," he said. "A lot of your ego eggs are in the job basket. I can't shake the psychology that I'm supposed to provide." The article takes great pains to portray Steuer as a modern man, presumably to highlight the level to which these outmoded...


Q: When do conservatives not like policies that remove bureaucratic hurdles and save states millions of dollars? A: When those policies have the potential to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies. House Minority Leader John Boehner is railing against a provision of the stimulus package that would increase Medicaid funding to states for family-planning services. Not only will this expand health care services and take some burden off states, it will eliminate the need for states to go to the federal government and obtain a waiver. Writes Amanda Terkel at ThinkProgress , No one would be forcing states to pay for family planning services. States can now cover low-income women if they get a state waiver, but approval can take a long time. Despite these bureaucratic hassles, 27 states have already “obtained federal approval to extend Medicaid eligibility for family planning services to individuals who would otherwise not be eligible.” This bill would simply allow states to...