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

Outing Rapists on Facebook.

After hearing about recent rapes on her campus, American University student Chloe Rubenstein (a sexual assault survivor herself) posted the following message to Facebook: "ATTENTION WOMEN," she wrote, before identifying two American university students by name and calling them rapists. She went on: "we should all be aware! Stay away at all costs. They are predators and will show no remorse for anyone. If you have been effected by either one of these sickos please feel free to talk to me. With enough help we can take them down!" I'll say up front that Rubenstein's story, which Amanda Hess describes in more detail, is kind of confusing. I don't get whether she saw an assault in progress, or she just heard about it. I also definitely don't condone the last line of Rubenstein's posting -- "[t]ake them down!!" -- because it seems to advocate violence against these men. Setting aside her specific case, though, I do think the hypothetical is interesting: Let's say you know ( for sure ) the...

Courting Diversity

Can we insist that diversity matters and still express disappointment when the conversation is overly focused on a nominee's identity?

(White House/Pete Souza)
The list of desired qualities in a Supreme Court candidate is pretty straightforward, at least for progressives. We want someone with a good legal resumé, a generally liberal voting record on fundamental moral questions, some imagination about the role of the law, an ability to gain the respect of colleagues. Someone relatively young. And while other liberals might disagree, I'd add: someone whose nomination makes the Court more reflective of America. Obviously a justice's race or gender does not always play a large role in his or her decision-making process. But Supreme Court justices, like the rest of us, are shaped by their identities, at least somewhat. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said of her fellow justices when the Court was considering a case involving a 13-year-old girl who was strip-searched by school officials looking for drugs, "They have never been a 13-year-old girl. ... I didn't think that my colleagues, some of them, quite understood." At the time, Ginsburg...

On the Outs

When we mock politicians who are outed as gay, who are we really shaming? Are we decrying homophobia -- or fueling it?

Rep. Eric Massa. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
Spring is in the air! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and politicians are coming out of the closet left and right. Or rather, they're being pushed out. Rep. Eric Massa of New York confessed that he groped and tickled a male staffer. California state Sen. Roy Ashburn was spotted leaving a gay bar. They're just the latest two politicians whose outing has generated late-night talk-show punch lines. We snicker at the details of these illicit affairs, especially when the leaders in question are anti-gay. And, many would argue, why shouldn't we laugh at Larry Craig's wide stance, Mark Foley's illicit instant messages, or Ted Haggard's taste for prostitutes? If you make it your business to meddle in the lives of gay Americans, we'll make your sexuality our business. Rep. Barney Frank distills this argument in the 2009 documentary Outrage : "There is a right to privacy, but there is no right to hypocrisy." But it's worth stepping away from the cable-news chyrons and juvenile...

Whose Food Politics

The chasm between foodies and those relying on food stamps doesn't have to be so wide.

You'd be hard pressed to find a sexier political issue than food. Celebrities are photo-graphed carrying copies of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma . Last year, Michelle Obama broke ground on a White House vegetable garden to much fanfare. Alice Waters' Berkeley mantra of "fresh, local, seasonal, organic" has gone national. But the scope of the dominant food-politics conversation remains surprisingly narrow, limited to questions like, What is organic? What is local? Is the growth of Whole Foods a bad thing? Are small farms really better? Save for the occasional healthy-school-lunch pilot program, it's a conversation that too rarely acknowledges the millions of Americans for whom the choice is not fresh versus prepackaged but eating versus not eating. The question of who eats and who doesn't is depressingly relevant right now. Almost one in five Americans reported lacking enough money to buy food at some point in the last year. The number of Americans on food stamps has...

Swagger Like Us

Should women amplify their aggression to mimic successful men? Or should they play up what supposedly makes them different?

Ever since women began making serious workplace gains in the 1970s, there has been a debate about the best way for them to climb the professional ladder. More often than not, the answer has been to "act like a man" -- if you can't beat the boys' club, join it. Oversell yourself in job interviews. Ask for more raises. Demand a better title. Be assertive in expressing your opinion. You're gonna make it after all. Women have made only marginal professional and political progress over the last decade, yet this simple refrain -- be aggressive! B-E aggressive! -- still makes for a convenient, can-do solution. In January, new-media guru Clay Shirky published "A Rant About Women" on his blog, summing up this view: "I sometimes wonder what would happen, though, if my college spent as much effort teaching women self-advancement as self-defense. ... Now this is asking women to behave more like men, but so what? We ask people to cross gender lines all the time." Even after decades of women...