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

Not Everything Has Changed

The women's movement may have changed everything for the American public, but in the home, the revolution has hardly begun.

Mrs. Carl Anderson of Princeton carries her daughter Elizabeth, nine-months, as she demonstrates in favor of a liberalized abortion law in Trenton, N.J., May 8,1969. (AP Photo)
The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America in America by Kathleen Gerson, Oxford University Press, 297 pages, $24.95 When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins, Little, Brown and Co., 480 pages, $27.99 My upbringing was something of an anachronism. My dad went to work every morning at the family business (where his father and grandfather had both worked), and my mom spent her days at home with me and my brother and sister. She made us breakfast, drove us to school, did all of the housework, picked us up, shuttled us to piano lessons or basketball practice, and when my dad came through the door again at 6 P.M., she had a solid, Midwestern dinner (meat, potatoes, vegetables, bread -- sometimes all combined conveniently in casserole form) ready and waiting. My parents rarely, if ever, fought in front of us. We went to church every single Sunday, no exceptions. That's the way...

Listening to Afghanistan

The U.S. intervention has never been and won't become a force for humanitarianism.

(Flickr/Afghan Lord)
In the spring of 2008 I wrote a column, "Listening to Iraq," in which I lamented the lack of access that most Americans had to the voices and opinions of the people most affected by the ongoing war. This made it difficult, I wrote, "for even the best-intentioned anti-war American to see Iraqis as partners, rather than as a political project." I was reminded of that column after Obama's speech announcing his Afghanistan strategy, In it, he declared, "For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people -- especially women and girls." But he made very clear that he does not see our involvement in Afghanistan as a humanitarian mission. As the American left debates, I'm struck by a desire to know what Afghan women, who have been living under the U.S. occupation for roughly eight years now, think would be best for their country. The Afghan...

What's in a Pen Name?

I spend a lot of time talking about the general pale/male/stale-ness of the media (h/t to Tracy Van Slyke and Jessica Clark for that description), and I generally find myself chalking it up to a number of big, interrelated factors: Men are socialized to be more aggressive and confident, which translates to pitching more articles and getting published more often. Men are more likely to be well-connected to other powerful men in the business. Men are more likely to tout their expertise, while women will seemingly do anything to downplay their knowledge and experience. A disproportionate amount of care-giving responsibility forces women to down-shift their time-consuming media jobs. And on and on. Really, just one word is needed: sexism . Take it from a woman at Copyblogger, who decided to adopt the pseudonym James Chartrand and began earning double and triple the income she did with her given name. Even I would never have guessed the difference would be so stark. We all know about the...

Pessimism About Women in Journalism.

Yesterday, the soon-to-be-shuttered Editor & Publisher reported that three top women newspaper editors are stepping down from their jobs. That leaves Nancy Barnes of The Star Tribune in Minneapolis and Susan Goldberg of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland as the only two women editors of the 20 highest-circulation newspapers in America. Barnes also believed the diversity was a problem, but did not think it was irreversible. "It is a brutal business for women, particularly women who want to have a family," she says. "There are just different choices you have to make. But I believe we will grow more women editors." This idea that women of younger generations will fare any better seems to me to be wildly optimistic, if not flat-out wrong. Most women in their 20s appear to have more promising careers because they have yet to start families. But when children arrive, families have to make tough choices -- often, choices that involve women scaling back their jobs to more flexible positions...

The Company We Keep

If each liberal "special interest" group is actually just in it alone, what's the point of a common ideology?

NAACP Chair Julian Bond and Sen. Dianne Feinstein at the Human Rights Campaign's 2009 Los Angeles Gala. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Several years ago, The American Prospect held a "What is Liberalism?" contest. The winner, Todd Washburn, submitted this definition: "Liberals believe our common humanity endows each of us, individually, with the right to freedom, self-government, and opportunity; and binds all of us, together, in responsibility for securing those rights." The first part of that statement is easy to embrace. We call ourselves liberals because we share a certain set of beliefs. The second part -- about our responsibility to act together on those beliefs -- is where things get tricky. Progressives do not live in a bubble. Despite our commitment to equality and opportunity, the movement reflects the biases and hierarchies of the rest of the country. We might all agree that gay couples deserve marriage rights and women must have access to reproductive health care, but when it comes to devising a political strategy and policy agenda, these are inevitably issues that always seem to slide quietly to the back...