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 lieu of Lightning Round, lager! Last week, Dana pondered whether Gates -gate had anything to do with masculinity. While I admit I didn't immediately see the Gates arrest in terms of gender, Obama 's choice to defuse the tension by inviting them over for a beer did seem gendered to me. You know, just dudes and brews . Hangin' out. Shootin' the shit. Guy stuff. Would this stunt have been received the same way if a woman were at the table? Or if it was staged by a female president? Like so many other day-to-day choices we make, booze preferences have gender connotations. Think Homer Simpson with his six-packs of Duff, or Carrie Bradshaw perched on a bar stool with a cosmopolitan in hand. I know men who sheepishly order sugary cocktails, and women who are called tough or manly because they drink whiskey on the rocks. While I don't think beer, in and of itself, is a strictly "masculine" beverage, I do think the idea of putting aside differences over mugs of beer is not an image that we...


It's nice to know that, even as our cultural standards deteriorate to the point where bare midriffs (and, for heaven's sake, abayas!) are acceptable at the splash park, the Derb maintains his devotion to the tasteful one-piece. --Ann Friedman


The Chicago Reader has posted a piece from its archives about the day Bad was released. It's not only a great late-80s pop-culture time capsule but a fascinating snapshot of how music fans saw Michael Jackson . Pete, lithe and black, with his hair squared like Grace Jones's, takes a black magic marker and draws an erect penis on Jackson's image. His friend Mikey, a stringy Puerto Rican, giggles. Their box, a silver radio about half the size of Pete, is relatively quiet. From it comes a barely thumping bass. "You think he's gay?" asks Pete, bursting with laughter. Mikey can barely answer; he's holding his sides. "I used to think he was just, you know, weird," he finally says, all grins. "'Cause, you know, he was a born-again Christian or something like that." "That's pretty weird!" cracks Pete in mock shock. "You know what I mean, man," Mikey says. "He had a giraffe as a pet or something." Most tributes to Jackson have made some sort of distinction between the musical prodigy he was...


Serious props to NPR's Nina Totenberg today. Rather than simply reporting about " concerns over Sonia Sotomayor 's temperament" or allegations that she's a "bully," Totenberg actually compared audio clips of questions asked by Sotomayor and those asked by her male colleagues -- or those who would be her colleagues if she is confirmed for the Supreme Court. And -- surprise! -- Sotomayor is no "meaner" than your average justice. She is just femaler. Judge Guido Calabresi, former Yale Law School dean and Sotomayor's mentor, now says that when Sotomayor first joined the Court of Appeals, he began hearing rumors that she was overly aggressive, and he started keeping track, comparing the substance and tone of her questions with those of his male colleagues and his own questions. "And I must say I found no difference at all. So I concluded that all that was going on was that there were some male lawyers who couldn't stand being questioned toughly by a woman," Calabresi says. "It was sexism...


Earlier this week, in the wake of Dr. George Tiller 's murder, I wrote : Tiller's death is a wake-up call to the fact that our existing laws and regulatory bodies to protect against clinic violence aren't working as well as they should. As written, FACE provides a lot of protection for reproductive health providers. But we need an active task force -- or some other means of accountability -- to make sure the law is fully enforced. This is something Obama's Justice Department could commit to doing tomorrow, sending a strong signal that this type of domestic terrorism is not acceptable. The DOJ's Civil Rights Division has now done just that, announcing today that it is reconvening the task force on clinic violence: In an effort to coordinate the federal government’s efforts in response to the shooting of Dr. Tiller, the Civil Rights Division recently convened a meeting of the National Task Force on Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers, an interagency law enforcement...