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Showing posts from October, 2012

smells like school spirit

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It's that time of year again, for school colors to come out, pompoms to wave, dress-up days, skits...a.k.a., the decadent pageantry during Homecoming Spirit Week. It occurred to me today that school spirit isn't all that different from patriotism. We have yells and chants, rousing music, we dress up in our school colors like people wear the flag on the 4th. And like patriotism, it's something almost everyone at least pretends to have. But I wonder if, like with patriotism, there's questioning underneath.

Because the thing is, at some point you realize that you ended up in your country not because of any awesome membership in the elect chosen to reside there, not because of some predestined fate, not because of anything that makes you uniquely American or Chinese or South African or what have you, but because of luck--because of accident of birth. And luck is something that is very difficult to be proud of.

To me, it makes little sense to have pride in such accidenta…

Remarks at the National Press Club for the Women's Media Center Girls' State of the Union

Today I had the awesome opportunity to speak at the National Press Club in Washington DC to deliver remarks around girls and feminism, due to winning the Women's Media Center "Girls' State of the Union" contest earlier this year. Feminist icon (and tremendous role model) Gloria Steinem introduced me, and I delivered the following remarks.


I’d like to thank the Women’s Media Center for the tremendous opportunity to speak here today, and Ms. Steinem for the introduction—I’m honored. I’ve looked up to Ms. Steinem ever since I knew what feminism was. It’s not every day that you get introduced by an icon, so I may have to, at some point, pinch myself. I’m grateful for the introduction because, to be quite honest, it’s very hard for me to choose how to introduce myself sometimes—I feel like I have to choose somehow, because of the wide range of things I do, causes I support, or roles I embody—student, writer, teacher, activist. So a defining moment for me was when we were a…