writing womenA selection of my recent New Haven Register columns.

Old women know how to change the world  |  Rhea Hirshman

Sophia Loren, now past 80, wound up near the top of the list when 2,000 women were asked recently to select the 10 most beautiful women in the world. Also named in a 1999 British poll as the world’s most beautiful woman when she was a mere 65, Loren has been quoted as asserting, “Everything you see here I owe to spaghetti.” The line may be apocryphal, but it reminds us…. (read more)

Biology matters, but it’s not destiny  |  Rhea Hirshman

During my Brooklyn childhood, one of my favorite playthings was a toy doctor’s kit. In imitation of our fabulous neighborhood pediatrician, Dr. Rosenberg — whose tongue depressors were coated with orange candy and who told the mothers that each child should consume about a quarter-pound of dirt weekly — my friends and I would whack each other’s knees and elbows with the little rubber mallet, give each other pretend vaccinations and….  (read more)

JFK left women’s rights legacy  | Rhea Hirshman

Once a person achieves a certain age — what my buddy Gina Barreca refers to as “too old for work-study but too young for cremation” — she begins to find that some events during her lifetime have become part of History with a capital H. Significant anniversaries of those events, such as the recent commemoration of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, bring the challenge of (read more)

Women make strides, regardless of heel height  |  Rhea Hirshman

Sometimes, even in the midst of a political campaign season in which a substantial number of candidates seem determined to shove women back to the 19th century, a person has to turn her attention to matters of everyday life. Today, I speak of shoes. Recently (read more)

Advertising not doing women any favors | Rhea Hirshman

As someone who does not own a television, and as a Jewish person for whom December 25 is a pleasant, quiet day (and my Aunt Frieda’s birthday), I am less subject than many to the exhortations at this time of year that we each do our bit to bolster the consumer economy. I am content to ignore the commands that we purchase (read more)

Bella Abzug deserves our thanks | Rhea Hirshman

The force of nature that was Bella Abzug died 15 years ago…. The date of her passing — March 31 — both marks the end of Women’s History Month, and often falls during Passover, the Jewish celebration of resistance, liberation and renewal. Bella — everyone called her that — was part of a wide-ranging sisterhood of Jewish feminists who (read more)

Knitters take on legislators | Rhea Hirshman

Sometimes, a person has to take matters into her own hands. Literally. May I introduce you to the women behind GovernmentFreeVJJ.com. A group of “middle-aged, mild-mannered, hotdish-loving Minnesota women”…has taken up knitting needles and crochet hooks in the cause of women’s health care and reproductive justice.

These residents of America’s great heartland started a nationwide movement for women to send colorful, beautifully-crafted lady-parts to the clones of Anthony Comstock, who are running amok in Congress and in state legislatures nationwide. Suggested message: “Dear (fill in legislator’s name): ‘Hands off my uterus. Here’s one of your own.'” (read more)


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