I was born a feminist. I am a playwright, and I write documentaries for the Feminist Majority on subjects from women's reproductive rights to the struggle to stop violence against women.
I’ve been blogging for Ms. Magazine for three years! Watch the web series VAGINA DIALOGUES based on the blogs, and see new Ms. In the Biz blogs!
Adam and Eve Rebooted
July 24, 2013 by Susan Rubin
What if Eve got really sick of being blamed for human mortality, pain during childbirth, snakes slithering along on their bellies and just about every other affliction in life? What if Eve figured out that she had been wrongly blamed and vilified? [more…]
Who Has More Rights, A Woman Or Her Egg?
March 2, 2012 by Susan Rubin
If any of the personhood initiatives at play in as many as 11 states this year pass, a fertilized egg would be granted full Constitutional rights. But the woman whose body contains that egg might lose her right to legal abortion (no matter the circumstances) and hormonal birth control. Couples who cannot conceive could lose the right to in vitro fertilization. Those hoping for better treatment of diseases might lose the great promise of stem-cell research. All in the name of controlling a woman’s body and her reproductive rights.
Womanslaughter: Cuts in Breast Cancer Screening Hurt Women
October 11, 2011 by Susan Rubin
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and also happens to be the month, in 1986, that I first underwent surgery for my own breast cancer. I do a lot of thinking as the days grow shorter and my sense-memories of being diagnosed, having surgery, radiation and chemo grow stronger. I was younger than 50 when I was diagnosed. If I had not gotten a mammogram, I would have been dead before I reached 50. [more…]
2, 4, 6, 8, Let’s All Go Re-Virginate!
January 20, 2011 by Susan Rubin
For Jeannette Yarborough’s 17th wedding anniversary, she wanted to give her husband something special. So she had her hymen re-attached. Wow, better than new golf clubs or even tennis balls! This gift would allow hubby the thrill of conquering a “virgin” all over again! [more…]
FYI, this blog is the basis for the pilot episode of Vagina Dialogues, a whacky new web series!
Some reader replies:
“So here's a question: You get a new hymen for your guy, have sex, it breaks…then what? You've just laid out $5,900 for a one night stand?”
“Does anyone imagine that the Republican congress is going to allow such a surgery to be covered by medical insurance?”
“Plastic surgeons are always looking for new ways to bring in clients, so making us feel bad about our ladyparts was inevitable, wasn't it?”
Woman #451: Imagining the U.S. Without Legal Abortion
August 25, 2011 by Susan Rubin
Predicted Report from the United States of America, July, 2015.
Four months after the re-criminalization of abortion.
Woman #451 was 38 years old. She had just finished chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. #451 believed she was infertile because the chemo had stopped her period. When she discovered she was pregnant, she was very afraid. Doctors had warned her that a child born so soon after treatment would be in danger. #451 herself would be in danger as well: pregnancy releases hormones that can cause the cancer to return. [more…]
To Serve and Protect–And Sexually Assault?
June 17, 2011 by Susan Rubin
Recently, a New York City police officer was charged with raping a drunk and comatose woman while his partner stood watch. The two were cleared of rape charges, to feminist outrage, but the fact that the officer crossed sexual boundaries with a very intoxicated woman was undisputed. [more…]
War on Drugs 1, War on Rape 0
May 31, 2011 by Susan Rubin
I was called to jury duty last week at federal court in Los Angeles. Thirty-five prospective jurors were asked if they could fairly judge a man accused of selling a “small amount of a controlled substance”–crack cocaine–to an undercover cop. (In total, six undercover cops worked to bring this guy down!)
When asked in voir dire if I objected to the charges, I said, "I think it’s a waste of money for a jury, a DA, a judge and all these cops to spend days on this minuscule salvo in the War on Drugs, when L.A. does not prosecute rapists in any meaningful way. Isn’t the War on Rape as important as the War on Drugs?" I was thrown out of the jury pool. [more…]
Click! A College Grad Strips on Bourbon Street
March 28, 2011 by Susan Rubin
I was dancing in a G-string and pasties when I first realized I was a feminist. Backtrack: I was a young woman experimenting with the boundaries of freedom. It was the sexual revolution, the time after Roe v. Wade and before AIDS, and there was enormous confusion about what it meant to be free. I met a lover with whom I discovered mutually gratifying sex. We took off in a potato-chip truck on a journey to the southern U.S. and on to California. I was sure I’d be back in the East Coast within weeks. I have never gone back, except to visit.
On our way out west, my lover and I landed broke in the Big Easy–New Orleans. So I was intrigued walking down Bourbon Street to see this sign outside a club: HIRING EXOTIC DANCERS. [more…]
Surviving Breast Cancer: 24 Years Later
October 28, 2010 by Susan Rubin
“The good news is, you’re a candidate for a lumpectomy!” With those ten words, my surgeon told me I had breast cancer. I didn’t understand the “good news” part. But he cheerfully handed me a brochure filled with pictures of lumpectomies, mastectomies and reconstructed breasts. Then he told me to go home and come back in five days for my surgery.
I spent the weekend moving the couch around my living room, convinced that Death was lurking in the corner. I shook with terror. Why me? I was in my early 30s, and back in those days (24 years ago) that was very young for breast cancer. [more…]
Rape Kit Backlog Hits Primetime on “SVU”
October 6, 2010 by Susan Rubin
A woman is raped. Fout times by the same man over a 15-year period. She is afraid to leave her home and hires people to do her shopping and all her outside chores. She works inside her apartment, which is locked up like a prison cell at San Quentin. She is the prisoner; terrorized, badly hurt and unable to stop the rapist, she has put herself in solitary confinement. [more…]
Senator Alan Kooi Simpson Steps in a Cow Pie
September 2, 2010 by Susan Rubin
Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson recently stated that Social Security is becoming “a cow with 310 million tits.” I’m a vegetarian, but even I know that cows don’t have tits, they have teats. Thus begins the list of incorrect and nasty misstatements that have poured out of the mouth of Alan Kooi Simpson lately. [more…]
Hey Broadway, Don’t Forget Women Playwrights!
July 16, 2010 by Susan Rubin
I am a playwright living in Los Angeles. Am I an oxymoron, or just a regular moron? Everybody knows that Los Angeles is a movie town! In spite of this, through great good fortune all of my plays have been produced, and I have nothing to complain about. So why this blog post? [more…]
Five Reasons A Ms. Blogger Won’t Wear Stiletto Heels
June 9, 2010 by Susan Rubin
The stiletto phenomenon has now been around long enough to have a list of reasons why I would never wear them. How about you?
1. I will start with an admission: My feet are too wide for me to wear any of the currently stylish four- to six-inch stiletto heels even if I wanted to.
My feet are small squares, equal in length and width.
(I learned a lot about stiletto heels from the book Bad Shoes and the Women who Love Them by Leora Tanenbaum. It is smart and well-researched.)
The "Prison Warden" Look
2. I see a horrifying similarity between the ancient Chinese practice of foot binding and the current self-imposed torture of the stiletto. In ancient China, women were taught that a foot of 3 to 3-and-a-half inches was desirable. (That’s about the length of a lipstick.)
Okay, Jimmy Choo doesn’t require that you have tiny little feet, but my comparison is still solid: Binding the foot ultimately caused the bones in the arch of the foot to be broken and the toes to bend under the foot. Ouch. This caused endless amounts of pain for the bindee. No such agony exists for today’s women. Or does it?
“The wicked witch of the west’s other shoes”
3. Bad Shoes cites the foot problems caused by continuous wearing of these shoes: hammer toes, bunions, bunionettes (a bump next to the pinky toe not to be confused with its larger sister, the bunion, which nestles against the big toe), broken bones and on and on. The author quotes orthopedic surgeons describing with glee the ease of removing a part of a woman’s toe to undo this damage.
If you want your feet narrower so you can fit into one of these instruments of agony, you can choose from an array of surgical methods. Or you can join the Do-It-Yourself Movement and hack off a toe or two at home. Just keep a lot of Neosporin and smelling salts near by.
“You can support the manufacturer, but they won't support you”
4. I don’t think these are sexy. Today’s Vera Wangs and Calvin Kleins are supposed to be about sexuality. Just stick your foot into one of them and stand up. You will find your butt and chest in a new configuration.
Enticing or strange? I’ve asked some men how they feel about women on a date wobbling to a table in a restaurant, plopping down, doing some mysterious things with her feet under the table, and breathing a huge sigh of relief as they get their shoes off.
From talking to male friends what I got was a sense of bewilderment, not desire. I’m beginning to love my little square feet!
“Warning: could mutate your feet”
5. It’s a no brainer. At least I thought so. But the women I spoke to about stiletto heels were unmoved by the science of the shoe and the almost inevitable pain and body damage they cause. Any criticism, even the description of amputated toes and spinal-trouble-to-come-later, got me in trouble. Clearly the answer does not lie in ranting and raving. Which is too bad, because it’s something I really enjoy doing.
I hope that a leader will rise up and take down the stilettos. More likely, styles will change, and Corso Como, Dolce Vita and Sam Weitzman will need to make a new “it” shoe, something that women will put out fresh money for. I think stiletto shoes are about as sexy as fur-ball throw-up. My opinion will not change the shape of shoes, or the women who buy them. I’m just saying.
FROM TOP DOWN: Snake cage heels from Street Moda. Black gladiator-style heels from Jildor. Black mock-croc pointy toe heel from Rosa Shoes. Silver sandal from Amazon. Leopard-print pumps from Kaboodle.
Some readers disagreed:
“Oh my God, Ms. let it go already! We get it, you don’t like high heels and guess what you don’t have to wear them…”
But some agreed:
“Susan I’m with you on this one. Personally being 5'8″ with size 6 feet, makes it amazing that I stand up at all, without making myself taller and my feet shorter.”