04/13/2007 03:37 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Mentoring is the New Feminism

So, on the same day Imus is fired for branding women hos, our own Joan
Rivers calls Arianna Huffington's party for iVillage in New York "a roomful
of bitches
." That includes filmmakers Barbara Koppel, Mia Nair and Nora
Ephron; writer/editors like Joan Buck, Tina Brown, Joni Evans and the
amazing Huffington herself. Add to that most of the major television
producers who happen to be women; radio legends like Joan Hamburg, and hosts
of brilliant young writers and editors, like Karenna Gore Schiff and Naomi
Wolf, welcomed into the fold by women who got there first and know that
mentoring the next generation is the very crux of the new feminism.

Perplexed that too few people seemed to get the deep connection between
racism and sexism in responding to Imus, I wonder why insulting 52% of the
population is still ok. And women do it too, claiming the excuse of humor.

The proliferation of terms like hos, bitches or witches, the fact that the
smears often come from other women, Ann Coulter and Joan Rivers among them,
reminds me of how little sensitivity there is to misogyny after six years of
Bush-Cheney chauvinism. Laura Bush calls herself a feminist but won't take
on her brain dead husband on the subject of choice. Lynne Cheney, also the
mother of daughters, and a writer, has been silenced apparently by her
Halliburton money. What are women's rights, after all, if you are not poor,
barefoot, pregnant or denied a doctor to deliver your baby in the mountains
of Afghanistan? The clinics are closed because the Christian Right decreed
it was more Christian to spend our money on munitions; the doctors have
fled the American bombs; your benighted husband doesn't want another man to
touch you -- even if you and the baby die.

The indifference of rich women to the plight of poor women is dazzling.
Choice is a matter of life and death when womens' clinics close so we can
enrich war profiteers by dropping ever more bombs on brown women and
children. It's all connected. And if you can laugh at women, you can also
laugh at racism and war.

The truth is that the rights of women, like the rights of man, like
reason, science and anti-slavery are Enlightenment ideals. Never have we had
a government that has so repudiated the Enlightenment. We need the rule of
reason to push the darkness back. We need women to counter the darkness of
our times.

The party in New York was a celebration of what women can do when we give up
worrying about ourselves and start nurturing other women.

If that makes us bitches, maybe we should be bitches. Maybe we have all been
too passive in the face of misogyny.