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Equal Rites Awards 2011

Posted on Aug 25, 2011
AP / Bela Szandelszky

Poster boy: Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

By Ellen Goodman

Former columnist Ellen Goodman has come out of retirement to deliver her annual wag of the finger at “those who did their best to do the worst for women in the past year.”

And so once more, we gather to celebrate Aug. 26, the anniversary of women’s suffrage. It’s been 91 years since our foremothers won the right to vote. What would those courageous women say about a year in which the political spotlight on women ranged from Sarah Palin promoting Mama Grizzlies to Michele Bachmann serving tea? Or at least the tea party.

The one glimmer of progress in the food-fight halls of Congress is that women got four more seats. But those seats were in the brand new Congressional Ladies Room. Nine decades and all we get is potty parity? You go girl! 

Despite all this, our one-woman panel prepares in good spirit to hand out the Equal Rites Awards to all those who did their best to do the worst for women in the past year. The envelopes please.

Let us begin with that crowd pleaser, the Raging Hormonal Imbalance Award. This year it goes to the advertisers pushing milk as a cure for PMS. They pitched their product to men allegedly suffering—ho, ho, ho—from the side effects of premenstrual women run amok. For this failed campaign, we award them a monthly dose of lactose intolerance. 

Speaking of science, pseudo and sexist, the Male-Practice Award goes to Dr. Lazar Greenfield, once president-elect of the American College of Surgeons, for his Valentine’s Day editorial citing “research” that college women who had unprotected sex were less depressed than those whose partners used a condom. “Now we know there’s a better gift for that day than chocolates,” he chuckled. As a farewell gift, we ship him a daily portion of crow. 

The Patriarch of This (Or Any Other) Year goes posthumously to Osama bin Laden, the man who incited so many followers to go to their just reward of 72 virgins. Osama espoused and enforced the “purity” of all women except the ones found in the stash of porn videos at his hideout. To the followers of this X-rated terrorist, we send a burqa suitable for covering hypocrisy.

And while we are abroad, the Backlash Prize goes to the Egyptian general who defended “virginity checks” on women protesters arrested in the uprising. The goal, he insisted, was to protect soldiers from false accusations of sexual assault: “We wanted to prove they weren’t virgins in the first place.” For using sexual assault as a defense against sexual assault, we send him back to (Tahrir) Square One.

Now let’s go home again, but first, alas, we have to pass those TSA employees at the airport who are paid to make us feel safer, or just to feel us up. The Knights (and Damsels) in Tarnished Armor Prize is won hands down (and up) by those who gave the full treatment to “Dancing With the Stars’ ” Cheryl Burke, former Miss USA Susie Castillo, and assorted little girls taught to “just say no.” We put the TSA on red alert.

Speaking of warnings, let us remember the Testosterone Poisoning Poster Boy Prize. This goes to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the x-terminator and x-governor who belatedly admitted to fathering a son with his household employee. After becoming Maria Shriver’s x-husband, he was seen biking in a classy T-shirt bearing the slogan: “I Survived Maria.” We send him a replacement T-shirt: “Conan Wasn’t the Only Barbarian.”

No, the Post-Feminist Booby Prize does not go to 85-year-old playboy Hugh Hefner, dumped by a 25-year-old runaway bride. It goes to NBC’s Chad Hodge, the producer who resurrected “The Playboy Club” for a new TV series, and then claimed that it was a show about empowering women. We send Hodge a bikini, a cottontail and a pair of bunny ears so he can feel powerful around the office.

Or how about a blindfold? One of the longtime favorites, the Blind Justice Award, goes to our very own Supremes, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, who ruled that the women of Wal-Mart didn’t deserve their day in court for sex discrimination. Wal-Mart wasn’t too big to fail, it was too big to sue. We award Justice Scalia an encore career as a Wal-Mart greeter.

Anybody notice how rosy the female world has become? The Pink Plague Prize for color-coding girls and boys goes to Molson Coors, which is literally pinkwashing beer. It’s a girl! I mean, it’s a girl-beer! Raise your pinkie!

And don’t forget the harmony. The Misogyny in Music Scoresheet—so many contenders, so few prizes—goes to David Guetta for those tone-deaf lyrics: “Damn, you’s a sexy b——, a sexy b——. Damn, you’s a sexy b——, damn, girl.” Shall we send him laryngitis?

Now for the Backwards Trailblazer Citation. This goes to Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith, who justified slashing Head Start funds in his Maryland county because “mothers should be home with small children.” We send all the de-funded children to his house for day care.

Finally, we thought we might have to retire our Stand By Your Man Prize after Anthony (Look at My) Weiner’s bride rejected that role. But no, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann volunteered, saying she only studied law because would-be First Laddie Marcus told her to.

Said Michele: “The Lord said, ‘Be submissive.’ Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.” The facts-orexic Michele insists that “submission” means “respect.” Right, and obedience is a synonym for equality.  And with that curtain call, we end this year ... unbowed.

Ellen Goodman’s email address is ellengoodman1(at)

© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group


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By Marian Griffith, August 30, 2011 at 12:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


What makes you think that Ms.Goodman, or I (or any number of women) claim to be speaking for society?
Or that anybody in this discussion claims to be perfect?

All these ‘awards’ seek to illuminate is the ongoing tradition of letting men get away with unacceptable behaviour towards women on the millenia old cultural assumption that ‘boys will be boys’.

If you really believe that women asserting themselves and demanding equal rights is the same as emasculating men, then I suggest moving to afghanistan or pakistan. Over there, with the other illiterate cavemen, you find men who think exactly like you do, and who are willing to maim and murder women to maintain their position of absolute authority.

Here, you better get used to being called out for treating other people in an atavistic manner (not just women I might add but every group traditionally in a submissive position under the authority of ‘white man’). Which is just what the examples cited by ms.Goodman have had happen to them. They behaved like dicks, in this case towards women, and were told so.

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By SarcastiCanuck, August 29, 2011 at 6:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Marian Griffith,what makes you or Ms.Goodman the spokesperson for what society thought of any of these issues?It just sounds like the seemingly never ending string of women,complaining about men,that I read and see in the media these days.It is just public emaasculation or in other words….castration.Thus the Lorena Bobbit award.Some of you ladies must chill out,because you are far from perfect as well.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, August 27, 2011 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

SIXTUS 1V burned alive 2000 people vast majority
TODAY KENYA is where 85% of ALL women raped by age of
10 years old. UNDER CLINTON`S WATCH 33,000 Haitians

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, August 27, 2011 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Unlike Hillary Clinton, Maria has class and gave her husband his
walking papers.  I suspect he regrets what he did. This is the first time I heard of such a tee shirt and I’ll believe it when they show him in an undoctored photo wearing it. Marian Griffith

Regret what he did ?  Criminals very rarely regret their criminal
activities, but always regret getting caught. You might acquaint
yourself with Arnold Schwarzenneger´s family background, and his major political sponsor in the U.S., a family friend prior to his Hollywood career. 

One foto of Schwarzenneger biking with such a t-shirt has been
published. Beliefs are typically based on prejudices, not on

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By Marian Griffith, August 27, 2011 at 3:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lorena Bobbit was not an example of behaviour that is considered ‘normal’ nor does what she did go uncommented on by neither society nor law.

The examples cited for these ‘awards’ on the other hand (for the most part) were things that these men did and society barely blinked at what was rather insensitive and offensive behaviour, but because it was aimed at women it was either not considered an issue at all, or it was considered ‘normal’.

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By Lockweed, August 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some other readers might be surprised to read this but people in the media lie. 
Yes, I know this comes as big shock but not everything you read or see on TV is

Arnold betrayed his wife and according to other media reports he tried to get back
with her.  In all the times I have seen him speak about his wife or was seen with
her he showed her the highest respect.  Unlike Hillary Clinton, Maria has class and
gave her husband his walking papers.  I suspect he regrets what he did.

This is the first time I heard of such a tee shirt and I’ll believe it when they show
him in an undoctored photo wearing it.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, August 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

CPB mentions three such female politician types whom I would not
classify as submissive, and scarcely as feminine. However, placing the
male-female perspective into a more appropriate view, the question:
- if Schwarzenneger says he survived Maria,
how many “Marias” have been required to survive Schwarzenneger?
And the larger question, will the state of California eventually survive all of Schwarzenneger´s “FUCKERATIONS” ? 

As always, some interesting analogies by Mrs. Goodman & staff.

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By TDoff, August 26, 2011 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Ellen Goodman may not be in tune with the majority of American women. Else how to explain the hordes of women lining up to buy the DVD of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new porn flick, ‘The Impregnator’?

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By Textynn, August 26, 2011 at 8:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t forget the medical health care industry ridding
their roles of millions of under paid women yearly.

And all those people that don’t think a women should
have a right to control their own bodies, lives, and
jobs, who have nothing to say about medical leave, job
protection for pregnant women, and affordable access to
medical services by young women and young families.

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By cpb, August 26, 2011 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

How about an “Everything But the Cock” award for the (now
growing) line of women who choose to validate the
patriarchal imperialist structure of our world and
participate in the oppressive follies.

My top three nominees: Margaret Thatcher, Madeleine
Albright, Condoleeza Rice

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By TDoff, August 26, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Darn good idea, the Equal Rites Awards.

And the first and biggest awards should go to Bachmann, Palin, O’Donnell and their ilk. They have set back the cause of intelligent womanhood just by being, and appearing and speaking in public.

They must think that running for political office in the US is a ‘Hire the Mentally Handicapped’ program. (You can’t really blame them for that assumption, just look at all the male politicians).

But if Women’s Suffrage is repealed, these women are the justifiable reasons.

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By SarcastiCanuck, August 26, 2011 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very funny piece Ms.Goodman.Lucky for us guys there are no women out there we could classify as assholes as well.On behalf of my fellow ‘good guys’,I would like to present you the Lorena Bobbit award.It is a statue of a severed penis with the word OUCH inscribed at the bottom.

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