Apr 022009

Once again, Time Magazine is asking us to vote for the 100 most influential people in the world.  Remember last year’s list?  Women comprised a whopping 25% of the total, and I say whopping because this year, we are being asked to choose from 204 possible choices of whom 40.5 are women.*  Which is less than 20%.  So are we less influential or is Time merely more misogynist? Here for your head-banging frustration are the women, and their position on Time’s list.

#4  Tzipi Livni
#7 Ariana Huffington
#11 Katie Stam
#13 M.I.A.
#27 Sarah Palin
#29 Britney Spears
#30 Miley Cyrus
#31 Angelina Jolie
#33 Hillary Clinton
#38 Oprah Winfrey
#39 Tina Fey
#40 Michelle Obama
#41 Katie Couric
#59 Sheila Bair
#62 Meredith Whitney
#65 Michelle Rhee
#66 Nancy Pelosi
#67 Elizabeth Warren
#84 Linda Avey and Ann Wojcicki
#91 Doris A. Taylor
#94 Connie Hedegaard
#96 Rachel Maddow
#98 Kate Winslet
#116 Danica Patrick
#118 Jessica Flannery
#128 Sonia Gandhi
#136 Yoani Senchez
#137 Madeeha Hasan Odhaib
#139 Aung San Suu Kyi
#144 Nancy Brinker
#147 Mary Lou Jepsen
#154 Suze Orman
#155 Sister Mary Scullion
#156 Stephenie Meyer
#158 Indra Nooyi
#170 Nadya (Octomom) Suleman (note–they threw in the Octomom qualifier, not me)
#172 Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio
#173 The View (all 5 of them count as one)
#176 Angela Merkel
#180 Stella McCartney
#194  Taylor Swift

We could of course all go and frantically vote for all those women to up their chances of being in the final 100, or perhaps we could send Time Magazine letters offering them names of influential women that apparently they have not discovered whether due to lack of investigative journalism or more likely given their persistent pattern of under-representation of women (just pick up a few copies of the magazine if you have any doubts) due to deep seated patriarchal assumptions that women just aren’t as important as men.

The damage done by this persistent refusal to acknowledge the influence of women’s lives is enormous.  Just to give an example, my son is required to subscribe to a news magazine for school, so he chose Time.  So when he reads this list, what he absorbs is the perpetuation of the trivialization of women’s lives.  When a female student reads this list, she may well wonder why she should try to make a difference in the world because clearly her work is far less likely to be validated.

You can drop the editor a line here.  And to help you get started, here are some names that were suggested on the FPN blog last year:

  1. Barbara Brenner–Breast Cancer Action
  2. Jennifer Drew–English activist working to highlight misogynist media portrayals of sexual assault.
  3. Cathy Webster–1000 Grandmothers
  4. Geena Davis
  5. Leuren Moret and Helen Caldicott for raising awareness about the dangers of nuclear power and depleted uranium
  6. Lilly Ledbetter
  7. Amma
  8. Alice Walker
  9. Pema Chodron—Buddhist Monk, author
  10. Kara Walker–artist
  11. Jane Roberts–co-founder of 34 Million Friends of UNFPA
  12. Yanar Mohammed–Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq
  13. Medea Benjamin–Code Pink
  14. Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock
  15. The women’s organizations in Okinanwa that are speaking out against the handling of sexual assaults committed by US military personnel
  16. The Myannmar nuns and other women who marched with the monks but got almost no notice
  17. Cynthia McKinney–presumptive nominee for president of the Green Party
  18. Riane Eisler
  19. Frances Moore Lappe
  20. Malalai Joya
  21. Wangari Maathai
  22. Helen Thomas
  23. Amy Goodman
  24. Starhawk
  25. My mother, your mother, and all the women who teach in classrooms everywhere–if they aren’t influential, somebody needs to explain to me the definition of that word!

*Several choices included multiple people, 3 were 2 men, 1 was 2 women, 1 was a man and a woman and one entry for the view was 5 women.  Since we were being asked to choose 100 ot of 204 entries, I just counted double entries as 1, but how to count  the entry for the man and woman–thus the .5 in the count.

 April 2, 2009  Posted by on April 2, 2009

  6 Responses to “Once Again Time Magazine Tells Us That Women Aren’t Very Influential”

  1. Not to mention some of us bloggers! ;)

  2. Women need to learn to toot their own horn more too. We tend to do the work, which is admirable, but not take credit for it.

  3. Time’s list is bizarre. How can Sarah Palin be considered more influential than both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi? Why read them? Just subscribe to Bitch and Ms.

  4. Frieda, I couldn’t agree more, but the problem is that high schools aren’t going to be assigning those as required reading anytime soon, they aren’t in the magazine rack at the grocery but Time is and people read it and so when the content is that damaging, it needs to be called out in a big way.

  5. I second Riane Eisler as someone who should be high up on the list
    – any chance that your Feminist Peace Network will feature her and her ideas soon. This is the time that partnership should be part of all of the discussions that are going on social, personal, international, public policy related, business policy and more. Dr Eisler has spent her life integrating into all sectors of life how partnership principles can lead us to a world with less violence and a greater concern for others and the Earth.

  6. Janice, we feature Eisler’s work on a regular basis, if you use the search box at the top of the page, you can find those posts. Thanks for writing.

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