April 9, 2014

From the time I dragged my baby daughters around there, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books has been one of my favorite LA events. And, yes, it’s particularly fabulous to be on a panel. This Saturday, I’ll be back to talk about gender and politics and where we’re headed.

I’ll be testing out some new ideas — and not everybody’s going to be happy about what I have to say. So come to the panel and have my back—or throw some grenades of your own. I promise to keep it interesting.

Get FREE tickets to the LA Times panel here by selecting conversation 1122.

Here are the details:

Panel: The Evolution of Feminism
Conversation: #1122
Date: April 12
Time: 12:30pm
Location:  University of Southern California – Taper Hall 101
Free Tickets Here

Hope to see you Saturday. If you can’t make it, follow me on Twitter @nancylcohen and I’ll be posting updates after the panel.

March 21, 2014

It’s 2014 and the Supreme Court is about to take up birth control. Can your boss’s religious superstition trump your health care needs? Mystified about how this could happen? Seem normal? It shouldn’t, by the way. There’s a lot of great commentary and information up already about next week’s hearing about the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. But the big question is how this came about.

That was the story I told in Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America, first released the week Congress held an all-male hearing about birth control in 2012. Click here for a free chapter . Three short points as preview:

  1. America ridiculously has a politics of birth control because the GOP has been taken over by a small minority of religious zealots obsessed with other people’s sex lives.
  2. But! Democrats are also to blame. They let these reactionary sexual fundamentalists hijack the nation’s politics—even though they should’ve known better. Yes, Democrats are finally pushing back—bravo!–but they’re still behind the 50 yard line and things are looking bad in this year’s midterms.
  3. This sexual counterrevolution has been going on for more than 40 years, thanks to a small, politically sophisticated minority. The majority—those of us who support gay marriage, sexual privacy, and reproductive rights—will only prevail by the same smart, relentless politics the Right has used so successfully.

Happy reading. And if you like it share this with your friends. And if you really like it, you’ll find buy buttons here.

February 13, 2014

How do you talk about sex and women if you want to be the next Republican president? Rand Paul thinks he has the answer.

The Clinton hunters of yesteryear are back in the news trying to undermine Hillary Clinton. What’s the play? It’s more subtle than you think. Check out my article in The Guardian for more.


January 13, 2014

Between Bill de Blasio’s mayoral landslide in New York, last week’s anniversary of the War on Poverty, and the GOP’s discovery of the poor, income inequality is the talk of the season—and Los Angeles is about to join, if not lead, the conversation. Later this month, two City Council members will introduce a motion to raise the minimum wage to a nation-leading $15.37 an hour for hotel workers—nearly double the California minimum wage of $8.Granted, that record-setting wage would apply only to one industry in one city, but unlike many of the other populist proposals making headlines, L.A.’s targeted strike against economic inequality might actually pass. Read the full article…

January 12, 2014

It might just be the new (electric) car, but I’ve got that hopeful new year feeling. With that in mind, here’s my short list of women to keep an eye on for progress on lady matters.

Wendy Davis. Governor of Texas? The charismatic state senator who gained national attention for her standing filibuster of Texas’s extreme anti-women’s health law is running for governor. She’s got the story—from hard times and single-motherhood to businesswoman and state senator; the brains—Harvard Law; and the Texas swagger to go all the way. Some have even prematurely likened her to one former Illinois state senator. But make no mistake. Texas is the birthplace of the right-wing sexual counterrevolution, and fundamentalists aren’t surrendering without an Alamo-sized fight. In short, this will be a fun — and important— race to watch.

(Read More…)

October 7, 2013

The Guardian asked me to join their panel of experts to weigh in on the U.S. government shutdown. Here’s my take:

When President Lyndon B Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he reportedly said to his aide Bill Moyers, “We have given away the South for a generation.” A southerner, a politician’s politician, a legendary vote counter, in full possession of his reason, decided to use his much-prized power to do right. Johnson knew he had signed away his party’s control over the federal government for a generation. The GOP needs its own LBJ.  Read the full article…

September 27, 2013

You’d think the GOP would have learned not to meddle in our sex lives. But that’s not the case: In red states, Republican politicians are cracking down on abortion, sex education, access to birth control—even divorce. It’s as if the 2012 election never happened.


Consider Virginia, where Republican attorney general Ken Cuccinelli pursued a felony sodomy conviction against a man who’d solicited oral sex from a female. Sodomy laws are unconstitutional, of course, something the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had to remind Cuccinelli of not once but twice. North Carolina Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would send couples to marriage counseling and enact a two-year waiting period before they would be allowed to divorce. Ohio Republicans want to slap sex-ed teachers with a $5,000 fine if they talk about “gateway sexual activity” in a way that leads students to “any touching of an erogenous zone…for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.” South Dakota got creative with the concept of time: Weekends and holidays no longer count toward the 72 hours a woman must wait before having an abortion. (NSFW: Read the full article…)

July 23, 2013

Will Republicans win control of the US Senate in 2014? Election analysts now think the GOP has even odds of picking up the six seats needed to win the majority.

Texas abortion bill

No sweat! All Republicans have to do is defeat an incumbent woman Democrat in North Carolina, land of omnibus motorcycle-and-abortion bills, where the GOP governor and legislature are less popular than pro-abortion rights protesters. Republicans just have to hold Georgia, where one candidate thinks Todd Akin was “partially right”: “We tell infertile couples all the time … don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.” Read the full article…

April 23, 2013

That the United States lacks anything resembling a 21st century family policy is not an oversight. It is not because American society refuses to come to grips with the reality of working mothers. Rather, it is the result of a political hijacking so fabulously successful it wiped away virtually any trace of its own handiwork.  Read the full article…

October 20, 2012

Your sex life is destroying America. That’s according to Iowa Republican Steve King, who took to the floor of the House last summer to explain that sex for pleasure—instead of for creating babies—would make Americans extinct. A year later, his colleague Mike Kelly called a press conference to sound the alarm that affordable birth control was a plot to destroy the nation. “I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7. That’s Pearl Harbor day. The other is September 11.… I want you to remember August 1, 2012”—the day a mandate went into effect requiring health insurers to provide free contraception coverage. “That is a date that will live in infamy,” the representative from Pennsylvania declaimed on the steps of Congress, his face reddening as he rallied fellow patriots to join his fight. Read the full article…

Nancy L. Cohen is an author, historian, and political commentator who is recognized as a leading national expert on women and American politics.

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Perhaps if the Pill had never been invented, American politics would be different today. In Delirium, Nancy L. Cohen takes us on a thrilling journey through our recent politics to explain how we got to this place.