And so once more we gather to celebrate Aug. 26, the 93rd anniversary of that historic day when women finally won the right to vote. Our optimistic foremothers fervently believed that the vote would empower women to transform the world.
Our generation is, well, a touch more skeptical. Indeed, we commemorate this day in our own quirky way by assigning our one-woman jury to give out the Equal Rites Awards to those folks who are still doing their best to take us backward. Ah, so many contenders, so few awards, so ... the envelopes please.
Double Standard Prize for Shameless Pols
In New York our standard-bearers are Anthony Weiner, the sexting ex-congressman running for mayor, and Eliot Spitzer, the hooker-consorting ex-governor running for comptroller. In San Diego, Mayor Bob Filner with 16 accusations of sexual harassment initially refused to ex-it. (Close your eyes now and imagine them as Antonia Weiner and Elinor Spitzer and Roberta Filner.) For the prize we dub them -- we hope -- losers.
Backlash Trailblazers Badge
Alas, no such hope for South Carolina where voters deserve this badge for electing Mark Sanford to Congress. The former governor went AWOL with his Argentine honey while professing to be hiking the Appalachian Trail. We send an ethical GPS to the majority who lost their way at the voting booth.
Battle of the Sexes Ribbon
This year's ribbon goes to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski. The Air Force's chief of sexual assault prevention stands accused of grabbing a woman's breasts and buttocks in a parking lot. Friendly fire anyone?
Testosterone Poison Pill Award
Sen. Saxby Chambliss from Georgia squarely blames military rapes on the "the hormone level created by nature" among young soldiers. For this muscular reasoning, we give Chambliss the Testosterone Poison Pill Award, making sure it's hard to swallow.
Blind Justice Award
Was there testosterone in the Iowa Supreme Courthouse? The state's supremes beat all competitors for this award when they agreed that a dentist could fire his assistant because her beauty was "too tempting," making her "as an irresistible attraction." Are those robes the justices are wearing? Or burqas?
Medical Male-Practice Certificate
Wait, this man's a doctor! With a fair amount of Zanax, we send this certificate to Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, who voted for the so-called "pain bill," outlawing abortion after 20 weeks, on the grounds that fetuses masturbate in the womb. Sayeth Doc Burgess, if "they feel pleasure," they can feel pain. This certificate is good for one anatomy refresher class.
Mad Men Award
As for another trip down memory lane, let us not forget the Mad Men Award for ad-humor. This was won by two senior executives at JWT India for their ad bragging about a Figo's trunk space by showing women bound and gagged and stuffed in it. Ho. Ho. Ho. We send them a pickup truck full of renovated funny bones.
Boys Will Be (Tech)Boys Citation
This goes to Samsung, which introduced its latest smartphone with a chorus of ditsy dames using it while drying their nails. We take a photo of that with our iPhone.
Misogyny in Music Songsheet
But we do not download that rap song by Rick Ross that wins him the Misogyny in Music Songsheet for his lyrics about spiking a woman's drink with ecstasy. "Put Molly all in her champagne/ She ain't even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain't even know it." We send our pal Rick a doo wop chorus of disapproval.
Post Feminist Booby Prize
If Rick is the pre-feminist past, what do we make of Princeton's tiger mother of the year, Susan Patton? She wins the Post Feminist Booby Prize for warning undergrads of future spinsterhood: "Find a husband on campus before you graduate." For taking us back to the future, we print her a T-shirt: "Mother Doesn't Always Know Best."
Dubious Equality Award
Finally, and with deep regret we hand out this award for the woman who most achieves the least-praised equality with her male peers. It goes to Yahoo's Marissa Mayer. The same CEO who brings her baby to the office delivered a family-unfriendly fiat for employees: Give up telecommuting or give up your job. For attaining but not changing the C-suite mentality, we award her half a loaf.
And with our own loaf half-filled, we sign off with Susan B. Anthony's final public words: "Failure is Impossible."