And so once more, we gather to celebrate Aug. 26, the anniversary of women's suffrage. It has 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 Rights Awards to all those who did their best to do the worst for women in the past year. The envelopes please.
Raging Hormonal Imbalance Award
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.
Testosterone Poisoning Poster Boy Prize
Let us remember the Testosterone Poisoning Poster Boy Prize. This goes to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ex-terminator and ex-governor who belatedly admitted to fathering a son with his household employee. After becoming Maria Shriver's ex-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."
Patriarch of the Year
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 protestors 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.
Stand By Your Man Prize
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.
Contact Ellen Goodman at