Lady Crush of the Week: Elaine Marshall

One of my goals for this blog is to introduce readers to an array of feminist, pro-woman or otherwise progressive people who are worth knowing. Each Tuesday I plan to introduce my “Lady Crush of the Week” with a brief biography and an explanation of why you should know her/him.


This week I’m lady crushing on N.C. Secretary of State and U.S. Senatorial Candidate  Elaine Marshall

Who She Is: Secretary Marshall was the first woman elected to a statewide office in N.C. Though she was born in Maryland, Marshall attended law school at Campbell University in N.C. As an attorney she represented women who were survivors of domestic violence. As former N.C. Senator, Marshall fought for insurance coverage for pap smears and mammograms and for making healthcare services available to North Carolinians in rural areas.

She is a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and has promised to work to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which denies the use of federal funds for most abortions. Marshall is in favor of equal federal benefits for same-sex couples, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and repealing the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

from Politics Daily

Why I’m Lady Crushing: The N.C. Democratic Primary runoff is TODAY and Marshall is the candidate who is prepared for the job and ready to defeat Republican Sen. Richard Burr in November. Marshall won the May 4th primary with 36 percent of the votes (She needed 40 percent to avoid a runoff) while her Democratic runoff opponent Cal Cunningham won only 27 percent.

I had the privilege of meeting Marshall when I attended an NAACP sponsored senatorial candidate forum on April 13, 2010. The forum wasn’t a very enlightening event because most the candidates had very similar answers and the short time limits didn’t give them the ability to show much personality. Afterward, however, I was wandering around the candidates information tables, asking questions for a reporting class and Marshall approached me.

Our conversation was brief but the one thing I remember her saying was that when she was in law school and thinking about entering politics and being Secretary of State that she had very few women role models and that she wanted to be someone who girls could look up to and know that they too could achieve.

As a young woman who plans to be lawyer and one day go into politics, I couldn’t help but think that many of my future career opportunities are available because of women like Elaine Marshall. Woman who were willing to go there and do it first so that women like me could have it a little bit easier.

I would never encourage anyone to vote for a woman candidate simply because she is a woman. But when it comes down to a matter of two excellent candidates with very similar positions, you really have to consider what electing this person will mean in the bigger picture. Marshall has successfully shown that she is a strong candidate, a proven leader and a glass ceiling smasher.

Now, GO VOTE!

“When people say it can’t be done, I say get out of the way of those who are doing it.” -Elaine Marshall

Is Too A Feminist!

Kate Whittle’s recent post on the Ms. Blog scores singer/song writer/former homeless girl Jewel as a “mediocre feminist.” What!?!

I didn’t actually start enjoying Jewel’s music until college when I started throwing around words like gender equality. But now, I love her. So much of her music is empowering and the rest is, at the very least, good listening (like Stay Here Together from her newest album. Could Jewel be anymore adorable in this video? Total lady crush!)

JewelMusicOnline - jeweljk/com

Jewel is at least a Pretty Much A Feminist on my litmus test! Think songs like “Stronger Woman,” “I’m Sensitive,” and the beautifully sarcastic “God’s Gift To Women,” (my favorite line is: I’ve been saving myself my whole life/For some sketcher like you to come along) to name a few. Not to mention her famous and beautifully imperfect smile. She’s definitely got some ‘stick it to the man’ attitude.

Read the post for a better summary, but basically Jewel is being criticized for the cliche way she talks about body image in Shape magazine. Yes, it is probably a little cliche, but come on, it wasn’t enough to kick her out of the club.

At least Whittle admits that it’s possible she is being a little harsh on Jewel.

Yeah, I’d say so.

Lets Talk About Sweat, Baby

A few days ago a friend asked me if I thought she should stop wearing deodorant. My first reaction was “No! Of course not!” But skipping the antiperspirant every now and then seems to be a growing trend due to health concerns about the link between breast cancer and deodorant.

Another friend and one of my aunts both recently admitted to slacking off on their applications when staying at home for the day. And my grandparent’s live next door to a couple who, according to my grandma, proudly shared that they never wear the stuff. Ever.

Though this National Cancer Institute fact sheet says that there is no proven link between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer, I’m willing to concede that there are probably some pretty icky things lurking inside my deo.

When I started looking around the internet to figure out what that icky stuff might be, I came across this Website Skin Deep, a “cosmetic safety database”. Sponsored by the environmental research and advocacy group  Environmental Working Group, Skin Deep allows consumers to see the group’s safety rating  of various health and beauty products.

My brand of choice, Dove Deodorant Invisible Solid (Powder), scored a five out of ten and ranked as a moderate hazard.

This issue definitely falls into the realm of Personal Choice and I, for one, am not ready to ditch the deodorant completely. I would be willing, however, to try an all natural antiperspirant. Any suggestions on which one I should try?

I Do…I Don’t…I Don’t Know

Being 22 years old in June means that at least 53 people you know are getting married every weekend. Maybe that’s a bit of an over estimation, but the race down the aisle is in full swing for many of the women around me.

A conversation with a 24-year-old woman I know from out-of-state, who is here in N.C. for a  summer internship, really put things into perspective. “People here get married young, don’t they,” she asked. “Everyone I meet keeps asking where I’m from and why I’m not married.”

Sounds about right…

Mike Kemp / Corbis - Newsweek.com

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not anti-marriage. My parents have been happily married for almost 28 years and I would certainly love to find what they have one day. I think.

I guess I’m just wondering why the rush? Equality Myth bloggers and Newsweek writers Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison wrote a compelling article about the case against marriage earlier this month.

This article raises the question that maybe marriage is just an outdated institution. And while I agree that our ideas of what it means to be married and what roles married people should assume need some revitalization, I just don’t know if I’m ready write the whole thing off just yet.

Lady Crush

As a 20-something entering law school, I’m working to bridge the gap between the feminist theory I learned about as an undergraduate and the feminist living I’m trying to do as a young woman in the real world.The move from my liberal college town back to my less-than feminist friendly hometown in rural N.C. left me longing for someone with whom I could share all the exciting, progressive and pro-woman things I discover. And someone with whom I could rant about all the ridiculous, patriarchal and sexist things I come across.
Since I had no one around to get feminist-crazy with, I began paying extra attention to the bios of women professionals, reporters, bloggers, etc… “I bet she’d totally agree with me on this,” I’d think. Or “Wow, now there’s a woman who knows what she’s doing.” Pretty soon I’d developed a growing list of lady crushes on tons of brilliant women who I wanted to be like, be friends with or become a cult follower of.
Lady Crush is a manifestation of my desire to show appreciation for and share all the gadgets, articles,  people, products, places and things that tickle this young feminist’s fancy.
Let the Lady Crushing begin!