Friday, November 4, 2011

With "Big Girls Don't Cry," Author Examines 2008 Election from a Feminist Perspective

CHESTERTOWN, MD—In the fresh eyes of political observer Rebecca Traister, the presidential election of 2008 not only brought the first African American president in U.S. history into office, but also marked a sea change for women in American politics. Traister, author of Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, will be at Washington College Tuesday, Nov. 15 to explain the how and why of the new landscape left in the wake of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama after the last ballot was counted.
Traister’s talk, “Big Girls Don’t Cry: Women, Politics and the Media,” will take place at 5:30 in Hynson Lounge on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. Sponsored by the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, the event is free and open to the public.
On her web site (, Traister recalls a few of the significant events that are chronicled more fully in her book: Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman in the nation’s history to win a state presidential primary; GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin concluding a nationally broadcast debate by reaching for her newborn son, and First Lady Michelle Obama moving her family into a White House built in part by slaves.
“These are not small things,” says Traister. “These are changes that have piled up fast, creating a world that our grandmothers could barely have dreamed of, that many of our mothers thought they’d never live to see.”

Big Girls Don’t Cry has been praised for revealing important new lessons from the 2008 election. Author Anne Lamott described Traister as “the most brilliant voice on feminism in this country, and said of the book, “I couldn't believe how much Ms. Traister captured and illuminated a story with which I had thought I was so well versed: the 2008 election. She told it as if for the first time.”
A reviewer for Publishers Weekly said Traister “bludgeons conventional political wisdom by trenchantly exposing Palin’s strange triangulation of mainstream feminism, Clinton’s need to appear vulnerable in order to appeal to women, and the precarious position of black women—some of whom were conflicted between supporting candidates who mirrored their gender or their race … Traister does a fine job in showing that progress does not proceed in straight lines, and, sometimes, it’s the unlikeliest of individuals who initiate real change.”
For more information on the event, visit

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