Obama has proved to be particularly adept at using the media to disseminate his administration's messages, but he is a masterful orator. Bill Clinton, too.
I wasn't remotely ambivalent about marrying the person I was marrying, but I was 35. I was deep into my adulthood, and I identified as single.
In the nineteenth century, in part because a ton of American men moved west, in part because of the Civil War, and in part because of trepidation about marriage, which was then a very confining institution, there was a big population of women - mostly middle-class white women on the East Coast - who didn't marry.
I think that technology - computers and smart phones and 24-hour availability - often leaves me, and others I know, feeling blank and depressed at the end of a day. I also believe that hyped expectations for raising children leaves many women and men feeling as if their days are a blur of carpools and play-groups and tutors.
The first big impact that feminism in the 1960s and '70s had was a big divorce boom in the '70s and '80s. That, in part, had an impact on how the children of that divorce boom viewed marriage.
By the time Clinton graduated from Yale Law School, many people, including her boyfriend Bill, believed she could, and should, embark on a political career. She'd given the Wellesley commencement speech that had earned her a 'Life' write-up of her own.
For inspiration, we still demand the rhetorical high notes. Clinton has hit them before, in her speech in Beijing as first lady when she said, 'Women's rights are human rights,' and in her 2008 concession speech, when she talked about the '18 million cracks' in the glass ceiling.
Like everyone else, I can barely take the waves of embarrassment that come with watching someone do something so badly. Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem, Sofia Coppola acting in 'The Godfather: Part III,' Sarah Palin talking about Russia - they all create the same level of eyeball-squinching discomfort.
It was impossible for Hillary Clinton to have chosen a path to the White House that bypassed the loathing, jeering derision and gendered stereotyping built on two centuries of male power. What was interesting was how hard she tried to do just that.
One reason that we have collectively plugged our ears against a decade of dismal revelations about Bill Cosby is that he made lots of Americans feel good about two things we rarely have reason to feel good about: race and gender.
I think a lot of divisions of perspective and experience that happen within feminism are very natural. Any movement that represents the interests of 51 percent of the population is covering such divergent experiences, perspectives, and priorities that, if you're doing it right, people are going to be arguing within it.
'Living Single' was on in early 1990s - the show about Queen Latifah living with a bunch of friends. And then there's 'Friends,' and that's called the groundbreaking show about unmarried adults living in New York!
Women are living independently, but we don't yet have the social and economic policies behind us to support that independence.
Roseanne was a huge groundbreaking comedian. Margaret Cho. Ellen DeGeneres, and then on 'Saturday Night Live,' the era of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler sort of helped to bring in an awareness of a new generation of women comedians, often women who were feminist in their comedy, who were unafraid - and this came from the genre of show that was emerging.
'Marriage' was not that big a deal, to be honest! I mean, it makes life easier for technical reasons: insurance, next-of-kin stuff, joint tax filing, etc. The real shocker was falling in love with the man I'm married to. I was 32 when we met, and I had really never been in a functional relationship before, had never been deeply in love.
One of the things that gets confused often is the difference between marriage and good marriage. Marriage is a theoretical concept of the institution, and 'you should be married,' is actually meaningless. Marriage is pretty meaningless without the notion of having a specific person to whom you are married.
'The End of Men' was an incendiary title, but the actual book was very sympathetic to men. It was very invested in a lot of the challenges men are facing with unemployment and the economy changing because of technology.
In 2008, I started the election season as a critic of Hillary Clinton, a fan of Barack Obama, and a supporter of John Edwards. But by the end of Clinton's historic drive toward nomination, the gendered rhetoric used against her - as well as the way so many men in my own party diminished the value of electing a female president - had radicalized me.
Our government and its social policies, its tax breaks, the way school days work, so much of the country we live in is built for married couples with a male breadwinner and a female domestic laborer. Government needs to be massively altered in order to serve this population.
During childbearing years, changing jobs - even for a fundamentally better gig - can be a very bad idea. Those prime childbearing years - mid-twenties to early forties - overlap precisely with prime professional years. This is when employees are most attractive to new employers, when they should be able to zip up ladders with the most alacrity.