A terrible week for American women

We lost Wendy Wasserstein, Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan. We got Samuel Alito.

Published February 6, 2006 3:04PM (EST)

There's no news in this post, more of an observation: Last week was one of the worst for American women in a long time. In the span of six days, we read about the deaths of Wendy Wasserstein, Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan, three women who in very different ways broadened social, political, professional and artistic landscapes for women. Last Tuesday, Samuel Alito was confirmed to the Supreme Court, an appointment that could well change, and probably limit, some of the freedoms that those women fought to imagine, name and attain.

Sometimes the news cycle works this way; a series of unrelated events twist into what looks like a discernible pattern, when we know that of course they are individual stories, coincidences. But sometimes, even when we realize that there's no greater narrative arc in place, it's still worth stepping back for just a few minutes to acknowledge and absorb the fact that we just got hurt.

We're a sadder country this Monday morning than we were last.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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