Photo: Gregg Segal
What the world needs now, if you ask Gail Collins, is a new wave of feminism. Of course, she'll understand if you want to call it something else.
A while back, I read a lot of very old books and magazines to see what people in the past imagined life would be like in our current era.
They thought it would be terrific! Almost everyone who was in the predicting business in 1900 believed that by now humankind would have abolished both poverty and boring chores. H.G. Wells thought we would have self-cleaning windows, and in 1950 Popular Mechanics announced that by now we'd all be living in plastic houses with waterproof furniture so that the housewife of 2000 could do her daily cleaning with a garden hose. The dishes would melt, so you could wash them down the drain after meals.
You can see why I don't spend a whole lot of time trying to envision the future. But that doesn't mean I can't wish.
Over the years, I've often wished for a woman in the Oval Office. But being president is such an important and impossible job—imagine if you had to pay off a gazillion-dollar debt and defend against the gravest security threats in human history and wrestle with a Congress so petty that its members have started to take their balls and go home, all while managing to squeeze in a weekly date night with your spouse—that I now content myself with wishing simply for a good one. If that turns out to be a woman, all the better.
I also wish someone would invent a television that required only one clicker.
And I wish that sometime soon there would be a women's movement again. I know there's a theory that young women aren't interested in this sort of thing, but that's absolutely wrong. Many women do have trouble with the word feminism, but that's been true throughout all of American history, except for about two minutes around 1969. People think it means being anti-man or wearing really unattractive shoes. If we could just change feminism's name to Fred, everything would be fine.
What does feminism mean now?
We Hear You!