"Exercise is the yuppie version of bulimia." -- Barbara Ehrenreich
Barbara Ehrenreich (born August 26, 1941, Butte, Montana; ) is an American feminist, democratic socialist, sociologist and political activist, a prominent figure in the Democratic Socialists of America. She is a widely read columnist and essayist, and the author of nearly 20 books.
"America is addicted to wars of distraction.""At best the family teaches the finest things human beings can learn from one another generosity and love. But it is also, all too often, where we learn nasty things like hate, rage and shame.""I'm not a nice person.""In fact, there is clear evidence of black intellectual superiority: in 1984, 92 percent of blacks voted to retire Ronald Reagan, compared to only 36 percent of whites.""Like many other women, I could not understand why every man who changed a diaper has felt impelled, in recent years, to write a book about it.""Marriage is socialism among two people.""Natural selection, as it has operated in human history, favors not only the clever but the murderous.""No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.""Of all the nasty outcomes predicted for women's liberation... none was more alarming, from a feminist point of view, than the suggestion that women would eventually become just like men.""Personally, I can't see why it would be any less romantic to find a husband in a nice four-color catalogue than in the average downtown bar at happy hour.""Personally, I have nothing against work, particularly when performed, quietly and unobtrusively, by someone else. I just don't happen to think it's an appropriate subject for an "ethic."""Someone has to stand up for wimps.""Take motherhood: nobody ever thought of putting it on a moral pedestal until some brash feminists pointed out, about a century ago, that the pay is lousy and the career ladder nonexistent.""That's free enterprise, friends: freedom to gamble, freedom to lose. And the great thing - the truly democratic thing about it - is that you don't even have to be a player to lose.""That's the really neat thing about Dan Quayle, as you must have realized from the first moment you looked into those lovely blue eyes: impeachment insurance.""The one regret I have about my own abortions is that they cost money that might otherwise have been spent on something more pleasurable, like taking the kids to movies and theme parks.""The secret of the truly successful, I believe, is that they learned very early in life how not to be busy. They saw through that adage, repeated to me so often in childhood, that anything worth doing is worth doing well.""There is the fear, common to all English-only speakers, that the chief purpose of foreign languages is to make fun of us. Otherwise, you know, why not just come out and say it?""We love television because television brings us a world in which television does not exist.""We who officially value freedom of speech above life itself seem to have nothing to talk about but the weather."
Ehrenreich was born Barbara Alexander to Isabelle Oxley and Ben Alexander. Her father was a copper miner who went on to study at Carnegie Mellon University and who eventually became an executive at the Gillette Corporation. Ehrenreich studied physics at Reed College, graduating in 1963. Her senior thesis was entitled Electrochemical oscillations of the silicon anode. In 1968, she received a Ph.D in cellular biology from Rockefeller University.
Citing her interest in social change, she opted for political activism instead of pursuing a scientific career. She met her first husband, John Ehrenreich, during an anti-war activism campaign in New York City.
In 1970, her first child, Rosa (now Rosa Brooks), was born. Her second child, Benjamin, was born in 1972. Barbara and John divorced and in 1983 she married Gary Stevenson, a warehouse employee who later became a union organizer. She divorced Stevenson in the early 1990s.
From 1991 to 1997, Ehrenreich was a regular columnist for Time magazine. Currently, she contributes regularly to The Progressive and has also written for the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com, and other publications.
In 1998, the American Humanist Association named her the Humanist of the Year.
In 1998 and 2000, she taught essay writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2004, Ehrenreich wrote a month-long guest column for the New York Times while regular columnist Thomas Friedman was on leave and she was invited to stay on as a columnist. She declined, saying that she preferred to spend her time more on long-term activities, such as book-writing.
Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the release of her book, On Getting By in America. In her article "Welcome to Cancerland," published in the November 2001 issue of Harper's Magazine, she describes her breast cancer experience and debates the medical industry's problems with the issue of breast cancer.
In 2006, Ehrenreich founded United Professionals, an organization described as "a nonprofit, non-partisan membership organization for white-collar workers, regardless of profession or employment status. We reach out to all unemployed, underemployed, and anxiously employed workers ... people who bought the American dream that education and credentials could lead to a secure middle class life, but now find their lives disrupted by forces beyond their control."
Ehrenreich is currently an honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. She also serves on the NORML Board of Directors and The Nation's Editorial Board.
In 2000 Ehrenreich endorsed the Presidential campaign of Ralph Nader. In February 2008, Ehrenreich expressed support for Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.
The Uptake, Storage, and Intracellular Hydrolysis of Carbohydrates by Macrophages (with Zanvil A. Cohn) (1969)
Long March, Short Spring: The Student Uprising at Home and Abroad (with John Ehrenreich) (1969)
The American Health Empire: Power, Profits, and Politics (with John Ehrenreich and Health PAC) (1971)
Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (with Deirdre English) (1972)
Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (with Deirdre English) (1973)
For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts' Advice to Women (with Deirdre English) (1978)
Women in the Global Factory (1983)
Re-Making Love: The Feminization of Sex (with Elizabeth Hess and Gloria Jacobs) (1986)
The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment (1983)
The Mean Season (with Fred L. Block, Richard A. Cloward, and Frances Fox Piven) (1987)
Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989)
The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed (1990)
Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War (1997)
The Snarling Citizen: Essays (1995)
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America (2001)
Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy (ed., with Arlie Hochschild) (2003)
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (2005)
A History of Collective Joy (2007)
This Land is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation (2008)
Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (2009). In the United Kingdom this book is called Smile Or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World 9 January 2010 Guardian/UK