This week, our blog posts include Dominique Browning on relaxing into this phase of life, congratulations to the newly confirmed Justice Kagan, a thoughtful look at black women in Hollywood, and an invitation to take part in a survey about how we get our health information.

Well, after all the hearings and political posturing, we can now say these words: Justice Elena Kagan. Many women’s blogs celebrated, including, which notes that with the addition of Kagan, women have officially reached “critical mass” on the Supreme Court. Quoting the White House Project Report, HelloLadies explains that “This term is typically used in the context of nuclear physics and refers to the quantity needed to start a chain reaction, an irreversible propulsion into a new situation or process.” In other words, rather than being viewed as abnormal or a “special case,” women are now considered entirely fused into this most professional of milieux. (Let’s keep in mind, though, that Justice Kagan is only the fourth woman to serve on the high-court bench.)

At Bitch, Ph.D., English professor Sybil Vane reflects on the multiple adjustments of women in academia. In a post entitled “Securities and Exchange,” she explores her complex feelings about leaving a position where she was moving up for another, less advantageous one that reunites her with her husband and gives their daughter a live-in dad again. From the stupor-inducing project of “eating down” a pantry overstocked with carbs to musings on why her colleagues are rejoicing for her, Vane looks at the ongoing ambiguities of women’s career paths in academia.

Do you use the Internet for health information? Then you might want to check in with Health on the Net, notes Rachel at Our Bodies Our Blog. The HON Foundation is currently conducting a survey to measure the extent to which people use the Internet to self-diagnose their conditions. By contributing your responses, you can help develop guidelines for assessing the credibility of health information on the Web.

At, Nsenga Burton writes, “There’s a reason Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels are the ones we see making movies about the lives of African-American women.” In her article, “Black Women and the Hollywood Shuffle,” Burton takes a thoughtful, in-depth look at the way the film industry works–hierarchies, patriarchies, and all. A necessary read for anyone interested in moviemaking these days…

And at Dominique Browning’s exquisite blog, SlowLoveLife, an unthinking comment by a younger woman sets Browning on a turbulent emotional arc, from anger and denial to the hard-won but graceful acceptance that sometimes comes with phase of life. Take the trip with her in her post, “Relax and Enjoy the Ride.”

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  • Annie October 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I am a “50-something” and I have worn my hair long for several years. I find it LIBERATING, and an outward expression of myself that I enjoy. It helps that my hair has not thinned much, and that I keep it trimmed and sleek. When I was growing up, I recall in my home town the legions of women with very short, permed hair (this was in the South) or shortish “helmet hair”somehow announcing a “woman of a certain age.” They seemed like clones. I vowed: NEVER. Even today I wince to see an older woman who has permed, colored and cut her hair into something that resembles an aging poodle. Definitely go with what YOU feel you want – and if that feeling is GOOD, then all the better!

  • Eliana Rivero October 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    About your column re: long hair for older women…. ONLY IN AMERICA!
    One of the most conspicuous cultural differences one notices when traveling in Europe and South America (say, Italy, Austria, Argentina) is that middle aged women wear their hair long, down to their shoulders…. and frequently colored in reddish hues. It is on a very rare occasion that you see a short-bobbed matron (at most, they put their hair up).
    A hair stylist told me in Buenos Aires that the reason for that is that both older and younger women compete for the attentions of young men…. I guess here in the US older women are not supposed to be sexy! *and the really sexy ones/Raquel Welch at 70, Madonna at 50 plus* Do NOT cut their hair *exception Jamie Lee Curtis? The concept of sexless older women is deeply ingrained in our culture… we are supposed to be wise but not alluring (for the record, I am 70 with short but thick, well groomed hair which looks good)