As a feminist, I recall being called a "libber" 15 years ago and spending many a defensive moment focused on the unfunny consequences of living in this patriarchal society. Today I am more secure in my feminist vision of a loving, fair, supportive, nonviolent future.
Eleanor Smeal's remarks as she embraced her family ("I know feminists aren't supposed to do this sort of thing--but what the heck!") conveyed a sense of sweet amusement to me. Ellie's humor, lack of defensiveness and her quick and gentle acknowledgement of what too often remains the misperception of feminist behavior should serve as a measure of our increasing confidence and our progress.
Although we acknowledge that feminism is a serious matter, we no longer need to personalize that seriousness. We've learned how to poke fun at ourselves as well as our critics' comedies of error without demeaning ourselves or our commitment to feminism.
Having worked with Ellie, my husband and I count her as one of the brightest, dearest, most open-hearted and politically astute people we know, and we enthusiastically applaud her election as president of the National Organization of Women.