Like the rest of the country, feminism has undergone one percent-ification. The most discussed books on women’s lives speak to privileged women while usually assuming, if only by default, to speak about women in the generic.
When the nurse footprinted my son at birth, she declared, “his foot almost doesn’t fit in the box” on her special Baby Footprint Form (nurses and doctors like things to fit into the boxes, I gather). Less than five minutes after my son’s birth, I had heard the first of what would be 12 years of comments about how tall he is.
I want to think about garbage today. Driving home from the store, I made an informal census of the garbage by the side of the road and in the green spaces in our neighborhood. The vast majority of the garbage and pollution has one cause: our newfound unwillingness or inability to eat and drink in one place, more or less designated as a place to eat or drink—a restaurant, dining room, kitchen, or café. Whatever its particular source, be it Starbucks or Dasani, the garbage comes from this one deeper wellspring. It's comprised of plastic bottles, soda cups, coffee cups, fast food wrappers, Royal Farms chicken boxes and the like.
Pamela Haag’s work spans a wide, and unusual, spectrum, all the way from academic scholarship to memoir. Thematically, it has consistently focused on women's issues, feminism, and American culture, but she’s also written on topics as eclectic as the effort to rebuild the lower Manhattan subway lines after 9/11, 24-hour sports radio talk shows, and the experience of class mobility.
Haag earned a Ph.D. in history from Yale University in 1995, after graduating with Highest Honors from Swarthmore College. She’s held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and post-doctoral fellowships at both Brown and Rutgers University. As an academic she published scholarly articles and a first book, based on dissertation work, with Cornell University Press in 1999.
She became the Director of Research for the AAUW Educational Foundation, a nationalnonprofit based in Washington, DC, that advocates for girls and women. In that capacity she wrote and edited several pieces of research and was the media spokesperson for the research.
In 2002, Haag became a speechwriter on issues of public transit and transit-oriented development for the secretary of the Federal Transit Administration and, occasionally, the Secretary of Transportation.
Since 2004, she has been publishing personal and opinion essays in a variety of venues, including National Public Radio, the American Scholar, the Christian Science Monitor, Ms. magazine, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Michigan Quarterly Review, New Haven Review, the Antioch Review and carte blanche. Haag earned an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in 2008, where she won the Chris White award for best essay, and was also a prizewinner in the Atlantic’s 2008 national nonfiction contest.
Haag's latest book, Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules, released by HarperCollins in May of 2011, draws on all of these strands of Haag’s unique professional biography to create almost a new genre, a weave of academic expertise, cultural history, creativenonfiction, memoir, storytelling, interviews, and commentary.