Media Musings: A bullet point on rising to the top

Editor’s note: This is another in my series of monthly musings on the news, published on the Sunday following the last Saturday of each month, except when it’s not.


© 2013 Tom Pfeifer

Current as of February 23, 2013


“I know what you like. You like it on top.” (Robert Palmer, “Bad Case of Loving You.”)

This month we celebrated Valentine’s Day, which happens to fall on National Condoms Day. February is also National Weddings Month, Creative Romance Month and, perhaps most importantly, National Return Carts to the Supermarket Month.

It’s a month we focus on females. Females on top. Females wanting to be on top. And the men who use flowers and chocolate to keep females in the missionary position and returning the carts.

One of those men is Pope Benedict XVI, who is the first pope in 589 years to abdicate the throne. The last pope to resign did so during what was known as the Great Western Schism, not unlike the schism in the great west today, with church factions vying for the church’s true direction. Like Gregory XII’s abdication, Benedict’s departure is unlikely to move the carts out of the parking lot.

Catholic women still will be expected to assume the missionary position. Not that Florence Deacon minds. The missionary position is why she became a nun. But she believes she and her sisters have a mission to ascend to the top as well. Deacon isn’t a deacon but she is president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which is accused by the Vatican of promoting “radical feminism.”

It’s not just Catholics wishing women would just take it lying down. Israeli police carted off 10 women, including two American rabbis, at Jerusalem’s Western Wall for praying while wearing prayer shawls reserved for men. There will be no cross-dressing at the wall, ladies.

At least the glass ceiling – not to be confused with a mirrored ceiling – is higher for Jewish women.

Eliminating the glass ceiling completely and putting all women on top is the mission of Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg. Her upcoming book, “Lean In,” which is due on the shelves March 12, does for the boardroom what Cosmopolitan has done for the bedroom. If you want to be on top, ladies, you have to take control. Sandberg’s ideas, not ironically, will be promoted by Cosmopolitan in a 40-page spread in April.

“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” Sandberg writes in her book.

Which, radical feminists say, blames the woman instead of the male politicians and corporate CEOs who are hell-bent on keeping women in their place.

Still, there are other signs woman are grabbing life by the barrel. From 2001 to 2011, women target-shooters increased 51.5 percent and female hunters increased 41.8 percent, the National Sporting Goods Association reports. Sweet Shot, whose motto is “Look cute while you shoot,” sells leopard shooting gloves and Bullet Rosette jewelry.

And men are accepting this change.

“Maybe 25 years ago, if you put on your power suit with your floppy bow and marched yourself into a gun club and said, ‘Where do I sign up, boys?’ you might have gotten a couple of funny looks,” Peggy Tartaro, the editor of Women and Guns magazine, told the New York Times. “But now they might say: ‘Hey, sit down. What are you interested in? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.’”

And so begins the healing of the great gender schism by building on equal power and mutually assured destruction. Women with guns are missionaries for the non-missionary position. Benedict’s successor may wish to heed the words of Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, who noted: “The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.”

Which is true, because women are the majority and truth remains a man’s game.



“Bizarre February Holidays.” ThinkQuest. 24 February 2013.

“Famous Pope Quotes.” ThinkExist. 25 February 2013.

Gladstone, Rick. “Last Pope to Resign Faced Division Within the Church.” New York Times. 11 February 2013.

Goode, Erica. “Rising Voice of Gun Ownership Is Female.”  New York Times. 10 February 2013.

Kantor, Jodi. “A Titan’s How-To on Breaking the Glass Ceiling.” New York Times. 21 February 2013.

Miller, Lisa. “Wanted by American nuns: A pope who listens to and appreciates female leadership.” Washington Post. 14 February 2013.

Rudoren, Jodi. Irit Pazner Garshowitz contributed. “Arrests of 10 Women Praying at Western Wall Add to Tensions Over a Holy Site.” New York Times. 11 February 2013.

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at


One response to this post.

  1. Maybe some of the women like the lower position so they can doze off or plan dinner for the next day.



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