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Described as “one of our most insightful culture critics and one of our finest young writers,” Courtney Martin is a storyteller, feminist, social problem solver, and a provocative speaker. She is the author of six books examining some of today’s most urgent social questions.
Martin is currently the Founding Director of the Solutions Journalism Network and the leader of the Op-Ed Project’s Public Voices Fellowship Program at Princeton University. She is also Valenti Martin Media’s founding partner and an Editor at Feministing.com, the most widely read feminist publication in the world.
Martin has made appearances on The O’Reilly Factor and CNN, and has taken her message to the TED stage and Aspen Ideas Festival. As an author, she is most recognized for her books Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists and Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women, which was awarded a ‘Books for Better Life’ nomination. Her latest book The New Better Off examines the shift in values that is reshaping the U.S. and redefining “The American Dream.”
Courtney E. Martin is an American feminist, author, speaker, and social and political activist. She is known for writing books, speaking at universities throughout the nation, and for co-editing the feminist blog, Feministing.com. Her work also appears on numerous other blogs and websites. She is also a recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics.
She is known for promoting feminism by integrating storytelling and solutions into her writings and talks. According to Parker Palmer, she is “one of our most insightful culture critics and one of our finest young writers.” In 2013 she helped found the Solutions Journalism Network with journalists David Bornstein and Tina Rosenberg.
Martin self-identifies as a third-wave feminist.
She spreads her views on feminism and family friendly workplaces through the medium of the internet. She contributed as a co-editor to Feministing.com, the largest feminist blog from 2004 until recently. Martin is now a weekly columnist for On Being. Her work can also be found on sites such as YES! Magazine, The New York Times, and TED talks.
Martin has been a co-founder to numerous online organizations, including Valenti Martin Media and #femfuture, which aim to break the boundaries of traditional views towards women. She also contributes to mainstream websites such as The Huffington Post.
Martin is also a Senior Correspondent for The American Prospect Online. She has penned a number of articles on the site, including: “The Problem with Youth Activism”, and “Why Class Matters in Campus Activism”. In these two articles, Martin discusses the way America’s youth has lost the outrage and civil disobedience of previous generations in favor of school sanctioned demonstrations, and how the American youth today do not display the robust activism that United Kingdom students have recently displayed regarding school tuition budget cuts.
Courtney attended Barnard College in New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science as well as sociology. She later went on to study at New York University, where she received a Master of Arts in writing and social change.
Courtney Martin reflects on the three main paradoxes she's discovered about living in a time that she regards both as beautiful and horrible. She initially shied away from the feminist movement pushed by her mother, only to later become a prominent figure in "third-wave" feminism. While her movement owes a great deal to her mother's, it looks very different, incorporating topics such as immigration and promoting stances on them through on-line organization.
As an activist she admits that the challenges her generation faces such as wealth disparity and climate change often seem overwhelming, especially coming off the heels of being raised to "save the world." Mustering the strength and perseverance to take on such daunting problems doesn't mean lowering expectations, she believes, but it does require operating on two levels.
"On one, we really go after changing these broken systems of which we find ourselves a part," Martin states. "But on the other, we root our self-esteem in the daily acts of trying to make one person's day more kind, more just."
Courtney Martin’s presentations combine her two obsessions: dynamic storytelling and effective solutions. The modern-day feminist and activist documents social change in the U.S. including changes in how we view work, customs and community, marriage, rituals, money, living arrangements, and spirituality. At the heart of her work lies the central question: “How can I make my life meaningful?” The answers she offers are transformational and necessary to everyone hungry for change and fulfillment in the digital age.
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The New Better Off
Are we living the good life—and what defines ‘good’, anyway? Americans today are constructing a completely different framework for success than their parents’ generation, using new metrics that TEDWomen speaker and columnist Courtney Martin has termed collectively the “New Better Off”. The New Better Off puts a name to the American phenomenon of rejecting the traditional dream of a 9-to-5 job, home ownership, and a nuclear family structure—illuminating the alternate ways Americans are seeking happiness and success.
Including commentary on recent changes in how we view work, customs and community, marriage, rituals, money, living arrangements, and spirituality, The New Better Off uses personal stories and social analysis to explore the trends shaping our country today. Martin covers growing topics such as freelancing, collaborative consumption, communal living, and the breaking down of gender roles.
The New Better Off is about the creative choices individuals are making in their vocational and personal lives, but it’s also about the movements, formal and informal, that are coalescing around the New Better Off idea—people who are reinventing the social safety net and figuring out how to truly better their own communities.
Do It Anyway
If you care about social change but hate feel-good platitudes, Do It Anyway is the book for you. Courtney Martin’s rich profiles of the new generation of activists dig deep, to ask the questions that really matter: How do you create a meaningful life? Can one person even begin to make a difference in our hugely complex, globalized world?
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