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Friday
May182012

Bye Bye to UniteWomen.org, Karen Teegarden & Anita Doll Fiouris

Marilyn Minter | Making Waves: Modern Aphrodites #1-1 Anne of Carversville

It’s true that Maybelline’s new Popsticks campaign made me search for Marilyn Minter’ images just now. It’s a typical Anne, crazy-quilt route to taking a cleansing breath on the last three months, when I gave myself without conservation or limits to a new organization for women creating April 28 rallies all over America.

Walking Away from UniteWomen.org

Simmering inside me is something more relevant, a confrontation with myself and feminism which I embrace more fervently than ever. My furor over all the internal strife at UniteWomen.org has abated, and I woke up invigorated and ready to rumble.

I adore Marilyn Minter because her images are provocative, strong, raw examples of female sensuality and also beauty abuse — the conflict women experience on the road to authenticity and answers to the question: “Who am I?”

The cause I’ve devoted myself to over the last 90 days plans to construct an organizational structure more repressive and less representative then Komen was before the furor over Planned Parenthood. UniteWomen.org is dead and buried now in my heart, a funeral leaving me with spectacular new connections and relationships that envision a less-patriarchal way of channeling women’s talents.

My sense of self is renewed.  This woman Anne — battered and begrudged by other women who are looters of female souls, spirits, emotions and hard work in the name of women’s rights — woke up in such a positive dreamstate.

The incessant organizational battles are over, the closed group spies are gone. My little boat has sailed into harbor with the same calm I experienced sleeping in Ithaca. I am as invigorated and connected as I was dreaming vividly, moored in the Ionian sea.

This is just what the social conservatives what to happen — this conflict among women. But when an organization is as inept as UniteWomen.org and totally willing to squander its precious resources, it’s time to take a hike, just as Nancy Sinatra suggested decades ago in “These Boots Are Made for Walking”.

Marilyn Minter | climber 2005My experience with UniteWomen.org is that they are no different than the Catholic bishops. Karen Teegarden and her co-optimist Anita Doll Fiouris want to create another authoritarian, top-down command center that keeps women in line.

These so-called marketing experts had no plans for elections of leaders, even at a state level. The duo, with three other accomplices, would choose the state leaders. There would be no presentation of talents and portfolios, many of them well-known already.

Perhaps raising our voices in fury will cause them to re-examine their mission and how to implement it in a more democratic fashion.

UniteWomen.org Purge of Members

In a purge of UniteWomen.org members this week, dedicated women like myself woke up Tuesday morning to find ourselves banned from groups. That’s right, a purge of talent and women’s voices was carried out, woman on woman.

True, a high-level member of the national media/pr team walked out Monday night & associated me with her fury. But there was no opportunity to defend myself, explaining that in reality Monday night, I was pitching UniteWomen.org to NOW, not planning the coup.

Didn’t I at least deserve a text message from Karen Teegarden, saying “WTF are you doing, Anne!!!”?

Karen Teegarden and her team didn’t care what they did to my reputation among colleagues. No retraction was circulated to groups, saying that a mistake was made in my case, even after I spoke with Karen Teegarden Tuesday night for nearly an hour.

Like the McCarthy hearings of the 50s, I was exiled without ever having a chance to clear my name.

Once I received a set of the internal documents being imposed on the states and individuals who worked to hard to create the April 28 rally Tuesday night, I understood my colleague’s defection and attempt to take me with her, without my permission or knowledge.

I would never accept this yoke of total top-down control of my behavior, or a Karen Teegarden-Anita Doll Fiouris imposed state director that would tattle every tale to the girls club riding rough shod on us.

How patriarchal is that idea!!

Sorry ladies, but I’ve run a $50 million business unit at Victoria’s Secret, built the first product development unit at then Limited, Inc. I’ve consulted to Fortune 100 companies for 10 years and build a website that gets rave reviews and has 350,000 uniques a month combined with its sister site. I’ve been paid $2000-$3500/day (not saying I’m worth it but the clients think so) for my creative thinking, strategic skills.

My entrepreneurial track record is stellar, being a key executive building the Victoria’s Secret brand and smaller ventures, too. I’ve been passionately writing about women’s rights since 2007. And you two?

I’m a fully-realized woman trying to fight the Catholic bishops and social conservatives who comprise the War on Women. It appears that you are not an ally of women Karen T and Anita DF, but caretakers of your own interests.

When you toss loyal, dedicated women like me overboard, without a hearing, my only interpretation of your actions is that you don’t want talented women on your team. It seems you want to be the only girls at the ball, imho.

Exodus of Talented Women from UniteWomen.org

The good news is that entire states and talented individuals like myself are walking away from the duet of Karen Teegarden and Anita Doll Fiouris. 

Pulling away with confidence and fury that we don’t need another master — in this case two mistresses to crack the whip over our hearts, minds, talents and energy — we seek a more horizontal 21st century organiztion.

One look at UniteWomen.org’s proposed organization chart makes their intentions Harvard Business School “Girls Gone Wildly Wrong” case study worthy.

Across America, we will trudge on for women’s rights without you, UniteWomen.org.

Take your shackles to less suspecting victims. This girl is way too smart to buy into your lack of talents, expertise, experience and genuine desire to build a democratic organization supporting women’s rights.

Many of us are saying “Why did we get hoodwinked, when truly great organizations like NOW exist?”

Karen Teegarden lit the match for a rumble millions of American women want in this War on Women. Alas, we must turn to significantly more democratic institutions like NOW, Feminist Majority and others with credentials and the right intentions to lead women forward.

New collaborations are forming focused on REAL NEEDS for in-the-street activism, creative thinking strategies and information gathering about great organizations and women’s rights leaders that already exist. We need to connect the existing network, not create yet another group — unless it’s dedicated to street activism. Another lobbying group should not be your agenda, ladies.

Marilyn Minter ignites repressed libidos with ‘Glamour Gone Awry’Her images also inflame my will to leave manipulative women like Karen Teegarden and Anita Doll Flouris behind.

Like a used and abused woman, I choose to move forward with creative, highly-professional women who are my own kind — and America has millions of them. Going forward with renewed commitments to feminism, I will choose my partners carefully in a fully-vetted process based on verifiable talent history, credentials as women’s rights activists and a democratic set of good intentions for American women.

Adios, doll babies. ~ Anne Enke

Tuesday emails to Karen Teegarden on the subject of my exile from UniteWomen.org.

Marilyn Minter | Making Waves: Modern Aphrodites #1-2 Anne of Carversville

Marilyn Minter | Wangechi Gold-1 2009

 

Reader Comments (18)

Thanks for your post, Anne. I am glad you are talking about what happened when Karen Teegarden removed state leaders from admin positions in Facebook organizing groups, and banned anyone who asked why.

Those of us who were exiled from UniteWomen.org responded in our own ways. I wrote a rap song.

~~

Here we are, we're gonna tell our story
We were friends but we became your quarry
Then you decided that you wanted glory
More drama than an episode of Maury

At first you had a good thing going
A good idea that got the whole ball rolling
Uniting women for our rights, and growing
But then you got a little bit controlling

We all started out as a grassroots
A movement made by our activist boots
You got a couple of yes-women in cahoots
You thought the states would all become your offshoots

Then you saw your name in the HuffPo
You wanted to see your Google rankings grow
You got a little taste of the limelight
You said "It's gonna be all mine," right?

You felt a threat to your survival
We had allies but you made them rivals
You badmouthed all the newbies on arrival
You spread a ton of slander and libel

You changed your story every day
You tried to take the credit all the way
Even though you had help from Desiree
And other women who you said you would pay

And when a man made a free site
To help you organize this whole project right
You decided you would make a huge fight
You used him up then you lied about him one night

You called Joseph a hacker and a spammer
Did you think this would increase your glamour?
Your lies should put you in the slammer
Then you tried to drop the hammer

Attacked the leaders like you were a warlord
Put total strangers in charge of the whole store
Then you changed your name to a .org
To assimilate us all like you are Borg

We are women who are not gonna take it
We didn't sign up for this thing you're making
A grassroots movement isn't run from the top down
Local groups can't be run from out of town

Then the conversations got so heated
When we spoke out, you quickly deleted
You banned our leaders and you left us cheated
But we are women who won't be defeated

You tried to hurt us but we ain't smartin'
We were united but now we are partin'
You treated us like this was kindergarten
We say goodbye to you, Karen Teegarden

~~

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

This is a very well written article Anne. It's unfortunate that I never got a chance to connect with you while working towards the 4/28 rallies. I whole-heartedly agree with your statements that UniteWomen will serve no purpose unless we become engaged in ways that the existing organizations don't, and we're working hard in my state to do so.

What I am wondering though, is how you can justify this vitriolic article when you say that you are dedicated to furthering women's rights? So Karen and Anita want to run their organization in a way you don't agree with and now you're not a part of it. So what? Does that mean that the work we do has no value? It certainly seems that is your aim, to be sure our work has no value and is not taken seriously, when you post articles like this. Do you think you are better than us because of your professional experience? Maybe you are, but there is a place in this movement for everyone; UniteWomen is clearly just not the place for you.

While your freedom of speech entitles you to post whatever you choose, those of us who had no part and want no part of all the in-fighting are hurt by these comments when they are made publicly. Why would you spend all the time it must have taken to pen such a beautifully written piece knocking the legs out from under other women rather than investing that time in finding other women to hold up and support?

Don't you consider all the hard-working women you will negatively impact before posting these sort of articles? I for one was recently laid off and am looking for work. As I am using UniteWomen as a professional reference, I hope that these sorts of things aren't the first thing a potential employer will see when they look into my background affecting my chances of being offered a job. I also know of at least one UniteWomen member who recently lost a client because, when they Googled her name, this article came up. That is food you have taken from her plate. While you are entitled to express your opinions, I can only ask that you please refocus your efforts on the positive not the negative. We are hard working, well-intentioned women and don't deserve this.

May 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Vogel

Thanks, Angela, for expressing yourself. Given that my article went up Friday, I'm surprised that your UniteWomen member friend lost a client on Monday.

I didn't say your work -- which remains to be established in the future -- has no value. For the record, entire states have left UniteWomen.org in the last week, not only me. All of these women worked incredibly hard. Personally, I lost 35,000 unique visitors in the month of April alone, because I was working so many hours a day on the rally. I am launching a jewelry collection within weeks, so to "walk 35,000 people -- translated potential customers -- is a big deal. We all made huge sacrifices.

The following states have completely disassociated with UniteWomen.org national: Co, Tn, Ct, Nj, NY, RI, Mo, Pa. These four states are in limbo: Tx, Georgia, NC, Ca. They did not do so because of my article. They did so because they share my views as expressed above. They, too, were stunned to see an organization with no democratic principles in play. They were as stunned as I to read that state directors would be appointed by Karen and Anita, no matter who really inspired the PA rally. That never would have been me. But in the case of PA, they were willing to split a trio of three women who were great together, making one of them the SD -- and perhaps NONE of them the state director. This is an organizational structure out of the Middle East, not today's nonprofit world.

In my case, I probably wrote more about UniteWomen.org than any other blogger. I threw my entire reputation behind the organization and stuck up for Karen Teegarden more times than she can count. As for Anita Doll Fiouris, I believe she has no history that qualifies her to create a nonprofit of this nature as Karen's equal on the org chart. Karen disagrees completely, I know, but not based on resume credentials. Karen Teegarden had access to the best resources available -- not only myself, but key resources from the top women's rights organizations out there.. Instead she is banning us right and left -- an intellectual purge of her organization. In today's world, people don't keep silent over matters like this. As a young woman, I'm surprised you don't know life in the digital age.

There is no reason -- given the current agenda of UniteWomen.org that a person who cares about women's rights wouldn't join NOW. None of us as individuals, or as entire stetes, who have left UniteWomen.org aren't making major commitments to another organization like NOW, to starting separate state organizations dealing with state issues, or to electing women political candidates.

I am perfectly free to use my energy and substantial web audience to promote organizations that earned my recommendation.I do not recommend organizations that purge and ban women who ask questions of a respectful nature. My reputation in the Middle East -- where I am also banned, not just UniteWomen.org -- is sterling, with regard to my work in women's rights. The content on this website is outstanding in promoting women's rights. Just now, we are taking up the case of a young woman condemned in Sudan to death by stoning. Don't lecture me on women's rights, Angela. Seriously.

It's fine for you to align yourself as you choose. After banning me totally without proof of any kind and then not moving to clear my name in any way, I don't owe Karen Teegarden any more consideration than she decided she owed me. If she can't be bothered to clear my name, I'll tell my own story, thank you. It's my website and readers expect the truth of me.

Countless women worked their hearts out for UniteWomen.org on April 28. This is how we've been paid back -- with a purge. The story is every bit as bad as Komen and if Karen and Anita haven't learned anything from the Komen way of structuring an organization, that's their problem, not mine.

If my article comes up before all the other articles about UniteWomen.org, that's Anita's problem. She's the SEO/marketing ace. If I had run a national rally in 50 states on April 28, you can rest assured that I wouldn't be put out of the Google SEO rankings so easily. Anita is an alleged marketing genius, so I'm sure she'll figure out a solve.

Good luck to you in your future work on behalf of women in America and around the world. There's plenty of space for all of us.

May 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterAnne

Anne,
Thanks so much for an articulate and honest article about what really happened at UniteWomen.org. No one should use this organization as a reference and I would never put it on a resume. The national leadership has trashed what was just a fledgling organization and alienated many professional and well-connected women, women much more powerful than Anita Doll Fiouris or Karen Teegarden.

Angela, you would do yourself a favor to remove that organization from your resume as it will only hurt your chances for employment once they begin checking Twitter, Facebook and general Google searches. These are all standard procedures at HR departments for most major companies. Unite Women's leadership created this situation with very well-known women who have national reputations and powerful friends. Place the blame where it belongs, at the feet of Karen and Anita. Anne only wrote the truth.

May 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin Lish

The very existence of truth is hotly contested, though you hang your hat on it. Is there some other way for me to help you see that this isn't about Karen Teegarden or what you think of her? Clearly my words are being wasted on those who do not even bother to listen or show any empathy as you did not at all address my questions to you and only reply with condescension and unwavering self-righteousness.

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Vogel

Angela. Your point is made. Clearly many, many women share my bad UniteWomen.org experience. the website is mine; this column is mine; I've worked really hard for five years on this website to earn my following on behalf of women's issues.

I don't know your own credentials, experience or age -- although I understand it's very young. Mind you, I have many young women who look up to me and the way I relate to the world. For you to negate my judgement, experience, the truth of my own insights is your option, but there's nothing more to say. Why an organization would ban a woman with my experience and 350,000 engaged readers on women's rights without a phone call, when I did NOTHING wrong shows that there are no democratic principles operating at UniteWomen.org.

The proposed organization chart show that no democratic priniciples are operating. The proposed list of "nos" that a state director must sign is totally dictatorial. Karen said it was akin to ones signed in other organizations. I say produce those documents from other organizations, because I don't believe every detail of free speech is abridged. And it came out this weekend that UniteWomen.org was running background checks on members with nothing to do with money or kids AND not telling them. To date, I haven't published any of those documents, although I have them.

The fact the you want to advocate for UniteWomen.org is your option. This is not the kind of organization I promote or endorse. I don't know what you think UniteWomen.org is but the thousands of women (and men) all over America who rallied on April 28.

Were those women consulted about how to build the organization? No. Do those women have any voice in policy matters? No.

For that reason, most of us who have left have rejoined our local NOW chapters -- a group that elects its representatives -- and has free and open discussions. I was at one last week. Even national president Terry O'Neil's meetings are on webcams across her states. Erin above moved to start a NOW chapter in the State of Tennessee yesterday.

Not answering your questions above, which suggests that we all should keep silent because a few of our young women might not get jobs -- having worked on April 28 to get experience for their resume, well you should have done your home work.

Had you done so, you would know that from day one UniteWomen.org has made bad decisions. Their first choice was to buy a url unitewomen.org, closely associated with a Christian women's organizations unitewomen.com. That is an epic mistake that an organization proposing to become the next major organization for American women chooses a url that is a heart beat away from our opposition.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would wonder what the heck is going on. I confronted Karen and Anita with this issues after the daughter of one of America's most prominent feminists and Salon journalist Rebecca Traister accused UniteWomen.org of being an arm of the right wing posing as something else. This is the caliber of women I was dealing with.

So concerned about how the organization would look to the outside world, I purchased at my own expense complete sets of urls (.com, .net, and .org) and checked all their SEO to be sure their was no contamination with unitewomen.com. My first suggestion was that Karen and Anita buy them, but when they didn't after 24 hrs. I did buy them to protect the organization from the right wing buying them and also to keep that option for UniteWomen.org, never dreaming they would continue with the name.

Because they did go off on another name, temporarily -- We Are Women March, or something like that with a new website -- it wasn't that Karen and Anita weren't willing to change the name. Why a perfectly clean Unite4Women.org didn't interest them is something I don't understand. You must ask Anita and Karen. It's on record that I bought clean urls and offered to transfer then to Karen and Anita at no charge.

If I read you correctly, Angela, you suggest that I should be sympathetic to some young women starting out their careers, who might be hurt in a Google search which would produce UniteWomen.com anyway in a search for UniteWomen.org. It's Karen and Anita who knowingly put you into that reality, not me. It was there long before we got going, the the fact that the duo believes they can build a national organization in the digital age with a Christian women, anti-choice .com as the lead name on their .org name is either incompetent or suspicious. You tell me, Angela.

Prospective employers also look for young women smart enough to do their research and homework once a situation goes volatile with a purge of members. Your continued defense of an organization built on such shaky principles might do you more harm than the comments you are making defending the organization.

Oh, and if the organization wasn't about Karen Teegarden and Anita Doll Fiouris, they wouldn't be appointing every person of influence and responsibility, especially at state level. They would stop banning people who ask questions and move to at least let the states elect their own leaders. The women who did all the work have no voice in electing the people who represent them.

You seem to have no problem with a lack of democratic principles in the organizations you work with. Some prospective employers may not like this lack of fact checking. I and the people who have commented here do.And that is the key difference between us. Regards, Anne

May 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterAnne

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