Katha Pollitt (born 1949) is an American feminist writer. She is best-known for her column “Subject to Debate” in The Nation magazine but has also published in numerous other periodicals, including The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Ms. magazine and the New York Times. In 1994, she published Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism, a collection of nineteen essays that appeared in The Nation and in other journals. Most of her Nation essays from 1994 to 2001 were collected in Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics and Culture, published by Modern Library. Before she became a regular columnist for The Nation, Pollitt edited its Books & the Arts section, and won a National Book Critics Circle Award for a volume of her poetry, Antarctic Traveller, in 1983.
Much of Pollitt’s writing is in defense of contemporary feminism and other forms of “identity politics,” against perceived misimpressions by critics from all over the political spectrum; other frequent topics include abortion, the media, U.S. foreign policy, the politics of poverty (especially welfare reform), and human rights movements the world over. Her more controversial writings include “Not Just Bad Sex” (1993), a negative review of Katie Roiphe’s The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism on Campus, and “Put Out No Flags” (2001), a Nation essay on post-9/11 America in which she explained her refusal to fly an American flag out her living room window.
Pollitt was once married to Randy Cohen, author of The New York Times Magazine column “The Ethicist,” with whom she has a daughter.