It's fair to say 1991 was a wildly different time, despite it being not too long ago. Three decades to be exact. But 30 years ago, Anita Hill was wide awake, progressive, and wonderfully loud before it was cool.
The longtime lawyer and professor is famous for testifying against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, claiming that he sexually harassed her during the period they worked alongside each other at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the '80s.
No one knew how to handle a case as delicate as this one in the early '90s, but at 35 years old, Anita knew the difference between right and wrong, even if the rest of America (both Republicans and Democrats) hadn't caught up to Anita's deep understanding of gender-based violence and favoritism.
Sadly, Clarence Thomas, who was appointed by the then-President George H.W. Bush, eventually did snatch that seat in the Supreme Court.
It seemed like a loss for Anita Hill, and for women in general, but her televised, unapologetic testimony shook the nation.
"He talked about pornographic materials depicting individuals with large penises or large breasts, involved in various sex acts," she testified at the time. "On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess."
Unbelievably, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch dared to propose the idea that some of her charges took inspiration from The Exorcist. No comment.
What is Anita Hill doing now?
For quite a while, Anita understandably removed herself from anything having to do with the public eye, as she was the target of relentless death threats and harassment subsequent to the hearings. It became so consuming that she even left her home of Oklahoma to pursue a career as a professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
She's now been teaching law, social policy, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies for 25 years.
Her sexual misconduct allegations were some of the first of its kind, definitely the first to oppose a Supreme Court confirmation vote, but Anita refused to let the outcome shake her.
Aside from being a professor, she became an outspoken activist and author, writing books, such as Speaking Truth to Power.
"What happened in October 1991 should not have happened to me or anyone else. Nevertheless, it did. . . . My life has been forever changed," Anita Hill wrote in her 1997 book.
And on Sept. 28, 2021, Anita will release her new book, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence. The book is not about her, per se, but rather it's an exploration of the evolution of her work and its impact, as well as a look into the origins of "gender violence," an umbrella term she uses quite often in her work.
"You have to measure your success by how much you achieve, and how effective you can be, not just by how much [these powerful people] have achieved or how effective they are. Because maybe, in fact, you can neutralize the impact of the stuff that they are doing or not doing," she told journalist Rebecca Traister.
"But I can’t give up, in part because I don’t think I could live with myself if I just said, "This is ridiculous. Nothing’s going to change.” And I don’t have to give up, because I know things have changed. This is a 30-year journey."
It's perhaps even a longer journey than that, but we believe in her power to shorten the road to equality.
Is Anita Hill married?
As for her personal life, well, Anita seems to be a very private person, likely wanting the focus to be on her mission to end gender violence and fight for equality. There's no evidence that she has a partner at the moment.
See, Anita dedicates her life to educating, both in and out of the classroom, and we applaud her for it.