An InkWell reader who wishes to remain anonymous e-mails to comment on our post on Women’s eNews’s latest list of the top 21 female “leaders” who will be marching the rest of us through the 21st century (see These Are Supposed to Women’s “Leaders”?). We at InkWell were tickled by the sheer obscurity–although distinct political correctness–of nearly all the women selected by Women’s eNews to be our feminist Fuehrerinnen. One of them, television documentarian Sharon Sopher, stakes her claim to fame on the fact that when she discovered she was HIV-positive, decided to…make a movie about herself!

Anonymous writes: 

“Sharon Sopher, (the filmmaker who turned the camera on herself), might be a formidable artist, but her common sense is lacking. She contacted HIV by getting an injection at a ‘health care’ facility in Africa. She did make a good film about South Africa, and worked for NBC news for years. But who in their right mind would get an injection in Africa? She complained that no U.S. doctor, while encouraging her to get vaccinated here before she left, ever told her to carry her own needle. It’s the U.S. medical establishment’s fault. While I’m sorry for her pain, AIDS is a preventable disease. She could have shown more sense.”

Anonymous is correct. According to an earlier Women’s eNews report, Sopher did indeed contract the HIV virus while in South Africa during the mid-1980s making a documentary about apartheid–although she claims that no physician ever told her that it’s a good idea to take along your own syringes if you plan to get medical tests in Third World countries where the public hygiene isn’t so hot. The film won an Emmy in 1996 and was nominated for an Oscar, but Sopher says that some 27 doctors misdiagnosed her condition over five years. Blaming the medical establishment sounds as though it’s part of Sopher’s new film “HIV Goddesses: Stories of Courage.”

Besides being a self-deifier, Sopher is a piece of work in other ways. Women’s eNews reports on her life in television during the early 1970s:

“She reached New York…and worked, among other things, on a CBS talk show called ‘Woman!,’ which men in the office termed the ‘Dyke Van Dick’ show.

“In 1973 Sopher was hired by NBC, where she produced the first report on vaginal self-exams, enabling her to hire the first all female news crew.”

And during the mid-1970s, Sopher was in Zimbabwe televising and lionizing the future Marxist dictator-for-life Robert Mugabe. Last week Mugabe tightened his regime’s control of the media by making it a crime to be a journalist in Zimbabwe without a government license. That’s so no one can say anything mean about him. According to, Mugabe’s new media law also”bars foreign journalists from working permanently in the southern African country.” Maybe Sopher should next turn her camera on herself and the irony of her no longer being able to report on her favorite strongman.