How to Be a Feminist Boyfriend

After having a few recent conversations about whether men can even be feminist (The Sexy Feminist says: YES) and stumbling across this plea for guy-friendly feminist reading from a concerned girlfriend, we got to thinking: What does it take to be a feminist boyfriend? Let us count the ways:

1. Read feminist sites. We recommend this one, of course, but there’s also Feministing, Slate’s DoubleX blog, and many others. And we don’t say this as our No. 1 tip just to keep ourselves in business — reading sites that filter news through a feminist perspective is the quickest, easiest way to get a feel for, well, just how far we still have to go. He’ll get exactly why we still need feminism after spending an afternoon reading about Dominic Strauss-Kahn, Planned Parenthood cuts, and, ugh, Charlie Sheen. Hopefully he’ll also come out a fan of Bridesmaids, Tina Fey, and Jane Fonda.

2. Make sure you’re giving her what she wants, and not what she doesn’t want, in bed. This comes down to talking. It’s fun. Have some wine and discuss what you both like (and don’t). Then everyone’s on the same page. It’s so easy to lose track of equality in bed, and while we aren’t advocating strict and literal equality (if you like being tied up, ladies, go for it!) we think the key is making sure everyone is equally satisfied, whatever that means.

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What Everyone Thinks of the Coverage of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Rape Case…Including Feminists

There’s a good chance Dominique Strauss-Kahn isn’t guilty of raping a hotel maid, at least according to actor and economist Ben Stein. He’s not alone though. Many of France’s journalists and politicians have expressed the same apprehension — so many, in fact, that French feminist groups have gathered to rise up against the sexism ingrained in their incredulity.

The prevailing attitude in the United States is that Mr. Strauss-Kahn is guilty. The evidence is stacked against him, and he has long had a reputation of being aggressive toward women. In an article published by the American Spectator, though, Ben Stein (whom you may recall as Ferris Bueller’s economics teacher: “Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?…”) has offered up multiple reasons why former International Monetary Fund head and alleged rapist DSK could very well be innocent. For one, Stein asks: “The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn ‘forced’ the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife? He’s a short fat old man.” Oh, so, because he wasn’t armed, he couldn’t possibly have raped her. That makes sense. From now on, if an alleged rapist did not have a knife or a gun, we might as well just throw the case away!

He goes on to assert, “In what possible way is the price of the hotel room relevant except in every way: this is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the haves, and that’s what it’s all about. A man pays $3,000 a night for a hotel room? He’s got to be guilty of something. Bring out the guillotine.” So then, as soon as he stepped foot into his luxury suite everyone began plotting against him. “This guy thinks he deserves a hotel room like this? He thought wrong! The question is, what can we convict him of? Rape? Perfect!”

Finally, “In life, events tend to follow patterns. People who commit crimes tend to be criminals, for example. Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes?” Jon Stewart had a field day with this one, and came up with a list of all of the economists who have indeed been convicted of violent sex crimes. Hilariously, he concludes that, “Economists are the rapiest profession going”. (Watch the clip here.) [Read more...]

'Bridesmaids' Feminist Milestone

The new movie proves women are not only funny, but viable in a notoriously sexist industry. Here’s one feminist’s review:

You know what I think is the most radical thing about the movie ‘Bridesmaids’? That we know the names of the writers. (Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, if you somehow missed it.) That they are female writers is a cool bonus. As a writer, and a person who tends to think of herself as an individual who happens to be a woman, the fact that the writers of the screenplay are being talked about and lauded is a big deal.

As for the feminist debate surrounding the film, the state of affairs for women in the movie business must be really rough going (duh) if this movie doing well is causing this kind of fuss. It’s frightening, but if bigotry in Hollywood runs as deep as it appears, I’m not sure one hit flick is going to cause a sea change

Of course, I am rooting for whatever it takes for things to shift if a major way. In the meantime, I vote for seeing the movie because it’s entertaining. The acting is good. The writing is on point. In an early scene between best friends Annie and Lillian in which they are eating breakfast and discussing their love lives, I thought: Yes. They got it! They got what it means to have a best friend.

Also nice: The actors come off as real people; they don’t carry the star personas that interfere with you seeing them as believable in their roles (you know how, when you see a Jennifer Aniston movie all you can see is Jennifer Aniston?)

Oh, and on the whole bathroom humor issue. Of my female friends, I might be the only one who can’t stomach bodily function gags. Diarrhea makes me squirm. I don’t care if it’s a dude in “Dumb and Dumber” or ladies in haute couture. Judd Apatow said those scenes were more about the shame of bringing everyone out for cheap eats because that’s all you can afford. That, I get. I still think it was unnecessary, but my friend Carol, who chose the movie on the grounds that it could provide us with 90 or so minutes of uninterrupted Reese’s Pieces eating and pure escapism from the grind of our very full, but sometimes exhausting lives, thought it was a highlight.  — Joslyn Cassano

More “Bridesmaids” Fodder:

The New York Times interview with Apatow (um, why are they interviewing him and not Kristin Wiig for this movie?)
Alternet’s take.
Maureen Dowd takes it on.

Thanks for Making Readings & Rubdowns Fun as Always …

Our very fun, very sexy Memoir Edition on Wednesday at New York’s cozy Lolita Bar was made wonderful by our continuing cosponsors, the National Writers Collective, and by our fearless readers, Kiri Blakeley (CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT) and Steve Friedman (DRIVING LESSONS and LOST ON TREASURE ISLAND), as well as NWC alum Jeffrey Onorato (THE SIN OF ADDISON HALL). Best of all, of course, was the massage portion of the evening, brought to you by the magical hands of Schuyler Manhattan. (Truly, his hands are as magical as his name.) If you’re looking for wellness coaching, energy balancing, or massage, he is your guy and you should click here.

Happy Mother's Day!: 5 Reasons to Read Mom-to-Be Tina Fey's Hilarious Book

Our favorite feminist mom, Tina Fey, spent this Mother’s Day week being even awesomer than usual, wrapping up another season of 30 Rock with a hilariously weird finale and hosting Saturday Night Live for a third time — while six months pregnant. Oh, right, and she’s got the No. 1 book in the country, the uproarious essay collection Bossypants. Here, we celebrate it all with five feminist quotes to live by from her bestseller:

1. “If you are a woman and you bought this book for practical tips on how to make it in a male-dominated workplace, here they are. No pigtails, no tube tops. Cry sparingly. (Some people say, ‘Never let them see you cry.’ I say, if you’re so mad you could cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.) When choosing sexual partners, remember: Talent is not sexually transmittable. Also, don’t eat diet foods in meetings.”

2. On a group workshop exercise in which women were asked to write answers to the question, “When did you first feel like a grown woman and not a girl?”: “The group of women was racially and economically diverse, but the answers had a very similar theme. Almost everyone first realized they were becoming a grown woman when some dude did something nasty to them. ‘I was walking home from ballet and a guy in a car yelled, “Lick me!”‘ ‘I was babysitting my younger cousins when a guy drove by and yelled, “Nice ass.”‘ There were pretty much zero examples like, ‘I first knew I was a woman when my mother and father took me out to dinner to celebrate my success on the debate team.’ It was mostly men yelling shit from cars. Are they a patrol sent out to let girls know they’ve crossed into puberty? If so, it’s working.”

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