Links for Sexy Feminists: Contraception, the male gaze, porn on planes, and more …

Chris Piascik sums up the contraception/Planned Parenthood debate in a drawing: “If this doesn’t describe out of touch with Americans, I don’t know what does.”

Jezebel’s Lindy West gets transcendent picking apart a douchey Globe and Mail piece: “Titled ‘Why men can’t—and shouldn’t—stop staring at women,’ the piece attempts to make a reasoned argument for why the male gaze isn’t creepy (in fact, men are doing society hella favors!), but instead reads like an episode of Law & Order: SVU (one of the ones where Liv uses her sexuality as a weapon and it backfires and Elliot has to rescue her).” Her evisceration only gets better from there.

We heart mentoring young feminists: And we kinda want to take this debate workshop that Ms. talks about here even though we’re grown women.

An interesting women-in-tech mini-controversy: Two recent semi-public sexist incidents in the overwhelmingly male programming industry prompted a swift and decisive outcry — refreshingly, not from feminist agitators, but from the industry itself, as reported by blogger Brian Curtin. This seems like good news — if one company is so quick to denounce another for “hiring women to bring you beer,” that means lots of these places genuinely want to welcome women to their high-paying, in-demand ranks.

Yeah, we’re gonna have to support a no-porn-on-planes rule: We’re neither prudes nor Miss Manners, but it just seems rude to peruse porn when you’re crammed into those tiny seats so close together. YourTango has more on one women’s crusade against such antics.


Feminist or Not?: ‘The Hunger Games’

There’s no doubt that The Hunger Games is helping prove to the world the power of women. This film, based on a book by a female author, and revered with cultlike obsession by millions of women around the world, just set box office records previously reserved for boy wizards and a sinking cruise ship. But is The Hunger Games, and its bow-and-arrow-wielding heroine, Katniss Everdeen, a pro-woman feminist powerhouse or another example of oversexualized, uberviolent excess? We have mixed emotions about the whole thing, so here are the two sides. What do you think?


Katniss Everdeen is a badass. The Hunger Games is often compared to Twilight because both are female-targeted fantasy fiction, written by a woman with a female lead character. But Katniss is no Bella Swan. Rather than moping and brooding after an aloof, abusive guy, er, vampire, Katniss is a little more focused on saving the world. She’s the hero of the story not because she’s a woman but because she’s brave, loyal, determined and human. She fights for good, stands up to evil and the focus of her character is that she’s a warrior, rather than a sex object (we say a big thank-you that Jennifer Lawrence’s breasts weren’t forced to be a supporting character like so many other action ladies’ have been—yeah, like, all of them.) One feminist blogger even noted that the gender of this character could be exchanged without changing the story at all. That’s pretty revolutionary. [Read more...]

The Sexy Feminist Gets a ‘Reality Check’

We recently had the pleasure of joining David Fletcher on his show, “Reality Check,” which airs on Public Reality Radio. He’s a feminist dad of five daughters and an example of why we need men to be an active part of the feminist movement. We talked about Rush Limbaugh, Women’s History Month, the feminist/parenting dilemma and why we need better feminist icons in kid culture. Listen in here and help us extend the conversation via @thesexyfeminist.

Another ‘Having It All’ Myth Promotes Media Illiteracy

Guess what, ladies: you can totally have it all! You’re winning! You’ve come a long way, ba… You know the hard sell by now. Modern media pays as much attention to disproving the need for feminism as it does to the season finale of The Bachelor—an oxymoronic scenario if ever there was one.

The Atlantic is the latest to send this dangerous message. In an article entitled, “A Working Woman’s World: Out-Learning and Under-Earning Men,” the mag outlines the results of a poll that declares, among other things, that 75 percent of women believe they can advance as far as their ambitions take them in the workplace, regardless of their gender. And 71 percent report never being discriminated against because of their gender.

Wow, progressive stuff, right? Except: wrong. This “trend” story is based on a poll of 1,000 people. This sample can hardly represent the majority of women in our country, much less make a grand statement about the state of gender equality. But this happens all the time. Little nuggets of information are lifted from out-of-context quotes, articles published (but fact checked?) by other media or skewed polls such as this and picked up by news wires. They’re then published in national media (again: fact checked?) and inspire headlines such as, “feminism, who needs ya?” or declare that, “women can have it all!”

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Links for Sexy Feminists: PETA’s Sexism, Kristen Schaal Love, Motherhood vs. Feminism, More

Ugh, we’ve long wrestled with the PETA problem. That is, the organization that does the good, important work of standing up for abused and neglected animals is kind of a sexist douchebag. Can we maybe send a message without objectifying women, just once? Feministing puts it best: “No matter what your non-profit works on, no matter how good the cause, no matter how important the activism, no matter how badass of a social justice crusader you think you are, no matter how progressive you identify, it is NEVER OK to throw women under the bus.”

Kristen Schaal has long been one of our feminist crushes and we’re thrilled we can now enjoy her gawky brilliance on our favorite feminist TV show, “30 Rock.” But just as we loved Tina Fey’s cameos on her old gig at SNL once she left, we hope Schaal never stops being The Daily Show‘s Senior Women’s Issues Correspondent. This week she illuminated the fact that Republican policies on women are far more offensive and damaging than anything an overweight talk show host can say.

We recently came across this article from 2008 (Google Alerts are weird sometimes). It bears noting for its controversial, fascinating topic. In it, the author, Rebecca Walker, talks about how her mother, famous feminist author Alice Walker, ruined her childhood because of her radical feminism. Walker says her mother viewed motherhood as a form of servitude and disowned her children so that she could realize her feminist identity and enjoy the independence she felt she deserved. It’s fascinating and complicated—you have to read it. Then tell us what you think @thesexyfeminist or @femimommy, where we talk about motherhood and feminism.

This week in Rachel Maddow: The thinking woman’s talking head answers Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire this month. Here’ our favorite tidbit: “Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue? A: That’s easy: chastity.” OK, that one is tied with this: “Q: What is your greatest fear? A: Becoming dickish.”

There’s not nearly enough feminist comediennes in the world. Here’s a new fave of ours: Katie Goodman and her, “Probably Gay – The Homophobia Song.”

Obama Campaign Targets Women: Thanks, Mr. Limbaugh!

The Obama campaign is launching a concerted effort this week to target women, The New York Times reports. And as long as this isn’t the kind of woman-targeting that involves trying super-hard to sell us yogurt, this seems like great news. Not because we love being focus-grouped, but because we love being listened to. And the fact that Obama’s handlers see an opportunity in this all-too-long conservative War on Women means that we’re winning.

Many have wondered why Rush Limbaugh’s recent attempt at slut-shaming law student/contraception rights superhero Sandra Fluke caused so much uproar. That is, they’ve wondered why this particular “mouth dump,” as Jon Stewart recently called Limbaugh’s regular diatribes, of all his disgusting mouth dumps, got so much attention. Was it because Fluke is a private citizen, as opposed to regular political targets like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton? Maybe. But I suspect it’s because he was calling her a “slut” for wanting basic insurance coverage of contraception, something most women in America want. I think it’s because in calling her a slut, he was calling the vast majority of American women sluts. And we don’t love that.

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Ways Women’s History Is Cool

As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, we look back at some of the ways we’ve covered ladies throughout time — click on the links to read more about …

Women who served in the SS as death camp guards. Yes, even they battled sexism amid the horrific deeds they committed.

Gay women dealing with the pressures of newly legalized gay marriage. Our writer faces down suddenly being “traditional.”

Manifesta author Jennifer Baumgardner on Third Wave feminism and beyond. She’s psyched to see where the “Fourth Wave” takes us.

Feminist icons from kid culture. In summary, Miss Piggy rules.

The best feminist books of all time. There’s no better time to pick up classics like Women, Race, & Class, Backlash, and Female Chauvinist Pigs.

‘Game Change’: An Almost-Sympathetic Sarah Palin

Granted, HBO’s Game Change is no great feat of filmmaking. It offers little new insight into the Sarah Palin origin story. And yet I found it compulsively watchable, for two related reasons: because Palin makes for good TV, even when she’s being portrayed by someone else; and because Julianne Moore is doing the portraying.

Palin is no feminist icon, no matter what she tries to tell you. But her story is laced with feminist implications, and that’s what made revisiting this terrifying episode in our history — you know, that time when she was almost a heartbeat away from the presidency — compelling to watch with the added insight of retrospect. She was recruited by the McCain campaign, we are told clearly by the film, because the Republican senator was woefully behind in polling with women. And yet she was the epitome of setting back the women’s movement: More anti-choice than her running mate, she refused to even stand on a stage with someone who was pro-life. Not to mention that she did women no favors with her lack of basic current-events knowledge, an unfortunate pairing with her stellar looks. It all only compounded the worst female stereotypes: She was, we learn, a dumb broad with loads of sex appeal and charisma.

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Happy Feminist Pride Day, Sexy Feminists!

Photo by A. Jesse Jiryu Davis

We hope it’s clear from our name that WE ARE FEMINISTS, and we think it’s important that every woman in favor of equal rights calls herself one, too. We also hope you all declare your feminist pride today for Feminist Coming Out Day, International Women’s Day, whatever you want to call it. To not call yourself a feminist implies there’s something wrong with being one — we need to own the word and fight for what it means. In the past year, SlutWalks swept the nation, and that’s totally cool — let’s own “slut,” too, while we’re owning things — but good lord, we hope we can embrace “feminist” if we can embrace “slut.” And yes, Rush Limbaugh, we just called ourselves sluts. Because, of course, we’re assuming, due to recently highly publicized events, that being a slut means standing up for women’s rights and being very brave.

So: Happy International Women’s Day, feminists, sluts, and all!

Oh, and if you’d like to buy one of our cute shirts like we’re wearing in this photo, please visit our CafePress store.

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