Links for Sexy Feminists: Rihanna’s Sexual Exploits, Political Slut-Shaming, and more …

We cannot improve upon this Jezebel headline: Rihanna Does Whatever She Wants With Her Vagina and for Some Reason That’s a Problem: We’ll just add that we are always in defense of Rihanna, as we said back when she was taking crap for her song “S&M.”

We’re always for better body image: YourTango gives us some ideas about how to get there.

What giving up shopping for clothes does for your budget and psyche: Blogger Lyz Lenz realizes the power of not binging on cheap, trendy items whenever the urge hits.

Down with the “Mommy Wars” already: Finally, someone says something smart about them: Amy Allen writes in The New York Times that the conflict isn’t woman vs. woman; it’s women vs. inadequate family leave policies and childcare support in this country.

Down with slut-shaming women in political debates, too: Katha Politt urges us all to stand with conservative pundit S.E. Cupp, who argued in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood and thus found herself depicted in Hustler magazine with a penis in her mouth. Women should be allowed to express their beliefs, whatever they are, without being subjected to degrading sexual images.


That Time Cover and the Threat of Fear-Based Headlines

We’ve all seen the now-infamous Time cover of the model-pretty mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son, looking at the camera as if to say, “what of it, bitch?” Her conviction is actually kind of awesome (my philosophy on mothering is similar to the one I hold for feminism: There is no such thing as “the right way” and every woman reserves the right to make her own decisions for her relationships, career, body and family.) I take no offense to the image of a woman breastfeeding, even if her child is standing on a chair. And the article, its sidebars and even the supporting online content Time produced on the subject, attachment parenting, are great reads. They offer a well-balanced look at this social phenomenon that is certainly worth an expose in the nation’s leading newsweekly. It’s the words next to her that are offensive: “Are You Mom Enough?” the cover screams, presumably, at any woman who’s had a baby or is contemplating having one.

It’s provocative, it got everyone talking and sales and downloads of the issue broke records. Magazines are in the business of selling issues, so, job: done. I get it, I’ve often been tasked with writing headlines to do just that very thing. But this one teeters on an ethical tightrope. Tabloids and tabloid-y news media often prey on women’s insecurities to sell their content. But when the offending hook comes from a source that identifies as a serious, journalistic enterprise, there’s real harm being done. [Read more...]

A Few of Our Favorite New Vibrators

Buying a vibrator can be a tricky task — just because it looks cool in your friendly neighborhood lady-friendly sex toy store (or online) doesn’t mean it’ll be great once you get it home. Too strong, not strong enough, too complicated — picking a vibrator is almost as complicated as picking a man. Luckily, we’ve tried several out so you don’t have to. Here are a few of our recent favorites:

Lelo Ina: We appreciate the sleek, modernist design of this easy-to-use vibrator. (We, personally, are not huge fans of vibrators that try too hard to look like penises. When we want the real thing, we’ll have it, thanks.) This two-pronged model allows for simultaneous vaginal and clitoral stimulation, though we happen to prefer just letting the vibrator work its clitoral magic and then call it a day. This more than does the job, with lots of fast/slow variations as well as several different kinds of rhythmic pulse. The up/down/left/right buttons on the Mac-inspired white plastic handle are very easy to use, and we love that this is part of a new crop of vibrators that charge up instead of requiring batteries. We don’t even want to figure out how to get batteries anymore, and there’s nothing sadder than your vibrator running out of charge when you want it most. Did we mention this also comes in three gorgeous colors?

We-Vibe 3: This design is so different that it’s a little intimidating at first: What to do with this purple, U-shaped, vibrating silicone thing? Turns out it’s pretty smart. One end goes inside, one goes outside, and you get that magical vaginal/clitoral stimulation in a way that doesn’t feel too forced. And yes, there’s even plenty of room left inside you to allow this to be, as the instructions tell you, “worn while making love.” (Being small, we were skeptical, but, yay, technology!) It’s also chargeable and comes with a cute little remote that makes it fun for your partner even if he/she is just watching (and controlling) from the sidelines. Most importantly, it works. And it, too, comes in three classy colors, complete with travel case!

BonBon: Brilliant — a vibrator that seems designed just to stimulate our clitoris, not to pretend to be a penis. It’s targeted, it works, it’s small, it’s quiet, and it’s powerful (though not too powerful). It also comes in a nice little storage pouch. Basically, it does everything we want a vibrator to do and nothing we don’t want a vibrator to do.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Cohabitation, Tucker Max shenanigans, and more …

YourTango tells us we can go ahead and live together: Studies say we won’t get any more divorced than people who don’t cohabitate before marriage, hurrah!

Jezebel reports: Tucker Max is still gross, and involving Planned Parenthood in his grossness.

The Feminism of The Beastie Boys. Jessica Valenti offers a beautiful tribute to the late Adam Yauch at The Nation. Not only does it feel great that one of our favorite groups of all time has made a difference in the world for women but it reminds us how important it is to allow anyone—famous hip-hop kids who once rapped about women as commodities or your everyday lady—to evolve. No one is born a perfect feminist, but everyone has the chance to become one and live a conscious, fair, just life.

Yay for female action heroes: Ian Grey reports on the Katniss/Lisbeth/etc. phenomenon for IndieWire.

President Obama stands up for gay rights. Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he believes gay couples should have the right to marry, period. He’s the first U.S. president in the history of the nation to do so. All we can say is: Fuck yeah, Mr. President! Maybe next we can pay women equally and enact a family leave policy.

We love comedian Katie Goodman: And wish we could go to her Improvisation for the Spirit workshop at the Omega Institute in upstate New York next week. Maybe you can!

Violence Against Women Act Hypocrisy: A Call to Action

A new Bill to reintroduce the Violence Against Women Act that is up for debate in Congress next week includes some heinous language. A sample:

It weakens or deletes entirely some of the vital improvements in the Senate bill, including the strong provisions that are designed to increase the safety of Native women and the needs of the LGBT community. The bill also contains damaging provisions that create obstacles for immigrant victims seeking to report crimes, increase danger for immigrant victims by eliminating important confidentiality protections, undermine effective anti-fraud protections, and roll back years of progress to protect the safety of immigrant victims.

This is antithetical to supporting violence against women. Call your representatives and tell them: fuck this shit! And do it soon; the bill goes up for committee next week.

Visit for an easy way to contact your representatives. Or target the key players involved here.


Feminism vs. Motherhood

It probably goes without saying that I believe feminism and motherhood are not mutually exclusive. But feminism continues to be targeted as the cause of parenting woes rather than the solution to them. Labored rant to come on the new Sexy Feminist sister blog, Stay tuned for launch this month.

I am impressed, however, by the balance and sound arguments in the New York Times‘s latest Room for Debate round table, “Feminism vs. Motherhood.” There’s an attachment parenting advocate who defends being feminist while breastfeeding and co-sleeping; an unapologetic workaholic mom who believes being the best that she can be is the best thing she can do for her children; a grandma who reminds us we need stop judging each other—a mom of a special-needs child echoes that sentiment; that lady who thinks French moms are the creme de la creme; and a mothering traditionalist (think: 1950s housewifery) who blames feminism for pretty much everything wrong with society and its children.

The latter argument is a given in this debate, and though hers is not alone in attacking feminism for causing women to devalue marriage and family, in this debate it’s hardly the loudest. Mostly because for perhaps the first time I’ve clicked on an article with a headline like “femimism vs. motherhood,” (and there seems to be a new one every day), I see  a wealth of perspectives. Though each essay was written and published independently, the series reads like a conversation. It gives me hope that we can have civil, educated, open-minded debates with other women on this topic. Because the one thing we all have in common—whether we sling our babies with us everywhere or formula-feed while working 60 hours a week—is that we all struggle with balancing the demands and importance of raising our children while maintaining our identities as individuals.

Doing both is perhaps the hardest thing about parenting and I believe the most important.

Your Women’s Health Checklist

May is Women’s Health Month. Here’s an essential checklist for every woman:

Get a pap smear and breast exam.

Get a mammogram if you’re in your 40s or above; immediately if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.

Have your cholesterol checked, eat heart healthy, exercise and reduce your stress. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women.

Support public health programs for women, advocate for and donate to Planned Parenthood, and contact your lawmakers to tell them you’re so not down with the government trying to diminish healthcare for women.

The next time you visit the doctor, do your research, seek second opinions and ask tons of questions. Advocate for your body’s well-being and health; it’s the only one you’ve got.

Switch to our mobile site