The Best Sexy Feminist Holiday Gift You Can Give. Period.

Last year we did a feminist gift guide for the holidays, and it still holds up, so check it out if you’re looking for ideas for stuff you buy in a store or online and wrap up.

But we’re pretty sure we’ve now come up with the best gift you can give any sexy feminist in your life, period. And it costs … nothing! We’re now collecting submissions from our favorite writers and readers — anywhere from a few sentences to an essay (let’s keep it to 1,000 words or so) — that salute the sexiest feminists we know. Not the famous kind, the kind in our everyday lives. The kind you want to give a gift to: the gift of your words of appreciation. We’ll run them on the site, and then … poof. You have your gift. You can print it out and frame it and wrap it up, or simply give her the link when the time is right. We’ll keep putting them up from now through Dec. 25; we’ll be happy to run them on a specific day if you’d like.

Send them to us at: editors [at] sexyfeminist [dot] com


Links for Sexy Feminists: Porn stars’ self-esteem, the alleged ‘War on Men,’ and more …

Female Porn Stars Are Doing Fine, Thanks: A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research says they actually have higher self-esteem than average, better body images, and more positive outlooks on life, reports. So much for the, as io9 calls it, “Damaged Goods Hypothesis” about girls who go into porn.

Religious Freedom vs. Obamacare: Jezebel asks, “When will we grow up, get real, and stop pretending that nonsensical religious beliefs are just as important as women’s health?” We answer: Hopefully, soon. Realistically? It’ll be a while.

Just FYI: There’s this whole dust-up online this week because notorious anti-feminist/Phyllis Schlafly spawn Suzanne Venker wrote a feminist-baiting piece about a purported “War on Men” for Fox News. Here’s some info about it on HuffPo if you want to catch up, but we don’t really feel like engaging anymore about it except to point out: Schlafly. Venker. Fox News. Are we really talking about this?

Obama’s Gay Rights To-Do List: From The New Yorker.

Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Goes to Court: The New York Times has more.

Random Lessons in Feminist History: Harriet Tubman

Yes, we all know, or pretend to know, who Harriet Tubman is. We know she was in our Social Studies book; we know she was black; we might remember that she had to do with abolition. But we’ll remind you: Tubman, a former slave, was a Union spy during the Civil War who helped to rescue dozens, possibly even hundreds, of other slaves via the Underground Railroad. She was beaten while a child slave, to the point where she sustained a bad enough head injury to give her recurring visions and sleeping spells throughout her life. She eventually escaped from her Maryland masters to Philadelphia, then returned to rescue her family. She married a free black man, John Tubman, and took his name. She eventually moved on to other families, gaining the nickname “Moses” for helping so many to cross to freedom; she once boasted to Frederick Douglass that she “never lost a single passenger.” After abolition, she became a women’s suffrage activist, proof of the inextricable link between the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Mankind vs. Humankind, OTC birth control, and more …

Yeah, it’s important not to use “mankind” to refer to all humans: Even the scholars say so, io9 tells us. Seriously, it’s not that hard to make your language gender-inclusive, and it seems “silly” only when you’re one of the “man”s already included.

And yeah, we’re not about to suddenly call the internet a bastion of “niceness” either: We’re backing Jezebel on this one: Trolls live on.

OB-GYNs say the pill should be over-the-counter: We guess we’ll take the convenience factor even if it means we’d have to pay for it again. Especially after the fiasco our pharmacy experience was today. Self breaks down why OTC birth control would rule.

Another lady in charge of something major: The nation’s largest bank gets a new CFO, HuffPo reports.

Lincoln tries to remake First Lady Mary Todd: It doesn’t quite work though, says The New Yorker.

Sexy Feminists Read: ‘Airbrushed Nation: The Lure & Loathing of Women’s Magazines’

We’re sometimes-proud, sometimes-guilty junkies of women’s magazines, so we couldn’t wait to get our hands on Jennifer Nelson’s new book Airbrushed Nation, in which she gives Glamour, Cosmo, et. al. a critical once-over. We talked to Nelson about the good, the bad, the unrealistic, and the terrifying behind the glossies that rule so many women’s lives.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned about women’s magazines in researching this book?

I’d have to say what was most surprising was how I hadn’t even noticed that every topic was approached from a “women aren’t good enough as is” mantra. All the articles from relationship pieces to sex tips to dieting, beauty, aging, even health and money stories are approached as though women need to fix something about themselves, or everything about themselves. This is very different than how men’s magazines approach their stories. There, they think men are just glorious as they are, and they simply offer up articles to inspire, inform, provide humor, or entertain them. Women’s magazines call their books “service,” which is supposed to mean that the stories provide advice and a take away for everything you read, but service has really become another word for makeover.

Why is it so important to look at what women’s magazines are doing? Does anyone take them seriously anyway?

Well, yes actually, that’s the problem—women are taking them seriously apparently. Research has found that after one to three minutes of paging through a chick slick, women feel worse about themselves than they already did. And that three quarters of the cover lines on these magazines provide at least one message about altering your body via beauty products, dieting, exercise or cosmetic surgery. That’s a lot of negative messaging women absorb for simply
browsing through the silky pages. Young women and girls seem to be most affected but that’s where it starts—when we’re young. No matter which magazine you read from Seventeen to Good Housekeeping, typically thought of for older women, the message is the same, the mantra that we’re not good enough and that every photo needs to be airbrushed is drilled into our psyche from the teen years and beyond.

[Read more...]

Links for Sexy Feminists: Geek girls, healthy cities, and more …

An interesting take on the ever-ongoing ladies-in-tech debate: “The Myth of the Fake Geek Girl” on explains why ladies still have a hard time in hacker subculture (and, tangentially, why that Facebook movie was so sexist). If you’ve ever hung out at a web developers’ party (and we have, for significant-other reasons), you know what a rare creature we still are at these things.

In the exhausting rape news of the week: Jezebel reports on police’s massive bungling of a rape case in Saratoga Springs, NY — despite it being one of those straightforward, classic rape cases that idiot politicians seem to prefer (woman attacked violently by stranger … you know, “rape rape”), police still didn’t think it was important enough to alert the public or try to apprehend the guy.

Self names healthiest U.S. cities for women: Congrats, ladies of San Jose, CA!

More on Petraeus-induced sexism: Amy Davidson at The New Yorker looks at the difference between the Petraeus-affair scandal and Ike’s dalliances, and raises another question, at least for us: With men always sending shirtless, and other-garment-less, photos of themselves around the interwebs, why is it that the women in these affairs get the slut-shaming? Just asking.

Single motherhood in Syria: With men disappearing in Syria, The New York Times‘ Nicholas Kristof looks at the women and children they leave behind.

Best Feminist Books of 2012

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With our own book coming early next year (that's it, above!), we wanted to acknowledge our sisters in publishing -- the best feminist books of the past year. Tell us if we missed one of your favorites! (We can't read everything, alas.)

Links for Sexy Feminists: Petraeus Scandal Sexism, Consequences of Denied Abortions, Victoria’s Secret Sucks

New abortion study shows we need to let women have abortions. A new finding by public health researchers with the UC San Francisco group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) lays out the consequences of denying women abortions. The highlights: The majority of these women ended up in poverty, stayed in abusive relationships, were unemployed, on public assistance and showed signs of mental health issues. Considering most of these women cited reasons of financial concern, lack of stability in their homes, or just feeling that they were not ready to have children as reasons to terminate their pregnancies, it makes sense that when their gut instincts were rejected there would be damaging consequences.

Victoria’s Secret sucks. For the record: We are officially never buying underthings from Victoria’s Secret ever again. We’ve been on the fence for a long time—questionable treatment of women in ad campaigns, cheap stuff that doesn’t really fit right—but this latest racist move (and there have been several) seals the deal. Dressing up half-naked models as angels is fine. Maybe. Perhaps the religious community has something to say about that. Anyway, dressing up half-naked models as “sexy Natives” by appropriating sacred cultural regalia of Native Americans—who, can we agree, have been screwed enough already—is just offensive and wrong.

Petraeus scandal: sexist already? We have a message to all the media covering this: calm the fuck down! Yes, there are important national security issues involved here, but mostly it’s about grownups having sex. And it’s beginning to border on slut-shaming. We’re not defending Paula Broadwell—or any woman who sleeps with a married man: seriously, there are more options—but things can get real sexist here, real quick. Already the focus is shifting to the “other women” rather than the man—you know, the guy who ran the Central Intelligence Agency—who initiated this whole mess. Let’s not lose focus, media, and perhaps also cover the rest of the world. Hey, look, (sound of keys jangling) Syria and Israel are about to go to war!

Feminist Wins on Election Night = Wins For The USA

There’s no sense waxing nonpartisan as a feminist. The line is clear, it has been drawn by both sides, and women—the electorate majority today and for many, many years to come—have spoken: We demand equal rights and respect. When faced with sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and misogyny: We shut that whole thing down! Major wins from election night 2012:

President Barack Obama re-elected for a second term. We mean, phew! Healthcare, equal rights, immigrant rights, preservation of critical social programs, the future of education, humane diplomacy… the issues go on and on and on and we have a chance at seeing the change that takes more than one term to affect. No pressure, Mr. President, but let’s go on and get to all of that.

Elizabeth Warren. The rockstar economist/feminist/consumer advocate/badass beats out incumbent Scott Brown for a senate seat in Massachusetts. We think Ted Kennedy is smiling in the Kennedy compound from beyond. People are already rallying for a Warren presidential run in 2016.

Tammy Baldwin. The new senator from Wisconsin becomes the nation’s first openly gay member of Congress. She’s also the first female senator from the state.

Claire McCaskill. Speaking of shutting it down, Missouri voters rejected Todd Akin, he of the famous “legitimate rape” comment, and re-elected this progressive democrat to a second term.

Gay rights. Maryland, Maine and Washington legalize gay marriage. Dear, The Rest of The Country: Get. it. together!

Marijuana. It’s not about getting high, people. It’s about making our criminal justice system a bit more justified, and allowing terminal patients access to a proven method of relief. Colorado, Washington and Massachusetts decriminalize marijuana in varying degrees. Now, let’s fix those mandatory minimums on crack and cocaine, shall we?

Democracy! Young people turned out in record numbers. African-Americans stood in line to let their voices be heard. Hispanics made sure their 17% of the nation spoke up. Patriotism has gone viral and it’s a beautiful thing.

An Election Eve Reminder

About the difference between our candidates, and our current parties, from the hilarious Katie Goodman:

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