Links for Sexy Feminists: Anthony Weiner, Jane Austen, and more

Still At It: Anthony Weiner has doubled down on his decision to stay in the mayoral race, a move some described as “delusional.” One of his former interns put out a calculated tell-all on her weeks with the campaign, which intriguingly mentions that Weiner called several interns “Monica.” His spokeswoman responded by calling the intern several slurs for women, and has since put up an apology of sorts involving an instagrammed shot of a “swear jar” full of cash and a credit card. Ugh. Can we please let the people of New York City focus on the real candidates?

Feminist Undies: Art student Shelly was fed up with mainstream stores’ selection, so she’s printing up underwear to empower the wearer with images of justly celebrated ladies.

Male Allies: A thought-provoking list of ways a man can try his hardest to be an ally to feminism. And we love this little gem on how a father plans to talk to his daughter about safely exploring her sexuality, when it’s age appropriate. We’re also digging this piece by Kareem Adbul-Jabbar on “coming out” as a fan of things besides sports, including the show “Girls.”

Throwback: This piece was written nearly ten years ago, yet the issues with feminists being called “sexist” are totally timely.

GLBT Rights Watch: Louisiana cops are harassing gay men using the obsolete sodomy law, which is still on the books. Meanwhile, Pope Francis says it is not up to him to judge gay priests, but women still can’t be priests. Hm.

Rape Joke: That’s the title of Patricia Lockwood’s poem recently published by the Awl, which has gotten a lot of press considering its genre.

Gift Registries: As modern feminists, we get that the registry for fancy household gadgets should be obsolete, but is asking for cash really any better?

Jane Austen: The celebrated English author will grace the 10 quid note starting in 2017. Sadly, the woman who led a campaign for this to happen received threats from male extremists.

‘Why Don’t You Just Give the Vagina You Have a Better Life?’

This and other important questions are raised by this 8-minute film we just discovered, Goodnight, Vagina, starring Cheryl Hines and Gary Cole. Reasons you should watch include the following lines: “I have a Bentley, so you know I’ve done this dozens of times.” And: “Your vagina died on the table.” Yep, there’s also a vagina funeral with a tiny coffin. We have a clip here; you can watch the whole thing here.

Dubai: Ancient Repressive Laws vs. Tourist Marketing

witw-logoNina Strochilic investigates the tension between Dubai’s conservative laws — a Norwegian woman was recently sentenced for claiming she was raped (though subsequently pardoned) — and its desire to be a world tourism hotspot. Women in the World has more.

Shattering The Myths About Weddings and Feminism

Oh, look, weddings are getting more feminist, cites a new survey that Time rightly calls out as “debatable at best.” The study points to a changing tide in wedding culture as follows: Fewer women are changing their names. Fewer women are wearing virginal white. Fewer women are blinging out on blood diamonds.

weddingYou can call these decisions feminist or you can just call them consequences of our socio-political times. Name identity has been fluid for years, and is not the sticking point it used to be for feminists–and can even be a feminist act. Wedding dresses are nothing if not a fashion statement, and with serious rock stars like Gwen Stefani and Tina Turner wearing frocks like these, why wouldn’t more women choose to be individual? (p.s., super feminist gals, those two). And diamonds are an expensive extravagance most can’t entertain in these hard economic times.

The study is narrow-minded and lazy, and, in my opinion, yet another way to co-opt the word, “feminism,” and misappropriate it for media attention. And, look, it worked.

The real feminist issues with marriage are as follows:

Equality. It needs to exist in the relationship, period. Whether it’s “man and wife,” “wife and wife,” or “man and man,” a feminist union is one that divides domestic and economic responsibilities equally.

Respect. Till death do you part or whatever, but you’d better treat that person fairly every day. Every party in a couple needs to advocate this for himself or herself.

Options. The more, the merrier. Couples can commit in more ways than traditional marriage. They can live together, blend families, join in domestic partnership, and even happily just date for as long as they damn well please. And gay couples are only just exploring their options.

The Culture of “The Breadwinner”: Despite career gains by women in nearly every industry, the wage gap still exists and workplace policies tend to view men as providers, and because of that they’re paid more. When women do decide to have children, they are subject to a whole new set of prejudices. Fighting for fair family leave is a feminist issue for everybody.

Less “Me”and More “We”: Stepping back from the princess fantasy of a bride’s “big day” is a move we could use to make for the sake of feminism–not to mention reality television programming. Is it ok to wear a pretty dress and exchange jewelry? Of course. But putting all the emphasis of the wedding on the bride, making it all about what she wears, how much she spent on her shoes, and the time it took to construct her hair is the antithesis of what marriage is supposed to be about. It also reinforces the sexist notion that a woman’s worth is all tied up in her looks.

Two of my favorite people are getting married next month and their wedding is shaping up to be one of the most personalized parties ever. There will be hand-painted celebration flags and flowers in hair (her), ice cream sandwiches and moonshine (him), and everybody they love standing around eating artisan tacos and cheering on their ability to share healthcare costs and someday buy a home together. And, of course, their lasting love.


The Fandom Menace


Nerd Girl

How do you experience being a “fan”?  Images of cheering for your favorite sports team or getting way too invested in the fates of fictional characters are probably filling your head right now.  And you would think that, as someone who loves something so much that you will swear at the television screen when your team does poorly or camp out for days on end outside a cinema to get tickets to see a film, you would do everything possible to encourage others to enjoy the object of your affection.  However, this isn’t always the case.  I’ve written before about the negative effects of gendering culture.  But I did not address how people can react when someone not of the “correct” gender expresses her fandom.  From bewilderment to attempts at exclusion, many women are finding that the greatest barriers to fully enjoying their passions are other so-called fans.

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An Ode to Odes to ‘Kisses Down Low’

We love Kelly Rowland’s new album, particularly her instructive “Kisses Down Low,” part of a great musical tradition of detailed step-by-steps about how to go down on a lady. In honor of Ms. Rowland’s breakout album and her celebration of female sexuality, we offer this list of Great Songs About Cunnilingus (which is to say: any songs about cunnilingus):


Bikini Kill, “Sugar”


Khia, “My Neck, My Back”


Madonna, “Where Life Begins”


Missy Elliott, “Work It”


Mariah Carey, “Bliss”


Lil’ Kim, “How Many Licks”


Christina Aguilera, “Woohoo”


Janet Jackson, “Anytime Anyplace”


Liz Phair, “Glory”


Foxy Brown, “Candy”


The Gossip, “Swing Low”


Sheena Easton, “Sugar Walls”


Lady Gaga, “Teeth”


“Raspberry Swirl,” Tori Amos

The Legacy of Helen Thomas

imagesHow long are we going to keep bombing Iraqis?
How does the President intend to commemorate “Mission Accomplished” after five years of death and destruction?
Is every Iraqi a terrorist?
The President has said publicly several times, in two consecutive news conferences a few months ago, and you have said over and over again, we do not torture. Now he has admitted that he did sign off on torture, he did know about it. So how do you reconcile this credibility gap?
Would the administration agree to a referendum in Iraq to see what the people really want?
In the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s succession of President George W. Bush, there was a period of public breast-beating on the part of reporters who bemoaned the easy ride Bush and his underlings had gotten on the war in Iraq. The American media should have asked tougher questions, investigated the administration’s claims more thoroughly, and been more willing to stand up to the man who styled himself a “war president” when he claimed America had never tortured prisoners nor occupied Iraq against the will of Iraqis.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Kate Post Baby, Sleeping Alone, and more

Royal Baby Fever: Kate and William revealed that their little one is named George, for Queen Elizabeth II’s father. For the first time in history, a firstborn girl would have still been ahead of a younger brother, but the point is moot. A few advocates for gender fluidity took to Twitter to decry that genitalia is destiny. And we love this charming little essay on how bravely Kate showed off her post baby belly.

Feminism is Rad: A great intro piece on feminism for a dude in your life who needs some help to embrace it.

Society and Disability: Lisa Egan on how modern society chooses not to accommodate her, disabling her.

Sex and Politics: Anthony Weiner got himself into more trouble with mainstream media for not learning his lesson about sexting, and there’s now a website to help you find your own pseudonym a la Carlos Danger. On the flipside, Melissa Petro points out the tremendous double standard that still exists for a woman who does sex work.

Looking Different?: A fine take on what’s wrong with asking someone where they’re “really from.”

Modern Celibacy: Not having sex doesn’t make one a prude, or eliminate the sensuality of life, says Sophie Fontanel.

From Russia with … : (Trigger Warning). Just in case you haven’t noticed the pictures of gay rights activists suffering extreme violence in Russia. Meanwhile, one of the activists of Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, had her appeal denied.

Love Life Advice from Beyonce

Yes, yes, we all know about “to the left, to the left” and “all the single ladies.” But if you listen to Beyonce’s oeuvre in its entirety as I have, thanks to a borderline obsession and a lot of workouts, you will find she has a very clear, complete philosophy on relationships that goes beyond great kiss-offs. A few of our favorite tips, as only Beyonce can give them:

From “Ego,” lines to use on the man you’ve got your eye on:

Some women were made
But me, myself?
I like to think that I was created
For a special purpose
You know?
What’s more special than YOU?

Well, you got the key to my heart
But you ain’t gonna need it
I’d rather you open up my body
And show me secrets you didn’t know was inside
No need for me to lie.

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Thanks, The Atlantic, That’s What We’ve Been Saying…

SFcoverSMSince we published our book, Sexy Feminism: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Success, and Style in March, we’ve received our fair share of mixed reviews. Of course we did. It’s a book about feminism. The cover has glossy lips on it. The title has the word “sexy” in it. All of these things pretty much require a careful, even skeptical analysis. Sometimes we got that, sometimes we got worse, and many times we received lovely, thoughtful praise. We’re thankful for all of it (you can review most if it here, Google for more of the less-civil discourse).

Today The Atlantic wrote the kind of thoughtful review we’d been hoping for all along. Rather than picking apart all of our chapters–on dieting, bikini waxing, sex, fashion, female friendship, etc.–as “feminist or not” (in itself notsomuch a feminist act), it revisited the wonderful wealth of books that set out to do just what we did: speak to young women about feminism in an approachable, deliberate way. Our primary goals for our book were to educate and incite discourse, the latter being the most important of the two. Getting women to embrace feminism as cool, doable and–yes, ok, sexy–would be a bonus.

The Atlantic‘s Jordan Larson cited books published from the 1970s to today that celebrated feminism as a right and righteous act for young women–from Feminism for Girls: An Adventure Story to Manifesta and Full Frontal Feminism. We’re honored to be included in this bunch, as they influenced our feminist identity and led to us writing our own book.

Larson doesn’t gush about Sexy Feminism, and indeed raises some questions and concerns that should be raised any time a new feminist text hits the marketplace. And that’s why we’re thankful for this piece. It encourages everyone to seek out these books–all of them–read them, think about them, and decide for themselves what their own brand of feminism looks like.

And then talk about it.

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