Links for Sexy Feminists: The March on Washington Anniversary and more

March on Washington: In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of this historic day, take a moment to think over all the ways we still don’t live in Martin Luther King Junior’s ideal society.

This is What A Feminist Looks Like: A woman whose photo was hijacked into an anti-feminist meme fights back. And a great account of what goes on within the fat acceptance community with regard to others with body image issues.

On Acting Bitchy: As Breaking Bad winds down, Anna Gunn reflects on why her strong female character has become so reviled in certain circles.

Feminism and Tech: If you’d like to show solidarity another way, consider joining the ranks of Wikipedia editors as a feminist ally.

Fun with Masculinity: This is a nifty photo project where men with long hair were offered stereotypically “feminine” hairdos. Meanwhile, we’re digging this piece from Salon about the project’s implications for feminism.

Gender Diversity: A look at Albanian women who, per an old custom, have chosen a life of independence and freedom by dressing and acting as men.

Work and Life: You’ll fall for this sweet cartoon that uses Bill Watterson’s words to advocate for a life of self-created meaning.

Sexual Harassment: An Indian woman reflects on why sexual harassment is a global phenomenon, and not limited to any particular place. Westerners who defend sexual harassers are deeply misogynistic, as this piece rightly brings to light. And in a different perspective on sexual harassment, we love this piece on what’s wrong with the internet harassment of an expatriated Afghan woman who isn’t afraid of showing off her body.

On Miley: The most problematic thing about her performance at the VMA’s is the cultural appropriation that went into it. Gradient Lair has an excellent in-depth look at this issue. Meanwhile, the Onion provides a pitch perfect explanation of how internet analytics has blown this out of proportion that is seriously funny.

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.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Against “Dieting”, Safer Sweatshops, Women Vote in Pakistan, More

Against the “Diet”: A poignantly inspiring tale of a woman who watched her father waste away due to self starvation and vows to embrace her own plus -ize figure. If you’re ever at a loss for body positivity, may we recommend reading and rereading this compilation of advice from fat women who love their curves. Meanwhile, having broken the “We don’t want fat people” Abercrombie story, Business Insider charts a precipitous drop in the brand’s popularity following the story.

Safer Sweatshops: On the other end of the fashion cycle, we were encouraged to hear that several prominent retailers are committing to improve factory conditions in Bangladesh.

Rethinking Choice: One woman’s interesting take on the semantic argument between “Life” and “Choice.”

Surprise!: Greater access to and education about birth control leads to fewer abortions. Interestingly, education in the study led many women to conclude that an IUD was the right choice for them, suggesting that the long-term solution may be underused.

Sex Positivity: Thanks to Jezebel for this primer on the so-called “looseness” of the vulva. NSFW.

Mommy Life: One woman’s story about coming to terms with postpartum depression and accepting that her husband could be the better caregiver at the beginning.

Activism Works: The Florida teen whose science experiment caused a minor explosion has had charges dropped after internet activists accused the accusers of racism. Meanwhile, though Disney has publicly backed down from its Merida makeover, only time will tell if they’re changing her back.

Women in the World: Pakistani women braved threats of violence to vote this past weekend, while Kuwaiti women are gaining grounds for athletic competition. Coming from a different religious perspective, Israel has struck down the mandate that women and men be segregated on public bus rides through conservative neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Canadian students created this funny and thought-provoking spoof of gender roles in advertising.

In Praise of Angelina Jolie

Angelina_Jolie_Cannes_2011Not that we needed more reasons to admire Angelina Jolie, but today’s is a doozy: She wrote a beautiful, revelatory essay in The New York Times about her decision to get a preventive double mastectomy. Jolie continues to show nothing short of genius for leveraging the tabloid press’ obsession with her—as one of the world’s most beautiful women, as a super-famous person married to a super-famous person under super-famous circumstances—for nothing but good. She’s drawn attention to countless good causes and to overseas crises no one wants to deal with. And now she’s sharing her very personal story to help other women.

In the piece, she walks us through the entire procedure, first telling us about her decision: Her mother died of breast cancer quite young (at 56), and the 37-year-old Jolie found out that she has the faulty gene that often causes the disease. So now, at 37, she decided to have her breasts removed, an intense surgery, but one that brought her risk down from 87 percent to 5 percent. She doesn’t hold back on the gory details of the treatment, but her description demystifies it for anyone considering it: “The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film.” But she also reassures women that she got through it and that her life is back to normal now. She also talks about the importance of having a supportive partner, a key to taking the break from life that’s necessary and to recovering.

She notes that she had the standard breast reconstruction post-surgery, which would have allowed her to undergo this entire procedure without going public about it. But she chose to share it, in the classiest way possible. She even includes what we all really want to know: “On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.” Her story, however, only increases her humanity—and her bravery.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Marriage Equality, lessons from Steubenville, and more …

Marriage Equality: The Supreme Court has now heard two cases, each of which could lead to a redefinition of marriage. There is also a chance that the court could refuse to redefine marriage, instead giving the issue more time to develop. But to refuse to broaden the definition of marriage would put them on the wrong side of history, Stephanie Coontz argued following Obama’s public endorsement last May: Straight people have already changed the definition of marriage. BeyondMarriage, meanwhile, makes a case for reframing marriage, family, and healthcare rather than focusing on marriage equality.

Pink Equality: On the lighter side, Facebook users are doubtless aware of the campaign to change all profile pictures to a pink and red equals sign. If you’d like to show your solidarity in a more quirky way, HuffPo has gathered some alternative examples.

Moving Past Steubenville: One high school teacher’s heartwarming narrative of talking to her ninth graders about consent.

Was Feminism Hijacked? A thought-provoking piece in Al-Jazeera argues that whether women are told to “lean in” or to “have it all,”  the feminist icons delivering the message are undercutting the movement.

Dating While Feminist: A great piece on how to negotiate that oh-so-tricky part of life.

Women in Prison: Oklahoma explores rehabilitating nonviolent female criminals.

Retro Housewives: Meanwhile, New York magazine unleashed a furor with a purposely controversial piece on the “retro wife.” When reached for interview by the Atlantic, Kelly Makino, the woman profiled in that piece, points out that systemic societal biases against women contributed to her decision and that she doesn’t consider herself a traditional housewife.

Cleaning House: Exercise your right to not be judged for a messy house!


Links for Sexy Feminists: The Feminine Mystique, Fashion Week, Lena Dunham, and more

The Feminine Mystique: 40 years after the landmark book’s publication, Stephanie Coontz reflects on why gender equality stalled. On the positive side, a recent study suggests that menopause and grandmothering were critical to human evolution.

Diversity is Hot: NYC just wrapped up Fashion Week, and way too few women of color hit the runways.

Your Rights at Risk: Just in case you thought Mississippi was the only state passing legislation that severely endangers a woman’s right to choose, Alabama is here for you.

Exhibitionist Girls: Vulture on why Lena Dunham may be an iconic feminist but her nude scences aren’t “brave.”

No to Shame: On the other side of the world, feminist women are courageous in standing up for their human rights.

Hey Oscar! Women are talented behind the camera, too, yet the categories with no women or one woman nominated suggest an industry bias.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Elder Feminist Obituaries, Workplace Discrimination, the VAWA, and More

Two Groundbreaking Women Died:  Jean S. Harris, whose trial for murdering her longtime beau drew her comparisons to Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary, became an advocate for female prisoners while at Bedford Hills.  Beate Gordon made sure female rights were drafted into the modern Japanese constitution when she was a 22-year-old assistant to General MacArthur.  Both were born in 1923.

Abortion by Internet:  Increasing numbers of women are using the internet to purchase a medication for its off-label use of inducing miscarriage.

Off the Cliff, But …: The U.S. House blocked the Violence Against Women Act.

Women Working:  An all-male Iowa court ruled in favor of a man who fired a “stellar” longtime employee because he found her “irresistible.”  The two had been friendly, but she viewed him as a father figure.

Indian Girls Get Period Help: Girls in India frequently drop out of school due to the social stigma of menstruation, but a humanitarian public health campaign aims to change that.

Speaking Out: One blogger offers her experience with Women’s Studies 101 and the difficult necessity of awareness.

Women’s Health Update: What You Need To Know Before You Vote

This campaign season has seen a flurry of women’s health issues come to the forefront of political debates, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming to keep track of which women’s health issues are being discussed, where proceedings stand, and what the major implications of decisions are. Here’s a quick guide to what matters most when it comes to bureaucrats governing your lady parts.

Michigan passes abortion “superbill” in the House. In early June, the Michigan State House of Representatives passed a bill (HB 5711, 5712, and 5713) which puts severe restrictions on abortion clinics and services. One of the most notable provisions of the bill mandates abortion clinics performing six or more abortions per month to become licensed surgical centers, even if they only perform non-surgical abortions. The bill awaits a Senate vote (likely in September) and discussion on further provisions, such as criminalizing abortions, even in the case of rape or incest, after 20 weeks. Notably, two female Michigan legislators were banned from speaking on the House floor after Rep. Lisa Brown used the term “vagina” while discussing the bill.

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Links for Sexy Feminists: Activism That Works, Anal Sex Talks, Work v. Feminism Cont.

The ‘having It all’ debates continue: And in our opinion, they need to continue till the playing field is actually equal. The Atlantic hosts a round-table after the near-Internet-breaking Anne Marie-Slaughter article got us all riled up.

Talking “up the butt”: Is it just us, or is this Details article going way over the top with its claim that anal sex is “so mainstream some guys request it on the first date”?

Activism works, y’all!: More than 84,000 people signed this petition at which asks for Seventeen magazine to stop altering the body size and face shape of models and start using a more diverse lineup of girls to represent teens in its magazine. After the petition was sent to the editor in chief’s office, the magazine agreed to stop using Photoshop on its models. Major victory for an industry that starts the negative brainwashing of girls way too young. And no one knows this better than the 8th grader who launched this petition. Julia Bluhm, you are our feminist icon!

 A therapists’s take on the Magic Mike phenomenon: The rise in female-targeted erotica may prove that feminism is working, says this SF Gate article. We need these distractions, the piece reports, in order to not melt down from the pressures to be superwoman.


How Not to Start Your Own Website

Launching your own blog or online magazine provides one of the best venues for you to hone and showcase your own vision, voice, and views. (Like we do here!) In short, it’s a way to make an outspoken lady’s dreams come true, almost instantly, at very little cost (if you do it right). It might not make you rich, but it could make you a known rabble-rouser, promote your soapbox issue of choice, give you a chance to build a community of like-minded women, look cool on your resume, and even lead to a book deal. (Look for our book, Sexy Feminism, out next year.)

It did all of that for us when we started together six years ago. But it also caused us a lot of headaches we didn’t anticipate. We want to stop you from going through what we did, so we’re sharing what we learned. Here are our top 10 things you shouldn’t do while starting a website—and remedies for making them right:

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