Sexy Feminism Excerpt: Our Feminist Meet-Cute

To celebrate the publication of our book, Sexy Feminism, we’ll be sharing some short excerpts of it with you, the readers who helped make this book possible! 

Jennifer and I met when we were both on a journey to find—and become—our true selves. We met when both of our lives were in apparent disarray, because we had just lost the men in them. Jennifer had recently broken up with her fiancé, and I had just moved to New York City and left behind a ten-year relationship. A mutual friend recommended I connect with Jennifer because she thought we would click. What an understatement. We bonded first over broken hearts but quickly moved on to a shared passion to do something bigger than the traditional framework of our lives had outlined for us. In a way, we answered each other’s need to become a feminist revolutionary.

Our first “date” we went to see, appropriately, Bend It Like Beckham, a story of female soccer players and friendship. Afterward, as we talked, we agreed we hated current women’s magazines and wished we had our own publication for which to write, one that would print stories on things we cared about. Bust was just emerging as a more modern Ms. (and note: swoon!), but the newsstand was dominated by women’s self-help magazines—the kind that tells women how to do everything they already know how to do and how to fix everything that isn’t broken. Don’t get me wrong: we both loved fashion, makeup, entertainment, and sex. But if we must write about makeup and fashion, we reasoned, couldn’t we write about the ways they both empower and restrict us? Wasn’t there a lot to be said about how pop culture treats women? Shouldn’t someone be writing more in depth and frankly about women’s sex lives? Where was all the real information in women’s media?

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Sexy Feminism Excerpt: Feminist Beauty Companies

To celebrate the publication of our book, Sexy Feminism, we’ll be sharing some short excerpts of it with you, the readers who helped make this book possible! 

Consider these feminist-minded companies the next time you need to  stock up on your favorite products.

PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics: Founded on the principles of nonviolence and truthfulness, this company gives all of its after-tax distributable profits to charities that support women’s health and human rights. It  sells only products that come from companies that practice fair labor policies and do not test on animals: Iamapeacekeeper.com.

MAC: A favorite of stage actors and drag queens, MAC launched its line of VIVA Glam lipsticks and lip-glosses in 1994 to contribute to HIV/AIDS research and treatment. The MAC AIDS Fund has raised more than $250 million worldwide through sales of VIVA Glam products, which are often endorsed by sexy feminists such as Christina Aguilera, Cyndi Lauper, Mary J. Blige, and Lady Gaga. The lipsticks are freaking gorgeous and they last longer than most. So splurge—and save lives: Maccosmetics.com.

The Body Shop:Long gone are the days of hemp oils and patchouli perfumes (though you can still get those here). The Body Shop has a complete modern line of face, body, and beauty products—from mango body butter to mineral makeup—all derived from natural ingredients and sourced from communities around the world to help sustain them. The company also has active campaigns to stop sex trafficking and domestic violence and to raise awareness of global HIV/AIDS: Thebodyshop-usa.com.

Pre-order your copy of Sexy Feminism today!


Sexy Feminism Excerpt: Plastic Surgery — Can You?

Leading up to the publication of our book, Sexy Feminism, on March 12, we’ll be sharing some short excerpts of it with you, the readers who helped make this book possible! Here, a portion of our chapter, “Plastic Surgery: Can You?” 

In May 2011, a young mother sat down for a TV interview to defend giving her eight-year-old daughter regular Botox injections. She said it was the edge her girl needed on the ultra-competitive beauty-pageant circuit. Those mussy lines on her face just wouldn’t do. According to her mom, this eight-year-old’s lips were too weak as well, so she added Restylane injections to the child’s regular beauty routine, which also included spray tanning, teeth whitening, and virgin waxing—waxing the child’s body (legs, arms, armpits, labia) to permanently prevent hair growth. (See chapter 2 for more on that.) In June of the same year, the mother of a seven-year-old embarked on her own media tour to defend a gift she’d recently given her daughter: an IOU for breast implants.

Weird plastic-surgery stories are nothing new. For decades, there have been tales of “cat women,” women so addicted to plastic surgery that they’ve erased the humanity from their features. But at least these are grown women making choices—choices that have feminist consequences, and we’ll get to those in a bit. But little girls don’t know their faces have lines, that body hair is ugly, or that their breasts will be inadequate unless someone  feeds them this message. What have we done to women that their idea of beautiful is so twisted it  causes them to subject their children to needles and scalpels? Alas, dads are doing it too. In a 2011 episode of the talk show Anderson, a male plastic surgeon defended giving his teenage daughter breast implants and a nose job. Sigh.

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SEXY FEMINISM Out Today!

Our book, SEXY FEMINISM, is out today.

Order now on AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound, or iTunes.

Here’s a little bit about it:

In Sexy Feminism (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), SexyFeminist.com co-founders Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudulph offer simple ways for busy, young women to improve every aspect of their own lives by following feminist principles. With dozens of ways to take action, Sexy Feminism explains how feminism helps women get what they want (and does not, contrary to many reports, ruin anyone’s chances at love, success, sex, beauty, or style). It guides young women toward finding their own brand of feminism and using it to improve their lives and the world.

“We live in a society where sex is used against women as much as it’s used by women. Sexy Feminism calls foul on that (and other) double standards—and makes manifest my frequent observation that feminists are almost always the sexiest people in the room.” —Jennifer Baumgardner, author of F’em!: Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls

“Genius! Sexy Feminism is a delicious primer for budding feminists (and the feminist-curious), as well as a sigh of relief for long-term third-wave feminists who long to be understood and are tired of explaining our beliefs. Finally a book that explains us to ourselves and to others in a funny, sexy, smart way.

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Sexy Feminism Excerpt: Compromise in Marriage Doesn’t Mean Throwing Out Feminism

To celebrate the publication of our book, Sexy Feminism, we’ll be sharing some short excerpts of it with you, the readers who helped make this book possible! Here, a portion of our chapter, “Feminist Relationships: From Long-Term to Life-Long Partnership.” 

I have some confessions: I make dinner for my husband, I added his name to mine (no hyphen), and I am the primary caregiver for our son. And, yes, I am a feminist in a feminist-leaning marriage. What does that mean? It means real life sometimes doesn’t allow for a perfect combination of empowerment and responsibility. It’s a relationship that requires compromise—sometimes more difficult than you’d ever imagined—to make things work. As is the case for so many heterosexual couples, my husband makes more money than I do, works in an industry that demands more of his time outside of the home, and carries fewer of the domestic responsibilities. But we make it work, feminism intact. Here’s what I learned from some of my own compromises:

Feminists make dinner too—even if we don’t like to. I am a domestic goddess of the most reluctant variety. When I lived alone, I used my refrigerator to store beauty products and never once turned on my oven. Now that I’m married and a mom, grabbing sushi and smoothies are not practical options. There are three of us who need to eat, and I have chosen to take on the responsibility of making sure we eat well.

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Sexy Feminism Excerpt: What I Learned From a Laser Facial Peel

Leading up to the publication of our book, Sexy Feminism, on March 12, we’ll be sharing some short excerpts of it with you, the readers who helped make this book possible! Here, Jennifer’s “Feminist Confession” about trying a laser peel, one of the most popular cosmetic procedures available.

I spent years with a laser facial treatment on my wish list, but it remained far from possible for most of my twenties and thirties, thanks to the prohibitive $2,000 cost. But when I got my first book deal while I was still working at a well-paying full-time job, I found myself flush with disposable income. Regular taxis, luxurious dinners out, and overpriced designer jeans became part of my new reality, and I decided I would also choose one big-ticket indulgence before socking the rest of my newfound money away in my savings account. The winner was a laser treatment to smooth away the evidence of hard-fought battles with terrible teen acne.

I have a fancy dermatologist, the kind who’s quoted regularly in women’s magazines and who’s worth the hour-plus trip on the subway from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, so I wasn’t worried about safety. The nurse who handles the outpatient cosmetic procedures at the office told me to expect some discomfort. She also advised me to take a few days to a week off work for recovery,  because my face would be a little red, “like a sunburn”—a mantra everyone in the office would repeat often throughout the process. I’ve had sunburn. I could live with that.

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Sexy Feminism Excerpt: The Working Woman Problem

Leading up to the publication of our book, Sexy Feminism, on March 12, we’ll be sharing some short excerpts of it with you, the readers who helped make this book possible! First up: the introduction to our chapter about how women can help — and hurt — each other in the workplace.

A Wall Street secretary with big hair, high heels, and a Staten Island accent has a brilliant idea for a merger deal, but her sleek, shoulder-padded female boss hogs the credit for it. Only a chance skiing accident that lays up the evil Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) for several weeks can provide salvation for poor Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith)—who uses the opportunity to pretend she’s the boss, grab the credit she deserves, and (bonus!) steal the bitch’s boyfriend too.

Working Girl was touted as a tale of female empowerment, but of course, Tess succeeded only by, as Susan Faludi’s Backlash pointed out, “playing the daffy and dependent girl.” Worse, her empowerment came at the expense of another, more powerful woman. But, you protest, that was way back in 1988! We’ve progressed since then, right? Women aren’t still fighting each other for power, influence, and men’s attention in offices both fictionalized and real, are they? Alas, more than ever: “As more and more women have flooded into the workplace, it’s gotten to be a bigger problem, just because there are more of us,” says Nan Mooney, whose 2005 book I Can’t Believe She Did That! tracked why women tend to betray each other at work. “I think it really stems from a lot of the lessons we learn as children, that women should be good, that we should avoid conflict. Now we have to be achievers, but without ever stepping on anyone’s toes.”

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Win a Free Sexy Feminist T-shirt!

It’s time to tell the world about SEXY FEMINISM … We’re gearing up for the release of our book, due out March 12, with everything you love about SexyFeminist.com and more: Geek out with us over the feminism of Liz Lemon, debate the feminism of the bikini wax, ponder ways to make your relationships both sexier and feminist-ier. (Hint: We think they go hand-in-hand.) Pre-order yourself a copy if you haven’t already, and enter to win one of our super-cute Sexy Feminist T-shirts by simply telling the world about it: The first 50 people to Tweet about our book, tagging us @TheSexyFeminist and/or using the hashtag #SEXYFEMINISM, will be entered into a drawing next week to win a custom T-shirt. You can even pick the color (pink or white) and size. Four people will win. (And if, God forbid, you don’t, you can always buy one for yourself here.)

To get you even more inspired, here’s what some people are saying about SEXY FEMINISM:

“We live in a society where sex is used against women as much as it’s used by women. Sexy Feminism calls foul on that (and other) double standards—and makes manifest my frequent observation that feminists are almost always the sexiest people in the room.” —Jennifer Baumgardner, author of F’em!: Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls

 

“Genius! Sexy Feminism is a delicious primer for budding feminists (and the feminist-curious), as well as a sigh of relief for long-term third-wave feminists who long to be understood and are tired of explaining our beliefs. Finally a book that explains us to ourselves and to others in a funny, sexy, smart way.

Really, people, this is intellectual porn at its best: wise, insightful, complex and thoughtful about complicated issues that are constantly being forced into over-simplified stereotypes and boxes. Sexy Feminism helps us break out of our confines and allows us to choose (yes choose! That’s the POINT of feminism, right?!) who we want to be and how we want to express ourselves.

In a world where real shit is going down every day – domestic abuse, rape, sexual slavery, war – sexiness might seem unimportant and yet, as Jennifer and Heather show us, it is at the fundamental root of feminism. Smart, funny, powerful confidence is attractive and sexy. This is what makes women strong and what makes others sit up and listen. Jennifer and Heather do an outrageously good service to us all by bringing feminism into it’s sexy, confident maturity.”

—Katie Goodman, feminist comedian and actress (and author of IMPROVISATION FOR THE SPIRIT)


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