Links for Sexy Feminists: Chick-fil-A, Mariah vs. Britney, and more …

Katie Couric to Lean Into the Whole ‘Perky’ Thing Already: At least that’s what we’re getting from the bits of info being reported about her new talk show, including the Sheryl Crow theme song, as detailed on Jezebel.

Zoe Kazan’s ‘Ruby Sparks’ Reviewed: The Atlantic weighs in on the young actress’ much-anticipated screenwriting debut.

More Junk Food Products Weigh In on Gay Marriage: There’s this whole Chick-fil-A thing happening, if you didn’t know yet — a quick summary in The LA Times.

Men and Women Can’t Be Friends: So says science, as reported on HowAboutWe.

The Reality Singing Show Diva Arms Race Is a Dangerous Thing: Richard Rushfield weighs in on why Britney and Mariah were hired to judge The X Factor and American Idol — and in neither case is it about singing ability.

The Affordable Care Act Kicks in Aug. 1: With lots of goodies for women’s health. Here’s a breakdown of what it could mean to you.

5 Reasons Britney Needs a Feminist Awakening

There’s no doubt that Britney Spears is not a feminist icon. But she could very well be the most important female pop culture figure of our times — which is exactly why it would be nothing short of revolutionary if girlfriend ever managed to escape the poptart prison her handlers have constructed around her during her decade-plus reign to realize her own grand significance. Here, we plead our case to the woman behind the Femme Fatale image. Oh, if only we believed she were reading!

Dear Britney,

Here’s why we need you to get with the F-word:

1. Madonna and Christina. Remember how you once made out with these two in a wildly overhyped menage a girl-on-girl-kisses-for-media-attention? We do. And we wish that Madge and Xtina had been able to somehow pass a little feminism your way while swapping spit onstage, because they’ve certainly got girl power to spare. As much as everyone likes to declare you “the next Madonna” — and as much as we understand why — you’re missing that element of self-determination that Madonna’s had since before she was even famous. (That kiss was her idea — go figure.) While you’ve long denied your sexuality even while selling the heck out of it, Madonna has … well, embraced hers. If you haven’t noticed. Same goes for Christina, who grew up with you on The Mickey Mouse Club and faced the same pressures of growing into womanhood very publicly. She may have been the one who ended up in unfortunate assless chaps, but she never pretended not to know exactly what they meant.

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Dating Down

Remember when choosing a mate was easy? You and I weren’t alive then, of course, but back in the day – way back – when humans were just starting out, our needs were simple. All a man needed was a fertile female; all a woman needed was a genetically fit male who could provide her with resources while she carried out the metabolically expensive task of carrying, birthing, and raising offspring (we’ve always been the more complicated gender). His politics, his taste in music, his values – none of those things mattered; everything was streamlined. I’ll make babies, you keep me alive. Done deal.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, a lot has changed in the last 10,000 years. You know, we talk now; we’ve industrialized; we use birth control. Human life is a whole new ballgame these days. One clear sign of this change may be the fact that there are more and more couples out there who seem to reverse this deeply ingrained relationship pattern. Think Britney and Kevin, or Ashley Judd and her NASCAR racing hubby Dario Franchitti (for real – note that this headline actually says, “Ashley Judd’s Husband wins blah blah blah…” – not his own name!). Or, if you like your relationships fictional, Miranda Hobbes and Steve Brady on “Sex and the City,” Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court in “Say Anything,” Will Hunting in his janitor phase and that Skylar chick played by Minnie Driver in “Good Will Hunting.”

It makes sense, of course, that relationships like these are cropping up more and more these days. Women are kicking some serious ass when it comes to education and accomplishment. Women are, for example, outnumbering men on more and more college campuses, and in many schools they outperform men.  In time, this pattern may tip scales in the working world and beyond, but even now, we’ve got the cultural upper hand.

Despite all this great progress, though, old habits die-hard – our gender’s preference for hooked-up men seems to linger: one American study found that women still pay more attention to ambition, education, and earning capacity in a mate than men do (appropriately, men still care primarily about physical signs of fecundity).

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