Links for Sexy Feminists: Elizabeth Smart, White Privilege, Female Sexuality, and more

Elizabeth Smart Speaks Out: The woman you may remember as a kidnapped and assaulted 14-year-old was in our thoughts as three women victims of trafficking were found alive in Ohio this week. Now a self-possessed 25-year-old, she was in the news recently for commenting that abstinence-only sex ed made her feel as worthless as a chewed piece of gum. Mormon commentator Joanna Brooks points out that this tactic is all too common in the religion’s sex ed classes.

White Privilege Alert: A Muslim American woman’s story of open bigotry from security guards at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner will have you quaking with rage.

Men Can Be Feminists: Enjoy this TED talk by activist Jackson Katz on the way ordinary men can prevent–or condone–gender violence.

Girls and Geek Culture: Not all women hate Game of Thrones, and Amelia McDonell-Parry wants folks to cut that sexist BS. Meanwhile, an intelligent analysis reveals that the “boob plate armor” found in videogame graphics doesn’t just objectify women: it would also make the wearer more likely to perish on the field of battle.

Save Merida: The Disney princess who was her own heroine in “Brave” has received a much maligned makeover.

Creep Alert: An NRA convention vendor is the subject of some (but probably not enough) controversy for marketing a female-shaped target as an “Ex.”

Freeing Female Sexuality: And lastly, here’s this charming essay from a sweet old lady about lust for life.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Rape Protests in India, Unpacking Christmas, Gun Control After Newtown, and more

Solidarity with India: Thousands of Indians took to the streets to protest lengthy delays in bringing rape cases to justice. Their courage is remarkable, since one witness notes that many women are more afraid of police than they are of guys on the street.

Elsie is my homegirl: On a much lighter note, Jezebel ran a glorious profile of 1912′s perfect woman, and she sounds so rad.

12 Million Days of Christmas: As if you weren’t already sick of mall carols, here’s a great look at how creepy towards women they can be. Our friends in Australia are doing a feminist remix of the classic Twelve Days of Christmas. Secular and non-Christian readers may appreciate this American Muslim’s take on observing the spirit of giving.

Dudes can be feminists: The Yeti Detective tells us (some of) what’s wrong with the “friendzone.” Feminist or not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Fallout from Newtown: Why is my uterus more regulated than my guns? asks this rural Alaska woman.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Gun control in the wake of Newtown, what we can do about the wage gap, and more

Obama seems to be moving toward gun control: According to accounts of his speech at the Newtown memorial yesterday, including this one in The New Yorker. A bunch of celebrities agree that gun control would be cool. The New York Times, meanwhile, is running a series of philosophical essays on gun ownership and control. And parents and schools across the country are wrestling with what this means to them.

‘Gay Men and Christian Wombs’: New York‘s The Cut reports.

A lesson in wage disparity: The Frisky‘s Lauren Passell knows she makes less money because she’s a woman — and argues that it’s because her gender has shaped the way she ran her career and didn’t ask for raises.

‘Why are you still single?’: Melanie Notkin examines the social plight of the single, childless woman on HuffPo.

People like porn of all kinds, regardless of official sexual orientation: Or at least those surveyed by Yale’s LGBTQ publication do.



Let’s Talk Guns: Now

This morning a young man in his twenties pulled up to a Connecticut elementary school carrying no fewer than four firearms and murdered 26 people (at last count), including his mother and 20 children under the age of 10. As a parent, I am utterly destroyed (I must have snuck in on my son’s nap about four times—in between sobs—to just stare at him and feel grateful). As a citizen, I am enraged. People, we need to talk. Today, right this second, as emotions are raw, as faces are covered in snot and tears, we need to talk about why this happened, how we could let it happen and what the hell we’re going to do about it—all of us—starting today.

We need to talk about why we have guns in the first place. Seriously, why? They serve no civil societal purpose other than to kill

another human. People who buy them for protection are doing so to protect themselves from other people with guns. Hunters don’t need access to assault rifles. People don’t need concealed weapons permits in Starbucks. Good lord, they don’t need them at schools or daycare centers (WTF, Michigan?) Why is our society so obsessed with arming itself around the clock?

We need to talk about who is being killed. Let’s start with the timely topic. ABC News estimates that there have been 31 school shootings in the U.S. since Colombine in 1999. According to a Children’s Defense Fund study, 5,740 children and teens were killed by guns in just two years (2008-2009). That breaks down to “one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 55 every week for two years.” The circumstances of these shootings don’t matter. They were killed by guns, period.

The presence of a gun in the house raises the risk of death, assault and suicide by 50 percent. In the U.S. women in particular are at a higher risk of homicide or assault by a weapon than in any other developed country in the world. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Americans under age 40, and more than half of those suicides are carried out with guns. All these deaths, none of them for protection or hunting and gathering.

We need to talk about why Washington won’t fix gun control laws. According to research by Mother Jones, there have been at least 61 mass murders in the U.S. since 1982. More than three-quarters of the guns used were obtained legally. Time and time again the Supreme Court strikes down cases that seek to limit or ban handgun ownership. Why? No presidential administration has the balls, it seems, to attack this issue and make changes that can save lives—thousands of lives, children’s lives. Why? In his address after the shooting, President Obama said, “We’re going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent tragedies like this.” Yes, Mr. President, we are. Get. On. That.

So start talking—to each other, to your local, state and national government officials, to the media, on the blogs, everywhere. This is a time of mourning for us all, but it’s also time to face—and fix—this problem.

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