Links for Sexy Feminists: Workplace Politics, Tech Solutions to Human Trafficking, and more

Sexism at Work: In the wake of the firing of Adria Richards, Colorlines has a great commentary breaking down how racism and sexism caused her termination. Meanwhile, Lindy West has a great piece talking about the right and wrong way to complement a female colleague, in light of Obama’s problematic remarks last week. And this week we observe Equal Pay Day, which represents how far into 2013 many of us had to work to earn what a man earned in 2012.
DIY Activism: You can make a difference, since the online feminist community is significant, large, and growing.
M.R.S. Revisted:charming rebuttal of the idea that one’s early twenties is the right time to go after a mate, assuming one is privileged enough to spend those years in college.
Ending Rape Culture: Raffi called on men to speak out against the phenomenon, to the delight of inner children everywhere.
Accessible Plan B: Ever since the drug first launched, research has suggested that it must be given ASAP. A Federal judge in Brooklyn recently ruled that all troublesome age and ID restrictions should be lifted. This editorial concludes that “An appeal would be unwise, unnecessary, unwarranted.”

Links for Sexy Feminists: PETA’s Sexism, Kristen Schaal Love, Motherhood vs. Feminism, More

Ugh, we’ve long wrestled with the PETA problem. That is, the organization that does the good, important work of standing up for abused and neglected animals is kind of a sexist douchebag. Can we maybe send a message without objectifying women, just once? Feministing puts it best: “No matter what your non-profit works on, no matter how good the cause, no matter how important the activism, no matter how badass of a social justice crusader you think you are, no matter how progressive you identify, it is NEVER OK to throw women under the bus.”

Kristen Schaal has long been one of our feminist crushes and we’re thrilled we can now enjoy her gawky brilliance on our favorite feminist TV show, “30 Rock.” But just as we loved Tina Fey’s cameos on her old gig at SNL once she left, we hope Schaal never stops being The Daily Show‘s Senior Women’s Issues Correspondent. This week she illuminated the fact that Republican policies on women are far more offensive and damaging than anything an overweight talk show host can say.

We recently came across this article from 2008 (Google Alerts are weird sometimes). It bears noting for its controversial, fascinating topic. In it, the author, Rebecca Walker, talks about how her mother, famous feminist author Alice Walker, ruined her childhood because of her radical feminism. Walker says her mother viewed motherhood as a form of servitude and disowned her children so that she could realize her feminist identity and enjoy the independence she felt she deserved. It’s fascinating and complicated—you have to read it. Then tell us what you think @thesexyfeminist or @femimommy, where we talk about motherhood and feminism.

This week in Rachel Maddow: The thinking woman’s talking head answers Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire this month. Here’ our favorite tidbit: “Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue? A: That’s easy: chastity.” OK, that one is tied with this: “Q: What is your greatest fear? A: Becoming dickish.”

There’s not nearly enough feminist comediennes in the world. Here’s a new fave of ours: Katie Goodman and her, “Probably Gay – The Homophobia Song.”

Links for Sexy Feminists: Newt vs. Herman, the (Non-)Legacy of Marie Curie, and More …

The Nation wonders why Republicans prefer serial adulterer Newt Gingrich over alleged adulterer Herman Cain: Blogger JoAnn Wypijewski ponders how it wasn’t his crazy politics, but his supposed affair (which he denies), that did Cain in

Rookie‘s Tavi Gevinson reports from the TEDxWomen Conference: Which we tell you about just to celebrate a 15-year-old who self-identifies as a feminist and worships Gloria Steinem

Ms. celebrates the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie’s Nobel: By asking why we still have so few women in science

Author Georgia Pelligrini explains why she hunts: She writes in a thought-provoking Huffington Post piece about paying “the full karmic price” for food

Time celebrates marriage: Its “Top 10 Marriage Stories of the Year” list reviews everything from Will & Kate to the rise of the singleton

5 Steps to a More Feminist Lifestyle…

… And You’re Probably Already Taking Them

Most of our readers have a clear feminist identity already—snaps to you and your participation in the movement! But not every feminist is born that way. It took me till my early thirties to understand my own brand of feminism and what it means to my every day life. Each woman’s journey to that understanding is different. And the path isn’t necessarily paved with protest marches, feminist theory books or daily blogging on the subject, as much as we love those.

The Sexy Feminist (that’s me and Jennifer Armstrong) is writing a book on new feminism (“The Feminist Bombshell” is slated for early 2012) to help demystify it for the modern woman. One of our goals is to show women how feminist they already are. Here are five life decisions with serious feminist implications you may not have considered, but may have already made:

Going Vegetarian: Altering your diet even a little bit—be it eschewing just red meat, buying only organic/cage-free poultry and dairy or going full vegan—is a major decision that affects more than your colon. It’s easy to toss off “for health reasons” as the answer to the prying questions about your brand of vegetarianism, but there’s a deeper answer—a recent study argues a strong feminist case that’s fascinating. Here are a few more:

  • You know cow farts are more than just stinky. In fact, the methane gas from cows is one of the primary sources of global warming and it’s our mass consumption of them that’s led to a bovine overpopulation and a depleting ozone layer.
  • You love chicken, but care where it comes from. Most chickens are farmed in some of the most inhumane conditions imaginable—starved of light and fresh air, forced to live in their own feces and contained in brutally tight quarters.
  • You buy organic as much as possible. This supports farms that care about the environment, your health and (more likely than mass chains) fair working conditions for its employees.
  • Reading up on the companies/farms you support can help guarantee a conscious decision with every bite.

Shopping Consciously: Where you buy your designer denim and underwear matters.

  • You’re either hooked on American Apparel T-shirts no matter what or you know why it’s a feminist decision not to shop there. Two words: sexual harassment. Okay, seven more: promoting over sexualized, virginal women as the ideal.
  • When you heard that H&M throws away its overstock rather than donating or recycling it, you got sorta grossed out and went to Forever 21 for your cheap trends instead.
  • You buy brands such as Joe’s Jeans and Stella McCartney because they’re made fabulously, but they’re also made with consciousness.
  • You know that buying vintage, used or upcycling your own clothes does more for the world than save you a few bucks—though that’s nice too.

Idolizing the Right Women: Feminist icons are made not born. Sure, you should love Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Jessica Valenti, but you can follow fierce feminists in the pages of US Weekly too.

  • Consider why you’re a Beyoncé devotee. Is it only the beats or her sheer determination to kill it in anything she tries?
  • Why are you Team Christina instead of Team Britney? Could it be because Christina is a working mother, philanthropist and outspoken sex-positive feminist (you can call it “girl power,” but it means the same thing). Personal note: Here’s hoping Britney has her own feminist awakening one of these days soon …
  • Is “30 Rock” your favorite TV show for Alec Baldwin (we wouldn’t blame you) or Tina Fey—no matter your answer, you’re rooting for one of the most feminist TV shows ever. Here are 10 more.
  • Do you watch ABC or CBS evening news because that’s just what channel you were last on or because Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer are doing the job previously exclusively held by men?

Consuming News from Trusted Sources: You Tweet, Facebook and text like the rest of us, but when it comes to finding out what’s going on in the world, you look to the (sadly, few) reputable, journalistic outlets for your information.

  • Fox News pisses you off; MSNBC kinda does too.
  • A black-and-white, physical newspaper comes to your home; you read it.
  • Gawker is merely voyeuristic entertainment, not information source.
  • You seek out blogs and voices that challenge the status quo (thanks for that!).

Using Birth Control: No matter your reasons or method, taking charge of your own reproductive system—and its health—is one of the rights feminism was founded upon.

  • You always carry condoms for those “oops, I forgot, babe” moments guys can sometimes have.
  • You see your gynecologist at least once a year, perform self breast exams and read up on the latest breakthroughs in women’s health.
  • You support sex education in schools.
  • You’re one of the 100 million women on the pill and you say a little prayer for it every day.
  • You’re a mom because you wanted to be one.

Sending Our Most Sincere Support to Lara Logan

There are no words we can even come up with to measure up to the horror of Lara Logan’s beating and sexual assault while she was reporting in Egypt. Of course, many senseless pundits have found plenty of victim-blaming words anyway, as US News reports. Really, LA Weekly? The mobs “consummated their newfound independence by sexually assaulting the blonde reporter” with the “shockingly good looks”? Really, Debbie Schlossel? (“No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows.”)

Terrifying incidents like these just show why we still have so far to go toward equality: Because a woman, pretty or not, can’t go overseas to do her job without an extra layer of fear. And because when she gets back home, she’ll probably be blamed for being beautiful and blond.

Is Selling Our Bodies a Last Resort or a First Instinct?

A California teacher made headlines this week after she joked to her class that she may take up stripping after she loses her job.

While I don’t think she should be accused of developmentally harming her students, I can’t help but wonder—and worry—whether women too often think that the only way out of a financial jam is to prostitute themselves somehow, be it through stripping, sex work, or even looking for deep-pocketed dudes to buy them drinks and meals (because we all know that doesn’t come free for long).

Are women’s bodies their greatest commodities, or are we just so used to seeing them exploited that it doesn’t seem all that bad? The answer troubles me.

[Read more...]

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