Links for Sexy Feminists: Anne Hathaway, Ovarian Cancer, Ending Rape and more

Modern Stardom: Anne Hathaway has been surprisingly polarizing since at least her victory speech at this year’s Oscars, and sexism is clearly at play. Like it or leave it, this is what celebrity culture looks like in the Twitterverse. Vulture offers a smart piece contrasting her with two more “likeable” starlets, showing that all three face a pernicious double standard.

Cancer Watch: Too many women fail to seek out specialized treatment for ovarian cancer, though seeing a specialist can make a world of difference in the outcome.

Our Awesome Vaginas: One woman learns to love her long labia.

Creep Alert: A chilling expose of the seamy underside of the Miss USA pageant.

Ending Rape: Despite good intentions, college campuses mirror life when it comes to sexual violence. Everyday Feminism suggests that we encourage freshmen to talk about how men can stop rape. Democratic strategist Zerlina Maxwell took flak (and anonymous, disgusting threats) for saying as much on Fox News. And in the military, where sexual violence is the leading cause of PTSD among women, Congress hears testimony from victims who want to change the system.

Links For Sexy Feminists: Oscars’ Opening Fallout, Sephora Addiction, Body Acceptance, and more

Rape Culture and the Oscars: This New Yorker blog offers a great, balanced look at the problem with Seth MacFarlane’s opening number. And his independent blogger calls us all out for ignoring rape culture when it comes attractively packaged. Finally, though we don’t normally think it’s fair just to turn the tables and objectifiy men, but this video pokes lighthearted fun at the whole thing.

Solve for XX: For a nice antidote, check out this talk by Geena Davis on media portrayals of women and girls.

Makeup Addiction?: Sephora can be fun, but beware: it’s an expensive habit. To keep it fun, moderation is key!

Women’s Health: Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women, yet too many people see it as a “men’s issue.”

The Body Beautiful: You don’t have to fall for the trap of trying to lose weight specifically because you’re getting married. Find a bit of courage from photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero, who documents others’ reactions to her body. From a medical standpoint, this article offers insight into how doctors should approach a “weighty” conversation.

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.

Oscars Fashion Redux: Why Can’t We Be Nice?

I adore fashion, particularly red-carpet parades of the rich and famous during awards season. It’s not the most feminist of customs (it’s the kind of idealism that can lead to a distorted self image) but it’s as American as baseball. Celebrity worship is one of our past times, for better or for worse. Seeing our icons float across a crimson sea in works of art, high on excitement is a form of voyeurism that makes me happy. If only it didn’t get so ugly, so quickly.

Fashion chatter—both professional and amateur via social media—has become awfully mean spirited. More often than not, women are the targets and the critics. It makes me wonder if loving the fashion parade is a betrayal of feminism.

It always starts out sweet and complimentary. Red-carpet reporters ask everone, “who are you wearing?,” tell them they look gorgeous and congratulate them. Moments later, the insults begin. Fashion bloggers try to out-snark one another. Newspaper reporters slip in casual insults to make their copy stand out on the wires. And the worst comments come from average anyones. Message boards, Twitter feeds and Facebook updates in the past 48 hours have focused on the “stupid,” “tragic,” “blah,” “slutty” or “boring” of certain women in certain dresses. In my feeds alone, Angelina Jolie was objectified (too hot) and vilified (too skinny). Jennifer Lopez was slut shamed (really too sexy). Meryl Streep and Glenn Close were called old (these folks have been unfollowed, trust). And everyone tried to find a way to insult Melissa McCarthy without calling her fat.

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Feminist or Not?: ‘Black Swan’

I love a good head-trip drama and am an unabashed fan of Darren Aronofsky’s weird sensibilities. So I can easily list Black Swan as one of my favorite movies of the year. First off, I adore Natalie Portman, whose acting evolution has been so effortless, she’s bound to take home an Oscar before her 35th birthday. She’s also a damn sexy feminist. Sexy just because—well, look at her!—but also for never playing the slutty role for the sake of a magazine cover. Even her stripper in Closer was toned down, and she refused to compromise herself and appear naked—a decision for which much of the industry and world berated her.

In Black Swan, Portman plays a woman we all know (and can perhaps identify with, even if just a little): a perfectionist introvert who’s still a bit immature and will stop at nothing to be the best and reach her dreams. She’s faced with a startling degree of sexism and chauvinism—who knew ballet was so penis-driven?!—which she eventually smacks down to rise to the top. Despite how far her obsessions plunge her deep into the crazy, that’s a feminist message I can get behind.

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