Links for Sexy Feminists: Costume Play, Male Beauty, and more

Costume Play: Between Halloween and last week’s geek gathering at New York Comic Con, ’tis the season to disguise oneself. You might be saddened but not surprised to see some of the awful, creepy things that cosplayers have been told. These pale in comparison to what happened to one unfortunate soul who had her personal photo of herself as Lara Croft mocked after she accidentally left off the friendslock control on Facebook, yet she sounds empowered in the essay. Yet going in disguise has an important way of releasing inhibitions, according to My Other Me, new documentary about cosplayers.

Ancient History: New findings suggest that most cave paintings were done by female artists.

Sexual Violence: Why campaigns to end the stigma of female pleasure might be triggering for victims of sexual assault. And an empowering look at how an organization in Nashville attempts to turn the tide for domestic victims of sex trafficking.

Real Male Beauty: Since men are increasingly subjected to all the same b.s. beauty standards, it’s refreshing to see four average dudes pose in their underwear.

South Asian Women: Though Malala has been a viral sensation recently for her incredible poise, it’s too soon for her to win the Nobel, and just as well she didn’t. And we love this photoessay about maverick women in Nepal.

Black Women’s Hair: A new collection of photographs gives white women stereotypically black hairstyles, and Crunk Feminist Collective published a moving response.

Female In Public: This wonderful essay perfectly captures what it’s like to be a woman and realize that to some, you are public property.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Shutdown Watch, Relationship Woes, and more

Shutdown Watch: Lest we forget that in the background of the Congress-driven shutdown in American government, there is still a fight against women’s equal access to healthcare. Meanwhile, female state legislators gathered across party lines to encourage Congress to resolve its issues.

Women and Policy: On a different political note, check out this report on how women are faring in different U.S. states.

Relationship Woes: A handy guide to help you figure out if your partner’s issue is your problem, too.

Abortion Misconceptions: A new documentary aims to remove some of the stigma and unfair prejudices about doctors who are still willing to perform late-term abortions.

Bollywood: Next week marks the first Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival.

Fashion Week: Every recent fashion week seems to invite discussion about the exclusion of African American women. So we’re really digging Rick Owens’s use of competitive step dancers in place of stereotypical runway models.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Against Rape Culture, Female Beauty, and more

Against Rape Culture: Wonderful Indian actresses team up to explain why every rape ever is the woman’s fault, and their words ring sadly true for the U.S. And it’s too bad it was needed, but this great “Missed Connections” listing calls out a serious douche for street harassment.

African Feminists: Women in Rwanda are making great political gains through organized feminism, and we all could learn from them.

Bringing Home the Bacon: Why there was never a “traditional male breadwinner” in most of human history.

Intersectionality and Inclusion: If you’re a white feminist, chances are you could benefit from reading this simple list of ways to be a better ally against racism.

Not a Parody: Great humor piece about a woman who is making 300 sandwiches to get her man to propose. Flag this for use in your next “Make me a sandwich” style flameware.

Creepy Uncle Sam: We’re delighted that the “Other 98%” has turned the imagery of the Koch ad around on itself to argue against transvaginal ultrasounds.

Female Beauty Standards: Blogging for The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead uses the hook of Lena Dunham’s recent tweet on George Eliot to mention that the renowned writer of Middlemarch was probably far less desperate than her legend suggests.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Modern Day Lysistrata, Solidarity is for White Women, and more

Solidarity is for White Women: There’s been a firestorm on Twitter using this hashtag. It all started when Hugo Schwyzer had his Twitter meltdown, and now you can hear from Mikki Kendal on sparking the fire. Even better, she’s compiled a highlight reel that’s well worth reading.

Abortion Rights Watch: Speaking of solidarity, it’s worth considering that low-income women are more likely to face abortion harassment.

Geek Girl Watch: Male comics creators dismiss sexism as not their problem. Ugh.

Sexy Feminists Read: For a fun but feminist beach read, may we suggest Lizz Winstead’s hilarious book of anecdotes about her life.

Feminist Dad: A great piece by Livejournal legend The Ferrett on hoping his daughter has positive sexual experiences.

Sex is Power: In a surely-unintentional reenactment of an Ancient Greek comedy, the partners of gang members in Colombia are refusing to sleep with their men as a protest against the violence.

Feminist CurrentsIconic feminist Gloria Steinem will be honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, an act that also honors the past forty years of feminist action. Meanwhile, this ode to “pissed off women” talks about the future of the movement. Lots of progress to celebrate, but patriarchal gender roles are still harming both women and men.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Anthony Weiner, Jane Austen, and more

Still At It: Anthony Weiner has doubled down on his decision to stay in the mayoral race, a move some described as “delusional.” One of his former interns put out a calculated tell-all on her weeks with the campaign, which intriguingly mentions that Weiner called several interns “Monica.” His spokeswoman responded by calling the intern several slurs for women, and has since put up an apology of sorts involving an instagrammed shot of a “swear jar” full of cash and a credit card. Ugh. Can we please let the people of New York City focus on the real candidates?

Feminist Undies: Art student Shelly was fed up with mainstream stores’ selection, so she’s printing up underwear to empower the wearer with images of justly celebrated ladies.

Male Allies: A thought-provoking list of ways a man can try his hardest to be an ally to feminism. And we love this little gem on how a father plans to talk to his daughter about safely exploring her sexuality, when it’s age appropriate. We’re also digging this piece by Kareem Adbul-Jabbar on “coming out” as a fan of things besides sports, including the show “Girls.”

Throwback: This piece was written nearly ten years ago, yet the issues with feminists being called “sexist” are totally timely.

GLBT Rights Watch: Louisiana cops are harassing gay men using the obsolete sodomy law, which is still on the books. Meanwhile, Pope Francis says it is not up to him to judge gay priests, but women still can’t be priests. Hm.

Rape Joke: That’s the title of Patricia Lockwood’s poem recently published by the Awl, which has gotten a lot of press considering its genre.

Gift Registries: As modern feminists, we get that the registry for fancy household gadgets should be obsolete, but is asking for cash really any better?

Jane Austen: The celebrated English author will grace the 10 quid note starting in 2017. Sadly, the woman who led a campaign for this to happen received threats from male extremists.

The Legacy of Helen Thomas

imagesHow long are we going to keep bombing Iraqis?
How does the President intend to commemorate “Mission Accomplished” after five years of death and destruction?
Is every Iraqi a terrorist?
The President has said publicly several times, in two consecutive news conferences a few months ago, and you have said over and over again, we do not torture. Now he has admitted that he did sign off on torture, he did know about it. So how do you reconcile this credibility gap?
Would the administration agree to a referendum in Iraq to see what the people really want?
In the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s succession of President George W. Bush, there was a period of public breast-beating on the part of reporters who bemoaned the easy ride Bush and his underlings had gotten on the war in Iraq. The American media should have asked tougher questions, investigated the administration’s claims more thoroughly, and been more willing to stand up to the man who styled himself a “war president” when he claimed America had never tortured prisoners nor occupied Iraq against the will of Iraqis.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Kate Post Baby, Sleeping Alone, and more

Royal Baby Fever: Kate and William revealed that their little one is named George, for Queen Elizabeth II’s father. For the first time in history, a firstborn girl would have still been ahead of a younger brother, but the point is moot. A few advocates for gender fluidity took to Twitter to decry that genitalia is destiny. And we love this charming little essay on how bravely Kate showed off her post baby belly.

Feminism is Rad: A great intro piece on feminism for a dude in your life who needs some help to embrace it.

Society and Disability: Lisa Egan on how modern society chooses not to accommodate her, disabling her.

Sex and Politics: Anthony Weiner got himself into more trouble with mainstream media for not learning his lesson about sexting, and there’s now a website to help you find your own pseudonym a la Carlos Danger. On the flipside, Melissa Petro points out the tremendous double standard that still exists for a woman who does sex work.

Looking Different?: A fine take on what’s wrong with asking someone where they’re “really from.”

Modern Celibacy: Not having sex doesn’t make one a prude, or eliminate the sensuality of life, says Sophie Fontanel.

From Russia with … : (Trigger Warning). Just in case you haven’t noticed the pictures of gay rights activists suffering extreme violence in Russia. Meanwhile, one of the activists of Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, had her appeal denied.

Links for Sexy Feminists: Wendy Davis, Paula Deen, and more

Beyond Marriage: Some fresh takes on what the next focus of the gay rights movement should be. And a fine perspective on how the feminist movement can learn from the successes of the campaign for gay marriage.

Camp for Feminism: A weeklong program for girls to explore what feminism means in the twenty-first century points out that being anti-feminist is now more acceptable than being homophobic.

Go Wendy!: In all the hubbub over the SCOTUS decisions on gay marriage last week, we neglected to mention Wendy Davis’s fillibuster. For those who missed this, the Amazon page on the sneakers she wore is now a tribute to her. This article highlights two reviews that speak to very serious aspects of the laws on abortion.

Safe Choices: This woman’s story of a wanted pregnancy and child illuminates why we need to make sure human reproduction remains a woman’s choice. Writing from a delighted father’s perspective, Rob Delaney points out what should be obvious: that no man does the hard part of birthing a child, ever. Meanwhile, those of us in the U.S. face extremely high medical costs for even a normal pregnancy.

Triggering Comments: We were delighted to see Kotaku take a strong stand on comments that target a particular group, such as women or transgendered individuals. Hopefully other sites will follow suit.

In Solidarity: Women in Egypt risk being raped while they protest in Tahrir Square.

Paula Deen’s Scandal: The Southern hospitality mogul’s personal brand has suffered seriously since allegations of her company’s racism emerged. Yes, it is that bad. Yet in the public outcry of support for her, there are interesting insights about what “white America” really thinks about racism–pointing towards ways to change for the better.

Politics of Inclusion: Feminism is not, and should not be, solely about white women.

The End of DOMA and Prop 8: Why We Were Finally Ready 2004, when gay and lesbian couples began marrying on the San Francisco courthouse steps, nervous Democrats worried that the spectacle of wedded bliss would turn future elections against them. They cautioned against being too supportive of gay causes, lest mythical “middle America” be turned off by too much enjoyment of equality.
Hard electoral losses in 2004 were credited largely to opportunistic bigot groups pushing state anti-gay measures to turn out the Republican base. Conservative Democrats were quick to say I Told You So.
“I believe it did energize a very conservative vote,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said at the time. “I think it gave them a position to rally around. I’m not casting a value judgment. I’m just saying I do believe that’s what happened.”
“So I think that whole issue has been too much, too fast, too soon,” she added. “And people aren’t ready for it.”
It only took ten years for marriage equality to go from political poison to electorally essential.
Twelve states, the District of Columbia and five Native American tribes now permit same-sex marriages, including the Midwest states of Iowa and Minnesota. Democratic lawmakers now routinely tout gay rights records during elections. The sitting vice president, then the president and first lady, all publicly supported it and were greeted not with shock or scandal but with shrugs of “it’s about time.”
What happened?
First, the simple passage of time. The electorate is getting younger and less socially conservative, as well as less demographically rigid. Young people voting for the first or second time aren’t concerned with who’s sexing whom, and they think your concern over it is more than a little creepy. Those legislators who can read the polls realize this country isn’t going back to the ’50s, no matter how loudly they shout about Adam and Steve.
For another, the world has gotten smaller. Our greater technological connectedness ensures that we see one another’s lives more clearly. The greater presence of out gay and lesbian people in media, as well as greater attention to the dangers of bullying and forcing people to hide who they are, can touch even those who do not personally know an openly gay person.
And last, gay people have gotten married, and the earth has not caved in. The skies have not fallen. Serpents have not begun to speak in human tongues, or whatever the hell apocalyptic scenario was supposed to ensue. Brave men and women, American heroes all, stood up proudly with those they loved and declared their intentions to build a life together.

We were always ready, it turned out, for that.

Fighting the War on Women … with Guns! the cultural War on Women carries on with few signs of subsiding any time soon, people and organizations continue to try to find ways to fight back against the misogyny that pervades our society.  One Texas non-profit organization thinks it has the answer: provide firearms and weapons training to vulnerable women.  While this may sound appealing to some, this is hardly a solution to an ideological problem.

The Armed Citizens Project of Houston is dedicated to providing people in “mid-high crime areas with defensive shotguns, for free!”  (The exclamation mark is theirs.)  Their homepage boasts that they are “[f]ighting the war on women, one free shotgun at a time.”  According to founder Kyle Coplen in an interview withMSNBC, the (stated) reasoning behind his organization is to decrease the crime rate by providing people with guns.  However, that same MSNBC article cites studies indicating that women are less safe with guns in their homes than they would be without them.  But the ACP’s mission has another glaring problem: It treats the War on Women as a literal war, rather than an ideological one.
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