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.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Gay Marriage, Transgender Rights, and more

Marriage Equality!: The SCOTUS has ruled that married gay and lesbian couples are eligible for the federal benefits of marriage. The ruling is not a total victory, since a couple who moved to an anti-gay marriage state could still lose state recognition. Yet the victory is monumental for this lesbian couple and others in which one party is not an American citizen.

Breaking Up: Why the way many women console their girlfriends after a breakup is spectacularly unhelpful.

Pro-Eating: Why do even the most body-positive women still feel the need to eat in secret?

Transgender Rights: Adorable first grader Coy won the right to use her school’s girls’ bathroom, in accordance with her gender identity.

Anti-Feminism: The anti-feminist right wing has taken on a new tactic: rebranding themselves as “freedom feminists.” Ugh.

Media Studies: Writing for the Nation, Jessica Valenti does an excellent job of critiquing media for taking the male perspective as the norm. On a lighter note, see if you can recognize yourself in this charming little cartoon on the pitfalls of feminist self-awareness–as one commentator notes, this just shows why we need more representation of female characters.

Women in the World: Amnesty International issued a statement in support of feminist protesters in Libya who created and circulated a controversial cartoon in favor of women’s rights. In nearby Morocco, local and European women gathered in solidarity with the Saharawi women. On a different note, Bloomberg profiles Jennifer Li, a Chinese woman with a high-flying business career.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Against “Dieting”, Safer Sweatshops, Women Vote in Pakistan, More

Against the “Diet”: A poignantly inspiring tale of a woman who watched her father waste away due to self starvation and vows to embrace her own plus -ize figure. If you’re ever at a loss for body positivity, may we recommend reading and rereading this compilation of advice from fat women who love their curves. Meanwhile, having broken the “We don’t want fat people” Abercrombie story, Business Insider charts a precipitous drop in the brand’s popularity following the story.

Safer Sweatshops: On the other end of the fashion cycle, we were encouraged to hear that several prominent retailers are committing to improve factory conditions in Bangladesh.

Rethinking Choice: One woman’s interesting take on the semantic argument between “Life” and “Choice.”

Surprise!: Greater access to and education about birth control leads to fewer abortions. Interestingly, education in the study led many women to conclude that an IUD was the right choice for them, suggesting that the long-term solution may be underused.

Sex Positivity: Thanks to Jezebel for this primer on the so-called “looseness” of the vulva. NSFW.

Mommy Life: One woman’s story about coming to terms with postpartum depression and accepting that her husband could be the better caregiver at the beginning.

Activism Works: The Florida teen whose science experiment caused a minor explosion has had charges dropped after internet activists accused the accusers of racism. Meanwhile, though Disney has publicly backed down from its Merida makeover, only time will tell if they’re changing her back.

Women in the World: Pakistani women braved threats of violence to vote this past weekend, while Kuwaiti women are gaining grounds for athletic competition. Coming from a different religious perspective, Israel has struck down the mandate that women and men be segregated on public bus rides through conservative neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Canadian students created this funny and thought-provoking spoof of gender roles in advertising.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Life After Steubenville, Hillary for Gay Marriage, Leaning In, and more

After Steubenville: Mainstream media coverage of the trial outcome focused on the repercussions for the perpetrators, even though they are not the victims here. One independent commentator points out that the two had different reactions at sentencing, with Ma’Lik seeming more redeemable. Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous points out that punishing the boys by sending them to juvie will “just break them harder.”

Jane Doe Recovers: The then-unconscious girl faces a tough recovery in a small town where everyone knows, but at least her mother has been supportive.

Women are People: Well-meaning commentators who ask “What if this happened to your sister?” are missing the point, because women are individuals in our own right. The New Statesman says that this is rape culture’s Abu Ghraib moment.

Hillary Watch: Embracing the freedom of having completed her term as Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton announced her support for gay marriage.

Malala Emerging: The Pakistani teen and world feminist icon started boarding school England, but the cause she fought for remains unfulfilled.

Leaning In: Sheryl Sandberg is creating quite a stir with her book, but improving policies to mandate that women have access to part-time leave could actually foster subtle job discrimination, preventing other women from reaching the very top. Meanwhile, workplace gender segregation has broad implications for how men and women see each other. And at least one career woman wonders if the sacrifice was worth it.


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.


Links for Sexy Feminists: Valentine’s Day, One Billion Rising, Mansplaining, and more

Conversation Hearts: As Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s all take a moment to consider the plight of women in abusive relationships. And hope that the Violence Against Women Act makes it through the House. If you’d like a side of activism with your V-Day, seek out a One Billion Rising event near you.

Women are Citizens: The problem with Obama’s rhetoric in the State of the Union, explained at Feministing.

Opposite Day: Hilarious tweets which point out the clear silliness of Men’s Rights Activists.

Mansplained! A space for accomplished women to vent when men don’t take them seriously. And check out this list of ways society lies to women.

People Aren’t Props: Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition has a problematic approach to “other” cultures in this year’s issue.

Stay Cool: Fun valentines from Ryan Gosling, Forever Alone Guy, and Vladimir Putin (?).


Links for Sexy Feminists: Elder Feminist Obituaries, Workplace Discrimination, the VAWA, and More

Two Groundbreaking Women Died:  Jean S. Harris, whose trial for murdering her longtime beau drew her comparisons to Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary, became an advocate for female prisoners while at Bedford Hills.  Beate Gordon made sure female rights were drafted into the modern Japanese constitution when she was a 22-year-old assistant to General MacArthur.  Both were born in 1923.

Abortion by Internet:  Increasing numbers of women are using the internet to purchase a medication for its off-label use of inducing miscarriage.

Off the Cliff, But …: The U.S. House blocked the Violence Against Women Act.

Women Working:  An all-male Iowa court ruled in favor of a man who fired a “stellar” longtime employee because he found her “irresistible.”  The two had been friendly, but she viewed him as a father figure.

Indian Girls Get Period Help: Girls in India frequently drop out of school due to the social stigma of menstruation, but a humanitarian public health campaign aims to change that.

Speaking Out: One blogger offers her experience with Women’s Studies 101 and the difficult necessity of awareness.


Election Night Stakes: Your Vagina, Hurricane Sandy Relief, Queer Voters, Hillary Clinton’s Legacy

With election night less than a week away, we’re hearing more and more of this campaign’s catch phrase: “the stakes couldn’t be higher.” Yes, that’s true. But context should be added to every mention of that phrase. Yes, it bears repeating ad nauseum; it’s that important. Here are the stakes as we see them:

Women’s health and reproductive rights. Duh. We all know this has been the hot-button issue this election season. We all need to get to the polls to let our voices be heard on this one. But this student journalist heeds an important reminder that women’s health care rights are always relevant—and vulnerable.

Humanity. Hurricane, superstorm, franken-whatever Sandy hit hard. Lives and livelihoods were devastated and the country’s biggest, most resilient city was forced to cower in Mother Nature’s wake. How President Obama and Mitt Romney responded tells us a little bit about each one’s ideals. Authenticity matters, folks.

Voices—All of Them. Gay and transgender Americans are all-but-forgotten in campaign stump speeches, give or take a scripted comment about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or  the Defense of Marriage Act. Here are some fantastic essays that lend insight into Voting While Queer and Voting While Trans. One highlight to ponder: is there any reasonable reason that we must list our sex on the ballot?

The economy. A thriving one means more opportunities for equal work for which we can fight for equal pay. There is no one answer to get us back in the black, and, folks, this shit takes time. Each candidate wants a more solvent American economy, but their approaches are very different. Understand that difference.

Women’s empowerment around the world. No one has done more to put women’s rights, freedoms and economic empowerment on the international stage than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (recap some awesomeness here). She will be leaving the office at the end of President Obama’s current term. No matter who wins this election, we must not forget the importance of this work and continuing to protect, support and celebrate women all over the world. Political activism starts with each of us letting our local representatives know where our priorities lie. Get chatty, make change.

 

 


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.”


SF Talking Points: Funny Women Taking Things Into Their Own Hands, A Gay, Feminist Republican Is Running For President

New Women’s Comedy Site Launches: A woman’s version of male-slanted humor sites like Funny or Die and CollegeHumor has arrived! In the midst of the debate over why women represent such a small population of the comedy world comes Comediva, hoping to cater to the different sense of humor that women have compared to men. Erika Cervantes, founder of Comediva, writes in her opening post:

“What makes up a girl’s sense of humor is complex and varies from lady to lady, so it deserves to be explored further in a future column.  However, at the risk of making sweeping generalizations, I did learn a few reasons why girls are just different from boys when it comes to funny:

-    Boys use humor to one-up each other.  Girls use humor to bond with each other.
-    Despite our abuse of the phrase LOL, it’s harder to make girls laugh out loud than boys.
-    Girls enjoy irony, wordplay, and subtlety, and favor storytelling over joke-telling.”

Oh, it’s not that, “women, bless their tender hearts, would prefer that life be fair, and even sweet, rather than the sordid mess it actually is”, as Christopher Hitchens claimed in his then old-fashioned, now antiquated (but still widely referenced) argument that women aren’t funny? Or because, “For some reason, women do not find their own physical decay and absurdity to be so riotously amusing, which is why we admire Lucille Ball and Helen Fielding, who do see the funny side of it,” even though Lucille Ball, though extremely funny on camera, didn’t actually write her own stuff? Not sure who Hitchens was referring to in that first statement, or why he was excluding the many contemporary female comedians who “find their own physical decay and absurdity” amusing (see: here and here) but it’s not as though that’s the only place where humor exists. [Read more...]


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