“[I]f a woman gets to a place in her own life where she needs an abortion, she should know that abortion is common. She should know that abortion is extremely safe. She should know that it won’t affect her ability to have children later. She should know that many of the women she knows have had abortions. Instead she walks into the clinic and she doesn’t know any of these basic realities and she feels very alone.”—Merritt Tierce, ED of Texas’ TEA Fund, in a Q&A in The Nation
Racist Halloween costumes are nothing new. Each year, people try to push the envelope. They think they’re being funny, but really, they’re using the freedom of Halloween, the pass we all get to indulge our secret selves, to say, to people of color: “This is how we see you. This is how we think of you.”
Though it is infuriating that we still need to have this conversation about why blackface is unacceptable, there may be some comfort in the knowledge that when people put on the mask of blackface, they reveal who they truly are.
“Margaret Atwood once wrote that “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them,” but it’s even more complicated than that. Women aren’t just afraid that they’ll be hurt; they’re afraid that they’ll be hurt and they’ll get blamed for it.”—Ana Mardoll (via runningwiththegnomes)
The United States does not have a rape problem - it has a rape epidemic. A woman in the U.S. is raped every two minutes, 42 percent of victims are raped before they are 18 years old. 1 in 3 Native women report being raped, as do almost 19 percent of black women. 97 percent of rapists will never go to jail.
It’s our responsibility as journalists to ensure that we are covering stories of sexual assault with truthfulness, care, and in a way that does not make the country a safer place for rapists. We are not just media makers - we shape the culture as well. So let’s make it a culture that’s safer and more just for girls, women, and all survivors of sexual assault.
Fun-Loving White Girls Just Asking to Be Raped (TW)
The media’s interest in rape culture these days (and, well, forever) seems to rest solely with young women’s behavior. (Rapist? What rapist?) What’s particularly telling is the pictures these outlets choose to accompany their articles - young white women partying, sometimes their heads cut out of the picture (for full dehumanization action!). Simultaneously shows who the media is most interested in, and who our culture is most interested in protecting the “virtue” of.
And so the hopes I had tucked away–of Layla helping me feed a baby, of sisters holding hands or pulling each other’s hair–came back to torment me, whispering: maybe. But the maybe my brain has on repeat does not change the reality that existed before the pregnancy and that will exist after it: My body cannot take it.
My latest column at The Toast is also my most personal.
“[P]laying the desirability of black female bodies as a “wink-wink” joke is a way of lifting up our deviant sexuality without lifting up black women as equally desirable to white women. Cyrus did not just have black women gyrating behind her. She had particularly rotund black women. She gleefully slaps the ass of one dancer like she intends to eat it on a cracker. She is playing a type of black female body as a joke to challenge her audience’s perceptions of herself while leaving their perceptions of black women’s bodies firmly intact. It’s a dance between performing sexual freedom and maintaining a hierarchy of female bodies from which white women benefit materially.”—When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland, Tressie McMillan Cottom
Being smug about how impassive you are while others are outraged is an expression of privilege, because often the source of the outrage is others’ lived experiences of oppression, bigotry and other forms of injustice. You’re smug and impassive because the experience often isn’t yours to be…
“I never say to guys, “So are you still a lawyer?…A doctor?…A brain surgeon?” They would think I’m nuts if I did. But men who are annoyed by women’s success in business have to find a way to put them down. And what better way to insult someone than minimize what they do, imply that it’s really insignificant, and inquire if they’re still doing it? Are you still bungee jumping off your mother’s roof?? Having contests to see how many grapes you can squeeze into your mouth??”—Danielle Steel on dudes asking her, "So, are you still writing?"
We live in a country that makes procuring reproductive care as difficult as possible: we give young people inaccurate and dangerous information about sex via ideologically driven abstinence-only education; 87 percent of counties in the US have no abortion provider; we deny financial assistance to the most in need and put up obstacles for younger women; one-third of women seeking abortions have to travel more than twenty-five miles to obtain one, and crisis pregnancy centers routinely lie to women about far into their pregnancy they are. Not to mention that we provide nothing in the way of support to parents—no mandated paid parental leave, no universal preschool or subsidized child care.
The Republican war on reproductive justice is directly responsible for women’s seeking later abortions. It’s easier for anti-choicers to perpetuate a myth of callous women who cavalierly decide to end their twenty-two-week pregnancy than to admit that their cruel and punitive policies are why women don’t get the care they need earlier.
The University of Southern California is facing a federal investigation for alleged failures by school officials and campus police to prosecute rape. In response to a Title IX complaint filed in May, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights launched the inquiry on June 26, although complainants only received notice over the weekend that the investigation had begun.
So much of our culture caters to giving men what they want. A high school student invites model Kate Upton to attend his prom, and he’s congratulated for his audacity. A male fan at a Beyoncé concert reaches up to the stage to slap her ass because her ass is there, her ass is magnificent, and he wants to feel it. The science fiction fandom community is once again having a heated discussion, across the Internet, about the ongoing problem of sexual harassment at conventions — countless women are telling all manner of stories about how, without their consent, they are groped, ogled, lured into hotel rooms under false pretenses, physically lifted off the ground, and more.
But men want what they want. We should all lighten up.
It’s hard not to feel humorless as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening, it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.
These are just songs. They are just jokes. They are just movies. It’s just a hug. They’re just breasts. Smile, you’re beautiful. Can’t a man pay you a compliment? In truth, this is all a symptom of a much more virulent cultural sickness — one where women exist to satisfy the whims of men, one where a woman’s worth is consistently diminished or entirely ignored.
I’m excited to announce that next month I’ll be joining The Atlantic with the somewhat intimidating title of “Entrepreneur in Residence.” In short, I’ll have the privilege of working for and learning from Atlantic President Scott Havens, Editor James Bennet and their incredible colleagues as we…
Very proud of my smart husband. Also, super excited to be moving back to my hometown.
Don’t feed the trolls: it’s probably the most common refrain in online discussions, especially when dealing with misogynists in feminists conversations. The idea is that the best way to deal with sexists is to starve of them of the attention they’re so clearly desperate for. Besides, we think, why sink to their level?
But the high road is overrated. It requires silence in the face of violent misogyny, and a turn-the-other cheek mentality that society has long demanded of women. A vibrant feminist movement has ensured women don’t take injustices laying down offline - so why would we acquiesce on the Internet?
…The truth is - despite stereotypes that paint feminists as forever negative - doing feminist work requires boundless optimism. It means believing that people have the ability to be better, that culture can change, and maybe even that people who hate can learn to love. It’s exhausting. Sometimes reminding ourselves how hilariously stupid the opposition can be is a necessary break from the burden of idealism.
When wives bring home more bacon than their husbands, household budgets surely may sizzle but in some cases, men may pay a price. Some guys who lose their role as primary earners are known to lose sexual steam and may deal with insomnia and other issues, researchers say.
In relationships where women’s wages become slightly fatter than what their spouses pocket, scientists have determined that men are about 10 percent more likely to require prescription pills to combat erectile dysfunction, insomnia and anxiety, according to a recent study by Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School.
If anyone is still holding on to the idea that abstinence only education isn’t all that bad, check out this quote from kidnapping and rape victim Elizabeth Smart:
Smart said she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”
Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum. “I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”