Tag Archives: #feminist

“I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic.”

21 Jul

Thank you to the inspiring Alice Paul for so succinctly summing up the importance of individual, distinct pieces in the formation of a social movement. A mosaic, indeed.

[Authors note 1: To fully understand the content of this post, I highly recommend that you read this article. This essay, too. If not, and you just want to read the excerpts I directly respond to, that’s cool.]

To Rebecca Traister: When I saw “Clumsy Young Feminists” web headline, I began reading your article with my own prejudices. And then you start with an “I wanted to, but…” statement? [Author’s note 2: Rebecca, I know you didn’t approve that web headline (you just keep digging yourselves deeper, NY Times), but goddammit, I am not a clumsy young feminist.]

I wanted to love SlutWalks…
But at a moment when questions of sex and power, blame and credibility, and gender and justice are so ubiquitous and so urgent, I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort.
Continue reading

Defending feminism on the flip cup table

19 May

Laura's lovely kickball team!

Thursday mornings are always a little rough for me, because I have kickball on Wednesday evenings. For those of you not familiar with “adult kickball,” yes it is the same game you played in elementary school but with a lot more drinking. Continue reading

Dear Rape Culture, GTFO.

9 Mar

Recent reports have shed light on a truly heartbreaking story: an 11-year-old Texas girl was gang-raped in November by eighteen men, ranging from middle-school students to a 27-year-old. There is absolutely no excuse for this heinous act committed against this young girl.

So why is the media putting forth information that insinuates blame falling on the victim and/or her mother? The New York Times published a story that included the following text:

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”

This is absolutely fucking ridiculous. Regardless of age, wearing make-up or various fashion styles is NOT AN INVITATION FOR RAPE. Where was her mother? Really? How can the actions of 18 men have anything to do with what the girl was wearing or the location of her mother? The real thing I’m looking for is the lesson that rape and assault and heinous acts against others are wrong and unacceptable. Why do we continue to live in a culture that blames victims, forces them to feel that they cannot raise their voices to report their attackers, and leads survivors to feel shame for something over which they have no control? (Seriously, rape culture is real. Look it up.)

I’m sure (or at least I damn well hope) that the NY Times doesn’t believe that the victim’s clothing, makeup, or mother’s whereabouts should be viewed as excuses for the actions of these 18 men and boys, but perhaps some stronger writing would address the inherent problems of blaming a crime victim for the atrocities committed against them. Try that out, media. Social commentary is great and framing is important: how about indicating that victim-blaming is harmful to our society and the idea of justice?

There has been tremendous response to this huge media fail (see responses at Jezebel, Double X Factor, & Feministing), and I definitely encourage you all to tweet @NYTimes, @thepubliceditor and demand an apology. And please check out Shelby Knox’s change.org petition seeking a formal, written apology and an editorial from a victim’s rights perspective.

Don’t be afraid to stand up and speak out against rape culture. It’s real and it needs to be put to rest.

This post brought to you by Dawn.

Suck it, Huckabee.

4 Mar

So, here’s the thing. Full disclosure. I was born out of wedlock. At the age of 17, my parents, both of whom were still in high school, had a newborn daughter to take care of. Plenty of people told my mother that she should have an abortion or give me up for adoption, but she didn’t. She had the support of my father (they married the following year and are still happily together) and her family, and here I am. Two more kids later and my family is incredibly close — I couldn’t be happier.

I realize that this isn’t always the case, and I’m sure we’ve beat a lot of statistics. But you know what?  Regardless of the numbers, my mother made a choice. Well, she made several. And so did my father. They chose to have unprotected sex, my mother chose to keep me, they chose to get married upon turning 18 because they were—and still are—madly in love.

But if anyone—man or woman, in love or not—wants to have sex before marriage, that’s their choice. Having a baby when you’re a teenager or a single parent might not be the most glamorous thing, but since when is life about glamour? Life is about the choices you make and doing what’s best for you. Marriage may still be something important in our society, but sex is a primal instinct & desire and there’s no way around it. It’s going to happen, so maybe we should be a little more open about it and teach the younger generation about it instead of bitching and shaming people who are just being human.

Yeah, I’m talking to you, Huckabee. You said this on Monday (thanks, WaPo):

“You know Michael, one of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine. But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock [sic].”

[Ed note: Many people like Mr. Huckabee love to shame women for having sex out of wedlock, but they don’t want them to have access to abortion, or access to health care, or access to food stamps, or access to anything, really, that they need to get by. So if you want to acknowledge, Mr. Huckabee, that single moms and their children need help, great. But have the morals to stand behind them and actually give them some goddamn help.]

Apparently, this was an interview with Michael Medved, who responded to Portman’s statement that her fiancé, Benjamin Millepied, gave her the most wonderful role in life by saying he “didn’t give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring!” Yeah. Sure. Because a shiny piece of jewelry and marriage are all women have to look forward to in life. Gag me.

And now, the Huckster is backtracking. Oh, you didn’t mean to insult Natalie Portman and all of the single mothers out there? Well, you insulted a hell of a lot more people than that. Women who have sex before marriage run the risk of revealing their actions publicly if they happen to get pregnant. What about men? They show no outward signs that they’ve bumped uglies. And what, if a woman gets pregnant and wants to keep the baby (not that you think abortions should happen anyway), she should automatically marry the man?

I disagree. I don’t think that any of that bullshit is true, and I don’t think that Natalie Portman’s pregnancy is glorifying having children out of wedlock. I think that Natalie Portman’s pregnancy is inspiring as hell to a lot of people. Here’s this incredibly intelligent, talented, generous, and funny woman with an Ivy League education, an Oscar, an amazing career, who is engaged to the love of her life and about to become a mother. Hot damn, if that doesn’t encourage people to reach for their dreams and embrace their life choices, I don’t know what does.

My mother might not have an Oscar and she didn’t go to Harvard, but she made her own choices, dealt with her decisions, and took life as it came at her. She’s brave and strong and a hell of a woman. (Happy birthday, Mama! Thank you, for the choices you made.) I’m glad that she had the freedom to make those choices and my parents did what made them happiest, rather than simply getting married because I came along.

Not everyone has the resources and support that my mother had. As my smart and lovely friend Jeneice said, when sharing this story with me:

Also, his stuff about most single moms being uneducated and poor isn’t…because of us glorifying wedlock. That’s a bigger problem rooted in so much more than women running around and having sex. Maybe we should look at why these populations are so uneducated and single. Maybe we should work to provide them with more education, more assistance, and/or something other than abstinence-only education instead of using them for your benefit when you want to shame others. But nooooooooooooooooo. Why don’t you work to fix the problem, Mr. Huckabee, instead of trying to shame a woman who can handle it because of her job and education? GAH. GAH. BRAIIIINNNNN. Ugh.”

Ugh, indeed.

P.S. Suck it, Huckabee.

This post brought to you by Dawn. (Editor’s note from Rachel)

I’m a feminist! She’s a feminist! He’s a feminist! Wait…what? (Part 2)

23 Dec

Like I said the other day, feminism is a movement of people—including men—who believe in gender equality. Men like my fellow writer Sam; men like my best friend Bryan.

Too often feminists push these allies away. It’s bad enough that we have to battle the whole “f-word” taboo, but why battle amongst ourselves, too?  Sure, feminism includes a lot of different thoughts and beliefs as individual as all the people who call themselves feminists, but can’t we all just get along?

Tom Digby and Patrick D. Hopkins both write of the taunting and exclusion they faced as men identifying in feminists in Men Doing Feminism. Hopkins even poses the following question: if feminism is perceived as about women and for women, does that mean it should be by women as well?

This exclusionary definition is going to hurt the movement for equality.  If feminists want to be on equal footing, then how can we throw men under the bus?

Hello, hypocrisy.

We have to remember that not all men are perpetrators of violence and discrimination against women. Not all men are out to get women. Some men—I’d even venture to say most men—want to help. Jezebel regularly features stories about men (like Ryan Gosling) speaking out against gender discrimination and inviting readers to share stories about the amazing men in their own lives. It’s so great to see fantastic stories like that.

Too often, men are seen as the enemy of feminism. IMO, it’s not men, but our socialization (and ridiculous gender stereotypes that perpetuate everyday prejudices and inequities) that is feminism’s arch nemesis. Like Sam said, we’re all on the same side; we’re allies.

So let’s not go mislabeling men who proclaim themselves feminists or champions of gender equality to have ulterior motives, less masculine, or obviously gay. Why can’t they just be human; compassionate people who want to help society take a few steps forward?

This post brought to you by Dawn.

Hello, my name is…

16 Dec

You think you know us.

Man-hating, miserable, militant feminists.

But we think we’ve been mislabeled. And we’re sick and tired of “the F word” taboo.

(Pardon the not-so-great video. Youtube these days, geez.)

Anyway! We’ve come with all the knowledge, snark and hyperlinks we’ve got to chat up fellow fems and curious Georges.

While we’re interested in debunking the feminist mislabels, we’re not solely dedicated to myth busting. (We leave that to the masters.) What we really want to do is talk about how feminism plays into so many parts of our lives – sex, friendship, activism, music, you name it – without any lectures or straight-up propaganda.

We’re excited to introduce you to our writers, who include amateur food bloggers, Vagina Monologues fans, confused religious feminists, sassy pro-choicers, pop culture enthusiasts, and a whole bunch of guest bloggers who are ready to engage.

Basically, we’re here to start a conversation and a community. Seems a bit lofty, no? I point all dream killers here, with the promise that we won’t take ourselves too seriously.

Welcome to mislabeled. Let the feminist mayhem begin.

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