Free Radicals, Part 4

Read Parts 1, 2, and 3.

It seems like an obvious point, the idea that legislation alone can’t fix human problems that have roots in complex personal and environmental factors. To wit: if the sentence for a domestic violence perpetrator is determined by a judge who doesn’t believe, deep down, that such “personal” matters belong in court in smash patriarchythe first place, how likely is that judge to recommend a stiff penalty, regardless of how brutal the attack was? Not very, and it isn’t too hard to understand why. [Read more...]

Free Radicals, Part 3

ain't no revolutionIn Parts 1 and 2, I talked about the basic differences between the radical and the liberal strains of feminist thought in this country. Now I’m going to illustrate them with an example from my own life. I’ll start by telling you about the time I got kicked out of feminism. [Read more...]

Personal Matters: In Which I Write About Myself and Expect You to Read It

nbtt-front-cover_190wFor those of you just tuning in: I like to write about politics. I bring up this rather obvious point because there’s a book coming out May 3, Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God, which features an essay of mine, and said essay is not about politics—it’s about me. This is a rare enough occurrence that I think it bears pointing out. The piece is called “Float,” and it’s decidedly not the sort of writing I typically do, not because I dislike personal essays—as a reader, I love them—but because as a writer, choosing topics, looking for angles, I guess I just don’t find myself all that interesting. [Read more...]

Partnering with Men for Feminist Change

C.Hayes photo 2012The American women’s movement is at a turning point. Roughly 45 years into feminism’s second wave, after decades of social change work dedicated to leveling the playing field for women, activists are coming back around to an old idea that’s been with us since the 1970s: the frequently cited maxim that “feminism is for everybody,” men and women alike. [Read more...]

Reconsidering Rashida: Her Slut-Shaming is Bad, But Not “Anti-Feminist”

rashidaMan, Rashida Jones really stepped in it, didn’t she? Following up on a series of ill-advised tweets (with the charming hashtag #stopactinglikewhores) aimed at “encouraging” female pop stars to cut it with hyper-sexual stuff already, Jones channeled her inner Sunday school teacher again last week in the pages of Glamour magazine. Her editorial was intended as an elaboration and clarification—“I didn’t say stop being whores, I said stop acting like it!”—but mostly it was a personal defense. She’s not, she assures us, a “prude.” In fact, she’s a feminist, which I guess in this formulation is the opposite of the moralizing scold the Twitter hordes accused her of being. But she didn’t soften her original arguments, which basically boil down to something about role models, plus Jones being grossed out by the sexualized images of pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. [Read more...]

Home Ec for Wayward Girls: Crazy Good Oatmeal Bread

oatmeal bread.

(Photo credit: tworedwellies)

It’s that time of year again, the season when I cannot seem to refrain from posting recipes to my political blog, apropos of absolutely nothing. What can I tell you? I love to cook and bake, and I especially love to do those things in the winter, for the coziness. [Read more...]

Women, Politics and Represention

C.Hayes photo 2012There’s something I need to get off my chest. It’s been weighing on me, and I want to come clean before the next election cycle: I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary. That fact is only controversial because I’m a women’s advocate by trade, and there are certain feminist circles in which anything less than full-throated Hillary support is tantamount to heresy.

[Read more...]

It’s Hard Out Here for a Feminist

LAllenUntil this week, I was only peripherally aware of Lily Allen. Sure, I’d downloaded “Fuck You” and “Smile,” her funny pop confections with a bracing dash of intelligence. But I never qualified as a Lily Allen fan, and in fact had kind of forgotten she was a thing until the Internet blew up with a heated debated about the video for her new song “Hard Out Here.” [Read more...]

Joss Whedon and the F-Word

Whedon

First, some context: I love Joss Whedon. LOVE HIM. Like swoony, wobbly-kneed preteen-at-a-One-Direction-concert kind of love. I believe that Joss Whedon should be at the top of the short list for the Nobel Prize in Television Awesomeness, if such a thing existed, which it totally should. As far as I’m concerned, based on Buffy and Firefly alone he could have retired in 2003, secure in the knowledge that he had served humanity well. [Read more...]

Why White People Can’t Quit Blackface

julianne-hough-614x400Before I saw those pictures of her online Monday morning I didn’t know who Julianne Hough was, and even after Googling her, I’m still not entirely sure. Ballroom dancer and country music singer? Which is it, Julianne, did you have a hit song or were you just on Dancing With the Stars? In any case, this weekend Julianne learned an important lesson in the life of the demi-celebrity, which is that there’s a downside to being constantly photographed: when you screw up—say, by donning blackface to dress as your favorite Orange is the New Black character—everybody sees it. Next thing you know, people on Twitter are calling you racist and bloggers are questioning your professional accomplishments. Who has time for that? Not Julianne Hough, who no doubt has a voice and/or samba lesson to get to. [Read more...]