Where My Ladies At?

Obamacare Contraceptive Rule To Be Decided On By Supreme Court

Demonstrators, both pro and con the contraceptive mandate, await the ruling June 30.

At the risk of repeating myself, the Roberts Court sucks. The Hobby Lobby decision, in which the Supreme Court’s majority of Catholic men determined that the “religious beliefs,” and I use those scare quotes advisedly, of corporations outweigh the right of women to access appropriate health care, at least when when it comes to contraception. Did I mention that this ruling was determined by a group of five Catholic men? [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Free Radicals, Part 2

Radfem(Read Part 1 here.) Last time, I talked about the ongoing argument in American feminism between liberals and radicals, and how our failure to distinguish between the two has left the movement ideologically confused. This confusion causes people to compare fundamentally unlike things (e.g., number of women CEOs vs. unrealistic female beauty standards), and reach conclusions that look oppositional but are really just different perspectives on the same problem. To wit: “We now have women in the Fortune 500, so sexism = OVER!” [Read more...]

Free Radicals, Part 1

femen protest

Who doesn’t love a topless protest?

Feminists fight with each other a lot; we’re a scrappy bunch. Most of the arguments are useful, a healthy airing of the differences you’re bound to find in a social movement as large and long-standing as US feminism. But there’s one particular argument I’d like to see us put to rest forever. [Read more...]

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part 1

Burren

Me in County Clare, Ireland NOT thinking about women’s rights.

I should preface this post by assuring you that I did not spend the entirety of my Ireland vacation ruminating about international women’s movements and researching Dickensian penal institutions. I had fun! There was road-tripping, and castle-viewing, and the consumption of mountainous piles of fish and chips. However, this being me, and “fun” having many possible definitions, I also set up some meetings so I could interview Irish activists about that country’s feminist movement. My curiosity was piqued last year following the death of Savita Halappanavar [Read more...]