Tag Archives: Feminism


Topless Femen activists disrupt Muslim conference on women. (Source: The Telegraph)

Queen bees be holding women back in the workplace.
(Source: Forbes)

Matt Damon whitemansplains diversity to “Dear White People” producer Effie Brown and now #Damonsplaining is a thing.
(Source: Hollywood Life)

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The problem with Lena Dunham’s ‘body positive’ pic and Caitlyn Jenner’s VF cover

Last week, the Internet praised Lena Dunham for posting a picture of herself in her underwear on Instagram. One writer at Bustle called it “badass and fearless,” while a writer at Mic described it as “Feminist empowerment.” This week, Caitlyn Jenner (formally known as Bruce) unveiled her new female self wearing a corset and matching high-waisted panties on the cover of Vanity Fair, and again the Internet rejoiced.

Continue reading The problem with Lena Dunham’s ‘body positive’ pic and Caitlyn Jenner’s VF cover

Best Reads of March: Pop Feminist Edition

Award MarchThe month of March brought us a wealth of thought provoking articles on gender and pop culture. I’ve compiled a list of what think are the very best 10.

These were the articles that made me pause and reflect, some made me chuckle and all of them made me think “damn! I wish I wrote that!”

So sit back, get comfy and prepare to get your pop feminist read on!

10. CNN Reports On The ‘Promising Future’ of the Steubenville Rapists, Who Are ‘Very Good Students’” from Jezebel (March 17)

Best quote:

It’s perfectly understandable, when reporting on a rape trial, to discuss the length and severity of the sentence; it is less understandable to discuss the end of two convicted rapists’ future athletic and academic careers as if it were somehow divorced from the laws of cause and effect. Their dreams and hopes were not crushed by an impersonal, inexorable legal system; Mays and Richmond raped a girl and have been sentenced accordingly.”

9. “Chris Brown Wants Everyone To Know That He Holds The Deed To Rihanna’s Pussy” from Dlisted (March 9) 

Best quote:

 I would say that RiRi should evict Fist Brown from her pussy and change the locks, but she’s probably creaming over this. And she’s the one who pays the mortgage and maintenance bills on her pussy!”

8. “Let’s get ratchet! Check your privilege at the door” from Feministsting (March 28) 

Best quote:

Remember when people who weren’t actually from the ghetto started to use the word ‘ghetto’ to describe everything from their friend’s booty to a broken blender (real life examples)? The same phenomenon is happening with ratchet, even for those who do not use the word itself. It is super easy to borrow from the experiences of others as a way to be “fun,” or stretch boundaries on what is ‘acceptable,’ without any acknowledgement of context or framework.”

7. Mila Kunis, Jennifer Lawrence, and the Delicate Formula for Becoming America’s Best Friend” from the Vulture (March 7) 

Best quote:

Apparently it’s not enough for a woman to be smart and likable and humble. Audiences presumably don’t crave [Lena] Dunham as their best friend because they already have a best friend just like Dunham. They want an upgrade. The key is to act just like average humans, but not to look remotely like them.”

6. “Justin Timberlake and the Male-Celebrity Hall Pass” from the Vulture (March 13) 

Best quote:

If we held the omnipresent Justin Timberlake to the same standard as these women, he’d be a pariah — a self-aggrandizing sell-out like Beyoncé (Bud Light Platinum, anyone), a cloying fake like Hathaway (Serious Actor glasses?Instagram filter? Check), a self-indulgent nuisance like Dunham (an album of seven-minute space jam sessions and a love song about himself?), and a vengeful brat like Swift (that Joey Fatone joke had nothing on the Britney sketch. Also: “Cry Me a River”). “Instead, we call him charming.”

5. “Confessions of a Former ‘Sex and the City’ Fan” from Flavorwire (March 8) 

Best quote:

We loved it because Sex and the City was a coming-of-age show that just happened to be about women in their 30s and 40s.”

4. “Bigger than Rick Ross: an industry that glorifies rape and drug culture” from The Root DC (March 29) 

Best quote:

Still, there are many black men who seek to remain within the margins of the dominant hip-hop culture. Many of these men have bought into limited definitions of masculinity and are scared to be “outed” as weak, a hater, or – God forbid – gay if they speak out. There are, of course, even many women who fight endlessly to prove that the lyrics are about ‘those’ women and not ‘me’ or ‘us.'”

3. “The Finkbeiner Test” from Double X Science (March 5) 

Best quotes:

Campaigns to recognize outstanding female scientists have led to a recognizable genre of media coverage. Let’s call it “A lady who…” genre. You’ve seen these profiles, of course you have, because they’re everywhere. The hallmark of “A lady who…” profile is that it treats its subject’s sex as her most defining detail. She’s not just a great scientist, she’s a woman! And if she’s also a wife and a mother, those roles get emphasized too.”

“To pass the Finkbeiner test, the story cannot mention

  • The fact that she’s a woman
  • Her husband’s job
  • Her child care arrangements
  • How she nurtures her underlings
  • How she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field
  • How she’s such a role model for other women
  • How she’s the “first woman to…”

2. “Rape Is Not Inevitable: On Zerlina Maxwell, Men and Hope” from The Nation (March 12) 

Best quotes:

Here’s the thing—when you argue that it’s impossible to teach men not to rape, you are saying that rape is natural for men. That this is just something men do. Well I’m sorry, but I think more highly of men than that. (And if you are a man who is making this argument, you’ll forgive me if I don’t ever want to be in a room alone with you.)”

“And when you insist that the only way to prevent rape is for women to change their behavior—whether it’s recommending that they carry a weapon or not wear certain kinds of clothing—you are not only giving out false information, you are arguing that misogyny is a given. That the world will continue to be a dangerous and unfair place for women and we should just get used to the fact.”

1. “Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning in?” from Dissent (March 26)

Best quotes:

Sandberg assumes instead that the feminist question is simply, how can I be a more successful worker?”

“Sandberg has penned not so much a new Feminine Mystique as an updated Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.”

“… as a manual for navigating the workplace, it teaches women more about how to serve their companies than it teaches companies about how to be fairer places for women to work.”

The Jason Patric saga and how fatherhood is devalued

In late February TMZ reported that actor Jason Patric was “shut down” in his bid to gain paternity and custody rights over his son. A few other gossip sites picked up the story but I haven’t read much commentary, which I find surprising. An article on BabyCenter questioned if Patric was simply a sperm donor or entitled to paternal rights.

Continue reading The Jason Patric saga and how fatherhood is devalued

Accidental Feminism and the 2013 Oscars

MacFarlane 2013 OscarsDid this year’s Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, go too far with the jokes? BuzzFeed ran an article called the “9 Sexist Things That Happened At The Oscars.”

Meanwhile, Maureen O’Connor writing for New York’s fashion blog The Cut, listed the most egregiously sexist moments of the night.

It seems that for the most part, the critics were right to feel outrage. Many of jokes he made that night gave off a strong sexist vibe. His joke about the Kardashians, for example, managed to be both sexist and racist. Here’s the joke if you missed it:

This man has gone from starring in “Gigli” to becoming one of the most respected filmmakers of this generation. I feel like we’re six months away from having to call him le Benjamin Affleck.  I thought we’d cut this joke but really, want to do it? First time I saw him with all that dark facial hair I thought, my god, the Kardashians have finally made the jump to film.”

Other jokes MacFarlane told weren’t so much sexist as they were awkward. One example of this was the “We Saw Your Boobs” number, which gave a shout-out to actresses who’ve appeared topless in movies. The bit could have worked if it had served to humorously point out the fact that in film, a woman’s body is much more likely to be treated as ornamental than a man’s body. Instead the number fell flat because the humor seemed cruel. The mockery was directed at the women and not the men who call the shots.

Amy Davidson, writing for The New Yorker, had a particularly scathing assessment. She wrote:

You girls think you’re making art, the Academy, through MacFarlane, seemed to say, but all we—and the ‘we’ was resolutely male—really see is that we got you to undress. The joke’s on you.”

However, one joke MacFarlane that night is being unfairly derided as sexist. It’s this one:

So let me just address those of you up for an award, so you got nominated for an Oscar, something a 9-year-old could do! She’s adorable, Quvenzhane. She said to me backstage. “I really hope I don’t lose to that old lady, Jennifer Lawrence.” To give you an idea how young she is, it’ll be 16 years before she’s too old for Clooney.”

This joke succeed in doing something the “We Saw Your Boobs” number failed to do. On the surface it was a not-so-subtle dig at Hollywood’s youth obsession. Ultimately however, the joke put a spotlight on the sexist, age gap double standard when it comes to dating.

When a  man dates a younger woman, it’s considered the norm, when a woman does it, it’s considered an abnormality. How is it treated as an abnormality, you might ask? It’s done using terms that can range from being patronizing  (cougar and puma) to outright hostile (like grandma or granny).

If 51-year-old George Clooney were a woman, you can be sure he’d be called things like desperate and pathetic for not being married and for dating women who are (a) much less famous and (b) much younger.

To give you an idea of this double standard, consider this; Clooney is 18 years older than his current girlfriend, Stacy Keibler. Biologically, he could easily be her father, yet no fuss is made over their age difference. We never hear concern tolling stories about whether or not the aging star can hold on to someone so much younger.

At 50, Demi Moore, who was once hailed as the cougar poster child, was only 15 years older than her 35-year-old ex-husband, Ashton Kutcher. Yet as we all know, so much was made over that age gap.

A recent development that’s particularly appalling is that the age gap double standard is also being used against women in their early 20s. Back in December, Gawker ran an item titled “Cool Mom Taylor Swift Took Her 18-Year-Old Boyfriend to Get a Giant Tattoo Yesterday.”At the time she had only recently turned 23.

It seems like the only time a man receives this kind of teasing or ridicule is when the age gap is so extreme.  Stories about the  60 year age difference between Hugh Hefner and his wife, Crystal Harris, portray their age gap as being repugnant.

So why does this age gap double standard in dating even matter? It matters because it boxes women in sexually; it puts them in their place, so to speak. As a woman ages she’ll find that her pool of “acceptable” men to date has gotten smaller, while for men the opposite is true.

Seth MacFarlane made a lot of lot of sexist remarks on Oscar night, but his joke about the fact that the women Clooney dates keep getting younger and younger wasn’t one of them. Feminist sentiment was almost certainly not MacFarlane’s intention when he made the crack, but in the end he used humor to focus attention on a double standard that’s so often overlooked. It’s just too bad that it got lost in all the tasteless remarks he made that night.