Melissa Petro

The Soapbox: What TIME Gets All Wrong About “Pretty Woman,” Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

A journalist from Time.com contacted me yesterday for a quote that ultimately appeared in an article that irresponsibly conflates sex work and sex trafficking. In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the film, "Pretty Woman," the writer told me she was gathering what former sex workers— not victims of sexual exploitation, mind you — think…
By: Melissa Petro / March 25, 2015

Frisky Rant: On Whole Foods & Conspicuous Consumption Masquerading As Politics

When a Whole Foods opened at the end of my block, I couldn’t have been more excited. For months, I watched in anticipation as they converted what was once an old hospital into the superfoods superstore. I was excited—and then I was irritated, when I posted a status on Facebook celebrating opening day and the…
By: Melissa Petro / March 23, 2015

The Soapbox: On Sex Addiction, Sex Work & The Wall Street Intern Who Quit Her Job To Pursue Porn

Last week, a Wall Street intern quit her job to pursue porn. Paige Jennings, who goes by Veronica Vain, was working at an Lazard's alternative-investments marketing group in New York when she “quit [Wall Street] before it fired me” (according to her Twitter page) after it was discovered she was tweeting…
By: Melissa Petro / January 21, 2015

The Soapbox: Let’s Get Real When Discussing Complicated Sexual Experiences

There’s been a lot of talk lately in the media about sexual violence. Late last month, former CBC Broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi was fired amid allegations of sexual assault. A few weeks ago, Shia LaBeouf came forward with claims that he was raped during an art exhibition. And by now everyone’s heard of the…
By: Melissa Petro / December 16, 2014

The Soapbox: Railing Against AA Does A Disservice To Those Trying To Get Sober

This post was originally published on After Party Chat and republished with permission. We’ve all got at least one Facebook friend who just can’t stand Alcoholics Anonymous and needs to let the world know it every chance that they get. I usually politely ignore them. But the latest anti-AA screed…
By: Melissa Petro / December 13, 2014

On Dylan Farrow, Being Triggered & Dealing With Trauma

I woke up the morning after feeling irritated, a clutching pain behind my eyes. Alert, but not wanting to do anything. There it was, that vague feeling of dis-ease, a familiar disconnection. It's difficult to admit how personally triggered I was by Dylan Farrow's open letter in The New York Times. I would rather…
By: Melissa Petro / February 4, 2014

The Soapbox: In (Reluctant) Defense of Dr. Phil

I never thought I’d write an article under that title but here goes. Earlier this week, Dr. Phil asked over Twitter: "If a girl is drunk, is it alright to have sex with her?" The Twittersphere overwhelmingly answered "No," calling Dr. Phil a “moron,” “asshole” and “rape apologist,” among other things. I…
By: Melissa Petro / August 22, 2013

The Soapbox: On Hugo Schwyzer, Personal Essay Writing & Redemption

Last week, the controversial professor, feminist blogger and personal essayist Hugo Schwyzer announced on his blog, in an interview with NYmag.com and again in LA Weekly that he was retiring his notorious public persona and quitting the internet for good (or—…
By: Melissa Petro / August 5, 2013

The Soapbox: On The So-Called Bravery Of Immersion Journalism

"I will sleep rough, scrounge for my food, access all the services that other homeless individuals in the West End use. I will interact with as many homeless people as possible and immerse myself in that lifestyle as deeply as I can." These are some of the last recorded words from Lee Halpin,…
By: Melissa Petro / April 12, 2013

The Soapbox: The Case Against Sex Offender Registries

There’s no defense for rape. And there’s no defense for defending rape — be that minimizing the crime, blaming the victim or focusing so exclusively on the perpetrators that the victim is rendered invisible, as in CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville guilty verdict. As I read over the case, the verdict, the media…
By: Melissa Petro / March 19, 2013

The Soapbox: Why You Shouldn’t Intern At Anthropologie

My relationship with Anthropologie is love-hate. I love the company’s handpicked, one-of-a-kind eclectic look. I hate the fact that my loving this stuff only underscores the fact that I am in no way unique and that I have been corporate-brainwashed just like the rest of you ladies who just can’t get enough pencil skirts, ruffled…
By: Melissa Petro / September 20, 2012

The Soapbox: On School Dress Codes And Slutty Wednesday At Stuyvesant High School

By now you’ve probably heard of the prestigious New York City high school that protested what they perceive as a discriminatory dress code by instituting a “Slutty Wednesday”—a day in which students came to school in outfits that deliberately violated the code. According to news reports, the school’s dress code is pretty basic. It require…
By: Melissa Petro / June 12, 2012

Girl Talk: Reflections On A Reckless Youth

I had an abortion when I was 21. It was my senior year of college. I was living in NYC, working nights as an exotic dancer while interning during the day at a grassroots nonprofit for disadvantaged girls. I was cheating on my long distance boyfriend, we were having unprotected sex and I got pregnant.
By: Melissa Petro / October 21, 2011