It’s no big secret that one of the many battles the feminist movement fights against is its own poor PR. Many see feminism as the other “F-word” due to stereotypes that paint feminists as mean harpies with no sense of humor who hate men, makeup, bras, and shaving their legs. Despite the majority of feminists falling way outside these parameters, there are still many people — women in particular — who write off feminism as “not for them,” without bothering to dig a little deeper and explore if that’s truly the case.
Enter: Sexy Feminism: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Success and Style by Jennifer Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudúlph. Their book, out this month, acts as a guide to help young women understand how feminism is not only great for the world, but for all aspects of their own lives as well. Keep reading »
This week’s issue of The New Yorker includes a feature by Margaret Talbot, on the rise of young kids and teenagers identifying as transgender. While the concept of transgender isn’t new, there’s a trend emerging; kids as young as three are identifying as trans. Depending on the openness and support of their parents, many of these kids are begin to transition before they even reach puberty.
Talbot’s article opens with the story of Skylar, an attractive and popular teenage boy who just happens to have been born a biological female. Skylar was open with his parents from the beginning about feeling like he was born in the wrong body, and thankfully, they supported his decision to live happily and healthfully as a boy. Still in high school, he got “top” surgery to remove his breasts, but doesn’t plan on getting bottom surgery. What’s more, his identifying as trans wasn’t some desperate desire to make his gender match up with a heteronormative sexuality: Skylar now identifies as a gay man.
“The whole sexuality thing never seemed like a big deal.” he says. “I never came out to anybody as gay. Sometimes I forget that coming out in terms of sexuality is a big deal.”
Skylar is lucky: again, his parents are supportive, and he happens to live in a liberal suburb of New Haven, Connecticut, where his school and friends were, if not enthusiastically supportive, at least respectful of his choice. Many, many, many transgender kids are not so lucky, and we’d be remiss to ignore their reality — one study reports that 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide at some point.
I’m totally into Taylor Swift. I think she has super-clever lyrics, and I love that she writes her own music. Some of the themes she writes about are stuff I wish was there for me when I was in high school, and I’m so happy she really cares about her female fans. She’s not catering to a male audience and is writing music for other girls. I don’t care if she calls herself a feminist or not. There is something that she’s doing that feels feminist to me in that she really seems to have a lot of control over what her career is doing. She’s 23. People say she’s dating all these guys. Well, yeah, she’s a young person and is dating all these people ’cause that’s what you do when you’re young. John Mayer can fuck 84 people in one day and nobody calls him a slut. I think that’s the subtext of some of the things she’s said recently.
– Kathleen Hanna, patron saint of all things feminist and formerly of the bands Le Tigre and Bikini Kill, dips her toe in the most pressing social issue of our time: Is Taylor Swift a feminist? In an interview with The Daily Beast, Hanna makes a point that I hadn’t considered before: Taylor Swift definitely isn’t catering to a male audience — posing nearly naked in lad mags, performing sexually provocative dance numbers, tweeting scantily glad pictures of herself — in the same way that Katy Perry, Rihanna or Britney Spears do. That alone does not make Swift a feminist, of course. The content of the messages she’s sending to her female audiences are important. But I suspect part of the reason that Swift gets so much shit for being a girly-girl making music for girls is because she doesn’t necessarily have a legion of straight male fans wanking off to/supporting her. (And FWIW, Kathleen Hanna is also a fan of Beyoncé, so I think we can agree she’s more of a lover than a hater.) [The Daily Beast] [Photo: Getty]
If you go to to the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, you might see men singing loudly and dancing in circles. What you might not notice right away are the women, who are quietly murmuring and praying. The men’s side looks way more fun – plenty of my male friends have stories about that time they hung out at the wall with a Jewish celebrity. My boyfriend danced the hora there with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. The total disparity in the fun department isn’t a personal preference – it’s actually Israeli law.
But a group of brave female activists, The Women of the Wall, are working to change that. Keep reading »