A lot has happened since 2010 when we got to witness Sally Draper’s temper tantrum as a little girl, and feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte made the astute observation that Sally Draper was a feminist hero. That tantrum was our first glimpse into what would later become Sally’s numerous instances of resistance against a broken old world order. She has internalized every dysfunction of her parents and her culture and rejects it. It symbolized the great uprising of women and people of color that would follow; Civil Rights marches and Gloria Steinem would be the epic “tantrums” at large that would reshape the country forever. Four years later in our current TV time, Marcotte predicted correctly.
As an avid superfan of “Mad Men” from the get-go, it’s fun to realize that I have been growing up with Sally now for almost her entire life-span: childhood, puberty, now young womanhood. But from the end of last season up to now, I have been especially jolted by the writers’ particular and deliberate crafting of Sally’s character as a feminist force. It’s no mistake that she is shaping to be the most feminist character in the series. Joan, Peggy and Megan certainly come close, but Sally truly represents the next generation. (Warning: Spoilers ahead!) Keep reading »
It’s about time human mothball Phyllis Schlafly got tucked away in the attic of history. But somehow, someway, the anti-feminist and founder of the uber-conservative Eagle Forum is still sharing dumb, archaic ideas that were rejected by society over half a century ago. Her latest batch of craziness is an op-ed in the Christian Post about how the “pay gap” is a bunch of bunk. Women just don’t want to work as hard as men, you see! Men work at harder jobs! Oh, and also, what do ladies need money for anyway? Don’t we know paying our own bills ourselves scares away the menfolk? Keep reading »
I’m writing this on an airplane from Toronto, Ontario, to San Francisco, California. I’ve just spent six days among other women, other queers, other porn performers, and other feminists at the Feminist Porn Awards and the Feminist Porn Conference. In that time, I have witnessed moments that made my heart soar, my eyes tear up with love and the fiercest of joys, pride in the people I hold close to me. I have experienced moments that hurt my heart, that disappointed me, moments that underlined how privilege can alienate and divide us. I spoke to academics, I spoke to sex workers, I spoke to sex workers who were academics. It was a weekend of realizations, inspiration, determination … and I came away from it all feeling exhilarated and ready to change the world.
I also realized that the sex wars are still very much A Thing. There are still Good Feminists and Bad Feminists, though the definition of which is which varies depending on who you ask. It’s saddening to see us fighting each other, women who have been called prudes for asserting their sexual choices attacking women who have been called whores for asserting their sexual choices … and vice versa. This is, of course, exactly what the patriarchy wants. While we bicker about whether or not porn is empowering, we are being systematically marginalized, turned away from jobs, thrown out of school, our kids and our workspaces and our money and our privacy taken away from us. The act of having sex on film or any other sex work may empower some and humiliate others, or we might start feeling one way and eventually feel another. (The same holds true for food service workers, though we ask that question far less often). In our current culture we are all experiencing and navigating the effects of capitalist patriarchy. Keep reading »
It’s easy to say that pornography is empowering for women, or that it degrades them. Oversimplifying, certainly, but easy.
The truth is it’s much more complicated than that.
I was 19 when I realized I could go to college without the debt that my friends were already beginning to complain about. I could take care of myself. It was when I held in my hand $100 for one hour of nude modeling, something I never even realized a chubby girl could make money doing. I was juggling three jobs that paid me only twice that amount per 40-hour week doing physically stressful work for minimum wage.
At the time, it was simple mathematics. Keep reading »