Before she transcribed this interview, our intern told me that she wasn’t entirely sure who Anita Hill was. I could hardly blame her. Even with a segment on the Anita Hill testimony during a gender studies class in college, I didn’t know too much about Anita Hill myself.
The new documentary,”ANITA,” revisits Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 after she revealed that her former employer, Clarence Thomas, had sexually harassed her. A quiet law professor in Oklahoma, Hill had privately revealed the sexual harassment she suffered under Thomas, which was then leaked to the press. Immediately thrust in the public eye, she was asked to publicly testify against Thomas and decided to go for it. Sexual harassment laws were on the books, but this was the first time in many people’s memory that a woman subordinate to a very powerful man had spoken out. Not at all surprisingly, Hill was repeatedly asked to repeat graphic testimony about Thomas’ behavior; she was accused of being a liar or a “scorned woman”; and worst of all, treated as if it were her character that was under consideration. That both Hill and now Supreme Court Justice are both Black only added another layer of pressure to her decision to speak up. Thomas famously accused the 14 all-white men seated on the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Hill’s allegations of conducting a “high tech lynching.” (He later blamed “pro-choice liberals” for going after him.) Eventually, Thomas was narrowly confirmed by the Senate. Keep reading »
If you’ve done any reading on the Internet about the business of sex work, chances are you’ve come across Melissa Gira Grant. She’s written about sex, politics, labor and tech everywhere from the UK’s Guardian to The Atlantic to Jezebel and Valleywag, making her one of the top intellectuals to turn to when America needs an explanation about why we’re so weird about sex.
A former “web cam girl,” Grant just published her latest book, Playing The Whore: The Work Of Sex Work, which is unlike any book about sex work or feminism that I’ve ever read. In it, she critiques law enforcement’s treatment of actual or perceived sex workers; labor issues surrounding sex work; and the tendency for governments and some outreach workers to treat all sex workers as “victims” in need of being “rescued.” However complicated you might have thought issues pertaining to sex work were before, Grant’s excellent book is extraordinarily illuminating.
Grant recently spoke to me about “whore stigma,” feminism, police, and the media’s struggle to accurately cover sex workers. Our Q&A begins after the jump: Keep reading »
“As I was watching [Beyoncé's visual album] I felt very conflicted, I felt her message felt very conflicted in the sense that on the one hand she is putting herself in a category of a feminist, but then the camera, it felt very male, such a male voyeuristic experience of her.”
Emma Watson and Rookie Mag editor Tavi Gevinson had a chat for Wonderland magazine and naturally the subject turned to Beyoncé (because every subject eventually turns to Beyoncé) and feminism. Tavi gave a much longer, well-thought-out response with her opinions about Beyoncé, sexuality and agency, but I tend to agree with how Emma Watson feels here. That is, I generally enjoy Bey’s music but I’m conflicted about her lyrics and some imagery in her videos. It seems to me that Bey sings and presents some problematic stuff in her videos, but everyone just fawns all over her anyway, for being a mega-super-famous superstar who identifies as feminist. (I am also fairly certain this viewpoint might get me fired from The Frisky, as Amelia is Beyonce’s number one fan, as in she wants to wear Bey like a skin suit. If I’m not here Monday, you know what happened.) [NYMag.com via Wonderland]
How awesome would it be if we could hand a kid a doll that didn’t have absurdly unrealistic proportions like Barbie does?
You may remember last year’s 3D print of a Barbie created using the average measurements of a 19-year-old girl. It made waves on the internet because, spoiler alert, the original Barbie’s shape was nothing like the average-sized doll. Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm, the genius behind that project, got bombarded with questions about where parents could buy a doll like his creation. Lamm couldn’t point to any doll on the market with a realistic look, so he took things into his own hands. Keep reading »
Like many daydreamers, I often think about time periods other than the one I’m currently living in that I would most likely enjoy. I usually settle on the roaring ’20s (it’s easy to get caught up in how cute everyone would look with flapper dresses and bobbed hair). Then I remember, of course, what the ’20s were actually like. Women had only recently secured the right to vote, abortion was illegal, penicillin and birth control were very new, and employment opportunities were still divided into men- and women-only. (Guess who had the less attractive options?)
This little game is just a daydream. Yet it ends up always serving as a reminder that I’m fortunate to be a woman the 21st century. And that’s a reminder I’m ashamed to admit, as a feminist, that I need somewhat often. There are times when being a woman even in 2014 feels disappointing — things should be better, things should have changed more. I’m privileged as an educated white, middle-class woman that these things are as few as they are. But one of the very biggest areas that needs changing is women writing about sex. Keep reading »