I have to say I’m dismayed by an upcoming piece in The New York Times Magazine by Rebecca Traister. Let me first say: I love Rebecca. She’s been the women’s political issues writer for Salon.com for nearly forever and last year she published Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything For American Women about the 2008 election. She’s been a personal mentor to me over the years and someone I’ve always respected and whose career I’ve hoped to emulate.
But I wonder if her recent piece on the current state of feminist activism in general, and SlutWalks in particular, in the Times magazine reveals a generational rift of opinion. Is it individual? Is it generational? It’s hard to say. But there’s no debating that there isn’t a word in the English language more controversial than “slut.” It only helps to multiply that controversy when feminists often virulently disagree about it. Keep reading »
Sometimes I like to write in a dry style. When I do this, it’s amusing to read comments by commenters who don’t understand that I’m being sarcastic. So I hoped this op-ed which popped up in my Google alerts, “Skinny Jeans, John Wayne, And The Feminization Of America,” was also being very dry. But in fact this author, Jane Gilvary, is quite serious that men in skinny jeans are the downfall of America. How about this gem?
“… real men don’t wear skinny jeans. Real men also don’t wear V-neck tees, or accessorized scarves, and they avoid purple and pink like the plague. The mere idea of a pedicure or waxing makes a real man nauseous. If a woman hangs out with this kind of girly-man routinely, it’s only because she wants to share his wardrobe and his non-fat caramel macchiato.”
Well, menswear-as-womenswear is hot right now. Keep reading »
Usually “burning money” is a figure of speech. But Sweden‘s feminist party literally set fire to $13,000 (or 10,000 Swedish kronar) to symbolize the amount of money women aren’t getting every minute compared to men. An advertising agency donated the $13K, which members of the Feminist Initiative heaped on a BBQ. According to Sweden’s statistics agency, in 2008 the average salary for women was about 19 percent less than for men. Keep reading »
The first biography of Helen Gurley Brown, who was Cosmopolitan‘s editor-in-chief for three decades, hits stores today, and we’ll be snapping up a copy after work. Written by Jennifer Scanlon, a professor of gender and women’s studies at Bowdoin College, Bad Girls Go Everywhere looks at Helen’s life from her start in an Arkansas town in the Ozarks to her rise from secretary to advertising copywriter to editor-in-chief. Scanlon compares Brown to feminist figures like Betty Friedan. Brown believed sex was a “powerful weapon” for single women and changed the Cosmo format so it addressed real women’s lives — sex and all. (However, she omitted certain realities from the magazine, including children and AIDS.) While Brown cared about looking put-together and slept with her bosses, she didn’t let those things replace any of her substance. To her, hard work was always the most important thing in getting what you wanted — making the most of your features and getting your dream job. Keep reading »
The Guerrilla Girls, a group of anonymous activists whose mission is to fight discrimination against female and minority artists in the art world, have sold a bunch of documents, letters, and artwork to the Getty Research Institute for an undisclosed sum. This is kind of ironic because the Guerrilla Girls have protested against the art establishment (which includes the Getty family) since 1985.
The Guerrilla Girls started protesting the lack of women in museums and cultural institutions, covering New York with posters saying things like, “Does a woman have to get naked to get into the Met?” To get noticed, the women began wearing gorilla masks, and their posters became collectors’ items over time, with people spending money to purchase them (which then allowed the Guerrilla Girls to buy ad space on billboards to promote their causes even more).
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The Guardian has a really long feature on whether it’s okay for feminists to like Sex and the City. If you skip to the last paragraph, you’ll discover that smart women everywhere can enjoy the show and upcoming movie as long as they realize SATC is not a guide to life (duh). “It does make for quite uncomfortable viewing,” said Professor Imelda Whelehan of De Montfort University author of The Feminist Bestseller: From Sex and the Single Girl to Sex and the City. “How do we respect [Carrie]? And Mr. Big is such an interesting element. Even his name is masculine. He is like this phallus at the center of it all.” So true, Imelda. Yet, even though the show depicts Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda obsessing over what men think a little too much, the show still treats women as important, and we are, so that’s nice. [The Guardian, U.K.] Keep reading »