The feminist movement began as a struggle for basic rights: women’s suffrage, reproductive rights, access to work and education, and equal rights within those institutions. Through the hard work and dedication of our foremothers, many of those feats have been won. As a result, our culture has become dominated by a narrative that is not representative of the country’s reality: A progressive picture of fairness and equal opportunity regardless of sex or race. One where the fight for Civil Rights eradicated racism and feminism ushered in an era of “equality” between the sexes.
Yet, in reality, not much has really changed where gender relations are involved. Though a small percentage of men and women have entered fields that they were once barred from participating in because of their sex, most work fields are extremely gendered, many of the most dangerous occupations are still dominated by men and society still has very restrictive gender ideals. Keep reading »
A tale as old as time. A so-called overprotective father writes an extreme list of demands for dating his (currently only 2-year-old) daughter, and it goes viral. Retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell took to his public Facebook page to rant about all the things he’ll do to any potential suitor that may take a liking to his little girl. Among the challenges Luttrell would pose to any future Romeo:
- Make him contact all the toughest dads that he knows — MMA fighters, boxers, police officers, firefighters and police guards – to get their blessing to date his daughter.
- Make him meet Luttrell’s teammates to get their blessing, while being introduced to their armory (aka scare the shit out of some kid with a bunch of guns). Keep reading »
As highlighted in Emma Watson’s recent speech addressed to the United Nations, society has ravaged the word “feminism.” For many, the term has become synonymous with “anti-male.” This perception derives from the attempt to view feminism as a singular movement or theory founded by lesbians and promoted by man haters. In actuality, feminism represents an entire spectrum of ideas, many of which address the impacts of patriarchy on both male and female bodies and psyches, directly and inadvertently. The concept of male/female equality, which is the focus and goal of feminism, encompasses a more fluid view of both masculinity and femininity, freeing both genders from socially binding constructs that otherwise limit freedom of individual expression. In that way, feminism as a whole, to a large extent, works to benefit, uplift and free not only women, but also men from the shackles of male dominance and patriarchy. Let’s explore how… Keep reading »
A seemingly impervious narrative dominates today’s social discourse in the Black community where Black men are painted as more vulnerable victims than their female counterparts. This far-reaching myth typically arises along with discussions about gender inequality or sexism where claims are made that Black women face less hardship than their male counterparts, or even — as stated in Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele’s latest essay on The Root titled “Michael Brown’s Death Reopened My Eyes to My Privileges as a Black Woman” — are the recipients of privilege not bestowed to Black men. 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 has been frustrating to watch people and businesses condemn Rolling Stone magazine — where, to be clear, I personally have no editorial affiliations — for putting the Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev, on the cover of the latest issue. Many are upset that Tsarnaev is on the cover at all, as well as with the “rock star”-style photo the magazine used. And some who have read the article by journalist Janet Reitman complain that the way Jahar is profiled makes him out to be a “victim.”
I support Rolling Stone putting Tsarnaev on the cover and thought Reitman’s article was extremely well-written and thought-provoking. I came away from reading it with a greater understanding of how a 19-year-old Cambridge kid became a “monster.” To me, the patriarchy was clearly a problem in this family. To be clear, patriarchy doesn’t just mean when men are in positions of authority over women; it means when men, or one man, are in positions of authority over other men as well. It assumes that the people underneath that man will fall in line and not ask questions; it breeds a lack of agency and even, I would argue in Jahar’s case, weakness in a person. He was an immigrant from a maligned religion who slowly became radicalized by his severe older brother at the exact same time his troubled parents deserted him to move back to their homeland. I would not call him a “victim,” but I do believe it was a shitty, difficult situation for a teenager to handle, and those circumstances contributed to the vile crime he, allegedly, committed. Keep reading »