Dear Gentlemen Of The World:
Hello. My name is Sara Benincasa. Pleased to meet you. I’m an author and a comedian and a human with a vagina, otherwise known as a “lady-person.” I’m about to school you in exactly how to tell a stranger lady that she is great. I’m also going to teach you how not to talk to girls you don’t know.
But first, I’d like to tell you a story. I know, women be talking, am I right? But seriously guys, listen up, for I have knowledge to share. Useful knowledge. Think of my words as tools, and your brain as a box in which to place said tools, and a mutually satisfying encounter as the project you are building with these tools.
Okay then. On to the story. Keep reading »
Ten minutes. I was hitting the 10-minute mark of just standing in front of the freezers, seemingly debating whether to buy a quart or a gallon of milk. Or perhaps unsure of which kind I wanted. Skim or whole? Maybe 2 percent? I had a pensive look on my face.
It’s the look I get when I’m frozen inside. Generally from shock. Often from fear. Almost always after a harrowing experience that’s left me momentarily paralyzed.
My allergies had been just horrific, but I’d decided to brave the run across the street to the little bodega anyway because I’d been out of dishwasher soap and milk and coffee filters for three days. As I walked up the steps to the entrance, two men walked out. Because I’m a woman who’s been trained by society not to look strange men in the eye when its dark out and they look potentially threatening, I didn’t. But they stopped in the doorway and came up close to me, speaking far louder than was necessary. “Whoa mama, look at those tits.” “Daaaaamn. Naw like really dog, daaaaaaamn.” One started masturbating and pushed up close to my face as I stared at the ground, trying to navigate around them. He rubbed himself and licked his lips as he undressed me with his eyes and loudly proclaimed what he’d do to me. Keep reading »
A Facebook page run by active Marines mocking violence against female troops has been taken down after it was publicly outed by a Congresswoman. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) penned a letter to the Secretary of Defense and the commander of the Marine Corps asking them to take action on the page, F’N Wook, which showed pictures of women with disrespectful, sexist, and violent captions. “Many of the pictures imply women only advance professionally by performing sexual favors,” Rep. Speier wrote in her letter. “And otherwise promote the idea that women are inferior and only useful as sexual objects and sandwich makers.” One showed a picture of three female Marines with the caption, “Lesbian … still goes down on gunny for promotion.” Another showed a servicewoman with a black eye and the caption, “She burned the bacon only once.” Keep reading »
Oh, FFS, America. Last year, New York City was captivated by the tale of the good-looking, really well-dressed, white man — totally the kind of guy who want to bring home to your bubbe — who was sexually assaulting women in public. The man the tabloids called the “Gentleman Groper” was later fingered as a lawyer named Paul Kraft, who plead guilty to groping or taking crotch shots of numerous women in wealthy neighborhoods like the Upper East Side or the Financial District. Here are some creepy examples of stuff he did. Gross, right? Well, you’ll be … surprised … to hear he’s gotten off without jail time. Keep reading »
Over the past few months, India has been racked with high-profile gang rapes and deaths of little girls and women. From the three sisters under age 11 who were sexually assaulted and murdered to the student who was gang raped with a metal rod, which mangled her insides so badly it eventually killed her, the brutality of the country’s rape culture is horrific. One of the main problems with the rape culture in India has been placing the onus on the victim instead of the perpetrator — society as a whole, including police, had been blaming women for being out in public where they could be attacked, instead of punishing the men who hurt them.
The new laws aren’t perfect. First of all, as legal scholar Karuna Nundy for the BBC notes, the laws only protect the “modesty” of women, not boys, men or transgender folks. Additionally, marital rape is still legal (including if the wife is a minor ages 15 through 18) and homosexuality is still criminalized.
Alas, it is with cautious optimism that we welcome India’s new spate of laws criminalizing rape and other acts of violence which went into effect yesterday. Keep reading »
The New York City Police Department is infamous for the controversial “stop and frisk” program, critiqued for how it is used for racial profiling. This story, however, is more like stop and grope.
According to NYMag.com, a Brooklyn woman, Latonya Ratcliff, 39, is suing the city after Officer Joseph Jette entered an apartment, where Ratcliff works as a live-in caregiver, to search for guns and ended up sexually assaulting her. During a not-so-routine patdown, Latonya claims officer Jette “cupped her breast and butt,” according to the Post. Then, when questioning Ratcliff alone in the apartment’s bedroom, Officer Jette allegedly picked up a porn DVD. The Post reports that Ratcliff said, “He asked me if I liked these positions and if I wanted to do them with him and I told him no.” Keep reading »
There’s a new Twitter hashtag #IAskedPolitely chronicling all the times that women have spoken up about sexual harassment/sexual situations in the workplace and not a single thing changed. It’s come about following “Donglegate,” the incident I wrote about earlier this week in which former SendGrid developer evangelist Adria Richards tweeted a picture of a guy who was cracking sexualized jokes at a recent tech conference. The incident has spurred a huge debate about sexism in tech, privacy, and professionalism — both sides convinced the other is just being butthurt. I won’t wade too deeply into the critiques, although I linked to some in Today’s Lady News on Friday. But I did want to point out the #IAskedPolitely hashtag, which is turning into a list of all the awful things that have been said to women who’ve spoken up about sexism in the workplace. You have no sense of humor! It must be your period! You’re overreacting! Of course that’s the reason. No, no, no, it couldn’t be that sexist culture is f**ked up. [Twitter.com #IAskedPolitely]