By now you’ve probably heard of the prestigious New York City high school that protested what they perceive as a discriminatory dress code by instituting a “Slutty Wednesday”—a day in which students came to school in outfits that deliberately violated the code. According to news reports, the school’s dress code is pretty basic. It requires that shorts, dresses and skirts should extend below students’ fingertips, with their arms straight at their sides and that shoulders, undergarments, midriffs and lower backs should not be exposed. Students argued that such a code affects female students more than males and that it is being arbitrarily enforced, singling out students whose bodies are “more curvy.”
“In addition to the violation of female students’ rights,” Jessica Valenti writes in The Nation, “the thinking behind the code sends a dangerous message to young women – that they are responsible for the way in which society objectifies and sexualizes them.”
The protest is similar to the thinking behind movements like Slutwalk — movements that, in the words of founder Heather Jarvis, emphasize the right for “anyone to wear what you want and be who you are without the threat of violence.”
Whereas I agree that it’s not a women’s responsibility to mitigate the male gaze, and I certainly respect that a woman’s sexuality is her own to be expressed as she chooses, the sticky fact is that many spaces we encounter have a dress code, written or unwritten. To the extent that school prepares students for the “real world,” shouldn’t students be expected to come to school properly dressed? Keep reading »
On a recent red eye from New York to Los Angeles, model Melissa Stetten sat next to actor Brian Presley and live-tweeted their conversation to approximately 30,000 followers. What ensued was little less than the public humiliation of a husband and father for, among other heinous crimes, allegedly flirting with her and having too much to drink.
While we’ve all sat next to that annoying seatmate on a flight who keeps talking when we just want to be left alone, I do not believe that Brian Presley’s behavior warranted such a public flogging. He sounds like a perfectly harmless guy who chatted up a pretty girl.
Stetten, on the other hand, sounds like an arrogant, insensitive twit. She publicly shamed a man for talking to her and mocked a recovering alcoholic during a possible relapse. Keep reading »
I am fan of GOOD’s dating dealbreaker series (eerily similar to ours, but whatever) because I think it does a good job of looking back on past failed relationships and identifying the reason(s) things just didn’t work out. Sometimes these dealbreakers can seem insignificant on the surface, but actual indicate a larger problem; other times these dealbreakers are glaringly obvious compatibility flaws. Even if the specific story does not resonate with readers, the larger problems are often relatable. GOOD writer Melissa Jeltsen’s dealbreaker, according to the headline on her piece? “He Didn’t Go To College.” This made her an “obnoxious, pseudo intellectual elitist” in the words of Feministe writer Caperton.
I found Jeltsen’s story about breaking up with someone because he was not her intellectual equal to be nuanced, compelling, thoughtful, and self-reflective. Feministe’s takedown, on the other hand, while raising one or two decent points, was disproportionately nasty in tone. Yes, the title of her piece was somewhat simplistic, but it was eye-catching and likely written by her editor, as most headlines are. However, Jeltsen’s piece was about more than just breaking up with her boyfriend because he didn’t go to college. She writes that despite having a “deep and easy” connection with Duke, the boyfriend in question, she was not intellectually stimulated by him. Keep reading »
I have to respectfully disagree with Alexandra Gekas’ recent Soapbox excoriating Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones for considering her virginity “a gift I want to give my husband.” Taking Jones to task for how she’s decided to pursue her sexuality strikes me as yet another way to be holier-than-thou, through a feminist lens, almost the opposite of slut-shaming (conservative-shaming? virgin-shaming?). There are a seemingly infinite number of ways women are told we are expressing ourselves, sexually and otherwise, incorrectly. Are we showing too much cleavage? Putting out too soon? Living in sin? It’s like we can’t win, and while I’m not in Jones’ position, I’d like to think anyone who’s been judged for being “slutty” can empathize with being judged in this way. Keep reading »
In a recent interview on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” 29-year-old American hurdler Lolo Jones told Mary Carillo that Olympic qualifying is nowhere near as difficult as her struggle to remain a virgin until marriage. Jones said she publicized her vow of chastity because she wants other girls who have made the same decision to know that they are not alone and that it’s not easy.
“I just don’t believe in it.” Jones said. “It’s just a gift I want to give my husband. But please understand this journey has been hard. There’s virgins out there and I want to let them know that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life; harder than training for the Olympics; harder than graduating from college has been to stay a virgin before marriage. I’ve been tempted, I’ve had plenty of opportunities.” Keep reading »
If I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it. My friends and I stumbled into a crowded bar for some after-dinner drinks one night and, within 30 minutes, my friend Aaron had the waitress’s phone number. Not that surprising since Aaron is a tall, good-looking guy who always seems to have a harem; but his technique was unorthodox to say the least. He stood in her way whenever the waitress walked past us. He would interrupt her while she was taking orders from other customers. He sent his drink back three times, citing something absurd each time — “not enough gin … not enough tonic … I asked for a martini … I’m just a pain in the ass.” If I were her, I would have sent another server to our table but she GAVE him her phone number and he didn’t even ASK for it.
What the…? Yeah, I’m not really sure either. Keep reading »
It happened to one of us, ladies. Let’s let her tell it: “A handsome man with tousled hair and an aversion to commitment showed up at my door, suitcase in hand, seeking shelter from the storm. (Okay, he’d called beforehand, but still.) We had a two-day romance — he played music, I wore a dress, we talked for hours. Then he disappeared from my life on a six-a.m. flight, and that was that. It was the emotional and quirky hit-it-and-quit-it.”
“My pop-culture education to date had not prepared me for this scenario. Yes, I felt a sense of loss at his leaving, but I also felt a sense of spiritual wholeness. Why wasn’t I moping around waiting for him to come back to me, like in a romantic-comedy post-breakup pre-finale montage? Why did I feel, of all things, better connected to my art?”
We came to a conclusion so bizarre that it had to be true: he’d Zooey Deschaneled her, hard. He was a manic pixie dream guy. Keep reading »
I have never watched HBO’s new show “Girls.” Not because I don’t want to — I’m actually excited to see a new female-centered TV show that allows actresses to play rich and diverse characters. But unfortunately, the current role I play in real life, that of a struggling comic/actress, does not afford me the opportunity to indulge in the many simple pleasures of life such as HBO. Although I have not seen the show, I have seen and heard much of the praise and criticism the show has garnered — especially around the all-white cast. Keep reading »