Tag Archives: the soapbox

The Soapbox: I Love “Scandal”‘s Olivia Pope — Even Though Some People Find It “Problematic”

Race In Hollywood
The search for an actress to play Nina Simone is skin deep. Read More »
Black Mom-In-Chief
What white feminists get wrong about Michelle Obama. Read More »
Black Women Stereotypes
Stephen Colbert gets schooled on stereotypes of black women. Read More »

I’ve been doing my utmost to debate less, but it’s hard when you’re as naturally opinionated as I am.  This is compounded by the fact I come from a highly opinionated gene pool. Our family dinners sometimes spiral into debates. And when I say “sometimes,” I really mean 90 percent of the time.

Usually my mother plays referee, and when I say “referee,” I mean she’ll eventually shout, “Will you all be quiet!” My father plays the contrarian, opposing whatever view I hold. And my sisters may or may not be on my side.

I thought everyone did this — debate over dinner, as an expression of love and then pretend like nothing happened. Apparently not! Dinner is for small talk. So I’ve been trying to reprogram myself whenever I go out, because my opinions can be a bit disruptive. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: In Defense Of Older Mothers

Soapbox: Mommy Wars
Calling a ceasefire on the mommy wars, because it helps no one. Read More »
Mommie Dearest...
The year in motherhood headlines. Read More »
Soapbox: Having It All
This "having it all" crap needs to stop. Read More »

Magazines seem to love writing about women’s choices, particularly if they can inspire readers to conclude that we’re making the wrong ones. Just before the new year, a much-talked about New Republic cover story focused on women and men becoming parents at an older age. The piece was written by an author who is herself an older mother and was concerned about a steady increase in birth defects and autism in recent years, although it’s been difficult so far to prove a direct correlation. Meanwhile, one of Boston Magazine’s cover stories that same month was about a growing breed of women who believed that it’s okay to have an “occasional” drink while pregnant.  Yes, that was the language — “occasional” 00 yet the subject was so provocative that it warranted top billing. Let’s not forget the May Time cover of the woman breastfeeding her three-year-old son (she didn’t appear to be drinking wine at the time). Soon after came the story in The Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter that blared: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” (The Atlantic has published at least three stories since 1995 about women facing diminishing marriage and pregnancy prospects if they wait; one of the most famous such pieces, “Marry Him,” from 2008, urged women to settle for “Mr. Good Enough” rather than waiting to have babies.)

It isn’t these stories themselves that are frustrating as much as the fact that they appear to blame women for waiting to have children – as if it’s impossible to fathom that they didn’t find decent or willing men to date at the right time. Some of the stories blame the feminist movement, as if having more freedom is simply so confounding to women that they just can’t figure out what to do with themselves. There’s a wide swath of people in this country who appear to resent the idea of women having leeway in making life choices, and hope we’ll get our comeuppance if we don’t marry the first person who holds a door for us. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Taylor Swift Is Allowed To Have A Lot Of Boyfriends, OK?

Silver Lining's Slut Shame
silver linings playbook
Jennifer Lawrence's character gets slut-shamed in "Silver Lining's Playbook." Read More »
Chesca On Victim Blaming
franchesca ramsey rape
Jenna Marbles slut shames and Chescaleigh explains victim blaming. Read More »
On Slutshaming
It's about controlling women through guilt and shame. Read More »

A few years ago, a favorite subject of conversation in pop culture writing was about Taylor Swift’s perceived “slut shaming” in her songs. Need I remind you of the song “Better Than Revenge,” allegedly directed at the actress Camilla Belle for stealing away Joe Jonas, which includes lyrics like “she’s not what you think, she’s an actress / she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress”?

Today, the favorite subject of conversation in pop culture writing about Taylor Swift is her long list of boyfriends. Can you name them with me? Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor LautnerJohn Mayer, Conor Kennedy, and most recently Harry Styles from One Direction. (Pardon me if I forgot anyone.)

My, how the fickle winds have changed. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: I’m A Mom Who Smokes Pot

18 Celebrity Potheads
We know, Woody, we know. Read More »
Rihanna's A Stoner
A Photographic Review Of Rihanna's 777 Tour
Rihanna just loves to tweet about her affection for pot. Read More »
Frisky Parenting!
twins
All the posts The Frisky has ever done about parenting! Read More »

“So, this is kind of a random question…”

I nodded my head at the man across from me. I was in the kitchen of a fellow parent from my child’s school. I had come to pick my son up from a playdate, and found myself hanging around making small talk while the kids finished up playing. Between multiple playdates and a few shared meals, we had become friendly with this family and had reached the level of Facebook friends and random text exchanges. I was curious what his random question could entail.

“Do you … well … do you know where I could get some pot?” Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Your Arguments Against Our Permanent Birth Control Are B.S.

My Husband's Vasectomy
Why Andrea's husband is getting a vasectomy. Read More »
BC A Human Right
united nations
Access to contraception is a human right, the United Nations declared. Read More »
On Birth Control
This woman uses birth control for medical reasons. Read More »

This essay was published with permission from Gender-Focus.

My spouse and I are seeking permanent birth control, and the entire process has been difficult. At this point, we are sick to death of unsolicited advice on the subject (Pro-tip: If someone you don’t know says they’re not judging you, they are judging you.) Everyone’s heart is in the right place, I can only assume. People think they are telling us new information that will keep us from making what they perceive to be a mistake. I get that they’re trying to help. But we continually find ourselves defending this very personal decision to total strangers. So to keep myself from screaming, I’m going to outline why the condescension disguised as concern is totally unfounded. Trust us. We’ve thought it through. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Why I Was Reluctant To Endorse Lifting The Ban On Women In Combat

Controversy
servicewoman
What the military ban lifted on women in combat means. Read More »
Military Ban Lifted
women in military
The military has lifted the ban on women in combat roles. Read More »
Armor For Women
Today's Lady News photo
Military women finally get specially designed body armor. Read More »
women in combat

Bottom line: I was a female soldier in the combat zone. So why do I feel so uncomfortable about formalizing women’s placement in combat roles? I did a lot of soul-searching about why this bothered me so much. Ultimately, though, I’ve discovered there’s nothing I should be uncomfortable about.

When I first read that Defense Secretary Panetta had lifted the ban on women in combat roles, I felt queasy. While I left the military for the private sector in late 2011, I spent the first decade of my adult life in the Army, half of it on active duty as a Military Police officer. I have led and served alongside extraordinarily tough and competent leaders, male and female, while deployed in Iraq and in training all over the world. This was personal.

Yet, even as a woman who had been to combat, I couldn’t endorse lifting the ban. The more I examined my prejudices, though, I realize that they were just that — prejudices. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: I Am Not A Prostitute Because My Husband Supports Me Financially

Our Own Money, Honey
We're married, our bank accounts aren't. Read More »
On Marrying Up
Let's be realistic about the finances it takes to raise a family. Read More »
Staying At Home
Stay at home moms are front and center this election season. Read More »

This piece was republished with permission from Role/Reboot.

This week I read a wonderful article about our generation’s search for meaning by fellow Role/Reboot contributor Kerry Cohen. It spoke to me so deeply that I went out of my way to read the article that had inspired Cohen: Elizabeth Wurtzel’s recent meandering confessional. It made me so angry my hair nearly caught fire.

I had been primed by Cohen to be compassionate and thoughtful about what Wurtzel was saying. So I took off my judgmental hat as I read about her life. I tried to see the world through the eyes of someone who has lived a life so foreign from my own I could barely wrap my brain around it. When she wrote that she was proud to have never kissed anyone for any reason other than desire or written anything that she did not feel like writing, I questioned my own ideas about kissing and writing rather than immediately assuming hers were perhaps a bit shallow. I decided that she could have done far worse things with her life, like becoming a parent who is a narcissistic dilettante. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: The Self-Righteous Bullies Of Tumblr And Their Feminist Apologists

Shaming "Nice Guys"
nice guys of OK Cupid
All about the Nice Guys Of OK Cupid Tumblr. Read More »
"Nice Guys" Who Rape
Intent isn’t everything, but it does matter. Read More »
Do Not Date These Guys
12 guys you shouldn't date in 2011. Read More »

I’d been planning to let the issue of the Nice Guys of OK Cupid blog on Tumblr slide. [NOTE: The blog has since been taken down.] It is pretty depressing from every perspective. I’d squabbled and grumbled about it on Twitter with a few people, and then thankfully the Christmas break pushed it out of my mind.

If it passed you by, the Tumblr scours the dating/social networking site OK Cupid for profiles of men and then posts their pictures (without permission) alongside selected quotes. The typical entry shows a less than attractive guy with a few quotes from his profile proclaiming himself a ‘nice guy’ who is fed up of being ‘friendzoned’ and then a ‘wrong’ answer from the set profile questionnaires such as “Should women feel an obligation to shave their legs? Yes.” Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On Steubenville High School & Teaching Boys Not To Rape

Watch The Video
Steubenville High students laugh about recent rape. Read More »
steubenville rape case
hacktivist
Hacktivists threaten to release personal information of alleged rapists. Read More »
Wishes Of Rape
Why wishing rape upon rapists is not OK. Read More »

My son turns six next week, and among all the other wishes I have for him, I have a silent hope that won’t be shared at his birthday party. It’s one that swims in the depths of my mind, surfacing occasionally when awful things happen that force me to think about it: I wish and hope and pray that my son won’t grow up to be a rapist.

I know that sounds horrible and not a wish a mother of a six year old should even have in the back of her mind, let alone flashing loud and red and painful throughout it. But I can’t help it. We live in a society that is steeped in rape culture, no matter how many people refuse to acknowledge that reality. My worry was driven home more forcefully after watching a video that Anonymous posted online of Steubenville High School students talking about the rape of a 16-year-old fellow student. This case is heartbreaking enough — the victim was sexually assaulted while drunk and unconscious, only to have the photographic proof of her rape spread all over various social media outlets. Her attackers, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two football players for the high school’s team The Big Red, were let off relatively lightly, subjected to being under house arrest. However, the victim was also punished, forbidden by the judge in the case from sharing any details of the case, essentially re-victimizing her. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Stop Humiliating People For Their Sex Practices Online

Shaming "Nice Guys"
nice guys of OK Cupid
All about the Nice Guys Of OK Cupid Tumblr. Read More »
Online Dating No-Nos
Take these five phrases off your profile immediately! Read More »
OKC Enemies
Y'all got issues. Read More »
Online Dating Lies
Here's some of the whoppers people use in their profile. Read More »
sex exposed

For as long as we’re aware of other people’s dirty bits and sexual desires, we’re aware of how funny it can be to talk about them. My niece, for instance, thinks that “butt” is the funniest word in the English language. But she’s six. The grown-up version of “Ha ha, butt!” are those conversations — either whispered sotto voce or way-too-loud after a few too many cocktails — about other people’s personal lives, particularly the parts we’re not supposed to know. She did what? He wanted to put his thingy where? Oh my God. EW. 

I’m not above finding the TMI details of other people’s private lives fascinating. Or sharing my own. Hey, the dude who wanted to lock me inside a dog cage and pee on me makes for an interesting story. (Hopefully he has found someone less claustrophobic to fulfill that pecadillo.) It satisfies the same morbid curiosity that wants to see celebrity nude pics. We want to know what other people are packing, I suppose so we can compare it against ourselves.

But there’s a point where a line needs to be drawn. It needs to be drawn hard. We need to stop posting people’s real-life personal, private, sexual information on the Internet for the purpose of mocking or shaming them. Keep reading »

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