***Trigger warning in video for simulated rape***
This week began the trial of Trenton Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two teenaged boys in Steubenville, Ohio, who were charged with the rape and kidnapping of a 15-year-old girl at a high school party this August. The boys are members of the Steubenville High School football team, local celebrities in a football-obsessed culture. Other members of the team witnessed the alleged sexual assault by Mays and Richmond of the girl, who was blackout drunk and vomiting on herself. Partygoers snapped pictures of her being carried around by her arms and legs and tweeted and texted pics of her degradation; another student at the party filmed a video where he joked about the “dead girl.”
Ever since the Steubenville rape began getting press coverage, the former porn star Traci Lords has been vocal about the local culture’s misogynistic culture. She herself was raped in Steubenville at age 10 by a 14-year-old boy. Yesterday, Lords, who is now a musician, released a song called “Stupidville” — a slang term for the town that the locals use — about sexual assault. Keep reading »
It’s no big secret that one of the many battles the feminist movement fights against is its own poor PR. Many see feminism as the other “F-word” due to stereotypes that paint feminists as mean harpies with no sense of humor who hate men, makeup, bras, and shaving their legs. Despite the majority of feminists falling way outside these parameters, there are still many people — women in particular — who write off feminism as “not for them,” without bothering to dig a little deeper and explore if that’s truly the case.
Enter: Sexy Feminism: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Success and Style by Jennifer Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudúlph. Their book, out this month, acts as a guide to help young women understand how feminism is not only great for the world, but for all aspects of their own lives as well. Keep reading »
If you’re wondering where society went wrong, the uber-conservative, anti-gay Family Research Council has an idea: it was when the Supreme Court overturned a law that banned the sale of birth control to — gasp! — unmarried folks.
This week, FRC senior fellow Pat Fagan appeared on the radio show ”Washington Watch“ to blast premarital sex. “Society never gave young people that right,” he ranted. ”Functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever.” The right for single, consenting adults to have sex, that is.
Good thing this guy told us so now we know: we have no right to have sex out of wedlock. Whoopsies. [Mediaite, Huffington Post]
I’m totally into Taylor Swift. I think she has super-clever lyrics, and I love that she writes her own music. Some of the themes she writes about are stuff I wish was there for me when I was in high school, and I’m so happy she really cares about her female fans. She’s not catering to a male audience and is writing music for other girls. I don’t care if she calls herself a feminist or not. There is something that she’s doing that feels feminist to me in that she really seems to have a lot of control over what her career is doing. She’s 23. People say she’s dating all these guys. Well, yeah, she’s a young person and is dating all these people ’cause that’s what you do when you’re young. John Mayer can fuck 84 people in one day and nobody calls him a slut. I think that’s the subtext of some of the things she’s said recently.
– Kathleen Hanna, patron saint of all things feminist and formerly of the bands Le Tigre and Bikini Kill, dips her toe in the most pressing social issue of our time: Is Taylor Swift a feminist? In an interview with The Daily Beast, Hanna makes a point that I hadn’t considered before: Taylor Swift definitely isn’t catering to a male audience — posing nearly naked in lad mags, performing sexually provocative dance numbers, tweeting scantily glad pictures of herself — in the same way that Katy Perry, Rihanna or Britney Spears do. That alone does not make Swift a feminist, of course. The content of the messages she’s sending to her female audiences are important. But I suspect part of the reason that Swift gets so much shit for being a girly-girl making music for girls is because she doesn’t necessarily have a legion of straight male fans wanking off to/supporting her. (And FWIW, Kathleen Hanna is also a fan of Beyoncé, so I think we can agree she’s more of a lover than a hater.) [The Daily Beast] [Photo: Getty]
A new defense secretary has just been confirmed and already he has a big issue to address: sexual assault in the military. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Full disclosure: I used to work in her office), and Senator Janeane Shaheen (D-NH) recently sent a letter requesting Chuck Hagel immediately review a decision by an Air Force Lieutenant General to dismiss all charges against an officer who had been convicted of sexual assault.
Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson, a fighter pilot, had been charged with aggravated sexual assault on former colleague Kimberly Hanks at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Hanks had been socializing with Wilkerson and his wife at their home and stayed the evening in their guest bedroom; in the middle of the night, she woke up to find Wilkerson on top of her. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in the brig (AKA military prison). But he never served any time in prison because his superior, Lieutenant General Craig A. Franklin, dismissed the jury’s conviction and reinstated him. Senators Boxer and Shaheen and others are rightfully concerned that a troop charged with sexual assault was let off scot-free.
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NO MORE. It is a simple, direct message representing a broad and pervasive issue. No more sexual assault. No more violence against women. Today, March 13 marks NO MORE day, a day to join the movement to stop domestic violence and sexual assault, and launch the organization’s new symbol — a thick “O” of light blue. Keep reading »