Pop-Culture | Posted by Emma Havighorst on 05/18/2016

Comparing Kim Kardashian to Ayesha Curry Hurts Us All

Comparing Kim to other women hurts all of us.

Our society has long been obsessed with comparison. Girls are routinely pit against each other to “win” the supposed honor of being the “hottest” in the halls of their high schools. They’re even encouraged to put down their perceived competition to do so.

There are likely many reasons why young women feel encouraged to do this, but the way media gossip analyzes and criticizes female celebrities — and compares their talent and/or bodies to other celebrities — is a big one. It has become normalized for people (who don’t know these celebrities personally) to happily explain and/or rant about their actions, decisions and lives because the media makes them feel that they have the right to attack and shame people (specifically, …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Sabrina N on 04/11/2016

What Kim Kardashian’s Nude Selfie Reveals About The Way We View Female Sexuality

Kim Kardashian

In March, Kim Kardashian West posted a nude selfie on Instagram. As has come to be expected whenever a woman (especially a high-profile woman) does something with her body, people had a lot to say about it. While general backlash was perhaps expected, however, the number of women who shamed Kardashian was surprising to many — and on International Women’s Day, of all days. From Bette Middler’s straight-up degradation to Chloe Grace Moretz’s (slightly) more subtle condescension and shaming, Kardashian’s lighthearted selfie quickly evolved into something much bigger: a debate about female sexuality and what constitutes “good” feminism.

What we say when we talk about female bodies is often not what we really mean. When people say that Kardashian shouldn’t pose naked, they’re implying that Kardashian, a …

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Feminism | Posted by Claire B on 01/18/2016

The Hypersexualization of Female News Broadcasters Proves Sexism Is Alive and Well

Why is beauty a requirement for broadcast journalism?

If you google “Fox News female anchors,” the first few results that pop up include, “Top Ten Hottest Fox News Girls,” “Sexy Fox News Anchor Suffers HUMILIATING Wardrobe Malfunction,” “19 Sexiest Women of Fox News,” and “CNN Women versus Fox Women.” Search a little deeper and you’ll find PunditFact’s sorting of these women by hair color and Howard Stern’s NBA-playoffs-style seeding of their hotness organized into a bracket. The prevalent hyper-glamorization of these female journalists sends a clear message to their viewers: There is a beauty qualification for women in this profession that just doesn’t exist for their male counterparts.

This double standard is undoubtedly hyper-evident in this industry but hardly limited to it. …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Claire B on 11/30/2015

In Defense of Mellie Grant: Why Scandal’s Scorned First Lady May Be It’s Most Feminist Character

Bellamy Young, who plays Mellie Grant on ‘Scandal’

Writer-director-producer extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes’ hit show Scandal has too many feminist moments to count. Each episode of the show declared “the most feminist show on TV” by the New York Post seems to tackle an important issue, from sexual assault, to domestic violence, to women in the workforce and beyond. The most powerful message this show sends to over one million viewers per week isn’t found solely in the actions of the glass-ceiling-shattering protagonist Olivia Pope, but the ways in which the show demonstrates the glass ceiling remains for all women.

This message is most clearly revealed by the juxtaposition of Olivia —the President’s strong, independent mistress — with Mellie, the president’s “bitchy” wife. The portrayal of the equally ambitious women makes …

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Feminism | Posted by Amber c on 08/31/2015

The Broken Concept of Virginity

Virginity is a destructive, heteronormative concept.

Society obsesses over the concept of virginity. Young girls are taught that they must meet standards of “purity” and “cleanliness” — standards that are determined by whether or not we have had sex yet. But placing so much importance on a social construct essentially designed to perpetuate a culture of slut-shaming and rape culture is dangerous to young girls’ health and well-being.

The truth is there is no medical or biological definition of virginity. The dictionary defines virginity as “the state of never having had sexual intercourse,” but this definition is largely meaningless. While the dominant understanding of “sexual intercourse” is penetrative sex, this ignores all of the people who have plenty of sex that isn’t penetrative. Can they not lose their virginity? How …

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Feminism | Posted by Beatrice M on 08/4/2015

It’s Time To Stop Publicly Judging Women’s Bodies

Every form of public harassment has got to go

Every form of public harassment has got to go

One evening last week, I stopped at home after work to change my clothes before dance class. It was a hot day and I wanted to shed my workplace-appropriate pants in favor of more comfortable attire before heading downtown. Wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals, I boarded the subway.

Although there were plenty of open seats on the train, a man quickly sat down right next to me. Even though I was clearly listening to music, he decided to ask me a question. He asked how to transfer to a different train — was a typical one for tourists or people new to the city. I gave him a brief explanation and inserted my headphones back into my ears, thinking nothing …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 06/29/2015

“Hot Girls Wanted”: White Respectability and the Erasure of Men

Credit: Netflix

Hot Girls Wanted  — a new documentary produced by actress Rashida Jones — follows five amateur porn actresses between the ages of 18 to 25 and details their experiences filming porn and living together. While the documentary’s subjects spoke freely, it seems like the filmmakers still crafted the work based on their preconceived notions about porn: Namely, they chose to portray the young actresses as innocent, exploited victims. The film fails to present the possibility that these women have any agency, erases the experiences of women of color in the industry, and arguably most problematically of all allows the men that drive the demand for this industry to remain invisible.

The character whose narrative anchors the film, Tressa, exemplifies this victimized narrative. Tressa is coded as white (although …

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Feminism | Posted by Eloise Bouton on 06/10/2015

It’s Hard to be a Topless Feminist in France

Femen

Many people probably think France is a feminist-friendly country. My experience as an activist with the international feminist organization Femen has taught me that this is not the case. I’ve found that fighting for equality is costly and protesting topless for women’s rights — as I have done — is not only unfairly considered exhibitionism, but has had a damaging effect on my life.

I joined Femen — a feminist organization whose members protest topless — in April, 2012. This organization was born in Ukraine but established a presence in Paris in September, 2012. The Paris branch has been led by Inna Shevchenko, but I helped build the group.

On December 2013, I posed topless at the Catholic Madeleine Church in Paris to support abortion rights. At the time, …

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