Feminism | Posted by Claire B on 09/16/2015
Consent in the Age of High School Hookup Culture
A few weeks ago, I took my seat in the huge auditorium of my East Coast college preparatory boarding school for Proctor Training. The week-long event involved a series of workshops and lectures that train dormitory proctors how to address issues that may arise in the community over the course of the school year. We reviewed “no-grinding” dance rules, gendered dormitory visitation policies, and health center pamphlets — probably the same policies that have been upheld at countless college preparatory schools across the country for years.
But this time around, there was an elephant in the room: The Owen Labrie trial.
On August 28th, 18-year old St. Paul’s School senior Owen Labrie was found not guilty of felony sexual assault charges, but was convicted of having sex …
Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 09/9/2015
The Everyday Sexism of Dating
In theory, dating can be an incredible opportunity for two individuals to model gender-based equality and mutual respect. In practice, however, women are still frequently degraded and regarded as submissive sexual objects — especially in heterosexual relationships.
Countless women anecdotally confirm this, but one need look no further for evidence than the viral Instagram account @tindernightmares. The account collects screenshots of real messages women have received from men on Tinder, which range from cringeworthy to downright disrespectful. While @tindernightmares appears to have been created to humorously expose the truly weird people who frequent dating sites and app, the creepy messages that often appear on the site actually highlight a much bigger problem women face today while dating: They’re still seen as sex objects and subordinate to men.
Tinder Nightmares: https://instagram.com/p/6v2ltOkITn/
Feminism | Posted by Jonathan Kalin on 09/1/2015
What Justin Bieber’s VMA Performance Can Teach Us About Modern Masculinity
At the end of his VMA performance on Sunday night, Justin Bieber began to cry. This image has already launched debates about his motivations and as someone who has spent the past 4 years immersed in a movement to end men’s violence against women by critically examining the destructive way men are socialized and the unhealthy standard of masculinity they’re trained to embody, I was fascinated by this moment. But the focus on what was essentially a few seconds of his performance overlooks the many other ways Bieber’s entire performance of his new single “What Do You Mean?” encapsulates the current experience of young heterosexual men in America in a largely unprecedented way.
First, Bieber models a complex attention to consent. I have spent the past
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 …
Feminism | Posted by Sabrina N on 06/22/2015
Get #Cliterate: Overcoming Socially Constructed Ignorance
Think you know the clitoris? Brooklyn-based artist Sophia Wallace wants you to think again. In fact, she’s showing the world just how much they don’t know about this powerful organ through her multimedia project, Cliteracy, which combats the lies and myths surrounding the dominant social conception of female sexuality while encouraging people to educate and empower themselves.
The project is as diverse in method and medium as it is expansive. It includes an anatomically correct golden clitoris statute, an interactive clit rodeo, street art, billboards and a mural exploring sexual violence. There’s even an installation piece of “100 Natural Laws” of the clitoris, which range from “the world isn’t flat and women don’t orgasm from their vaginas” to “society idealizes male genitals while teaching girls that their …
Feminism | Posted by Eloise Bouton on 06/10/2015
It’s Hard to be a Topless Feminist in France
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, …
Feminism | Posted by Claudia A. on 06/8/2015
The Case For Comprehensive, Positive Sex Education
Growing up, I was neither educated nor had positive conversations about sex. It was a taboo topic in my family. My mother especially refused to discuss it (even when I brought it up) and my father completely ignored the topic altogether. The closest we ever came to discussing it was when I would head out of the house with my boyfriend and my mom would remark: “Rebequita, no seas estupida” (Rebecca, don’t be stupid) or “Rebequita, no te dejes tocar” (Rebecca, don’t let yourself be touched). It was as if she expected me to somehow know everything about sex without ever talking about it.
My parents should have had this conversation with me, though, because my school wasn’t any better. My sex ed classes did not acknowledge that …
Feminism | Posted by Emily Lindin on 02/23/2015
On “Just Wanting Attention,” Slut Shaming, and Why We Shouldn’t Apologize
I hear from a lot of girls who are struggling through the hell that is being labeled a “slut” in middle school or high school. Often, they just want to know that they’re not alone. Sometimes, they want to share their experiences with me and even publicly, through The UnSlut Project.
I love hearing from these girls – after all, they are the very reason I started this project by posting my own middle school diaries online back in 2013. But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in their messages: Many girls will begin their emails with a disclaimer along the lines of, “I’m not looking for attention, but…” or “I know you might think I just want attention, but…” and it always makes me cringe.
Here they are, bravely …