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 …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Chloe H on 02/2/2015
The Real Reason Fifty Shades Of Grey Is Sexist
I first heard about Fifty Shades of Grey on NPR when I was 15. It was the tail end of the story, and all that I could glean was the name, that it was an immensely popular work of fiction, and that it was particularly popular among the elderly in nursing homes. Priding myself in being a well-informed and well-read individual, I decided I should be reading this seemingly topical and influential book. I pranced into Barnes and Noble on my high horse, bragging to my friend about how I was buying a very popular book to enhance my personal literature collection. When I told her what the book was, she blushed and said her Mom wouldn’t let her read it.
“Why?” I asked, thoroughly confused.
“Because it’s… porn!” She …
Feminism | Posted by Trip E on 11/19/2014
Dear Dad: Let’s Try This Again
The author and her father
This article is a response to Pippa Biddle’s call to action in her piece “Dear Sisters,” published last week on Ryot.com.
To whom it may concern (hey, Dad):
The summer after my freshman year at Exeter, you slammed me into the fridge by my neck because I mouthed off to you about doing dishes. You may remember this as the day I climbed out of my bedroom window with a change of clothes and my laptop in a bookbag, and stopped living with you.
I remember it as the day Mom pulled me into better lighting in my aunt’s living room so she could take pictures of the finger-shaped bruises you’d left on my neck. They were strikingly similar to the ones …