To Reclaim Slut or Not To Reclaim Slut: Is that the Question?

SlutWalkOttawa

When I initially received my invitation to SlutWalk Los Angeles, I didn’t open it. I was aware of the Internet hoopla around SlutWalk, the anti-rape marches sweeping North America, Australia and Europe. I’d seen enthusiastic online posts from students, friends and much-respected peers. But I couldn’t get past the sensationalist (and attention grabbing!) word slut. […]

J. Crew’s Toenail-Painting Ad Causes Pink Scare

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The sweet J. Crew ad I celebrated last week has ignited a “pink scare,” with socially conservative commentators outrageously upset. The ad features a mother– J.Crew’s creative director, Jenna Lyons–and her son delighting in one another’s company on a Saturday afternoon by painting their toenails hot pink (and thereby selling J. Crew’s Essie nail polish). The ad doesn’t […]

Click! It’s Not You, It’s Patriarchy

Veiled woman

“It’s not you. You’re not an isolated case. It’s systematic and it’s called patriarchy,” said the radical 60-something woman at the front of the room with the “War is not good for children and other living creatures” medallion swinging from her neck. She wore a turtleneck encased in a neat blazer and put one leg […]

What Reality TV Taught Me About Sluts, Waifs, Douchebags and Angry Black Women

RealityMs

Is every woman either desperate to get married (Bridezillas), a slut/bitch (Rock of Love) or a beauty-obsessed waif (America’s Next Top Model)? Is every man either a despicable douchebag (Tool Academy) or a thugged-out gangsta (again, Tool Academy)? If we were to judge from the reality TV shows that have populated our cultural landscape over […]

(Self)Love is a Battlefield

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My body is a battleground. I have spent most of my life waging a war on it. I have vivid girlhood memories of my worth being measured by my waist size and numbers on a scale. I was taught that I must “suffer to be beautiful.” This irreconcilable relationship with body and self continued into middle school, as […]

George Clooney Is a Bachelor, Kim Kardashian Is a Spinster

KIMCLOONEY

It’s official. As Kim Kardashian approaches her 30th birthday in October, she is joining the ranks of women such as Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson: modern-day spinsters. There’s no comparable expression for men, such as 49-year-old unmarried George Clooney, who has traipsed around the globe parading a rotating bevvy of babes. Oh wait, he’s a […]

The Other L-Word: How bell hooks Dared Me to Love

love

My paternal grandmother should have never had children. Instead, she had five well before leaving her twenties. On the surface, my grandmother was emblematic of the post-World War II American dream. She married my grandfather, a young, first-generation Polish American who fought his way out of poverty by enlisting in the Army and moving swiftly […]

Doll Parts: The “Barbie Executioner” Strikes Back

barbieparts2

My mother never addressed beauty in a critical way. In fact, beauty was rarely openly discussed in my house, but was the lingering weight on the shoulders of all the women in my family. The only times beauty was discussed was when my mother told me I needed to lose weight or when my grandmother […]

Unretouched Photos: Empowering or Just More ‘Empower-tainment’?

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Recently, there have been a few high-profile examples of magazines publishing images of “real” women: plus-sized models, or celebrities free of makeup and/or Photoshop. The ensuing publicity can make it feel that we’ve won body image victories–but let’s look closer at these images to find out how much we should really be celebrating. February 2009: […]

When Infidelity Becomes “Sex Addiction”

tigerjesse

Cue: High-profile, charismatic man married to high-profile, attractive woman in picture-perfect marriage is outed by a long string of lovers claiming to have affairs (often lasting several years) that include everything from wild sex (often without protection) to pregnancies and abortions. Response: The tabloids erupt in a media feeding frenzy and the public is outraged […]