Sexual Objectification, Part 2: The Harm

Summer Solstice charity event at the Playboy Mansion on July 23 2011

This is the second part in a series about how girls and women can navigate a culture that treats them like sex objects. (Part 1 can be found here.) Sexual objectification is nothing new, but this latest era is characterized by greater exposure to advertising and increased sexual explicitness in advertising [PDF], magazines, television shows, movies [PDF], video games, music videos, […]

Sexual Objectification, Part 1: What is it?


This is Part 1 of a four-part series on sexual objectification–what it is and how to respond to it. The phrase “sexual objectification” has been around since the 1970s, but the phenomenon is more rampant than ever in popular culture–and we now know that it causes real harm. What exactly is it, though? If objectification […]

Britain’s Femfresh Takes a Kick in the Euphemism

Adventures in Menstruating

When I moved to England, people asked if I knew what I was getting into. You could take the girl outta Brooklyn, etc. But I settled in just fine. Still, the average Brit of any gender still has the reputation stateside of being able to keep calm and carry on and requiring a stiff drink to breach taboos […]

From an Eating Disorder’s Half-life to Your Full Life

Eating Disorders

What happens to people with anorexia or bulimia who don’t get treatment–or who don’t get enough of the right treatment? This is an important question because, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, only ten percent of people with eating disorders are ever treated. It’s also a tough question, because data […]

Hatred Does Not Equal Health


“I stand for a life free of shame for all little girls.” “I stand for happy, healthy children–no matter their size.” “I stand against social stigma and the right to be happy just as you are.” These are powerful statements, and just a few of the many “STANDards” (above right) assembled by Marilyn Wann and […]

H&M Whittles Down Acceptable Body Types To Exactly One


I hope that years from now we’ll look back and laugh at the time when female clothing models were all expected to conform to a very narrow and specific range of body types. If so, we’ve got our punchline. This week, H&M has pushed this trend to the point of absurdity: Instead of accepting minor […]

A Vulva Looks Like THAT? Demystifying Female Genitalia for Teens


A few weeks ago, New York Times Magazine carried an amazing article–Teaching Good Sex—that uses a Philadelphia private school’s approach to sex ed to illustrate a simple but controversial question: What if we actually taught young people about pleasure, orgasms, healthy relationships and the wide variety of what is normal in both sexual desire and […]

Japan’s Yaeba Trend and Cosmetic Infantilization


Benjamin B. alerted us to a New York Times story about a new trend in Japan: yaeba. Some young Japanese women are now having dentists artificially enlarge their incisors so as to achieve a look associated with a small mouth crowded with teeth: Here’s some dental work to that effect, borrowed from the “after” pictures on a dentist’s website: […]

#NoShaveNovember Raises Hairy Gender Questions


When Ms. magazine asked me what I thought about #NoShaveNovember, I had never even heard of such a thing, and I couldn’t quite grasp its point. Maybe this is because I participate in something called No Shave Forever: I don’t shave my armpits and only occasionally shave my legs. So I looked up the #NoShaveNovember […]

Hot Chicks, Cold Sexists and Occupy Wall Street


In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, students of magic battle a boggart, a creature that manifests itself as your worst nightmare. With a flick of their wand and the word “Riddikulus,” students disarm the boggart by turning it into a joke, thus rendering it powerless and nonthreatening. This is exactly what Steven Greenstreet, […]