Empowering Femininity

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Early on in my first book Whipping Girl, while discussing the tendency within some strands of feminism to discourage women from engaging in acts and pursuits that are considered feminine, I argued that “We should instead learn to empower femininity itself.” While many people who read the entire book appreciated my stance on femininity, I […]

Family Planning for Adolescents: The Missing Ingredient?

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Reprinted from the Thomson Reuters Foundation with permission. This week in London, several hundred advocates and allies, including myself, will join government officials from around the world, led by British Prime Minister David Cameron, to rally a global movement to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage for girls within a […]

Will Pope Francis Walk the Talk on Sex Abuse?

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Actions speak louder than words seems to be the phrase on many lips in light of Pope Francis’s recent apology to those who have survived sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic Church leaders. Just as his predecessors Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II did, Pope Francis met with a few survivors of sexual abuse, […]

Message to HelloFlo: Ha Ha, Oh No

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On June 17, HelloFlo, a company that sends care packages to women (timed to their monthly cycle) that include everything from pads and tampons to chocolate to beginners’ guides, followed up its hilarious commercial “The Camp Gyno” with the clever and funny “First Moon Party.” Both the website (which includes a blog and an advice section) and the commercials are […]

Feminist High School Boys Declare: “I Am a Feminist”

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Think boys can’t be feminists? The seven boys who have taken my high school feminism class in the last two years disagree. They even got together to make a video to share the ways in which feminism has made an impact on their lives as young men. “My reason for taking the feminism course is […]

Laverne Cox Epitomizes Growing Transgender Rights Movement

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When transgender actor Laverne Cox graced the cover of Time magazine this month, the magazine was showered with accolades for featuring her story. But the article also ignited a predictable torrent of outrage from those unwilling to accept what most major medical associations in the United States have already acknowledged: that being transgender is not […]

Feminist Debates: 1. Pornography

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The women’s movement is a diverse, complex, multifaceted one with many differences of opinion and ways of thinking. Although most mainstream feminists generally agree about issues—such as being pro-choice or against genital cutting—there are several controversial issues about which no one general consensus has formed. This new series on feminist debates is half explanatory, half […]

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?

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This past February, when President Obama announced his first initiative to address the historical and current effects of racism in the United States, many applauded the effort as a long overdue step in the right direction. However, the program, called My Brother’s Keeper, focuses only on boys and young men of color, ignoring one half […]

Poor Women Are NOT Having Babies for Money

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When I was young, my mom was on welfare. She wasn’t unlike other moms on our South Los Angeles block: single, working multiple jobs and doing her best to keep her head above water. She cared deeply for my brother, my sister and me. We knew she did, because in order to make sure we […]

Is Your Yoga Studio Feminism-Free?

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Come to a comfortable seated position; use the blanket to elevate your hips so you can sit with the spine straight. Close the eyes and rest the hands gently in the lap. So begins the yoga class. And just yesterday, as we sat quietly, receptively, in a meditative pose, the teacher said, Everything in your […]