99 Ways to Respect Black Women

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This year marked 100 years since the death of Harriet Tubman, the former American slave who proved great heart and courage in rescuing other slaves. This fact was commemorated not with a holiday or a monument but by our very own brother Russell Simmons thinking it would be wonderful to make a “Harriet Tubman sex […]

Reports of Feminism’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

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I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word? —Ellen Page, actor If the word ‘feminist’ has negative connotations, running away from the word […]

Of Hoodies and White Women, Trayvon and Othello

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Trayvon Martin could not have been me. Not now. Not 35 years ago, when, like President Obama, I was Trayvon Martin’s’ age. The reason is plain: I am a white woman, raised in a wealthy suburb, an English professor. The infinite ways in which my life—and the life of my own teenage son—are different and […]

Beyond the “Secularism Tic” – An Interview with Feminist Philosopher Sandra Harding

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“You have to put your ideas out in public. Realize you’re never going to be 100 percent right, and trust that for now you are the least wrong you could manage to be.” When you listen to Sandra Harding speak, everything comes into focus. Her words are inspiring, empowering, an invitation to move conversations forward […]

Growing Up Queer in San Francisco – Easy, Right?

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Just like thousands of queers living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I came here from somewhere else, already out of the closet and already an adult. Because I didn’t know anyone actually from San Francisco but knew, like everyone else, that it was a “gay mecca,” I assumed that coming out here was probably […]

Policing Feminism: Regulating the Bodies of Women of Color

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The decision to feature Beyoncé Knowles-Carter on the cover of the latest issue of Ms. magazine ignited controversy among its feminist readership, and as the author of that cover story I’m not all that surprised. Indeed, my article is precisely about the “debates” over such a high-profile celebrity and sex symbol identifying as a feminist. […]

Standing with Susie the Dachshund

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What does Susie, a long-haired dachshund who was discovered to have an intersex trait, have to do with feminism? I’d argue quite a bit. Susie’s experience is a harsh reminder that our society still holds simplistic ideas about bodies. Less than a week ago, the world was introduced to Susie, the dog who was allegedly […]

Rites of Gun Passage

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Dear Gun Lovers: We hear you: Guns are beloved custom and culture. They are rites of passage, in which 5-year-olds are given shotguns, along with bicycles with training wheels or tea sets, to bring them into adult culture through play. They are the means through which fathers (and likely mothers) inculcate their children into the […]

With These Posters, Celebrate Black History Month All Year Long

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For the past 28 days of Black History Month, photographer Eunique Jones Gibson has put up a photo poster a day of an African American child posed as an historic figure–from Martin Luther King, Jr., to Malcolm X to Frederick Douglass to Barack Obama to Muhammad Ali. Of course we at the Ms. Blog are […]

Of Menstruators and Manhole Covers

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Feminists of a certain age may recall debates about changing sexist language, and the ways feminists were once mocked for insisting on replacing sex-specific terms such as policeman with police officer, fireman with firefighter, stewardess with flight attendant and the so-called generic pronouns he and him with he or she, him or her or they […]