“Fifty Shades of F*cked Up”: The Film on its Own Terms


Have you heard of Fifty Shades of Grey? Of course you have. It’s everywhere. By now we probably all know the basics: damaged millionaire falls for innocent undergrad and introduces her to a world of BDSM play that’s by turns sexy and disturbing. He tries to push her into a full-time dominant/submissive contract; she tries […]

Black Women’s Histories: A Conversation with Mireille Miller-Young


Black Women’s Histories, a conversation series, will profile different feminist scholars engaging black women’s histories and narratives during Black and Women’s History Months (February and March, respectively). This week’s scholarly conversation profiles Mireille Miller-Young, author of A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography. An associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara, Miller-Young’s work […]

Feminist Debates: Pornography


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 article on feminist debates is half explanatory, half experiment: […]

When a Wife/Partner Succeeds, Men Lose Self-Esteem


Not long ago a friend’s first book was published, so when I arrived at her home for a visit I eagerly voiced my enthusiasm and congratulations for her accomplishment. Moments into the interaction, her husband strode across the living room to a bookcase and returned with a copy of a book he authored 15 years […]

Should Feminists Be Critical of Compulsory Monogamy?


In 1980, Adrienne Rich broke new ground in her essay “On Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” in which she argued that feminism need not merely include lesbian voices but actively critique compulsory heterosexuality as a patriarchal institution. More than 30 years later, feminist support for gay and lesbian rights has become commonplace, and is frequently […]

Beyond Consent: Opening Up a Dialogue About the Reality of Women’s Sexual Experiences

Slutwalk London 2011 - 23

When reading and writing about what was arguably a rape scene in this season of Girls, I’ve been struck by how many of the comments from readers fixate on the debate over what does and what does not qualify as consent. This is a debate worth having, and I stand by my use of the word “rape” […]

Marriage Equality is Here to Stay!


What if the federal government decided to require fertility tests for married couples and declared that only couples capable of having children could marry and receive the marriage benefits? Or, what if a powerful coalition of Christian or Jewish or Buddhist (why not?) congresspeople decided that the government would only recognize marriages between people of […]

Are “Friends With Benefits” Really Friends?


Hanna Rosin, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of The End of Men, has written a piece about hook-up culture on and off college campuses for the September issue of her magazine. Given that I’ve done some research on hook-up culture, here are my two cents: Rosin isn’t wrong to argue that the culture offers […]

How the Vibrator Came Out of the Closet

Curing Hysteria

Freud condemned the clitoral orgasm as “immature”–but at least he recognized that it was in fact an orgasm. Before that, medical science didn’t even think orgasms were sexual in nature, calling them “paroxysms,” and doctors actually prescribed them for their female patients. The practice of bringing them about by massage–first by hand, then by machine–was […]

Fifty Shades of Mommy Porn


I’d never heard of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James until my 65-year-old sister-in-law clued me in. Her book group in New Jersey is tackling the best-selling trilogy that went viral as an e-book and is now being made into a movie. It’s the story of an affair–with a BDSM slant–between a virginal Seattle […]