Category: Feminist Theory

"F" is for Feminism: FCKH8's Feminism Video isn't so Fabulous

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/109573972[/vimeo] It’s all over my newsfeed: Little girls swearing up a storm in the name of feminism. On Tuesday, October 21st, tee-shirt company FCKH8 released the newest online video sensation, “F-Bombs for Feminism: Potty Mouthed Princesses Use Bad Word for Good Cause.” The video features five six to thirteen year old girls, dressed as princesses, dropping the f-bomb left and right, interspersed with factual information about women’s inequality including the pay gap and sexual assault. Not surprisingly, the video has...

Why We Definitely Need Feminism

Recently, one of my acquaintances sent me a link to a blog called “Women Against Feminism.” The site is a response to the “Who Needs Feminism” campaigns that emerged a few years ago. Now, anyone who has spoken with me for more than five minutes (or read anything I have written) probably has a clear understanding of my political position on feminism, equality, and human rights. I have spoken and written on the issue of feminism, post-feminism, and anti-feminism so...

Men's Room: why space is a feminist issue

I am lucky, (if you can call it that, as I am fairly sure I can claim some credit for its creation) to spend most of my life surrounded by feminist men. I was raised by one, and have friends, lovers and colleagues who are very happy identifying as (male) feminists. They can deconstruct the patriarchy, discuss oppression and understand intersectionality. They constantly and consistently ‘check their privilege’. And maybe this is why a recent article; ‘20 tools for men...

'Goal: play anal with butt plug' – New virtual prostitution and the limits to participation

Recently, I have thought about new forms of pornography and prostitution. The internet landscape in particular is changing rapidly. The old commercial porn industry is really in trouble; not only has it trouble finding a location for its filming after the ban from LA, sales have been going downhill – up to 80% have been lost since 2007. A big part of the reason for this decline is the boom of webcam sites, like Livejasmine and Omeglegirls. Private performers log...

Teaching Feminism 101

  For many people, the “feminist label” is a problem.  For some, the term is stigmatized.  For others, the phrase is outdated.  And many young people reject being identified as a feminist, fearing the label is so dominating it will minimize the multiplicity of their other social identities.  Thus, despite the support film stars, musicians, and even the President of the United States, feminism is still problematic for many men and women today. In a previous posting, I described my...

What Comes After Woman?: gender identity and the women's movement

Last year, as I completed my fieldwork, I was unexpectedly reminded of the continuing contention around gender identity. Interviewing dozens of people involved in social movement actions around austerity and economic inequality, I anticipated that there would be some emotional responses, moments of hesitation, perhaps even discomfort around some of my inquiries. I did not expect to elicit these reactions during the demographics section of the interviews. Yet, about a third of the time, when I asked the respondent to...

Lesbians watching gay porn: fluid sexuality or a second wave hangover?

This post was borne out of a recent discussion with a good friend of mine, Harriet, who is a self-identified lesbian. (I include the phrase self-identified here deliberately: I realise her propensity to prefer the company and sex of woman does not categorise her as a lesbian, but it is a term she very comfortably uses herself). She was talking about going to a sex party, and I, in what I perceived to be ignorance, asked her what her interest...

Teaching Gender and Feminism as a Male-Identified Instructor

My colleague Cliff Leek elsewhere has recently talked about the tension, struggles and challenges of being an ally. Those of us located on the ‘privilege’ side of different axes of inequality and oppression (like race, class and gender) face the challenge of how to become (and stay) active and effective allies without reinforcing the very inequalities we are trying to fight, and trying to speak truth to power without claiming to speak for the movements we are aligned with. As...

Revisiting the Porn Wars

An exciting new journal is slated for release next year—Routledge’s Porn Studies. The journal, the first of its kind, will focus explicitly on erotic and pornographic materials, as well as sex work generally. As its call for papers makes clear, it aims to include interdisciplinary, intersectional, and global analyses. Such a journal is a brave endeavor because the topic of pornography is an incredibly volatile one in academic and activist worlds. The journal is still a year away from publication...

Women’s Intimate Friendships, Forging Feminist Kinship

A recent article in Marie Claire magazine caught my eye. The title asks, “Are girlfriends the new husbands?” As the article explains, young adult women are increasingly turning to best friends for the kind of support that one might expect only from a romantic partner. As they choose to remain single later into life, women’s best friends become intimate partners (though not sexual ones). Cohabitation, “family” vacations, even some type of co-parenting between best friends is becoming more common. I...

Feminism, Family, and Work

This week, Stephanie Coontz contributed an opinion piece to the New York Times in honor of the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique. Coontz’s article, entitled “Why Gender Equality Stalled,” explores some of the structural and economic reasons hindering equality between men and women. The attitudes and beliefs of individuals are not to blame for the stalled gender revolution; instead, Coontz points to a failing economy and inadequate work-family policies as the major obstacles to gender equality. Coontz...

Is Breast Best?

This past September, a new initiative went into effect in NYC. The initiative, called Latch On NYC, is intended to support women’s right to exclusively breastfeed their infants, and to support women in that endeavor. To achieve its goal, the project involves a breastfeeding awareness campaign, and some voluntary limitations on hospitals—specifically, they are to limit new mothers’ access to formula.  The initiative emerges out of an increased understanding of breastfeeding’s benefits to infant health, among other things. Before continuing,...

Feminism and Migration Studies

The relationship between gender and migration is a hot topic in the social sciences and humanities. Increasingly, more books and articles, as well as conferences and working groups of scholars, tackle how gender intersects with migratory processes. For example, I am part of a group of 2011 Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Dissertation Proposal Development fellows, all of whom situate their work in the field of “gender and migration.” The rise of this type of work can be attributed to...

Porn in Public?

Should public spaces, like libraries, ban pornography? This past week, the San Francisco Public Library made it easier for those who want to use the library’s online services to view illicit materials by installing shields on 18 of its public computers at the Civic Center branch. In the tradition of anti-censorship, the librarians refuse to censor websites, including those containing pornographic materials. Yet, they want to address concerns from some of their patrons who were troubled that they might accidentally...

"Real Moms" and Embodied Pregnancy.

Recently, it seems as though every newspaper and headline in the media includes the words,“diet, new regimen, or lose ten pounds instantly.” The amount of media reports can prove to be very confusing, problematic, and undermining of the larger health issues at hand. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report titled “Obesity Trends Among U.S. Adults Between 1985 and 2010,” which offers an interactive map and state-by-state breakdown of obesity rates in the United States. According...

The Attack on Anita Sarkeesian: From Media Analysis to Anti-Feminism and Online Harassment

AUTHOR’S WARNING: This post, and especially the links leading from it, contains images and language that some readers may find offensive or unsettling. Anita Sarkeesian is clever, eloquent, and seemingly fearless, but the recent fame she has achieved is not entirely pleasant. With a B.A. in communications from California State University, Northridge and a Master’s degree in social and political thought from York University, Sarkeesian is thoroughly knowledgeable and aptly qualified for her role as media critic and feminist activist....