Time magazine’s annual poll of the year’s “worst words” looks for words that make you “definitely cringe,” even “exhale pointedly,” even “seek out the nearest pair of chopsticks and thrust them through your own eardrums like straws through plastic lids.” And it asks people to “vote another word off the island” (and if I never hear that phrase again, I’ll be okay). This year’s poll includes bae, basic, bossy, disrupt, I can’t even…, influencer, kale, literally, om nom nom nom, obi, said no one ever, sorry not sorry, turnout, yaaasssss, and… feminist.
Fox News’s “The Five” wants young women to know that you’re really too stupid right now to participate in public life. Not too stupid in general — someday, you’ll be old enough and conservative enough to vote or serve on juries. Just not right now. The Five discuss the age and gender gap as it could influence the midterm elections and then veers off to let young women know that right now, while you’re healthy and hot, you should just focus on Tinder and Match.com and let the grownups make the decisions.
So. “Beyonce feminism.” Roxane Gay is against it. (Annie Lennox, too.)
I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets — mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. … Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?
In Florida, Stand Your Ground was used as the foundation of George Zimmerman’s defense after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. In South Carolina, it was used to defend a man who walked out of the house with a gun to confront “women thugs” who had threatened his daughter; he ended up shooting a teenage boy in his car instead. Also in Florida, Marissa Alexander has repeatedly been denied the chance to use the Stand Your Ground defense against charges after she fired a warning shot above the head of her abusive husband. This month, Charleston prosecutors moved to further endanger the Marissa Alexanders of South Carolina by saying that Stand Your Ground shouldn’t apply to victims of domestic violence who confront their abusers.
Most women don’t need to be told the story of a woman’s abortion (or two abortions) after forgetting to use birth control in the heat of the moment. Most of us know a woman who’s done that. About one in three women will be her. Statistically, several women reading this post at this moment have not just had an abortion, but have had a “bad” abortion. So they don’t need to read about someone else’s just to understand.
In all the discussion of sex and consent — and there’s been a lot of it, and it’s not all recent, and unfortunately it doesn’t change all that much for all that the debate is pretty much constant — a recurring theme is the idea of somehow recording consent and negotiating it in an official context to avoid any confusion. Now, a smartphone app is available to address that. Available for iPhone and Android, the Good2Go app encourages prospective sexual partners to assess consent — electronically — before embarking on their sexual adventures.
Chances are, you’ve heard the much-lauded pop song of late summer, Meghan Trainor’s body-acceptance anthem “All About That Bass.” (Chances are, just reading that title has driven the season’s most pernicious earworm directly into your brain, and for that, I apologize.) You may or may not like it. You may or may not be disappointed that it wasn’t better, like I was, which seems unfair because nothing’s perfect, but there’s so much promise that the problematic stuff is extra frustrating.
[Trigger warning for rape]
Don’t do anything to get yourself pulled over.
No, seriously, that’s it.
It’s Banned Books Week, celebrating books that are absolutely, objectively horrible and mustn’t be read by anyone. They’re books that need to be blocked from school libraries, ejected from public libraries, struck from publisher’s lists and set on damn fire every time they’re encountered. Which means that most of them (although by no means all of them) are worth reading, particularly when it comes to books for school-age kids who shan’t be exposed to naughty language or mentions of sex. Because if there’s one thing that abstinence-only education has taught us is that if you never, ever mention it, kids will never do it.
So here are six banned and/or challenged children’s and young adult books to read to a kid this week in honor of Banned Books Week.
Any father of daughters knows that a woman doesn’t actually become a person unless you contribute DNA to her. But when you do, boy howdy!
[Trigger warning for domestic violence]
Short answer: We don’t know, and it’s not for us to know or judge.