Author: Guest Blogger

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Is the separation of eroticism and feminism a problem?

Guest Post by Sabia McCoy Torres

Some of the backlash, commentary, and critiques Beyoncé has received for using Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi’s words from “Why We Should All Be Feminists” in her song “Flawless” has inspired me to react. Not in support of Beyoncé, but instead against a notion that I do not support implied in these critiques: that somehow her “hyper” sexuality is a contradiction to her being a feminist.

“Strength” of Character: How the Silver Screen Perpetuates Gender Stereotypes

What do we mean when we define a female character as “strong”? When an actress is the protagonist, her conflict is decidedly different than the average male protagonist’s: In literary terms, we often see the female protagonist engaged in a “man vs. self” struggle, while male protagonists wrestle with outside forces. The point is not at all that any one iteration of female “strength” is more admirable – more worthy of depiction on-screen – than another, but rather than our female characters consistently demonstrate one kind of strength while our male characters demonstrate another. Furthermore, when our female characters demonstrate stereotypically “male” strength, they do not win the awards.

These complications of storytelling are all exacerbated by Hollywood demographics :

High Stakes: Choice

When I was in my teens abortion was illegal and sex and resulting unwanted pregnancies were a big gamble. I’ve seen abortions and all forms of contraception become legal and available in much of this country. Now I’m seeing that in too many parts of the US and the larger world, the risks are increasingly greater and the deck is being stacked against women. I have known too many women whose choices were constrained by bad odds. What we need to do is stack the deck in favor of all women.

Sex + Cookies 2.0 | Episode #5: Tampons vs. Virgins

“How come I can stick a tampon in myself, and still be considered a virgin? I understand a non-virgin is someone who’s had a penis penetrating a vagina before. But if penetration is that important, how is being penetrated by a tampon any different? It’s like sexuality only counts when it’s involving penises or something.”

Sex + Cookies 2.0 | Episode #6: Rape Myths vs. Guns

So begins a miniseries for the next couple months on rape culture and the finer points of victim-blaming illogic, as part of an effort to stray from tried-and-true topics and cover more divisive subjects that typically attract online harassment and rape threats. Afterward we’ll talk next semester’s plans and ask how you’d grade Feministe’s first attempt at vlogging this year. But first, here’s our last episode of 2013, as of this writing…

Beyoncé’s Break from the Shell of Respectability

As one blogger asked, where were you when Beyoncé’s self-titled album was dropped on December 13, 2013? The world was shell-shocked when the Beytomic bomb exploded on the musical landscape. After this initial shock and awe, fans of her music have been able to digest her masterpiece in all its glory. We can surely talk for days about her more explicit sensuality. Or her refined ratchetness. Or how this coincides with her shift in musical expression. I’d like to explore the latter of these two. And what it means for her as black woman who grew up middle class in the south. They are these intersections of race and class—not to mention gender, which has already been talked about a good bit in feminist spaces—that make Beyoncé so fascinating and, as one of my homegirls and Melissa Harris Perry (my homegirl in my head) put it, will doubtless be the album that launches a thousand woman’s studies papers.

The Hidden Truths of Major Weight Loss

Content Note: Some images in this post may be considered NSFW

Julia Kozerski lost 160 pounds, exactly the way that fat people are encouraged to. She changed her diet, she built in exercise, she stayed constant. Her goal was to change her body, and she succeeded. She went from weighing 338 (fat women can always tell you the exact number) to about 180. She’s also a photographer, and she has documented the experience extensively.

Sex + Cookies 2.0 | Episode #4: “Boyfriend Pays for Pill?”

In a possible dystopian future where Obamacare’s birth control mandate is struck down and American women stripped of their right to contraception minus co-pay discrimination, there may come a time when a woman and her sperm-producing partner may need to discuss cost-sharing over birth control. Because despite Republican beliefs about how women should be charged more for healthcare because they have vaginas, it’s our sincere hope as few girls as possible wind up with boyfriends like this…