Category: Feminism

Quick Hit: The biological realities of bad sex and really bad sex

Eggplant lying against a white background, with little protrusions that look like shrugging arms

A famous quote from Margaret Atwood lays out one of the big divides that stands between women’s and men’s life experiences: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” At The Week, Lili Loofbourow presents a bad-sex corollary: Men think sex is bad when she’s just lying there, and women think it’s bad when we come away bleeding.

More than 150 young women sent Larry Nassar to prison for life

Kyle Stephens was the first person to testify last week during Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing in Michigan. The former USA Gymnastics team doctor has admitted to having sexual contact with minors.

[Trigger warning for child sexual abuse, in this post and at all links]

Larry Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing seven girls under the age of 15, with more charges to be addressed in coming weeks. But before sentencing, the judge heard victim impact statements from every accuser who chose to speak out. Originally, 88 women were expected to speak over four days. At final count, 156 women — empowered by what gymnast Aly Raisman called an “army of survivors” — gave statements over seven days, condemning Nassar and the systems at Michigan State, USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic Committee that failed to protect them.

Aziz Ansari is an asshole, and Caitlin Flanagan is also an asshole

Aziz Ansari standing against a blue background after receiving the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy at the 2018 Golden Globes

The world (or, at least, the part of it that I live in) has been talking about the recent expose by a woman, pseudonymously known as Grace, who went out on a date with comedian Aziz Ansari and ended up getting persistently and aggressively pursued, and aggressively kissed, fingered, and dry humped, plus a weird thing where he kept sticking his fingers down her throat, over her objections. In a statement Ansari released in response, he doesn’t dispute her account of the events of the night — he that he’d thought she was into it. There have been a lot of analyses and responses, many of which I’ll get to later on this blog. But then Caitlin Flanagan decided to jump in — because of course she did — being, as is her way, the fucking worst. So here’s some stuff about “The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari.”

Oprah won the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and her acceptance speech was everything

Oprah Winfrey delivers her acceptance speech at the 2018 Golden Globes

Last night, Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Golden Globes. She started her shattering speech by recounting a moment from her own childhood, watching Sidney Poitier become the first black man to receive a Best Actor Oscar in 1964. And her speech only became more moving and heart-wrenching and inspiring from there.

Alabama Senate election open thread

Doug and Louise Jones stand on stage amid a cloud of confetti after Doug's victory in the Alabama Senate special election Dec. 12

On Tuesday night, something momentous happened: The people of Alabama elected a Democratic senator for the first time in over 25 years. By the tiniest of margins — 49.9 percent to 48.4 percent — voters picked Doug Jones over disgraced judge and accused child molester Roy Moore. So there’s a lot to discuss there.

Reproductive organs: This is the shit I’m talking about

Three blood bags, with female/moon goddess symbols on them, labeled "Sacred Blood of the Divine Feminine - Only for Use in Flux with the Universe"

[Trigger warning: transphobia]

This is the shit I’m talking about: TERFs love to insist that women are not defined by our reproductive organs, until they need an excuse to exclude trans women, at which point we’re defined exclusively by our reproductive organs. And they always have to throw in a little goddess-moon-divine-menstruation magic, too, and that’s another one: Conservative Christians using their religion to police women’s bodies is wrong, but using foofy sacred-divine-goddess mysticism is perfectly acceptable for TERFy purposes.

Mika Brzezinski wants to know if it’s cool to attack accusers we don’t like.

A screenshot from "Morning Joe" with Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, with chyron "Franken hits GOP for supporting Trump and Moore despite sexual misconduct allegations against them"

Yesterday, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced his pending resignation after a seventh woman has come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and dozens of Senate Democrats have called on him to step down. This morning, on Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski stood up for Franken by identifying his first accuser, Leeann Tweeden, as a Playboy model and a Republican, and asking if maybe “I believe women” doesn’t have to apply to all women. Y’know, like women who are accusing a man you like.

The lighter side of sexual harassment

Cecily Strong, Saoirse Ronan, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Leslie Jones pose as pop princess in a music video about sexual harassment

The women of Saturday Night Live bring us a scathing bubblegum pop anthem letting those men bewildered by the recent sexual harassment allegations know that WOMEN LIVE IN A HELL OF MEN WHO CAN’T KEEP THEIR HANDS OR THEIR LIBIDOS TO THEMSELVES, AND NOW YOU’RE INVITED.

What men need to know about discussing sexual harassment

A shot from Game of Thrones with Arya and Sansa Stark standing on the snow-frosted battlements of Winterfell

I was talking with a group of guy friends recently, the sole woman amid a collection of dudes as they stream-of-consciousness workshopped their way to understanding the ongoing storm of sexual harassment accusations. It’s not a pleasant position to be in — I was glad to be able to help them understand things, but thinking about that stuff at that level and having to articulate it that way was exhausting and also made me want to go home and take, like, twelve showers. But they and others have asked what they need to know and what insights they need to have when discussing sexual harassment with women. So here’s some.

Why Women Don’t Come Forward

Berklee College of Music students march in response to sexual assault allegations against Berkless professors on November 13, 2017

Supporters desperate to defend Roy Moore against accusations of child molestation and predation — and justify their decision to vote for him despite said accusations — love to try to discredit his accusers by asking why they didn’t come forward 40 years ago, when the offenses allegedly occurred. Well, why didn’t they? For the same reasons thousands of women suffer their victimization in silence.