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.
[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.
On Tuesday, I dismantled Caitlin Flanagan’s steaming hot pile of take on the moral failings of Grace — the woman who talked about her horrible date with Aziz Ansari — and feminism and modern women. Here are women who are also speaking on the matter and who aren’t just the worst person ever.
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.”
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.
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.
[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.
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.
TIME magazine has announced their Person of the Year, and it’s actually People: the silence breakers who have come forward about the sexual harassment and assault they’ve experienced — as TIME calls them, “the voices that launched a movement.”
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.
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.