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....read more
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....read more
A bit over 10 years ago I had breast reduction surgery after thinking about it for years and finally deciding that the constant pain between my shoulderblades (due to the weight on the front of my chest distorting my spinal alignment) was no longer bearable.
This weekend I’m nursing somebody else through their recovery from the same reduction mammoplasty procedure …...read more
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....read more
[Trigger warning for eating disorders]
This week has been designated National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and the tagline for 2014 is I Had No Idea. It recognizes the fact that eating disorders are more prevalent and more dangerous than many people recognize and that they touch every aspect of life. Talking about eating disorders is always a question mark for me — for some women, simply discussing it can be immensely triggering, and in areas of education, one girl’s cautionary tale can be another’s instructional video. (I’ve mentioned in the past that my introduction to bulimia came through educational efforts.) But for a week like this one, raising awareness — and, as part of that, dispelling myths — makes it worth the risk. Because a lot of people really do have no idea....read more
Mainstream women’s magazines, despite their protestations to the contrary, are rarely an outright bastion of body positivity for any woman of non-model proportions and facial features. So it’s admirable that it was Marie Claire Australia that commissioned six ad agencies to create print ads encouraging women to love their bodies. But is it enough?...read more
You know, to get rid of swoob (sweat-boob). Yes, the idea of boob deodorant might make you titter, but it’s a real thing an actual company is marketing. And that says a lot about our beauty industry....read more
Heard that there was something going on with Jezebel and Vogue magazine and Lena Dunham, and you were quasi-curious but not really curious, or you were semi-demi-curious but not inclined to give Jezebel the clicks? For your reading pleasure: the condensed version....read more
Season 3 of HBO’s Girls premiered Sunday night, Lena Dunham is on the cover of next month’s Vogue, and after a reporter from The Wrap asked her why she gets naked so often everyone is talking about how often Lena Dunham gets naked. So I am too! Over at the Guardian, I say that Girls is an imperfect show, but Dunham’s nudity is powerful: Not just because she looks more like the average American woman than most women on television, but because her nakedness isn’t primarily ornamental, purposed for titillation and aspiration....read more
I’m not a Cosmopolitan reader. There are endless reasons to leave it on the magazine rack. And then there’s Cosmo fashion editor Charles Manning, who is both a dude and the fashion editor for Cosmo. In an editorial on the magazine’s site, Manning points out that teaching women to “fix their figure flaws” and camouflage their bodies to fit traditional standards of perfection doesn’t exactly promote a positive body image....read more
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....read more
Would you limit abortion to 12 weeks if it meant getting a full range of other reproductive health benefits?
That’s the question I’m addressing at Al Jazeera this week, and I actually say yes, I would sign on to that deal. With the Texas abortion law restricting the procedure to 20 weeks and a series of other proposals in states across the U.S., there’s been all sorts of discussion as to when we should limit abortion rights. My general stance is that abortion should be entirely unrestricted up to the point of fetal viability, and then it should be permissible in cases of the pregnant person’s health (including mental health), life or fetal anomaly. But with the uptick in abortion restrictions, pro-lifers now routinely make the argument that in places like France, abortion is limited to 12 weeks, and the French have lower abortion rates and better health outcomes than Americans. Pro-choicers typically respond that France also has a bunch of other health benefits that make the comparison impossible, including good state-sponsored childcare, parental leave, free and accessible abortion before 12 weeks, affordable and accessible contraception, good sex education and on and on. But I’m curious: If there were an actual horse-trade and pro-lifers were willing to come to the table, would pro-choicers agree to limit abortion to 12 weeks if we could get all that other stuff? It’s a supreme hypothetical because in no universe would this actually happen, but if it did, I say yes....read more