A whole lot of people, as it turns out. This week at the Guardian I’m writing about the Commission on the Status of Women, a two-week-long UN conference that wrapped up on Friday and, thankfully, resulted in a signed document pledging action on women’s rights. But in the lead-up to the signing, we saw a variety of actors from all around the world try to impede anti-violence efforts. Who? Russia, Iran, the Vatican, the Muslim Brotherhood and American pro-life groups, among others. They had a variety of objections, but the chief ones were that the proposed CSW document would treat husbands who rape their wives the same way as men who rape strangers, would disallow countries from using the “it’s our culture / religion / tradition” excuse to avoid implementing anti-violence measures, and stated that women have a right to bodily integrity and freedom:...read more
When school districts treat trans and gender-nonconforming kids as “different,” requiring that they use special bathrooms, is it any surprise when the other kids follow suit?...read more
I’m writing in Al Jazeera today about how the fight over the Violence Against Women Act exemplifies the increased extremism of the Republican party. A bit:...read more
Teri James was fired from her job as a financial aid specialist at San Diego Christian College for being unmarried and pregnant. Clarification: She was fired because the pregnancy was evidence that she had “engaged in activity outside the scope of the Handbook and Community Covenant that does not build up the college’s mission” — namely, premarital sex....read more
Go read this piece about how the NYPD can arrest you for carrying condoms and someone please explain to me in what universe any of this makes sense. Trans and carrying condoms? You must be a prostitute, and condoms are the proof! Wearing a tight t-shirt and carrying condoms? You must be a prostitute, and condoms are the proof! A sex worker who is trying to keep herself safe in her work? You are actually a prostitute, so go to jail, or at the very least get your condoms taken away so your work is more dangerous. The condoms-as-evidence policy serves absolutely no one....read more
Regardless how one feels toward V-Day, Eve Ensler or this year’s One Billion Rising, it’s a good springboard for kicking off projects around V-Day’s themes – which for my mates means demystifying female sexuality and women’s bodies. (For me it means cupcakes, but I’ll explain later.)...read more
Unsurprisingly, the two recent threads on sex work are… active. There’s a lot of push-back (especially to mine) in the comments, so I want to address a few things. First, I stand by what I wrote in the post. But second, I did an inadequate job of focusing on the more important issue: Making life safer, here and now, for sex workers....read more
There are a few topics that still never fail to divide feminist activists, and sex work is one of them — which is why this post is so contentious right now. I love our regular guest bloggers Laurie and Debbie, and I posted that piece myself — but I don’t agree with all of it. I am an anti-sex-trafficking feminist. I think sex work is incredibly problematic. And I also support the rights of sex workers. I think you can do all those things at once....read more
Melissa Gira Grant has an excellent article in Reason this week, laying out exactly what’s wrong with the war on “sex trafficking,” which is conducted largely by women who identify as feminists, and how and why it is really a war on sex workers. The last paragraph of the article is especially powerful:...read more
There’s this study making the rounds which says that how you lose your virginity impacts the rest of your entire sexual life. Which is an accurate reading of the study, if by “your entire sexual life” you mean “roughly the next one to four years” and if by “how you lose your virginity” you actually mean “how you feel about sex.”...read more
I’m over at the Guardian writing about “revenge porn,” and how it’s part of a trajectory of gendered harassment that women face online.
There aren’t popular revenge porn sites with pictures of naked men, because as a society we don’t think it’s inherently degrading or humiliating for men to have sex. Despite the fact that large numbers of women watch porn, there are apparently not large numbers of women who find sexual gratification in publicly shaming and demeaning men they’ve slept with.
And that is, fundamentally, what these revenge porn sites are about. They aren’t about naked girls; there are plenty of those who are on the internet consensually. It’s about hating women, taking enjoyment in seeing them violated, and harming them.
The owners to Texxxan.com practically said as much when, in defending their website, they posted a message saying, “Maybe [sic] the site provided an outlet for anger that prevented physical violence (this statement will be very controversial but is at least worth thinking about).” In other words, these are men who hate women to the degree that they’d be hitting them if they didn’t have revenge porn as an outlet for their rage. They’re angry because women have the nerve to exist in the universe as sexual beings.
The whole thing is here....read more