In Praise of Messy Katie Roiphe

As a writer who sometimes is accused of propagating unpopular opinions and indulging in contrarianism for the sake of attention and pageviews, it might not be surprising to hear that I quite adore Katie Roiphe, the cultural critic and essayist who regularly publishes screeds full of ideas that go against what any normal person would see as rational thought. Of course, she’s been doing this since she published her first book, The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism on Campus, in 1993: there, she alleged, among other criticisms of modern, mainstream feminism, that much of the so-called date rape epidemic was rooted in poor decisions made by its female victims.  … Read More

  • 0

Sadly, the “Women’s Story” Isn’t Going Anywhere

At Salon, Anna North is calling for an end to “women’s stories.” What she means by that is that she wants an end to the sex-on-campus, middle-class white women type of story that the Times ran this weekend. (I only skimmed.) Sure, okay, fine. These stories tend to take up all the space traditional outlets are willing to give to the lives of “women,” and I don’t know of anyone who loves it except those from the Planet Plum Sykes. But it squares oddly with the picture of Girls that Salon chose to accompany the article — it seems to suggest that Girls is not quite the revolution some suggest it to be. And North herself has written before on the quest to take a “girly” narrative seriously in pop culture — and then implicitly defined the “girly” narrative with cultural artifacts that are only about middle-class white women. … Read More

  • 0

10 Radical Art Projects That Celebrate Women’s Bodies

We’ve known for a while that Barbie’s body is impossibly petite. Her slender figure and absurdly small waist don’t leave enough room for her internal organs, and her tiny ankles and feet would actually force her to move around on all fours. Still, the Mattel icon remains a standard of beauty for many young girls — sometimes with damaging results. When we spotted an art project inspired by Barbie’s cruel measurements, which we feature past the break, we felt compelled to round up other artworks that challenge the status quo surrounding female body… Read More

  • 0

Stop Arguing Over Whether Taylor Swift Is a Feminist

But is she a feminist? This is our favorite question to ponder about female celebrities, and particularly female pop stars. Is Lady Gaga a feminist (even though she makes offhand comments about how she doesn’t eat)? Is Beyoncé a feminist (even though she conforms to patriarchal standards of beauty and tells other women to “bow down, bitches”)? Is Lana Del Rey an empty-headed male fantasy or a stealth, radical-feminist performance art project? … Read More

  • 0

‘The Guardian’ Asks Artists, Scientists, Thinkers What They’d Like to See Next in Fight for Women’s Rights

One hundred years ago, suffragette Emily Davison died throwing herself in front of King George V’s horse at Epsom Derby.… Read More

  • 0

The Knife Reading List: Feminism, Postcolonialism, And Beyond

As you’ve probably gathered, we really, really like The Knife’s new album Shaking the Habitual. We’ve also very much enjoyed the interviews they’ve been giving of late, mainly because they’ve been talking a lot about all the stuff they were reading over the course of the album — basically, a whole lot critical theory in the fields of gender theory, postcolonialism, and intersectionality. These are fascinating topics to investigate further, although perhaps somewhat daunting if you don’t know where to start. But never fear, we’ve got your back with this essential reading list! … Read More

  • 0

A Selection of Contemporary Cultural Icons on Feminism

Zooey Deschanel’s recent declaration that she is indeed a feminist, Peter Pan collar and all, inspired us to take a look at a few of the different reactions the controversial term has gotten from contemporary cultural icons over the past few years. Here, a selection of famous women on feminism, their comments ranked from our favorites to our, um, less-favorites. Do you agree?… Read More

  • 3

Lisa Anne Auerbach's Awesome, Arty Feminist Sweaters

Forget binders full of women… The hottest election accessory should be these cozy, subversive art pieces by Los Angeles-based feminist and bike activist artist Lisa Anne Auerbach! Oh. Eh. Sorry that we just did that. Seriously, you can forget the binders, but these sweaters are still awesome. Auerbach, who received an MFA in photography from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, started creating these deliberately provocative pull-over pieces back in 2004, when she no longer had access to her school’s darkroom. “Knitting was a way I could continue to make art,” she told The New York Times last year. “It’s portable and I can do it anywhere. Now that I’m teaching photography at Pomona College, I knit on the train during my commute, and it’s a great way to pass the time in faculty meetings.” Certainly being pro-bike, anti-monogamist, and gleefully atheist aren’t necessary mutually inclusive philosophies, but browse this closet and see which of her incredible statement sweaters matches you. Ride on! … Read More

  • 11

10 Noteworthy Proto-Feminist Anthems

Today marks the 49th anniversary of teen idol Lesley Gore’s American Bandstand performance of “It’s My Party” — a chart-topper with a catchy, melodramatic, but unmistakably girl’s-eye view. Followed by the similarly spirited “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” “She’s A Fool,” “You Don’t Own Me” and “That’s The Way Boys Are,” Gore’s early singles are often considered as proto-feminist in emphasis. “You Don’t Own Me” is a potent statement in itself — an attitude that was to burgeon later in the decade.

Throughout the centuries, women have accented popular song with resistance, resentment, and outright revolt against oppression. The history of popular music reveals that it’s far more than a man’s, man’s world.

While genres like blues allowed a remarkably femme-centric candor, rebellious notes can be perceived throughout numerous eras — and even within the hit parade. It’s true that often these songs frequently concentrated on romantic themes, but their strong female perspectives, assertiveness, and attitudes denote them as feminist forbearers. Here’s a selection of pioneering vocalists’ music dating from the twenties to the mid-sixties to remind us that empowered girls have been with us for longer than pop culture often cares to remember. … Read More

  • 3