Rihanna’s Sheer CFDA Dress Is a Brilliant Instagram Prank — and an Empowering Statement

If you have a pulse and an internet connection, you’ve surely seen it by now: last night at the 2014 CFDA Awards, Rihanna wore a sheer Adam Selman gown, exposing her breasts (and behind) beneath a translucent sheen of glittering Swarovski crystals. Yes, the dress was was daring and risky, and people still seem to be struggling to get their heartbeats back down to a normal level. But the bigger shock is just that — the fact that people are still shocked by Rihanna, still aghast at an exposed bosom, still adhering to these strange Puritan standards of censorship that we should have shucked off four centuries ago. … Read More

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The Tantrum of Masculinity: Rebecca Solnit on Mansplaining, Power, and Her Book ‘Men Explain Things to Me’

We need to listen to Rebecca Solnit. Over the course of 16 books, she’s one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time, tracing the past and future of America and the world through her incisive and provocative prose. Whether it’s something like A Paradise Built in Hell, about how humans respond to disaster, or Wanderlust: A History of Walking, or the vital essay collections A Field Guide to Getting Lost and last year’s The Faraway Nearby, Solnit writes mind-expanding books that make connections upon connections about crucial topics. … Read More

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The Media’s Reporting on Jill Abramson Is as Complicated as Her Firing

It was an abrupt change in leadership at The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon, when the staff gathered to hear that Executive Editor Jill Abramson was out, effective immediately, and that Dean Baquet would be the new managing editor. Abramson was not in the room, and she did not give a goodbye speech. … Read More

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Monica Lewinsky’s Comeback Shows We’re as Confused About Her as Ever

Sixteen years ago, I spent every morning eating Cheerios with no milk and reading the newspaper, like every kid who wanted to know what was going on in the world. But on a September day in 1998, my copy of The Boston Globe had a special section about The Starr Report, an exhaustive, R-rated tale of how then-President Bill Clinton had an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Blue dresses. Linda Tripp. A description of the President’s sexual proclivities. The cigar was included, in excruciating detail. … Read More

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bell hooks Called Beyoncé an Anti-Feminist Terrorist

Beyoncé has not always identified publicly as a feminist. But somewhere between the release of “Run the World (Girls)” in 2011 and the birth of Blue Ivy the following January, she started opening up in the press regarding her belief in feminism — still, sadly, a term her pop star peers mostly try to circumvent. But as celebrated as Beyoncé’s light-touch, low-pressure brand of female empowerment has been by some high-profile feminists like Sheryl Sandberg, Ms. Knowles apparently does not pass bell hooks’ high feminist bar — this week, hooks shocked just about everyone by branding her an “anti-feminist terrorist.” Welp. And there ain’t shit the Beygency can do about it — bell hooks remains a leading voice on intersectional feminism. … Read More

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Can Shailene Woodley Make Feminism Part of Her Hippie-Goddess Brand?

When Shailene Woodley was on the cover of Bust magazine’s Feburary/March issue, she was asked about feminism, like every star who appears on the cover of Bust. The piece’s author, Lisa Butterworth, writes, “Her passion for these characters makes me wonder if feminism influences the way she thinks on a day-to-day basis, and she does not hesitate to answer. ‘One-hundred percent,’ she says, matter-of-factly.” … Read More

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Feminism and “The Left” Need Ellen Willis’ Ideas More Than Ever

Between the wars and the economic meltdowns and the national security scandals, the past decade has seen progress for liberal causes: Barack Obama’s historic two-term presidency (which still holds some symbolic value despite the President’s complicity in the aforementioned horrors); a national healthcare plan that, if deeply flawed, is still more comprehensive than any before; a rapidly accelerating LGBT rights movement, etc. But still, liberal politics is in trouble. In the few years since Occupy Wall Street came and went, attracting plenty of news coverage but effecting little lasting change, a commitment to liberal politics feels increasingly futile — not to mention dreary as fuck. … Read More

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Lily Allen: The Bitch Is Back… and She’s Gone a Little Soft

Stateside, at least, Lily Allen has always been dubbed the antithesis of whichever female pop star is most popular when she releases an album. It is exhausting stuff, I’d imagine, so much so that she wrote the title track of her new album Sheezus about such matters. Don’t let the title (or controversial first single “Hard Out Here”) fool you, though — Allen’s not out for blood with this record. … Read More

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Beyoncé Doesn’t Need Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Time’ 100 Co-sign

This week, Beyoncé appears on the cover of Time‘s annual issue celebrating the 100 most influential people in the world. Besides Pharrell, she’s the only musician to make the “Titans” section of the list, alongside the likes of Fed leader Janet Yellen, Chinese tech mogul Pony Ma, and Hillary Clinton. As Bey herself says in a video from the cover shoot (below), it’s quite an honor “because it’s not about fashion, or beauty, or music — it’s about the influence I’ve had on culture.” … Read More

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