Taking a spouse’s surname should still be a choice

I’m usually quite entertained by The Marriage Ref. I like that they seem to take both serious and ridiculous marital squabbles and make them fun, also rewarding all couples with a paid-for second honeymoon. The most recent episode made me quite angry, though—first for constantly reinforcing the idea that in het marriages the husband always […]

Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape

I’m a big fan of Jessica Valenti. Unfortunately, there is a limitation any one writer inherently faces being only one writer—the lack of multiple perspectives. So I was very pleased to finally read Yes Means Yes!, which is an anthology she co-edited (and contributed one essay to). The essays vary widely in terms of nuance, […]

Leslie Bennetts – Betty Friedan for a new generation

Two books that changed my life were recommended to me by a good friend during senior year of high school. One was The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and the other was The Feminine Mystique. Recently, I picked up Leslie Bennetts’ The Feminine Mistake from the library, and I think it’s a life-changing book that everyone—both […]

Jessica Valenti’s almost my hero

A while ago, I read Full Frontal Feminism, and then I just recently finished He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know. There are some things I dislike about Valenti (sometimes she does seem to be trying too hard to be hip and humorous, for example), but she’s […]

Kate Perry: Experimental lesbianism is not subversive

Kate Perry has a pop song with a very catchy tune. It’s about how she “kissed a girl.” Supposedly, this is something she’s very proud of and feels is subversive or bucking the system: It’s not what / Good girls do / Not how they should behave. On the contrary, Kate, it’s quite how good […]

Is there a new word to add the sociological dictionary?

Discussions of racism and sexism (or any *ism, really) in mixed company can easily become heated, especially if some people in the discussion try to combat the notion that we are “all in the same boat.” I don’t think the emotional charge of the discussion comes so much from what is being described as how […]

Handling unwanted advances

In high school, college, and beyond, I’ve had many conversations with female friends about street harassment, and the conversations have almost always been disheartening. It usually goes something like this: Woman is minding her own business on the street, on the bus, in a coffee shop, in a store. Random man makes a lewd sexual […]

Full Frontal Feminism Indeed

Right now I’m reading Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti, and I have to say, with a few rough bumps along the way, it’s an impressive piece of literature. Most of the feminist works I’ve read—while rationally argued, fully annotated, and well-written—are dry and too academic for […]

Stupid husbands and smart wives on TV

If you’ve seen any American sitcoms featuring het couples in the past ten years or so, you’ll probably have noticed that it’s common for the show to portray the husbands as a stupid but endearing oaf who likes beer, barbecues, watching TV, hanging with the guys, and ogling women; and the wife as a smart, […]