It’s sleazy at the top: on women, power and body policing

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There’s no question that we need more women in power. But if we ever needed a reminder that climbing to the top doesn’t insulate women from sleazy sexism, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) gave us one this week:

“In Off the Sidelines, Gillibrand, 47, shares a sobering incident in the congressional gym, where an older, male colleague told her, ‘Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!’ On another occasion, she writes, after she dropped 50 lbs. one of her fellow Senate members approached her, squeezed her stomach, and said, ‘Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!'”

The People interview is short, but the New York Post filled it in with some more examples from the book, like the time a congressman told Gillibrand, “You know, Kirsten, you’re even pretty when you’re fat.”


Weekend reading


What it would look like if Marvel drew male superheroes the way they draw females ones.

A Marine Corps veteran rants against rape jokes in the military.

How does a 9-year-old come to shoot a fully automatic weapon?

California passed a law requiring affirmative consent on college campuses.

Kat Stoeffel makes the case for objectifying men without guilt.

11 better ways to deal with rape than nail polish.

What’s wrong with those (white) people?


Sadly, but not surprisingly, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has brought our country’s most virulent racism to the fore. A prime example, which I have not had the stomach to visit directly myself, is the fundraising page to support Darren Wilson, the police officer who took Brown’s life. From what I’ve seen featured on other sites, it’s a virtual playground for the worst humanity has to offer.  (more…)

Weekend reading


The first episode of The Daily Show’s new podcast goes behind the scenes of their great piece on campus sexual assault.

A man is facing online threats for taking in a Guatemalan refugee family to demonstrate compassion to his children.

Why we should stop calling abortion a “difficult decision.”

”My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.” Meet the first female head of a major North American professional sports union.

Trayvon Martin’s mother writes a moving open letter to the family of Michael Brown.

What happens to police officers who kill unarmed black men.

A 90-year-old Holocaust survivor was arrested protesting in Ferguson.

The female voter’s guide to being wooed by political parties.

Female directors on the movies that influenced them.

What we must remember after Ferguson

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photo via

Every time there is a tragedy like the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, we are reminded of the many lessons our society has sadly failed to learn. It’s wrenching to watch yet another family grieve a young person who paid the ultimate price thanks to racism and institutional failure. As we fight for justice for Michael Brown and others, we must also highlight the lessons that will help our country prevent these tragedies in the future.  (more…)

Weekend reading

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photo via

The news this week was dominated by the disturbing events in Ferguson, Missouri. More on that to come soon, but in the meantime some other weekend reading recommendations:

Mo’ne Davis became the first girl to throw a shut out in the Little League World Series.

Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman to ever win the Fields Medal for mathematics.

Install this extension on your browser to see where members of Congress get their campaign funds as you read about them in the news.

Another reason to like John Oliver.

How women are affected by benevolent sexism.

Art that aims to change the conversation about abortion.

6 feminist TV shows you should go binge watch now

We have amazing access to so much culture right now that we can choose television shows that give us interesting, nuanced roles for women and compelling examinations of gender issues. When I get excited about a movie or a TV show, I like to evangelize, and I’m sure I could make a very long list. To start, here are 6 feminist TV shows you should check out:



Weekend reading


Celebrating Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 21 years on the Supreme Court.

A male CEO explains why he’s quitting for better work/life balance and discusses the double standards around career and gender.

The perfect response to people who say they don’t want Muslims on their flights.

A new billboard campaign teaches tourists about states’ poor treatment of women.

15 pioneering women in computer science.

The interim president of Kentucky State University is giving up $90,000 of his salary to give minimum wage workers a raise.



We’re not just daughters

It’s a story that’s become familiar in our cultural and political conversation. A politician supports anti-gay policies until his son comes out as gay. A woman is vehemently against abortion rights until she has an unintended pregnancy. Someone has an epiphany thanks to a brush with real-life experience. While anything that influences people to support more just, progressive policies is positive in a way, it’s frustrating that it often takes stumbling into a situation like this to change people’s minds. Kat Stoeffel takes on a version of this phenomenon that can be particularly annoying:  (more…)


Weekend reading

This handy chart shows you when a woman owes you sex.

Esquire offers a remarkable profile of a remarkable man: Dr. Willie Parker, who travels to Mississippi to perform abortions in its only remaining clinic. Go read it now.

7 studies that prove that mansplaining is real.

In preparation for the Facing Race conference, 11 reasons we still need to talk about race.

Women who served time in the prison that inspired Orange is the New Black rally to end mass incarceration.

Check out this profile of ingenious comedian Maria Bamford and her struggles with mental illness, and then watch her hilarious standup.