The Problem With SlutWalk’s New Name

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As a woman pushing 30, I’ve been called a slut more times than I care to think about.

Most women have. Cruelly by partners. Casually by gossips. Playfully by friends. Randomly by strangers.

I’m not sensitive to many words, but this one has always bothered me, has always lingered in the air a couple extra seconds. Drop the dreaded “C word” on me and I won’t blink, but “slut” — a tidy little package of judgment, shame and manipulation — has always felt unusually heavy.

When SlutWalk Philadelphia debuted in 2011, I didn’t necessarily like the name. It made me, like a lot of people, uncomfortable at first — and it should have. Like the word, the SlutWalk has pretty uncomfortable origins: A protest march that eventually went global, it began in Toronto after a police officer advised women to “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Instead, women decided to take a little stroll together in fishnets.

I have no real interest in “reclaiming” the word – you can keep this one, among others. But if it’s going to be used against us, I’m personally in favor of harnessing its power to call noisy, unladylike attention to the idea that what we wear somehow determines that it’s OK to harass us.

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Is This the NFL’s Next Commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

Should Condi Rice be the next NFL commissioner?

It seems clear that Roger Goodell is finished as commissioner of the NFL.

His silence on the arrests of NFL players Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer has been deafening. The man Time once dubbed “The Enforcer” is persona non grata since his fumbling of the Ray Rice case.

The public relations impotency of the once-heralded Goodell has forced owners to do something they hate to do – talk to the fans about team problems. That’s what the commissioner is supposed to be for. He is a useful mouthpiece when things are bad.

The NFL investigation of the Ray Rice debacle is a formality. Roger Goodell will be fired or he will resign, not because he didn’t take domestic abuse seriously, but because he hurt the NFL brand and almost cost the league billions in endorsements.

So who is in line to replace Goodell when he is kicked to the curb?

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Ginsburg: As Gay Rights Gain Traction, SCOTUS Record on Women Worsens

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From 2006 to 2009, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, was the sole woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. Nominated in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, she now presides alongside Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Earlier this month, in speaking to a law school, Justice Ginsburg noted the court’s increasing embrace of gay rights.

This is not to say that gay and lesbians have secured equal protections in the eyes of the law. But comparatively, Justice Ginsburg said that the court still wrestles with “the ability of women to decide for themselves what their destiny will be.”

Though history is never made as linearly as we learn it in the classroom, it sometimes seems like social justice movements happen one at a time instead of concurrently. Despite this, each group’s push toward equality carries the same fundamental objective: To expand the idea of what it means to be “American.”

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10 Men You Should Unfollow on Twitter

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Earlier this week, the Internet was all aflutter with news of the latest feminist hashtag. #UnfollowAMan is a (questionably executed) satirical movement created by Buzzfeed staffer Katie Notopoulos and the premise is simple: Unfollow a man — or in Notopoulos’s case, all men — on Twitter. She writes that after doing some research about her typical Twitter actions she was horrified to learn that she was “using it like a locker room where jocular masculine sick burns are doled out each minute like 140-character towel snaps.”

So, she went on what she calls “a digital man cleanse.”

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Philly Women Battle Sexual Harassment, Groping at Comic-Con

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Photo | Andrew Bossi

Cosplay and Comic-Con-culture are huge right now, and so is the issue of sexual harassment at the Comic-Cons and similar conventions around the country. That’s the word from Rochelle Keyhan (left), Erin Filson (right) and Anna Kegler (not pictured), the three Philadelphia women behind Geeks for CONsent, an organization formed in 2013 to stamp out the problem. The group’s motto is “Cosplay does not equal consent.”

Their cause gained national attention over the weekend on the occasion of San Diego’s Comic-Con, and we got Keyhan on the phone to talk about it all. Read more »

#FreetheNipple: The Nipple Is Having a Moment

The Ta Ta Top

The Ta Ta Top

2014 is shaping up to be the year of the nipple.

First Scout Willis pranced around New York City topless. Willis was — justifiably — outraged by Instagram’s asinine community standards, which state that female nipples cannot be posted but extreme scenes of graphic violence are acceptable. Then, Rihanna got booted from Instagram for posting photos of a French magazine cover on which she appeared bearing her nipples. Meanwhile, actress-turned-filmmaker Lina Esco launched the hashtag #FreetheNipple and held a topless event in New York’s Washington Square Park.

“It’s not about sitting at the cafe with a glass of wine and no shirt on — it’s about the fact that a woman cannot sunbathe without her shirt on next to a man that has every right to do so,” Esco, who is making a film about the movement featuring Janeane Garofalo, told the Huffington Post in April. Since then, the #FreetheNipple movement has grown in popularity, bolstered by the celebrity support of Willis and Rihanna.

Nipples, it seems, are having a moment.

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Marriage Is Not the Solution to Violence Against Women

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

And now, for the week in ridiculous.

A headline in the Washington Post reads, without a hint of irony: “One way to end violence against women? Married dads.”

When the #YesAllWomen hashtag took off on Twitter in response to the UC-Santa Barbara shooting, women took to their keyboards to share their experience with violence. In a Department of Justice report done on the prevalence, incidence and consequences of violence against women, “51.9 percent of surveyed women [said] they were physically assaulted as a child by an adult caretaker and/or as an adult by any type of attacker.”  Twenty-two percent of surveyed women reported that they’d been physically assaulted “by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, or date in their lifetime.”

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Elliot Rodger, Misguided Male Entitlement, and the “Nice Guy” Fallacy

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, right, walks past a board showing the photos of suspected gunman Elliot Rodger and the weapons he used in Friday night's mass shooting that took place in Isla Vista, Calif., after a news conference on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Sheriff's officials say Rodger, 22, went on a rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara, stabbing three people to death at his apartment before shooting and killing three more in a crime spree through a nearby neighborhood. (AP Photo | Jae C. Hong)

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, right, walks past a board showing the photos of suspected gunman Elliot Rodger and the weapons he used in Friday night’s mass shooting that took place in Isla Vista, Calif., after a news conference on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Sheriff’s officials say Rodger, 22, went on a rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara, stabbing three people to death at his apartment before shooting and killing three more in a crime spree through a nearby neighborhood. (AP Photo | Jae C. Hong)

We acculturate our children in a culture of domestic violence. In playgrounds across the country this summer and into the following school year and those to come, little girls will learn that the boys who push them into the grass are the ones that like them. They will grow older and become teenage girls who accept the sting of a “love tap” in their arm as a sign that they have been chosen.

With any luck, the young women will unlearn these expectations.

And with hope, the young men will, too.

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#YesAllWomen Is the Equivalent of Having a Peace Sign Bumper Sticker

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Shutterstock.com

On Friday, Elliot Rodger murdered six people in Santa Barbara. We know — from documents and videos — that Rodger, who took his own life, was motivated by misogyny. He made it very clear: These people were injured and killed because women didn’t want to have sex with him.

In the coming days and weeks, we’ll no doubt learn more about Rodger’s mental health, but less than 24 hours after the murders, the world had already learned that Rodger’s motivations are not all that unique. On Saturday,#YesAllWomena hashtag started by two friends, spread through cyberspace like wildfire. Women from all over the world shared personal stories of sexual abuse, street harassment and everyday examples of gender-based hatred.

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Why Marriage Equality Is Good For Women (of All Sexual Orientations)

 

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Hope. After President Obama’s ubiquitous 2008 campaign, the word has felt a little cheesy, a little too much like the brainchild of a marketing pro.

But it’s the only word I can use to describe how I felt on Tuesday night.

By the time I started my evening commute, I’d already heard the glorious news that U.S. District Judge John Jones III overturned Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. After work, I detoured from my usual route to see the rally in front of City Hall. I’d expected to feel happiness and — no pun intended — a lot of pride. But then that familiar feeling of hope crept up on me. Read more »

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