Picking on Pinterest, Life on Mars (Hill), a Q&A with Cheryl Strayed, and G-Spotting: Read Articles from the Elemental Issue!
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Bitch: When reading "Dear Sugar," I feel like there are some very apparent feminist messages, like in column "No. 86: Tiny Revolutions," which is very much about accepting your body. How much does feminism inform your work as Sugar?
Strayed: Feminism is who I am; it's the lens from which I view the world. Everything in Sugar is feminist. It should be stamped "This is written by a feminist." Some columns are more explicitly feminist than others—"Tiny Revolutions" is one example. In it, I write about how feminism has completely failed on the beauty front. We're still obsessed with our bodies, still obsessed with how our asses look in our jeans. I'm not exempt from this. I feel the pressure to be pretty too, but for things to really change women need to stand together against the beauty machine. We have to take responsibility for the values we're perpetuating. I don't want to suggest that we all just internalize the issue and blame ourselves, because it's also a cultural problem. I heard something recently about men and women who do online dating: When going on a date with someone they met online, the number-one fear that straight women have is going on a date with a serial killer. The number-one fear straight men have is going on a date with a fat woman. That says everything.
"Life on Mars (Hill): In the nation's fastest-growing megachurch, faith and feminism don't mix" by Alison Sargent
The church's blend of pop culture and strict Calvinist doctrine allows congregants to occupy a unique, rebellious niche between middle-aged conservative Christians and their secular liberal contemporaries. Mars Hill members talk about sex, drink alcohol, get tattoos, and swear. They listen to Fleet Foxes; they love Star Wars and graffiti art. They also believe homosexuality is a sin, men are meant to lead, and wives must submit to their husbands as the church submits to God.
On April 25, the online edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine ran an article by cosmetic gynecologist Adam Ostrzenski, MD, who reported that he had teased a "blue grape-like" sac out of a dead woman's vagina. This was proof, he claimed, of the "anatomic existence" of the G-spot, the elusive (but much-heralded) erotogenic area that can be stimulated through the vaginal wall...
"It is a very small, tiny structure, but it made a tremendous amount of noise," remarked Ostrzenski.
Sadly, more than 60 years after German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg spoke of a periurethral structure that could be the source of erotic pleasure for women, we still don't know a whole lot about it.
Telling women what they should be interested in and doing online is patronizing and counterproductive. Is being girly still such a bad thing in our culture? Why are wedding dresses and cupcake recipes any more frivolous than cat photos and rage-face memes? There's an obvious double standard at work in criticisms of the site. If there's a problem with Pinterest, it's this: Pinterest is perceived as the women's space online to the general exclusion of other spaces. The media and popular culture are now painting it as a pink ghetto that defines what women are passionate about and how they behave online. It's not a problem that a lot of women love pinning content about fashion and home decor on Pinterest, but it is a problem if a Pinterest stereotype ends up standing in for all women on the web.
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