A confession: I wasn't going to write about The Thing. Everyone else, it seemed, had their think pieces written this past Sunday night, and I couldn't imagine what else there was to say about The Thing that everybody else hadn't already said.
But, as I watched the video of The Thing—and I assume you've figured out that I'm talking about Beyoncé's closing act of MTV's Video Music Awards, her performance of "Flawless" in front of a screen on which the word “FEMINIST” glowed in neon white—I realized that this was, in many ways, one of the reasons that Bitch was founded back in 1996: this was a moment that proved that popular culture is a crucial locus of feminism.
I need some help on how to talk to a friend about her flirting technique. We're not particularly close, but we do go out to bars and clubs together sometimes as part of a group, and we've known each other since high school (almost a decade now). Her way of flirting generally consists of pretending guys are annoying her, being sarcastic and dismissive, and playing hard to get. Essentially she says "no" when she means "yes" a lot.
Happy Friday, folks! Here's what's on our radar this morning.
• The talk of feminist Twitter since Wednesday morning has been this cover story from The Nation on "Feminism's Toxic Twitter Wars." Read it, and be sure to follow up with the astute critiques already published at Prison Culture and by Yasmin Nair. Stay tuned for our take, coming soon. [The Nation, Prison Culture, Yasmin Nair]
• Pro-Life Waco is organizing a "CookieCott" against the Girl Scouts, who recently endorsed prochoice candidates Wendy Davis and Kathleen Sebelius. Good luck with that. I mean, even people who would deny a woman her right to bodily autonomy cannot deny the deliciousness of Samoas and Thin Mints. [CookieCott 2014]
• Sideline reporter and perennial hate target Erin Andrews is reporting for the first time this weekend from the Super Bowl. In preparation, Gwen Knapp takes on the question of why Andrews is such a lightning rod for sexism. [Slate]
• In other Super Bowl news: One of the longstanding bits of conventional wisdom about the Big Game is that it's a hotbed of human sex trafficking. At Sports on Earth, Susan Elizabeth Shepard looks at whether accusation stands up to scrutiny. [Sports on Earth]
• Amid Texas's abortion-access restrictions, one tenacious provider has discovered a workaround: Refer to himself as a "miscarriage management" consultant. But can his reinvention stand up to ever-more punitive laws? [The New Republic]
• Fancy-schmancy department store Barney's is releasing a spring ad campaign featuring 17 transgender models, which is definitely better than its past record of zero transgender models. The campaign's creator told the New York Times that he specifically wants to highlight the spectrum of the transgender community, noting that "the L.G.B. communities have made extraordinary advances, and the transgender community has not shared in that progress." [New York Times]
That's all for today! As always, let us know what you're reading in the comments...
• There's no question that feminism has never had the best PR, but this Rebranding Feminism contest, which seeks "creative" geared toward advertising, seems...problematic. Do we want feminism to be a brand? [Vitamin W]
• Dave Eggers' new novel, The Circle, is a fictional account of a young woman working her way up in the seductive, all-consuming headquarters of a prominent social network. It sounds an awful lot like Kate Losse's book, The Boy Kings, a nonfiction account of her five years working at Facebook—only Eggers' is already being heralded as the successor to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
• The recent stories about Julie Chen's eyelid surgery and Marissa Alexander's arrest and jail term have underscored an infuriating truth: The bodies, faces, and expressions of women of color are "read," and subsequently treated, far more suspiciously than those of their white counterparts. [Salon]
• Just in from the Department of Ideas We Can't Believe Someone Actually Had: A 12-year-old girl was made to play a slave in a historical reenactment that was part of a field trip. Her parents are now complaining, although I would like to believe "complaining" is accompanied by "opening a can of legal whoop-ass." [Colorlines]
• From the Fat Experience Project and Friend of Bitch Stacy Bias comes this illustrated story of one of the many actual humans in the faceless statistics about childhood obesity. It may break your heart a little, but don't let that stop you from sharing it. [Fat Experience Project]
"Yes, we believe that a partner-track attorney can be passionate about world affairs and celebrity gossip. On the same day. During the same coffee break. And there is nothing wrong with that. Welcome to the year 2013."
I wrote recently, on Twitter, that I was getting the word "feminist" tattooed on my ass. I was only joking, but I might as well have been serious. It's true that in all the most important things I am—mother, writer, hiker, wife, daughter, seeker—feminism is at the center. It's a descriptor so clear and permanent it seems to me it's inked on my ass whether it's literally there or not. I've been a feminist since before I knew what a feminist was. It's an indelible part of my identity and it informs everything I do.
I love Stevie Nicks. Who doesn't? However, I came upon her music only within the last couple years—I'm by no means a Stevie expert. So I was excited to see In Your Dreams, the new film Nicks and collaborator Dave Stewart directed, at SXSW this month; the screening was a chance to learn more about Stevie from herself and an opportunity to wear a Stevie-approved ensemble (long flowing skirt obviously).
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in his directorial debut, Don Jon, which centers on the life of a "porn addict" Jersey guido named Jon Martello.Though plenty of people will likely flock to a film that centers on two sexy stars and a porn addiction, Don Jon attempts to deconstruct the ways in which rigid notions of masculinity and femininity are damaging.