By Robyn Di Giacinto
Fangirls rejoice—the new season of OITNB has dropped in all its feminist glory!
YAAASSS (image via popsugar.com)
Since OITNB hit Netflix in 2013, it’s become a force to be reckoned with, weaving together engaging storytelling, a dynamic ensemble cast, and groundbreaking commentary on social issues that most mainstream shows are too afraid to even hint at.
In particular, OITNB was the first real introduction many viewers had to the ever-expanding world of American prisons. And that’s part of the appeal: in a sea of primetime cop shows and law-and-order-obsessed nightly news programs, OITNB is one of the only shows that dares to challenge the idea that criminal justice is always just. Litchfield Penitentiary isn’t just where we put the “criminals.” Its prisoners are people with complicated stories not so unlike our own.
…But it’s also entertainment. Lucrative entertainment at that. The kind that draws in millions of subscribers and drives advertising revenues through the roof. And while that doesn’t cancel out the show’s importance, whose interests are your marathon binge-watching sessions, Facebook rants and Twitter epiphanies really serving — those of actual women in prison, or the profit margins at Netflix HQ?
It’s not a comfortable … Read more
By Sierra O’Mara Schwartz
When I first saw the Alpha Phi chapter at the University of Alabama’s recruitment video pop up on my news feed, I figured it was posted by some guy in a frat I went to college with or by an Alpha Phi I’d met during my undergrad. I went to a fairly Greek school, so my timeline being flooded with recruitment videos is nothing out of the ordinary. But when I discovered this clip was not from a Facebook friend, but rather ABC News, I was a little confused.
Here is the video:
It seems pretty standard: pretty girls throwing glitter, laughing, mugging for the camera, gyrating in slow motion. But this particular recruitment video, for whatever reason, has stood out enough to warrant significant backlash. Alpha Phi’s seemingly harmless, fairly standard sorority recruitment video has gone viral after an op-ed was written criticizing it’s lack of diversity and blatant “anti-feminist” message. As expected, media outlets are eating this story up. The entire internet has bandwagoned and is now on a death mission to take down the University of Alabama’s Alpha Phi chapter for being “worse for women than Donald Trump.” The author claims that these … Read more
By Shira Hereld
Some days I still can’t find words for it. They all feel too clinical or too violent or too removed – mostly they don’t feel like enough. Enough for the turbulent thunderstorm that threatens the periphery of my memories whenever I tread too near – the admixture of panic, shame, anger, and a thousand other potent emotions too complicated to name.
But that’s why I wanted to write this: because, two years to the day after I was assaulted, and only a year and a half after I finally shattered my silence and wrote about it, it’s time to take stock of how far I’ve come. To try and put some words to it – in the hopes that other survivors will see that there is a journey called “recovery,” and so that I can at last gain the power of believing I’m on it.
So many things have changed since the days, weeks, and months after the assault.
First and most importantly, I can call it the unspeakable R-word – Rape – and relieve in small increments the enormous shame and guilt I have accrued around its memory. I have also shared my story … Read more
By Sierra O’Mara Schwartz
From “Real Housewives” to “The Hills” to “The Bachelor,” there is nothing that America loves to see more than women tearing each other down. Nothing sells more than girl drama, whether it is scripted or fake or somewhere ambiguously in between. Friendships between women are portrayed in the media as fleeting and fake. They are a profit point for gossip magazines and reality shows and basically every special on E! ever. No woman in Hollywood is safe from this: just a few weeks ago two “Orange is The New Black” cast members were asked about what “girl feuds” there were on the OITNB set. You read that right- out of all the questions the interviewer could have asked to members of the most intersectional, diverse cast of one of the most revolutionary television shows of our time, he chose to ask them who was stabbing who in the back. And if you’re curious, the answer is nobody. Nobody was stabbed in the back, because “Orange is The New Black” is a cast of mature, adult women, not last week’s guests on Maury, thank you very much. You may be asking yourself, how can we change … Read more
By Alex Miller
Last week, as I was scrolling through my feed on Twitter in an attempt to avoid writing a paper for class, I came across this tweet:
First off I’d like to say this post is not about shaming the person who tweeted this, but is an attempt to get us thinking about the consequences of what we say from an informed perspective. This perspective takes a very important factor into account—historical context. Historical context is, briefly, all the events and circumstances that surround and build up to an event happening in the present. One person recently described it to me in terms of an iceberg—the part above the water’s surface is what is happening now, what you can see, but the part below the surface is the historical context. And as we know, most of an iceberg sits beneath the surface.
Back to our aforementioned tweet. The person who tweeted this was a Yankee living in a Southern state, so naturally he incurred some backlash. One passionate responder attempted to reason with the tweeter, through various arguments, that “w’all” doesn’t sound “just as stupid” as “y’all,” but he was unable to clearly articulate what I could … Read more
In this guest post, my good friend Shira Hereld courageously tells her sexual assault story from when she was abroad in New Zealand.
Owning the Story
When people ask me about term abroad, I typically say “The best time of my life.” I mean it. But this statement hides a raw truth I’ve hidden for over a year from almost everyone. While studying abroad in New Zealand, I was raped.
My fingers resist typing that sentence. Why tell people? The real question should be – why have I not told people? If I were mugged, I would call the police, my parents, probably post about it on Facebook. Even now, though, the fact of my sexual assault feels like a dirty secret that should be swept under my heart’s rug.
Only I can’t leave this “dirty secret” alone anymore. Too much has changed; too much has been broken and repaired; too many other survivors have been silenced. I have to be brave for them. I have to own my story.
For survivor allies, I hope reading this leads you to greater understanding and compassion. For survivors, I hope this frees you from the shackles of shame and inspires you … Read more
By Alex Miller
This past Tuesday, FCKH8.com released its latest video, entitled “F-Bombs for Feminism: Potty-Mouthed Princesses Use Bad Word for Good Cause.” Although my initial reaction to this video was an eye-roll so hard it hurt and a speedy dismissal, after seeing many people I otherwise respect fall into its cheap trap all over social media I decided my silence was no longer appropriate. So, I want to be explicit and loud when I say this: FCKH8.com and this video are not only despicable capitalist gimmicks, they are detrimental in every way to the feminist cause.
First of all, and very importantly, I want to set the record straight on FCKH8.com. FCKH8.com has been trolling the internet since 2010, and their goal isn’t really to stop hate, it’s to make money. Make no mistake, this a for-profit t-shirt retailer. In the video, it says the company donates five dollars for every article of clothing sold to “kickass charities.” That means that if you buy one of the “anti-sexism hoodies” for $34.99, the company makes a gross profit of $29.99. If you subtract $5 dollars for cost of materials and labor, FCKH8.com is still walking away with $24.99! If you … Read more
By Sierra Margaret
The first time I got called a chubby chaser was by my friend after I came to her in mourning of Chris Pratt’s pre-Guardians of the Galaxy body that he swapped for the ripped, muscle clad frame built in preparation for his silver screen debut. Everywhere I went on the computer (okay, mostly Buzzfeed), all I saw was Chris Pratt and his magical new torso. This Chris Pratt that now graced my computer screen was not Andy Dwyer Chris Pratt. It was a ripped, muscly, made-for-Hollywood Chris Pratt that was nothing like the man I had fallen in love with on Parks and Recreation. Listicles poured out in adoration for his new body (21 Times We Fell In Love With Chris Pratt This Summer), yet all I could do was complain. It’s not that the new Chris Pratt looks bad. He is absolutely gorgeous. But when I see the new Chris Pratt, I see conformity. I see a rare, lumpy gem that has been cut and polished into a flawless diamond: beautiful, but completely lacking character. And in the midst of my mourning of Pratt’s forgotten double chin of yesteryear, I had an … Read more
I am delighted to present you The Feminist Feline’s first guest post from a man! My good friend Alex Miller wrote an excellent piece about the greater social implications of the recent celebrity photo “scandal.”
As you already know, this past weekend a group of iCloud hackers posted private photos and videos of over 100 American and British celebrities, prominently among them Jennifer Lawrence, on the internet for millions of viewers to see.
Many bloggers and journalists swiftly took to the web in outrage, stating vehemently that this act was an invasion of privacy and indeed a serious crime. The women, be they celebrities or not, deserved better, and were of course not to blame for the photos being leaked. These women should not be restricted in their personal lives because their profession places them in the public eye. They should not have to live in fear that what they choose to do for themselves and choose to share with other people in an intimate way will one day be available to a guy living on the other side of the world.
I whole-heartedly agree with these views, but this post is different.
Those posts were a necessary first … Read more
This week, my good friend Shira Hereld wrote a guest post about her experiences with an eating disorder and how the praise she received after losing weight post-eating disorder was unwanted and inappropriate.
This summer, I lost 15 pounds. I also reached the peak of my self-esteem in the eleven-odd years since puberty. These facts are not related.
See, in August, for the first time since I began suffering from an eating disorder (ED) in high school, I felt completely at one with my body. I strutted through Spain in a midriff shirt, with enough good feelings to share with the entire world. Best of all, my newfound self-love was entirely separate from weight.
Then I returned home, and my family began to comment positively on my un-realized weight loss. Then I stepped on a scale, and had a number to put to my confidence. Then I began to receive compliments about my “new” body. Here’s the problem:
All I ever wanted during my years of disordered thinking (and months of actual purging) was to lose weight. I spent countless exhausted days on a scale, counting down each ounce I’d managed to take off.
This summer, I finally went … Read more