Repression is not what you might think it is. I recently wrote:
A lot of us think it’s about working to suppress sexual desire. And while the early stages can be at least partly conscious, after a while you’re not actively blocking anything. You’ve simply lost sexual feelings and energy. Plus, plenty of punishing messages targeted at women’s desire get internalized. And sex is too often used as a weapon. Read the rest of this entry
Ariel was the first Disney Princess to be touched by feminism. And she is plenty different from her predecessors — good girls who never rocked the boat, and who all needed saving by their Prince Charmings.
In Ariel we find a young woman with a strong sense of self who seeks independence and empowerment.
But she reflects the early tensions of our feminist beginnings. Read the rest of this entry
Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.
That’s what art critic John Berger famously observed.
But some feminist artists have turned the tables in the exhibit, Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze:
With a gallery filled with men stripped naked this body of work exposes women’s cheeky, provocative and sometimes shocking commentaries on the opposite sex (which) may make the viewer squirm a little. But that is precisely the point.
Less so than girls — who are more strongly judged by their appearance. But they do care.
And no wonder, since looks are one way to gain sex, status and self-esteem. (So no surprise that Casanovas — who want A LOT of sex partners — are especially body-conscious.)
But it’s complicated. Read the rest of this entry
By Erica Dalton
My brunette, Jewish mom was happy to have a blonde, blue-eyed daughter.
But then, she grew up being told that what’s desirable was the opposite of her. Sexy was blonde, from Cinderella to Grace Kelly to Marilyn Monroe.
Even though my mom grew to love herself, I guess she was glad that I would not have to feel unsexy.
Sure, men are privileged by being male, but attractive females are privileged, too. You are noticed more. You’re more popular. You get attractive guys.
If you don’t mind the stigmas attached to “sexy” you can milk it for all it’s worth. Read the rest of this entry
By Caitie Adler
In my kindergarten mind girls were beautiful and boys were tough. And since girls were beautiful, I was beautiful.
By middle school things looked a lot more complicated.
I’d learned that girls should be pretty. And I tried to be. But there was a downside. Read the rest of this entry
Imagine living a year without seeing your reflection in a mirror.
That’s what Kjerstin Gruys did when her engagement transformed her from intelligent grad student to “bridezilla.”
You’ve heard of the “bikini body.” Well, Kjerstin fretted over not having an adequate “bride body” in time for her wedding — if ever.
As she viewed dress after dress in the scrutiny of dressing room mirrors, and through the mind’s eye of her imagined wedding day — and after purchasing three different dresses — she knew she had a problem. One which echoed an earlier eating disorder.
So she pledged to give up mirrors for a year, in hopes of regaining her real values. Read the rest of this entry