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Friday, February 10, 2012

OK Stupid

Posted By on 02.10.12 at 01:30 PM

In the mid-90s, when I'd moved to a new city after grad school, I placed a personals ad the old-fashioned way: in an alternative paper. After a couple of dud dates, I ended up meeting someone I went on to have a long-term relationship with. He eventually ended up reconciling with his ex-wife, but all this time later we're still friends.

Given this experience, I was open to trying online dating, so a younger colleague of mine got me started on OK Cupid. I can't say it's gone so well, though I have met a couple of guys who to all appearances are genuinely nice.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Who gets up when the baby cries?

Posted By on 07.11.11 at 11:24 AM

Working mothers are still "substantially" more likely than working fathers to answer the night-shift call of duty for a child who needs care, a University of Michigan study indicates. Mothers in the study were twice as likely to report sleep interruptions for caregiving as fathers who worked the same number of hours.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Couldn't I Have Been a Flower Child?

Posted By on 05.05.11 at 01:33 PM

VIA FLICKR/CHEALION
  • via Flickr/Chealion

Last Saturday’s New York Times featured a front-page photo of the royal couple driving away from their royal reception in their royal blue Aston Martin convertible. It was taken from behind the car, and when I glimpsed the photo, for a moment I thought, Cool! The Duchess is driving! Then I remembered that the steering wheel is on the wrong side over there.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Vajazzling, and Its Inevitable Male Counterpart, "Dickorating"

Posted By on 03.15.10 at 12:57 PM

Vajazzling, the latest trend in Swarovski crystal vaginal bejewelment, debuted on the national vaginal stage this January. And somehow it has not yet retreated back whence it came, the dark recesses of minor celebrity Jennifer Love Hewitt’s panties. Vajazzling has reinvigorated Hewitt’s celebrity (”It shined like a disco ball”). Vajazzle specialists are popping up everywhere (”Aww, c’mon, this is gonna be great by the time you’re all done Vajazzling!”). Vajazzling has even caused one man, who we will call Jason, to look directly at a vagina (”It’s mesmerizing . . . This is probably the longest I’ve ever stared at a vagina”).

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Internal Affairs: How Ayn Rand Followers Rationalize “Welcomed” Rape

Posted By on 03.10.10 at 06:02 PM

The recession has been good to Ayn Rand. And why shouldn’t it be? Rand created objectivism, a philosophy that champions laissez-faire capitalism, individualism, and utter selfishness—a powerful opposition ideology at a time when government is growing and welfare for everyone is on the agenda. Almost 30 years after Rand’s death, her casket marked by a gigantic floral arrangement in the shape of a U.S. dollar sign, her economic ideas are gaining plenty of traction.

But what about her ideas on sex? Not every passage in Rand’s work speaks to her campaign platform, which is abridged in her 1,000-page 1957 allegorical novel Atlas Shrugged: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

Rand’s heroic man is also into some pretty coercive sex. Consider this scene, from Rand’s 1943 novel, The Fountainhead:

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Deconstructing Rape Myths: On Short Skirts (On Lesbians)

Posted By on 03.10.10 at 10:39 AM

A couple weeks ago on the Sexist, we discussed why wearing a short skirt is not an invitation to be raped. Still, doubts lingered. The two main arguments for why women must still protect themselves from rape by ditching the short skirt:

(a) Rape is just one big misunderstanding. The proponents of this argument believe that women who wear short skirts are signaling that they are interested in sex. Therefore, rapists will naturally gravitate to these women and proceed to fuck them without their consent, because, hey—the skirt already gave them the go-ahead.

(b) Short skirts are just too sexy to resist. According to this view, rapists are well aware that every woman in a miniskirt isn't down to fuck. But they just can't help themselves when they catch sight of those gams, so be a good girl and don't tempt the rapist.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Would Your Boyfriend Be “Pleased” by Your Surprise Fetus?

Posted By on 03.01.10 at 03:28 PM

Sexist pet peeve: the persistent myth that women are all privately obsessed with producing tiny widdle babies. A recent National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy study [PDF] is helping to debunk that notion. The study surveyed thousands of young Americans, aged 18 to 29, about their thoughts and perceptions about pregnancy. Guess which group is more likely to be “pleased” at an unplanned pregnancy. It’s not the one with the silently weeping ovaries.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When Rapists Graduate and Victims Drop Out

Posted By on 02.24.10 at 11:44 AM

According to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity, many U.S. colleges fail to adhere to federal laws that dictate the school’s response after sexual assaults are reported on its campus. “Under Title IX, schools must meet three requirements if they find a sexual assault has occurred: end a so-called “hostile environment,” prevent its future occurrence, and restore victims’ lives,” writes CPI reporter Kristen Lombardi.

In many cases, however, students found responsible for sexual assault through the college judicial process are administered little more than a slap on the wrist, leaving victims to continue pursuing their education in close proximity to their assailants—or drop out.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

How Sex-Segregated Oscars Have Been Good For Film

Posted By on 02.19.10 at 01:50 PM

Yesterday, NPR commentator Bob Mondello floated a solution that would trim the bloated Academy Awards telecast “and strike a blow against sexism”—unsex the Oscars. Mondello:

Nobody separates Best Director from Best Directress (directrix?), or Best Editor from Best Editress, so why Best Actor and Best Actress? Combine them, and let the best “performer” win.

Seriously. Colin Firth vs. George Clooney isn’t half as intriguing a matchup as the brawl-of-the-drawls you’d get if The Blind Side’s Sandra Bullock were allowed to compete with Crazy Heart’s Jeff Bridges. Imagine Meryl Streep’s Julia Child going up against Morgan Freeman’s Nelson Mandela—now that’d be a contest.

It seems a bit odd that Mondello’s solution for eliminating sexism in the Academy would be to cut one of the few Oscar categories that reliably awards women for their achievements in film. The Academy has never separated Best Director from Best Directrix—and in 82 years, a woman has never won in that category. But Mondello anticipated this criticism:

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Short Skirts

Posted By on 02.16.10 at 01:30 PM

This week, the results of a recent British study revealed that over 50 percent of women believe that rape victims are partially responsible for their own assaults. In the wake of the news, Jenni Murray tells her story of being raped as a 19-year-old. Murray insists she doesn’t blame rape victims. But she does blame herself.

Murray lists three “extremely stupid” things she did on the night she was raped: (1) She “had been drinking in the pub” and was “not used to alcohol”; (2) she “went with a group of friends to the home of a much older man”; and (3) she was wearing “what my mother described, disapprovingly, as an extended belt, but what to me was just a fashionable mini skirt.”

Each of Murray’s “mistakes” falls under the category of normal teenage behavior. But unlike the first two, wearing a short skirt has little actual connection to a person’s personal safety—miniskirts are an entirely socially constructed vulnerability. So let’s focus for a minute on that extended belt:

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