When Salt-N-Pepa famously sang “Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be,” in 1991 they were doing more than being cheeky and provocative to top the charts – they were revolutionary. Even in the decade of the Independent Woman, getting real about sex was still seen as a radical act. Women openly talking about sex has been taboo for far too long and the effects have been devastating. Subjectified: Nine Young Women Talk About Sex, a new film by Melissa Tapper Goldman, seeks to counteract the negative effects that our silence around sex has wrought. Through candid interviews with nine young women, Goldman provokes the viewer to answer the film’s central question: What is the cost of shame?
Ladies, I’m sorry to have to inform you that the War on Women persists and you have been drafted into the fight whether you like it or not. The latest battleground to see action is the American college campus – a space that is supposed to foster our educational and personal growth, preparing us to be the leaders of tomorrow. Instead, colleges across the country are increasingly in the news for the sexual assaults occurring on their campuses. While campus sexual assault is nothing new, the complicity by college administrations in downplaying, mishandling, or covering up these crimes has fallen to a new level of shamefulness.
Remember last summer when it was announced that, thanks to the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), women across the U.S. would have access to free birth control? Did you run into the streets armed with buckets and nets hoping to catch birth control pills, Nuva-Rings, and IUDs raining from the cargo-hold of government planes? Did you head to your nearest pharmacy expecting sample Depo shots to be handed out like bourbon chicken at the mall food court? Or did you, like many more sane women, call your insurance provider to find out what this truly meant for your pocketbook and your health? Turns out no matter which avenue you chose you likely found that birth control is not free today and won’t be free anytime soon.
Yo. There’s a war on women. I know that sounds so 2012 because that’s when politicians and interest groups of all kinds beat us over the head with that phrase, “War on Women,” at every turn. I’m a woman who proudly wears the labels of feminist and activist but even I tired of the term during the last 12 months. I was especially turned off by the language of war being tossed around so cavalierly in some instances, when we have Americans and foreign civilians dying in actual wars right now. But (wo)man, there really is a war on women out here! How so? We’re barely out of the first month of 2013 and already we’ve been inundated by rhetoric, policies, and very bad blogging that attack women’s health, safety, sanity, and rights. Let’s review a few:
Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal is an undeniable hit thanks to the cast’s star-power, a killer wardrobe team, the salacious and secretive backdrop of Washington, D.C. politics, and perhaps most of all, the steamy, high-stakes relationship between President Fitzgerald Grant and Olivia Pope. While I’ve participated in the edge-of-my-seat, self-fanning, “OMG!”tweeting that predictably follows each sexy encounter between the two lovers, the portrayal of this relationship has become increasingly uncomfortable to watch. Fitz and Liv’s relationship is looking a lot less like porn for women (horrible stuff, btw) and more like a textbook unhealthy relationship. Yes, yes y’all. Pull the fabulous cream-colored pantsuit from your eyes and see that what Fitz and Liv have isn’t something to be emulated, but something to be eyed with caution.
Is it just me or are a lot of prime time television shows airing episodes where a female character is struck deaf and dumb by the loud ticking of her biological clock? Has this always been a go-to plot contrivance or am I’m just noticing it now because I’m 31 and at least one of my peers is posting a birth announcement to Facebook every other month? The mass influx of baby shower invites aside, I find it rather offensive that TV shows are slamming this narrative down our throats. While there are real and significant concerns about fertility as we age, I see the media playing a role in the hysteria, desperation, and ultimate “settling” that a number of women engage in whether intentional or not. Think about it, what sparked the last conversation or serious thought you had about fertility, your Ob-gyn or the hens on Basketball Wives?
Trayvon Martin. Remember him? A lot has transpired in the world since the 17-year-old was shot and killed by George Zimmerman but the case against his killer is not over — attorneys for both sides are still filing pre-trial motions and a hearing on the “stand your ground” self-defense immunity has yet to occur. The impact that Martin’s death has had on communities across the country is not over either, with many young people, people of color, and others donning hoodies of their own in solidarity with the teen whose own hoodie was cited as cause for suspicion and likelihood of guilt. In the days and weeks after Martin’s death, everyone from Howard University Law School students and representatives of Congress wore their hoodies. Today, the deep meaning and symbolism of a person of color in a hoodie is being carried right into the voting booth by a grassroots movement called Hoodie Vote.
Jesus, Dr. Maya Angelou, and the fictional Clair Huxtable are widely considered to be good role models, those individuals, according to definition, whose behavior, example, or success is worthy of being emulated. Your personal role model might be a family member, a teacher, an athlete, artist, or actor — it’s totally up to you. What makes for a good role model is quite subjective as it depends on what you value and what you would like to achieve in life. That’s why, when people wereshaking the table over President Obama’s recent comment about pop superstar Beyoncé I was reminded of what some folks value and hold up as worthy. “[She] could not be a better role model for my girls,” said the President. “She carries herself with such class and poise and has so much talent.”
Tony Farmer, a top basketball recruit out of Ohio, was recently sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Andrea Lane.Footage of Farmer, who pled guilty to robbery, kidnapping, felonious assault, and intimidating a victim, receiving his sentence has gone viral.
Did you know there was a huge international AIDS conference going on last week? Yep, the aptly named International AIDS Conference, held in Washington, D.C., drew world leaders, activists, public health professionals, people living with the disease, and other concerned individuals to talk about prevention, testing, treatment, a cure, and all the surrounding policy. All week long, I’ve been seeing tweets and articles about the conference but I just can’t get too worked up about what I know to be good work going on down in D.C. Why not? This is not very popular to say but I’m sovery over talking about AIDS.