Feministing Year in Review: Maya’s Top Picks

One of my favorite things about writing for Feministing is getting to discuss the issues I care about with a diverse group of incredibly smart ladies. And I think that some of the best posts from the last year have come when we’ve made that convo public–tackling an issue and teasing apart the nuances together. Whether it was teaming up with Lori to debunk some bullshit or mourning the end of Friday Night Lights with Jos and Chloe, it’s been a joy to chat with my fellow writers.

Slutwalk NYTimes articleThe group effort I was most impressed by was definitely “Slutwalk redux with Rebecca Traister and Feministing writers.” In this mega-post, several of us offered our thoughts on Traister’s controversial NYT Magazine article on SlutWalks and were lucky enough to have Traister herself thoughtfully respond. When intra-feminist disagreement on the internet can so often become toxic, it was incredibly refreshing–and made me pretty damn proud–to have such a productive, respectful, and smart discussion of an issue that many of us have strong and divergent feelings about.

Secondly, I want to recognize Chloe’s excellent post, “The un-funny, unfair and un-feminist thing about victim-blaming.” Written back in the spring, it offered a crystal-clear and forceful denunciation of a problem that’s seemed to dominate the feminist blogoshere this year–from SlutWalks to NYC’s rape cops to the DSK case. And since, as the most recent episode has shown, victim-blaming never seems to die, this is a post to bookmark for the ages.

Being drunk isn’t a get-out-of-rape-free card, just like being drunk isn’t a get-out-of-committing-any-other-criminal-act card, and raping a woman who’s dressed like Fagan’s idea of a slut is just as bad as raping a person wearing any other outfit. Yes, feminists believe that women are adults who can make their own decisions, but they don’t believe in holding women responsible for men’s decisions. Especially when men decide to ignore a woman’s desire not to engage in sex. The only person responsible for a rape is the person who commits it, and it doesn’t matter if the rapist is drunk or if the woman he rapes is wearing a short skirt. Rape is rape, and no amount of alcohol or tight clothing can change that. If you’re a “sexually and visually driven man” who finds it hard, when you are not ”fully in command of your wits,” to keep yourself from raping someone, then I suggest that you stop drinking alcohol and seek psychological treatment.

Boom. See you next year, y’all!

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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