Weekly Feminist Reader


Princeton alum tells female students to hurry up and find a husband already.

Sandberg, Slaughter, et al. are advocating for a new feminism devoid of social justice.

In memory of Pastor Henry Enuta.

Duh: pre-viability abortions bans are unconstitutional.

Feminists don’t hate men–they just hate you, MRA dude.

Conservative justices thought this year was their last chance to fight same-sex marriage.

Check out the trailer from “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation,” which won top honors at the 2013 L.A. Women’s Film Festival.

“Leaning in” in Iraq.

Bill Gates wants you to invent a better condom.

Rape is not a punch line, Rick Ross.

So what if Victoria’s Secret sells underwear to teens?

Yes, let’s debate whether this guy seeking a divorce was “technically” male at the time of his marriage, that’s a super great idea.

An actual rocket scientist dies; the NYT leads with her cooking and mothering skills.

North Dakota as male-dominated dystopia.

Meet the remarkably homogenous jury for this year’s CLIO awards, and keep your eyes open for sexist messaging throughout the site.

A campus rape survivor is committed to finishing her degree–and is crowd-sourcing the bill.

What’s going on with queer characters in young adult fiction these days?

“Working women? We can’t have that!”

Magazine lady-trolling is nothing new.

No woman–not even Kate Upton–owes anyone a date.

Soledad O’Brien signs off.

The body image revolution will be Pinned.

Another good deconstruction of the Harlem Shake meme.

Demand that consent education be taught at every public school.

Sexual violence affects all who love a survivor.

The (straight) woman behind the HRC’s equal sign profile picture.

On perpetrators as “victims.”

You know you’re a gender studies major when…

There’s more to life than having it all.

What’s left to be done 100 years after the British suffragettes?

What have you been reading/writing/watching/learning this week?

New Haven, CT

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX, a national legal education campaign against campus gender-based violence. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. Through Know Your IX, she has organized with students across the country to build campuses free from discrimination and violence, developed federal policy on Title IX enforcement, and has testified at the Senate. At Yale Law, Alexandra focuses on antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Alexandra is committed to developing and strengthening responses to gender-based violence outside the criminal justice system through writing, organizing, and the law. Keep an eye out for The Feminist Utopia Project, co-edited by Alexandra and forthcoming from the Feminist Press (2015).

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX.

Read more about Alexandra

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  • http://feministing.com/members/frolicnaked/ Tori

    March is/was Endometriosis Awareness Month. I finished the last week of it talking about:

    — Current medical and surgical treatment options.

    — The assumptions other people make about how I “should” deal with endo.

    — Why awareness isn’t enough.

    Also, unrelated to endometriosis, sometimes street harassment is just… odd.

  • scottishtanningsecrets

    Just finished Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life. Really enjoyed it, especially how it validated that grey space we’ve all spent time in. Looking forward to reading more from Feministing editors!

  • http://feministing.com/members/feminympho/ Katie Rogers

    Whoa — this WFR is FULL of gems!

  • http://feministing.com/members/andejoh/ John

    “Feminists don’t hate men–they just hate you, MRA dude.”

    “Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.”

    And they show this by being concerned with the potential impact on other women rather than the actual impact on the falsely accused man. They show this by highlighting rape infographics that rely on a gendered definition of rape and ignores 80% of male rape victims according to the 2010 CDC NISVS an estimated 1,000,000 men about 40% of the total non prison rapes were committed by women against men. Where were the rapists in skirts? You can’t claim to care about men and support a biased definition of rape that ignores an estimated 1,000,000 men.

    Table 2.2 Page 19 forced to penetrate last 12 months 1,267,000

    Page 24

    “For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).”


    Click on full report. I used to link directly to the pdf, but then some feminists accused me of linking to a fake report. This way you can more easily see that it’s on the CDC’s website.

    “nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused.”

    Yup, just ignored. You choose to not see it, but how does that help?


    • http://feministing.com/members/azbrodsky/ Alexandra

      Hi John

      You’re absolutely right that it’s important that anti-sexual violence efforts not ignore the experiences of male victims. In fact, many feminists (despite your fallacious attempts to paint the movement as one monolithic force rather than a collection of millions of different people) are working on exactly this effort to highlight traditionally overlooked survivors. Of course we all need to do better.

      With that being said, I’ve read the report you mentioned and your stats are off, according to the very source you cite (particularly your 40% claim). This doesn’t diminish the importance of recognizing male survivors, but does weaken your argument that the great feminist conspiracy is ignoring the facts.

      • http://feministing.com/members/lamech/ Lamech

        The only claim I see that is mistaken is the 40% claim. That one doesn’t hold water. It comes from combining the lifetime perp stats with the 12-month stats. Something that you can’t do. What are the other mistakes?

        • http://feministing.com/members/andejoh/ John

          Lamech, I guess I understand you’re position, but then to be fair we can’t assume that in 2010 it was less than 80%. That year could have had a higher percentage of female rapists of male victims so could have exceeded 40%. Although if you look at the PREA numbers, the BJS has almost the same breakdown.


          Page 5

          “About 5.4% of former state prisoners reported an incident that involved another inmate.”

          “About 5.3% of former state prisoners reported an incident that involved facility staff.”

          Page 6

          “Among victims of staff sexual misconduct, 79% were males reporting sexual activity with female staff.”

          So about half the sexual abuse was staff on inmate and 80% of that was female staff abusing male inmates.

          Men were 50% of the perpetrators and 80% of the victims of rape in prison. Men are 90% of the prison population so that explains part of the 80%, but still female staff perpetrated 40% of the rapes against male inmates, which is about the same number.

          Yes, much of the rape has to do with opportunity and a power imbalance, however, you have 80% of men saying that they were raped by women. You have the numbers of men making this claim to be roughly equivalent to 50% of the rape claims (80% of prison rapes to 90% of population is roughly proportional to their numbers. Men are 50% of the population so their proportion should be half). I believe the BJS one for PREA was 2008 so it was also a recent year.

          Conventional wisdom would say that women don’t have the same power as female prison guards and don’t have the same power as men, but would conventional wisdom state that 80% of staff on prisoner rape would be female staff raping male prisoners? If people did think that, would conventional wisdom have thought that 50% of the prison rapes would be staff on prisoner? Would conventional wisdom have believed that about as many men would have reported being raped as women in 2010? Unless you believe that women don’t lie about rape, but men do, you need to throw out conventional wisdom. For lack of a better number, I’d assume that 40% of the non-prison rape victims in 2010 were men.

          I don’t know what to make of the lifetime numbers yet, which shows men as 25% of the victims. It could be an outlier. Women could be raping men more kind of a twisted female empowerment thing. Men may be more likely to block out abuse that occurred a long time ago. That kind of makes sense as victims services for men are pretty non-existent. I guess men would have to deal with it as best they could and it may mean that you’re better off denying it happened. If you go with the lifetime numbers, about 19% of all rapes would be women raping men. That would still mean about 190 little stick figures in skirts.

          CDC NISVS Page 1

          “Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives,”

          Page 2

          “Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime;”

          1.4 + 4.8 = 6.2. 6.2/(6.2 + 18.3 = 24.5) = 25% x .8 = 20%*.

          * Maybe closer to 18% as 94% of the rape of men were by other men, which exceeds the 80%, but the number should be close.

        • http://feministing.com/members/andejoh/ John

          Sorry looking at the wrong fraction. According to lifetime numbers it would be

          1.4 (rapes) + 4.8 (forced to penetrate ) = 6.2 (total percentage of men raped)
          6.2 (men) + 18.3 )women) = 24.5 (percentage of rape victims total population)
          about 1.4 x .05 = .07 (female perpetrated rapes of men)
          about 4.8 x .8 = 3.84 (female perpetrated forced to penetrates of men)

          .07 + 3.84 about 3.9% (men raped by women)

          3.9/24.5 = about 15% or about 150 stick figures in skirts.

          Sorry was looking at the difference between 80 and 94% instead of between 80 and 6%. Not sure that it changes the crux of the argument. I think it’s a fairly large percentage to ignore especially with 1,000 stick figures. I did want to make sure I got the number approximately right.

      • http://feministing.com/members/andejoh/ John

        First, I considered made to penetrate another as rape. I don’t see why a woman performing oral sex on a man against his will or having sexual intercourse with a man against his will is not rape simply because he is not being penetrated. Given that this should be classified as rape, you have

        Table 2.1 Page 18 number of women raped last 12 months 1,270,000.
        Table 2.2 Page 19 Number of men forced to penetrate last 12 months 1,267,000

        The numbers are approximately even. There were some men who did qualify as being raped under the CDC definition, but were too small to count. The numbers would theoretically be even closer. Let’s call it roughly even. If equal numbers of men were raped as women, men would be 50% of the total numbers of rape victims. If women were the perpetrators in 79.2% (let’s round it to 80% to make the math easier ), we would have .5 (percentage of male victims) x .8 (percentage of female perpetrators) = .4 or men raped by women were 40% of the total rape victims in 2010 according to the CDC.

        The question then to me is do feminists support a definition of rape that includes forced envelopment? If not, why not? The feminist majority foundation, the group spearheading the campaign to change the definition of rape thought getting it right was important because according to a quote highlighted on their website

        “Misclassifying sexual assaults creates “a perception that this is not a real problem and so resources would not be allocated to training and investigation”


        So am I wrong to believe that a woman performing oral sex on an unwilling man is doing something as bad as a man performing oral sex on an unwilling woman?

        • http://feministing.com/members/tamen/ T.A.O.

          So am I wrong to believe that a woman performing oral sex on an unwilling man is doing something as bad as a man performing oral sex on an unwilling woman?

          According to Mary P Koss, Nicola Gavey, Hugo Schwyzer, Soraya Chemaly and an unknown number of other feminists you are wrong. Other feminists disagrees with them on this issue. So in effect the feminist designation is useless as a flag for whether or not a person thinks that female rape is as wrong and harmful as male rape. It is safest to ascertain peoples view on this on an individual basis.

  • http://feministing.com/members/lamech/ Lamech

    The Jezebel article…

    I’m so glad the fine “feminists” (spoiler: they aren’t actually feminists) at Jezebel are standing up for the rights of men when they aren’t beating their boyfriends. I mean, I kind of like the message, but could the messenger be someone a little less evil?