Feministing Readz: Vivienne Westwood’s Autobiography

Book coverNo woman in the world, knitting in her living room at age 73, could trace a trajectory from nipple clamps to the Climate Revolution––and then call it her life story-–except for the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. A new eponymous biography, authored in collaboration with actor and writer Ian Kelly, charts her influence on the politics and punk aesthetic of post-war Britain. As one of the most famous Englishwomen on the planet, the story is dramatic and surprising.

From humble beginnings in the English countryside, Vivienne Westwood rose, and fell, and then rose again to the top of the fashion world as a visionary who knew how to help express an emerging moment in youth culture––and to dress it before anyone else did. Along with her mercurial creative partner and second husband Malcolm McLaren, Westwood is credited with styling, sounding and shaping Punk; and as if that wasn’t enough, Sarah Jessica Parker chose a Westwood wedding dress for the Sex and the City movie. Read More »

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Musings on privacy and self-care

Today marks my first week back to Feministing after a month (mostly) off to take care of a health problem. It was a weird time, in large part because breaks aren’t really my thing. I like work. It sustains me, fits me; a friend once told me my spirit animal is an overcommitted pit bull. And while I’ve always understood the importance of self-care in theory, I’d also seen the idea invoked to shirk commitments and knew how that could burden others. But the month was necessary, and I’m extremely grateful to the people with whom I write and organize for stepping up so I could step back (I see you Maya, Dana, Suzbob, Kate, etc.).

It was also a weird time because I didn’t really have any model of self-care that felt right for what I needed. I started my mini-hiatus during “Self-Care September,” and was delighted to see images and stories of people I love taking care of themselves. There’s something so radical about a woman insisting her needs are important, and I liked every Instagram photo of a friend treating herself to a Oreo milkshake with a coworker or taking a break from online organizing to enjoy the early fall air. Some people planned group events with fellow organizers — fully stocked with DIY manicures and feminist rom coms — to be good to themselves all together. I want to be explicitly clear that those sorts of self-care are awesome and essential and in no way less real or valuable because they are public.

But the whole point of my break was to do and be less. Read More »

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The Feministing Five: crystal am nelson

crystal am nelson

crystal am nelson

crystal am nelson debuted her most recent exhibit “Dark Desires: The Erotic Lives of Black Women” this Friday at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco. The exhibition brings together art, literature, and historical materials to provide a framework on how black women have created, imagined, and self-represented sexual positivity. crystal am nelson collaborated with around ten artists to join her on this examination of black women’s sexuality, and together they have created an incredible exhibit that shows the myriad ways desire extends from sexuality to political and social spheres.

crystal am nelson is both an artist and a scholar. As “Dark Desires” demonstrates, her work combines intensive archival research, collaborative creativity, and thoughtful intention. The exhibit runs at San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture through November 16th. Be sure to check out these upcoming events connected to the exhibition if you are in town:

Dark Desires: The Erotic Lives of Black Women
October 1, 2014–November 16, 2014
Film Screening, Saturday, October 11, 7–9 pm A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy, plus Q&A with Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier
Cheryl Dunye & crystal am nelson, Sunday, November 16, 7 pm, Emerging Scholars Program – Queer Cultural Center event.

The Center for Sex & Culture is located in San Francisco at 1349 Mission St. between 9th and 10th.

Dark Desires features  artwork by Michaela Pilar Brown, Rashayla Marie Brown, Ajuan Mance, Shilo McCabe, Megan Morgan, Nanci Nwamaka Ikejimba Muraoka, Numa Perrier, Keisha Scarville, Cascade Wilheim, and Suné Woods.

And now, without further ado, the Feministing Five with crystal am nelson!

Read More »

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Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet

“Feminism should not be something that needs a seductive marketing campaign. The idea of women moving through the world as freely as men should sell itself.”

Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman discuss the movement towards “yes means yes” with ThinkProgress.

How social media refuses to keep women safe from online harassment.

At a big tech conference this week, men on a “Male Allies Plenary Panel” advised women in tech to fight discrimination by leaning in more. Meanwhile, the CEO of Microsoft advised the opposite: simply have ”faith that the system will give you the right raise.”

Girls in country songs.

A student in Singapore pens an open letter to her principal about her terrible sex ed class.

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Keeping Marissa in mind

I was honored to participate in this campaign, Keeping Marissa in Mind, organized by the extraordinary activist Mariame Kaba. The poem I’m reading in this video is called “Flare” and it’s written by National Book Award winner Nikky FinneyRead More »

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