One hopes young women paying attention to Knox will choose not to campaign for ambiguous increases in freedom, but rather in targeted betterments in the arenas of life you can take to the bank: good and fair wages, health, and safety in the workplace. In the world of porn, none of those goods are on offer.
Chelsea Handler’s comedic personality isn’t always easy to love; like Schumer’s and Sarah Silverman’s, it’s aggressive, raunchy, and thrives on shock value. Ultimately, though, these are all personas meant to undermine the cultural expectations we place on women’s speech. In this particular comedic performance, no one is proverbially safe and there’s little room for niceness.
Bill O’Reilly’s segment from last Wednesday — the one in which he asks Kirsten Powers and Kate Obenshain to expound on some mysterious quality that makes women somehow less qualified than men to be president — has to be the most awkward moment of television.
I sympathize with the urge to respond to the clip with mockery. But sometimes a glimmer of truth can be found even in the tawdriest of settings — and it’s Powers who deserves credit for uttering it here. Wracking her brain for something to say in response to O’Reilly’s flippantly sexist provocation, Powers volunteers that a female president might be more easily goaded than a male president into military muscle-flexing as a way of demonstrating her toughness.
I like this comment not only because it undercuts O’Reilly’s smarmy insinuation that a woman would be too weak to stand toe-t-toe with macho tough guys like Vladimir Putin. I also like it because it may well be true.
Feminists who oppose name-change — and not all do — tend to assume that name-changers know, deep down, that they’re doing something terrible
We get bogged down in ‘choice feminism’ discussions — can a woman ever choose the option that’s consistent with what’s expected of her? The same comes up regarding use of makeup. Given the pressure on women to wear the stuff, can a woman ever choose to do so? The ‘choice feminism’ conversation makes sense regarding substantive life decisions, but is far weaker regarding symbolic ones.
Our problem, then, isn’t that manliness is under assault in our time. It’s that too many of us expect too little of men. On average, men tend toward aggression. They often valorize strength and courage. They are keenly concerned with social status. They frequently feel overwhelmed by powerful sexual urges. None of this is new. What is new is that American society over the past few decades has stopped holding men to traditional standards of honor, restraint, and civilized decency — standards that, whatever their defects, tended to channel and elevate masculinity.
It’s because it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that’s your problem.
Lena Dunham, answering a critic who “doesn’t get” why she’s “naked, at random times, for no reason” so often on Girls.
In fact, though we see no physical embodiment of Samantha — and glean just a bit of her existence outside Theodore — she is the one who instigates the relationship and uses it to evolve. Nathan Rabin at A.V. Club has said, “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely…to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” But in Her, the situation is reversed. Theodore has taught Samantha. He is a quirky guy who plays videogames, wears high-waisted pants, and loves to cry. He’s the strange paramour easily titillated by running through a crowd, and the man amused by a raunchy doodle. “I want to discover myself,” she says, and he answers: “I want to help,”…
The sexual organs, too, are very closely connected with the spine and the brain by means of the nerves, and if they are handled, or if you keep thinking about them, these nerves get excited and become exhausted, and this makes the back ache, the brain heavy and the whole body weak. It lays the foundation for consumption, paralysis, and heart disease. It weakens the memory, makes a boy careless, negligent and listless. It even makes many lose their minds; others, when grown, commit suicide.
From 1903’s Perfect Womanhood for Maidens — Wives — Mothers.