She is in the middle.
No means no,” but it is not the only measure of consent. “Borderline assault” isn’t just something you feel after the fact. And though terms like “gray rape” help some people talk about assault outside of the context of the legal system, they shouldn’t be used to excuse the aggressor—they should help raise the standard of what we all consider acceptable sexual behavior, whether or not the cops are called. When you care even one bit about how your partner feels while you are actually having sex with them, it’s impossible to be so confused.
Women don’t just need to lean in. They need to carefully calibrate the angle of their approach to suit every possible scenario. When Sheryl Sandberg is in “feminist manifesto” mode, she is honest about this. She admits that navigating the double standards of the American workplace is as easy as “trying to cross a minefield backward in high heels.” But when she flips to memoir, the implication is that she tilted herself just-so and that other women can, too.
the real problem with Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In isn’t that she’s out of touch. It’s that her advice makes no sense.
When we find gender disparities in other sectors—from literary journalism to tech—we urge industry leaders to assess the problem and encourage women to lean in. But when it comes to porn, the impulse is to just shut the whole thing down. That’s unfortunate, because it reinforces the expectation that women can only ever be innocent bystanders to sexual material, never producers or consumers in their own right.
Think pornography discriminates against women? Lean in.
It is a beautiful day.
He is a stomping, yelling, shooting, drinking, fucking, tough guy. He has big muscles and a limited emotional range—stoic, angry, horny. He exists in dark alleyways, war zones, and fast cars. He holds his beer bottle over his crotch to approximate a boner.
The version of ideal masculinity that men’s magazines are selling to young, low-income men.
[Brokeback Mountain] is about someone who has the misfortune of falling in love with someone incapable of change, and also about how hot it is to make out with someone that you are not supposed to be making out with.
Mallory Ortberg, in conversation with Anne Helen Petersen, in the service of explaining the many indignities of Crash’s 2005 Best Picture win.
doin’ it all for my baby
When you start a movement that says, “Our porn-obsessed society thinks your vagina is weird, but it’s not,” you risk reinforcing the first part of that message before moving on to the empowerment part.
I wrote about how we perpetuate impossible beauty standards, then blame them on the porn industry.