Feminist Friday: Girls and women and jerks

This Week in Ladybits

Both Dakotas would pretty much like you to hand over your ladybits to a responsible male as long as you’re in the state.

The late Dr. George Tiller’s clinic in Wichita, Kansas is set to reopen. Mother Jones had an interview with the brave Julie Burkhart, who is spearheading the project.

There are quite a few people who won’t miss Pope Benedict XVI, including those who aren’t big on compulsory childbirth.

A teenager in Texas is claiming her parents are trying to force her to get an abortion. And this right here illustrates why it doesn’t work when anti-choice forces try to call the other side “pro-abortion.” Being pro-choice isn’t about thinking abortions are rad, it’s about wanting women to have control over their own bodies, regardless of what choice they end up making. The parents deny the claim, and the father has implied that another group may be pressuring the girl to bring the lawsuit.

This Week in Awful

As Egyptian women have been bravely trying to take back their own public space, an Egyptian religious leader has claimed that women who go out to Tahir Square to protest “want to be raped.” The protesters mentioned indications that the attacks on women are a deliberate and organized attempt to keep women out of the public dialogue. Which is exactly why we should never stop shouting down the Todd Akins and Paul Ryansof the world.

And Jincey Lumpkin wrote about the hidden problem of domestic abuse in LGBTQI relationships.

This Week in Thinky

Straight dudes who watch porn are more likely to support gay marriage. Here’s something to read while you think about that.

Bust asked if Taylor Swift is a feminist.

The Los Angeles Review of Books took a look at the 50th anniversary edition of The Feminine Mystique.

And NPR published a list of jobs with the biggest and smallest pay gaps.

This Week in Pop Culture and Entitled Jerkbags

So this week, inspired by AfterEllen’s “Gay Girls on Girls” conversation, I watched my very first episode of Girls. And was it ever the week to watch. Unlike most people seem to do, I didn’t love it or hate it. But I liked it. And I was interested by the way that Lena Dunham insisted on doing ordinary things with her ordinary female body, like walking around in partial undress with her new lover (played by the handsome and chiseled Patrick Wilson), and it did make me think about how rarely one sees that in television or movies.

But some people had much stronger reactions than that. Specifically, a lot of men got either uncomfortable and upset or angry at Lena Dunham — actually angry at her — for daring to so casually show her character as sexually desirable, without starvation and without implants. Other guys got furious at the fantastical ideathat Dunham’s real-world-attractive face and body could attract an exceptionally attractive man, even one who was 18 years older.

A schlubby guy and a hot woman is, of course, a pairing that our culture is totally fine with, as BuzzFeed thoroughly pointed out. But apparently every guy “deserves” a Hollywood-hot, airbrushed-hot woman as a matter of course, while women need to put their backs into it.

Slate’s XX and XOJane objected to that logic, and so did Dagmara Dominczyk, Patrick Wilson’s real-life wife, who responded to the idea that Wilson’s character having sex with Dunham’s wasn’t possible with a great big pile of awesome.

Dominczyk also suggested a follow-up episode.

Ms. Dunham and Ms. Dominczyk, we at AfterEllen respectfully request the first interview should such a thing happen. Call us!

…And just as people finally started to settle down about Dunham taking a perfectly ordinary sitcom and rom-com happening and making it somehow rage-inducing by flipping the genders, this misogynistic treat hit the Interwebs.


In case you don’t want to watch it, and you probably don’t, the idea is that DJ Lubel moved to Los Angeles and suddenly hot ladies were not sexing him as much as he so obviously deserved.

And the reason for that must be because all of those women are shallow careerist social climbers and also on drugs. Oh, and they’re also — seriously, it says this in the lyrics — not drinking enough for him to sleep with them. (Hey, Mr. Lubel: That is a joke about how you are a rapist. You seem to think it’s a moment of charming self-deprecation; it isn’t. It’s a joke about how your usual method of “seduction” is rape. Let’s hope it’s a joke. But either way, it’s creepy. Do you begin, perhaps, to understand why women may not be interested in sleeping with you?)

And here’s the thing: Lubel makes it clear that exceptionally hot women are the only ones who matter to him. He says the women in entire neighborhoods aren’t hot enough for his Olympian self. And for good measure, he takes some time to be flat-out racist about the beautiful Persian women who won’t sleep with him.

So Lubel only pursues a very narrow range of model-hot women based on pure looks, and he is angry at them for not sleeping with him. They deserve, in fact, to be publicly mocked for not sleeping with him. Aren’t they just awful for that?

Here’s the thing, Mr. Lubel: I’ve been living in Los Angeles for about nine years now, and I’ve met a lot of wonderful women, and have even dated one or two of them. And you know what? Not one of them has asked me what agency I’m with or how much money I make. They did want to know what books I had read and what I thought about politics and did I like cilantro or that Carly Rae Jepsen song. Mostly they wanted to determine whether or not we were compatible and whether or not I was an entitled donkeyball before they took steps toward making out with me.

What I’m saying, Mr. Lubel, is that the reason the women of Los Angeles haven’t been sleeping with you may have way less to do with them than with you.

I connect Mr. Lubel’s oeuvre with the reactions to the vastly superior Girls episode because I think they both point to an interesting phenomenon: In both cases, men are incensed that their desires aren’t the center of a woman’s world. Lubel entirely dismisses women who don’t keep themselves up to his standards, and gets mad at the women who live up to his strict ideals but don’t automatically want to sleep with him — indeed, he extrapolates an entire video about what shallow, money-grubbing bitches they must be, instead of, for example, dealing with the reality that they might be women who simply have better things to do than him.

On the flip side of that, some men seem to be angry at Dunham for not living up to their sexual standards but still having the gall to show someone with her non-siliconed body being perfectly able to get laid when she wants to, and even enjoy it. And with a hot guy, no less, when by these mens’ standards she’s not even modelesque enough to deserve someone like Lubel.

I think the men who get mad about these things are mad because women are treating them as if they and their preferences are irrelevant. The offending women are going about their lives and sleeping with whomever they choose instead of dutifully primping for every man who crosses their path and fading into invisibility when they know they’re not bombshell enough. How dare they?

Angry gentlemen, there are lots of men and women in the world who understand that there are many ways to be blazing hot and that not all ladies will want to sleep with you, even if you sincerely would like them to and you bothered to use that one funny line you saved up. Buy these people a beer and ask them very nicely to introduce you to real life. On second thought, buy them two beers; it may take a while.

Can we agree that everyone – everyone – involved in the “Women of L.A.” video goes on the Do Not Bang list? At least before you sleep with any women involved in the video, give them a pointed lecture about reading the entire script first.

This Week in World Feminism

Chouette! Women in Paris may now legally wear pants. (By which I mean trousers, Brit readers. I’m pretty sure undergarments have always been legal in Paris.) (Correct me if I’m wrong on that, Parisians.) The history behind the Parisian pants ban is very interesting.

The new Premiere of Ontario is a lesbian. (Thanks to Veronica for the link.)

CNN featured Nepalese activist Pushpa Basnet.

Jon Stewart interviewed Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan’s first female parliament speaker and current presidential candidate.


Paul Berkowitz wrote about South Africa’s rape culture (and its overflow into a general culture of violence against women).

Valentine’s Day was also V-Day, part of the One Billion Rising movement to bring awareness to violence about women worldwide. Rosario Dawson talked about why she joined in.


And women in Israel are prohibited from praying at the Western Wall, but Rabbi Susan Silverman isn’t having it. She, her daughter, and eight other women were detained by police this week. For praying at a holy site. Rabbi Silverman is comedian (and LGBT ally) Sarah Silverman’s sister. Are you hoping like crazy to be invited to a Silverman family dinner now? Me too.

This Week in Progress

The Pentagon is expanding (some) benefits to same-sex couples, and Janet Napolitano decided that sounded like a good idea for the Coast Guard too. (Hat tip to my mom for that link. Don’t all moms read Government Security News?)

And the Illinois state senate approved gay marriage. The house looks to be trickier, but if it makes it through, Governor Pat Quinn is said to be ready to sign it.

This Week in Sports Bad-Assery

High schooler Anna Olson is about to make you lose your damn mind. (Via Mashable)


And pro golfer Daniela Holmqvist kept golfing in spite of being bitten by a terrifying Australian spider. Holmqvist, instead of panicking or spontaneously combusting, sliced her own ankle open with a golf tee to get the venom out and kept on swinging. Wow, Ms. Holmqvist. I hope that spider was radioactive, because you totally deserve superpowers.

This Week in Ugh

Some misguided Indiana high school students who will be deeply ashamed of themselves in a few years, bolstered by some jerk parents and a jerk teacher, want a “traditional” prom without any gays at it. You know, a traditional prom like Jesus went to.

Anyway, horrible teacher/impressive bigot Diana Medley said that homosexuality is a choice and gays have no purpose in life. One of the students also mouthed the standard horsedook about how they “love” the gays. Yes, nothing says “love” like claiming someone is so awful that one needs to have a completely separate event. Kids, if you learn nothing else, at least learn to stop lying to yourselves about being simmering cauldrons of hate.

The Internet stepped up right away to deliver Ms. Medley — who, let’s be clear, is a huge bigot — a proper spanking.


The Associated Press decreed that the terms “husband” and “wife” should be used for heterosexual couples only. That’s only one of many reasons why the Chicago Manual of Style rules and AP Style Guide drools.

And the charmers at FreedomWorks are actively trying to get the Violence Against Women Act defeated. Speaking of the Violence Against Women Act, Senator Tom Coburn, (R – OK but not okay) tried real hard to keep rapists from being needlessly inconvenienced, but the VAWA passed the Senate anyway. Without the help of 22 members of the GOP.

Image via Facebook

Remember, House Republicans, all you have to do is block it again to move the GOP from being the pro-rape party to being the pro-rape AND domestic violence party.

This Week in Awesome

February 21 is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day! Check out some ideas for celebrating. (Thanks to Rusty for the tip.)

Man of Steel is going to have a female villain, Faora. Daaaaaamn.

Image via MTV.com

Faora is played by German actress Antje Traue.

Traue in the 2009 film

And The Mary Sue reports that fantastic Batgirl writer Gail Simone is working on The Movement, a power-themed comic inspired by the Occupy movement.

Image via The Mary Sue

Have a great weekend. Get out there and start a movement of your own.

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