What Women Want: Equality and Good Reading Material

While on Twitter this evening I found out it’s Women’s Equality Day. I found some great infographics and articles about the disparity in wages between men and women. Yet, when I looked at the trending hashtags “tailored for me,” #WomensEqualityDay wasn’t listed. #NationalDogDay held the number one spot despite the fact that I don’t follow anything related to dogs or pets, and I’m following many feminist and women’s rights groups, publications, and enthusiasts.

FlipboardMaybe it’s just a glitch, but it bummed me out that dogs were getting more attention on Twitter than women. Especially when there are so many amazing tweets out there about equal pay and the history of women’s voting rights. Sigh.

The good news is, it inspired me! In honor of this special day, I’m going to share some of my favorite publications I read regularly that are dedicated to empowering women. They do such a terrific job, I want everyone to read these sites. I get newsletters and follow these sites on social media for a steady stream of guidance and news for women. This means that there are lots of ways to connect with them, depending on your favorite way read good stuff.

Please join me in enjoying these websites for women. They make me want to be a better woman and seek equality in all aspects of my life.

Jezebel

I pretty much can’t go a day without reading something on Jezebel. While some of the writers can be a bit flippant, I love it, especially if it’s commentary on sexism or something ridiculous in the pop culture world. Last night I stayed up way too late reading their Beyonce at the VMAs coverage. (I didn’t even need to watch the VMAs, thankfully.) Basically, they have talented writers who are able to capture culturally relevant (and sometimes irrelevant) topics with wit, intelligence and savvy. Oh, and I always read the comments. Some of the best articles are made even better by the commentary below.

Refinery 29

I started reading Refinery 29 because of their incredible fashion coverage for real women (read: stuff I can afford that I’d actually wear). I continue to read them for shopping tips, but they’ve also now become a dynamic source of feminist content. From analyses of media and pop culture topics, to funny pieces, R29 keeps me coming back for more.

Dame Magazine

While I’ve been reading Dame Magazine since it launched, it’s one of the newer ones on my list, but that doesn’t make it any lesser. With punchy and smart writing, I always look forward to reading posts from Dame. For instance, did you know that the NBA hired its first full-time female assistant coach? See — good stuff!

Levo League

Levo.com has a lot of good articles about forwarding your career, managing your time and just being a  modern woman. They have a feminist bent that’s realistic and empowering, without being dogmatic. It’s refreshing to read their articles and see what other women are doing to forward themselves in life and their careers. They also have career mentors and other job resources that I haven’t used yet.

Lean In

LeanIn.Org pretty much has it all going on: profiles of accomplished women, helpful career advice, news, circles to connect with other women, and even educational materials. I have to say I like the “Like a Boss” pieces and the profiles the best. The “Like a Boss” pieces have helped me learn tactics that make me a better employee and more assertive person. As for the profiles, some women have been to hell and back and still manage to kick ass at work and at home. These stories are very emotional and compelling. I want to be successful and confident like these women.

Women’s eNews

I’ve been reading Women’s eNews for years. They have well-reported content about women’s issues in the U.S. and around the world. I’ve even had the pleasure of writing for them as a freelancer. The profiles of women, books and films are must-reads.

Ms. Magazine Blog

Ms. Magazine has been around for decades and continues to produce excellent content about feminism. I subscribe to the magazine’s blog and I’m never disappointed when it arrives in my inbox. Need I say more about this hallmark publication? You should already be reading it.

The Atlantic

I know, this isn’t a feminist magazine per se, but The Atlantic always has fantastic coverage of feminist topics that I really care about. The reporting is stellar and I could spend hours reading all of the articles in the Atlantic. Seriously, this is one of the best magazines out there. Today, I found this gem about how having a daughter may affect how people vote.

The Motherlode

This New York Times blog always has relevant parenting topics, which are really important to me as a mother raising a daughter. They’ve covered screen time for babies, digital privacy for kids, dress code issues for girls in school, and a bevy of other parenting issues. It’s a resource I look forward to reading because it helps me stay on top of interesting parenting discussions.

Alright, those are my favorites! Please feel free to share some of yours in the comment section.

Happy reading.

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Image By Terry Richardson

Nothing GQ About It

GQ Cover, "Glee Gone Wild" 2010
GQ Cover, "Glee Gone Wild" 2010

The cover and featured photo shoot of GQ this month is its own rocky horror picture show. Three actors from the hit show Glee pose as a “sexy” threesome of co-eds without much clothing — on the girls. Meanwhile, Cory Monteith sports long sleeves and pants. And a grin.

What’s worse, the article is boring and the photos inside might as well be in Maxim, with crotch shots and poses pandering to a Lolita fetish. Yep, red lollipops and white cotton underwear — not exactly what you’d want a tween girl to admire and emulate — especially while straddling a bench… at school.

The headline, “Glee Gone Wild,” is reminiscent of “Girls Gone Wild,”  made particularly distasteful given the constant oversexualization of young women in entertainment and the reports that Lea Michele and Dianna Agron have “never been shot in so little clothing.”

Image By Terry Richardson, GQ

“I don’t know how they got me to do half the stuff I did.” Michele said. “But I was in really good shape this summer, so… ”

…You did it anyway? Did you do it for Mardi Gras beads? Was Joe Francis there and has GQ forgotten that they are referencing a business created by a convicted child abuser who was charged with prostitution (aka a sex offender)? I don’t get it.

After all the fun and compelling girl power of the show, Michele and Agron are selling out to celebrity sexism — they’re just two more women who feel like they need to expose their bodies to gain attention.

“It’s simply a case of two actresses seizing the career-climbing opportunity to appear on the cover of a popular men’s magazine,” writes Kevin Fallon in the Atlantic Monthly.

Image By Terry Richardson, GQ

Yeah, it’s “simply” a reality, but it doesn’t have to be — women don’t need to debase themselves — just as they don’t need plastic surgery, to lose weight, or to change who they are to get ahead.

I thought these two got it, but clearly I was wrong. “I’m proud to be on a positive show and to be a voice for girls and say, ‘You don’t need to look like everybody else. Love who you are,'” said Lea Michele about deciding not to get a nose job.

It’s one thing to be confident, but it’s another to seek this kind of “American Apparel ad-inspired” attention. Tweens and teens look up to these actors and it’s their responsibility to be decent role models — especially because they play underage characters on the show and GQ is for men.

“It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on ‘Glee’ in this way. It borders on pedophilia,” said the President of the the Parents Television Council in the Wall Street Journal.

While it’s not actually “pedophilia,” because they are in their twenties, I get what the PTC means, it’s confusing because they portray high school students, so to feature the actors (un)dressed as “teens” to men, is very Humbert Humbert.

I believe women have the freedom to pose in their skivvies when they are of age (Dianna Agron is 24, Corey Monteith is 28 and Lea Michele is 24), but I don’t understand why anyone does it. The show is a success and it often touts empowerment to women, why pose with your ass showing on the cover of a magazine, but then talk about loving yourself? Given Lea Michele’s desire to be a “positive” influence, the photos and interviews I’ve read are completely contrary.

Glee is great because everyone can enjoy it. People say the median viewer age is 38-years-old, but I’ve heard many tweens say their families watch it together. And, I’m sure that age stat doesn’t count all the views on Hulu — where most teens are consuming their shows anyway.

Image By Terry Richardson, GQ

Aside from being disappointed in these talented young women, I’m mostly angry with how sexist GQ is: What’s so wild about Cory Monteith’s rugby shirt and pants? Why is he fully clothed and the young women are not?All of the pictures of him are so wholesome!

GQ is a sexist rag, degrading women with racy photos and at times violence-inspired images like the January Jones shoot. These photo spreads may be “art,” but I’m sick of the art of demeaning young women.

There’s nothing Glee-ful about this publicity. Nor is GQ showing any “style” or “smarts.”

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Hall of Famers

Vogue March 2010, CoverAwards.com

While it’s no secret that Anna Wintour, Vogue‘s notorious Editor-in-Chief and in Prada, is one of the most recognizable magazine editors in the world — it may come as a surprise how many women deck the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame.

That’s right, the ladies are famous for the their leadership when it comes to high gloss journalism. Ms. Wintour will be the ninth woman to receive the award since its inception in 1996. Despite Wintour’s reputation in films like the Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway and the documentary, The September Issue, her rein at Vogue has lasted almost as long as my life. When I was just four years old, she was cultivating a whole world of fashion, putting New York City at its epicenter.

Now, decades later, she still combines the art and spectacle of fashion, with the empowering values and entrepreneurship of important women in the magazine’s features.

To top it off, Wintour receives the award the same month she selected comic genius, Tina Fey, the first lady of funny, to grace the cover. Though cover girls are usually the likes of Heidi Klum and Sarah Jessica-Parker, well-known fashionistas, Wintour has mixed it up this year.

In honor of all these strong and hard-working women mentioned, I thought it would be appropriate to give a shout out to the world-changing women of the Magazine Editor’s Hall of Fame (Hi, Gloria Steinem!).

From the American Society of Magazine Editors list of past recipients:

2009
Martha Stewart, founder, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

2008
Tina Brown, renowned journalist and former editor, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair

2004
Ellen Levine, editor-in-chief, Good Housekeeping

2002
Susan L. Taylor, senior vice president and editorial director, Essence

1998
Gloria Steinem, founding editor, Ms. Magazine

1997
Jann S. Wenner, editor/publisher, Rolling Stone

1996
Helen Gurley Brown, editor-in-chief, Cosmopolitan
Ruth Whitney, editor-in-chief, Glamour

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