We know, we know. This week was crazy and we hear you loud and clear. Here's our five top picks from the week to keep you up to date on everything from the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., to the rise of the female gaze, to a chilling psychology study on false memories and some good old-fashioned trolling.
And away we go!
Ravishly editor Kelley Calkins explains and eviscerates the Helms Amendment, exploring the evolution of reproductive rights in America and abroad, and the harrowing consequences of forcing vunerable populations into motherhood.
"The Helms amendment, also passed in 1973, prevents U.S. foreign aid funds from paying for the 'performance of abortion as a method of family planning.' Named for its sponsor, the breathtakingly antiabortion North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, the amendment was passed despite the strong opposition of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). There's no way around it: Even at face value, the Helms amendment sucks. It is simultaneously imperialist and hypocritical. And, worse yet, the way it's been interpreted for four decades makes it even deadlier."
Writer and father Ariel Chesler fesses up to being a "bad feminist," and examines our society's use of male pronouns for, well, just about everything . . . from God to gorillas at the zoo.
"People are afraid to ask a child's sex and prefer to assume maleness. The default is comfortable. Engaging in true conversation less so . . . It's my children's bedtime and I happen to spot 'Dear Zoo,' a classic lift-the-flap children's book by Rod Campbell. I sit on the floor reading the book to my 2- year-old and my eyes widen with each turning page. Every animal—every single animal—that the zoo sends to the protagonist of the book is male. The elephant ("he was too big"), the giraffe (" he was too tall"), the lion ("he was too fierce"), the camel ("he was too grumpy"), the snake (" he was too scary"), the monkey ("he was too naughty"), the frog ("he was too jumpy"), and the puppy ("he was perfect") are all male."
Ravishly editor Katie Tandy explores the power of suggestion—and its detrimental effect on our justice system and race relations in America.
"Memory distortion and even sheer fabrication under duress and suggestion reveal a much more complicated—and manipulable—process at play with the formation of memories. From the relatively benign—getting lost in a shopping mall—to the relatively traumatic—being attacked by a vicious animal—researchers throughout the years have been able to successfully induce memories . . . that never actually happened. These experiences have been coined in a variety of fashions, including 'honest lies,' phantom recollective experiences, pseudomemories, and autobiographical false memories."
Ravishly editor Nikki Gloudeman examines the evolution of the male gaze and wonders if this sordid reality show's ubiquitous shirtless scenes are actually a strange sign of progress . . .
"The idea of the male gaze first rose to prominence in Laura Mulvey's 1975 essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," which posited that, because most films (and TV shows) are helmed by heterosexual men, they tend to sexually objectify women, lingering over exposed body parts as a form of patriarchal voyeurism. In the film and television industry, there's been a recent effort to subvert this paradigm and embrace instead the female gaze, turning men into sexual objects and women into voyeurs."
Writer Ijeoma Oluo illuminates the wit and kindness of trolls everywhere.
"Troll: I just spent three hours photoshopping your head onto the body of a whale.
Woman: Wow . . . that's a lot of effort.
Troll: Because you're fat. Like a whale. Whales are also fat.
Woman: I know how whales work."