TIME feminism

Hillary Clinton’s Best Advice on Succeeding in a Man’s World

5th Annual Women In The World Summit - Day 1
<> at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on April 3, 2014 in New York City. Marc Bryan-Brown—WireImage

Clinton says young women are selling themselves short

The former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has been breaking into the men’s club all her career. She shared some of her hard-won wisdom about how that’s done last night at the opening of the Women in the World Conference in New York.

Clinton sat down with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Christine Lagarde in a joint interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Both women had the crowd laughing and applauding at their no-nonsense takes on everything from intimidating men, to Russia, to the world economy.

Here are some of the best quotes from Clinton.

On the double standard for women:

There is a double standard, obviously. We have all either experienced it, or have seen it. There is a deep-set of cultural, psychological views that are manifest through this double standard…Some of these attitudes persist, and if they persist in as open, and in many ways transformational society as ours is in the 21st century, you know how deep they are.

On what we should do about the double standard:

That’s why it’s important that we surface [the double standards], and why we talk about them, and help men and women recognize when they are crossing over from an individual judgement…into a stereotype. Into applying some kind of gender based characterization of the person. The double standard is alive and well, and I think in many respects the media is the principal propagator of it’s persistence.

On advice for young women on how to handle workplace sexism:

I always say that you have to play both an outside and inside game. On the outside, you have to find ways to raise these issues that are truly rooted in sexism or old-fashioned irrelevant expectations of women’s lives. Not just to score a point, but to change a mind. I’ve often been the only woman in a room, and have had the experience of talking about women’s issues and seeing eyes glaze over and the mind[s] wandering. You have to think of some way to bring it back, “oh, I know you have a daughter you must be so proud of her.” You have to think of ways to keep focus on what it is we are trying to convince the other person—predominately a man—to believe.

On the qualities women need to succeed:

The inside is equally important. One of my predecessors and personal heroines was Eleanor Roosevelt. And she famously said back in the 1920s that if a woman wants to be involved in the public….she has to grow skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros. So even back then, this was an obvious point of concern and contention. Too many young women are harder on themselves than circumstances warrant. They are too often selling themselves short. They too often take criticism personally instead of seriously. You should take criticism seriously because you might learn something, but you can’t let it crush you. You have to be resilient to keep moving forward despite whatever the personal setbacks and even insults that come your way might be. That takes a sense of humor about yourself and others, believe me this hard-won advice. But it is a process. You need other women, you need your friends to support you, and you need male friends as well as female ones. You need good role models all of that is true. But at the end of the day, you really have to be good if you have high aspirations. You need to be well-educated, prepared, and willing to take your chances when they come your way. Cut yourself a little bit of slack.

What young women are doing wrong:

At this point in my career, I have employed so many young people and one of the differences is that whenever I would say to a young woman, I want you to do this, I want you take on this extra responsibility, I want you to move up, almost invariably they would say, “do you think I can?” or “do you think I’m ready?” Well, I wouldn’t be asking you if I didn’t think you could and that you were ready. But I know that is often the first response from a young women. When I ask a young man if he wants to move up, he goes, “how high, how fast, when do I start?” There is just a hesitancy still of women’s worth and women’s wok that we are going to have to continue to address so more young women feel free to pursue their own ambitions and be successful.

On the state of women’s rights worldwide:

There are still some horrific situations. There are still girls who are born, who are not even registered at birth, they are so considered secondary. There is still a disparity, particularly in Asia, driven by China and India because of their large populations. Between the population numbers of girls and boys, there’s about a 3 million plus gap. Girls are still the last to be fed, still denied health care, still forced to labor, unable to go beyond primary education, marry at very young ages. We know we have those obvious discriminatory laws, regulations, practices that we still have to tackle. But then there are the more subtle obstacles. The ones Christine and I have talked about and she’s been highlighting through the work of the IMF or World Bank and UN and so many other organizations in both the private and public sector.

So I think it’s important that we really look at this broadly and say yes we’ve made progress let’s be proud of that, but we can’t rest. For many of us, the argument for women’s equality was first and foremost a moral argument. And it was a political argument. But I think where it is now as an economic argument, in many respects is a maturing of the case that women’s rights are human rights, but also a very important way of enlisting greater support…[The world] can’t really be flat if you have half the population either discouraged from or discriminated against when it comes to economic activity because you will not be as productive as you will otherwise…It’s very strategic. Where women are more equal, you have less instability, fewer conflict, greater democracy and a powerful government. These go hand in hand.

TIME Media

The Media Is (Still) Dominated By Men

A new report reveals a prominent gender bias in major broadcast, print, online, and wire outlets

In news media, it’s still a man’s world.

Male journalists make up 63% of bylines in print, Internet and wire news media, according to a recent report from the Women’s Media Center.

Diversity in newsrooms is critical if media outlets want to cover stories that reach and represent their audiences, but that’s increasingly difficult with women earning only around 36% of bylines or on-camera appearances.

The report looked at 20 of the most widely circulated and watched TV networks, newspapers, wires and online news sites in the U.S. Across the news cycle, women are clearly underrepresented. The New York Times, for example, has the widest gender gap when it comes to bylines, while the Chicago Sun-Times is close to equal.

But some news outlets are certainly doing better than others. For instance, PBS and ABC have women as their primary anchors, but regardless, the news is anchored by men 60% of the time. Just think evening news.

The Huffington Post has a nearly equal gender balance, but FoxNews.com and The Daily Beast are far from it. Men also dominate the news wires at the Associated Press and Reuters.

“When media are overwhelmingly male (and still, alas, overwhelmingly white), they just aren’t anywhere near as good as they could be,” said Geneva Overholser, a Women’s Media Center board member, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and former ombudsman for The Washington Post in a statement.

In general, the research also found that women are more likely to cover topics like lifestyle, culture and health, while men are more likely to cover criminal justice, politics and tech.

This annual report is the third in a series from the Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, that’s dedicated to advancing the role of women in media.

Check out the breakdown below.

Women's Media Center
Women’s Media Center
TIME Family

The Amazing Response to Sports Radio Host Mike Francesa’s Anti-Paternity Leave Rant

8th Annual Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation Gala
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 11: Mike Francesa attends the 8th annual Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on November 11, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage) Jim Spellman—WireImage

The radio personality calls paternity leave a 'scam and a half,' and his male fans call him out

Sports talk radio host Mike Francesa blasted Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy for taking three days off when his wife gave birth this week, calling the paternity leave a “scam and a half.”

“I mean, what would you possibly be doing?” Francesa said on his Wednesday afternoon broadcast at WFAN, “I guarantee you’re not sitting there holding your wife’s hand.”

Murphy took three days off as part of the collectively bargained paternity leave, and missed two games. He’s expected to be back in the Met’s starting lineup on Thursday.

But that’s not soon enough for Francesa. “One day, I understand,” he said. “Go see the baby be born, and come back. You’re a major league baseball player, you can hire a nurse.”

“Your wife doesn’t need your help, those first couple days, you know that,” he said. “What are you gonna do? Sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for three days?

The host also blasted his co-workers for taking 10 days paternity leave. “For what? To take pictures?

But then, something incredible happened. Francesa’s male listeners called in with objections, saying the old-timer had outdated ideas of a dad’s responsibility.

“Society has come to a point where we recognize this is one of the most important milestones and it’s important to be with your family,” said one caller, who then got slammed by Francesa.

Another caller also attacked Francesa for being out of touch. “For you to say ‘oh it’s okay, let’s throw some money at a nurse and have them take care of the kid,’ and not let Daniel Murphy take two days in the beginning of the season is crazy,” he said.

“He’s learning prenatal care, he’s learning how to take care of the baby,” the caller argued. “He plays a 162 game season, he wants to spend time with his family.”



TIME movies

Sure, Movies With Women Make More Money — But Movies With Men Will Dominate This Summer

Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy in 'Tammy' Michael Tackett / Warner Bros. Entertainment

Even though movies with stronger female characters are more lucrative, this summer's likely blockbusters are still heavily male

By now, it really shouldn’t come as a big surprise: movies with strong female characters aren’t the box-office bombs that conventional wisdom expects them to be. In fact, they tend to do better than man-heavy movies.

The latest proof comes in the form of a FiveThirtyEight analysis of box-office data and scores on the Bechdel Test, for which movies that pass must have two named female characters who discuss something other than a man. The report, published yesterday, found that of 1,615 analyzed films released between 1990 and 2013, the ones that passed the test provided their makers with a better return on investment, even overseas.

Though Hickey’s analysis is exhaustive, it’s not exactly news. A January analysis of last year’s films found the same result, and Frozen and The Hunger Games have made the finding seem kind of obvious.

But that doesn’t mean Bechdel-friendly movies are the new “tentpoles,” the movies studios make to hold up their yearly budgets. Tentpoles are the surefire hits that are meant to balance out riskier projects, and they’re seen as having guaranteed audiences of a wide array of moviegoers. And, as a new summer-movie preview from Reuters makes clear, the female-friendly movies that have been shown to bring in big bucks are still largely excluded from that line-up.

Starting with this week’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, by their count, a full 13 big-name sequels will be released between now and summer’s end. The slate is heavy on superheroes (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Transformers: Age of Extinction) and animation (Rio 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2). The summer is traditionally the time for action movies that the studio expects to go big, but these movies don’t traditionally score well on inclusion of women.

There’s no way to tell in advance whether these movies will actually pass the Bechdel test — though some, like The Expendables 3, which actually has zero women among its top-billed cast, are particularly unlikely to — but history has shown it’s unlikely. (For example, even though the Iron Man movies have multiple female characters, they never actually speak to one another.) And even if the message about movies with multiple women does trickle down to the studios, we may be stuck with dude-centric tentpoles: Captain America, for one, is destined to show up in theaters for a good long while.

To be fair, even if those movies are the blockbusters their studios hope they will be, that doesn’t mean FiveThirtyEight’s findings won’t hold for the future. Because — according to popular wisdom, as well as the data — movies that passed the test tend to have lower budgets, they need to make less money in order to earn the same profit. And, if you take the whole year into account, there are definitely some tentpole-y movies about women on the way (Mockingjay, for example).

Still, perception matters, and it says something that men are still dominating the summer. That means that Melissa McCarthy has a lot to prove: her picture Tammy, co-starring Susan Sarandon, opens on July 4 weekend, the same slot that went to her blockbuster The Heat. It’s one thing to show that Bechdel-passing movies make money; it’ll be another to prove that their summer successes aren’t just flukes.

TIME Culture

How Amy Schumer Gets Guys To Think Feminists Are Funny

Amy Schumer Justin Stephens—Comedy Central

Inside Comedy Central's subversive formula for attracting male viewers to shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City

We’ve finally settled the ridiculous question “are women funny?” Bridesmaids and Tina Fey ended that conversation years ago. But critics continue to debate whether feminism and comedy can go together. And, even if they do, can a feminist comic draw a wide audience?

The answer is yes, and then some. On Tuesday, the second season of Inside Amy Schumer premieres on Comedy Central, a network that has spent the last year proving men will watch comedies with a feminist message. Inside Amy Schumer—featuring sketches, standup and interviews from comic Amy Schumer—had Comedy Central’s most-watched series premiere in all of 2013, even though the network’s audience is 60 percent male. The show drew in a 50/50 male-female demographic throughout its first season last year and even scored better ratings than Comedy Central’s other new show in 2013, The Kroll Show, beating it by 12 percent in the male ages 18-34 demographic.

The numbers are surprising considering that almost every sketch on Schumer’s show comments on gender politics in some way. A famous sketch from last season featured a group of female friends meeting on the street, each offering compliments to each other as they met. Every woman who received a compliment would respond with self-deprecation. When one woman finally just said thank you without putting herself down, the rest of the women committed mass suicide. The sketch is hilarious, true-to-life and critiques the conflict between the high bar women set for themselves and their inability to accept praise (like a man would). In another sketch, Schumer visits “O’Nutters,” a male version of Hooters where the waiters wear ball-hugging uniforms. And they get crazier from there:

This season promises to be even more politically charged. It begins with a sketch in which a focus group made up of men analyzing Inside Amy Schumer begins to discuss whether they would have sex with her. Schumer, watching from the other side of one-way glass, shrugs off the negative comments and reassures herself: “A couple of them said they would bang me?” Another new sketch shows Schumer playing a Call of Duty-like video game in which her female avatar is raped by a superior officer and then pressured into not reporting her sexual assault by prompts in the game: “You were just assaulted by a fellow soldier. Do you wish to report?” “Yes.” “Are you sure? Did you know he has a family? Does that change your mind about reporting?”

Dudes can be quite protective of their first-person shooter video games, so what is it that is making men flock to such a feminist show?

Willa Patkinson at Slate, who called the show “sneakily feminist,” has one theory: “Schumer, the writer, tackles her objectification, while Schumer, the character, takes comfort in it…By wrapping her ideas in a ditzy, sexy, slutty, self-hating shtick, her message goes down easy—and only then, like the alien, sticks its opinionated teeth into you.”

Her observation isn’t all that different from what has been written about another new Comedy Central show featuring two female leads: Broad City. Like Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City takes feminist issues head on. In an early webisode (the Comedy Central show was born out of an online sketch show), the two women (Ilana and Abbi) critique cat calls by taking them to an extreme before breaking out into dance in a parody of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.

In a Broad City episode from its first season on Comedy Central this year, the two declare themselves “feminist heroes” as they ask out dozens of men on Facebook because they’re tired of waiting to be courted. (They get rejected by every guy and one girl.) And in yet another scene, Ilana videochats about her terrible sexual experiences to Abbi while the guy is still in bed with her, turning the tables on the women-as-disposable-objects trope.

But between these scenes, we see the characters hiding marijuana in their crotches in order to avoid police on the subway, stealing people’s dogs while dog walking and being chastised for their inappropriate outfits (read: crop top and jean shorts) to work. It’s what the Wall Street Journal dubbed “sneak-attack feminism,” which sounds pretty close to “sneakily feminist.”

So do we have to disguise feminism in our TV shows in order to market shows starring feminists to male audiences?

Inside Amy Schumer has often been compared with Louis C.K.’s Louie or Dave Chappelle’s The Chapelle Show, while Broad City has been called a female Workaholics. While it’s lazy to say that these comedies are female versions of these shows, that’s surely how network execs pitched and discussed them.

A more positive spin on this rise in female comedies? Networks are learning that if you write funny comedies then people will watch them. It’s not that the writers are disguising their feminism; they are just prioritizing comedy first. When asked about inserting feminist messages into the show, Broad City’s Ilana Glazer told Salon, “We definitely hope to make people laugh and bring joy or something to people’s lives, but it would be too prohibitive to write — to aim — for some goal other than the big thing of we just want to make the best episode possible.”

And as the “female Louie” or “female Workaholics” terminology hopefully fades away, what remains are shows about all types of women, not just a certain type of woman.

Lane Savage—Comedy Central

Up until now there have only been a few ways in which women were “allowed to be funny” on mainstream television. For the last decade or so, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have blazed the trail for female comedians. Though Liz Lemon and Leslie Knope are two very different characters in many ways—Liz is mildly depressed, sexually repressed and a general mess (see: night cheese), while Leslie is optimistic to a fault, makes PowerPoint presentations about her husband’s butt and prides herself on her organized binders—they also share some key characteristics. Both are work obsessed, a little neurotic and tend to quote feminist platitudes. Their ambition and womanly pride are played for jokes: Liz’s feminist sketches were laughed out of the writers’ room on TGS—sketches that could make it on to Schumer’s show now.

Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City are shows in which the main characters subvert this neurotic female archetype. Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana are stoner screw-ups, and Amy Schumer usually plays a ditzy, promiscuous, insecure version of herself on the show. Liz and Leslie represent what hard-working women were striving towards. Abbi, Ilana and Amy don’t have to meet such high standard for themselves (or all womanhood). They just are who they are.

That’s not to say that Liz and Leslie aren’t amazing characters and that Poehler and Fey don’t have a place in this new wave of female comedies. In fact, Poehler acts as executive producer for Broad City. (Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City are Upright Citizens Brigade alumni, just like Poehler). In an interview on Poehler’s “Smart Girls at the Party” video series, Glazer said that they liked the double meaning of the term “broad” when they came up with the name: “Broad is like this full woman. [She] knows what she wants, knows who she is, and is doing the best she can.”

The trick, then, is to get a “broad” range of “full” women on TV. These two shows happen to be on brand with Comedy Central’s other offerings. Future shows on other networks may give us very different female characters with different senses of humor. But what we have learned from Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City is if the female characters are funny, guys will tune in.

TIME World

5 Surprising Things About Paris’ First Female Mayor, Anne Hidalgo

Paris Socialist Mayoral Candidate Anne Hidalgo Celebrates Her Victory In Paris
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 30: Newly elected Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo celebrates the victory at City Hall plaza on March 30, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) Jean Catuffe—Getty Images

Meet Madame la Maire

“I am the first woman mayor of Paris. I am aware of the challenge.”

Anne Hidalgo doesn’t need to mince words. After 13 years as a deputy mayor under outgoing incumbent Bertrand Delanoë, the 54-year-old Socialist candidate is ready to lead. Nor was her win ambiguous, Hidalgo got nearly 55% of the vote. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this year’s race was that even if Hidalgo hadn’t won, Paris still would have had a female mayor. The socialist’s rival was Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party.

But gender isn’t the only interesting thing about the new mayor of Paris:

1) She’s not from France. Hidalgo hails from the Spanish province of Cádiz, which is famous for being the only town that didn’t surrender to the French during Napoleon’s attempted occupation in 1810. She moved with her family to Lyon as a toddler, eventually adopting the name of Anne at 14 after becoming a French citizen. Her humble — and more importantly, non native — origins were used by the opposition during a campaign that often focused on the differences in class between the two main candidates, according to the AFP.

2) She’s all about the environment. Hidalgo is closely connected to Vélib, the bike sharing program her predecessor launched in 2007. Her campaign promises included mentions of starting Scooterlib’, a free moped system and expanding Autolib’, a recently launched electric car sharing service. She’s also advocated for more pedestrian walkways and green spaces.

3) She’s really, really against Scientology. In 2005, Hidalgo served as the head of a committee that monitored what the government calls “cultlike groups” groups, including, in this case, the Church of Scientology. She even participated in a protest at the Paris’ offices of the organization.

4) Her wardrobe won’t be in the spotlight. In early March, Hidalgo talked to Vogue about Paris’ role in supporting the fashion industry and young designers. She spoke about her own relationship with style, including memories of her mother, who was a dressmaker. The stylish Parisian, who clearly understands how what a female politician wears affects their public perception, described her aesthetic to WWD: “I am an elected official, not a model. I like a subdued style, not bling-bling.” (She was perhaps hoping to contract with the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy who was nicknamed by critics as president “bling bling” because of his showy lifestyle and ex-fashion model wife.)

5) She doesn’t have much company among mayors: Hidalgo joined the ranks of just a few women who serve as mayors of major cities, including Ana Botella of Madrid and Patricia de Lille of Cape Town, and Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz of Warsaw. (But as revolutionary as Hidalgo’s election is, it doesn’t put France is ahead of the game in terms of female politicians in general. In fact, the two leading French political parties often pay penalties rather than field an equal number of female candidates, according to The Guardian.)

TIME Conservative

Conservative Women Propose A Solution To Income Inequality: Marriage

Suffragettes in New York City, 1912
Suffragette marchers carrying portable speaker rostrums, New York City, 1912. Hand-colored halftone reproduction of a photograph North Wind Picture Archives via AP Images

Feminism hasn't just failed, says a Heritage Foundation panel of prominent female conservatives. It's actually made women more miserable

Marriage is increasingly a privilege—and an economic benefit—of the elite, a trend that must be reversed if lower and middle class women want to achieve income equality and success, according to a panel of conservative women at the Heritage Foundation on Monday.

“It’s not cave woman thinking: women know because of the nature of their bodies, because they carry and raise children, that they need support and protection during that time. The happiest women find that protection,” Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist, told an audience at Heritage’s Washington offices at an event marking the end of Women’s History Month. “Millions of women have taken feminist advice and it’s led to unparalleled misery.”

Over the past 40 years, women have become increasingly unhappy, the panelists said, citing data from the General Social Survey. A quarter of women are now taking anti-depressants compared to 15% of men, the survey found, and most women with a high school degree or less will have a first child before they’re married. Married women are also richer, according to Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at conservative web magazine The Federalist. Women who never married or are divorced are 73% less well off than their married counterparts, on average, she said. “Everybody go out right now, if you’re not married, go get married and that will solve all these problems,” she said. “If you care about income inequality at all, you basically have to care about marriage.”

The panel comes as Democrats base their 2014 campaign on issues like income inequality, flexible jobs and minimum wage—which disproportionately affects women, who make up two-thirds of those on minimum wage. Polls show that if Democrats can turn out single women in the same numbers as in 2012, where they voted for President Obama over Mitt Romney by 36 points, they could win back the House and hold the Senate. But single women are notorious drop-off voters in non-presidential elections, hence the push.

Republicans have begun their own push to appeal to women and the panel was asked how to do so without “revoltingly pandering” to women. “The left has done a marvelous job in preventing the government as a kind boyfriend,” Hemingway responded. “Marriage has enabled elites to have a lot of money and stability. We should show concern in extending marriage to everybody so that everybody can benefit.”

Added Charen: “It’s true that a social safety net can prevent you from falling to the ground but it cannot lift you up, it cannot give you a good life.”

The panel noted that too much special emphasis was being placed on women and girls when in reality men and boys were the ones in need. “Women and girls are not failing to thrive. We have a problem with men and boys. Men’s participation rates in the workforce are declining alarmingly, as are their wages,” Charen said. “And they’re seeing declining percentages of supervisory and administrative posts.”

Noting that only 20% of women considered themselves feminists in a Huffington Post poll last year, Karin Agness, president of the Network of Enlightened Women, said the movement had clearly failed because it was too combative. “The Left is quick to offer proposals and policy solutions that get in between employer/employee relationships,” she said. “We should think more about what women really want not just trying to achieve parity in numbers.” Democrats, she said, shouldn’t be pushing women to work full time when the General Social Survey says only 32% of women with children want fulltime employment, versus more than 70% of men in the same position.

This is also why fewer women, particularly Republican women, get elected to office, said Charen. “Women candidates don’t have any more difficult a time as men in getting votes, in fact it’s sometimes easier for them to attract votes,” Charen said. “They don’t seek office as much as men and that speaks to how they want to spend their lives—with their children and families.” Only 4.6% of House Republicans are women versus more than 30% of House Democrats, and there are only four GOP female senators compared to 16 Democratic female senators.

TIME feminism

Rape Culture Is Real

Simply put, feminists want equality for everyone and that begins with physical safety.

“You were drinking, what did you expect?”

Those were the first words that I heard when I went to someone I trusted for support after my roommate’s boyfriend raped me eight years ago. When I came forward to report what happened, instead of support, many well-meaning people close to me asked me questions about what I was wearing, if I had done something to cause the assault, or if I had been drinking. These questions about my choices the night of my assault — as opposed to the choices made by my rapist — were in some ways as painful as the violent act itself. I had stumbled upon rape culture: a culture in which sexual violence is the norm and victims are blamed for their own assaults.

Last week, in an essay here at Time, Caroline Kitchens wrote that rape culture as a theory over-hyped by “hysterical” feminists. Emboldened by a disappointing and out of touch statement by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), Kitchens writes, “Recently, rape-culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream. In January, the White House asserted that we need to combat campus rape by ‘[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist…’ Tolerance for rape? Rape is a horrific crime, and rapists are despised.”

Kitchens goes on to downplay the problem of sexual violence saying, “Though rape is certainly a serious problem, there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm.”

Is 1 in 5 American women surviving rape or attempted rape considered a cultural norm? Is 1 in 6 men being abused before the age of 18 a cultural norm? These statistics are not just shocking, they represent real people. Yet, these millions of survivors and allies don’t raise their collective voices to educate America about our culture of rape because of fear. Rape culture is a real and serious, and we need to talk about it. Simply put, feminists want equality for everyone and that begins with physical safety.

“If so many millions of women were getting carjacked or kidnapped, we’d call it a public crisis. That we accept it as normal, even inevitable, is all the evidence I need,” Jaclyn Friedman, author Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape told me, in response to Kitchens’ piece. “If we already despise rapists, why are they so rarely held accountable in any way?,” Friedman asks. An analysis by RAINN found that 97% of rapists never spend a single day in jail for their crimes. “What we really despise is the idea of rapists: a terrifying monster lurking in the bushes, waiting to pounce on an innocent girl as she walks by,” Friedman says. “But actual rapists, men who are usually known to (and often loved by) their victims? Men who are sometimes our sports heroes, political leaders, buddies, boyfriends and fathers? Evidence suggests we don’t despise them nearly as much as we should.”

In response to Kitchens’ piece, I started the hashtag #RapeCultureIsWhen on Twitter hoping that it would spark a public dialogue about rape culture and shift the conversation away from the myths that shame so many survivors into silence. This conversation is meant to be a tool to educate people about what rape culture is, how to spot it, and how to combat it. The hashtag immediately took off and trended nationally for hours on the strength of personal stories and advocates sharing information about victim blaming, bystander intervention, and healthy masculinity. The level of engagement is an illustration of how many people wanted to speak out about this issue many are too afraid to touch. The following statements are made up of contributions the #RapeCultureIsWhen hashtag as well as the myriad personal stories of survivors with the courage to speak out:

  • Rape culture is when women who come forward are questioned about what they were wearing.
  • Rape culture is when survivors who come forward are asked, “Were you drinking?”
  • Rape culture is when people say, “she was asking for it.”
  • Rape culture is when we teach women how to not get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape.
  • Rape culture is when the lyrics of Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ mirror the words of actual rapists and is still the number one song in the country.
  • Rape culture is when the mainstream media mourns the end of the convicted Steubenville rapists’ football careers and does not mention the young girl who was victimized.
  • Rape culture is when cyberbullies take pictures of sexual assaults and harass their victims online after the fact, which in the cases of Audrie Pott and Rehtaeh Parsons tragically ended in their suicides.
  • Rape culture is when, in 31 states, rapists can legally sue for child custody if the rape results in pregnancy.
  • Rape culture is when college campus advisers tasked with supporting the student body, shame survivors who report their rapes. (Annie Clark, a campus activist, says an administrator at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill told her when she reported her rape, “Well… Rape is like football, if you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback, Annie… is there anything you would have done differently?”)
  • Rape culture is when colleges are more concerned with getting sued by assailants than in supporting survivors. (Or at Occidental College, where students and administrators who advocated for survivors were terrorized for speaking out against the school’s insufficient reporting procedures.)

It’s no surprise that we would refuse to acknowledge that rape and sexual violence is the norm, not the exception. It’s no surprise because most of us would rather believe that the terrible realities we hear about aren’t real or that, at least, we can’t do anything about it. The truth is ugly. But by denying the obvious we continue to allow rapists to go unpunished and leave survivors silenced.

Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst, speaker, and contributing writer for EBONY.com, Feministing.com, theGrio.com, BET.com, and RHRealitycheck.org. She writes about national politics, candidates, and specific policy and culture issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, victim blaming and gender inequality.

TIME beauty

When Enforcing School Dress Codes Turns Into Slut Shaming

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Middle school girls in Illinois are protesting for their right to wear leggings after being told by teachers that their clothes are 'too distracting' to their male peers

Correction appended, March 27

In my junior year of high school I wore leggings to my AP Latin class. Leggings were against dress code at my school, as were sweatpants and skirts that were shorter than the ends of your fingertips. I had my leggings on under a dress, which admittedly probably didn’t pass the fingertip rule. My female teacher admonished me in front of the class before sending me home to change. She said something about how I wasn’t respecting myself. I ran home crying and changed into jeans. When I returned, one of the older boys in my class made a rude comment as I sunk into my seat.

I broke school rules—as just about every other teenage girl in high school did when they got dressed in the morning—and probably deserved to be punished. But this time, my teacher, tired of reprimanding girls for dress code violations every day, had decided to make an example of me in front of the class. The result? I missed important test prep for my upcoming AP exam, and she gave some immature boys an excuse to make sexual remarks in a classroom setting. They weren’t punished. That teacher was walking the fine line between enforcing a dress code and slut shaming.

This week, a group of middle-school girls in Evanston, Illinois picketed their school for the right to wear leggings. The girls at Haven Middle School had been told, like I had, that leggings were “too distracting to boys” to wear to school, according to 13-year-old Sophie Hasty who was quoted in the Evanston Review. Hasty makes the sophisticated argument that “not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty for what guys do.” Five hundred students signed their petition, and a group of girls wearing leggings and yoga pants (also banned) protested outside the school last week with signs saying, “Are my pants lowering your test scores?”

The argument being made by school administrators is not that distant from the arguments made by those who accuse rape victims of asking to be assaulted by dressing a certain way. We tell women to cover themselves from the male gaze, but we neglect to tell the boys to look at something else. That this has a sexist undertone is demonstrated by the fact that the girls who had more curves to show off were the ones more often disciplined. “Students who were getting ‘dress-coded,’ or disciplined for their attire, tended to be girls who were more developed,” Juliet Bond, a parent of a student at Haven, told the Evanston Review.

Lucy Shapiro, a 12-year-old at Haven, added that when both she and a friend wore the same type of athletic shorts, a teacher disciplined her but not her friend because, she was told, “I had a different body type than my friend…With all the social expectations of being a girl, it’s already hard enough to pick an outfit without adding in the dress code factor.”

“For me, it’s about shaming girls about their bodies,” Bond said. “It’s this message across genders that girls have to cover up, and teachers saying to girls, the reason for this rule is so that boys aren’t distracted.”

The dress code in a middle school in Evanston is far from an isolated incident. In April of 2013, a New Jersey middle school banned girls from wearing strapless dresses to prom because they were “distracting,” but later compromised and allowed one strap dresses after parents protested. A high school principal in Minnesota emailed parents asking them to forbid their children from wearing leggings to school because their “backsides” were “too closely defined” and therefore “highly distracting.” A kindergartner in Georgia was asked to change her short skirt because it was a “distraction to the other students,” which begs the question, were kindergarten boys lusting after their peer during coloring time?

Are uniforms the answer? Many teens (including myself when I was in high school) would argue that a uniform would prevent them from expressing their identity through their clothing when forging their individuality in middle school and high school is hard enough. And sometimes schools can take uniformity too far, as with the girl in Colorado who was banned from classes this week after shaving her head to support a friend going through chemotherapy: she was told she violated dress code. Could the answer be single-sex schools? Distractions from the other sex are a key reason many parents opt into same-sex education for their developing teens. But other parents value a co-educational experience and some even argue it’s essential in teaching girls how to lean in early and be competitive with their male peers in class.

In the end, what’s disruptive in the classrooms is not the clothing that girls are wearing but their bodies themselves. I’m sure teachers mean well by encouraging girls not to think that they need to wear tight clothes in order to get attention from boys or emulate their favorite TV show characters. But by implying that boys simply can’t control themselves around girls’ bodies, administrators are pandering to a culture that too often transfers blame from men to their female victims. They risk encouraging young, impressionable minds—both male and female—to think that women are in some way responsible because of their “suggestive” clothing and their behavior for sexual crimes and transgressions, rather than making clear that each individual is responsible for his or her own actions.

Some clothes are appropriate for school and some are not. But we ought to make that distinction without implying that a girl must be accountable for the sexual attention she gets. Take sex out of the equation. Don’t use the word “distracting” when explaining the rules to girls. Enforce the code equally between the genders. Tell students that the dress code is meant to show respect to learning and school; conforming to the rules is not a measure of how much a student respects herself. And use encouraging language because no teacher should tell a kid how to respect his or her own body.

Correction: The original version of this story, using information from the Evanston Review, misstated Juliet Bond’s first name.

TIME Humor

Happy 80th Birthday Gloria Steinem: 8 of Her Funniest Quips

Rare images and great moments in the activist and author's extraordinary life

Gloria Steinem isn’t just the founder of Ms. Magazine and the most recognizable “face of feminism” — she’s also hilarious. Herewith, some of her most entertaining nuggets of wisdom.

1) “A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.” (1970)

Feminist journalist and author Gloria Steinem baring one leg as she relaxes in a luxurious bubble bath at home. Marianne Barcellona—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

2) “A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space.”(1972)

Writer Gloria Steinem sitting cross-legged on floor w. sign "We Shall Overcome"
Writer Gloria Steinem sitting cross-legged on floor w. sign “We Shall Overcome” Yale Joel—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

3) “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

A uniformed officer arrests feminist Gloria Steinem during an anti-apartheid protest outside the South African Embassy in Washington, Dec. 19, 1984. AP

4) “On my 70th birthday I was going to get a tramp stamp.” (2011)

Gloria Steinem photographed at Mort Zuckerman's home in East Hampton, 1984.
Gloria Steinem photographed at Mort Zuckerman’s home in East Hampton, 1984. Susan Wood—Getty Images

5) “A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after”

Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas during Gloria Steinem's 50th Birthday Party on May 23, 1984, at Waldor-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas during Gloria Steinem’s 50th Birthday Party on May 23, 1984, at Waldor-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Ron Galella—WireImage/Getty Images

6) “When I was hosting the Today show, I had a little fat removed from above my eyes so I didn’t look like Mao Zedong and I could wear my contacts. It looked worse afterward.” (2011)

Feminist Gloria Steinem wearing her trademark aviator sunglasses during a TV interview show. Ray Fisher—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

7) “So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?…Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and “give fives” on the corner with some exchange like, “Man you lookin’ good!” “Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!” — If Men Could Menstruate, 1978

American feminist writer Gloria Steinem in her Manhattan apartment, New York City, March 1992. Michael Brennan—Getty Images

8) Her most famous quote is “women need men like fish need a bicycle,” but Gloria is a great lady, and great ladies give credit where credit is due. So she corrected us in 2000 when we misattributed this famous quote to her, when in fact Australian Irina Dunn came up with it. Steinem wrote a letter to Time in 2000,

“You credit me with the witticism “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” In fact, Irina Dunn, a distinguished Australian educator, journalist and politician, coined the phrase back in 1970 when she was a student at the University of Sydney. She paraphrased the philosopher who said, “Man needs God like a fish needs a bicycle.” Dunn deserves credit for creating such a popular and durable spoof of the old idea that women need men more than vice versa.”

That’s called class.

Gloria Steinem receives the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House on November 20, 2013 in Washington. Leigh Vogel—WireImage/Getty Images


Watch TIME’s Belinda Luscombe talk with Gloria Steinem about her undercover assignment as a Playboy bunny at the start of her journalism career, whether her looks had something to do with her success as a women’s rights activist, and what she likes about young feminists.

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