Soraya Chemaly

The power of angry women: How women’s anger is deflected in patriarchal society — and its political might

Recent books by Rebecca Traister, Soraya Chemaly, and Brittney Cooper address the particularly superpowerful way women are feeling these days. From different perspectives, they each examine the way women’s anger is deflected in patriarchal society and its potential for political impact—past, present, and future.

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The White Male Effect Is Real and Dangerous to Us All

Want more on contemporary culture and gender roles? Visit Role Reboot.

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Fake News and Online Harassment Are More Than Social Media Byproducts - They're Powerful Profit Drivers

Fake news is being tied to everything from the influence of Russian troll farms on the presidential election to an armed man’s invasion of a Washington, D.C., restaurant as the ludicrous but terrifying culmination of an incident known as Pizzagate. Fake news isn’t just dangerous because it distorts public understanding but, as in the case of Pizzagate, or Gamergate before that, because it is frequently implicated in targeted online harassment and threats.

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Is Technology to Blame for Threats Against Female Journalists?

This article was originally published in DAME Magazine

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Why Aren't We Discussing How Men Feel About a Woman President?

recent study of more than 1,700 students showed that college-aged men consistently underestimate the intellect and abilities of their female peers and over-estimate those of other men. Last year, another study of high school students conducted by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education showed even more disturbing findings: When indicating a preference for student leaders, students—all of them—showed the most confidence in young white boys and the least confidence in young white girls. The study included almost 20,000 kids from across the country.

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The Shocking Ways Sexism Affects Women’s Health Every Day

I had a headache that lasted for years. It was there when I woke up and there when I went to sleep. I got so used to it that one day, when my husband, bemoaning a rare headache, asked if we had any painkillers, I realized that for me the exceptional day was not having a headache. The doctors I consulted suggested a whole range of reasons and prescriptions, but none helped. Turns out, I did what most women not only do but are encouraged to do: live with the pain and discomfort.

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Woman-Only Taxis? Latest Rape Prevention Method That Burdens Women, Not Men Who Rape

SheTaxis (known as SheRides in New York City) is a newly-launched app that will help women-only passengers find women-only taxi drivers. If you are a woman, the creators argue, it makes sense to use this car service, because taking taxis and Ubers driven by men can be dangerous. There is a whole lot of money to be made helping women adapt to this problem.

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10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

Editor's Note: This article updated from original, which appeared in Role Reboot.

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How Did the FBI Miss Over 1 Million Rapes?

Earlier this month, a 911 dispatcher in Ohio was recorded telling a 20-year-old woman who had just been raped to “quit crying.” After she provided a description of her assailant, the caller went on to say, “They’re not going to be able to find him with the information that you’ve given.” This incident had its viral moment, sparking outrage at the dispatcher’s lack of empathy. But it also speaks to the larger issue of how we are counting rapes in the United States. Sixty-nine percent of police departments surveyed in 2012 said that dispatchers like this one, often with little training, are authorized to do the initial coding of sexual assault crimes.

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The Words Every Woman Should Know

The following article first appeared on Role/Reboot. 

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Why Naked Pictures Aren’t Harmless

Last week at Swarthmore College a pledge posted a photograph on Instagram of his offer to join a fraternity. The picture was of a booklet cover featuring a mosaic of hundreds of naked or nearly naked women. The website Total Frat Move lamented that it wasn’t delivered with a note saying, “Enjoy the tits.” The fraternity has used this format for several years — but this year, a group of students led by senior Marian Firke protested the use of the photography. They created an alternative version of the composite image and asked the school to suspend the fraternity’s school-funded party budget.

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5 Ways American Society Dehumanizes Boys

The ability to feel what others feel has many well-documented benefits, including, for empathetic people, greater psychological and physical health.  The real and socially significant positive impact of empathy, however, is the ways in which it affects behavior towards others. People who are empathetic are less aggressive and prone to denigrate others; they are predisposed to act with care and compassion; they have increased egalitarian beliefs and act with less prejudice and stereotype-based hatred. Empathetic behaviors, however, are associated with being female. And weak.

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“Smile, Baby”: The Words No Woman Wants to Hear

Yesterday, I missed a train and I was frustrated, hot and tired. A man standing in the station decided it was a good time to pass his hand along my arm as I ran by and whisper, “You’d be even prettier if you smiled.”  Here’s the thing about “Smile, baby,” the more commonly uttered variant of the same sentiment: No woman wants to hear it.  And every woman wonders, no matter how briefly, about what could happen if she doesn’t smile.  I was in a crowded place and perfectly safe, but that is actually, in the end, irrelevant.  I have, in the past, been followed by men like him.

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Miley Cyrus Joins the Boys’ Club

It’s hard being a living doll.  Ask Miley Cyrus. The singer’s slightly bizarre, teddy-bear twerking performance at last night’s MTV’s Video Music Awards has captured the public imagination. Today’s news is littered with shock, dismay, disgust and approbation, on many different fronts. The Mail and Globe went so far as to write a funny mock-obit. As one person tweeted, “She was a great singer and actress. Was. RIP Hannah Montana. RIP childhood.”

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5 Ways Avoiding Rape Costs Women

Men, have you every made fun of girls and women you know for going to the bathroom together? This habit is often high on the list of “girl” things men claim not to fathom.

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5 Reasons There Aren’t More Women in Atheism

In a Salon piece last week called, “Where are the women of new atheism?”, Katie Englehardt described what looks like diminishing participation of women in atheist life. She also encouraged atheist women to more openly embrace their beliefs.

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Number of States in Which Rapists Can Sue For Custody and Visitation Rights -- 31 -- and Other Shocking Rape Facts

Remember facts? Remember facts about rape? Because it turns out that a whole lot of people know less than nothing about the subject. Indeed what they think they know is a whole lot of something that is wrong and dangerous to our heath, safety and well-being. Republican Representative Richard Mourdock's recent "misspeaking" is unexceptional. Despite what he may have meant when he said "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that... is something God intended to happen," he is unexceptional. He's not an outlier. Not a radical. In no substantive way different from his conservative peers in this regard (see below if you disagree). Indeed, he and others, like Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, are part of an age-old tradition of men with power defining when women are raped. And others who enable them to do it for their own gain. But, they are not just the Republican party's legislative norm, they are a fair reflection of our cultural tolerance, one without party affiliation, for rape and its qualifications. For months now we've been subjected to surreal revelation when it comes to what people think and understand about rape, god and women's magical bodies. Here is some real, fact-checked information from a list originally published last week in RHRealityCheck. And this is trigger warning. You may want a strong cup of coffee. Or a drink. Or an empty stomach. There is nothing remotely divine about rape. But steeping our selves in denial or happy oblivion is hurting too many people and has the potential to hurt a lot more.

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6 Absurdly Demeaning Conservative Attacks on Women

Everyone knows women can be bitches sometimes, right? Unless they're cougars, that is, on the prowl -- or if they're a bit younger, they're more like vixens, kinda foxy. They henpeck when married and go wet and wild when single. They can take out their claws out or put them away. (Who doesn't love a good catfight?)

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