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Soraya Chemaly
Soraya L. Chemaly writes about feminism, gender and culture. Her work appears in The Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, BitchFlicks, Fem2.0, Alternet and Feministe among other media. She considers it a major accomplishment that the people in her house dance with abandon. Follow on Tumblr, Facebook, Feminism's Fantastic, Twitter @schemaly

Entries by Soraya Chemaly

Stop Minimizing the Costs of Teaching Girls to 'Stay Safe'

(29) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 6:45 PM

The other day, for the umpteenth time in my life, I heard a man making fun of a group of girls for going to the bathroom together. Have you done the same, or wondered why girls and women tend to do this? Most girls and women don't even think about...

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Las 10 palabras que toda chica debería aprender

(53) Comments | Posted July 13, 2014 | 3:50 AM

Este artículo es una actualización del original, que apareció en Role Reboot.

"Deja de interrumpirme".

"Lo acabo de decir".

"No necesito explicaciones".

Cuando tenía 10 años, en el colegio gané un premio a la cortesía. Dicho de otra manera, me dieron un premio por ser educada. A...

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Warum niemand Frauen zuhört, aber Männern schon

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2014 | 4:48 PM

"Unterbrich' mich nicht"

"Das sagte ich doch"

"Ich hab es verstanden.

In der fünften Klasse habe ich einen Preis für Höflichkeit gewonnen. Mein Bruder war der Klassenclown. Wir hatten die klassischen Rollen: Die "Kleine Lady" und der "Junge, der eben ein Junge ist". Überall auf der Welt werden Kinder in...

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10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

(568) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 1:57 PM

This article updated from original, which appeared in Role Reboot.

"Stop interrupting me." 

"I just said that."

"No explanation needed."

In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand,...

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#FreeTheNipple: Everybody's Got to Eat

(8) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 2:37 PM

Everybody's got to eat.

With this short statement, we wanted to communicate a strong but simple message: a woman should never be made to feel indecent for feeding her children in public. At her workplace, school, a gym, or in a

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#FreeTheNipple: Facebook Changes Breastfeeding Mothers Photo Policy

(78) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 6:48 PM

Note: Some images in this post contain nudity.

Two weeks ago, if a photograph of an actively breastfeeding mother with nipples exposed was shared in Facebook, that photograph would have violated the company's guidelines regarding nudity and obscenity and been removed. According to my conversations with Facebook spokespeople, as the...

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What's Really Important About 'Trigger Warnings'

(70) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 1:56 PM

In an article title "Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm," the New York Times yesterday described ongoing debates on college and university campuses about whether or not trigger warnings should be used in advance of discussions that include, among other things, violent, racist and misogynistic content. This...

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Our Visible Spectrum Is One in Which Some of Us Are Simply More Expensive Than Others

(12) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 3:46 PM

It's been three weeks since almost 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted from their boarding school by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, whose name translates roughly as "Western education is sinful." While shockingly audacious in its scope, this abduction is not the first, and it won't be the last....

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Why Is the Math Gender Gap So Much Worse in the US Than in Other Countries?

(6) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 7:43 PM

Could it be the boy crisis?

A new international study released last week shows that during the past 100 years, the first in which girls have been educated en masse, girls have out-performed boys academically. I'm not going to write here about what that may mean in terms...

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Fox, Feminism and the Boy Crisis: In the Beginning There Was Darkness

(89) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 1:21 PM

On Tuesday morning my husband hid the newspaper from me because he thought it was better if I drank my coffee before reading a New York Times article called "A Link Between Fidgety Boys And Sputtering Economy." It was an act of genuine kindness, knowing, as he does,...

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Maren Sanchez and the Gender Gaps No One Is Talking About

(130) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 8:10 PM

We know all about the Confidence Gap. So let's talk about the Self-Control and Entitlement Gaps no one seems to keen on delving into.

Maren Sanchez, who was 16, was stabbed to death by a classmate in a stairwell at her Connecticut High School on Friday....

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10 Ways Society Can Close the Confidence Gap

(57) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 3:55 PM

Female lack of confidence is a big topic of conversation this week in the wake of the publication of Katty Kay's and Claire Shipman's new book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance.

The truth is, while I'm happy for any conversation about gender gaps that need closing,...

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Why Female Nudity Isn't Obscene, But Is Threatening to a Sexist Status Quo

(225) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 4:32 PM


The newest issue of HipMama magazine features a photograph of artist Ana Alvarez-Errecald standing, topless, holding her baby. He's wearing a Spiderman costume and she is wearing the mask. The child is breastfeeding at one of her breasts and holding...

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What Is the Wage Gap Costing You Every Day?

(157) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 10:46 AM

What would happen if the wage gap finally disappeared? We know women would be making more money, but how much more would they be bringing home?

By now, you've probably heard depressing statistics like this one: For every dollar a man earns, a woman makes 77 cents. You...

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If You Don't Like "Rape Culture" Then Focus For A Minute On Sex and Status

(3) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 10:16 AM

Last week saw two media flare-ups related to how we think and talk about rape. The first erupted over a statement made by Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) to the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault. The organization urged the task force...

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On a Random Day in the U.S. There Are More Than 66,000 Requests for Help Escaping Domestic Violence

(7) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 1:37 PM

On September 17, 2013, the National Network to End Domestic Violence took a random snapshot of requests coming in to domestic violence shelters and resources across the country. On that day, 66,581 requests for help were made by people living with abuse. There were 20,000 calls made...

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10 Things That Street #HarassmentIs, In Case You Really Don't Think It's Important

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 9:42 PM

Yesterday on Twitter Hollaback, an organization dedicated to ending street harassment, hosted a Tweetup using the hashtag #harassmentis. The topic of harassment has spurred a number of vibrant and illuminating hashtags in the past year, #fasttailedgirls and #shoutingback among two of the most notable. Today's panel brought together a diverse...

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Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny?

(183) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 10:34 AM

Trigger warning for sexual assault and strong language. Portions of this post originally appeared in Salon.

Between 20-25% of women and 3% of men will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault in college. A girl has roughly the same chance of being sexually assaulted during college, one...

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When It Comes to Harassment and Stalking, the Virtual World IS Real

(12) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 7:02 AM

Earlier this week, Amanda Hess wrote an in-depth article, "Why Women Aren't Wanted on the Internet," about cyber-harassment, the gross majority of which is targeted at women. Several other media, followed up, including Talking Points Memo, in which Jill Filipovic recounted years-long personal experience with online...

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'Too Much Estrogen': The Golden Globes, Chris Christie and Men Who Don't Want to Share Culture

(74) Comments | Posted January 13, 2014 | 12:30 PM

Brit Hume thinks Chris Christie is paying for a "feminized atmosphere," in which his naturally tough guy (read: male) behavior has been erroneously cast as bullying. Meanwhile, the NY Post's film critic Kyle Smith's take on the Golden Globes was that there was just "too much estrogren." These...

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