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Soraya Chemaly
Soraya Chemaly writes about gender, sexual violence, free speech and the role that gender plays in media, politics, religion and education. Her work appears in TIME, The Guardian, Salon and Role Reboot among other media. She is the Director of the Women's Media Center Speech Project. Follow at @schemaly

Entries by Soraya Chemaly

'Asking For It': It's Not Just Ariel Winter's Harassers, It's Our Culture -- Kate Harding on Her New Book

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 1:13 PM

"Asking for it" is a timeless and timelessly gendered expression that rolls easily off the tongue. It's a go-to default for many parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and even teens and their friends.  It refers, almost exclusively, to girls or women when people are policing their clothes and behavior. When's the...

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12 Reasons Why Gender Matters to Understanding Teenage Sexting

(4) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 2:42 PM

Portions of this post are updated from an article published at Bitch Magazine.

In what media is again calling a "sexting scandal," a community in Colorado is grappling with the fact that hundreds of students have been exchanging "lewd" pictures, using photo vault apps...

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'Why Won't She Go to the Police?' or How the Police Tolerate Gender-Based Violence in Their Own Ranks

(2) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 9:40 AM

Why won't women "just go to the police"? Maybe because they don't have faith the police will help them. Brutality often begins at home, including in police families. In department after department, law enforcement officials are ignoring disciplinary and legal standards for officers accused of sexual violence and domestic...

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Mass Killings in the US: Masculinity, Masculinity, Masculinity

(130) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 1:55 PM

Schools in Philadelphia are currently on high alert because of a threat of violence made against "a university near Philadelphia." The threat was posted on 4chan, an anonymous message board, on Friday, the day after a murder-suicide that left 10 people dead in yet another campus shooting. Today's...

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Every Reason Your School's Gendered Dress Code Is Probably a Sexist Mess

(13) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 7:08 PM

Dress code conflicts announced the beginning of the school year with a bang.  Usually, I'd provide an example, but it makes more sense to talk about the Missouri Legislature, where a few weeks ago, a dress code for interns was proposed, to much dismay and no...

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What Gender Stereotypes and Sexism Have to Do With Algorithms and Robots

(4) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 4:51 PM

As technologists, and no small number of films, frequently remind us, the singularity, a time when the realization of smarter-than-human computers irrevocably alters our future, is nearer every day. Futurists take this prospect very seriously.  They gather to discuss what it means at the annual Singularity Summit, a...

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Why All-Male Minions Really Do Matter for Children

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 7:04 PM

Earlier this week, Margot Mogowan, founder of Reel Girls, a website dedicated to media equity, wrote a post lambasting the movie Minions for its dullard sensibility and disappointingly routine sexism.  

Most families taking kids to the movies aren't giving sexism a second thought, preferring instead to just get...

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How Sexism and Implicit Bias Hurt Girls and Women's Health

(24) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 3:09 PM

This piece originally appeared in Role Reboot.

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...

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A Primer On Online Misogyny: 'Revenge' Porn Is Only One Dimension

(8) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 8:00 PM

During a recent segment of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on revenge porn and misogyny online. He not only accurately described them, but, equally important, he described what their effects on victims are.  Women are the majority of the targets of abusive online assaults, experiencing more sustained,...

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The Daddy Wars: The Work/Family Problem We SHOULD Be Talking About

(25) Comments | Posted June 26, 2015 | 5:35 PM

A major study making the rounds has kicked off another round of circa 1990s "mommy wars," a loathsome frame for a problem that affects us all, no matter what year it is. A Harvard Business School study, using data from 24 countries including the UK and US, found that the...

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What Teenage Boys Should Know About Teenage Girls

(63) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 1:32 PM

Among my oldest and best friends are men I became friends with when we were teenagers. For the most part, like teenagers today, we thought of ourselves as equals. We went to the same schools, socialized together, participated in sports meets at the same time, eventually worked in similar jobs...

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10 leyes ridículamente sexistas que siguen vigentes en el mundo

(3) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 2:27 AM

De vez en cuando en los Estados Unidos oímos hablar de alguna ley o propuesta de ley que más bien suena a chiste. En Florida, por ejemplo, es ilegal que una mujer soltera se tire en paracaídas los domingos. En febrero, en Montana, un legislador explicó que...

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What Exactly Does 'It's A Man's World' Mean?

(96) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 6:42 PM

This post originally appeared in Role/Reboot.

Last year, I wrote an article about women standing in lines to use public bathrooms. It wasn't actually about toilets, but about why holding women to male standards is discriminatory. It must have twisted some people's knickers in...

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Stop Minimizing Fraternity Misogyny

(13) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 6:13 PM

Note: This article contains explicit language and descriptions of graphic violence

Why is our mainstream media still making fraternity misogyny family-friendly and failing to communicate the connections between racism, sexism and violence?

Feminists United, a group at the University of Mary Washington, has filed a complaint with the U.S....

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If the Pope Is Really Serious About Fair Pay Then He Should Make Altar Girls Mandatory

(19) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 3:54 PM

Last week, Pope Francis decried the international gender pay gap as a "pure scandal" that good Christians need to do something about. It was refreshing to hear him say that sexist attitudes about gender and work are a kind of "machismo" based on men wanting "to dominate women."


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What Should High Schools Do? 44 Percent of Sexual Assaults Happen Before College

(48) Comments | Posted April 27, 2015 | 7:09 PM

Forty-four percent of reported sexual assaults take place before the victim is 18. One in three-to-four girls, and one in five-to-seven boys are sexually abused prior to leaving high school.

And yet, secondary schools -- by which I mean parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, supervisors, boards, PTAs -- remain woefully...

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Corporations, Especially Media and Tech Companies, Should Clearly Commit to Gender Equality and Get Gender Certified

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 2:03 PM

A few months ago, the New York Times ran a piece by Liza Mundy titled, "The Media has A Woman Problem." The title is the standard media formula to describe corporate gender imbalances, particularly in leadership. Tech has a "woman problem." Hollywood has a "woman problem."  Religion has a "woman problem." Museums have a "woman...

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Kids Need to See Women on Currency, Here's Why and What You Can Do

(23) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 5:17 PM

How many times a day do you handle or see money? It is a form of media that everyone is exposed to, but the vast majority of people don't think about. And yet, our paper currency is one of the most subtle ways we teach kids to ignore and overlook...

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The Danger of Viewing Fifty Shades of Grey As Sex Ed

(56) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 11:07 AM

In what may be the greatest orgasm omission of all time, it turns out that Ana, the protagonist of Fifty Shades of Grey, never has an orgasm on screen. You have to ask, how is this possible in a story purported to be about female sexual liberation and pleasure?


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10 Ridiculously Sexist and Dangerous Laws From Around the World

(85) Comments | Posted February 15, 2015 | 2:39 PM

Once in a while in the U.S. we hear about a bill or a law that seems like it must be a joke. For example, in Florida it is illegal for a single woman to parachute or skydive on a Sunday. This week in Montana, a legislator explained...

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