Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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I remember thinking when we started emailing, if Ashley’s catfishing me, I’m fucking enjoying it, so rock on. These emails are great, so if this is what it’s like to be catfished, then we can just enjoy our lives. But somehow I knew it wasn’t a catfish, and I would tell the people in my life, and they would be like, “You know, Lena, you have to be careful. People get nude photos hacked out of their email. Making a friend on Twitter and then proceeding to share all of your personal information with them isn’t always the greatest idea.” And I was like, “You pessimists!”

This two-way interview between Lena Dunham and Ashley Ford is making me smile so much.

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Articles like this one (about the abuse women get for daring to speak/exist in public) kind of make me want to toil away in obscurity forever:

After I received my most recent round of threats, I asked Jessica Valenti, a prominent feminist writer (and the founder of the blog Feministing), who’s been repeatedly targeted with online threats, for her advice, and then I asked her to share her story. “It’s not really one story. This has happened a number of times over the past seven years,” she told me. When rape and death threats first started pouring into her inbox, she vacated her apartment for a week, changed her bank accounts, and got a new cell number. When the next wave of threats came, she got in touch with law enforcement officials, who warned her that though the men emailing her were unlikely to follow through on their threats, the level of vitriol indicated that she should be vigilant for a far less identifiable threat: silent “hunters” who lurk behind the tweeting “hollerers.” The FBI advised Valenti to leave her home until the threats blew over, to never walk outside of her apartment alone, and to keep aware of any cars or men who might show up repeatedly outside her door. “It was totally impossible advice,” she says. “You have to be paranoid about everything. You can’t just not be in a public place.” (Pacific Standard)

"Your problems, insecurities, and fears, don’t disappear when you have a moment, just so you know." (Roxane Gay)

Why are Mormon lifestyle bloggers so popular? (Good)

Autumn Whitefield Madrano’s review of Laurie Penny’s Unspeakable Things is so smart that I wanted to live tweet the whole thing:

"I’m a believer in the idea that it takes all types to create lasting social change. … But when you immerse yourself in the possibility of mutiny—even if only for as long as it takes you to read Unspeakable Things—it makes you a bit testy at the limits of what face of feminism is likely to be beamed onto the main stage. And it might even make you a little bit testy at the ways you’ve been complicit in those limits, without ever having intended to do so.” (The Beheld)

And in case you missed it, here’s my take on Laurie’s book (and the commercialization of feminism). (Daily Beast)

'Payment is on an unpaid basis,' is a sentence that should not exist. It’s a linguistic offense, but also a legal one: zero dollars an hour is well below the minimum wage in all fifty states.” (The Baffler)

And, related: Leonardo DiCaprio took home $25 million for The Wolf of Wall Street. Jonah Hill? $60,000. (The Hollywood Reporter)

How The Toast bootstrapped its way to a profitable media business. (Fast Company)

"People think that without an orgasm, I couldn’t possibly understand good sex." (Cosmopolitan)

Hell Yeah, Sex Positive. (Tumblr)

“‘Nature is not a feminist?’ No, but it’s not nature that is holding us back.” (Glosswatch)

PS Like my Facebook page?

Quick follow up on the abortion story I posted about earlier this week.

I got some wonderful, thoughtful responses from a bunch of brilliant young women. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences; I can’t wait to share the story with you when it goes live. 

But I also need a little bit more diversity before the article can be published. In particular, I’d love to hear from people who fit one of the following categories:

- Were married at the time they had an abortion.
- Had already had a child when they had an abortion.
- Were pro-life before they had an abortion (and perhaps even identify as pro-life now).

I will also need you to be living in the United States.

The story will be part of a weekly column I produce for, and your responses will be completely confidential. You will be known only as Woman A, Woman B, Women C, etc. 

If you can help, please email me at by Monday AM. Thanks in advance.

Journo request: Abortion

I’m writing my Cosmo column this week on abortion, and I’m looking for women to answer some anonymous questions about their experiences via email. 

I am pro-choice, but I’m not looking for a particular type of (positive or negative) story. I will need you to be currently aged between 18 and 35, though, and have been living in the United States at the time you had your abortion (since laws differ so much from country to country). 

If you would like to participate, please email me at before EOD Tuesday. Thanks in advance for your help.

ETA: I’ve heard from everyone I need now. Thanks so much to everyone who got in touch.

“Whatever you think is wrong with your sex life or lack thereof, you’re probably fine.”

A pithy summary of my TEDx talk. Thanks for the shout-out, hellyeahsexpositive!


Understanding the Sex Myth: Rachel Hills at TEDxLoughborough

NOTE: I am such a huge sucker for TED Talks you guys oh my gosh. This one isn’t excessively long, and it boils down to “whatever you think is wrong with your sex life or lack thereof, you’re probably fine”.

Ironically, the feminism in Unspeakable Things might just be more likely to reel in new converts than its glossier, more deliberately palatable counterparts. As a teenager, I went to an all-girls’ high school that drummed into its pupils that women could do anything. We wore purple on International Women’s Day, studied women’s history, and were presented with a parade of successful former female students. But this “girl power” feminism always felt hollow to me. It was only when I began to think about how gender influenced our everyday experiences, and saw things I had thought were personal to me put into political context, that feminism suddenly became relevant and interesting. I wasn’t drawn to feminism because people had told me it was cool; I was drawn to it because it helped me make sense of my life.

ICYMI: here’s me talking about feminism and Laurie Penny’s Unspeakable Things at The Daily Beast.