Sarah Seltzer is freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, Bitch Magazine and on the websites of The New York Times, The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and Jezebel. She once taught English in a Bronx public school, and has an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Find her on twitter at @sarahmseltzer
Obvious Child's treatment of abortion as an important moment in both the development of the main character and her romantic relationship is just one of the beautiful ways the film—a raunchy joke-fest with an undeniably humanistic heart—deals with women’s choices and power.
Much ink has been spilled in praise of Katniss Everdeen as a strong, flawed, mold-breaking heroine. But as the second Hunger Games movie storms the box office, Peeta Mellark—the baker, the nurturer, the feeder—is having his own moment. And well he should.
There are only four public, clinic-based providers of third-trimester abortions remaining in the United States. After Tiller, a documentary that opens September 20, spends time with all of them, and you should go see it as soon as you can.
It’s hard for me to know what to say about Girls. I like it tremendously; yet I think the critiques of its racial politics are valid. I want to give Lena Dunham a lecture (perhaps the lecture I delivered at grad school about being conscious of the blindness of privilege as we write) and I want to give her a hug.
Even more than that, the women in these stories have transcended being "good female characters" who subvert stereotyps into just being good characters, period; real ones, ones whose journeys we are, sometimes to a desperate extent, obsessed with.
The "heart" of Big Love has been in the question of how women survive in patriarchy, zooming in on the three wives struggling with the fundamental inequality of their relationships. But the show has lost its way.
Hermione, an always-wonderful sidekick, has moved onto center stage. Her emotions and choices, classically heroic, anchored a piece of the epic story that would have felt muddled and rootless without her.
Maddow's documentary showed us the thoughts and faces of the two groups facing off over the life and legacy of Dr. Tiller. On the one side were brave, stoic providers. On the other, frenzied, angry demagogues motivated by hatred.
Banned Books Week is always fascinating because it turns our attention to what actually is banned and challenged by school boards and parents and religious groups--and it’s almost never the truly offensive stuff.
The film isn’t a feminist rallying cry, and it certainly manages to have it both ways by making lots of jokes about sex and sluttiness without actually featuring a single female teenager who has lost her virginity.
In Mad Men, the tough women are branded sexless wet blankets, while those who use their wiles and sexuality to advance themselves can have those qualities turned against them. Meanwhile, a sense of sisterhood is hard to find.
Critics have pointed to two seemingly-valid points about the book and movie, Eat, Pray, Love. The first is that the story is a self-indulgent tale of privilege, the second that no one would complain if such a tale were written by a man.
The subject of whether, and how, to marry is never done being debated in feminist circles, so I thought I'd share my own wedding adventure and explain why and how as a pot-stirring feminist, I made the choice to tie the knot.
For those of us on the blue side of the divide, theoretically if not geographically, the Palin family saga reminds us that we’re not just fighting an abortion war, but we’re up against an entire way of life built on a deep foundation of contradiction.
Beneath the Blue-state, sexually open-minded veneer of The Kids Are All Right lies a rather solid traditional-values core, striking a blow for family integrity, regardless of exactly who’s in the family.
Recent reactions to Miley Cyrus's evolving persona stem from a media climate that doesn't know whether to treat teenagers like smaller replicas of grown women to be monitored for dangerous sexuality, or sensitive virgins who need protection.
TV's massive hit about teen sexcapades, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," premiered last week with a new potential abortion plotline hanging in the balance, and a huge audience to watch it unfold.
Anti-choicers rely on two truisms--everyone loves babies but not everyone loves women--to erase public understanding of the intimate connection between reproductive freedom for women and the well-being of wanted children.
The 50th anniversary of the birth control pill has brought a lot of complaining about its lack of perfection. Still, for many women, it remains utterly liberating and effectively keeps its satisfied users from the whole "biology is destiny" thing.
"Greenberg," Noah Baumbach's latest film starring Ben Stiller, isn't just another movie about a man-child character having a mid-life crisis. Instead it deals unapologetically with real issues, like unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
Coverage of the most recent in a series of church child-abuse scandals may indicate the gradual beginning of a shift, a willingness for media interrogation not just of religious figures, but of outdated religious ideas.
The Academy Awards are often joked about as "our" [read: women's] Superbowl. I talked with Melissa Silverstein, editor of Women and Hollywood and guru for feminist film-buffs, about what feminists should be on the lookout for this Sunday.
Favorite romantic works of art as of late? Two old-fashioned, British costume dramas: "Emma" on TV and "Bright Star" in theaters. Some say these represent
a backlash against sexual liberation but both achieve the goal of being enrapturing and romantic while subtly
critiquing conventional conceptions of love.
Two weeks ago, a DirecTV episode of Friday Night Lights very quietly made television history with a sensitive episode about abortion. As the Super Bowl approaches, with its Focus on the Family finger-wagging, we can look to FNL for reality.
The Pregnancy Pact provides a stereotypical and shallow view of teens and a false view of teen sexuality. It's another supposedly educational film made more to shock and titillate and make us feel superior to those stupid girls in Gloucester.
Big Love shows that sometimes religion is directly to blame for misogyny and that having the tenets of extreme patriarchy imbued at an early age is tantamount to a form of abuse...a pretty radical idea for a soap opera.
For many of us, the December holidays offer a chance to break from constant news and analysis and spend time at the movies! Instead, it's been spent at the movies. So how did this year's crop of movies stack up, feminist-wise?
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen pondered "Why is there no female Tiger Woods?." After a bunch of ill-researched speculation, he concludes cheating and power are linked, and makes gross generalizations about women.
Campus rape continues to be a widespread problem exacerbated by shame, secrecy, and victim-blaming. Efforts to curb rape on campus include mandatory education programs and student-led initiatives like Men Against Rape.
With the Stupak amendment literally and symbolically stripping women of equal status, the movie "Precious" presents, in grim detail, the way race, class and bias render a woman's body simultaneously invisible and subject to abuse.
In the midst of foaming-at-the-mouth at the political give-and-take in health care reform, many prominent pundits neglected to properly inform the public that Stupak's language allowed for a major incursion into women's rights.
"Fat Talk" is a ritual with a special prominence between women, in groups or pairs, and makes it more difficult to have a rational, emotion-free relationship with diet and exercise. And that's why we need to get rid of it.
Mad Men fans were shocked recently as Betty gave birth in a "twilight sleep" while hallucinating and tied to the bed. This once common practice was ended through the kind of advocacy we need to expand birthing choices today.
In the pop-cultural realm feminists are kept busy uncovering the co-opting of our own "empowering" rhetoric to perpetrate potent sexism, looking out for so-called Nice Guys and women who claim to be liberated but sell an old-school lifestyle.
"Youth Knows No Pain" is a somber, but fairly agenda-free HBO documentary that follows several Americans into the spa, the botox seat, and mostly to the plastic surgeon's office in an effort to turn back time on their faces and bodies.
Although it's a relief that the public has finally stopped
victim-blaming with Rihanna, there's little extrapolation of the lessons we've learned in this case to the larger social patterns that affect gender-based violence everywhere.
The paradox of women's glossies: They largely acknowledge our progress and rights in terms of the workplace, sexual freedom and reproductive rights, but only skim the surface of the sexist dynamics and expectations that inform those issues.
In America, abortion is always a choice "someone else" makes. But this is a myth and we need to face reality. Those who choose "the other option" aren't selfish, desperate or "someone else." They are our friends, our neighbors and, often, us.
How can so many American feminists have come out against a burqa ban in France? The answer is that singling out the burqa as the only article of clothing patriarchal enough to merit legal regulation is racist.