It’s that time of year, and I, for one, am glad. It’s easy, when you do this kind of work, to get mired in all the horrible things that need to change, like, two decades ago, and to miss out on the fact that we’ve actually got a lot to celebrate. Here, in no particular order are a few of the things that are making my gratitude list this year:
-I’m thankful that Emma Thompson responded to the petitions of feminists and withdrew her name from the list of famous Roman Polanski apologists. And I’m even more thankful that Caitlin Hayward-Tapp and everyone at Shakesville had the vision and optimism to inspire her to do it.
-I’m thankful for Glee, despite its flaws, for continuing to be such an unabashedly sex-positive show. And for being so freaking fun to watch. And I’m thankful for Precious, despite its flaws, for presenting the story of an abused young black woman who manages to transcend her brutal circumstances without a makeover or a man. And for introducing us to the fantastic Gabby Sidibe, whom I hope to be seeing a lot more of on my movie screens in the near future.
-I’m thankful that Tucker Max’s movie bombed at the box office. For a ton of reasons, but primarily because that means we probably won’t get a sequel, or a bunch of copycats.
-I’m thankful that Amanda Hess started writing her The Sexist column for the Washington City Paper, because she makes me laugh and makes me think and makes me feel so much more sane and generally cuts through epic amounts of BS on the regular. The only part of me that’s not thankful for her is the part that’s jealous of how good she is.
-I’m thankful that congress passed The Matthew Shepard Act, which expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and that Obama signed it.
-I’m thankful that Obama cut all funding for abstinence-only education from his 2010 budget. I am far from thankful that the Senate has put it back in. I’d be thankful to you if you called your senator and demanded that it come out again.
-I’m thankful to all of the leaders at CounterQuo who are working together to challenge the way we as a culture respond to sexual violence. I learn from them every day.
-I’m thankful that the book I edited with Jessica Valenti, Yes Means Yes, Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, has sparked so much inspiring discussion about enthusiastic consent, female sexuality, and how to stop rape, and I’m thankful for Jessica and all of our amazing contributors and everyone else who made it possible. This time last year, it would have been impossible to imagine that our little book would become a course at Colgate University, or be selected by Publishers Weekly as one of their Top 100 Books of the Year. And I never would have known how encouraging it would be to get to travel the country talking to hundreds of young people who are already fired up and ready to do what it takes to change the culture for good.
-I’m thankful that over 75% of MA voters support passing a law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing, and public accommodations. And I’m even more thankful for the work that the Mass Trans Political Coalition has done in getting such a bill introduced in the state legislature. I’d be even more thankful if the state legislature would stop "studying" it and actually debate it and vote it into law. And those legistlators would be thankful, too, because a majority of voters in MA say that they’re more likely to vote for their legislator if their representative votes for the bill.
-I’m thankful that Rihanna has decided to turn the horrible thing that was done to her into a way to stop other girls from facing the same violence. Because she didn’t have to.
Above all, I’m thankful for everyone here at Amplify – and you better believe that includes YOU – for daring to believe not only that we deserve so much better than the sexual culture we’ve got, but that we can do things every day that bring us closer to the healthy, safe, pleasurable world we deserve.