BODY POLITICS

Ally Matas

My Body Hair Made Me Hate the Skin I'm in

13-years-old: I get up to get some paper from the cubbies in the front of the classroom and a boy follows me. He loudly asks me why Indian girls are so hairy. I stare at him, shocked, wanting to disappear. He presses on, telling me all brown girls are unattractive and he's only ever met one girl hairier than me. He tells me her name, as though I'd know her. I turn around and ignore him until he goes away. The whole class is quiet -- no one sticks up for me. I learn what it's like to hate your skin. Really, really hate it.
Terry Richarson

Why "Sex-Positive" Feminism Is Negative For Me

I didn't realize that I wasn't a virgin until the day, after coming home from Grade 1, I finally worked up the courage to ask my mother what sex was. I remember experiencing a strange sinking feeling as she calmly described to me some vague approximation of the terrifying ritual which a group of older boys I knew had been forcing me to perform with them for some time. When I started to become acquainted in later years with the world of feminist activism, I immediately felt alienated by the ways in which mainstream feminist movements approached things like sexual empowerment and body acceptance. Almost 10 years later, the face of popular, "sex-positive" feminism seems to have changed very little.