Posts by Nancy

First They Came

The Shame that Doesn’t Belong to Me


He was my boyfriend. I was 17. I lied to my parents about having a sleepover at my friend's house so I could instead stay out all night with him and friends. We rented a room at a local motel so we could have a place to hang out and drink and have fun. I remember drinking some kind of hard alcohol straight up, poured about a third of the way up a red Solo cup. My boyfriend encouraged me to drink it. I looked up and stared at a spot on the ceiling as I choked it down, feeling a little muscle twitch under my left eye. It was nasty, but I tried to just chug the stuff without tasting it as best I could.


The next thing I remember, I felt really drunk. The room was spinning. I felt unsteady on my feet. I was slurring. And then my boyfriend wanted to have sex. I don't think any other people were in the room at the time, but I'm not entirely sure. I don't remember consenting ... not like I had the ability in that state anyway. What I do remember is him undressing me, him on top of me, him flipping me over and moving my limp body around, him essentially masturbating with my body, and me feeling more like a rag doll than a human being.


After that night, I felt disappointed and hurt. But I didn't completely blame him. I mean, I chose to drink. I chose to let myself get that drunk. He was my boyfriend and he claimed he loved me. We'd had sex before. He was a guy, so of course he'd want to have sex. I didn't say no (I don't think I did, but I'm not sure). I didn't know that that was rape. I blamed myself and made excuses for him.




He was my coworker. I was 19. He was cute and cocky, and I had a little crush on him. But he never paid much attention to me. It was his last day of work, and a group of us went out to party and say goodbye. The more I drank, the more interest he showed. Several of us ended up going back to another coworker's apartment. We started making out in a bedroom. I was pretty wasted. He kept pushing, but I resisted. I just wanted to make out, nothing more. I didn't believe in casual sex. I wanted to be in love first. That wasn't what he wanted. I remember us getting kicked out of the bedroom. We ended up on the living room floor, still making out. He kept trying for more. I must've continued resisting because I remember him repeatedly telling me, "Relax. Relax." Clearly I wasn't. I remember him putting on a condom and having sex with me as he continued telling me to "relax."


He promised to call the next day. Of course he didn't. I felt used. I tried to tell myself that it wasn't a big deal, that lots of people have one-night stands. Who could blame him? I was a willing participant in making out, even if I wasn't enthusiastic about having sex. I mean, I chose to drink that night, and I chose to make out with him. Maybe I led him on. Once again, I blamed myself and made excuses for him.




Yesterday, I heard a woman talk about being grateful that nothing bad ever happened to her when she was drinking in her younger years, and how she felt lucky considering the "situations she put herself in."


I used to agree with that idea. I no longer do. I now recognize that I have been sexually assaulted on more than those two occasions while I happened to be intoxicated. I spent years minimizing what happened -- other women had it much worse, I didn't scream or fight so it must not have been that bad, it was more subtle than a blatantly violent act, etc. Instead, I blamed myself for putting myself in those situations and I internalized that shame.


But that stops now.


I will no longer take on shame that does not belong to me. The shame belongs to the men who CHOSE to take advantage of me in my weakened state, who PREYED upon that weakness, who felt ENTITLED to do what they wanted with MY body, who treated me as an OBJECT for their enjoyment. I will no longer blame myself (or other women) for "putting themselves in situations." I will no longer excuse bad male behavior as "boys will be boys." Men need to be held accountable for assaulting women no matter how much we've been drinking, no matter what we're wearing, no matter what situations "we put ourselves in."


I don't give a shit if a woman is naked and blacked-out drunk. NO ONE has the right to sexually assault her. And I'm fucking sick of the onus being on women to take all sorts of precautions to somehow "avoid" being assaulted instead of putting that responsibility where it belongs -- on men who feel so fucking entitled to take what they want.


I will no longer blame the victim, including myself. I will no longer take on the shame that belongs to someone else.


Roe v. Wade & Bodily Autonomy

The Jezebel Effect: Why the Slut Shaming of Famous Queens Still Matters

[Note: This is a guest post by Kyra Cornelius Kramer about her new book, The Jezebel Effect: Why the Slut Shaming of Famous Queens Still Matters.]

  When someone mentions Jezebel, what are they usually talking about? I’ll bet you little green apples to emeralds that they aren’t discussing the fact she was a powerful Phoenician princess and diplomat who opened up ancient Israel to Mediterranean trade. Nope, she is remembered as a makeup wearing harlot who married King Ahab, a woman so naughty even her very name became synonymous with “slut.”  

She is far from the only strong female ruler remembered more for bogus slanders than for real accomplishments. When people think of Cleopatra, most remember her for asses’ milk baths and seduction, not the fact she offered refuge in Alexandria to the Jewish peoples fleeing Roman oppression. When the topic of Catherine the Great comes up, people are more likely to remember the falsehood that she died during sex with a horse than the fact that she was the first ruler to coax her populace into being inoculated against smallpox, saving thousands upon thousands of lives. Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, is unfairly and erroneously remembered as a homewrecker, not a woman who was relentlessly pursued by the king and had little choice but to eventually agree to marry him. Henry VIII’s fifth queen, the young and vivacious Katheryn Howard, is remembered as a dimwit who couldn’t keep her skirts down, not as a victim of a Renaissance honor killing. None of these women are remembered for facts -- they are immortalized as evil feminist snakes in the patriarchal paradise.  

The Jezebel Effect: Why the Slut Shaming of Famous Queens Still Matters exposes the lies about these female rulers, and tries to drive away the dark myths surrounding them with the light of historical truth. The book points out that Jezebel was a grandmother whose son and grandson were just murdered by the man who ordered her thrown out a window to her death; he had a vested interest in tarnishing her memory. Cleopatra was a queen fighting for her nation, and she held off Roman imperialism using every means at her disposal, including using her body as a way to seal peace treaties. Catherine the Great was a despot, but an Enlightened one determined to bring education and roads and hospitals to a country sorely lagging behind the rest of Europe. Anne Boleyn was a woman forced to wed her stalker, and she was the driving force behind the English language Bible. This queen’s biggest sin was actually to be stronger and smarter than most of the men around her. As for her cousin, Katheryn Howard, this young woman was murdered for the iniquitous crime of having slept with one man -- her long term boyfriend -- before she caught King Henry VIII’s eye.  

Why are these women remembered as trollops rather than troopers? Why are their accomplishments and victories elided, and their deaths celebrated? Why is their sex life fictionalized or exaggerated and used to slut shame them?  

These famous queens aren’t called sluts because they were promiscuous -- only two of them could even boast serial monogamy, let alone promiscuity. The only one of these rulers to have multiple lovers was Empress Catherine, and even then she was romantically involved with only one man at a time, often for a duration of several years. No, these queens aren’t called sluts because of who they did -- they are called sluts for whatthey did. Like all forms of slut shaming, it has very little to do with a woman’s actual sex life. Boss queens were not slut shamed because they had sex with men; they were slut shamed because they behaved like men. They had power and autonomy and changed their sociocultural environment. That’s the true crime for which they are have been historically slut shamed as punishment. Slut shaming is just the means to the end of disempowering these rulers.  

The Jezebel Effect isn’t just about correcting historical misconceptions and exposing the lies about some of history’s most dynamic female leaders, although that is certainly a worthy goal. It is also about the larger issue of gender ideologies and slut shaming as a whole. One of the ways that cultural norms about gender, the understanding of the “way people should be,” is transmitted and solidified in the public mind is by official history. A shared understanding and belief in history is a key part of the construction of social identity. What cultural message does it send when the strongest women in history are almost always portrayed and rewritten as sluts? Gender ideology is often implicit, and the way history depicts women is one of the major ways of culturally messaging how women SHOULD behave.  

Moreover, The Jezebel Effect attempts to show how historical slut shaming is used to replicate slut shaming in the modern era. Don’t think there is a connection between Anne Boleyn and GamerGate in 2014? Ah, let me sing you a song that says otherwise! In The Jezebel Effect, I have attempted to spell out the link between slut-shamed queens and the sociobiological arguments of gendered stereotypes, discrediting women, the glass ceiling, and rape culture. From Shirley Temple to Wikileaks, I try to reveal the way the cultural tapestry is woven, so every woman can see the hidden picture in the fabric. Strong women are slut shamed, then as now, for the audacity of being strong, rather than anything they actually do with their bodies.  

That’s what I want more people to know. That’s why I wrote the book.  

About the Author:

Kyra Cornelius Kramer has degrees in biology and anthropology from the University of Kentucky, and a graduate degree in medical anthropology from Southern Methodist University. She has been published in several peer reviewed journals, including The Historical Journal (Cambridge) and the Journal of Popular Romance Studies. Her first book, Blood Will Tell: A Medical Explanation for the Tyranny of Henry VIII, was a #1 best-seller on Amazon. She is an American living in Wales with her husband, three daughters, and several yappy wee rescue dogs. You can read her blog at, keep up with her on her Facebook author page, or follow her on Twitter @KyraKramer. Her book, The Jezebel Effect: Why the Slut Shaming of Famous Queens Still Matters, is available on Amazon.      

Sexism in Politics

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Now Open

--- Shop Beauty Is Inside ---

I've designed a line of jewelry with feminist messages! These pendants are a great way to express yourself and they also make awesome gifts. A portion of net profits from this collection will go to organizations that help improve the lives of women and girls. Each purchase not only gives back to charity, but it also supports my efforts in helping women find the beauty and strength within. Here's the inspiration behind it ...


In the description for each pendant, you'll find related quotes by awesome women. Hopefully the messages in these pendants along with the messages from some of my readers will inspire you.

Feminist Jewelry, Empowering Jewelry, Inspiring Jewelry, Feminist Gifts

As seen in Buzzfeed:

19 Gifts That Will Make Your Daughter Feel Awesome About Herself

--- Shop Now ---



The Beauty Is Inside Shop is now open!   Feminist

Street Harassment & Power


Female Uprising


Bodily Autonomy

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 5.30.24 PM

Coming Soon: Shop Beauty Is Inside!

ComingSoon_Jewelry                                       I'm excited to announce that I will be adding a Beauty Is Inside Store to the site (coming soon)! You probably don't know this, but when I'm not busy fighting the patriarchy, I run my own business designing handcrafted jewelry! That line is wine-inspired, so I decided to expand and develop another line -- feminist jewelry and accessories -- which I'll be exclusively offering here! My upcoming book, If Beauty Is Inside, Why Do We Hate Our Guts? will also be available in the store upon completion of the book.   Stay tuned for the grand opening! ... In the meantime, feel free to check out my other jewelry line! I make handcrafted, wine-inspired jewelry out of repurposed wine corks, reproductions of my wine-themed paintings paired with chandelier crystals, and other related pieces like grape clusters and clay leaf pendants. I've found that it's a great way to use all the wine corks I've collected while running this website and my social media pages. Fighting sexism really makes a woman thirsty! ;) SaveSave

In 2090 …

I've recently seen this meme circulating around social media, so I decided to fix it. Having lost my beloved grandmother this past year, it gives me even more perspective. If I found a photo of her like the one on the right, I would be thinking, "Alright! You go, Grandma!" I would be excited to see the family resemblance, how we share a similar body shape or bone structure. I would be feeling connected to her and wondering what she was like as a younger woman. I certainly wouldn't be objectifying her or judging her attempt at trying to feel attractive. I wouldn't be ashamed or embarrassed of her like this meme is implying a grandchild should feel.   It makes me sad that the ones I've seen sharing this meme are other women. Come on, ladies. We can do better than this. There's enough misogyny in the world. We don't need to participate in it ourselves. :(   Something else to consider for those who take issue with the photo on the right: in a society in which women are routinely objectified and treated as if our bodies are our most valuable attribute, is it any surprise that some of us might internalize that to a degree and just want to feel like we're one of the beautiful ones too?   2090

40,000 Fans on Facebook!

If you're not following Beauty Is Inside on Facebook, you might want to head on over there! We just celebrated 40,000 members! I post more regularly over there. You'll find hundreds of thought-provoking images and articles, and you'll have the chance to participate in the often lively discussions. Come join us! :)   40,000 FANS!!!

Take the Pledge

Biden                             Take the pledge here:

Chimamanda on Feminism

Chimamanda2                   Excerpt from her article for The Guardian.

Halloween IS Scary!

In the past several years, Halloween has morphed into something really scary. Not because of the blood and gore, creepy decorations, or traditionally spooky costumes, but because of how it reinforces the cultural narrative about women.   Halloween used to be the day when you could put on a disguise and pretend to be someone else for the night. For women, it could be a reprieve from the daily pressure to look thin, beautiful, and sexy. But instead of a day off from that pressure, Halloween is now a day to amp it up. Nearly every option for women is a sexy take on a traditional costume, from fetishized caricatures from porn to the totally absurd, such as the Sexy Hamburger, the Sexy Crayon, the Sexy Skittles, the Sexy Sponge Bob, and the Sexy Nemo (the clown fish from Finding Nemo). I just ... I ... have no words:                     But it's not all just harmless fun. Even child characters in fairy tales have been made into sexed-up costumes for women, e.g., Sexy Little Red Riding Hood, Sexy Goldilocks, and Sexy Alice in Wonderland. (See more examples here).                       In addition to fairy tale characters, here are a few other ways for women to dress up as sexy little girls -- the Sexy Girl Scout, the Sexy Schoolgirl, and the Sexy Baby (WTF is wrong with people?!):                       What's so troubling about these costumes is that:
"... [M]any of the 'sexy' costumes are highly sexualized versions of characters who are supposed to be little girls ... The fact that many women dress up as sexy little girls points to both the sexualization of female children and the infantilization of adult women."  
  The sexualization of girls teaches them early on that their value lies in their appearance, their bodies, and their sexuality. The American Psychological Association found that sexualization damages girls' feelings of self-worth, impairs their mental functioning, and contributes to eating disorders. In other words, it fucks girls up. The infantilization of adult women reinforces attitudes that women should be treated as naive, dependent, and incapable of making intelligent decisions or holding leadership roles. In other words, it fucks women over.   Another disturbing trend in sexy costumes is linking sexuality with violence. Here are some creepy sexy costumes, such as female versions of horror movie serial killers -- Sexy Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Sexy Jason (Friday the 13th), and Sexy Michael Myers (Halloween). I guess the Sexy Body Bag (seriously, who comes up with this shit?!) fits in here as well :/ :                   Of course, many Halloween costumes are intended to be frightening or gory, but turning a male horror movie killer that often targets scantily-clad female victims into a scantily-clad female horror movie killer has some interesting connotations. Horror movie killers tend to murder (punish) the sexually open "whores" early on, while the good girl "virgins" often escape (reward). Underlying the sexy female killer is a misogynistic fear of female sexuality and power -- it threatens conservative social attitudes about women owning our sexuality and our bodies. It also sparks our own conflicted feelings about sexuality or our insecurities about other women being competition or threats. Since all of these fears are uncomfortable, they must be buried or "killed".   Clearly, there are lots of "sexy" costumes for women, but those for men are a bit different. This Tumblr page has tons of examples of the same costume idea, but different versions for him and her. The differences are quite striking when you look at them side-by-side. His costumes are typically silly, while hers are always sexy. Here are his-and-hers versions of Tigger, Skunk, Firefighter, and Astronaut:                                       Making sexy versions of non-sexy characters like Tigger or Skunk invariably make sexiness cross into absurdity. However, sexing-up women's costumes of traditionally male careers, such as Firefighter or Astronaut, is another breed of animal. First, how could women realistically fight fires in a mini-skirt, garters, and fishnets or work in zero gravity in a mini-skirt and a top that low-cut? The answer is that they can't. And that speaks to deeper cultural beliefs about what women should and shouldn't do. Underlying sexy costumes such as these are sexist beliefs about a woman's place in society. Women taking on traditionally male roles is treated as absurd in itself, and the only way to make it okay is to sexualize it. This reinforces beliefs that we're primarily sexual objects and that we don't belong in certain careers or positions of power unless we're there to support men.   So far, we've only looked at sexy costumes for women, but men have a few choices as well: the Breathalizer (Get it? You "blow" into that straw between his legs), the One Night Stand, and the Pimp (Parents -- make sure to teach your sons early that women are "hos" to exploit for money and status!):
              There's obviously a discrepancy between men's and women's sexy costumes:
"... [W]hen women go sexy for Halloween, it usually means being seen as a sex object for others.  When men go sexy, it means joking about how men should be sexually serviced, have access to one night stands, or being in charge of and profiting from women’s bodies.  A different type of 'sexy' entirely."  
  That's it. I'm skipping Halloween. These are all just too scary for me. :/

Amy Schumer


Lewis’ Law

Sometimes I get cheerful messages from fine young gentlemen like this on the Beauty Is Inside Facebook page. Lucky me! This is how I dealt with a recent one. As Lewis' Law states: "Comments on any article about feminism justify feminism." Yep. I'd have to agree with that. :/ Eminem

Chely Wright on Political Correctness


Rape Prevention Poster

I've seen this rape prevention poster with the added commentary circulating around social media lately. I decided to fix it.   RapePoster

OK Cupid

My cousin just had this lovely exchange with a guy on OK Cupid. She said they had just started chatting. He first told her she was beautiful, she said thank you, she asked how his week was going ... and then this is how the conversation progressed.   She certainly dodged a douche. :/   OKCupid

Sandra Bullock



Ilana and Abbi from Comedy Central's "Broad City" have the perfect response to a random stranger telling them to smile. :D



Barbara Mikulski

Barbara Mikulski

Annie Lennox


I Voted …




Saying No


Lauren Bacall

Sadly, we lost another movie icon today. RIP Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)


Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014)  


Teach Consent While They’re Young

"Little Boy Gets Rejected, Doesn't Understand Rejection And Gets Pushed Over By Little Girl": In this 2-min video, the little boy keeps going in for a hug and the little girl keeps pushing him away. Repeatedly. This would've been a perfect opportunity to teach the boy about consent and that no means no. Instead, the parents film this interaction for 2 minutes and post it to youtube. While they presumably find this "cute" or "humorous" behavior at 2 or 3 years old, it's teaching damaging lessons to both the little boy and the girl. This won't be so cute when they're older.

  (I'd recommend muting the sound - it's just goofy, annoying music.)


Keith Olbermann

Political commentator Keith Olbermann goes off on the NFL's acceptance of sexism and violence against women. This rant comes after the league punished Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice with a mere slap on the wrist -- a two-game suspension -- after he knocked out his girlfriend then dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator.



  Watch the video:  

Sharon Stone


Keira Knightley


NOW President Terry O’Neill


You Don’t Have to Be Pretty


Jackson Katz


Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014) This phenomenal woman truly showed that when beauty is inside, it shines outside too. Maya   (Quote from Huffington Post)

Warsan Shire


Adult Supervision?

A Facebook friend posted the original version, so I decided to fix it.


Maya Angelou


Olivia Wilde


Police Detective Shares Insight on Sexual Assault

A significant aspect of a culture that condones rape is teaching women how to avoid being raped instead of teaching men not to rape. Rape prevention is treated as women’s responsibility, and we're taught early on about how to take precautions so that we can allegedly guard ourselves against it. Inevitably, discussions about sexual assault devolve into victim-blaming. What was she wearing? Why did she drink so much? Why did she go back to his place if she didn't want to have sex? The focus shifts to whether a woman acted or dressed in such a way that she provoked the man's lust (because boys will be boys, right?). Therefore, if a woman dresses provocatively, she's essentially provoking a man to take advantage of her -- she's "asking for it." Lieutenant Joe Kenda, retired police detective and host of the television documentary program, "Homicide Hunter," sheds some light on what really causes sexual assault.


Eva Mendes


Emma Thompson Is Taking Her Heels Off


Zoe Saldana


Helen Mirren


Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington

Getting “Emotional” Over the Paycheck Fairness Act

  Via Huffington Post:

"Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) ripped apart the stereotype that women are 'too emotional' on Wednesday, moments after Senate Republicans blocked a procedural motion to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act. ...

  "Mikulski sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would cut into the gender pay gap by holding employers more accountable for wage discrimination against women. An effort to begin debate on the measure failed 53-44, with all Republicans and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) voting against the cloture motion. All Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted in favor of advancing the bill.

  "Mikulski's comments were not just directed toward her Republican colleagues, but were also a thinly-veiled shot at former CIA director Michael Hayden. On Sunday, Hayden suggested that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was 'too emotional' to have produced a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's use of torture post-Sept. 11."


Mindy Kaling

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