"One male friend said that I couldn’t do it because my husband’s business partners would see, and one asked how my sons would feel when they grow up [they are seven and nine]. But both arguments were about the men in my life, and I thought they weren’t reason enough to stop me as an artist, a woman and a feminist."

United front: breasts without the airbrush »

Photos: Laura Dodsworth

Although 99% of American women have used birth control, most women don’t know what should be covered by health insurance.

A handy guide.

gif via Giphy

“Don’t get too high and mighty, ladies. Don’t step out of line. Don’t do anything to upset or disappoint men who feel entitled to your time, bodies, affection or attention. Your bared body can always be used as a weapon against you. You bared body can always be used to shame and humiliate you. Your bared body is at once desired and loathed.”

What I’d love to see is this new crop of celebrity feminists strongly coming out in support of social justice issues: using their newfound (or quiet but long-standing) politics to create change influenced by that gender justice lens.

Jessica Valenti: Beyoncé leads the way for other women »

When did women get the right to inherit property and open bank accounts? How long did it take until women won the legal right to be served in UK pubs?

Our timeline traces women’s financial rights from ancient societies to the present day

Leading supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment march in Washington, 1979. Photo: Dennis Cook/AP

“Those boys took my body and they broke it. And so, when I ate, I got to make my body into what I wanted it to be, which is a fortress”

Roxane Gay, “the bad feminist”, is 39 now, and over the last 18 years she has published countless pieces of fiction and non-fiction, only to find herself described in recent months as an overnight sensation. This tickles her; she thinks of herself as a shy person, and when you praise her work, a self-conscious hand rises to cover her eyes and smile.

» Read the full interview 

Roxane Gay: meet the bad feminist

She likes pink, will dance to Blurred Lines, occasionally fakes an orgasm … and worries that the sisterhood would not approve. America’s brightest new essayist talks about the dark side of her fierce, funny writing 

Read the full interview • Extract: the bad feminist manifesto

Photo: Jennifer Silverberg for the Guardian

“Denying that women are a victimized class is simply wrong. What else would you call a segment of the population who are systematically discriminated against in school, work and politics? How would you describe a population whose bodies are objectified to the point of dehumanization? Women are harassed, attacked and sexually assaulted with alarming regularity in America and around the world, and now even more of them live in states where, if pregnant, they can be refused medical attention or arrested for refusing C-sections.

People who are on the shit end of oppression are oppressed. Accurately describing this is not a matter of politics, but of truth.”
Feminism makes women ‘victims’? I think you’ve mistaken us for the sexists, my latest at the Guardian (responding to #WomenAgainstFeminism)
“Female voters in the US have been called “soccer moms” and “security moms”. In 2004, single women were “Sex and the City voters”. Now – because apparently women can’t ever just be “citizens” or “voters”, or more likely because conservatives prefer to call us names instead of delving too deep into women’s issues – we are “Beyoncé voters”. Bow down, bitches.

Most single ladies would generally be thrilled with a comparison to Queen Bey in any way, shape or form, but the cutesy nicknames for politically-engaged women need to stop. Surely pundits and the political media culture can deal with the collective electoral power of the majority voting bloc in this country in some better way than symbolically calling us “sweetheart”, complete with head pat.”
Jessica Valenti: Nick-naming women ‘Beyoncé voters’ is exactly why we don’t vote Republican

This portrait was removed from a major gallery after it was deemed ‘pornographic’. Why does women’s pubic hair cause such outrage? asks Rowan Pelling

It seems retrogressive, bordering on insane, that any corner of the art crowd should view a lush lady-garden as offensive at a time when celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow talk about sporting a 70s vibe, while the writer Caitlin Moran writes about “finger-combing” her “Wookiee”. Read more

Portrait of Ms Ruby May, Standing by Leena McCall.