Educator, activist, author
Jaclyn Friedman is an educator, activist, and creator of three hit books: Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (one of Publishers’ Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009), What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety, and her newest, Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power & How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All. Her podcast, also called Unscrewed, is paving new paths to sexual liberation, and was named one of the best sex podcasts by both Marie Claire and Esquire.
As an undergraduate, Jaclyn thought she was too smart to become a victim of sexual assault – until another student proved her wrong. That experience eventually led her to become a student and instructor of IMPACT safety training. At IMPACT, she helped bring safety skills to the communities which most need them, including gang-involved high school students and women transitioning out of abusive relationships.
Friedman’s work has popularized the “yes means yes” standard of sexual consent that is quickly becoming law on many US campuses. In her latest book, Unscrewed, she calls on the movement for women’s sexual liberation to move past individualistic “empowerment” messages (for which she coined the term “fauxpowerment”) to focus on collectively transforming the systems and institutions invested in keeping women sexually servile. Kirkus called it “a potent, convincing manifesto,” and Kate Tuttle, president of the National Book Critics Circle, called it “the book we need right now.”
Friedman is a popular speaker on campuses and at conferences across the US and beyond. She has been a guest on the Today Show, Nightline, PBS News Hour, the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, and numerous other radio and television shows, and her commentary has appeared in outlets including The New York Times, Vox, Time, The Washington Post, Glamour, and The Guardian. Friedman is a founder and the former executive director of Women, Action & the Media, where she led the successful #FBrape campaign to apply Facebook’s hate-speech ban to content that promotes gender-based violence. Friedman also holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College.
WHAT YOU REALLY REALLY WANT: HOW TO PURSUE A REAL SEXUALITY IN THE REAL WORLD
Friedman explores the intersections of sex and safety. Our culture bombards women and girls with mixed messages every day: we’re supposed to be innocent virgins who excel at stripper-pole workouts; we’re failures if we don’t act sexy, but we’re sluts if we pursue sex. Friedman separates fear from fact, allowing participants to build new skills for safely expressing that sexuality with lovers and explore effective ways to learn how to make the world safer for everyone else’s sexuality along the way.
HOW TO STOP LETTING THE SYSTEM SCREW US ALL
Much of the anxiety and fear women in our country feel around issues of their sexuality stems from forces that are not their fault, but are side effects of our toxic culture. In what Friedman calls our modern “era of fauxpowerment,” our culture and institutions give women the illusion of sexual power, with very little actual power to support it. Friedman breaks down the causes and signs of fauxpowerment in media, politics, education, religion, and more, giving audiences tools to make positive change toward a culture that supports genuine sexual sovereignty for all.
SANE, SAFE, STRONG: CREATING A SAFE AND HEALTHY SEXUAL CULTURE FOR YOUR COMMUNITY
Based on her hit book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, she connects the dots between how culture shames women for expressing their sexuality, how the media uses empty images of female sexuality to fuel sales, and how rape is allowed to function in society. Friedman leads an interactive discussion about the ways you and your campus or community can create a culture that makes sexual violence rare, clear, and swiftly punished.