A smutty book guide for first-time erotica readers to seasoned spice fans

By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young

I love a good book that makes me curl up under a blanket, spend the afternoon in, and… reach for my vibrator. We’re talking smut, babes, so buckle up. Bodice rippers, erotica, chick lit, spicy books, naughty fanfiction—whatever you’re reading, erotic literature has a long history of giving women a safe space to explore their sexuality and get off.

The thing about fiction is it allows us to escape into fantasy, and fantasy is a great place to explore our sexuality. In mainstream media—movies, male-written books, porn—women are more often than not depicted with a lack of agency over their bodies and own sexuality.

“In the media, representations of sexuality are still mostly white, cisgendered, and heterosexual,” said Chelsea Reynolds, an assistant professor at California State University Fullerton studying sex in media told Mashable in 2018. “For many, fanfiction represents an important site of resistance, sexual exploration, and identity transformation.” (Humble brag, Reynolds was a mentor to my student magazine in college and she seriously rocks. Hi Chelsea!!)

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Babe Monthly: What’s happening in Texas and what we can do about it

By Emily Park

At Catcall, we’re all about turning catcalling on its head and calling out the patriarchy with stories that inspire the shes, theys, and gays and highlight the work that needs to be done to dismantle systemic inequalities. 

We put together Babe Monthly to highlight the major headlines, stories, and stats—good and bad—in feminist news that have surfaced over the last month. The mission of this monthly column is to highlight the challenges we face in the fight for women’s, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC rights, while uplifting and empowering our readers with the work that’s being done—and the amazing people who are doing that work. 

These last couple of weeks have been some of the most challenging weeks in the reproductive rights movement we have experienced in a long time. While we usually spend a couple of hours scouring headlines for the best feminist news that has come up in the last month, it’s hard to focus on anything but the abortion ban that went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1.

Banning abortions from taking place around six weeks after conception—before many individuals even know they are pregnant—the Texas law doesn’t include any exemptions for cases of rape or incest. The law is the strictest abortion ban to go into effect in the United States.

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New National SASH Club Program Empowers Youth to Confront Sexual Harassment and Assault

By Nicole Mitchell

When I was in high school, I was sexually harassed. This boy, a year older than me, would follow me around school daily, which made me uncomfortable. One time I even remember him pretending to drop something so he could look up my skirt. Actually, I wasn’t the only person he did that to. There were plenty of other young high school girls going through the same thing because of this person. At the time, there was nothing I could do about it. I was confused and had nowhere to go.

This has to change, and thankfully, there are programs being put in place that will help young people understand what sexual harassment really is and take a stand against it today. Stop Sexual Assault in Schools has created and launched its new initiative SASH Club to empower youth ages 13+ to take action against sexual harassment and assault.

SASH Club provides a set of free online, ready-to-use tools on their website for teens of all genders, races, ethnicities, and orientations to start the discussion and educate themselves and others about sexual harassment and assault, support survivors, and make real change in their schools and communities.

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I can’t come. What have my antidepressants done to me?

By Nicole Mitchell
Illustrations by Kelcie McKenney

I have chronic “white coat” anxiety—I am terrified of doctors and medical offices. Pair that with the somatic symptoms that come with my anxiety, my heart disease, and other illnesses I’ve had to deal with, it’s been quite a ride—especially when the pandemic hit.

After months of suffering with chronic stress hives, panic attacks, severe cleaning routines for my body and apartment, refusing to go outside, and absolutely avoiding everyone, I decided it was time to try antidepressants.

The good news? They worked! I’ve been taking them since October 2020, and I’ve only had one panic attack since then. And those stress hives? Disappeared. 

The bad news? Once I was on those meds, I couldn’t come. And I lost my sex drive, which changed the whole dynamic between my boyfriend and me.

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Badass Babes: Wendy Doyle — CEO of United WE on women empowerment and policy changes

By Nicole Mitchell
Photos by Justina Kellner

Wendy Doyle is passionate about supporting women of all backgrounds, and she champions that passion through United WE, an evidence-based organization that works on systemic policy changes supporting women. Currently, Doyle is the president and CEO—a position she’s held for eight years—but she’s been working with the organization, starting as a volunteer, for nearly 25 years.

And a lot of work can happen in 25 years. Prior to her time at United WE, Doyle worked for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas as the executive vice president where she helped many single women find support. It was in that position that she began volunteering with United WE—which at the time was called the Women’s Foundation. In 2013, Doyle stepped full time into her current role where she keeps on giving—seriously giving—from supporting financially to attending events and starting new projects for the company, she does it all.

“If we can systematically solve some of the policy challenges, this would make a great impact to these women who are needing basic services,” Doyle says.

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