Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, educator and activist, and creator of three 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 latest, Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and 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 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 U.S. 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.