Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, performer, and activist, and the editor of the hit book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (one of Publishers’ Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009, and #11 on Ms. Magazine’s Top 100 Feminist Nonfiction of All Time list).
Her new book, What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety, was published in November, and was recently named a finalist for ForeWord’s Book of the Year Award in Women’s Issues. (Read reviews here.)
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.
Jaclyn’s article “Drinking and Rape: Let’s Wise Up About It,” originally published by Women’s eNews in February 2007, was reprinted in several major online outlets and has become a popular reference for new thinking about preventing rape without shaming or blaming women. The article – and the public response to it – was the inspiration for Yes Means Yes.
In 2010, Friedman helped redefine the concept of “healthy sexuality” with two landmark pieces: the interview “F*cking While Feminist” and the highly personal polemic “My Sluthood, Myself,” which together inspired thousands of responses and explorations across the blogosphere and beyond. Her insistence (including in Yes Means Yes and her new book What You Really Really Want) that authentic sexual liberation is a necessary condition to end the systemic sexualization and violation of women led Lyn Mikel Brown (Co-founder of SPARK and Professor of Education and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Colby College) to call her “this generation’s version of Dr. Ruth.”
Friedman is a popular speaker on campuses and at conferences across the U.S. and beyond. She has been a guest on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, the BBC, Democracy Now!, To The Contrary, and numerous other radio and television shows, and her commentary has appeared in outlets including CNN, The Washington Post, The Nation, Jezebel, Feministing.com, The American Prospect, and The Huffington Post. She is a SheSource expert and a Progressive Women’s Voices alumna, and was named one of 2009’s Top 40 Progressive Leaders Under 40 by the New Leaders Council. Friedman is a founder and the Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media, a national organization working for gender justice in media. Friedman also holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College.