Jaclyn Friedman

b. 1971

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Jaclyn Friedman until we are able to commission a full entry.

Jaclyn Friedman.

Photo courtesy of JaclynFriedman.com.

Jaclyn Friedman voiced new possibilities for sex-positive feminism and a rejection of rape culture as editor of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (2009). A victim of sexual assault in college, Friedman began teaching self-defense and speaking out about victim blaming, slut shaming, and other aspects of culture that perpetuate rape. Yes Means Yes was eleventh on Ms. Magazine’s Top 100 Feminist Nonfiction of All Time list. As founder and former executive director of Women, Action, and the Media (WAM!), Friedman led a successful campaign to make Facebook classify incitements of violence against women as hate speech and remove them from the site. WAM! runs grassroots campaigns and annual conferences to promote women’s equal representation in the media. Friedman’s second book, What You Really Really Want, offered young women possibilities for exploring their sexuality while remaining conscious of their safety. She has hosted three podcasts, her current being Unscrewed, where she interviews public figures, activists, and commentators on the politics and culture of sex. The podcast was named one of the Best Sex Podcasts by Marie Claire and Esquire. In 2012 Friedman was heavily criticized by African American women for racist overtones within her article “Unsolicited Advice For Blue Ivy Carter.” Friedman issued a public apology and donated her fee to Sistersong, an activist group dedicated to reproductive justice for women of color. In 2017 she published Unscrewed, which discusses "fauxpowerment," the concept that women are taught they have sexual power without having actual power over their lives. Her 2020 Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World, co-edited with Jessica Valenti, explores the movement against sexual violence and declares that trusting women is the foundation for a better future. Friedman’s commentary has appeared in various outlets, including The New York Times, Vox, Refinery 29, The Washington Post, and The Guardian. She has spoken on campuses and at conferences in the US and beyond, as well as on numerous TV and audio shows. She is also the founder and executive director of non-profit EducateUS: SIECUS In Action, which works to build a movement for progressive sex education policy and implementation. As of 2023 she has also been active in the Jews Against ICE movement.  

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jaclyn Friedman." (Viewed on May 27, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/friedman-jaclyn>.