Her gorgeous performance as Rue from The Hunger Games attracted a cascade of racist responses on social media, but now teenager Amandla Sternberg is becoming a public voice on the topics of race and culture, thanks to a Tumblr video that has gone viral. In a few short, well-produced moments, Sternberg answered one question that American media consumers and creators fail to understand, and raised another that we’d all do well to seriously consider. And she did it all as history class project, with the help of a friend. … Read More
Breaking news! An Italian explorer will be living in a giant ball atop an iceberg for a year! Studio Ghibli has released a U.S. trailer for When Marnie Was There! The Time 100 was released and has already become a work of found poetry! Sarah Jessica Parker is coming back to HBO with a new comedy called Divorce, which the network just gave a series order! Hyperbole aside, the real breaking news is that the North River Lobster Boat is coming back to New York this summer—May 1st, specifically—with 45-minute long Hudson River cruises, replete with booze and Maine lobster rolls, AND secondly that Ben & Jerry’s is releasing the Brrr-ito, a giant ice-cream stuffed wafer of goodness, notably on 4/20. … Read More
Jemima Kirke, who plays the troubled Jessa on Girls, had an abortion when she was younger. Because she felt she couldn’t tell her mother about her pregnancy, she struggled to pay for the procedure, foregoing anesthesia to lighten the bill. She tells the story in a new video for the Center for Reproductive Rights. Her quiet and powerful testimony has kicked off an interesting debate about the power of storytelling, and celebrity story-sharing, in changing the currently dismal climate for reproductive rights. … Read More
Today is Equal Pay Day, and you don’t have to approve of Patricia Arquette’s poorly considered Oscar-night comments to get behind her push for gender pay equity, which is far from a realized goal in America. The pay gap directly or indirectly affects most workers and their families: women in the US working full-time make only 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, while it gets worse when compounded with racial inequality: a Latina woman earns only 56 cents to that dollar. … Read More
Yesterday, Boston mayor Marty Walsh declared that today (April 9) would be Riot Grrrl Day throughout the city, in honor of feminist punk icon Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, The Julie Ruin). A proclamation signed by Walsh reads, in part: “The Riot Grrrl philosophy has never felt more relevant, with misogyny still rampant in many cultural spaces… Riot Grrrls redefine the language used against them and continue to fight the newest incarnations of patriarchy. In doing so, they ironically confirm one ex-congressman’s accidental wisdom: ‘the female body has ways to try to shut that down.’ It sure does: women’s voices telling their stories can shut that down.” … Read More
Until the cellphone video was released by his family to the media, the story of Walter Scott’s death at the hands of a South Carolina police officer named Michael Thomas Slager appeared to be just another example of American justice quietly miscarried. Police statements assured local newspapers that the killing occurred after a struggle, and the lede of a Post-Courier story read: “A North Charleston police officer felt threatened last weekend when the driver he had stopped for a broken brake light tried to overpower him and take his Taser. That’s why Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager, a former Coast Guardsman, fatally shot the man, the officer’s attorney said Monday.” … Read More
The controversial Rolling Stone piece about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, “A Rape on Campus,” has been in the news once again, after the magazine officially retracted the story and published its report on “what went wrong” with the piece.
There’ve been few tangible repercussions so far. Despite the fact that Rolling Stone published a piece of journalism that was the result of leaning on one woman’s debunked testimony, there will be no high-profile firings at this point. Yet the clearest response to the destruction left in the piece’s wake may be from the Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, who announced that they will sue the magazine for libel. … Read More
Today’s release of the annual VIDA count, for literary magazines and book reviews, puts me in mind of a literary gender avenger version of Santa Claus coming to town, weighing whether children (aka magazines) have been naughty or nice. In this case, the question is less how magazine editors have behaved in school, and more how aggressive they’ve been in counterbalancing their blind spots by mindful solicitation of and interest in female writers.
And the judgment of who’s getting coal in their metaphorical stockings is up to us, the readers of these publications when presented with VIDA’s pie charts. We’re encouraged by VIDA to email the editors with praise or disapproval, and we can also help the magazines rectify the situation — encouraging agents, pitchers of book reviews, publicists and writers to do their part and put underrepresented writing forward for consideration. … Read More