Activism

Bold, Beautiful Photos of Gender Non-conforming People

“Gender bender” is an offensive and generally awful term for transgender people, but it’s one that’s being reclaimed by activist Jacob Rostovsky and photographer Dusti Cunningham for a new project called Genderbent, a series of portraits and videos of people who don’t conform to conventional gender roles. The project is being crowd-funded at Indiegogo, and as per the description there, it aims to “showcase the beauty of those who have custommade and bent gender to make it their own.” Cunningham’s portraits certainly do an excellent job in this respect — they’re striking, bold images that portray beautifully the spirit and identity of their subjects. … Read More

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Everyone On the Internet Needs to Read ‘The People’s Platform': An Interview With Astra Taylor

Do you use the Internet? Then you have to read Astra Taylor’s The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, one of the most important books of the year. In it, Taylor (a writer, activist, and documentarian whose films include Zizek! and Examined Life) argues that the promised utopia of online culture is built upon a lie; in reality, the amorphous mass that we call the Internet is actually a place of great inequality, where the people’s interests are in hock to corporations and billionaires who just go by different names these days, whether it’s Google, Apple, or other Silicon Valley monoliths. Taylor is a clear-eyed writer and a provocative thinker, covering the shifting grounds of how the Internet changes and affects today’s culture, from journalism to music. It makes you very wary about having a Facebook page. I had the chance to talk to her about what we can do to create a sustainable Internet culture, and whether institutions like the library can survive. … Read More

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What Critics Who Want Us to Ignore “Microaggressions” Don’t Understand

“We may wish for a world in which people say only kind things about each other, but until we get there, we should not take umbrage at every negative note or adjective that is employed.” That’s the straw-man argument put forward by venerable sociologist Amitai Etzioni in a Tuesday op-ed for The Atlantic‘s website. Titled “Don’t Sweat the Microaggressions,” Etzioni’s piece follows a more evenhanded New York Times article (“Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions’“) and another skeptical take by linguist and sometime cultural commentator John McWhorter (“‘Microaggression’ Is the New Racism on Campus“). Etzioni and McWhorter, who’s quoted in the NYT writeup, share a common view towards the concept of microaggressions that could charitably be described as dismissive. … Read More

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Gloria Steinem on HBO’s ‘Paycheck to Paycheck': “We Should Be Mad As Hell”

If there’s anything to be taken away from the HBO documentary Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert, it’s that as a country, America — the ideals and opportunity that our very constitution is based on — has failed. Our failure is detailed in Paycheck to Paycheck, directed by Shari Cookson and Nick Doob and produced through Maria Shriver’s new project The Shriver Report, which portrays the life of a 30 year-old woman and member of the working poor, Katrina Gilbert. From March 17-24, Paycheck to Paycheck will be available for free viewing on HBO.com, ShriverReport.org, and YouTube. … Read More

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10 Women in Wikipedia: Meetup/Art And Feminism You Should Know

Wikipedia has changed the way we hunt for and gather our information, but it’s not a bible of knowledge. There are countless figures absent from the online records, especially when it comes to women, which is something that the Wikipedia: Meetup/Art And Feminism group continues to rectify. Participants add to Wikipedia’s database, with a focus on female artists and cultural figures. These Wikipedia Edit-a-thons are a crucial form of “feminist information activism.” A recent event found more than 90 new Wiki articles added and over 70 expanded and improved. Here are ten women whose works you should know about. … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: Masha Gessen on Telling Pussy Riot’s Story and Russia’s War on Gays

The trial and imprisonment of three members of the activist collective known as Pussy Riot captivated the world. It is a story of the Russian government treating these radical women like dangerous criminals who threatened to shatter the nation’s already-shaky foundation. The spectacle of holding the trio — Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich — in a glass cage while they stood trial for performing a song in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior that begged, “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, chase Putin out, chase Putin out,” seemed, at best, totally absurd to those of us who don’t live in Russia. Yet what people outside of Russia actually know and understand about the whole story remains a bit murky. For instance, as I write this, a number of outlets and people are reporting and tweeting that “Pussy Riot” will be “playing” in Brooklyn at the start of February for an Amnesty International concert. … Read More

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Pussy Riot: Freed

Not even a year after their arrest in Moscow, the Russian government is finally set to free notorious punk activists… Read More

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London Activists Protest Economic Injustice by Projecting Giant Penis on Gherkin Building

Members of the art collective Shift//Delete have succeeded in projecting a wanking penis onto one of the most prominent fixtures in the London skyline. A video of the intervention, after the jump, testifies to a persistently successful partnership between radical politics and giant, public renderings of the male anatomy. … Read More

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#OccupyGezi and the Branding of Global Revolution: What Does “Occupy” Mean in 2013?

If you’ve been following Twitter over the last few days, or reading the news (in certain outlets, anyway), you’ll no doubt be aware of the ongoing protests in Istanbul against the Turkish government. Specifically, you may have noticed the #OccupyGezi hashtag cropping up repeatedly, and wondered how the Occupy movement has spread to Turkey. Or has it? The use of this Occupy “branding” by protesters in Istanbul raises all sorts of fascinating questions, foremost amongst them being this one: given that “Occupy” has become the banner of choice for pretty much anyone who considers themselves anti-establishment and/or to be operating outside mainstream channels, has it become so widely used that it doesn’t really mean anything any more? And does that matter? … Read More

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