Activism

Are Literary Awards Biased Against Books About Women?

The VIDA count has exposed persistent gender disparities in prestigious literary publications’ bylines — but what happens once books are published, sent into the world, and made ready for critical consumption and evaluation? Does a bias remain? Novelist Nicola Griffith set out to answer to this question by looking at the genders of both author and subject in the Pulitzer Prize, the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Hugo Award (for science fiction and fantasy) and the Newbery Medal (for children’s literature) in the past decade and a half. And what she discovered goes even deeper than a byline… Read More

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Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem’s First Book in 20 Years Will Document her ‘Life on the Road’

Gloria Steinem—the activist, journalist, and nationally recognized leader and spokesperson for the feminist movement in the late ’60s and early… Read More

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J.K. Rowling Aims Her Hilarious and Crucial Twitter Ire at Westboro Baptist Church

J.K. Rowling was one of many celebrities to show support of Ireland’s decision to legalize gay marriage. She… Read More

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Teaching Trigger Warnings: What Pundits Don’t Understand About the Year’s Most Controversial Higher-Ed Debate

When Kyla Bender-Baird was an undergraduate a decade ago, a gender studies lecture she was attending ended with an incident she’ll never forget: a visiting professor played a rape victim’s graphic 911 call. Then the class was dismissed and, she says, everyone went home dazed and had “messed-up dreams” that night.

Although the professor apologized at the next session for failing to place the recording in appropriate context and give students adequate time to process it, Bender-Baird kept the incident in mind when she became a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, teaching sociology courses to undergraduates. Now, she includes a note at the end of her syllabus,that reads, in part:

It is my goal in this class to create a safe environment in which we examine our assumptions… Discomfort can be part of the learning process as we are challenged to shift our paradigms. I invite you to sit with this discomfort. However, if the discomfort starts to turn to distress, I want you to take care of yourself. You can withdraw from an activity or even leave the classroom.

… Read More

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Michael B. Jordan’s Human Torch, Furiosa’s Feminism, and the New Identity Politics of Super-Mainstream Cinema

Arguments over identity politics are familiar on the Internet and in classrooms, but now they’ve made inroads from message boards to the previews and actions sequences of major blockbuster films. Today, different ideological groups are duking it out over individual characters in super-mainstream pop culture, either using them as avatars of their points of view or rejecting them as avatars of an insidious progressive agenda. Whether it’s MRAs freaking out about the feminism of “Mad Max” or racists reading a black Human Torch as a symbol of the ultimate affront of the Obama era, inclusive strains in new films have outraged social conservatives. Yet simultaneously, progressives are pushing hard for directors and studios to continue making their big-budget films even more accurately reflective of their devoted fandoms, in all their diverse glory. … Read More

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The Particular Horror of Hearing Creepy Stories About Famous Men Who Should Know Better

Between Gawker publishing rumors that beloved comedian Louis C.K. has a tendency to expose himself (and I don’t mean emotionally) to women in the comedy world and today’s BuzzFeed piece alleging that a well-known TV character actor most recently seen on Mad Men acted inappropriately in the publication’s offices, it’s been a banner week for learning that a few male celebrities whose work addresses sexist and downright creepy behavior… may also practice that behavior. … Read More

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Jay Z and Beyoncé Secretly Donate Thousands to Bail Out Baltimore and Ferguson Protesters

Jay Z and Beyoncé have, supposedly, been secretly shelling out thousands of dollars to bail out incarcerated protesters in… Read More

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The Hollowness of Mother’s Day: John Oliver and Hillary Clinton Point Out That What Moms Really Need Is Paid Family Leave

Mother’s Day has been criticized for as long as it’s been popular — not because it’s a bad thing to celebrate mothers, per se, but because of what the Hallmark holiday doesn’t even attempt to achieve. … Read More

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Miley Cyrus Collaborates With Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace on “Androgynous,” Gets Celebrity Activism Right With Happy Hippie

This morning on Facebook Miley Cyrus posted a video for her collaboration with Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace, a cover of The Replacements’ “Androgynous.” Apart from being a thoroughly enjoyable three minutes of music, the video also marks the launch of a Cyrus-spearheaded foundation to aid homeless LGBT young people. As Stereogum noted this morning, “The mere fact that this video exists is pretty amazing, and so is its reason for existence.” … Read More

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Saying Goodbye to the Gendered Toy Aisle

As one half of a boy-girl set of twins, I have strong memories of splitting up from my brother so we could each hit “our” toy aisles, the pink one and the other one. I loved the dolls I found in the pink aisle, but had the unusual advantage of knowing I could play with anything from the other aisle, too. Sharing was the only option in our household. So after birthdays I always had plenty of action figures, LEGO kits, plush footballs, water guns, and other non-pink paraphernalia to explore along with my dolls and My Little Ponies. … Read More

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