On Sunday, November 17th, the British author Doris Lessing died in her home in London at age 94. Lessing’s writing and life were exemplary—she held herself and society to a high standard—and if you were searching for a woman writer who might serve as a role model, you certainly could do much worse.
Lessing was a writer who refused to let others define her, and insisted (much earlier than most) that women’s inequality was part of a larger, all-encompassing problem of inequality in the world. She is one of only 13 women who have ever received the Nobel Prize for literature.
What does the future hold? Afrofuturists explore this question using various creative mediums (including science fiction, visual art, and a lot of great music) as both an artistic aesthetic and an expression of critical race theory, imagining the future and reexamining the past with the lens of African diaspora. As author Ytasha L. Womack says, “Afrofuturism is where the past and future meet.”
It feels like everyone is rooting for Allie Brosh. The 28-year-old Hyperbole and a Half artist and writer has holed up in her bedroom for the past four years, churning out unique webcomics that have come to define a modern style of internet storytelling. Brosh is both extremely talented and wildly self-effacing—she surprises millions of readers with how deep a punch her colorful stick figures can pack.
Now, Brosh’s favorite comics and some new, unpublished ones have been collected in a book from Simon and Schuster. I talked with Brosh as she rode in a car through San Francisco, squeezing in interviews while her book tour hits the road.
Now in its third year, Short Run is a women-owned arts organization in Seattle that celebrates small press in all its forms, from zines, comics, art books, and more. We have events planned all throughout November, leading to a spectacular book fair at historic Washington Hall on Saturday, November 30th with over 120 writers and artists in attendance.
Bitch asked us to put together a list of our favorite small press artists from the festival. Grab a copy of these wherever you can find them!
Thinking about being a witch for Halloween? Consider forgoing the warts and pointy hat for a more historically accurate costume—like dressing up as Joan of Arc and Anne Boleyn.
Throughout the ages, women who transgressed societal norms have been named witches and faced punishments like imprisonment and death. Author and artist Lisa Graves tells their misunderstood stories in History’s Witches, a engaging 32-page book for kids released by Xist Publishing last month.
The title of Samantha Geimer's memoir The Girl feels both cynical and right. For the past 35 years, we've known Geimer as "the girl" in the internationally infamous Roman Polanski rape case. She was "the girl" the film director got drunk and assaulted when she was 13, "the girl" who was alternately shamed in headlines for being promiscuous or held up as a powerless victim. Finally, decades after the 1977 assault, Geimer has published her own take on the incident and ensuing media and legal firestorm.
Pessl's salability had been remarked upon over a year before the book itself was published: a conventionally attractive thin young white woman, a Barnard grad, a debut novelist, an "actor, writer, and dancer." It's no wonder, many observed, that Viking paid well into the six-figures for the book.
Historically, the birth control pill is revolutionary. Today, it's nearly mundane. In the 50 years since its approval, the Pill has radically changed contraception, placing it directly in the hands of women, changing the way they plan their lives, the way conduct their relationships, and—of course—the way they have sex; in 1993, The Economist named the Pill one of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World." Now, it's part of the everyday lives of 10.5 million American women.
That's not to say that the birth control pill is not beyond reproach.
For the last four years I have been researching and writing about abortion rights and access, the latest trends in laws meant to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the politicians and activist groups pushing laws meant to ban abortion and even birth control itself. Frequently, people ask me if I get depressed (yes, sort of), how I keep up with it all (Google, RSS feeds, wine), and how I always know so much about what abortion opponents are thinking.
The answer to that final question is simple: I read right-wing literature. A lot. Everything they write.
If your sexual education was anything like mine, every few years you and your peers were rallied into crowded classrooms, separated by gender, and were schooled on the happenings of your body. By the time you were in high school, you may have been fortunate enough to receive some vague and heteronormative information about STIs and how abstinence is the best (and only) form of birth control. Problematic? Yeah.
Saiya Miller and Liza Bley thought so, too, and compiled a collection of comics over the course of five years to educate others on sexuality in a far more inclusive and honest manner. The comics and stories are frank and real, free of the sugar coating that pervades the typical two-day sexual education courses rampant in U.S. public schools.