'Tis the season to stress out about making and buying presents for all the people you love. Here at Bitch, we're going to put together fun gift guides over the next two weeks to highlight the work of artists, designers, and groups that we love. You don't have to go out and spend a ton of money on presents, but if you are shopping around, it's nice to have ideas of great creators and organizations to support.
Artist Adam J. Kurtz's internet joke shop is full of funny little items—I like this bizarre golf pencil version of "the pen is more powerful than the sword." You get three pencils for only $1 and they're perfect for writing notes in books.
We had a lot of fun making this music video at the Bitch HQ here in Portland.
Dawn Jones from Hearts+Sparks Productions, our creative, nimble, and thankfully patient director, donated every minute of her time and talent. As did dedicated musician A Severe Joy, who wrote and recorded this tune just for Bitch. Volunteers streamed in to our office to help with everything from taping down light cords to back-up dancing. Someone lent us a cantankerous fog machine. A staff member precariously perched herself on top of a filing cabinet and waved a flashlight for a low-tech spot light.
It's that time of the year again... time for the new print issue of Bitch magazine! This winter, our long-awaited Food issue is hitting mailboxes and and newsstands around the world. (Not hitting yours? Subscribe today!)
We're so excited to share this issue with you (so excited that in Portland we're throwing a party—and you're invited!). We've got 80 pages filled with tasty morsels: from celebrity chef TV, to art so good you could eat it, to the politics of the food labor movement. There's a lot to sink your teeth into, and we've posted a few articles online to get you interested.
Soleil Ho shares a personal essay about cultural appropriation and cuisine in "Craving the Other." Activist and spoken word poet Kay Ulanday Barrett shares his thoughts on how food can build community in "Food from the Cusps." We've got an interview with the hilarious Samantha Irby, who discusses her new book Meaty in "Eating Out." We've got a discussion of the bitter-tasting sexism of the specialty coffee industry,"Steamed Up." And last but not least, Lindsay Zoladz delves into the 1960s teen girl group She.
In the pages of our new fall issue, Gray, we celebrate the spectrum of thinking in the gray areas—where complex logic is key to understanding nuanced issues "from science to sports to smut," as we wrote in our call for pitches. What you see here is the result of both of us taking some risks, and taking the time to read between the frames.
I never knew it was a man's world! I never accepted that. I thought I had an education just as good as a man's. I deserve to have the same opportunities and advantages. So I antagonized a lot of people, but I fought for women's rights and blacks' rights and civil rights. Discrimination against women was very bad. There was noreason to accept discrimination. No reason.
In Laughing It Off, Katherine Leyton watches her female friend perform a stand-up joke about being sexually assaulted. That marks the beginning of her investigation into what it means when women tell rape jokes:
Every time a guy like Tosh or Morril turns rape into an easy punch line, it gets harder to believe that male comics who perform (or defend) these kinds of jokes don't understand the pervasiveness of rape in America or the devastation it causes. Women comprise 90 percent of rape victims in America—we are, as a group, oppressed by rape.
But when the oppressed joke about their oppression, different rules apply. Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, Phoebe Robinson, Nikki Glaser, Lisa Lampanelli, Lena Dunham, Whitney Cummings, and Tina Fey are just a few examples of the female comedians who have performed or written jokes about rape—what compels them?
In Safe Words, writer Megan Lieff looks into the history and current controversies around antirape activism in BDSM communities. From the piece:
One thing that the BDSM community has always been great at is having frank conversations about consent. These conversations were standard for many in the BDSM scene long before "Consent is sexy" became the stuff of slogans. And while kinksters may not always be markedly better at practicing consent—rape still happens in BDSM, and anyone who tells you something different has an agenda—we have traditionally been great at explaining why consent really matters and why everyone should care about it.
We've all seen the problems with how Hollywood makes movies. In Back in Black, Emily Hashimoto looks at a little-known list of unconventional films that Hollywood insiders think should be made. The so-called Black List could help reshape the movie industry:
It's an insight into the workings of powerful entertainment circles and a harbinger of what we can expect to see in both movie theaters and the pop culture zeitgeist. Take Juno. Despite its faults, it brought us a young woman unashamed of and unapologetic about her sexuality, from a writer who prides herself on writing roles for women who "get to do more than play Adam Sandler's wife." When the list works—meaning, when it delivers on its promise to shine light on "unconventional" projects—we get films that deviate from the norm, particularly those about women. Juno may be the most well-known example, but the list has delivered other Bechdel Test–passing, three-dimensional portrayals of women in the past few years. Moreover, many of these films have been penned by women, such as Lorene Scafaria's Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz, Shauna Cross's Whip It, and Maggie Carey's The To Do List. Other Black List projects like Snow White and the Huntsman and The Hunger Games, though not penned by women, have added to the canon of female characters who defy convention.
I turned to readers to help choose the elements of our Pulp cover—a cover that we're pretty sure is part of the reason that issue has already sold out. But for Micro/Macro, I found myself looking inward, and the design became much more personal than I expected or wanted.
• "If you happen to be seriously wounded, there is a temptation to hope not to survive, because you cannot afford to be wounded." Italian journalist Francesca Borri elucidates the terrifying realities of freelance war journalism. [Columbia Journalism Review]