A confession: I wasn't going to write about The Thing. Everyone else, it seemed, had their think pieces written this past Sunday night, and I couldn't imagine what else there was to say about The Thing that everybody else hadn't already said.
But, as I watched the video of The Thing—and I assume you've figured out that I'm talking about Beyoncé's closing act of MTV's Video Music Awards, her performance of "Flawless" in front of a screen on which the word “FEMINIST” glowed in neon white—I realized that this was, in many ways, one of the reasons that Bitch was founded back in 1996: this was a moment that proved that popular culture is a crucial locus of feminism.
Perhaps it's true that were Christy Mack not well-known as a porn star and tattoo model, this wouldn't be such big news to begin with. But coming on the heels of very recent headlines about domestic violence, sparked by a video showing Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of an Atlantic City elevator—hell, coming on the heels of every media account of domestic abuse ever—it makes sense to be wary of how the media will handle this story.
A new collection of essays about fatness came out this spring: Queering Fat Embodimentis an academic book that looks at numerous perspectives on fatness, culture, and identity. We're publishing an excerpt of from final chapter, "Fashion’s 'Forgotten Woman’: How fat bodies queer fashion and consumption," by Margitte Kristjansson.
In sci-fi classic The Handmaid's Tale, women's bodies are controlled and seriously policied by society.
We can all agree that fetal alcohol syndrome is a tragedy. But although American public awareness campaigns about the dangers of drinking while pregnant have good intentions at heart, recent media initiatives have deployed tactics that shame moms while ignoring bigger issues. Instead of helping improve the lives of women and kids, these public action campaigns veer into borderline Handmaid’s Tale territory.
Remember when Kanye West cut off Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs? As Swift launched into her acceptance speech for Best Female Video, West ran onstage and grabbed the mic away from her and said, “Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’m gonna let you finish, but I’m sorry, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.” Both Beyonce and Swift looked stunned.
Last August, the Army private now known as Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison. A day after the trial, Manning announced plans to undergo hormone therapy and begin public life as a woman. Her coming-out shone a light on a population that media rarely discusses: transgender women in prison.
I have a fat, accordion-style file folder—each section stuffed with mangled envelopes from across the country—full of heavy-hearted, handwritten letters from women I’ve never met. Shaylanna, Venus, Prada, and Eva: every letter flaunts the industrial, pre-stamped return address of a state prison, and every signature is a transgender woman living in a male facility.
Last week, the internet lit up with news of a phone number that would text you back bell hooks quotes. The two creators of the "feminist phone intervention" see the project as a mix of activism and art—people can give out the phone number to people trying to pick them up or they can just text the number for a little dose of wisdom during the day.
I was well into my thirties when my partner of six years and I signed ourselves up for parenting. And I mean signed up literally. Since we are in a same-sex partnership, we didn’t have the benefit of sperm whenever we wanted, so we opted for the foster care/adoption route.