The first line of Virginie Despentes' King Kong Theory (written originally in French as King Kong Theorie and then translated into English) is:
"I am writing as an ugly one for the ugly ones: the old hags, the dykes, the frigid, the unfucked, the unfuckables, the neurotics, the psychos, for all those girls that don't get a look-in in the universal market of the consumable chick."
The female condom. No one talks about it, no one uses it - it's just one of that group of contraceptives, which includes the sponge and the diaphragm, that everyone sees as outdated and useless. Hormonal contraceptives are considered the high-tech, modern method of birth control and they dominate the market. But lately the male condom had been taking back its share of the conversation – the New York health department launched a new design for the condoms they distribute, Lady Gaga is pushing her own brand and President Obama has not only overturned the condom-hating actions of the last administration but put millions of dollars into research on men's attitudes towards them – and all this is paving the way for the female version to make a comeback.
For a long time, one of my favorite vegan thinkers has been A. Breeze Harper, author of the Sistah Vegan website/blog and now the author of her newly released book of the same name—out this month! Harper also contributes to the Vegans of Color blog—see my last post for a Q&A with the blog's founder—and perhaps not surprising when you consider her blog/book's name, her work centers on the intersections of racial identity, gender identity, and veganism in the U.S.
I was lucky enough to attend a SXSW screening of Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet, a documentary about chiptunes, an underground music form that uses hardware from old video game consoles, like classic Nintendo Game Boys and NESes, to create new, original music. Most of this music bears little resemblance to 8-bit video game music (except, of course, for the sound quality); it's more like bright, happy amped-up techno, the kind of music that makes you feel like you're going on an adventure. Reformat the Planet tracks the creation of Blip Festival, a four-day chiptune extravaganza that happens in Brooklyn and features artists from all around the world. The movie is just 82 minutes, but is packed with great live footage, interviews and insights into the chiptune-making process.
No matter how subtle and cerebral – or in the case of Lewis Carroll's 1865 tale, wonderfully meandering and weird – the original story, these days, Hollywood will figure out how to transform it into an action movie.
It's somewhat of a running joke in feminist circles that, while awesome, a PhD in Gender Studies doesn't exactly bring in the big bucks. Well, Jenny Hagel is looking to change that (or at least the character she plays in her new web series, Feminist Rapper is). In the first episode, "A Lady Made That," a frustrated Gender Studies professor learns how to rap to try and get her students excited about the historical contributions women have made to society. A catchy rap that rhymes a'ight with Margaret Knight? A clueless student who confuses Judge Sandra Day O'Connor with Judge Dredd? A freestyle rap over the credits about Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony? (Seriously don't skip the credits because that freestyle is awesome.) I am already anxiously awaiting the next episode.
People unfamiliar with veganism—and hell, even people within animal rights movements—tend to think of vegan and animal advocacy issues as predominantly white concerns. It's a fair accusation that white privilege is rampant in AR movements and that many animal rights groups are constructed in homogeneous ways—because generally speaking, it's true.
One of my favorite blogs has always tackled issues of animal rights and race in tandem, as their tagline explains, "Because we don't have the luxury of being single-issue." Johanna Eeva, founder of the increasingly popular, always informative, and thought-provoking Vegans of Color blog, recently corresponded with me about the site and the challenges of deconstructing interlocking oppressions in an online forum.