Teenage wastelands are a hot topic these days. It’s hard to miss the bevy of post-apocalyptic stories populating bookshelves, movie theaters, and pop-culture discourse; most notably, both the wildly popular dystopian Hunger Gamesand Divergent series have been massive commercial successes. They’re fast-paced and well-plotted and, at their best, authors Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth create dynamic and vivid characters whose lives crackle with high-stakes tension. But there are larger—and troubling—issues in the worlds these two series establish.
When Beyonce’s fifth studio album dropped late last year, she nearly broke the Internet. It was an epic reconnaissance commissioned by a pop queen determined to flex her might as a self-possessed businesswoman—someone who knows that her brand is dependent upon her celebrity status, and vice versa.
• Two members of Pussy Riot were attacked by a group of men while eating breakfast at a McDonalds. Video was captured of the men shooting paint into thier faces while they shouted "Go to America!" [Guardian]
On March 7, 1942, fire engulfed the simple home of 89-year-old Lucy Gonzales Parsons on Chicago’s North Troy Street, ending a life dedicated to liberating working women and men of the world from capitalism and racial oppression. On the anniversary of Parsons’ death, take a minute to reflect on the life she led.
Welcome to Ms. Opinionated, our weekly advice column dealing with questions of life, love, feminism, and pop culture. This week, Sydette Harry takes on a question about feeling like you're a "bad" feminist.
Dear Ms Opinionated,
I'm a 22-year-old female who never saw myself as a feminist. Only recently, when I started reading up on feminism on a whim, did I realise that I actually agree with many "feminist" views (e.g. wage equality, availability of emergency contraception, abortion rights and anti-rape culture).
• Facebook has announced that it will take steps to curb gun trafficking on its site by deleting posts that offer to buy or sell guns without a background check and will block minors from viewing gun listings. Anyone else totally shocked that you could even buy a firearm on Facebook or Instagram in the first place? [Mother Jones]
• Technology is a literal pain in the neck. And the only cure for repetitive stress injury (AKA too much screen time) is the answer no one wants to hear—unplug. [Huffington Post]
• Having a period just got a safer in India. After a decade of work, inventor Arunachalam Muruganantham created a machine that makes sanitary pads at an affordable cost. This is a big deal, given the statistic that 70 percent of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by poor menstrual hygiene. [Slate]
I read a lot of crime fiction. Like many avid readers, I look back at the end of the year to see which books made the greatest impression on me and share my top 10 online. This year, I was shocked to realize that this only three of my top ten reads were by women.
• South Carolina politicians are trying to punish state universities for assigning LGBT-themed books (including Alison Bechdel's Fun Home) as required reading for students. "Faculty, not politicians, ultimately must decide what textbooks are selected," responds the College of Charleston's president. [RH Reality Check]
To help GOP males avoid the egregious gaffe of saying things like “legitimate rape” this election cycle, forward-thinking House Speaker John Boehner is offering tips to fellow Republicans on what not to say to and about women. Politico reported recently that Boehner's top aides met with Republican staff to discuss how lawmakers should talk to female constituents and that the National Republican Congressional Committee has held multiple sessions to coach Republican aides on “messaging against women opponents.”