How to Write a Protest Letter

Article by Jennifer L. Pozner, appeared in issue Obsessions - 9 left!; published in 2007; filed under Activism.

You flip to your local Clear Channel station to find a shock jock “joking” about where kidnappers can most easily buy nylon rope, tarps, and lye for tying up, hiding, and dissolving the bodies of little girls. Reuters runs an important international news brief about a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for an alleged sexual infraction—in its “Oddly Enough” section, where typical headlines include “Unruly Taxi Drivers Sent to Charm School.”

Tree So Horny

Tree So Horny
Article by Rebecca Onion, Illustrated by Corey Pierce, appeared in issue Hot & Bothered; published in 2006; filed under Activism; tagged advertising, beauty standards, environmentalism, porn, sex.
Can Sex Sell Environmentalism?

What you think about Fuck for Forest, a Berlin-based website that lets subscribers watch videos of environmental activists doing the nasty, depends in part on what you think about porn as a whole. If you think it’s liberating, empowering, and fun for the folks involved, then you can feel good about supporting an organization that channels its massive earning potential toward worthy antideforestation efforts—unlike regular internet porn, the dollars you spend aren’t paying for the gold plating on some smarmy webmaster’s hot tub.

L in a Handbasket

L in a Handbasket
An interview with Kate Clinton by Aimee Dowl, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Activism; tagged comedy, gay, humor, Kate Clinton, lesbian, politics.
Kate Clinton's Politics of Funny

Kate Clinton has been called the lesbian Jon Stewart. Her fans, however, prefer to think of Stewart as the straight Kate Clinton. Her career as a political humorist spans several White House administrations, but the current regime has offered her, like most liberal comedians, endless material for both her onstage comic monologues and her monthly columns for the Progressive and the Advocate.

Five Conversations About One Thing - Joe Kelly

An interview with Joe Kelly by Ayun Halliday, Illustrated by Photo of Halliday by DA Photography, appeared in issue Masculinity; published in 2005; filed under Activism; tagged advertising, Ayun Halliday, daughters, fatherhood, Joe Kelly, magazines, media, New Moon, parenting.
Years ago, Joe Kelly noticed a Maidenform ad reading “Inner beauty only goes so far” on the side of a city bus, and was hor­­ri­fied to imagine one of his young daughters as the subject of it. As one of the founders, with wife Nancy Gruver, of New Moon: The Maga­zine for Girls and Their Dreams, an award-winning, youth-edited publication, Kelly was well aware that the relationships between girls and their fathers hold an importance that’s too often dismissed or overlooked.

Ladies First

Ladies First
Article by Noy Thrupkaew, appeared in issue Pink; published in 2002; filed under Activism; tagged activism, feminist activism, Ladies Against Women, Phyllis Schlafly, Reagan.
It was 1984. Ronald Reagan was running for reelection and Phyllis Schlafly—conservative gadfly, ardent foe of the Equal Rights Amend­ment, and self-identified "little homemaker"—was presiding over a fashion show at the Republican National Convention in the sweltering heat of a Dallas August. As a giant eagle ice sculpture dripped water off its tail feathers, Mrs. Jack Kemp, Mrs. Trent Lott, and Mrs. Jesse Helms sidled down the runway in furs and jeweled gowns to the cheers of 1,300 Republican women. The announcer then displayed a three-foot pachyderm made of mink, cooing, "For those of you who think you have every kind of elephant."

A scene like this doesn't need much help parodying itself. But Schlafly had a little boost from some of her most dedicated "followers": the Ladies Against Women (LAW). Outside the fashion show, a group of ruffled, frilled, and flounced women (and a few men) in white gloves and pillbox hats passed out a Consciousness-Lowering Manifesto that, as the Washington Post reported, included such action items as "Restore virginity as a high-school graduation requirement" and "Eliminate the gender gap by repealing the Ladies' Vote (Babies, Not Ballots)." LAW welcomed new recruits, but only if they brought pink permission slips signed by their husbands.

The Collapsible Woman

Article by Vanessa Veselka, appeared in issue Fighting Back - Sold out!; published in 1998; filed under Activism; tagged media, mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, rape, recovery, sexual abuse, victimization.
Cultural response to rape and sexual abuse

the collapsible woman—one model of mental health for an uncountable number of individuals. She is too weak to hear debate, too soft to speak openly about her experience, and too fragile to expect much from. This definition doesn’t come close to accounting for the grit and character that can be found among us.

Scrambled Signals

Article by Rivka Ketzel Solomon, Illustrated by Hugh D Andrade, appeared in issue Fighting Back - Sold out!; published in 1998; filed under Activism; tagged activism, childhood, comics, family, gender roles, media, second wave, socialization, tv, tv women, why pop culture matters, Wonder Woman.
Rivka Ketzel Solomon reflects on a childhood defined by her parents’ activism, Ms. magazine, and TV

When i was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, it didn’t matter that my parents were some of the earliest feminist leaders on the East Coast, that I grew up watching their activism from up close, or that I saw them live (not just profess) equality between the sexes. It didn’t matter that I was a girl hooked on Ms. magazine from the very first year it was out, that I regularly flipped through my mom’s copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves, or that I ravenously collected Wonder Woman comic books.

Why Don't We Do It on the Road?

Why Don't We Do It on the Road?
Article by Kira Garcia, published in 1990; filed under Activism; tagged Michelle Tea, on tour, poetry, Sister Spit.
The traveling spoken-word gang Sister Spit started five years ago as a weekly open mike where grrrly-type poets and performers could ply their trade at San Francisco bars and coffeehouses. In 1997, co-ringleader Michelle Tea, author of the charming and intimate memoir The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, and her partner-in-crime Sini Anderson, who has rocked poetry scenes from subway stations to Lollapalooza and everywhere in between, kicked off the annual Sister Spit Road Show. Every spring they determine the tour lineup by drawing from a hat filled with the names of women whose writing they like. The randomly chosen few pile into vans and take off across the country, unleashing new-school, girls-only poems and stories armed with heartbreak and humor (and the occasional striptease) on rabid fans and hapless victims everywhere.

Of course, tours need roadies. You know, drive the van, sling t-shirts and books, and try not to get drunk before you count the money. The day I met Michelle, she "just had this feeling" that I was destined to be the roadie for Sister Spit's 1999 Road Show. Um, give up my professional summer internship behind a desk editing copy in exchange for a few thousand miles in a caravan of rowdy, punk-dyke poets? Hell, yes.
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