The pile of great new comics next to my bed has gotten dangerously high. It’s seriously teetering and about to collapse on the cereal bowl that I should have moved days ago. The problem is that artists and small publishing houses have put out a bunch of excellent comics in the past few months—here are seven of my recent favorites that focus on female protagonists or deal with queer and feminist themes.
The cast of the new Flowers in the Attic remake are looking deadly serious.
Like many twelve-year-olds in the 1980s, I read the dirtiest book I could get my hands on: Flowers in the Attic. The V.C. Andrews title was published in 1979 and I read every paperback in the five-book series so many times, the covers fell off. And I wasn’t alone: Flowers in the Attic sold over 40 million books. V.C. Andrews went on to write a number of other series; when she died, a ghostwriter took over. To date, over 50 books bear the name V.C. Andrews.
Ever notice how anger helps a man command a room, but it often has the opposite effect for women?
While the former comes off as passionate, the latter is often remembered as emotionally erratic, an outcome predictable enough to make any woman angry. (Can someone say vicious cycle?)
But there may be a way out, if a new book by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut is any indication. In Compelling People, the authors posit that what makes individuals captivating is their ability to communicate both strength and warmth, but they recognize that it's a fine balance—and that balancing act is trickier for women.
Street harassment has been part of my existence since I was a young teenager, but it wasn't until I was in graduate school in 2006 that I even learned the term "street harassment." I found the term on the website of the Street Harassment Project (founded in the early internet days of 1999). When I learned the phrase, I was so relieved: there was a name for what I experienced. There were other people who hated it, too.
• There's no question that feminism has never had the best PR, but this Rebranding Feminism contest, which seeks "creative" geared toward advertising, seems...problematic. Do we want feminism to be a brand? [Vitamin W]
• Dave Eggers' new novel, The Circle, is a fictional account of a young woman working her way up in the seductive, all-consuming headquarters of a prominent social network. It sounds an awful lot like Kate Losse's book, The Boy Kings, a nonfiction account of her five years working at Facebook—only Eggers' is already being heralded as the successor to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
• The recent stories about Julie Chen's eyelid surgery and Marissa Alexander's arrest and jail term have underscored an infuriating truth: The bodies, faces, and expressions of women of color are "read," and subsequently treated, far more suspiciously than those of their white counterparts. [Salon]
• Just in from the Department of Ideas We Can't Believe Someone Actually Had: A 12-year-old girl was made to play a slave in a historical reenactment that was part of a field trip. Her parents are now complaining, although I would like to believe "complaining" is accompanied by "opening a can of legal whoop-ass." [Colorlines]
• From the Fat Experience Project and Friend of Bitch Stacy Bias comes this illustrated story of one of the many actual humans in the faceless statistics about childhood obesity. It may break your heart a little, but don't let that stop you from sharing it. [Fat Experience Project]
Ghosts get a bad rap. But the stories we tell about spirits reveal what our cultures fear and value. In this show, Bitch Creative Director Andi Zeisler and literary ghost expert Jessica Jernigan look at how female ghosts from The Conjuring to Beloved can't escape gender roles. Plus, we talk with Jamie Holding-Eagle of the Red River Seed Library about how special corn seeds preserve the spirit of her great-great grandmother.
"Orange is the New Black" (OITNB) premiered on Netflix on July 13 and I, like many others, settled down with a family sized bag of Sun Chips to unapologetically binge-watch the entire season that very same Saturday. It struck me how many people on the show are seen doing something that's unusual for television: reading books.