Costumes aren't just a Halloween thing for a lot of Americans. Bitch Creative and Editorial Director Andi Zeisler talked with cosplayers at Seattle's Geek Girl Con this month, including Chaka Cumberbatch, about why they think costumes are powerful and what role dressing up plays in their lives.
Totally Biased writer Aparna Nancherla is hilarious. Having recently been named the first Indian-American female comic to perform on late-night television, Nancherla graciously chatted with me in the midst of prepping for her multiple sets for Portland’s all-female All Jane No Dick comedy festival and sampling as many culinary treats she could squeeze in during her latest 48-hour stint in Portland, Oregon.
Racism is an integral part of US culture, but the shape and nature of racism changes with every generation. This country’s roots in slavery and colonization gave way to Jim Crow, reservations, and racist immigration policies. Since the late 1960s, we’ve been living in the post-integration era where real progress in a few areas has created a pretense that racism is over. This things-are-so-much-better-now narrative continues in spite of people of color continuing to testify about how racism still affects every aspect of our lives on a daily basis.
As the context of racism changes, what it means to be a white anti-racist “ally” has transformed, as well.
Here's the feminist news we've got on our radar today.
• Friday was National Coming Out Day. Jayson Flores asks what it means when we celebrate "straight-acting gays" for coming out while mocking those who are more gender non-conforming for telling us what we already presume to know. [PolicyMic]
• After receiving criticism for its "buy one, give one" business model that fails to address systemic causes of poverty and displaces local shoe producers, TOMS announces plans to begin manufacturing some shoes in Haiti starting in 2014. [Public Radio International]
• When urban scientist Dr. Danielle N. Lee turned down an offer to write for Biology Online, its editor called her an "urban whore." Then she wrote a blog post about it for Scientific American and they deleted her post without informing her. [Slate]
• Christina Aguilera traveled to Rwanda with the World Food Program to feed children, continuing a long legacy of white American celebrities "saving the children" in Africa. [Africa Is A Country]
• Viceinterviewed Petra Collins about her controversial American Apparel vagina t-shirt, feminism, menstruation, and pubic hair. Collins says, "Women are supposed to be submissive, we’re not supposed to be in control of our sexuality, so I guess it’s scary when a woman goes through puberty and gets hair and is able to take control of herself and her body." [Vice]
Let us know what's on your radar in the comments section.
Photo: Marjorie Liu co-wrote Astonishing X-Men #51, which featured the same-sex wedding of superhero Northstar.
Comics publishing giant DC stirred up some trouble last month for a number of bad decisions, including refusing to depict an impending same-sex marriage integral the plot their Batwoman title and asking aspiring artists to apply for a DC gig by drawing the character Harley Quinn attempting suicide.
One of the many comicsfans who called out DC online is Marjorie Liu, who happens to write several titles for DC’s biggest competitor in the comics industry: Marvel
• The National Center for Transgender Equality released a new report highlighting the challenges of transgender immigrants. [Colorlines]
• According to the head of animation on the new Disney princess movie Frozen, animating female characters is super hard because they need to have emotions and look pretty. Here's the quote: “Animating female characters are really, really difficult, ’cause they have to go through these range of emotions, but they’re very, very — you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression.” [The Mary Sue]
• Ohio’s abortion restrictions are an example of the pro-life incremental strategy: pushing the boundaries of Supreme Court guidelines without technically violating them. And it’s working: only 11 clinics remain in Ohio, and some more may be forced to close. [NYT]
The Dis/orient/ed Comedy tour has been selling out venues up and down the West Coast and lands in Portland this weekend! There's a lot to be excited about at Dis/orient/Ed: the show features national-touring and local Asian-American female comedians, while also providing space on the roster for other great comics from diverse backgrounds. In the world of mainstream comedy, shows like Dis/orient/ed are a necessary gust of fresh air.
I chatted with co-producer Jenny Yang about how Dis/orient/ed got started and what's so crucial about diversity in comedy.
• Marvel is running a contest based on Thor's Jane Foster: they give high school girls the tools to find and interview professional women in STEM industries, then offer a prize for the best video about the girls' love of science, career hopes, and experience talking to their new mentor. [The Mary Sue]
• Planned Parenthood is suing the state of Iowa for quietly banning the largest telemedicine abortion program in the country, a service that primarily serves low-income and rural women who can't make an in-office visit. [ThinkProgress]
• The NYC Girls Project aims to show young girls that their value comes from "their character, skills, and attributes – not appearance." [NYT]
Being the queerio I am, I have this pass time of regularly Googling queer sex related topics in the news for fun. Hey, who knows, maybe there's some new sex toy I need to learn about #possibleTMI. Well this time, I stumbled across some less-than-awesome news: black women are less likely to get HPV Vaccines than other demographics. According to new research, only 18 percent of black women from 18 to 24 have gotten the vaccine, as opposed to over 30 percent of white women.