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--The Last Laugh By Esther Pearl WatsonThis article originally appeared in the August/September 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine.
When was the last time you asked someone if they were okay? If you could do something to help them? Did you mean it? As a white woman, it’s too easy to let my life be, well, too easy. I have to push myself to do uncomfortable work and not cower from vulnerable and difficult situations. We all have our own work to do.
  Red lights of the EXIT sign cast a shadow on my shoulder blades, the only light I can find that isn’t already taken by another. The pulsating, thunderous bass of Def Leppard’s hair metal anthem “Pour Some Sugar On Me” hangs on the walls like old gum too fossilized to ever fade away. I look at the other girls, each with something wild within us. The double-sided sticky tape finally releases onto my pointer finger. The same finger that wears my mother’s old engagement ring. I place the pastie onto my nipple, rosy from the illuminating sign. Tease a little more.
  Here at BUST, we are all about body positivity, and that includes being against excessive Photoshop. Advertisements that digitally erase pores, whittle away waists, and even distort elbows (???) contribute to an unrealistic and unattainable beauty standard for women. That’s why we’re loving this new lingerie campaign starring Girls stars Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke (who is a former BUST cover gal, btw).
  I am deeply disgusted and saddened by the recent cyber attacks on Leslie Jones. The badass comedy star, who also co-star this year’s Ghostbusters movie, was victimized yesterday by online hackers. In a shocking act of sexism and racism, the hackers uploaded a photo of the gorilla Harambe on her website and posted Jones' private nude photos. And if that wasn't enough, they also inserted pictures of her driver's license and passport, threatening her security, as discussed in the New York Times.
    There have been recent attacks on women's bodies in France. And earlier this week, armed French police approached a woman dressed in a headscarf, blue long-sleeved shirt, and leggings on the beach and issued her a fine for violating the controversial band on the burkini (swimsuit that covers the whole body). Startling images surfaced in Nice showing four police officers hovering over a woman, who was simply relaxing on the beach. The woman, after seeing the armed guards approaching, quickly took off her blue tunic to placate the police officers.
According to a 2015 State of Women-Owned Business report by American Express Open, it is estimated that black women in the United States currently own 1.3 million businesses nationwide, making them the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs today. The last ten years have seen an increasing number of black women embracing their natural beauty by “going natural,” eschewing the chemical relaxers used to permanently straighten the natural curl pattern in favor of learning how to properly style and maintain their own hair without chemical alterations.
Considering how often corsets, crinolines, and towering headpieces were responsible for some hapless female’s untimely demise, it seems only fair that occasionally fashion should be credited with saving a historical lady’s life instead of putting an end to it. For an example of this, we need look no further than author and historian Margaret Drinkall’s newly published book The 19th Century Barnsley Murders.
Big news for fans of Empire or Taraji P. Henson (so, that’s every single one of our readers, right?) — Taraji is collaborating with MAC on a makeup line called MAC Taraji. According to Fashionista, the collection will launch on MAC.com on September 6 and in select MAC stores on September 8. It includes six products: a “deep tone beige” matte lipstick called “Strip Me Down,” a mascara called “Haute & Naughty,” highlighting and contouring powders called “Highlight The Truth” and “Taraji Glow,” an eyeliner and a brush.
I was the epitome of uncool in middle school. Almost all of my “friends” were people who would make fun of me constantly and in exchange for putting up with this, they might invite me out every six months. The sadness of being left out and bullied was worsened by how desperately I wanted a boy to like me. How could I meet anyone, especially someone of the opposite gender, if I never had the opportunity to? To search for potential pals, I decided to join a theater group in a community center. My interest in theater was minimal at best, but I enjoyed meeting new people.
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