feminism,

  • simpsons i am the lizard queen c277b

    An open letter to Lisa Simpson: Could you please become real so you can be our president? I know you'll forever be an eight-year-old girl, wise beyond her years. But technically, you've been around since 1989, so only a few more years until you're eligible to run! Since your inception, you've been an inspiration to women everywhere. We fell in love with your beautiful mind and kind soul. Surrounded by chaos, you stay true to your convitions, unafraid to question authority. You taught us that true confidence comes from believing in your own abilities to handle challenges as opposed to relying on external validation. So, in your honor, here are 19 moments of you making us all feel a little less alone.

    1. 2ilq8b 87a5a"Well, I'm going to be a famous jazz musician. I've got it all figured out. I'll be unappreciated in my own country, but my gutsy blues stylings will electrify the French. I'll avoid the horrors of drug abuse, but I do plan to have several torrid love affairs, and I may or may not die young. I haven't decided." (Separate Vocations, s. 3 ep. 18)

    When Springfield Elementary forces the kids to take career aptitude tests, Lisa is told she is best suited to be a homemaker. While there’s nothing wrong with the occupation (I mean, it’s Marge who’s keeping this family together, after all), Lisa knows deep down what she wants, and she spends the rest of the episode determined to live her dreams. Here, Lisa proves that living the life you want takes courage. People will disapprove and discourage, but you’re entitled to shine and make big plans and have as many torrid love affairs as you please.

    2. 2ilqiu b230c"Millions of girls will grow up thinking that this is the right way to act....that they can never be more than vacuous ninnies whose only goal is to look pretty, land a rich husband, and spend all day on the phone with their equally vacuous friends talking about how damn terrific it is to look pretty and have a rich husband!" (Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy, s. 5 ep. 14)

    In arguably one of Lisa’s most feminist adventures, she challenges the makers of Malibu Stacy to create a talking doll that isn’t sexist. And she succeeds, creating Lisa Lionheart, voiced by herself! Both a businesswoman and an activist, Lisa knows women deserve better, and when her needs aren’t met, she’s not afraid takes matters into her own hands.

    3.  2i3gce 31603"My interests include music, science, justice, animals, shapes, feelings..." (Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky, s. 14 ep. 16)

    It’s important to have a rich interior life. Like Lisa, you contain multitudes. Take some time for yourself. You work hard. You’re allowed to enjoy things.

    4. 2i3jkz 4abe7 "I learned that beneath my goody two-shoes lies some very dark socks."  (Dial “N” for Nerder, s. 19 ep. 14)

    Lisa may be a lover of music, justice, animals, shapes and feelings, but don’t underestimate her. Moral of the story? Never mistake kindness for weakness.

    5. 2hw9nl 0ff2b"You mean those leagues where parents push their kids into vicious competition to compensate for their own failed dreams of glory?" (The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, s. 8 ep. 25)

    I. FEEL. SO. SEEN. If school sports were also hell for you, you know what I mean. Lisa is failing gym class, and if she wants to pass, she needs to join a sports program outside of school. Like me, she’s not happy about it. Unlike me, she ends up being pretty amazing at ice hockey.

    6. 2ilqsb a4527"It's not my nature to complain, but so far today we've had three movies, two filmstrips, and an hour and a half of magazine time. I just don't feel challenged." (The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, s. 8 ep. 25)

    As women, we’re conditioned to believe that we should be compliant, so speaking up and asking for what you need can be daunting. Lisa knows her education is too important to settle for a lackluster curriculum. She demands to be heard and challenged, so she joins Bart at military school because "magazine time" just isn't cutting it.>

    7. 2i3jrl 29b17"I am tired of being a corporate shill! From now on, I will speak out against the evils in society from dog-napping to cigarettes!" (Lisa the Beauty Queen, s. 4 ep. 4)

    When she’s crowned "Little Miss Springfield," Lisa refuses to let her image be used for corporate gains. So she uses her newfound fame and platform to speak about issues important to her like funding for education and the arts. We gotta value our voices and feel like they count, no matter how many followers we have.

    8. 2hwa25 26ab1"Why is it when a woman is confident and powerful, they call her a witch?" (Treehouse of Horror XIX, s. 20 ep.4) 

    Because they're scared of confident, powerful women. Remember, WITCH = Woman In Total Control of Herself. 

    9. 2hw94c c9e66"There's a lot more to it than that, Bart. I don't just babysit. I sell peace of mind for a dollar an hour. Two dollars after 9 o'clock." (My Sister, My Sitter, s. 8 ep. 17)

    In this episode, Lisa’s entrepreneurial skills kick in and she decides to take up babysitting. At first, no one takes her seriously because of her age. But nevertheless, she persists and builds up a steady roster of clients. Bart gets jealous and belittles her work, but Lisa claps back with this amazing response. No job is too big or too small for Lisa. And she can negotiate a salary, too.

    10. 2i3ke7 7df2a"Dad! 'The Second Amendment' is just a remnant from revolutionary day. It has no meaning today." (The Cartridge Family, s. 9 ep. 5)

    Lisa knows that society and culture are always changing, therefore lawmaking policies should reflect that.

    11. 2i3hyr f0dcf"Okay, I'm not going to give up. Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known...then went crazy as a loon." (The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, s. 8 ep. 25) 

    While Lisa worries that her education is not challenging enough, Bart is sent to military school for his bad behavior. Upon seeing that the military school is more difficult than Springfield Elementary, Lisa decides she wants to go and becomes its first female student (yayy congrats!). Military school proves to be more challenging than Lisa thought. Feeling lonely and homesick, Lisa considers going home but finds her inner strength and determines to stick it out. We’ve all had moments where we feel like we don’t belong. We’ve all had moments where we feel like giving up. But the most important thing is how we talk to ourselves in these situations. Lisa doesn’t let the opinions of others determine her capabilities, and she wouldn’t want you to either.

    12. 2hw9qt 9a779"It's amazing how I can feel sorry for you and hate you at the same time. I'm sure there's a German word for it." (How Munched Is That Birdie in the Window? s. 22 ep. 7)

    Enough said.

    13. 2ilo3y 71377"An open letter to the people of Springfield. Today, our town lost what remained of its fragile civility drowned in a sea of low fat pudding. We are a town of lowbrows, no brows and ignorami. We have eight malls, but no symphony. Thirty-two bars, but no alternative theater. Thirteen stores that begin with 'Le Sex.' I write this letter not to nag or whine, but to prod. We can better ourselves....Well, most of us." (They Saved Lisa’s Brain, s. 10 ep. 22)

    Another great example of Lisa using her voice and challenging Springfield's status quo. Fed up with Springfield’s lack of culture and sophistication, she writes an open letter that ends up in the newspaper. The Springfield chapter of Mensa is impressed and invites her to join. She also gets to meet Stephen Hawking.

    14. 2ilr2h 35a34"Mom, I know your intentions are good, but aren't the police the protective force that maintains the status quo for the wealthy elite? Don't you think we ought to attack the roots of social problems instead of jamming people into overcrowded prisons?" (The Springfield Connection, s. 6 ep. 23)

    Lisa vocalizes her issues with her mother's new career and the prison system at large and Marge, at a loss for words, desperately attempts to distract her with a puppet. A classic element of Simpsons comedy in which Lisa's accute honesty makes others uncomfortable with their blissful ignorance. 

    15. 2ilrxw 4e109"Well, I wish that you wouldn't. Because aside from the fact that he has the same frailties as all human beings, he's the only father I have. Therefore, he is my model of manhood, and my estimation of him will govern the prospects of my adult relationships. So I hope you bear in mind that any knock at him is a knock at me, and I am far too young to protect myself against such onslaughts." (Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, s. 1 ep. 1)

    When Selma and Patty trash Homer, Lisa stands up for her dad. While Homer isn’t the perfect "model of manhood," we don’t get to choose our family. Lisa won’t accept that kind of negativity into her life.

    16. 2i3kax febe9"Dad, it's 3am. Can't you mutter in your room?" (The Cartridge Family, s. 9 ep. 5)

    Always asking the important questions.

    17. 2i3hv6 3c7c3"Does it make you feel superior to tear down people's dreams?" (‘Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky, s. 14 ep. 16)

    Never apologize for having dreams. Never apologize for wanting things. People’s discouragement is useless, so don't use it. Don't let that bullshit inside your beautiful mind. It has no bearing on your life. Have your goals. Work at them day by day. Negativity is noise. Change the station.

    18. 2i3k49 b9929"Look, Dad! I made a modern studio apartment for my Malibu Stacey Doll. This is the kitchen. This is where she prints her weekly feminist newsletter...Dad! You're not listening to me!" (Lisa the Greek, s. 3 ep. 14)

    A perfect, modern, feminist utopia. Come work at BUST, Lisa!!

    19. 2i8711 f961c"For once in your life, be cool." (The Simpsons Movie

    Lisa may be a feminist icon, but that doesn't mean she's free of any doubts or insecurities. Lisa's relatability undoubtedly makes us feel close to her. We grew up watching Lisa deal with a chaotic family life. We saw her cope with feeling misunderstood, underestimated, alone and anxious for her future. We saw her going after what she wanted and what she believed was right despite her vulnerabilities. We saw Lisa in ourselves.

    Header photo via FOX 

    Other photos created by author via imgflip.com 

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  • dora thewlis header e1517751372199 e0ab3

     

    In 1918 women were finally given a portion of the vote: that is, the Representation of the People Act allowed women over 30 who were married to a property owner, were graduates in a University Constituency, or were a member of a Local Government Register (or at least married to one!) to vote in elections.

    Getting to this partial step towards equality had been one loooooong fight. Thousands upon thousands of women fought for decades for the simple right of having a say in their own lives.

    So, let’s remember a few of the badass brave ladies that history all too often forgets! 

    1. THE FIRE STARTER: KITTY MARION 

    kitty marion survaliance image 59c3bPhoto of Kitty Marion that was also used by the police for surveillance

    A former chorus girl, Kitty Marion was steadily climbing the ranks to become a headlining music hall act. But she quickly discovered that wasn’t going to happen unless she got on the casting couch. 

    Sounds familiar, huh?

    Kitty was appalled by just how disgustingly sexist the theatre industry was. But she wasn’t going to give in that easily.

    Instead of walking away, she decided to fight; not just for her, but for every woman! She wanted women to be seen as equals, not as objects. In her mind, that couldn’t happen until women had equal political power.

    And so, in 1908, Kitty joined the WSPU(Women’s Social and Political Union, commonly known as The Suffragettes).

    Now, to say Kitty was happy to use militant tactics for the cause would be the understatement of the century.

    kitty marion during one of her arrests 6576fKitty during one of her many arrests

    Kitty was arrested often, for a whole litany of crimes including window smashing, pulling fire alarms, and—Kitty’s personal favorite—arson. She burned down Hurst race courses grand stand, an MP’s house, and several properties across Manchester and Liverpool.

    Kitty actually kept a scrapbook,where, much like her theatrical press cuttings, she popped news articles about her arson attacks, including several pieces on attacks where the culprit was never found. Hmmm, I wonder who could have done those?!? 

    sherlock gif 3b1e4Yeah, I don't think we need Sherlock to crack that particular case.

    Unsurprisingly for someone carrying out all of the arson, Kitty spent a lot of time in prison. She regularly undertook hunger strikes, which led to her being force fed a record 242 times.

    But Kitty was unwavering, even setting fire to her cell after one force feeding (girl had a theme!).

    kitty marion in sash 2 e1517748944950 3d769I mean, look at that steely stare.

    By 1915, the First World War was in full swing and the German-born Kitty was seen as way to much of a threat to remain in the UK (to be fair, she was doing all of the arson..) so she was deported to America, where she could live a quiet life and stay out of trouble.

    Obvs, Kitty immediately joined the U.S. birth control movement.

    She was part of the group that would go on to create Planned Parenthood and spent a lot of time on the streets raising awareness of birth control.

    This led to Kitty receiving deaths threats and daily abuse. Her actions also meant she was arrested again and again and again!

    kitty marion selling birth control papers a7665At this point, we all know that Kitty refused to give up.

    In 1921, Kitty and Margaret Sanger set up America’s first birth control clinic. The police never stopped trying to close it.

    Kitty continued campaigning until her old age, eventually dying in 1944, surrounded by her friends and fellow fighters. 

    2. THE TEENAGE TEARAWAY: DORA THEWLIS

    Dora had been working in a Huddersfield mill since she was just over 10.

    Now, to be blunt, being a mill worker was the worst. The hours were long, the pay shit and the safety negligible, with children and adults both working in hazardous conditions.

    But Dora was one smart cookie. She’d been poring over newspapers and chatting politics since she was just 7! All this parliamentary prose has made Dora determined to see change, but she knew this couldn’t happen when half the population couldn’t even vote!

    So, in her early teens, Dora became a founding member of her local WSPU branch.

    In February 1907, a 16-year-old Dora hopped on a train with her fellow WSPU members and travelled from Manchester to London for a quick parliamentary protest road trip. Dora’s ‘clog and shawl brigade’ were joined outside Parliament by WSPU groups from all over Britain, but they weren’t alone; an army of hundreds of policeman met the ladies head on and things quickly escalated.

    Pretty soon, 75 suffragettes were arrested for trying to ‘rush’ the House of Commons; Dora was one of them.

    Within hours of her arrest, Dora was the face of the suffrage movement, with this picture slap in the middle of the Daily Mirror’s front page.

    dora thewlis arrest 2a292This picture went on to become a popular anti-suffragette postcard.

    The newspapers dubbed her the baby suffragette.

    When she appeared in court, the judge (here to be known as Captain Asshat) was equally condescending and flippant, proclaiming to the court that he was sure the reason Dora was actually in London was to ‘entice’ men. Captain Asshat then went on to ask:

    ‘Where is your mother?’

    Sadly, if Captain Asshat was thinking Dora’s mom would be pissed at her daughter, he was wrong—Dora’s mother actually wrote to him saying just how proud she was of her headstrong and intelligent daughter.

    Sadly, no matter how amazing this was, it didn’t help. 16-year-old Dora was sent to prison.

    oh no gif 3ca75

    Now, being in prison as a suffragette was hard, but being in prison as a working class suffragette was HAAAAAAARD.

    Dora was bullied by the guards and most probably experienced beatings in addition to the daily verbal harassment.

    By the time she left, the teenager’s spirit was crushed.

    But that didn’t stop the Edwardian paparazzi hounding Dora as soon as she stepped off the train in Manchester! They all wanted to know what the baby suffragette would do next.

    Dora was not down with this!

    She was done with the hierarchy treating her like a child whose views were a cutesy joke. Nearly 17, she shot back at journalists:

    ‘Don’t call me the ‘Baby Suffragette.’ I am not a baby. In May next year I shall be 18. Surely for a girl, that is a good age?’ 

    yes dora bde0fYes, Dora!!

    Dora continued campaigning until, in 1914, she decided to escape mill life and moved to Australia. There she lived happily until a ripe old age, with her husband and children (who, BTW, were all obvs educated in feminism and the need for equal rights for all!). 

    3. THE WILD WOMAN: LEONORA COHEN

    Leonora Cohen grew up in a hardworking family. Just like Dora, she worked from an early age, eventually settling down with a nice man to pop out a few kids.

    But this wasn’t the end of Leonora’s story! 

    leonora cohen f4cefLeonora Cohen

    You see, Leonora had watched her mother struggle as a single mom, had herself faced horrific working conditions as woman, and was generally treated as a second-class citizen. She watched as those around her just took this and that sparked something inside:

    ‘My mother would say ‘Leonora, if only we women had a say in things’, but we hadn’t. A drunken lout of a man opposite had a vote simply because he was a male. I vowed I’d try to change things.’

    emotional clap gif ab540Can we please have more Leonoras in the world?

    In 1909 Leonora joined the WSPU, initially selling suffragette papers in the gutter (so she couldn’t get arrested for obstructing pavements).

    But two years into her activism, Leonora decided to go all in. With her husband backing her all the way, she went big on militant actions!

    Leonora attended more protests than ever before. She learned to give powerful speeches and ignore the masses of hate mail that followed them. She even went to Holloway Prison for stone throwing!

    But it wasn’t enough. Leonora wanted to do something that would grab people’s attention.

    And so she planned to break into the Crown Jewels.

    standard gif 4b9baWell, this seems like a perfectly normal reaction...right?

    In 1913, Leonora walked into the Tower of London, a crowbar hidden under her coat.

    Nobody noticed the slight woman…until she whipped out the crowbar and smashed through the glass protecting the Crown Jewels. She was immediately tackled to the ground amid a shower of broken glass. But the damage was done.

    Leonora had succeeded. Her act was front page news; the note she’d wrapped around the crowbar providing the words on everyone’s lips:

    ‘My Protest to the Government for its refusal to Enfranchise Women, but continues to torture women prisoners – Deeds Not Words. Votes for Women. 100 Years of Constitutional Petition, Resolutions, Meetings & Processions have Failed’

    leonora blue plaque 100d5

    Leonora continued her work after women were partly granted the vote in 1918. She became the first female president of The Yorkshire Trade Councils, before becoming one of the U.K.’s first women to take the bench, when she was made a magistrate in 1924.

    Leonora stayed an active feminist right up until her death in 1978, at the grand old age of 105!

    This article originally appeared on F Yeah History and has been reprinted here with permission.

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  • samira edits 6d1b3

    The 70th Creative Arts Emmy Awards was this past weekend, celebrating the unsung heroes of TV –production, editing, producing– alongside the celebrities. Though the Emmy Awards are still a weekend away, the Creative Arts was packed with historic moments: titles won, ceilings shattered, minorities represented, stereotypes-slayed with a fabulous dress (and dominatrix-worthy boots). Here are the highlights we're still talking:

    Screen Shot 2018 09 11 at 2.23.14 PM a0849Image via NBC

    1. Black Actors Make History

    Tiffany Haddish, Ron Cephas Jones, Samira Wiley, and Katt Williams snag the creative Emmys for their respective roles–and make history. This was the first time all four guest statues were awarded to black actors.

    Wiley, first known as Poussey on Orange Is the New Black, won for her commanding presence as Moira, a lesbian and Gilead-escapee from Handmaid’s Tale. The character, black, gay, and a resolute survivor, is a well-celebrated update from Margaret Atwood’s initial. 

    Haddish and Williams won for their respective guest roles on Saturday Night Live and Atlanta. Haddish’s hosting (and now-iconic white dress) was the highlight of SNL’s 43rd season. For Williams’ Alligator Man role, he actually interned at an alligator farm for three weeks to avoid using a stuntman.

    Jones won an Emmy in the drama category for his much-loved role on NBC's This Is Us. All four are first-time Emmy winners. 

     

    queer eye 7ac9cImage via Netflix

    2. A Spotlight on LGBTQ Television

    RuPaul’s Drag Race and its indelible host, RuPaul Charles, snagged multiple awards that night, including his third Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program award. The instantly-beloved Queer Eye reboot had a ball; they won Outstanding Structured Reality Program and Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program (but really, there was no competition on that one). United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell took Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. Also, QE star Jonathan Van Ness deserved an award (or at least applause) for his fierce, gender-norms-decimating look: a black gown complete with sequins, a mess top, and thigh-high slit. Google it.

     

    GLOW 34601Image via Netflix

    3. GLOW’s Shauna Duggins Makes History

    Netflix’s series GLOW, following hard-hitting women wrestlers in the 80s, made history when Shauna Duggins won a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Production Design For a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less). Previously nominated for her work with Alias, she is the first woman to ever win in this category. GLOW also won a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Production Design For a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less) and was nominated for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.

     

    John Legend EGOT bf66bImage via Wiki Creative Commons / Granandres10

    4. Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Legend Earn EGOT Status

    Praises be, there are (to quote Chrissy Teigen) three new EGOT GOATs in Hollywood. Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Legend won as executive producers of NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert. The win for Outstanding Live Variety Special award makes the three the 13th, 14th, and 15th persons to ever win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Superstar producer Craig Zadan, who died on August 20, was also awarded a posthumous Emmy for his role.

     

    Header by Jeaneen Lund for BUST April/May 2018

     

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  •  fayeschulman e100d

    The role of women in World War II was huge, from the Bletchley Park codebreakers to the brave nurses that took to the battlefield and saved lives by the thousands. Yet it’s only now that we’re discovering many of these stories. That includes the lives of four women we’ll be looking at today. Women who overcame the odds thanks to their bravery, smarts, and a unending determination. Seriously, these women’s stories are inspirational badassery on steroids that will have you shouting, "Why isn’t this a movie!?!"

    SO, LET'S GET STARTED!!

    *warning: This does get pretty intense and bleak in place…because.. well, it’s war.

    1. FAYE SCHULMAN: THE GIRL WHO WOULD NOT BE SILENCED

    faye schulman close up 66a6fFaye Schulman 

    When Faye Schulman was 22, her entire family was murdered in a liquidation of a Polish ghetto. Faye alone was spared, thanks to her skills as a photographer, which the Nazis took advantage of, forcing her to develop pictures of their atrocities—including the murder of her own family. Determined to make sure people knew what happened to her family, Faye secretly kept copies of the pictures. She then resolved to escape and do everything she could to fight the Nazi regime.

    Miraculously, Faye managed to escape and  joined a band of partisan fighters, made up of escaped prisoners of war. But the group wasn't convinced they wanted Faye's company, partly because she was the only woman, and also because she had no military experience—in addition to a fear of blood and guns. She was not exactly the ideal rebel fighter, but Faye refused to give in. She worked her ass off overcoming her fears, as she learned to shoot and train in combat, all in addition to becoming a self-trained nurse after realizing that the nobody in the group had medical training.

    faye schulman with her fellow resistance fighters ec452Faye with her fellow resistance fighters 

    Throughout her time with the partisans, Faye saved countless civilian and military lives thanks to her new medical skills. She also took part in dozens of missions and raids to slow down the Nazis progress and rescue Jewish people. However, Faye's greatest accomplishment was her photography. Over the course of two years, Faye took hundreds of pictures, developing them under blankets, and even burying her camera and film in the woods to keep them out of enemy hands. She was determined that people see the the atrocities being carried out and the resistance fighting back, saying:

    "I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THERE WAS RESISTANCE. JEWS DID NOT GO LIKE SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER. I WAS A PHOTOGRAPHER. I HAVE PICTURES. I HAVE PROOF."

    After the war, her photographs helped the world understand the horrors of the Nazi regime and the unsung efforts of the resistance. She continued working as a photographer and speaking out about her war experiences.

    faye schulman with her camera d7972Faye with her camera that helped change the world

    2. NOOR INAYAT KHAN: THE SPY PRINCESS

    noor inyat khan 21a16Noor Inayat Khan

     

    In 1943, Noor Inyat Khan became the first female secret radio operator sent to Nazi-occupied France. It was an incredible achievement, which was somewhat lessened by two things: the average survival rate for the job was six weeks, and gentle, emotional children’s author Noor was the last person you’d expect to take on such a deadly role…and survive.

     

    Noor had a lot of things going for her that made her the perfect spy. She was ridiculously smart, bilingual, and easily adaptable, but she was also sensitive and emotional, scatterbrained, and a literal princess, thus making her a visible target to enemies. Furthermore, as a firm pacifist, Noor refused to lie or use any form of violence: two pretty fundamental skills for being a spy. So, it’s not surprising that British Intelligence wasn't desperate to get her out on the field. Then the Nazis occupied France, and everything changed.

    Having spent her childhood in the France, Noor was determined to do everything she could to protect its citizens. She did a complete 180, training hard and building her skillset. Soon, she proved to be one of the most whip-smart and focused people in the history of British Intelligence. 

    Meryl Cheers GifYes, Noor!!!

    In 1943, Noor arrived in Paris, but within days of her arrival, every other radio operator was captured by the Nazis, leaving her alone on enemy soil. 

    But Noor stuck it out, knuckled down, and to everyone’s surprise, she fucking nailed it! She ran an entire radio network solo, intercepting messages and passing along vital intel, all while constantly on the run from the Nazis. When the British offered to evacuate Noor, she refused. Twice. Despite the danger, she wouldn’t leave her post unprotected. The sweet, gentle princess that nobody thought would last a week had proved herself to be a badass with bravery and intelligence beyond comparison.

    Clapping GifI'm just so damn proud

    Five months after Noor started her work, someone blew her cover and she was imprisoned by the Nazis. But in typical Noor fashion, she wouldn't let that stop her doing her work. Within hours of her capture, she snuck out her cell and leapt across rooftops to freedom.

    Sadly, the escape attempt didn’t work. Noor was caught and dragged back to her cell where she underwent intense interrogation, which turned into merciless beating. Still, she said nothing. Noor was kept shackled and starved in solitary confinement, her only contact being the soldiers who beat her on a daily basis. This was Noor's life for 10 months.

    noor 0f408

    Eventually, Noor and three other agents were transferred to Dachau, where they were to be executed. While the other agents were quickly beheaded, Noor was kept alive for one more day of torture in a final attempt at collecting information. She refused to give up any information, so on the 13th September 1944, Noor was executed.

    The last words of the woman that defied so many and saved even more:

    "LIBERTÉ!"

    noor inyat khan in uniform eda22

    3. SUZANNE SPAAK: MOTHER OF THE RESISTANCE

    suzanne spaak 12e3cSuzanne Spaak

    Suzanne was one of those women who was born to be a mom. As a proud mother of two, she lived for her children and filled their Paris home with laughter and love. And then World War II hit. Suddenly, the world wasn’t so bright. Suzanne's home had been invaded and all around her, families were being torn apart by the Nazi regime.

    Finding it increasingly difficult to do nothing, this housewife and mother joined the French Resistance in 1942. Other members of the resistance weren’t thrilled by the addition of a housewife and mother with no military experience. At best, she would be a failure. At worst, another body to them to clean up. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Suzanne was fearless. She refused to back down from any assignment, and when operations went tits up, it was Suzanne coming up with intelligence solutions to save the day. And she never stop proving the resistance wrong. Determined to get as many Jewish people to safety as possible, Suzanne risked everything to get ration cards and fake IDs for families. Using her motherly influence, she firmly reminded Paris’s religious elite and hospitals that they were morally bound to protect and house those in need. In other words, could they please get their shit together, do their damn job, and start housing Jewish refugees?! (Basically "do your homework" on a whole new level!)

    Suzanne wasn’t done, though. She helped lead an operation to save more than 60 Jewish children who had been marked for deportation. Hiding several children in her own home, Suzanne risked her own family's lives. Not only that, but she convinced others to do the same until all 60 children were saved. 

    Michelle Obama GifI mean, just the definition of a badass mom

    In 1943, Suzanne sensed that her arrest was imminent. She stayed calm (again, mom skills!) and passed along names of all the children and families she had yet to save, ensuring her work could continue. Suzanne was arrested and in 1944, she was executed. Her legacy lives on, and thanks to her, countless Jewish children and families escaped Paris alive.

    4. NANCY WAKE: THE FEARLESS MOUSE

    nancy wake cc50cNancy Wake, taking better pictures than you since 1942

     

    Nancy was a constant thorn in Hitler’s side. A glamorous, gun-toting spy with buckets of smarts and sass, she was soon number one on the Gestapo's most wanted list.

     

    Born into poverty in New Zealand, Nancy showed her steely determination from a young age. She stubbornly worked to make something of herself, training as a journalist and eventually marrying a Frenchman and moving to Paris. There, Nancy was forced to watch in horror as her newfound home was taken by the Nazis. She immediately moved into action. Working as a journalist, she’d witnessed Hitler’s rise firsthand. Once, on a trip to Vienna, Nancy had seen Hitler's Brownshirts mercilessly beat men and women in the streets. 

    Nancy knew one thing—she sure as fuck wasn’t letting that shit happen—not in her home! So she risked it all and joined the French Resistance, working as a courier and also rescuing RAF pilots. She sheltered them and at night got them across the border and the fuck out of dodge.

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    Nancy was nicknamed "the White Mouse" for her ability to run rings around the Gestapo, but unfortunately, they soon caught up with her. The game of cat and mouse was over, and the Gestapo were all set to capture Nancy…but then she got word of the imminent arrest. She kissed her husband goodbye and went on the run, never seeing him again. The Nazis raided their home and tortured her husband, eventually killing him after he refused to disclose her whereabouts.This infuriated Nancy, and made her more determined. She later said:

    "IN MY OPINION, THE ONLY GOOD GERMAN WAS A DEAD GERMAN, AND THE DEADER, THE BETTER. I KILLED A LOT OF GERMANS, AND I AM ONLY SORRY I DIDN’T KILL MORE."

    Nancy traveled to Britain, where she became a Special Operations Executive. She trained in guerrilla warfare and eventually returned to France. In Englad, she lead thousands of Resistance fighters in successful battles to reclaim occupied towns. She raided supply lines, cut train lines, and once cycled over 300 miles in 70 hours to replace lost wireless codes! Basically, Nancy did everything she could to piss off the Nazis and stop their progress. She even claimed to have killed an SS with her bare hands!

    By the end of the war, Nancy was the most decorated Allied woman, dripping in medals from multiple countries. But she shrugged it off, sold the medals, and lived comfortably off the cash for the rest of her life, saying:

    "There’s no point in keeping them… I’ll probably go to hell and they’d melt anyway."

     

     

    This was really interesting! Where can I find out more?Well, let's break it down for each of the ladies:

    Faye Schulman: Faye has continued to talk about her experiences during WWII, and you can find an amazing video of Faye doing just that HERE!

    Noor Inayat Khan: There a few really great books on Noor, one of these is Spy Princess by Shrabani Basu. I think it does a really good job of showing Noor as a full person.

    Suzanne Spaak: We haven't read it yet, but Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris by Anne Nelson came out recently. So fingers crossed, guys!

    Nancy Wake: You are really spoiled for choice here! Russell Braddons' Nancy Wake is an easy popcorn read on her (in fact several people in the Amazon comments initially thought it was a novel…). There's also a docu-drama on Nancy (the whole thing may currently be on YouTube…just saying)

    This post originally appeared on F Yeah History and is reprinted here with permission.

    Top photo: Faye Schulman

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    In Mexico, a mostly female team of researchers have potentially made an important discovery in eradicating HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection “that can lead to some cancers, particularly cervical cancer, and warts” according toBrit + Co. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, which is thesecond-leading cause of death of women in Mexico.

    Eva Ramón Gallegos, who led the team, “was able to completely eradicate the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in 29 patients” reports El Universal. The study was first conducted on 420 women in Veracruz and Oaxaca, where “the virus was 85 percent eliminated in the patients that had HPV without premalignant lesions and the patients who had lesions with HPV.”

    Ramon Gallegos then sought to recreate this study in Mexico City, and this time, all 29 of the women who were treated were completely cured. She did this by using photodynamic therapy, which she has been studying for 20 years. According to the National Cancer Institute: “Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses a drug, called a photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent, and a particular type of light. When photosensitizers are exposed to a specific wavelength of light, they produce a form of oxygen that kills nearby cells.”

    While this is a potential breakthrough, it is by no means a cure just yet. The study is not peer-reviewed, and a sample size of 29 women is too small to be conclusive. Still, it is exciting that we are getting closer to eradicating this horrible disease.

    Top photo courtesy of Ed Uthman via Flickr

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    Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter this Tuesday, speaking openly on how the onslaught of death threats she has received from men have impacted her life. Her comments followed the release of a Memorial Day tribute video at the Fresno Grizzlies’ game on Monday, featuring a speech by Ronald Reagan denouncing America’s ‘enemies of freedom’ as a picture of the Bronx representative was shown in-between Kim Jong Un and Fidel Castro.

    The minor league baseball team did apologize for the offensive clip, however, such an effort is lacking in a culture where online trolls so consumed with violent masculinity are easily fueled by messaging that targets and degrades women. In the aftermath, Ocasio-Cortez shared her personal experience with male aggression on social media, tweeting that when “orgs air these hateful messages” there are “mornings where I wake up & the first thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me.”

    Ocasio-Cortez highlights a cultural phenomenon in which political antagonism has been increasingly normalized, concealing what is actually just hate, and absolving those who participate from any accountability. Further, the perpetrators of this hate, extremist right-wing media outlets, certain politicians, and even baseball teams send signals to men hiding behind their computer screens, that the violent victimization of women is okay.

    This is an issue beyond negligence or bad decision-making on the behalf of the Fresno Grizzlies, but rather symbolizes larger cultural attitudes that do not value women and their safety. Ocasio-Cortez added to her original tweet, writing that she also receives death threats “whenever Fox gets particularly aggressive + hateful, too.” The lawmaker has become a conservative pariah since her election in November, as she actively works against systems of oppression, and specifically, the patriarchy, both in her progressive politics and in her unapologetic position as a powerful, outspoken woman.

    Death threats are particularly infuriating, because not only are they are terrifying and harmful, but their authors thrive behind this mask of cowardice, as men work to compensate for their own senses of fragile masculinity by subjugating women through the promise of physical violence. Ocasio-Cortez does not deserve to have her life changed by fear because some men cannot fathom the idea that there is a woman out there kicking ass and being a badass bitch. She does not deserve to face daily harassment because someone in Fresno decided that her full humanity just wasn’t on his agenda. Maybe it’s unrealistic to simply demand that people improve, but let me follow in AOC’s footsteps and speak with uncompromising honesty. Do better. Because this is not okay.

     

    Top Photo via MSNBC

     

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    Resentment and fury ran high as the Senate voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to a final confirmation vote. Democratic efforts to continue to debate the nomination were defeated 51-49 this Friday morning. This vote comes after the Senate was given an FBI report on the sexual assault allegations, which Trump ordered due to pressure from Republican senators. The report, which concluded that no one could confirm the allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, has been widely criticized. Democrats argued that agents failed to contact other witnesses.

    While this is a significant hurdle towards Kavanaugh being appointed to a life-time position on the Supreme Court, there’s still a chance lawmakers could vote differently and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she would consider doing so by 3pm today, reports the Chicago Tribune. These two past weeks have been painful and exhausting. If you’re feeling emotionally gutted right now, you are not alone. We are with you. If you’re terrified of feeling paralyzed with hopelessness in the unfortunate event Kavanaugh is confirmed, make concrete plans to do something that will fulfill you.

    Self-care is essential this weekend, and by self-care I mean doing whatever YOU need to do to feel safe. So much of the time, we’re in a mental battle over what we should be doing and how we should be helping and how we should always know what’s happening. And while activism is undoubtedly needed, the pressure to always be doing something can highlight feelings of inadequacy. As women we are well acquainted with the notion of ‘I am not enough.’ So whether you are a survivor of sexual assault or an ally, please don’t feel guilty if the constant stream of news is becoming too much, you are fully within your right to turn it off.

    However, if you are able to protest this weekend, please do. If you can, keep calling your senators. The number for the Senate switchboard is 202-224-3121 and this website will help you find your reps. Additionally, you can also donate to the "Rapid Response Fund" created by the organization, March On, to fight back in the immediate aftermath of the vote. Do whatever you can to help but also do whatever you can to find some peace. Spend time with friends and loved ones. Wear things that make you comfortable. Read a book. Snuggle with a cute animal. Order that second Frappuccino. Get a yourself a blowout. What’s important is that you make a plan to take care of you. This doesn’t make you indifferent. It makes you more prepared to continue to fight. So rest up and then, if you haven’t already done so, register to vote.

    Header image via Mobilus In Mobili 

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  • Stories of Abortion ig f6398

    Celebrate the power of finding understanding and unity through performance with Stories Of: Women for Stories Of: Abortion With Planned Parenthood NYC. A "traveling female-identified storytelling, live music, art and comedy series," Stories Of: Women is dedicated to examining often undiscussed emotions (jealousy/shame/fear). Head to Joe's Pub on January 15th for a night of storytelling, music and comedy featuring a roster of incredible performers who will share their own abortion stories, highlighting the importance of the right to choose. Presented by Kidd Bell in partnership with Planned Parenthood NYC, doors open at 9pm for the 9:30pm show. Performers include:

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    Jessica Valenti - NYTimes Best Selling Author, Founder of Feministing.com, Journalist

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    Jamilah Lemieux - Writer, Cultural Critic, The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans, Speaker

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    Vera Papisova - Award-Winning Journalist, Editor, Recipient of PPH Maggie Award

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    Madison McFerrin - Singer/Songwriter / Writer at Pitchfork, Vice, Paper

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    Aaliyah Daniels - NY Teen Poet Laureate Ambassador at Urban Word, Writer, Author

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    Ziwe Fumudoh - Comedian, Writer for Reductress, Elle

    There will also be a talk by the Planned Parenthood NYC Associate Director of Community Engagement & the Strategic Initiatives Manager. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online here.

    Header photo courtesy of @thestoriesofwomen on Instagram

    Other photos courtesy of thestoriesofwomen.com

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  • 1920px Anita Hill 25238344107 5f339

    With his recent presidential bid, former vice president Joe Biden is facing a resurgence of criticism for his role in handling Anita Hill's 1991 testimony against Clarence Thomas, in which she accused the Supreme Court nominee of sexual harassment. Before launching his 2020 campaign, Biden reached out to Hill through an arranged phone call to express “his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country,” revealed a campaign spokesperson. Hill was unsatisfied with Biden’s attempts to make amends.

    At the time of her testimony, Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and presided over the confirmation hearings. During which, Hill was subjected to brutal interrogations by a committee of all white-males, who belittled her accusations with testimony from Thomas supporters and failed to call witnesses who were willing to testify on Hill’s behalf. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Hill, who’s currently a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University stated, “I cannot be satisfied by simple saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you.’ I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”

    While she did mention that she does not believe Biden’s actions should bar him from the race, affirming she’s “really open to people changing,” she cannot support the candidate until he takes full responsibility. “He needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence,” she told The Times

    Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s 2018 testimony against Brett Kavanaugh drew many comparisons to the 1991 hearing. Hill remarked in the interview that she considers Biden to have “set the stage” for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Both Kavanaugh and Thomas were appointed to the court despite allegations of sexual harassment. Hill said she wants sexual harassment and gender violence to be crucial topics during the Democratic presidential primary and wants to know how Biden and the rest of the candidates plan to address them.

    Considering Trump’s extensive history of despicable behavior towards women as well as the aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearings and the #MeToo movement, issues concerning sexual harassment and gender rights will be at the forefront for many voters. And, whoever is chosen as the Democratic nominee must be capable of strongly distinguishing themselves from Trump on these matters. As Hill said, there are many Americans who have, rightfully, lost confidence in our government and system of justice.  

    Header photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  • cyntoia b2ec8

    On Monday morning, January 7th, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam granted Cyntoia Denise Brown clemency. Brown was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 for killing Johnny Mitchell Allen, who bought her for sex when she was just 16, CNN reports. On August 7th, 2019, Brown will be released to parole supervision, the governor’s office notified in a statement. “The decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” the statement read. “Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. Yet imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope.”

    In 2004, prosecuters argued that the murder was motivated by robbery and not self-defense. Brown shot Allen in the head while he was asleep, then fled the scene with his money, guns, and truck. Brown explained that Allen’s behavior made her fear for her life and she took the money because she was too scared to return to her pimp, who went by the name Cut Throat, empty-handed. Brown was deemed competent to be tried as an adult by a juvenile court; she was convicted of murder and robbery and received a life sentence.

    Brown’s case, as well as the severe punishment for underage victims of sex trafficking in general, has garnered the attention and outrage of lawmakers and celebrities alike. Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and Ashley Judd are among the few stars that have taken to social media and called for Brown’s clemency. Since her conviction, Tennessee’s juvenile sentencing guidelines have been modified. Anchor Stacy Case, who had been investigating reports of sex trafficking in Tennessee when she first heard of Brown’s situation, told CNN, “If Cyntoia Brown were tried today, legal experts say she would not have been tried in the same way. Our Courts today would view her as a child sex slave… she would be viewed as a victim.”

    A 2011 documentary titled “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story” helped change how Tennessee handles sex trafficking crimes. In the documentary, Brown recalls the abuse she experienced at the hands of her pimp. “The first time he did something to me is when he choked me and I passed out. I made him money… he wasn’t going to let me go nowhere. He told me he’d kill me.”

    Now 30 years old, Brown has spent 15 years in prison, working tirelessly to overcome her trauma. She received her associates degree from Lipscomb University in 2015 and has been working towards her Bachelor’s degree. She’s also working with Tennessee’s Juvenile Justice System to help council young individuals. In a clip from the documentary’s filmmakers, Brown said in a phone call, “I learned that my life was and is not over. I can create opportunities where I can actually help people.” 

    Header image: Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story/PBS

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  • Screen Shot 2019 07 25 at 1.36.19 PM bbf4e

    At 4am on July 20, 29-year-old Denali Berries Stuckey was found shot to death on the side of a road in Charleston, South Carolina, Out Magazine reports. Stuckey’s death is being investigated as a homicide, but police have not confirmed whether it is being investigated as a hate crime. Stuckey is the third known trans woman to have been murdered in South Carolina and the 12th to have been murdered in the United States this year alone. All of the victims were Black.

    In an article for Vice, Diana Tourjée writes, “this latest string of murders has brought new clarity to the inseparability of anti-trans and anti-Black violence.” We cannot understand the motive of these crimes without addressing the stark racial disparity: Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of anti-racist movement Black Lives Matter, tells Vice, “Black women are the most marginalized in our society. They experience the most violence.”

    According to a 2015 report, Unerased, Black trans women are more than seven times as likely to be murdered than the average American. A survey by the National LGBTQ Task Force reports that Black trans people are twice as likely to be unemployed and more than twice as likely to live in extreme poverty than trans people of other races. Furthermore, Black trans people have reported experiencing homelessness at five times the rate of the U.S. general population.

    As a result of these conditions, born out of systemic racism, trans women of color oftentimes turn to sex work as a means of survival. Aside from currently being criminalized, sex work is an especially dangerous profession for trans women: As Tourjée writes, “Black trans women aren’t simply killed because they’re trans; the social conditions responsible for their deaths represent a holistic crisis, spread across every aspect of life.” When the country, lacking in protections against anti-trans discrimination, fails to recognize ongoing systemic racism, it fails Black trans women. 

    The systemic discrimination at the center of the murders of these women falls in line with the focus of Black Lives Matter. As said by Cullors, “Anti-Blackness is at the center of the murder of Black trans woman.” And Black trans people have been influential in the movement’s advancement: Kei Williams, an activist and Black trans person tells Vice, “There has been leadership from Black transgender people from the very founding… We’ve been here and we will always be here.”

    The epidemic of violence against trans women is a crisis in which Cullors believes there should be more organization and allyship, regarding anti-trans violence, within Black Lives Matter. “The fight for Black trans people, and women in particular, is critical for the health of Black communities.”

    Header photo, cropped for size, courtesy of David Geitgey Sierralupe via Flickr

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  • We believe in the power of girls dd702

    It is officially Women's History Month! And you can celebrate by experiencing the power of women in the film industry this March 23rd at the Girl Power Film + Media Summit curated by @imagineprods. Aspiring artists, creators, filmmakers and innovators should head to the Made in NY Media Center by IFP for a day of film screenings, discussions, panels, workshops and a dinner party. From 11am to 6:30pm, this informative and inspirational summit will feature an impressive roster of badass women who are passionate about motivating the next generation of female filmmakers.

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     Pique your curiousity with some trailers of films that will be screened: 

    Tickets for the event can be purchased here

    Photos courtesy of @imagineprods

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    Do you enjoy brunch, but like sleeping late more? If so, you will love Grunch, New York City’s only grunge brunch that combines the best of both parties. And, to celebrate Women’s History Month, Grunch is spotlighting the Lilith Fair, the first all-female music touring festival. Be there March 17th at Huckleberry Bar where resident DJs That's So Raben, DJ Wonder and Big Vic will turn the clock back to the '90s when women were dominating the music charts and radio. There also will be live performances from special guests Sandflower and MopTop

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    Get tatted at the live tattoo pop-up booth or peruse the vendors for some vintage threads. The Glendalough open bar will be keeping spirits high. And no need to worry about oversleeping. The party starts at 4pm and will continue until 10pm. Check out the playlist courtesy of Grunch below to get you in the mood!

    Photos courtesy of Grunch

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  • Yumi Album Cover 2b29d 

    Yumi Nagashima (@yumicomedy) is the kind of comedian who continues to surprise. The Japanese-born Vancouver-based standup's brand of observational humor and deadpan delivery is delighting audiences nationwide. A YouTube clip from one of her sets has recently gone viral with over 400,000 views. In the video, titled "Japanese Sweet Bite Technique," Nagashima casually addresses the lackluster sex life of a couple, seated in the front row, mulling over different methods of oral sex for them. In her new debut album, My Name Is Yumi, Nagashima covers a range of topics, such as racism, international dating preferences and working in entertainment, from her unique viewpoint as a millennial woman from Japan to establishing a performance career in North America. You can see her perform at this year's Winnipeg Comedy Festival, or YouTube where she frequently uploads new bits. We had the privilege of speaking with the rising star about her road to comedy, her creative process and how she's challenging western stereotypes of Asian women. 

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    What attracted you to comedy? Have you always been a funny person?

    Well, I started with acting first. I started studying acting around 2015, or wait a little bit before that, and I was kind of struggling because I have a thick Japanese accent so, like whenever I go to auditions I will have to be like a "Japanese Waitress" or like "Japanese Nuclear Scientist" or like the roles that make sense with my Japanese accent and it was like really limited opportunity. And then my agent asked me to go to see a dialect coach to get rid of my Japanese accent and I took a few classes and I felt so wrong because this is how I talk and this is what happens when Japanese people try to speak English. And in order to fit the Hollywood standard, I have to change how I talk and I felt so wrong. One of my actor friends, he wrote a comedy play called How Much Are Those Feelings In The Window? And then I got to play a Japanese wife who was like really not happy in her marriage. And when I said the first line, the audience started laughing which, I wasn’t expecting that and I had to wait a little bit to say the next line. And then, I realized when you do comedy it’s really interactive and you get to create something special with the audience and it made me happy. And that’s when I said oh maybe I should do comedy.

    Who are some of your favorite comedians?

    Dave Chapelle and Wanda Sykes, Bo Burnham. Dave Chapelle, I love him because he is like so effortless and casual like he could totally be your friend. Wanda Sykes, I love her delivery. Bo Burnham is like my soulmate. He’s like totally outside the box and it sort of changes my perspective on comedy or what comedy can do.

    I’ve noticed that sex is a big topic in your comedy. A video of one of your sets recently went viral. You’re talking to this couple in the audience about the right way to go down on someone. I love how you're just so unapologetic about women advocating for their pleasure. Why is talking about this topic important for you?

    Yeah, I think what’s happening is, in Japan, it’s like so oppressed. Like to talk about sex in public is so no-no, especially for women it’s so not elegant to talk about sex in public. And I want to challenge that. It should be okay to talk about sex. It’s natural. It’s not a bad thing. Sex is a really beautiful thing and we should be able to talk about it without feeling a sense of guilt or shame.

    Do you consider yourself a feminist?

    Oh totally. Hundred percent.

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    I love the way you structure your jokes in that they continuously subvert the audience’s expectations about your identity so the joke just gets funnier and more interesting in a way where you’re revealing something not just about yourself, but the audience as well. It’s really engaging. Do you like having those audience interactions?

    Oh yes. That’s one of the reasons I do this. I feel a really strong connection with the audience. It’s a live performance and you’re talking to them. I love asking what they’re thinking and it’s like they come out feeling like “Oh, she’s actually looking at us.” It feels like [giving] extra love to the audience like “Hey, I can see you! Thank you for coming and thank you for being here!”

    They talk about crowd-work a lot in comedy and some comedians, especially starting out, really struggle with it, but it comes so naturally to you it almost seems like it’s part of your joke-writing process. Would you say that it is?

    Yeah, that joke was basically part of my writing process. Like, the beginning of the seed of the idea always happens in my shower. Like when I’m showering the idea pops in [my] head and sometimes I’m like ‘Oh shit! I gotta write this down.” And then I stop showering and put a towel on my head and before I forget I write the premise, the idea of the joke, down on paper. And then when I know I have like at least 30 minutes or an hour I sit in front of the computer and then start typing all the jokes. Like, "how do I say it?"

    Yeah, it’s interesting how one word can change how funny the joke is.

    Yeah! It was kind of funny because I’m Japanese, I think I’m even more careful with that than some English speaking comedians [in terms of] what the word means to the general public. I’ve used a dictionary because I want to deliver the exact idea so there’s hopefully no misunderstanding.

    Have you ever performed standup in Japan?

    I did it twice in Tokyo but both of [the shows] were for an English speaking audience. I’ve never performed comedy in Japanese except for this one time I was performing at a café called the Kino Café (in Vancouver) and apparently the owner just hired one Japanese dishwasher and she was watching the show with her friend and her English was so limited at the time and he [the owner] wanted me to perform for her for a few minutes and I did it in Japanese and she loved it.

    What’s the comedy scene in Vancouver like?

    I have to say it got so much better after the whole #MeToo movement. The awareness changed so much. Male comedians show more respect for female comedians. It’s comfortable working as a female comedian in Vancouver. We feel like friends and we’re more connected.

    Does the #MeToo movement in the Vancouver comedy scene impact your writing in any way and if so, how?

    When I started my goal was always to empower women or liberate women specifically Asian women. I was just touring with mostly female comedians and there are so much restrictions to women especially more in certain areas of the country and I always try to liberate them. And I think it’s kind of like after the movement, it’s even easier for me to state a point.

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    Any advice for comedians who are just starting out?

    I want female comedians to have really good self-esteem; just respect and self-love and know that your opinion matters. And know that you matter. Each person feels differently about anything and it’s so fun to learn about the other people talking about the same topic. It’s very interesting.

    Photos courtesy of AlphaPR

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  • Screen Shot 2020 10 14 at 1.12.23 PM 7940cMedusa’s origin story is varied. Yet, the most widely recognized comes from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, in which Medusa was a mortal maiden in the temple of Athena, where she was raped by Poseidon. Soon after, Athena banished and cursed Medusa with a head of snakes and a gaze that turned men to stone. As the story goes, she was eventually beheaded by the epic hero Perseus, who used her head as a weapon before gifting it to Athena. Yesterday in New York City, a seven-foot-tall sculpture of Medusa was unveiled across from the Manhattan Supreme Court, where men accused of sexual assault, including Harvey Weinstein, have stood trial. However, this artistic rendition is an inverse of the Greek myth surrounding Medusa. The statue does not show Perseus holding the head of Medusa, but the other way around.

    The exhibition was conceived by MWTH (Medusa With The Head), an artist-led project that reimagines classical artists and their work. The sculpture was created in 2008 by Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati but has amassed newfound fame in recent years. After Garbati posted a picture of his statue on social media in 2018, it went viral. Bek Andersen, the founder of MWTH, explained over email, “In my own art practice I have investigated flipping the script of power and gender roles, and in that moment, Garbati’s unapologetically revisionist Medusa spoke to my interests by reimagining the outcome of the myth of Medusa.”

    Placed across from the storied courthouse, Garbati says that Medusa’s location is important because the statue explores themes of justice. Yet, questions have been raised about why, then, would Medusa not hold the head of her rapist. Andersen explains that her initial inspiration for the project was sparked by a more specific event in recent history, the Kavanaugh hearings. “A man abuses his power... gets called out on it, and the woman is the one who ultimately suffers the fallout. And the man goes on to (gain) fame and acclaim,” she explains. Soon after, Andersen wrote a patron of the arts and proposed to bring the sculpture to New York and organize an exhibition featuring works that focus the center of power away from the patriarchal structures.

    Andersen points out that Medusa is familiar enough to engage a broad population in the dialogue, but with popularity comes criticism, this time about the nudity of the sculpture. Medusa With The Head of Perseus, which was sculpted by a man, is thin, pube-less, and perky-breasted raising criticisms that the work is yet another iteration of the male gaze. “But really she’s still the total object of the male gaze here,” explains Jerry Saltz for New York Magazine, “not of thought, fear, admiration, pathos, power, agency, or anything other than male idiocy.” Saltz goes on to say that this sculpture is business as usual: another naked female figure made by another white male artist. In all fairness, on Medusa’s behalf, Jerry Saltz is also a white male. “The criticism directed at Medusa comes as no surprise,” says Andersen, “whether or not intended, the style of mannerist sculpture is provocative in the context of our western puritanical value system. For a woman to be nude, to be beautiful, for no one’s gain, she is no person’s property.” Andersen explains that this reimagined Medusa is an independent agent, acting in self-defense.

    Although controversial, the discussion surrounding the sculpture which depicts one of the most famous mythological characters of all time is neither unfounded nor surprising. In 2017 as the #MeToo movement took off, the media’s spotlight was mostly focused on A-list celebrity accusations despite the original call to action being created by a Black female activist, Tarana Burke, in 2006. “The women of color, trans women, queer people—our stories get pushed aside, and our pain is never prioritized,” said Burke for Time Magazine. “We don’t talk about indigenous women. Their stories go untold.” However, Andersen doesn’t see MWTH’s new exhibition as an ending point. Instead, “a movement forward in a long and imperfect journey toward an embodied cultural understanding of equality.”

    Despite it all, Andersen welcomes criticism. She explains, “It is exciting that images of the work have generated a dynamic conversation. I don’t take issue with anyone’s response, and I don’t think any reaction could be considered wrong.” She continues to say that this sculpture is a reaction to an antiquated ideology. “My goal with MWTH project,” Andersen says, “is to provoke conversation and action that examines the narratives that shape our worldview.”

    Medusa’s rebirth as a victor makes a statement, especially as it sits across from the place where many abusers during the #MeToo movement faced the court, but may we not forget about the women who aren’t famous, and don’t have cultural influence whose stories have not been told and whose abusers have not been held accountable.

    Top Image: Luciano Garbati Medusa With The Head of Perseus, 2008-2020 Installed at Collect Pond Park. Courtesy of MWTH Project.

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  • LS6A3969 02511

    In our Fashion Nation series, we talk to people about personal style. 

    Akina Sato
    Designer
    Los Angeles, CA

    Tell us about this outfit.

    The ’40s sailor hat is from an L.A. vintage store, Please and Thank You. I bought the ’50s sunglasses online. I got the Woodstock-print poncho and pants from a Japanese vintage collector, and the pink mirror Tabi boots are from the Maison Margiela store in Paris.

    How would you describe your personal style?

    Vintage mixed with designers, mixed with anything else I like. I go through phases with vintage clothing, picking and choosing pieces from certain eras and adding modern accessories. I also have a tendency to buy novelty pieces.

    Are you influenced by a particular time period?

    As I go through vintage eras, whether that’s the ’40s or ’50s, I get inspired by a variety of things—workwear, rockabilly. Now I’m really inspired by the ’70s—the colors, the shapes of hippie style. I love the mindset of hippies, their freedom to love.

    What about a style icon?

    I really love Erykah Badu’s style and how she evolves. 

    How has your style evolved?

    I’m from Japan and I went to a fashion school in Osaka. At that time I was just into designers. After coming to America in 2011 I got more into vintage. I’m probably having the most fun with fashion now. 

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    What pieces in your wardrobe can you not live without?

    The number-one thing that hasn’t changed in my style is my love for Maison Margiela Tabi boots. They’re something I’ve loved since I was a fashion student. And my pink hair!

    Any advice for someone who wants to dress boldly, but is afraid?

    Don’t think too much about what anyone thinks. In America, you can wear whatever you want. Someone will think it’s cool. And the more you experiment, the more you’ll eventually evolve your style. I’m never worried about looking “high fashion.” To me, someone who’s cool is someone who goes all the way with their clothes.

    COPYCAT

    Make the free love flow with Akina's colorful style!

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    1. RF X KNC II SUNGLASSES, $250, ROBERIANDFRAUD.COM
    2. ROLLA'S EAST COAST FLARE OVERALLS, $129, SHOPBOP.COM
    3. CREW NECK KNIT SWEATER, £30, MONKI.COM
    4. VINTAGE TURQUOISE JEWELRY, $425 FOR SIMILAR PIECE, GYPSY-HUNTER.COM
    5. SILVER TABI BOOTS, $1,115, MAISONMARGIELA.COM

    By Tessa Solomon
    Photographed by Shanna Fisher
    This article originally appeared in the January/February 2018 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today

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  • Girl in Pink With Beautiful Hair Braids creative commons 175585405 e7d41

    The New York City Commission on Human Rights is issuing new guidelines under which singling out individuals based on their hair or hairstyle, at work, school or in public spaces, will now be considered racial discrimination,The New York Times reports. Individuals who have been harassed, punished, demoted, fired or threatened because of their hair are given legal recourse through these guidelines. Those found in violation can be fined up to $250,000. Businesses that infringe on the new protocol can also be forced, by the commission, to change their policies and staff.

    While the new change in law applies to anyone, it is specifically intended to address the prejudicial treatment of black people. The right of New Yorkers to wear “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.” The new guidelines do not interfere with health precautions for wearing hair tied back or in a net, but the rules must be applied to everyone. Carmelyn P. Malalis, the commissioner and chairwoman of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, told The New York Times, “There’s nothing keeping us from calling out these policies prohibiting natural hair or hairstyles most closely associated with black people, they are based on racist standards of appearance, racist stereotypes that say black hairstyles are unprofessional or improper.”

    Several investigations propelled the new guidelines, which are “based on the argument that hair is inherent to one’s race (and can be closely associated with ‘racial, ethnic, or cultural identities’) and is therefore protected under the city’s human rights laws, which outlaw discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion and other protected classes.” The regulations are said to be the first of their kind in history. There is currently no legal principle in federal court for the protection of hair discrimination.

    In a press statement New York City’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray said, “Bias against the curly textured hair of people of African descent is as old as this country and a form of race-based discrimination. There are too many places, from schools to workplaces and beyond, where the idea that the hair grows on the heads of people of African descent is, in its natural state, not acceptable. That prejudice extends to traditional hairstyles, designed as much for practicality and for beauty, but are seen as undesirable by European standards. This bias is deeply embedded in the messages, spoken and unspoken, that we receive every day.”

    Header photo courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt via Wikimedia Commons

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  •  35914274822 69f9d69bcd b 1cf08

    Donald Trump Jr. spoke to DailyMailTV about Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, saying that the current climate of #MeToo makes him nervous for his sons, The Cut reports.

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    In a joint interview with his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, during a campaign swing for GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, Trump Jr. said, “I’ve got boys and I’ve got girls. When I see what’s going on right now, it’s scary for all things.” When asked whether he was more scared for his sons or daughters, the president’s ‘First Boy’ retorted, “Right now, I’d say my sons.”

    Working Girl Face Palm

    His mansplaining didn’t cease there as he continued, “For the people who are real victims of these things, when it is so obviously political in cases like this, it really diminishes the real claims.” In reality, research has shown that false reporting accounts for just between 2 and 10 percent of sexual assault allegations. Guilfoyle went on to add, “I think it’s important, in terms of doing an investigation, to get the facts out there and find out. But, people need to be careful to understand the politics involved as well and what motivations people may have.”

    Motivations? Like Dr. Blasey’s motivation to offer testimony, at the risk of her personal livelihood, to help government leaders decide whether to grant an alleged sexual predator a lifetime position to the highest court in the nation? Guilfoyle's questioning of people's "motivations" reads as a passive agressive attempt to discredit Dr. Blasey and trauma victims as a whole. 

    Trump and Guilfoyle’s shoddy justifications, in their sympathy for those accused, are not surprising considering over 20 women have accused the president of sexual assault. Additionally, Guilfoyle left her hosting job at Fox News over allegations of sexual misconduct in which she was reportedly “showing personal photographs of male genitalia to colleagues (and identifying whose genitals they were).” 

    If Donald Trump Jr. is so concerned for his son's futures amid the #MeToo era, he should consider taking the time to teach them about appropriate behavior and boundaries towards women. It's really not that hard, Don. 

    Oprah GIF

    Header photo via Sebastian Vital on Flickr 

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  • Ellen Page Inception 77d18

    During an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, actress Ellen Page made a passionate statement regarding the hatred and suffering perpetuated by the Trump/Pence Administration. Colbert congratulated her on the one year anniversary of her marriage to dancer/choreographer Emma Portner, which lead to a discussion on the slow progress of LGBTQ issues in Hollywood. Page grew emotional as she recalled the homophobia and misogyny she experienced throughout her career and emphasized the power of combatting isolation by finding community.

    The two went on to discuss climate change and Page’s environmental activism. She took a moment to explain, “the most marginalized people, and particularly people in the world that had nothing to do with this, are the ones that are suffering the most currently.” People of color in her home country of Canada, she went on to explain, are disproportionately affected, leading to what Page calls “environmental racism.”

    From there, Page segued into a critique of the media’s insufficient job addressing the urgency of climate change by making it appear as a debatable discussion, and drew a comparison to the recent attack on Jussie Smollett saying, “We have a media that’s barely talking about it. We have a media that’s saying it’s a debate whether or not what just happened Jussie Smollett is a hate crime! It’s absurd! This shit isn’t a debate!”

    Page then apologized for being “so fired up” but said “it feels impossible right now with the president and the vice president, Mike Pence, who wishes I couldn’t be married. The vice president of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana. He believes in conversion therapy. He has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the Governor of Indiana."

    At this point, Page turned the attention back to the hate crime against Smollett in relation to the country’s leadership, saying “If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them. You go through the trouble. You spend your career trying to cause suffering. What do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused and they’re going to kill themselves and people are going to be beaten on the street.” Below, is a video of the full interview. 

    Photo: Inception

    Purchase The Oct/Nov 2009 Digital Issue featuring Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat

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  • danceRiot poster 10x15 CROPPED c0fe7

    Get out and Slay The Vote at the Bowery Electric this Sunday, September 30th. The TailShakers and danceRiot are teaming up for a raucous dance party fundraiser for VoteRunLead, a non-profit that helps train women to run for office and win. There will be no shortage of entertainment at this event with musical performances, comedy, and burlesque all happening under one roof. Broadly Entertaining will MC the party. Doors open at 5pm with a VIP happy hour, and a discussion moderated by VoteRunLead will include female activists, candidates and elected officials. Get your tickets now for the most TailShakin, danceRiot of a political fundraiser you'll ever attend.

    Here are some of the amazing performers you won't want to miss:

    37 og bbf8fJD Samson

    Screen Shot 2018 09 25 at 12.24.22 PM 516a1M.A.K.U. Soundsystem

    Rs9IMcO 400x400 d3a95Agunda Okeyo

    0012633866 10 be8afThe Cameramen

    Julie Atlas Muz 3 Shankbone 2009 Howl Festival 28099Julie Atlas Muz

    3933731975 d5fffb7edd b 1 e0320Dirty Martini

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    Header image courtey of VoteRunLead

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