What makes a woman? New documentary seeks answers

Transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf hosts the new Channel 4 documentary What Makes a Woman? Science and society are grappling with the complex and contentious topics of sex, sexuality, and gender. New research and evidence demonstrate that simplistic binaries are more complicated than previously believed. Read the rest

Congrats to the 2017 Nebula Award winners!

The 2017 Nebula Awards, presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America, were announced last night, with a sweep in the main literary categories by women: Best Novel, The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin; Best Novella, All Systems Red by Martha Wells; Best Novelette, A Human Stain by Kelly Robson; Best Short Story, Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM, by Rebecca Roanhorse; Best Dramatic Presentation, Get Out; and the Andre Norton YA prize went to The Art of Starving by Sam J Miller. Read the rest

Hope Larson's "All Summer Long," lively YA graphic novel about tween friendships, rock and roll, and being yourself

Hope Larson's All Summer Long is an incredibly charming, subtly complex story about friendship and coming of age, the story of Bina and her lifelong friend Austin, who, as far back as they can remember have spent every summer playing a game where they award themselves "Fun Points" for petting cats, finding change on the sidewalk, going swimming, and otherwise making the most of a long, wonderful summer. Until now.

Emotional labor watch: "Closers" flirt on behalf of men who use Tinder

Closers are paid $1.45/session to log into (usually) men's dating-app accounts and flirt with the women in their queue for 10 minute stretches, as part of a gig-economy company called Vida (Virtual Dating Assistants). Read the rest

Molly Ringwald's brilliant essay about John Hughes is a superb exploration of what it means to love "problematic" art

If you've been paying attention, you might already know that Molly Ringwald is a brilliant writer with smart things to say about the movies that made her famous. Read the rest

Women (but not men) with high GPAs are less likely to get job offers

Ohio State sociologist Natasha Quadlin set out to study the effect of high academic achievement on women's employment, so she created 2,106 fictional job applicants, half male, half female, across a spectrum of GPAs and college majors, and submitted them via common recruiting sites. Read the rest

Lumberjanes 8: families, they f*ck you up

Lumberjanes is the longrunning, justly beloved kids' graphic novel series about an all-girl summer camp where the campers fight magic monsters, sometimes are magic monsters, and swear oaths on feminist icons from history; it keeps going from strength to strength, and Stone Cold, the eighth collection in the series, is no exception!

RIP Anna Campbell, a British woman who joined an all-woman Kurdish Protection Unit in Syria

Anna Campbell, from Lewes, England, has died fighting in the Kurdish Women's Protection Units ("YPJ") in Syria; she was likely killed by a Turkish airstrike. She was 26. Read the rest

Los Angeles: come see me talk with Jen Wang about her amazing graphic novel the Prince and the Dressmaker TONIGHT!

Hey, LA! Molly "Strong Female Protagonist" Ostertag, Tillie Walden and I are going to be talking with Jen Wang about her amazing, genderqueer middle-grades fairy-tale/graphic novel The Prince and the Dressmaker, tonight at 7PM at Chevalier's Books. Be there or be square! Read the rest

Disneyland announces a date for removal of sex-slave trafficking scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

The Pirates of the Caribbean was the last ride Walt Disney personally supervised; it has undergone many replications and revisions over the years, but last year Disneyland Paris removed the "Buy a Bride" scene, in which we are treated to a lighthearted human trafficking auction in which captured women are auctioned to pirates as "brides." Read the rest

Jen Wang's "The Prince and the Dressmaker": a genderqueer graphic novel that will move and dazzle you

I love Jen Wang's work: her debut graphic novel Koko Be Good was thought-provoking and challenging and beautiful; "In Real Life," her adaptation of my story Anda's Game took the tale to places that delighted and surprised me -- today, Firstsecond publishes The Prince and the Dressmaker, which I believe will be her breakout graphic novel.

Amanda Palmer's #metoo song for Judy Blume

Judy Blume is Amanda Palmer's ballad in honor of the author's 80th birthday, celebrating her decades of service in helping young women to navigate a world that labels them as crazy and vain, the nagging sense that it's "just me": "The experiences of her teenage characters ― Deenie, Davey, Tony, Jill, Margaret ― are so thoroughly enmeshed with my own memories that the line between fact and fiction is deliciously thin. My memories of these characters, though I’d prefer to call them “people” ― of Deenie getting felt up in the dark locker room during the school dance; of Davey listlessly making and stirring a cup of tea that she has no intention of drinking; of Jill watching Linda, the fat girl in her class, being tormented by giggling bullies ― are all as vivid, if not more so, as my own memories of kissing Stephen Lee in our elementary school’s auditorium closet atop a pile of gymnastics mats (fourth grade), of being teased by Mike O’Curtin for being too flat-chested (all of sixth and seventh grades), or of discovering that an empty plastic ice pop sheath makes a pretty good dildo when filled with warm water (summer of eighth grade. And believe me, it was a truly great summer.)" Read the rest

App to record sexual consent in the blockchain will be used to discredit sexual assault survivors

LegalFling is a Dutch app that's supposed to protect partners in sexual liaisons from miscommunication by recording both parties' consent to sexual activity in an indelible, public blockchain entry. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning is challenging Maryland Democratic Senator Benjamin L Cardin in the 2018 elections

Whistleblower and torture survivor Chelsea Manning has filed papers to challenge Senator Benjamin L Cardin for his seat in the 2018 midterm elections. Read the rest

Tehran's police tell women that violations of religious dress codes will henceforth be treated as civil offenses, not criminal offenses

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani campaigned for re-election last year on a reform platform, and in the wake of his successful campaign, the police in the Iranian capital of Tehran have notified women that failures to adhere to the country's brutal religious dress-code will be treated as civil offenses and punished with fines, not jail sentences. Read the rest

#Metoo: from the Balkans to Twitter

A friend asked me to follow the flow, and write this hashtag #metoo. Cavafi, the Greek poet who lived all his life by the sea and wrote about everything but the sea, before dying he said: Let me too say something about the sea. Read the rest

Women routinely caught fire in the mid-19th century

The mid-19th century vogue for flowing, diaphanous women's garments made from open-weave fabrics like "bobbinet, cotton muslin, gauze, and tarlatan," combined with gas lighting, candles, and open fires meant that it was extremely common for women to literally burst into flames: on stage, at parties, at home. Read the rest

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