Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications), & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM. Some of their writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, BUST, Pouch, and elsewhere. They also teach workshops at Brooklyn Poets.Read More
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
From Lindy West to Casey Rocheteau, we've got it all:
'Beyond the “girl power” anthem: Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey and pop’s radical embrace of female vulnerability' by Arielle Bernstein on Salon:
"The most interesting female artists today are pushing away from “girl power” for something more interesting—vulnerability. For the past few years, two of the most interesting and different artists, Beyoncé and Lana Del Rey, have released albums that unabashedly reclaim the love story as a fertile ground for asking existential questions, not just about what it means to be a woman in the world, but also what it means to be a person."
Lindy West on why you should silence your trolls on Buzzfeed:
"Just blocking and ignoring never felt satisfying to me. It just felt so passive and it felt unfair that we were supposed to not talk about this thing that is just pervasive in our professional lives. And the justification was like, if you give them attention then they’ll keep doing it. Well, they’re not stopping anyway! They’re going to hate me no matter what I do. So either I have this sort of unsatisfying, wet-blanket, powerless feeling, or I take control of the conversation. And I’m a professional writer. I’m better at writing than them. It’s really easy to win an argument with an internet troll if you’re good with language and you’re smart.
I started doing it and I don’t know that it made a difference either way, but it was at least privileging my feelings over the troll’s feelings. Why should I not do this because it might make some dude happy? I don’t care if he’s happy or not happy. I care about myself and my mental health. And something always sat wrong with me about hundreds of people screaming at me trying to make me go away, trying to drive me out of my job and silence me. Silence never felt like the right response to that."
Mary Gaitskill was interviewed at Guernica, and she's pretty badass:
"But at a very core level, people still think that a woman who doesn’t have children or doesn’t want children is really lacking in something. I’ve seen this over and over again in my life. I’ve had this thinking used against me repeatedly. I remember I had a therapist once, and I brought this up, and she said, “Well, I think women who don’t have children feel very self-critical. They feel bad, so they think other people are critical in that way.”
Bridget Minamore on ‘Racism and misogyny explains why there are so few black women in politics' on The Pool:
"For the black female politician in the West, racism and sexism (or, as feminist scholar Moya Bailey called it, misogynoir) is a part of life. Like all women, the way we look is often disparaged, but brown skin takes any sexist mocking or criticism and adds a grimy layer of racism to it – like the icing on a particularly shitty cake."
Mallika Rao talks ‘From Nina to Lemonade, Why We’re Still So Bad at Talking About Colorism' on Slate:
"Yet even as terms like yellowface and whitewash sink into our cultural vocabulary, there remains confusion on basic matters of colorism. In a 1983 essay, the writer Alice Walker coined the word to explain “prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color.” Simply: Lighter is better. “Light blacks,” as Walker called them, fare better in white society than “black blacks,” and their skin is prized in black communities. Colorism endures because both black and white people perpetuate it."
Ella Wilks-Harper on ‘There’s a Fine Line Between Tokenism and Diversity‘ on Gal-Dem:
"Diversity and tokenism also comes when organisations employ people to enhance diversity, but then assume the skills and competencies of the individual are trapped within their identity. It becomes a problem when their identities are assumed to not be compatible with the mainstream. Within journalism, they are then only asked to write about black issues or Muslim issues, as opposed to being allowed to explore their careers and abilities in any area they feel interested in."
Joanna Sing explores race in ‘What I Have Learnt from Being (Occasionally) White-Passing‘ on Gal-Dem:
"However, this is not to say that being white-passing does not come with its own unique experiences and issues. For instance, you have the privilege of being considered “one of our own” by white people, and are treated as such, but this does also mean white people sometimes feel comfortable enough around you to air their racist beliefs. Sometimes about one of the ethnic groups you associate with; such as that of your mother."
Casey Rocheteau challenged the way the lit community is run in her amazing piece ‘Literary Juneteenth (or Why I Left The Offing)‘ on The Offing:
"In other words, despite her having the best intentions and excellent experience, I nonetheless began to ask ‘how is this magazine truly an agent for change if it seems to exploit the very population it seeks to serve?"
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
Mistress Harley is a tech dominatrix. It's pretty fascinating:
"When new technology springs up, sexuality adapts to it," she says. "Human sexuality is never static. A new form of technology emerges and we find a way to connect it to sex."
-Jessica Placzek for Broadly
Heart mender tea. Um, yes:
"The bittersweet effect of love is a force we all know well. Breakups can be a harrowing process. The recollections of time together haunt us and fog our thoughts."
-Brittany Ducham for Witch Craft Mag
What everyone should know about the intersex community:
"It is estimated that 1 in 2,000 people is intersex, but it is likely that the figure is actually higher. “Intersex is a natural variation of human biology,” Quinn says. “I think once everyone realizes how non-binary human biology is, it'll be easier for people to accept others on the sex or gender spectrum.'"
-Alaina Leary for Her Campus
Writing against the false narratives of anorexia:
"I have nothing pretty to say about my body when I get too thin. My skin dulls and develops scaly patches; my oversized noggin bobs on my pencil-neck like an idiot balloon. Eating disorder memoirists love to fetishize hipbones, but I am here to tell you that mine made zero aesthetic contributions to my stomach area."
-Katy Waldman for Slate
On modern love for the modern, single woman:
"Why was I putting myself through this again? It was exhausting. Maybe love was overrated. Maybe love was just what people claimed to feel for anyone who’d put up with them. I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes. I could hear the chatter of women, turning on faucets, flushing toilets. I’ll just wait here, I thought, until the mingling is over."
-Susan M. Gelles for NY Times
This guy didn't drink for two years. This is what happened:
"I’ve had friends who’ve stopped hanging out with me because I don’t drink anymore. I’ve had relationships end (or not even start) because of it. I have been sent screenshots of people I know talking smack about me to other people because I choose to not do a thing."
-Andy Boyle for Medium
Black women don't get to be depressed:
"Depression was something that happened to white people on television, not a thing that could take down a Strong Black Woman. It seemed like just another way I was desperately trying to be white."
-Samantha Irby for Cosmo
Bill Cosby was finally charged with sexual assault.
"Mr. Cosby’s apologies to Ms. Constand and her mother and offer of financial assistance was 'further indicative of Cosby’s consciousness of guilt,' according to the complaint."
An interview with Michael Seidlinger on his book "The Strangest," which was inspired by Camus:
"I was particularly interested (and worried) in the narrative arc—a death, a murder, a trial—and whether or not I could accurately replicate it without it being too derivative for readers. I also worried about how much of the book should remain faithful to the classic and how much should be original."
-Heather Partington for The Rumpus