Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016) and the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). Joanna received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, a managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine and CCM, as well as an instructor at Brooklyn Poets. Some of their writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Brooklyn Magazine, Prelude, Apogee, Spork, The Feminist Wire, BUST, and elsewhere.Read More
Ming-Ying is a human interested in the intersection of art, education, and activism. Her art centers around social justice, the feminine, and all things cute. She is passionate about: Black Lives Matter, Asian Pacific-Islander representation, queer counter-narratives, and educational equity. She also loves cheeseburgers, despite half-hearted aspirations to be vegetarian.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?"
These are interviews, articles, and pieces of literature that I've read in the past month.Read More
A lot of people of other races wonder, why the hell does hair matter so much to the black community? Well, it’s wrapped around a history of oppression and prejudice, and a whole bunch of stuff that would take another essay, extensive research and a PhD to thoroughly explainRead More