Between Ellen Pao's resignation as Reddit's interim CEO and Serena Williams' Wimbledon victory, it's been quite the week. There are so many current events that intersectional feminists should know about, and it can be hard to keep up with all of them. An abundance of excellent feminist literature exists on the Internet, and I want to bring your attention to some of the best work I've seen recently that you should take a look at.
Obviously, not every great essay or article can appear on this list, because there are just too many incredible feminist writers out there. So the following is just one possible reading list for the week, and I'm entirely sure that there are plenty of powerful pieces that aren't here. But I want to at least give you a starting point, and amplify the voices of the writers whose pieces are mentioned here. Not to mention how these writers make some great points about how race, sexuality, and more tie into feminism, which reminds us of the important fact that feminism has to be inclusive of all women.
With all of this in mind, I present to you a selection of some of the best feminist work I've seen in the past few weeks.
What You Should Be Reading
"The Problem With The Backlash Against Reddit's CEO That Nobody’s Talking About," by Derrick Clifton for The Daily Dot. Published just prior to Ellen Pao's resignation as Reddit's interim CEO on Friday, it addresses the problematic nature of the Reddit user base's backlash against her. Clifton writes that whatever mistakes Pao may have made in her career do not justify the racist and sexist nature of the criticism she is receiving, and he is right. Critiques about her administrative decisions are only acceptable if they're professional, not personal on the basis of her identity as an Asian-American woman in tech, a sphere that often puts women at a disadvantage right from the beginning.
"When We Attack Serena Williams' Body, It's Really About Her Blackness," by Zeba Blay for The Huffington Post, provides a brief but critical analysis of the racist and sexist attacks against tennis player Serena Williams in the context of the constant sexualization and othering of black women in comparison to white women. Blay makes an important point: "No matter [Williams'] success, her intelligence or her graciousness, her humanity is consistently denied." Black women are constantly policed along the axes of both race and gender, and the intersection of these constantly informs their lived experiences while contributing to the inequality they still face.
"Help! I Think I Might Be Non-Binary, But How Can I Know?" by Sam Dylan Finch for Everyday Feminism, reminds all of us that even as we fight for equality and women's rights, we must simultaneously work to deconstruct the gender binary and be inclusive of folks who identify as non-binary. In this piece, Finch provides some resources and guidelines for anyone who thinks they might identify outside the binary but isn't completely sure, while reminding readers that there is no "right" way to identify.
"Amandla Stenberg And The Sad Reality Of The 'Angry Black Girl' Stereotype," by Lilly Workneh for The Huffington Post, challenges the stereotype that black women who express their opinions are unjustifiably angry or somehow less than human. Workneh describes the backlash faced by Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg after she called out Kylie Jenner for cultural appropriation, and explains that black women should not have to apologize for being angry or for speaking out against their own dehumanization and exploitation.
"Lesbian Moms Say Arkansas Won't Put Both Parents on Birth Certificate," by Anna Merlan for Jezebel, details the lawsuits levied by three different lesbian couples against the state of Arkansas for refusing to put both mothers' names on their children's birth certificates. Instead, only the biological mother's name appears in each case. Despite marriage equality recently becoming the law of the land, these couples are still required to obtain a court order before being able to use gender-neutral birth certificates, even though women who list themselves as men on Arkansas birth certificates aren't required to provide proof of parentage.
"The Women Who Rule Pluto," by Adrienne LaFrance for The Atlantic, reveals that NASA's New Horizons mission — which aimed to obtain color footage of Pluto and its moon as well as data about its composition and atmosphere — may have had more women working on it than any other NASA mission in history. Although this might not seem significant to everyone on the mission team, it is valuable at a time when women continue to face discrimination in science and tech fields.
"Girl Swagger And Blood Lust: Rihanna, Taylor Swift And Repackaging Toxic Masculinity For A Female Audience," by Arielle Bernstein for Salon, discusses divided reactions among feminists to Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money" music video. Bernstein argues that BBHMM simultaneously represents the empowerment of black women who are fighting the sexualized violence to which they are often subjected and a public desensitization to violent imagery in pop culture.