Rule Breakers

8 Big Feminist Stories You Might Have Missed In July

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to raise the bar, and she's not alone.

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With coronavirus spikes, unmarked police vans, and summer heat waves, July's been a real dang doozy. But between the headlines, feminist activists and leaders have pushed forward. Tap through for eight moments you may have missed.

1. Los Angeles is getting a professional women's soccer team.

On July 21, a string of A-list celebrities — Serena Williams, Natalie Portman, and Eva Longoria among them — announced themselves as investors of a new women's team, which will join the National Women's Soccer League in 2022. It'll be the first team owned almost entirely by women and will release its official name by year's end.

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2. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responds to vulgarity from a colleague.

After Florida Rep. Ted Yoho called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a "f*cking b*tch" on the Capitol steps, the congresswoman delivered a widely applauded rebuke on the House floor, in which she spoke about decency, sexism, and how men often use women to shield themselves from criticism.

Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

3. Women authors dominate the longlist for the Booker Prize.

The prestigious British book award announced its 2020 longlist, featuring nine women authors out of 13 total. Included were Kiley Reid (pictured), Hilary Mantel, and C Pam Zhang. In 2019, the ultimate honor was split between Margaret Atwood (The Testaments) and Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other).

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4. Georgia Democrats tap Nikema Williams to fill the late John Lewis's seat.

After the death of Rep. John Lewis on July 17, the Georgia Democratic Party chose state legislator Nikema Williams to fill the activist's seat. She will run against Angela Stanton-King in November but is a strong favorite, as the Atlanta district reliably votes Democratic.

I will do everything in my power to honor his legacy and lift up his spirit.

Nikema Williams

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5. Native American activists celebrate multiple wins.

After decades of activism by Indigenous women like Suzan Shown Harjo and Amanda Blackhorse, the Washington Redskins football team announced it would change its name, which has long been viewed as a racial slur. This joined a July Supreme Court ruling on McGirt v. Oklahoma, which returned nearly half of eastern Oklahoma to Native American jurisdiction, and the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

6. Actress Aisha Dee challenges The Bold Type to be better.

In a public letter on Instagram, actress Aisha Dee criticized the homogenous writer's room and behind-the-scenes team on her Freeform series. The show's producers, Freeform and Universal TV, reportedly applauded Dee's statement and promised to correct course.

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It took two seasons to get a single BIPOC in the writers' room for The Bold Type.

Aisha Dee

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7. 2019 films reached a record high for LGBTQ+ representation.

According to GLAAD's annual report of queer representation onscreen, progress is happening, albeit slowly. In an analysis of 118 major movies, 22 included a character from the LGBTQ+ community, an increase from 2018. But the report also laid bare the work that still needs to happen: Only 34% of those characters were people of color, and trans representation was essentially nonexistent.

8. The WNBA dedicated its season to Breonna Taylor.

Before the Women's National Basketball Association kicked off season play on July 25, the league announced it would dedicate the season to the late Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was killed by police officers while sleeping in her bed. Since her death in March, none of the officers involved have been charged with a crime. Two still have their jobs.

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