10 3 / 2014
Check out the following list of 10 women’s contributions to the world that have made humanity’s circumstance more efficient and enjoyable:
- Rosalind Franklin (seen left), a British biophysicist, was the first person to capture a photographic image of the DNA double helix in Photo 51. Her work was shown to competitors without her permission, who then took the credit and received the Nobel Prize four years after her death in 1958.
07 3 / 2014
Love him or hate him, John Green is a powerful force in YA publishing. But lauding commendations on his shoulders for turning a generation on to a long-standing and previously thriving genre is not only presumptuous, it’s offensive to every other author in the business and plays victim to the trope that an author’s crowning achievement is to be the front-runner of it’s genre. Big-name blockbusters emerge from the every genre on a regular basis, but no single instance should be viewed as the absolute driving force behind the genre. Literature is highly subjective, but the reason many mass-popular titles come into popularity can usually attributed to an effective marketing and promotion team. Publishing is no simple matter.
Relevancy aside, it’s a challenge to find recent articles about YA lit that don’t focus on Green; his name tends to to dominate the discourse, even when it shouldn’t.
06 3 / 2014
The problem with Lupita Nyong’o has nothing to do with Lupita herself (she’s great!), the issue lays in the smug satisfaction that even some of the most “progressive” Lupita enthusiasts get from singing her praises. Somewhere in the time it has taken to for the internet to explode with a barrage of thousands of compliments suggesting how “regal” or “striking” or “flawless” Lupita is, we’ve placed Lupita on a pedestal from which she is sure to fall. We’ve constructed an idea that she, the sole female Oscar nominee of color for this year, needs to be perfect while Jennifer Lawrence trips her way down the red carpet. Thanks to one movie, one award, and a few fashion ads, people think Lupita has paved the way in to superstardom for dark skinned black girls all over the world, but the truth is that path is still super gravelly at best, and often only allows one traveler at a time.
06 3 / 2014
Held every year on March 3, International Sex Worker Rights Day began in India in 2001. Its original organizers were the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, based in Calcutta, and the day began when 25,000 sex workers came together for a festival. It is a day sorely needed in a society where sex workers are stigmatized, stereotyped, and often attacked for their profession.
Though prostitution has been called “the world’s oldest profession,” the law does not often favor those who practice it.
According to the New York-based Sex Workers Project, “policies based on the assumption that sex work is inherently dehumanizing can never recognize or improve the reality of sex workers’ lives,” and “sex workers’ human rights are often jeopardized by the very policies intended to help them.”
A study by the group found that 80% percent of street-based prostitutes interviewed had experienced violence or been threatened with it while working, and 27% had experienced violence at the hands of police.
05 3 / 2014
Feminspire.com is seeking new contributors to write about current events, the media, beauty and fashion, and stories of personal experience as feminists in 2014.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to pitch story ideas! No formal writing experience required.
04 3 / 2014
Can’t wait for season four of Game of Thrones? Black Milk Clothing is here to sate your lust for branded swag. As early as May, the company teased us with the prospect of a Game of Thrones collection, and they’ve finally delivered the goods. Come March 11, fans will be able to buy dresses, leggings, skirts, tess, and swimsuits emblazoned with their favorite house sigils and Westeros themes. Of course, the unrefuted stars of the collection are the Drogon and Rhaegal leggings. All the cool kids will have them.
03 3 / 2014
Let’s start with the good, because we can try to be positive, can’t we? And since I can’t actually squeal “LUPITAAAAA” at you, I suppose I will have to articulate in words that Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Actress for her fantastic performance in 12 Years a Slave. Nyong’o is only the seventh black actress to recieve this award. The movie, directed by Steve McQueen, also picked up the Best Picture award. Nyong’o has been stunning on red carpets all awards season and very vocally advocating for diversity and representation for black women in media.
28 2 / 2014
In the past seven months, the following legislation has been enacted:
Uganda: Anti-homosexuality laws passed in December 2013 inflict mandatory life imprisonment for repeat “offenders.” First-time offenders face 14 years in prison, though many are beaten or whipped. Reason cited: religious beliefs.
Nigeria: On January 13, 2014, Nigeria banned same-sex relationships, same-sex sexual contact, and homosexual organizations with the punishment of up to 14 years in prison. Reason cited: religious and cultural beliefs.
Russia: Russia’s “anti-LGBT” were passed in June, 2013, but most of the world didn’t start caring about them until people realized it would have an impact on the Olympics. Reason cited: religious beliefs.
25 2 / 2014
There is nothing wrong with wanting to explore one’s sexuality or being open to experiences that we never thought of before. There is nothing that indicates we should know what we like sexually by a certain age. We don’t need a book or a specific kind of partner to explore — we need a willingness to be open to new experiences, and we need communication so that our partners understand that we want to try new things.
It just sometimes feels that by reading these books we’ve fallen so far down the rabbit hole that we aren’t seeing life as it is. Do we really want a Christian Grey, or do we just want our current partners to be more exciting in the bedroom? I’ve always heard “be careful what you ask for, you may get it,” which means that asking for Mr. Grey gets you just that — the good, the bad and the ugly.
24 2 / 2014
Canadian inmates are expected to pay for their own toiletries (soap, shampoo, deodorant), as well as letter-writing supplies, reading materials, and non-prescription medications (e.g., eye drops, skin creams for skin conditions, acetaminophen). Until recently, the most income a Canadian inmate could earn in one day by working was $6.90, with the average income of working inmates being $3 a day.
In April, the Canadian government will reduce inmate wages by 30% in an effort to lower government spending. That takes the average income down to $2 a day, which is a drastic decrease when you consider the impact of having a weekly salary of $21 drop to just $14. This is the first time since 1981 that the amount an inmate can earn has changed – and it’s changed for the worse.
Imagine the living conditions for inmates who cannot or do not earn an income: inmates condemned not only to incarceration, but also to smelly, grimy incarceration, since they’re not provided with basic toiletries requisite for healthy hygiene.
And given overcrowding rates of incarceration institutions (in 2008, many Canadian institutions were overcrowded at double capacity, and this rate has grown), that reek could get overpowering quite quickly.
21 2 / 2014
Trigger warning for discussion of rape and sexual assault
Speaking as a survivor of sexual violence, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t wish that I didn’t have the truckload of issues that I now have. I always find it very disrespectful when someone insinuates that my pain or suffering should be less because my type of assault wasn’t as damaging. Who determines what is damaging where sexual assault is considered? Should that be left up to you, the individuals who have never lived it and have no idea what we are dealing with? Should I take advice from you on my healing and where I should or shouldn’t be, or how I should feel or not feel because you deem yourself an expert? NO.
20 2 / 2014
Perhaps one of the difficulties that pansexuality faces in receiving recognition stems from the difficulty that gender performances outside of the heterosexual (female/male) gender binary have in gaining recognition (never mind acceptance). If performances outside of the heterosexual gender binary are immediately rejected when witnessed or never noticed as being performed (because the predominant social modes of interaction have no accurate category to assign to such performances), then those performances that are outside of the heterosexual gender binary cannot achieve social recognition and acceptance.
So perhaps we need to start acknowledging the non-female, non-male, fluidly-gendered, non-gendered individuals amongst us and creating the legitimized discourse on non-binary gender. And while we’re at it, let’s foster some recognition for those among us who love the variety of genders being expressed. It’s time for some Pansexual Pride.
19 2 / 2014
Trigger warning for mention of rape
The phenomenon known as victim-blaming has been appearing more frequently in mainstream media, so there’s bound to be a little confusion while people adjust to the new terminology. For quick clarification, victim-blaming is when “the victim of a crime or wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them.” Simultaneously perpetrating an act that harms another person and insisting that you are the victim of said scenario is not victim-blaming. It’s called being an entitled asshole.
In 2012, a Florida man plead not guilty to opening fire on a van that resulted in the death of a black teenage male, claiming he was acting in self-defense under Florida’s stand your ground law (the same law that sentenced Marissa Alexander to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband — which was overturned, and a new trial is set for this summer. And let’s not forget about George Zimmerman).
According to reports, Michael David Dunn, 45, got into a heated altercation with four unarmed teens outside of a convenience store. Dunn allegedly asked the teens to turn down their music (referred to as “thug” music). When they refused, Dunn fired 10 shots into the van, then immediately drove to his hotel. He fled the next morning after learning that Jordan Davis, 17, was dead as a result of what his defense claims was “act[ing] responsibly and as any responsible firearms owner would have acted under these same circumstances.” During his trial, he claims that he shot because he thought he saw them point something like a shotgun at him through the back of the van, although his fiancée testified that he never mentioned seeing the gun during the incident.