Blog Archives

Serial and the Power of Storytelling

Like so many others, I spent the last few months of 2014 listening – first avidly, then with trepidation and ultimately with disdain – to the hit podcast Serial. The podcast follows a single story, week by week. The story centers on Adnan Syed, a Pakistani  American high school student who was accused and convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999 when they were both students at Baltimore’s Woodlawn High School. The journalist Sarah Koenig is the investigator and narrator of each episode, unraveling clues in each episode to one end: Did Adnan really do it? This …Read more »

Citizenship and Silence: Speaking the Stories Aloud

I walk to the mailbox in a small town about an hour outside New York City: Slowly, I make my way down our cracked driveway. I marvel at the blades of grass; so soft and fragile yet they’ve managed to disrupt the concrete and find their sun. I fancy myself this strong when I observe the blades, my nine years of life have not taught me better, yet. In the mailbox is a letter. “To the Indians,” it says on the front in a child’s scrawl. No envelope, no return address. Just a hastily folded piece of wide-ruled notebook paper. …Read more »

New Series: Voices From Inside – Breaking The Silence: The Cost of Cramps

This week the Crunk Feminist Collective is honored to bring you two pieces from women incarcerated in California prisons and jails. This is the second in the series. You can read the first, and get more background, here. These stories are here for us to read because of the incredible advocacy work of Justice NOW, an organization that works with incarcerated women by providing legal services, supporting prisoner organizing efforts, working with prisoners and their families on political education and mobilization campaigns, training the next generation of activists and lawyers who want to help, and building coalitions to create safety for …Read more »

New Series: Voices From Inside – Locked Away for a Lifetime: Barred from Becoming a Parent

This week the Crunk Feminist Collective is honored to bring you two pieces from women incarcerated in California prisons and jails. Their stories are here for us to read because of the incredible advocacy work of Justice NOW, an organization that works with incarcerated women by providing legal services, supporting prisoner organizing efforts, working with prisoners and their families on political education and mobilization campaigns, training the next generation of activists and lawyers who want to help, and building coalitions to create safety for women without relying on the punishment system. Justice NOW interns and staff travel regularly to prisons …Read more »

When We Are Young

When we are young, often too young to fully understand the anxiety in their voices and the fear in their eyes, many of us listen to our parents tell us how to behave when, not if, we are stopped by the police. Usually these cautions beseech us to be aware of our surroundings, comply and assert our compliance out loud, to polite and cooperative, not combative or defiant.  They tell us the things they think will protect us. They tell us not to be alone. They tell us to be vigilant. They know what we will face. They are black, …Read more »

Time for the Supremes: Hobby Lobby and Your Boss in Your Bedroom

Sometime between now and July 4th, the Supreme Court is set to rule on two cases that will affect our access to birth control, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. In both these cases for-profit companies are using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) guarantee that health insurance plans include coverage of contraceptives. Since the ACA policy went into effect, 24 million more prescriptions for oral contraceptives were filled with no co-pay in 2013 than in 2012 and has saved women $483 million in out-of-pocket costs for …Read more »

On Jill Abramson, Race, and the Politics of Recognition

Jill Abramson’s firing from the New York Times did not surprise me. The surprise was that I couldn’t manage to care. At least not in the way I saw the feminist blogosphere erupt with anguish and rage. Righteous rage, I concur. But I couldn’t manage the energy for that kind of rage. Perhaps I remained relatively unmoved, having become cynical and hard-hearted in the face of ubiquitous sexism. Perhaps I didn’t expect Jill Abramson to be treated fairly. Perhaps because I never bought the beautifully packaged and relentlessly marketed Lean In brand of feminism as a salve for structural sexism. …Read more »

Crunk Feminist Dreams: What 2014 May Bring

December is the month of the top ten lists, reflections on the past 12 months, and critical assessments of the year and its goings on. There are even top-ten lists that curate the top ten best top ten lists. Then January comes. We recover from our exertions over the holiday season, return to our schedules, perhaps with a resolution in tow or some loose intention about being better this year, or doing more, or doing less. But now, it’s almost February and what of our intentions? What of our hopes for this year? In an effort to say things out …Read more »

The Western Gaze: On Photography in the Two-Thirds World

A note on the title. [1] A young guy with a sandy brown mop of hair, t-shirt, khakis, and sneakers crouched about 10 feet from where I stood in Dilli Haat, an outdoor crafts market in New Delhi, and focused his telephoto lens. My eyes followed the direction he pointed his camera, where I saw it to be aimed at one of the artisans who had come to sell his wooden handicrafts. About 80, the artisan is wearing a crisp, white sherwani, amidst bright pink and yellow sheets of fabric suspended from a stone tower in a pattern evocative of one …Read more »

Reproductive Injustice and the ‘War on Women’ or, An Ode to the Intersections

These days, it’s hard to read something in regards to feminist activism without hearing the phrase “war on women.” Despite important and sharp critiques regarding the limitations of the phrase, it continues to hold cache as a means to characterize the depth and fortitude of the conservative legislative attack on women’s reproductive rights. This attack, as characterized by many organizations that fight for access to reproductive rights, includes a full out state-based legislative strategy to restrict access to abortion via attacks on Medicaid coverage, earlier bans, mandatory ultrasounds, forced waiting periods, “fetal pain” bills, impossible physician and hospital requirements, mandatory parental …Read more »

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