Can feminism be fashionable?

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Chanel Runway 2014 (VOGUE)

It’s not a secret that the fashion industry is pretty messed up and we are all affected by it, whether we love fashion or aren’t interested in it at all.

With fashion show after fashion show, we see the feminist movement creeping up on today’s catwalks. As models walk down wearing feminist t-shirts it’s hard for me to decide whether I’m into it or not. With more people talking about feminism nowadays, I question: Is the attention on this movement is only happening because it has become more popular and cool? If designers are treating feminism as a trend to sell clothes, make money, and gain customers, do they really mean what they are promoting on the runways? It brings about this idea of “light hearted feminism” instead of promoting activism and raising awareness about the seriousness and complexity of the women’s rights movement. Feminism is nothing without true ACTION. By having models walk down the runway with posters and feminist slogans it brings attention to the issue, but doesn’t really do much more. However, the exposure can be positively influential and those who may have not cared about it all may begin to pay attention to it now.

Many designers are doing it right. All of the proceeds from designer Jonathon Simkhai’s “Feminist AF” t-shirts go to Planned Parenthood. Designers are raising awareness, and showing their support and political views, which could be very influential to their customers. The industry came together in the record-breaking Women’s March and helped make #NastyWomen and #ImWithHer hashtags that more people were willing to use. We saw brands feature models of different ethnicities, body types, skin color, etc. Some fashion magazines and advertisements are becoming more diverse and representative of different types of women. But, if the brand doesn’t actually sell clothes for women of all sizes, but is promoting it, what do we do with that? If the brand claims to support feminism but uses it to make money and wears feminist words lightly, then what is their real intention? When a designer like Christian Siriano who has been focusing on diversity and realistic representation of women throughout his career makes a political statement with a “People are People” t-shirt, it makes sense. But when a brand does it to gain popularity or “fit in”, it’s questionable. It’s the nature of the industry to move from one trend to the next. Fashion trends die out. Let’s make sure feminism doesn’t.

So, can feminism be fashionable?

It comes down to the individual. When you look at t-shirts with feminist sayings, does that make you feel good? If promoting that movement does, then fill your wardrobe with Simkhai’s shirts! Feminism in the fashion industry should be all about making women feel good about themselves. A lot of the industry’s problems lie in how they express beauty ideals. Women are taught to hate their hair, their stomach, their legs, their dark skin, their light skin, their boobs and butt, and the list goes on forever. If fashion designers can first teach us to love our selves and how we look, then we can move forward and support the industry in its activism. By seeing that on the runway, in ads, or in magazines, we can incorporate it into our own lives and use fashion to embrace the people we are as well as those around us. Don’t do it for the brand—do it for yourself. You don’t have to do your make-up or hair everyday. Or, you can do a full face of makeup and wear heels to class. You don’t have to wear a bra all the time and you should wear your bathing suit proudly! Of course this is not easy because of what the industry focuses on, but as feminist individuals we can turn that around. Use fashion to make YOURSELF feel good. If the industry moves forward with this attitude and is sure to truly and realistically portray genders, bodies, class, ethnicities in the right way, then we will begin to feel better about supporting brands that claim to be raising awareness. If you focus on what you love about yourself and use what you wear to show it off, then that is how feminism can be fashionable.


Got my inspo from this article I absolutely loved by Olivia Muenter!

Also check out this youtube video “ON FEMINISM IN FASHION”


Adrianna Kusmierczyk

Social Media Assistant, What the F Magazine

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Meet Bob

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Have you met my new boyfriend?

Probably not. Silly question. See, I keep him a secret. I keep him in a drawer, in a Ziplock bag, in the hopes that no one will find him. I keep him away from prying judgmental eyes. I keep him to myself.

Why, you ask? I’m not exactly sure. I’d like to think that I’m past being ashamed for pursuing sexual pleasure. Sometimes I fancy that I’m beyond the type of narrow mindset that plagued me in my younger years. I’d like to think I’m a liberated woman. But despite my assurance in the strength and beauty of other women, and my unwavering commitment to not denying them their sexuality, there are corners of my mind that have reservations when it comes to ME. These corners have pressing, pestering questions.

Like:

  • What would your mother think?
  • What would your baby sister think?
  • How about how BOB changed your own perception of yourself.
  • Are you an indulgent girl now? This is not a girl I recognize.

But maybe that’s because I’ve suppressed that part of me for so long. Scratch that. I’ve suppressed, ignored, and misunderstood my own body and its needs for so long that I don’t recognize a version of myself that doesn’t neglect my own sexuality. No doubt.

But BOB has helped me with that. Despite what some traditionalists might argue, ordering my boyfriend off Amazon was the best decision for my love life. Not because BOB is special, but because when I’m with him I actively seek it, nourish it. It being my own happiness, my pleasure. It seems wrong to deny anyone these emotions, so how can it not be wrong to deny myself them? Am I not human, too? Why should such a good thing be a sin, if it makes me happy and hurts no one else?

And yet knowing this in my brain is different than accepting it as truth and in practice. My brain believes in the logic, but my body often rebels against it. This has not been erased by BOB’s presence, but it has been helped. The fact that I don’t own up to him is proof enough of that.

Nothing is completely fixed. Besides, me being happy isn’t tied to any notion of fixedness. I just want to accept, embrace, and enjoy my own sexuality without lingering guilt. BOB is not my soul mate, he’s not even human, but he’s been instrumental in my self-discovery and self-appreciation.

Now I at least have that off my chest. It’s another step towards the end that is being who I want to be. And now you’ve met my boyfriend. My first, as it were. His name is BOB, short for Battery Operated Boyfriend. Don’t tell anyone about him though, alright? This is just between friends.


Sadie Quinn

Staff Writer, What the F Magazine

Art by Kate Johnson

1973

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Quite frequently, I wear a white t-shirt with the year 1973 plastered across the chest in dark blue font. When I take it off, I put it back on its hanger: on our living room wall. In late August, my wide-eyed roommates looked at each other—and all the blank walls—after we fully moved into our first apartment. We covered the walls in Mod-Podge style of any and all things “women.” A perk of being twenty-one is that you can get away with taping your favorite shirt to the wall and calling it art. And art it became. The wall—the shirt—became integral parts of my last year.

Mostly, people confuse the shirt as tour merchandise from an English indie pop band. “I think you’re thinking of the 1975. But hey—good band,” I lie—they’re mediocre—but in situations like this my default is to appease. I would usually let the mistake slide entirely, but this shirt deserves more than the gender roles that somewhere along the way I internalized. This shirt demands recognition, it settles for nothing less than unapologetic.

I’ve had the shirt since last April. I bought it for 35 dollars on prinkshop.com. The shirt highlights “1973” because this is the year of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. These are the facts and figures behind the shirt. And while they are important, these details, like any other historic event and capitalist product, are also in part problematic.  The act of buying a semi-expensive shirt that supports women’s rights is marketplace feminism; it is trendy, it is commodified, and it screams privilege. I attempted to justify this with the fact that Prinkshop makes all of its clothing in the United States and 30% of the shirt’s profits went to the National Institute for Reproductive Health, but nonetheless this may still make me a Bad Feminist.*

While Roe v. Wade was an important step in the right direction for reproductive justice, it by no means championed women’s rights. Although at different points in the decision it was highlighted that a woman has the right to choose, the Court made sure to emphasize that the primary right that was being reserved in this decision was that of the physician to practice freely. In claiming that the unconstitutionality lay in states’ attempts to block doctors from performing abortions, rather than states’ attempts to block women from having abortions, the Court shied away from the larger issue that is the right of women to be the sole controller of their own bodies.

Roe v. Wade is not the landmark case that it is commonly remembered as. But that is not to dismiss the case entirely. Even with this knowledge, I still feel comforted by the shirt against my chest. The shirt has become detached from its Supreme Court legacy as it has begun to pave its own. It has become a symbol of empowerment for me. The shirt came just days before I left for an immersive literature and hiking program in the New England woods. I thought there would be something romantic about wearing it as I climbed my first mountain. As I inched my way up Mount Major, I looked down to remember the bodies who had gone through more struggle than what my own was feeling in that moment. I came out of the woods to a world I was not ready to face. As the election drew closer, I pulled the shirt closer and closer. I wore the shirt as I went to the polls; without a bra, in high-waisted mom jeans. I waited in line with my best friend for two hours to cast our votes for what we hoped would be the first woman president. I made her take a picture of me with my 1973 paraphernalia and first “I voted” sticker. This photo pains me as I scroll by it in my camera roll, but something urges me to keep it. It hits me each time with a peculiar transcendental feeling that my future daughter may one day appreciate it. I wore it as I anxiously did homework that election night as the results moved closer and closer towards Donald Trump. And I was still in the shirt as I got back in my bed at 3am when the election was all but over. Although clothed, I felt quite naked. Maybe even nude. Raw. I FaceTimed my sister; to which on a screen, from 3,000 miles away I saw the same puffy eyes, red nose, and 1973 Prinkshop shirt. Seeing her face pop up on the screen, in that shirt, instantly sent my emotions to overload.

In a way, the shirt feels haunted by this night. Instead of 1973, sometimes I see November 9th, 2016. I wear the shirt as the man running this country threatens to repeal Roe v. Wade, and I am forced to remember that the current political climate seeks to reverse this Supreme Court decision, not criticize its conservatism. I for the first time feel more connected to 1973. To the legacy that paved the way for me to not have to worry as intently about my reproductive rights. I wore the shirt at the Ann Arbor Women’s March and thought of the women who marched before me, who fought for 1973. I feel motivated to look towards the future and make 2018 a year that young women want to wear on their chests as they continue the fight towards equality.

This wouldn’t all fit on a shirt. And so for now, 1973 is enough. And maybe that is exactly the genius behind the shirt. To provoke questions, to force engagement, to open up points of criticism, and to provide a stark reminder that we are in desperate need of a new year to represent women’s rights.


*You can similarly find this book by Roxane Gay taped onto the wall right next to the 1973 shirt. I wish I was semi-kidding, but as the image above proves, I am not.


Natalie Brennan

Assistant Editor, What the F Magazine

Looking “Nice”

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I look in the mirror every morning and my mind immediately jumps to criticism. My stomach isn’t flat enough, I look bloated, my booty isn’t big enough, my boobs got smaller, why does my face look like that, and on and on and on.

I spend hours every week at the gym, mostly because exercise is my way of relieving stress and because when I don’t go, I feel sluggish and unfocused. But while I’m there, regardless of my healthy intentions, there’s always that nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me I need it in order to look good.

I eat plenty at meals, never hesitating to go for that second cookie or another bowl of pasta. I love food. Like really love it. I will eat anything you put in front of me, especially if the food falls in the dessert category. But every time I eat, regardless of how much, I always take a quick look in the mirror afterwards, lifting up my shirt to see how far my stomach sticks out, to see if I still look “small enough.”

I recently started wearing crop tops. I bought a few several years ago, and they sat in my drawer for months at a time, until I would take one out, try it on, look in the mirror, and then take it off and put it back in the drawer. It took a lot of courage to actually wear one in real life. I now put one on, think I look great, but as the night goes on I start to wonder if I really do look okay, or if everyone passing me is looking at my stomach and wondering how I could dare to go out dressed like that.

***

My best friend and I talk about body image all the time. We are both feminists who hate when women are judged for their bodies, we don’t hesitate to compliment women we see in public, we love looking at pictures of confident women with all body types, and we both believe that every woman should feel beautiful in her own skin, regardless of how she “compares” to societal beauty standards. And yet we both have a mental prototype of how we “should” look, and we often discuss how we just want to look “nice” and “healthy.”

But what does that mean? What is “nice”? Does having a personal standard for how I believe my body should look make me a bad feminist? Does it mean I’m shaming other women, even if that’s not my intention?

Societal beauty standards really got me fucked up. Instead of caring about my own opinion, I find myself entirely focused on what others think of me. As a heterosexual woman, I do care about the opinion of men, but I have realized that I care about the opinion of other women even more. I want them to think I’m pretty and to think I look great, and to view me the same way I view the confident women I see every day.

It’s difficult not to have an opinion on the way I look, and although I truly believe that all body types are beautiful, I am still extremely uncomfortable with the idea of my body looking certain ways. I’m constantly torn between “she looks great” and “I could never look like that.”

I envy women who are comfortable with their appearance and who have pushed past the constant judgment from men and other women to prove that every woman is beautiful. Size and shape don’t matter, what matters is self-love, but for me, that level of self-love has been very hard to attain. That doesn’t mean I don’t try, but so far in my life, criticisms have beat compliments the majority of the time.

***

Since I started spending my time with more feminists, of all body types, races, and ages, I have entered into more discussions about body image, and I’ve seen more and more examples of women who love themselves without any hesitation. I have a strong group of friends who compliment me and make sure I know that when it comes to my body, my own opinion is the only one that matters.

It may not seem like it, but I really have come a long way. When I look in the mirror, I tell myself I look good, even if I don’t believe it right away. I exercise to be healthy, and am starting to discover how strong my body can be. I allow myself skip days, and cheat days, and although I try to be healthy, I know that I really will be okay if I eat a couple extra cookies. I have started wearing what I want to, and it’s easy to forget about my insecurities when I’m with my friends.


Katie Slajus

Volunteer Coordinator, What the F Magazine

Art by Amanda Donovan, Graphic Design, What the F Magazine

Posing as Myself

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Hi, I’m Tori, and I am tangibly close to graduating from college.

I never actually thought this day would come. Not because I didn’t think I wasn’t going to make it, but it was always so far into the future. Eons and decades and centuries away—always a distant reality that I never thought I would have to come face-to-face with.

But with graduation, there comes post-graduation. And that means going out into the real world with a real job and a real salary and a real apartment. However, after eons and decades and centuries of being a full-time student, I don’t know exactly how to succeed at a real job.

And with that dilemma, I have another big problem: I don’t know how to obtain a real job. The process is political, complicated and downright confusing. And once my application somehow advances to a competitive level, I shoot myself in the foot, because guess what? I kind of suck at interviewing.

This snag isn’t because I don’t like talking to other people—on the contrary, I love talking to people. I even love striking up conversations with people I don’t know in line at Starbucks. I like hearing other people’s thoughts and world-views and opinions—it’s probably why I spend hours on hours looking at the top contributors on Quora.

But I suck at talking about myself. I hate talking about myself. It gives me social anxiety to talk about my accomplishments and internships and successes, and I want to stop immediately after I open my mouth.

I don’t want to go into details of what I have been responsible for and executed in past projects. I like to skirt the surface and just say it was “a great experience” instead of giving concrete examples of what made it a valuable lesson; without specifics, I sound childish and inarticulate.

I feel like this might be a mild case of the infamous impostor syndrome. Maybe I can’t talk about my experiences and accomplishments because I am unable to internalize them and feel like I can’t take responsibility for the results. If I am asked questions about a specific role I took, I get nervous I might be found out as a fraud—even though I’m not! I really did contribute to these projects! Sometimes, I did practically the whole thing.

Maybe I don’t want to seem arrogant, because arrogance is one of the top qualities of a disliked woman. I much prefer humility and not having the spotlight on me, unless it is to occasionally tell a joke and be surrounded by the warm and familiar laughter of my friends.

Maybe I’m scared to death of authority figures. I laugh nervously and smile and trail off my sentences; it’s the little girl inside of me who is terrified of the principal’s office and getting into trouble by saying the wrong thing. That hot burn always still creeps up into my cheeks when confronting someone I want to impress.

Maybe it’s just hard to get outside of my comfort zone. Whose comfort zone is being grilled by someone who potentially controls your future?? Outside of my comfort zone is a place that is extremely uncomfortable and often awkward—and very far from the comfort of my bed.

However, as I look back on my past 4 years at Michigan, I know I have conquered scarier things. Heck, I survived the Polar Vortex, waiting outside for the Bursely-Baits bus in -20 degrees Fahrenheit after my 9pm German class. If I can survive that winter (and by winter I mean about 6 months of 2013-2014), I can do anything. That season made me tough.

In every uncomfortable situation, I think practice makes perfect. And practice it will be for me, until the nerves and butterflies fly away. I will practice talking about myself until I can squash that nervousness and pretend like everything I’ve done is the best goddamn thing anyone has EVER done on the face of this Earth and WILL EVER do.

With my fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude, hopefully I will land a real person job. And with that tangible post-grad job, I can continue to add more and more accomplishments to my resume. I am still hesitant about graduating, but with the possibility of starting my career, I want to find experiences that I can find pride in talking about—and I will shout them loud and clear.


Tori Wilbur

Finance Director, What the F Magazine

Art by Erica Liao, Art Director, What the F Magazine

And She Lived Happily Ever After

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As a little girl, all I wanted was to be Ariel. She had red hair, she loved the water, and she ended up with a gorgeous prince who saved her life. I had red hair, I lived on a lake, and I soon realized that all I wanted was a gorgeous prince of my own to save me.

***

In middle school, I found a prince with dark hair and olive skin. He played trombone and lived off of Life Savers mints. But he was raised in a family that never missed church and was well-educated on the Bible and their faith. My family and I never went to church. He was a Baptist and I was a “I don’t really know what to believe.”

We sat on a hill surrounded by blades of grass and warm sunshine as he taught me about how the world was created and what he believed. But while I obsessed over learning a religion so a boy could love me, he and his family decided that trying wasn’t enough for them.

***

My heart ached time and time again when the olive skinned prince or my beautiful best friend or any other peers showed me signs of doubt, disappoint, or distaste. My mom preached that you shouldn’t care what others think of you, but my feelings towards myself were built on the approval of others.

As I was tearing myself down brick by brick for not being enough, I became a mother figure to my group of friends: giving advice, a shoulder to cry on, any sort of comfort. I gave away my bricks to build up others.

***

I first became close to my high school sweetheart because I was setting him up with another girl. But when she found out that he was atheist, she was no longer interested. I was still a self-proclaimed “I don’t know what to believe,” so we hit it off and started dating.

We were a couple that you could spend time with and not feel uncomfortable around. We fit together like two puzzle pieces, building each other up with our own bricks, bringing our bricks together and supporting each other. Our friend groups started to merge, and we danced the night away at five high school dances. In the two years we were together, I was convinced he was my prince. He was ready to save me.

But as our relationship started to crumble from distance and stress, I couldn’t give enough bricks away from myself to rebuild our life together. After a period of on-again, off-again with this boy, I realized he wasn’t my prince.

***

My mom and dad were both born on September 20th, 1960. My mom had a crush on my dad in the ninth grade, they starting dating in high school, and they have been together ever since.

My parents went to the same college, but my dad transferred to a different school after just one year. My mother told me that she was thankful he did. She said that she loved him and always has, but she knew that if he would have been at school with her, she wouldn’t have ventured out to meet new friends, do new things, or done as well in school. She said that she missed him when he was gone, but she was able to grow as an individual instead of just grow as a couple.

My mom has been in a relationship with my father for almost forty years, but she is the most independent person I know.

***

I have learned a lot of new things in college. I’ve learned things through my classes: art history, design principles, anthropology. I’ve learned things through student organizations: I like to have control, organization is the key to life, loving what you do is important. And I’ve learned things through living on my own: I need alone time as much as I need time with friends, I can’t cook, I don’t need a prince.

Let’s say it again: I don’t need a prince.

I grew up wanting a mermaid tail and to breathe underwater and to be loved by a boy who would do anything for me. That was the ultimate goal. That was what would determine if my life was meaningful or not.

But my mother – a woman who is a vital part of the company she works for, a woman who would drop anything and everything to ensure I was happy, a woman who has been a committed wife for years – showed me that you don’t need someone else to make you happy. Happiness can come from your hobbies, your work, your family, your friends. You can build yourself with bricks from many different areas, not just a prince that hands them to you.

And if a prince comes, let him. He can have the dark hair that goes with my red, or he can have the awkward human legs that go with my mermaid-like swimming abilities. He can give me bricks and I can give him some too, but my life doesn’t need to be built on his bricks, because I have my own.


Paige Wilson

Assistant Art Director, What the F Magazine

On Activism, Allyhood, and Trump

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Early last year, photos of my good friend’s birthday party were posted on Facebookone that I had to miss, as I had been sick. Wanting to fully indulge my feelings of #FOMO and a reprieve from discrete math homework, I clicked through them. One photo had a comment. My friend had said something to the effect of, “Omg, why are my eyes so Asian in all these pictures?”

My heartbeat quickened. I reread her words again and again.

(For what it’s worth: what I heard, what I understood, from her words was that Asian eyes are and have been seen as undesirable. Intentionally or notand I do not believe she intended to hurt me, but nonethelessshe drew on a history of upholding whiteness as the single barometer for beauty, a barometer that I myself learned to use early on. I have hated my eyes for awhilemono-lidded, without so much as a single crease, framed by short and sparse eyelashes. I am still unlearning this hatred. I know what the expectations are. And even as I know that these expectations come from a place of exclusion and xenophobia, I also know all the ways I fail to meet them.)

So, I went back to discrete math. I kept losing my train of thought, though, and thinking back to my friend’s words. I returned to the comment periodically, to see if anyone had responded. A couple iterations into this exercise, it dawned on me that it might be up to me to say something. It seemed important that someone acknowledge the comment, the harmful message of it.

My heart raced again as I flipped through various responses in my head. I worried about coming off as angry, as irrational, as hostile, as being that person. Eventually I settled on something exceedingly simple: “there’s nothing wrong with asian eyes :-).”

I sent it with the constricted feeling in my chest that occurs every time I send a risky text.

My comment received support in the form of ‘likes’ from various friends; relief flooded through me. A conversation occurred, my friend deleted her comment. But I also wondered: why hadn’t anyone else spoken up? I brought up the comment with another friend and she responded, “Yeah, it was terrible, I didn’t even want to think about it.” I was struck with how it had been hard, impossible, for me not to think about it. And yet my own first reaction, too, was to try to ignore iteven in a situation like this, with the lowest of stakes, where the only action I really took was saying something.

Look: this is not about trauma. This is not about moral superiority. This is not about creating villains. But allyhood is more than agreeing that oppression is bad; it requires action.

***

I thought about this again after November 8th.

Wellfirst, I cried on and off for about a week, thinking about the little girls who had just seen misogyny prevail, the bigots who had just had seen their racism and xenophobia affirmed. And then I thought about myself. In all likelihood, I will basically be “fine” under a Trump Administration (unless the nuclear codes are used, or we become an increasingly authoritarian state, or the healthcare industry collapses, in which case most all of us will not be fine) (also, you know, global warming). Yes, I identify as a woman of color, but I am cisgender and heterosexual, among other privileges: a culture that insists I am somehow a “model minority,” an education at this very university, a relatively securely middle-class family.

So, I thought about allyhooda privilege in itself. I thought about my own tendencies to wait and see what happens rather than immediately push for action, my own instincts of being aggressively non-confrontational. I have slipped up with my words, I have made non-constructive and sloppy arguments, and then I have all too often been silent.

Activism is not any more necessary now than it was before the inauguration of our new president; things were far from perfect then, too. But for some, the past election has certainly put a spotlight on the necessity of activism. Though the arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, this bending does not happen passively. The fact is, in the meantime, injustice continuesnot everything ends up “just fine” for everyone.

***

I saw Junot Díaz last week; he spoke about his own activism and art and politics. During the question and answer session, two (honestly, two, this happened twice) white cishet boys asked him how they, carrying the privilege of being white and being men, could help dismantle oppression. Díaz’s answers had two main themes: looking inward at what you yourself must unlearn, and vigilance. Our education system rarely equips us with the tools to examine our own internalized misogyny, heteronormativity, racism, all the ways we ourselves are oppressors. And it is so easy to regress. It is all too easy to ignore a problem which does not impact you. I was especially struck when Díaz said, “You don’t transcend hegemonic narratives—you manage them.” (The point about backsliding was made painfully clear by an old white man, who asked Díaz why the left was so “obsessed” with race, who insisted white supremacy was clearly “a fantasy,” who felt it necessary to defend this with the claim that he had “fought for civil rights” in the 60s.)

In the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, someone recently said, “Love is a lifetime of decisions.” I believe activism, too, is about a lifetime of decisions. Deciding to constantly, systematically confront your own biases, learn from others, invest in others. Deciding to examine the impacts of your (in)actions, deciding to take action.

I have been thinking about what actions I can takemust takebeyond sharing articles on Facebook (although I personally believe I have excellent taste in articles). I am putting thought into how the sign I brought to Women’s March on Lansing, with the slogan “MY PUSSY, MY CHOICE,” was not inclusive of all women. Inspired by the Parks and Recreation episode where Leslie Knope picks up her phone and says, “Dear Congress, it’s Leslie again,” I have put my elected representatives in my phonebook (Mike Bishop, WYA). I plan to devote more time to volunteering for political campaigns, not just in 2020, but in 2018, in 2017. I look forward to reading widely and deeply, having conversations which make me uncomfortable, listening to voices which have been marginalized, showing up for people whose oppressions may be different from my own, speaking out.

***

Here are a few tweets, podcasts, and articles that I have found helpful in thinking about intersectionality, activism, choices, and optimism:

@KHandozo, “Low arrest numbers aren’t proof that the women’s marches were virtuous. They’re proof of a different mode of policing.” (Thread)

@KandyLanae, “There are white Mizzou alumni all down my timeline at marches across the country who stayed silent about racism on their own campus.”

@nikkealexis, “Where.The.Fuck.Have Y’all. Been?…It takes white women feeling personally scared to turn out these crowds…Remember…you came late.”

The Ezra Klein Show, Ta-Nehisi Coates: “There’s not gonna be a happy ending to this story”

Call Your Girlfriend, #72: Giving and Gifting

Fresh Air, How The Systemic Segregation Of Schools Is Maintained By ‘Individual Choices’

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “My President Was Black,” The Atlantic

Vann R. Newkirk II, “Sometimes There Are More Important Goals Than Civility,” The Atlantic

“The only form of productive debate that people of color can engage in, it seems, is the gentle persuasion of white people who may or may not hold retrograde views. That advice is of course probably most appealing to white Americans, for whom the social cost of being called racist may loom larger than the effects of racism itself.”

Toni Morrison, “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear,” The Nation


Erica Liao

Art Director, What the F Magazine