Feminism and Kitsch

Becca Rothfeld

I am the first to admit that contemporary feminism suffers from an optics problem, and I am the first to admit that an optics problem is no trivial matter. Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris Christmas ornaments, crocheted vagina hats, women at the helm of execrable tech companies urging us to “lean in” until we topple into the maw of misinformation: these are just a few of the “cringe” artifacts that...

A Defensive Posture

Elisa Gonzalez

For the last few years, I’ve privately called myself a “feminist-nihilist” or “nihilist-feminist,” which is both a bad joke and a halfway lie — if only because “nihilism” doesn’t actually mean what I mean. Nor do I mean apathy or indifference. My relationship to contemporary feminism resembles my youthful allegiance to a Christian god: something that must exist (for reasons that can be more or less defined as “better that...

Not Feminisms

Jess Bergman

Ding dong, the girlboss is dead! So claimed New York magazine’s The Cut in an apologetic eulogy published last August. But like Rasputin, the girlboss didn’t go quietly: attempts on her life date back as least as far as 2016, when Salon declared that, after Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss and the bankruptcy of Sophia Amoruso’s fast-fashion empire Nasty Gal, “it felt like the entire #GirlBoss era was uniformly rejected.” Other...

“Steered by the Reactionary” | What To Do About Feminism

Alexandra Brodsky, Andrea Long Chu, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Becca Rothfeld, Elisa Gonzalez, Jamie Hood, Jess Bergman, Rosemarie Ho

For a long time now, we’ve had the sense that feminism is in trouble. In the years before the pandemic, its most prominent battles — the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Women’s March, #MeToo, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, “Nevertheless, she persisted” — were about figureheads. These days, symbols no longer seem adequate, or even all that meaningful. The professions (teaching, nursing, eldercare) that have been most overtaxed and underprotected during the...

“Justice at the Necessary Scale” | An Interview with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò

The Drift

History is moving again. The past two years have felt like an avalanche of breaking news — from the onset of a world-altering pandemic, to a protest movement that upended the public conversation on race and the carceral system, to wildfires and larger-than-ever storms. Meanwhile, power and money continue their seemingly inexorable rise to the top, and the government (Democratic or Republican) advertises its bumbling incompetence on a near-daily basis....

Those Who Know | Exterminate All the Brutes and the Limits of Rewriting the Narrative

Nick Martin

An Indigenous woman steps onto a white beach. Several others follow her carefully, winding their way through nearby palm trees and squinting out over warm Atlantic waters. Coming across the horizon is a single rowboat, white hands pulling the oars. The flag adorning the caravel that looms beyond the smaller boat indicates that they are Spaniards. When they reach the shore, a priest blesses the land, claiming it for the...

Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot | Against the Contemporary American Essay

Jackson Arn

What the face mask is to American society, the essay is to American literature: deceptively slight, heroically versatile, centuries old but lately a subject of great interest — not because it’s doing anything new, but because everything else is falling apart. The essay, James Wood wrote in The New Yorker, “has for some time now been gaining energy as an escape from, or rival to, the perceived conservatism of much...

Joke’s on Them | The Democratic Party Meets Rural America

Nick Bowlin

One evening a few summers ago, I walked from my house to the county fairgrounds. It was a long July day, and the sun still hung above the hills that surround the small western Colorado town where I live. People packed the bleachers of an outdoor arena to watch a rodeo. Shortly before the bullriding began, a rodeo clown strolled to the center of the dirt field and began his...

A Little Spectrum-y | What the Autism Diagnosis Says About You

Emer Lucey

Online, someone is wondering if Will Smith is on the spectrum. Jennifer Lawrence? Low-key autistic. So is Matthew McConaughey, though he may be a savant. Thomas Pynchon seems to know a lot about town planning: distinctly spectrum-y. Anna Wintour’s limited diet, love of indoor sunglasses, and exacting standards have Asperger’s vibes. Other things that have been declared autistic-adjacent on Twitter: having an Aquarius moon, dudes in high school who shout...

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