(Clothes are text too, guys – everything is text.)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, doting grandmother, American Badass, made history this week as she was officially, truly, irrevocably nominated for President. Say what you will about HRC as a candidate—she’s certainly not without problems—but the outfit she chose to wear, the set of clothing that will be archived in American historical texts for probably ever, was nothing short of a masterpiece.
Hillary is a self-declared pantsuit aficionado, and she stayed true to form as she glided onto the stage Thursday night. But this suit stood out: every inch of fabric was a soft, snowy white. Set against the strangely industrialist décor of the Convention, dark and glinting, Hillary positively glowed. The costuming choice (because politics is really just high-stakes theatre) was a bold one, and not without strategy. Continue reading
This book is not the only medium available to me that demonstrates the systemic plundering of black bodies by the conglomerate of American institutions we see fit to call a society. Between the World and Me is a secondary source—I can get much closer to the massacre than that.
This week, in Minnesota, Philando Castile was shot four times while he reached for his ID during a routine traffic stop. His girlfriend filmed the aftermath, and millions watched in real-time as she navigated that deadly space between trauma and an officer of the law.
Just two days before that, in Louisiana, Alton Sterling was pinned to the ground by two officers and shot fatally. Onlookers caught this incident on video as well, and in the span of less than a week the resulting media of both these incidents have roused the shock and outrage that they should.
The assassination of five Dallas cops during peaceful protests against police violence heaped onto the nation’s despair, and when the sniper who killed them declared he had set out with the sole intention of killing as many white officers as he could, many people began to think—tragically, deceitfully—that this was war.
These events and the media unfolding exponentially around them are all texts we should approach with critical minds: by now, if we have been diligent, we might have seen a pattern emerging, might have noted the futility of video documentation in shocking the nation awake, in holding the police forces responsible for their crooked execution of an already unbalanced justice. And we should all—I believe this strongly—read Between the World and Me before we set out to make our judgments. Continue reading
I came across this work—it’s poetry, really—in the comment stream of an article from the New Yorker that had been making the rounds on Facebook. The article, a lively if sometimes trite treatise calling for the abolition of high heels from everyday wear, turned fashion into a feminist issue: The author argued the almost painfully obvious position that footwear that constricts, pains, and even damages the body does not belong in a world where women are working tirelessly to maintain sovereignty over their bodies. I shared it most vigorously—being myself unable to wear high heels as they are expensive and I would rather pay for something pleasant—and it was well received by those in my online cohort who have also revoked diets, body hair removal, and other painful “necessities” of womanhood that are really just bullshit if you stop to think about them.
At any rate, the article crossed my digital path again earlier today, and I thought I might check out the comments to gauge public opinion on the issue—I knew that my friend group was likely not a representative sample. There was, of course, the usual nastiness that one encounters whenever women exercise their voices in public online spaces—from men who would rather the author have stopped wearing heels in silence than complain about it, to men who thought the article’s topic disqualified the author as a feminist when she could have been building homes for burn victims in Somalia. And then there was “Women Like This,” a singular work of verbal mastery—a poem, truly—that left all the other hecklers and supporters and “Becky have you read this”ers in the dust. Continue reading