From The Conditions of Our Togetherness, a comic book appearing serially, here on Weird Sister.
From The Conditions of Our Togetherness, a comic book appearing serially, here on Weird Sister.
I was Rory Gilmore. I spent 9th grade at a high school where I was woefully unchallenged. Like Rory, I transferred from that school to a rigorous college prep high school (complete with knee-length multicolored skirts). I was an outsider who couldn’t quite figure out how the privileged system worked, at first. I too had my sights set on the Ivy League and eventually realized those dreams. I struggled my first year at Princeton by taking on more than I could handle, and even took part of a year off. For me, like Rory, reading was as natural, as necessary, as breathing.
Gilmore Girls was the family-friendly show that I could watch with my mother, as we both wished our relationship was more Lorelai and Rory and less Emily and Lorelai. I took pride in understanding more and more of the show’s obscure pop culture references with each round of reruns on Netflix. It never occurred to me to be frustrated by the stark lack of diversity on the show. The differences between Rory’s privileged suburban life and my ‘hood and poverty-adjacent life did not bother me; I ignored them in order to solidly place myself in her world.
When news of the revival hit the internet, I responded with squeals and over-the-top Facebook statuses filled with exclamation points. It was meant to be a reunion with old friends. I built it up in my mind to be everything I wished seasons 6 and 7 (after the departure of Amy Sherman-Palladino) would be. I imagined Rory and Paris conquering the world, harnessing the passion and focus of their Chilton days, and directing it with the maturity of lessons learned.
I reflected on the various ways that I still was Rory Gilmore: Since the series ended in 2007, I have become a freelance writer and gotten an MFA. I’m a writer, like Rory. I’m an Ivy League graduate, like Rory. When I sat down with a friend I met at the VONA/Voices workshop to binge watch the revival, I went into it with the hope that it would be the mirror I had imagined the show was.
Admittedly, my hopes were, dare I say, a bit ridiculous. It was unfair, and yes, maybe even naive to expect that Rory—with her white, upper-class Connecticut background—would reflect my life back to me. I have changed—I am Rory Gilmore, but not. In the years since my first Gilmore Girls viewings, I have seen myself in Grey’s Anatomy’s Miranda Bailey, How to Get Away with Murder’s Annalise Keating, Scandal’s Olivia Pope, and Queen Sugar’s Charley Bordelon West. Black women in media like Shonda Rhimes and Ava DuVernay have spoiled me with strong black female leads, and challenged me with deeply flawed, complicated, real characters. Continue reading
“Three noes, one for each of us: my rapist, the Institution, and me.”–Melissa Ferrone and Kelly Sundberg
“I know it may seem silly to talk about television and movies when hate is on the rise and the very soul of our country is at stake, but this is the exact time that artists must speak up.”–Jessica Mason
Finally! A menstruation coloring book.
It has taken me over a week to write about Josie Long’s off Broadway stand-up show, Something Better. It’s not that I didn’t like the show—I did, I liked it a lot, but since T***p (I can’t even say his name) became the President-Elect, it’s been hard to feel good about doing anything (including writing) that isn’t direct political action. This all feels releavant since Something Better is the British comedian’s response to feeling the same kind of defeat I’m speaking of, when her native UK withdrew from the European Union earlier this year. Long didn’t know what her U.S. audience would be going through when she wrote the show and booked this tour. She didn’t know how close to home her material would hit.
Weird Sister is honored to be co-hosting the Housing Works event Art After Trump.
Thursday, December 15, 5:00pm
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street, New York
Including Weird Sister performers Marisa Crawford, Cathy de la Cruz, Naomi Extra, Merve Kayan, and Christopher Soto (aka Loma)
Please save the date for a gathering and marathon-style reading of responses by and for artists and arts organizers. Line-up to be announced. Artists of all disciplines will read their short responses – of any form – to the results of election 2016 and the imminent administration.
Partner organizations will provide information and resources in addition to Housing Works’ bookstore and advocacy and healthcare departments.
Molly Rose Quinn, Director of Public programming, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
Brandon Stosuy, Editor-in-Chief, The Creative Independent
Glory Edim, founder, Well-Read Black Girl
Jillian Steinhauer, Senior Editor, Hyperallergic
Ben Sisto, Ace Hotel New York Continue reading
I was skeptical when I first picked up Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the first volume about Lara Jean Song Covey, a Korean American girl living in the suburbs of Virginia with a single dad and two sisters. I don’t usually read young adult fiction, but when I saw that the novel was about a biracial girl, I decided to give it a go. It’s not everyday when Asian American girls are stars of YA novels, and as a scholar of Asian American Studies and literature, I knew I had to give the world of YA a shot.
Lara Jean is a dreamy-eyed baker, scrapbooker, middle child, and high school junior. Dreamy-eyed because instead of running around chasing boys, she writes a heartfelt letter to every boy she has ever loved and stows it away in her hatbox. She is a master at the art of scrapbooking, claiming: “A good scrapbook has texture. It’s thick and chunky and doesn’t close all the way.” She looks up to her older sister, Margot, and cares for her younger sister, Kitty, completely devoid of the middle child syndrome that plagued me during my teen years. She is kind, creative, intelligent, prone to accidents, and gets a little too lost in her head sometimes, but other than that, she is a charming, well-rounded character. Continue reading
Calling all Nasty Women Artists.
“Trump Syllabus 2.0,” assembled by historians N. D. B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain.
Bitch shares 10 concrete actions we can all take right now.
Eileen G’Sell on the “pop culture progress myth.”
“Community is the answer.” – Angela Davis shares post-election wisdom at the University of Chicago.
Comics examining women’s strange place in this tale we call life.
Two years ago today, Weird Sister had our Launch Party at Wendy’s Subway, a non-profit library and writing space in Brooklyn.
Carolyn Bush was one of of the co-founders of Wendy’s Subway and she would have been 26 years old last week.
On November 5th, 6th, and 7th, a group of two hundred women convened in Desert Hot Springs, California, for HER/LA’s Mothership, a queer, trans, and non-binary inclusive feminist festival for women. I attended Mothership with my childhood best friend, Chris Tsuyuki, with whom I’m writing this piece. For full transparency, I am white, and Chris is third-generation Japanese American. This year’s event was the second iteration of the festival—the first taking place in LA as a pop-up festival—so, as Chris points out, “it’s still growing and findings its audience and voice. If they can reach out to more POC feminists, this festival can probably grow into something that really feels like it’s for all of us.”
Chris and I camped Friday and Saturday nights, beside Camp Beaverton, the lesbian Burning Man camp. The camping spot was an open space behind Sam’s Family Spa and Hot Water Resort—essentially a trailer/RV park with three mineral pools—which meant we had electricity, potable water, toilets, and showers. A hundred or so camping tents surrounded four festival tents, where various workshops and activities were held throughout the weekend. The most popular event was “How to Drive a Vulva,” a presentation by sex educator Allison Moon, who was so energetic, intelligent, hilarious, and queer- and trans-inclusive that you could feel the positive energy vibrating through the room. If only everyone—specifically teens—could have access to such powerful sex education, where the focus is on feeling healthy about your sexuality, asking for and giving consent, communicating your needs during sexual activities, advocating for your own pleasure, and using safe sex practices. It always feels so important to hear someone talk about sex, bodies, and desire in healthy ways, and even for this audience of twenty- and thirty-somethings, it felt like Moon’s sex-positivity was something we all needed to hear.
Another popular event was the panel “Women’s Sexuality in the Media,” hosted by former editor-in-chief of AfterEllen Trish Bendix, with writer and actress Alexandra Roxo, artist and creator of the male-nipple sticker Micol Hebron, “Bye Felipe” creator Alexandra Tweten, and writer and actress Mel Shimkovitz. The panelists, acknowledging how white the panel was (Bendix reported that some panelists had cancelled), talked about working in the media, art, and film industries. It was an interesting glimpse into those worlds, though the one-hour time constraint meant we couldn’t get into a very deep or political discussion.
Chris and I, knowing we would write about Mothership for Weird Sister, observed the festival with a critical eye. We thought about white feminism. We talked with some women from London about Brexit and our upcoming election. We talked with some straight women who felt a bit left out for being straight at what felt like a mostly queer event. We thought about how different it was to be with only female-identified people for the weekend, how safe it felt, how the male gaze was absent; in its place were a lot of women walking around with bare chests—but no feeling of being just a pretty object. There were, of course, many beautiful women, with all manner of gender representation, all of whom seemed to feel comfortable in their own skin. From Chris’ perspective: “I don’t know if this comfort in one’s own skin is special in the greater scheme of things, or just a special first experience for me, but not only by removing the male gaze and not having our bodies hypersexualized, I felt comfortable in a way I never have. Just the women letting it all hang out. It’s the first time I’ve sat (in the dirt) and not even thought about sucking my stomach in. I saw such a diversity in body types and a celebration of the beauty of our differences that I’ve never known before firsthand.”
The only men on the campground were the guys inside the Pie for the People foodtruck, a Joshua Tree pizzeria. When the breakfast food truck didn’t show up on Sunday morning, these guys made breakfast pizzas. They were friendly and chatty, yet respectful of the space HER/LA was creating. A caption on Mothership’s Instagram account sums it up well: “A love note for Pie for the People: We feel like you’ve become a part of our festival, we love you, we appreciate you, you’re delicious!”
On Saturday night, Chris and I drank cocktails mixed by Chelsea Vonchaz and Cherryl Warner, the founders of #HappyPeriod, a nonprofit providing menstrual hygiene kits to homeless people, which received, as a donation, a portion of the weekend’s proceeds. We danced to DJ Good Boy, LEX, and CLAY. We made new friends. We went to the creativity tent and put “CUNT” stickers on our faces and took pictures. We celebrated. We connected. And we got female-symbol tattoos by Hannah Uribe. It was a warm desert night so a bunch of us in the tattooing tent, including Uribe, took off our shirts, put stickers on our nipples, and got tattooed like goddamn fucking women.
And then, Tuesday happened.