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Coping Isn’t the Goal: Jameela Jamil and the Violent Narrative Against Women’s Bodies

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On a cold November morning halfway through my sophomore year of high school, I was sitting in a hospital examination room feeling an acute sense of relief when a doctor told me I was not allowed to go out for basketball season. I’d lost too much weight to make physical activity viable. This relief was two-fold; I hated basketball, and I’d been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. My doctor was unimpressed, but something like pride welled up in me. I’d earned something; anorexia nervosa rang in my ears like an accolade. Now others would intervene to take away what I’d fought so hard for, but at least I knew I had the capacity to achieve it.

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On Form N-400

This essay was originally published by the literary journal Rock & Sling in Vox, a special edition issue on the 2016 presidential election. You can get your hands on this issue, as well as the upcoming Vox II: American Identities by visiting their online store

“You can color in the bubbles for me,” Courtland offered, sliding the ballot across our kitchen table.

I looked at him, horrified. “That’s fraud!”

“Only joking,” he said. “I’ll let you wear the sticker though.” He held up the small white oval stuck to his thumb.

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A 9/11 Story

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Historical amnesia is dangerous. It’s a phenomenon that wreaked havoc in the immediate post-9/11 aftermath and continues to rear its ugly head in the current political climate. Today, we share with you a moving story by native New Yorker and psychology blogger Jessica Taylor on that fateful day sixteen years ago, when she was just seven years old. I think Jessica would agree that it’s important to remember these events not to incite fear and promote divisiveness, but rather to locate them in the larger narrative of history in order to move forward in a fruitful, generative manner—for all willing to contribute to the betterment of this country.

I just checked outside and the sky looks exactly as it did in 2001. Clear skies. Blue. Beautiful. 7 years old. Math lesson was in full effect. Before being sent off to our tables, the building shook and swayed, lights flickering quickly. Next thing I know, my dad is in the doorway of my classroom. Very confused, nobody told me I had a doctor’s appointment that day. Normally that’s what an early pickup means, right? Wrong. Paps was sweating. Nothing new. Frantic with fear gobbling up his eyes? Of course like most children being able to pick up feelings, and out of sheer curiosity, we begin to question everything in existence.

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Let’s Talk About Gwyneth Attempting the Food Stamp Challenge

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Now, I don’t know Paltrow’s intentions with her picture or her participation in the #FoodBankNYCChallenge. She could have meant to start a real debate about food access, she could just be bored and want a new Goop entry. As someone who has tried and failed at the SNAP challenge, I believe her heart’s in the right place and, whether she meant to or not, her grocery cart was a well-timed commentary on food issues in the US. Call her participation patronizing, say that she bought the wrong type of food, say there wasn’t enough of it, claim it’s the “most Gwyneth thing ever,” but do not discount the fact that activism is taking place. People are taking this challenge, donating to a very important food bank in the community, and beginning a conversation on food.

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Whose Bass Is It Anyway? (Or, The Problem with Pop’s Empowerment Anthems)

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This article was originally written as a producer piece for Things Not Seen.

This summer, a wave of up-beat, supposedly empowering pop songs came out. A similar outpouring of self-esteem boosting anthems happened in 2011, with Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way,” Katy Perry’s “Fireworks,” and Pink’s “Perfect.” The music industry has apparently discovered that inspiring confidence is profitable, but like anything that is created to be sold, the message of these songs is often corrupted.

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On the Corner of Faith and Feminism: An Inclusive Alternative to Femen’s Goals

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Originally, this piece appeared as an essay for a Women’s and Gender Studies class. The content has been modified slightly to better fit an online format for a broader audience.

Janet Soskice opens Feminism and Theology with the observation that “it is no secret that some feminists regard the term ‘feminist theology’ as an oxymoron.” Soskice acknowledges in her introduction that Judaism and Christianity “are cast as prime villains in the Western history of the subordination and oppression of women. Their ideologies, their symbolism, and, above all, their established institutions stand accused of putting a stranglehold on women’s aspirations.”  Soskice notes Gloria Steinem’s telling response to the question of whether feminism had been a success – that forty years could not erase the 5000 of “racism, sexism, nationalism and monotheism!”

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