I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and especially a wonderful International Working Women’s Day yesterday. I hope it’s also been an exciting Israel Apartheid Week, wherever you’re observing it. If you haven’t been able to get into the revolutionary spirit, I’d encourage you to read this letter of solidarity from a coalition of women in Gaza to the women of Flint, Michigan, written on IWWD 2016.
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Onward and upward, comrades. Here are your hot take-aways for the week of March 9, 2018.
If you read nothing else this week:
- Forget Corporate Feminism, International Women’s Day Is A Radical Holiday (HuffPo) — a timely hot take from one of my fave socialist writers in Canada, Tannara Yelland
- Metrolinx gave Presto users’ personal info to police 30 times last year (Toronto Star) — more proof of the intrusive power of the state! working with essential services to make us easier to police! yikes-a-roni
- The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’ (The Guardian) — a long read, but a thorough response to terrifying trends in public discourse
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In bbymutha we trust by Rawiya Kameir for The Fader (link)
Bbymutha is one of my absolute favourite artists, and this profile of her in The Fader does justice to what she contributes to the world of music without turning her personal story into a spectacle. The author gives her room to tell her own story in her own voice, which isn’t really something we see in too many culture publications’ coverage of women. The reader is invited to understand how and why she has made it as such an impressive musician despite the way men have consistently tried to fuck with her. All women artists deserve responsible, thoughtful coverage that recognizes their work and their struggle without being subjected to pity or mockery. Bbymutha deserves millions. I hope she gets ’em.
Content warning for mentions of domestic abuse and violence.
RuPaul: ‘Drag is a big f-you to male-dominated culture’ by Decca Aitkenhead for The Guardian (link)
As you can probably expect, I didn’t care for this article. I actually even wrote a response to Ru’s comments in it for Teen Vogue — yeah, I’m plugging my own work. So what! Love it and suffer through it!
The thing is, though, that my personal criticism of this article is less focused on RuPaul’s comments, and more on the inherent problems in hiring a cis white woman to do this interview and to ask these kind of questions. She makes some… interesting claims about the “transgender movement” (which is what, exactly? like, point it out to me), which I think come from a place of ignorance. It’s a similar criticism I had with regards to that Sunday Times about Sam Smith. I’m not even mad at her, I’m just disappointed because this should have been a much better start to the conversation about trans women in the world of drag; instead, Aitkenhead set RuPaul up for failure by approaching things from the perspective of a patronizing cis outsider rather than a community voice.
The anti-Semite who’s haunting the left by Molly Roberts for Washington Post (link)
I was fully expecting this to be a clumsy piece, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. White people aren’t exactly known for our great takes on Black political figures, but I think this piece did a good job of acknowledging the shortcomings of finger-pointing, avoiding ceding any points to Zionist critiques, and still emphasizing why and how it matters that figures like the leaders of the Women’s March don’t challenge men like Farrakhan even as antisemitism is more prevalent and dangerous on the right.
I actually read this article the same day as this one in Haaretz, which I thought was also a good piece of perspective for those of us within the Jewish community. The discussion around Farrakhan has been interesting; click here to read some connected Twitter threads on the subject, written by Black Jewish people.
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What’s new? Me, bitch! I’m super excited to announce that as of next week, you’ll be seeing me three times a month at the pop culture web magazine, A.Side. The first article is gonna be about Drag Race (mostly because I have like….two interests…) but there’s gonna be other stuff too, like commentary on how we use the internet and how pop culture can become imperialist propaganda, so get into it!
This also means I get to be edited by Melissa Vincent, who is honestly a joy to work with and one of my favourite editors. Pitch her!
That’s all for the week of 9/3/18! Keep cozy, and let me know if you have anything you want me to review and discuss in future issues of Hot Take-Aways.
In solidarity, etc.