Cultural Changes: A Reading List

September feels like a month of changes, to me. Growing up, the first day of school was my New Year. I made resolutions; I felt like a new person, at least for a little while. Today, I chose six stories about (possibly, eventually, hopefully, revolutionary) changes in television, fashion, religion and more.

1. Netflix Programming: “BoJack Horseman is the Funniest Show About Depression Ever.” (Margaret Lyons, Vulture, September 2014)

I’m still naive enough to think cartoons will always be lighthearted, despite the crudity of Family Guy and South Park. When the credits rolled on BoJack Horseman, I turned to my boyfriend, close to tears, and said, “That … that was really sad.” And that’s not a bad thing.

2. Supermodel Culture: “Will Model Chantelle Brown-Young Redefine What It Means to Be Beautiful?” (Isabel Slone, The Globe and Mail, September 2014)

Seeing the fashion blogger I used to follow in my tween years on the front cover of the style section of the Globe and Mail is a little surreal. Slone delivers an excellent piece on supermodel Brown-Young (a.k.a. Winnie Harlow), who has vitiligo and rocked the runway this September.

3. She’s a Lady (Catholic Priest): “The Tattooed Feminist Catholic Who Chooses Conscience Over Catechism.” (Eddie Siebert, S.J., National Catholic Reporter, September 2014)

Kaya Oakes is so cool, okay?! She’s an inclusive, super-smart Catholic feminist, and I’m thrilled to see her getting the publicity she deserves. She discusses her writing, dealing with trolls, how Catholics might better communicate with non-Catholics, and her marriage to a (gasp!) agnostic.

4. Fashion Might Be For Everyone: “Reinventing Plus-Size Style.” (Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker, September 2014)

A sharp report on the grassroots (read: thrilling) and corporate (read: ambivalent) angles of the changing world of “plus-size” fashion choices: “You know what is the best?” Alexandra Boos said. “When a straight-size girl comes up to me and is, like, ‘Oh my God, I love your outfit. Where did you get it?’ And you’re, like, ‘I’m sorry, it doesn’t come in your size!’ ”

5. Genius, Granted: “Alison Bechdel is the Ultimate ‘Dyke to Watch Out For.'” (Ashley C. Ford, Buzzfeed, September 2014)

Alison Bechdel fans around the world shrieked with glee when the MacArthur “Genius Grants” were announced this year. Renowned for her dual powers of cartooning and storytelling, Bechdel spoke with Ashley C. Ford (another one of my favorite writers) about the influence of the LGBTQ community, her current projects and hope for her future work

6. Beyond Gender: “When No Gender Fits: A Quest to Be Seen as Just a Person.” (Monica Hesse, Washington Post, September 2014)

To see a mainstream newspaper write about an agender teenager — and to do it well — shouldn’t be the exception, but it is. I loved this snapshot of Kelsey’s life.