In my adolescence, summer was a time of self-improvement. I planned my reinvention meticulously. Come the fresh school year, I’d breeze through the doors of my high school with perfect hair, new clothes, and a laser focus. Of course, I had a limited budget, hair that refused to straighten completely, and a tendency to get discouraged or distracted by the slightest obstacle. To be honest, the fun wasn’t in the result. It was the daydreaming, the dog-earing pages of Seventeen and the endless bookmarking of WikiHow articles in Internet Explorer that made everything seem possible.
This summer is my twenty-seventh. I’m looking forward to self-reflection, but I won’t be switching shampoos or going on a shopping spree. Instead, I’m going to live alone for the first time.
On Sunday, the first openly gay Miss America contestant will vie for the crown on national TV. She’s Miss Missouri, Erin O’Flaherty, and her platform centers on suicide prevention—a particularly prescient topic, since LGBTQ-identified teens are far more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. I’m excited for O’Flaherty and hopeful her presence will increase awareness of the abysmal suicide rates among our community. On the other hand, I take issue with O’Flaherty’s declaration that “the Miss America Organization has always been open and accepting of women of all backgrounds.” This, as I learned during my reading this week, is simply not true. Black women were prohibited from competing until 1950. Women who had abortions or were divorced could not compete until 1999. Until recently, the “swimwear” modeling portion accounted for 15 percent of each contestant’s overall score; this year, it’s 10 percent. These are just the facts.
Miss America isn’t the only pageant out there, of course, and this week, I learned about Miss Rodeo America and Miss Gay America, too. In this list, you’ll find stories about drag royalty, the price of the perfect Western wardrobe, the perils of butt glue, and more. Read more…
Let’s be real: My 2016 resolutions are intentionally vague. I tend toward self-loathing, so settling on achievable goals is important for my mental health. But I’m still excited for a fresh year and a fresh start, even if time is a social construct. My intentionally vague, utterly achievable resolutions are as follows: Read more…
In my not-so-past life as a fashion magazine addict (let’s be real—I bought seven of last month’s fashion mags for a quarter each at a recent library sale), this time of year was crucial to me. What kinds of skirts would appear on the pages of Seventeen? Would I be able to afford them? Would one-piece swimsuits finally be cool? Was this the year I started blow-drying my hair?! Each issue was a mini-New Year’s. Anything was possible.
These days, I love fashion for its feminist and political sensibilities, and I am far more into comfort than trends. I work at a job where I push the style envelope, but hey, no one said anything to me when I wore combat boots every day this winter. (That doesn’t mean I’m going to start wearing shorts to the office, though, much as I crave a temperature-sensitive dapper aesthetic. Even I have my limits.) But style? Style has no limits. Wear socks with sandals. Dress as a different character every day. Admire your reflection in the subway windows. Here are five stories about our connection with the clothes we wear. Read more…
My friend Mish is hiking the Appalachian Trail by herself. She hiked the northern portion first, and now she’s almost in Georgia. She’ll be home soon. In celebration, here are six stories about women who travel alone.
“I believe I have the right to travel, that despite criticism and skepticism that I can and should be on the road as a solo woman, that there are ways to travel with safety in mind. And even in the face of tragedies, I will encourage other women to travel, be that solo, with friends, or in a couple.”
Cooper played heroic cowboys and espoused all-American values while the studio system helped hide his offscreen affairs:
Cooper became a hero to many, even as he developed a reputation as one of the most notorious philanderers in Hollywood. He had stiff competition — Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, the list goes on — but Cooper may or may not have slept with EVERY. SINGLE. CO-STAR. No matter his age, no matter their age, he was insatiable, before and during his marriage. How to reconcile his moral righteousness onscreen with his philandering offscreen? That was the work of Fixers, gossip magazines, and the studio system at large, which ensured that Cooper was never caught, never denounced, and held up as a paragon of American values. Of course, the way he looked in pants didn’t hurt.