Ocean’s 8 Review

By Annie Jonas

Who knew that alcohol-scamming, jewelry-stealing, and the power of criminal sisterhood could be so inspiring?!

A few days ago, I saw Ocean’s 8, and let me tell you, I have never wanted to be a pick-pocket more in my life. Seriously, Awkwafina convinced the shit out of me. There is one scene where she’s in line at Subway with Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, and she manages to steal not just one, but BOTH of their watches. Two watches! While ordering a turkey sandwich! That’s multi-tasking at its finest, if you ask me.

After re-reading my previous article on Ocean’s 8, I began to think a lot about the things that made this movie different from it’s older brothers (I am referring to the Ocean’s trilogy here). I realized that while there were differences, those differences did not necessarily mean “good” or “bad.” They just meant “different.”

To begin, I was surprised by the complete lack of violence in the film. I contemplated this for a long time because I wondered if the predominantly female cast dictated the extent of violence– or lack thereof. I thought about other female-lead films such as Atomic Blonde or Wonder Woman and the differences were striking. But then I began to think about the lack of violence as a statement, as a breach of what heist films are and can be. These women did not need guns or tanks to get their message across. All they needed was their intellect and careful planning (and the occasional Halal food truck turned computer hacking headquarters). Coming to that realization was refreshing, especially in a time where guns and violence infiltrate almost every aspect of our modern lives.

I spoke with Anto, our editor-in-chief, about the film and she made a good point about her hesitation towards the feminization of the film, specifically stating “I didn’t like the fact that the robbery had to be so ‘feminine,’” a.k.a., at the Met Gala. This was the second major difference I noted between Ocean’s 8 and the Ocean’s trilogy.

While the trilogy focuses on the grit and sleaze of casino culture in Las Vegas, Ocean’s 8 presents a more cosmopolitan, upscale, and glamorous culture of the elite. Sandra Bullock even emerges from prison in an evening gown, and then proceeds to shoplift expensive makeup from an upscale store (this was actually a very cool scene, especially for a wannabe-pick-pocketer). I agree with Anto that the film did take on an exaggerated feminization of sorts by making the heist a jewelry heist at the Met Gala. But, the film also emphasized the remarkable position women play within the world of the elite.

Anna Wintour, Heidi Klum, Serena Williams, and Kim Kardashian were just a few of the many cameos in the film. Regardless of the elitism, “feminization,” or superficiality of the world the film presents, we cannot forget that these women are leaders of empires, queens of the fashion, social, and sports industries.

Ocean’s 8 presents a “woman’s world,” so to speak, a world that is female-centric and female-dominated. The definition of “pussy power” sums up the film’s feminine energy nicely: “power as held by women, especially seen as coming from inherently feminine qualities or from female sexual allure.” It is important to see the femininity in the film as a source of power, not as a source of powerlessness.

Immigration and Family Separation: Hoochie’s Hoot

By Daniela Tellechea, Annie Jonas and Anto Rondón

I’m sure you’ve already heard about it. Families have been discriminated against, detached, and detained because of their immigrant status. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “more than 2,300 children have been forcibly taken from their parents.”

The vast majority of these children were brought to the U.S. by their parents in search of protection from the peril of their native countries. “Eighty-eight percent of detained families have demonstrated to a DHS asylum officer that they have a credible fear of persecution if deported,” reports the ACLU.

President Trump has never been a fan of immigrants — he has consistently shown apathy, disapproval and repudiation of people of color. He has attacked Latinos, Muslims, Black women and men, and other POCs. We cannot forget that a large part of his campaign to “Make America Great Again” included building a wall between the United States and Mexico. Then, it is not surprising to see stricter measures being taken at the border. When Attorney General Sessions announced the “zero-tolerance policy” — which presumed that every person coming into the border would be seen first as a criminal, and second as an asylum seeker/refugee — this led to the separation of children from their parents, and the administration gained immediate rejection worldwide, as well as immense national backlash.

At the time, President Trump blamed the Democrats’ unwillingness to approve the wall for the separation of families. On June 15th, 2018 he tweeted, “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda.” He continued, “Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration. Go for it! WIN!” These tweets foreshadowed the changes that would alter the course of many lives and change the face of American enactments.

After being pressed and criticized for days, President Trump issued an Executive Order on June 20th, stating he no longer mandated the separation of families; however, he is still pushing for stricter immigration laws and continues to make references to his beloved wall. Additionally, he has not addressed family reunification issues.

The order reads, “It is the policy of this Administration to rigorously enforce our immigration laws. Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time. When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment…”

He has posted various tweets since then, condemning Democrats for interfering with his plan. His plan being to “cut the number of legal immigrants [entering] to the U.S. by 50% over the next 10 years” based on the proposals he’s backed, according to an article on BBC News posted on June 21st. Recently he jabbed at Democrats saying, “It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.”

Measures have already been taken to make room for even more detention camps for immigrants, now on military bases. A report by BBC News published on June 23rd presents that the U.S. military “had been asked by the government to get ready to house up to 20,000 immigrant children.” These efforts actually add to the expenses that relate to immigration. The report stated, “The Navy memo estimates the force would spend $233 million (£175m) to run a facility for 25,000 people for six-months.”

However, the most difficult cost is the psychological cost children are paying. NBC News reported on June 28th, 2018 that even after the Executive Order to no longer separate families, “immigrant children as young as 3 are being ordered into court for their own deportation proceedings.” This seems inconceivable, but it “is not a new practice.”

More than 2,000 children will most likely be shuffled through court proceedings, despite the deep psychological trauma they have faced. This is especially dangerous because “the parent might be the only one who knows why they fled from the home country, and the child is in a disadvantageous position to defend themselves.”

The trauma that these children faced in their home country, followed by a most-likely difficult journey to the U.S., then a gruesome detainment and separation from their families, and now the burden of representing themselves in court make for a situation that Dr. Bernard Dreyer of the NYU School of Medicine deems “unconscionable.”

The NBC report explains a case of an attempt at policies of unification: “A federal judge Tuesday night commanded the White House to reunify families within 14 days if the child is under 5 and 30 days if the child is older. The Justice Department has not indicated whether it will appeal. Attorneys who are involved in the cases said it’s unclear how the judge’s order will work in practice, and when and how it could take effect.”

While there is certainly efforts being made by attorneys and judges to reunify children with their families, there is nothing being done by the President.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that they are trying to unify a child with their parent or a sponsor, but did not specify how long this would take. “More than 2,000 children who were separated from their parents at the border have been dispatched to the far corners of the nation and to care facilities and foster homes,” the NBC report explains.

Moreover, becoming a sponsor for these children is an increasingly difficult feat, which leaves children abandoned and still separated. Rachel Prandini, an attorney apart of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, explains that “finding a sponsor is more difficult now given recent fears that stepping forward to accept a child could trigger a sponsors deportation.” In April, the Department of Health and Human Services required that sponsors submit fingerprints and go through a criminal background check in order to “protect the child.”

The New York Times wrote a piece about José, a 5-year-old child whose “father had been arrested and taken away after they arrived at the United States border in El Paso.” José now stays with a foster family/sponsor.

José was “handed over” to a foster family, carrying “two small pieces of paper– one a stick-figure of his family from Honduras, the other a sketch of his father.” At the point of reunification between the child and his foster mother, Janice, “he refused to take her hand. He did not cry. He was silent on the ride ‘home.’” Janice explains that “the first few nights, he cried himself to sleep. Then it turned into ‘just moaning and moaning.’”

His foster family explains that “a day has not gone by when the boy has failed to ask in Spanish, ‘When will I see my papa?’” The family “tell[s] him the truth. They do not know. No one knows.”

The foster family explains that of the 12 children they have fostered in the last two years, “José is the first child who crossed the border with a parent, rather than alone, then was forcibly separated and left with no ability to contact them.”

The article reports that earlier in the week of it’s publishing, “José spoke with his parents for the first time since their lives diverged. The phone calls were separate: His father remains in detention, and his mother is in Honduras.”

Janice explains that although the calls were much needed, “they changed everything. Somehow, it had sunk in that there was no way of knowing when he would see his family. ‘It triggered all the separation trauma again’… [when] he erupted in anger, screaming and crying at the kitchen table for almost an hour.” Janice says that after he calmed down, “the boy collapsed on the kitchen floor, still sobbing ‘Mamá, Papá’ over and over.”

The pictures he drew of his family are below.

julio

julio 2

While the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen claims “there was no separation policy,” there clearly is a huge separation/reunification problem for immigrants and immigrant children right now. Even after the Executive Order to end family separation, there has been “‘no evidence of any system that has been put in place by the government,’ according to Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, a group that provides legal assistance to unaccompanied migrant children,” reports USA Today.

Moreover, there is no real system to register the children or their families in order, which makes connecting children to their families almost impossible.

The USA Today report explains, “it wasn’t until last week that the federal government began issuing identification numbers to families being separated at the Border…” Before this process of assigning identification numbers, attorneys acted as “private investigators… look[ing] for clues, such as a child’s date of birth, or their alien-registration number, and start[ed] pulling those threads to find the parents,” Wendy Young explains.


 

As feminists, it is absolutely integral to uplift and empower not only women, but people. We bleed the same blood, speak the same languages, and have the same hopes and dreams. No human being is illegal. Period.

Hoochie stands with immigrant mothers, fathers, children, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We disapprove of President Trump’s severe take on immigration and the racism, xenophobia and bigotry that fuel it.

We believe in unity, inclusivity, and human rights. We hope that you will join us in taking a stand against President Trump’s prejudiced agenda.

 

Ways you can help:

  1. Organize

Grab your friends, your family, your friends of your family, anyone. Get together to talk about the issues. A more informed, communicative society is a better society.

  1. Call

Call your local senator to defund the Department of Homeland Security which supports the detainment of families and ICE. Click below to go to a site that shows you how to do that step by step: How to Call My Senator to Defund DHS

  1. Vote

You CAN make change! Do it! Vote in any and all elections. It is our civic duty! Not registered?

Click Here to Register to Vote

  1. Donate

A great organization to donate to right now is the RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) Family Reunification and Bond Fund. Their efforts are helping and contributing to the reunification of families.

Click Here for More Information and to Donate

  1. Share

Share your thoughts and share the factual information you find (after verifying it), to spread the word to those around you.

 

Images:

John Moore

 

 

John Moore’s photo of a young girl crying as her mother was detained was edited and selected for the July 2nd, 2018 cover of Time Magazine. The photo includes the blurb “Welcome to America.”

 

 

 

 

Tom Kiefer, who worked as a Customs and Border Protection janitor for close to four years, began taking pictures of everyday objects thrown away or taken from detained immigrants. The photographs are part of an ongoing project “El Sueño Americano” (“The American Dream”), as reported by the New Yorker.

discarded during intake

 

 

“This stuffed toy, slightly soiled in the midsection, may have been used by its owner as a makeshift pillow while crossing the desert. All personal property considered non-essential is discarded during intake” (The New Yorker).

 

 

 

 

spare shoes

 

“Migrants often carry spare shoes. As with extra clothing, most personal property is considered non-essential and discarded” (The New Yorker).

 

 

 

 

 

potentially lethal

 

“The CBP considers rosaries to be potentially lethal, non-essential personal property, and agents dispose of them during intake” (The New Yorker).

 

 

 

 

 

sometimes essential items

 

“After being apprehended, a detainee’s belongings are either placed in a property bag or remain in the backpack that he or she travelled with. Sometimes, essential items such as wallets and personal identification are discarded” (The New Yorker”).

 

“Five Years, Eight Months, And 12 Days” Is About How Long I’m Willing To Wait Until Female Narratives Become More Than Just “Female Versions”: Musings On Ocean’s 8

By Annie Jonas

The Ocean’s trilogy is kind of like Kim Kardashian’s kids. The first one arrived and you were completely thrown for a loop, utterly flabbergasted. It was as if you had been swept away (pun intended–– that was an ocean joke, FYI). Then, the second one arrived and you couldn’t stop wondering if a better name could have been used. By the third, you were just as exhausted and frustrated as Kim’s surrogate must have been after going through a long labor and still not getting invited to the baby shower. The trilogy, like many other film series, has its pros and cons that give it a rich and robust arena for praise and criticism.

Ocean’s 8, like the trilogy, also has its pros and its cons. The film received drastically polarized views from Ocean’s and non-Ocean’s fans alike. Two areas of debate which frequented many tweets and news articles concerned the film’s originality and intersectionality–– or lack thereof. These two categories piqued my interest, and they have inspired the following musings:

#1: Sandra Bullock described the film as a “parallel story” to the Ocean’s trilogy in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. I wonder, however, what is lost when we make “female versions” or “parallel stories” of films instead of creating entirely new narratives for women? While an all-female cast is enticing to a world that is dominated by men in both cinematic and social senses, the idea of a “female version,” “parallel story,” or “spin-off,” etc. places the female narrative as the male narrative’s shadow, as always existing within the silhouette of a masculine cinematic history. A “female version” places the all-male cast as the default and the all-female cast as the exception. Furthermore, Ocean’s 8 does not give women the breadth of complexity that female narratives need in cinema. Instead of creating a “spin-off,” why not create an entirely new heroine, one with a new trajectory, one who does not live in her brother’s shadow?

#2: The theatrical release poster features all 8 women standing fiercely against a bright red background looking off to the distance. Some have praised the poster for its badassery, while others have noted its racial placement of characters. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, and Helena Bonham Carter are larger than Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, and Awkwafina, who are squished and much smaller than their white counterparts. Sarah Paulson is placed between Rihanna and Mindy Kaling to “make-up” for the clear racial divide.

Similarly, another photo release reveals the same racial placement.

Overall, Ocean’s 8 is a film that poses many important questions that are necessary to think about in an age of female resistance against sexism and androcentrism in Hollywood and beyond. I am intrigued to see the film and eagerly aw8 its release in June.

Why I Am a Feminist

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by Priest Gooding

Last night, I was at a café with friends; at some point during our otherwise innocuous conversations, the differences between men and women were brought up, After I gave my opinion (which certainly was not unexpected by those who have heard me discuss the issue before), one of my friends looked at me and said with a tone of surprise and disgust: “You’re a feminist?” Read More »

Women in the Workforce

After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff

You’ve heard of all of the progress made breaking “glass ceilings” — time to recognize the pitfalls.

Hidden Noodles

by Thuy Anh Tran from Lehigh University

  Hidden Café, which was located on the lower level of building B in my high school, was an ideal place for anyone who needed an escape. This café was not recognized by my high school as an official dining hall, but it secretly opened to serve the growing demand for a small get-away. For straight A students, they came here with the hope of escaping from the cacophony in the hallway to figure out how to calculate the atomic mass of an element. For teachers, they desperately wanted to get away from all the troubles that students created. For rebels, this place was perfect for skipping classes.
  The owner of Hidden Café was Bac Huong, a middle-aged woman who was a high school teacher but then discovered that cooking was her passion. She had a small and slim figure; her short curly salt and pepper hair was meticulously hidden behind a ridiculously giant chef’s hat, and she possessed one of the most high-pitched voice you would ever hear, probably because she used to teach in many classes with sixty students. I called her “Bac,” which means aunt in Vietnamese, as my way to show my respect as well as my endearment to her. “If I had not been a teacher, I would have become a Michelin-star chef!” – Bac Huong confidently claimed. This café was opened as a result of many spontaneous moments.
  “What do you want today? Mian tiao?”
  “Yes, but it is miàn tiáo.”
  “I’m no Chinese. Wait five minutes.”
  Bac Huong enjoyed using some Chinese words that she picked up to tease me as I was a student in Chinese-English class. “Miàn tiáo” means noodles in Chinese, but it was not just any kind of noodles. It was noodles with beef jerky, sausage, mayo and ketchup. Weird. The combination of diverse ingredients could magically blend together, and it turned out to be one of the best dishes that I had ever tasted.
  I loved watching Bac Huong making noodles. The main ingredient for this dish was obviously noodles, or Hao Hao noodles, which was only ten cents. The fastest way to cook was to pour hot water into a bowl of raw noodles. Bac Huong never forgot to add some spices, some onions and especially her special sauce (soy sauce). She put a plate on top of the noodles’ bowl so that it would keep the heat inside to cook the noodles. After five minutes, she went to check on the noodles. Then, she cut some boiled sausages that she woke up at 5 a.m. every day to prepare, and added some beef jerky. On top of the noodles, she put some mayo or some ketchup, depending on her mood. This dish had such a special smell that I could immediately recognize before I even arrived at Hidden Café. Within ten minutes, Bac Huong made noodles and eagerly interrogated me about my school life.
  “How’s school?”
  “Do you get a 10 out of 10 on your Chinese quiz?”
  “How did you do on your Math test?”
  The most dreadful question was yet to come.
  “Where are your friends? Call them here.”
  I stayed silent.
  You would not think that such a simple question could hurt you internally. Little did Bac Huong know that she played many roles in my high school life: my “Bac,” my emotional counselor, my teacher and my only friend.
  Who was I in high school? I was a fat kid (yes, I use the F word). I was bullied because my body figure did not comply with the standard measurements for a normal high school girl. Who came up with that anyway?
  That day, a girl in my class who was a close friend of mine suddenly asked me to tell her my body measurements for her “research purpose,” and I was gullible enough to tell her. Classic Mean Girl’s prank.
  The next day I went to class, she greeted me with a special nickname that I would try to forget every now and then: “square” (because my height and my weight looked quite the same). Then, there were “fatty”, “pig”, “rectangle”, “girl without curves”, “fat ugly girl”,… At that moment, my body was heated up with embarrassment. I kept looking down to the floor and closed my eyes so that I could keep my tears and my anger inside.
  I was not ready to face with such a challenge as I never knew there was something called confidence. The feeling that I was missing something inside my soul which needed to be fulfilled haunted me. Later, I discovered that it was validation. There was no class that taught me how to stand up against bullies in high school, which I think it should have had. Therefore, I kept myself safe by creating my own bubble, and never dared to step outside. What choices did I have? Many, but the easiest choice was to hide myself in this little corner of the Hidden.
  How wrong I was.
  The advantage of living in a bubble was that it created a strong shield to protect me from getting hurt, but bubbles could pop at any time.
  When I left for college, I chose not to say good-bye to Bac Huong and the Hidden because I did not want that chapter of my life to end. I would never imagine how difficult it could be to give up eating those delicious noodles.
  Six o’clock. Lower Court. Located in the lower level of the University Center, which reminds me of the Hidden. Lower Court is much more crowded than the Hidden, and students come with the purpose of seeking companions, not hiding. I choose a seat at the corner of the room. I tell myself not to think about Bac Huong’s noodles but it is impossible for me to do so as in college, spaghetti with beef sauce is the closest to what I used to have in the Hidden. Right now, the cooks are busy making spaghetti, but the way they make it is far different from what Bac Huong did. Spaghetti is already cooked from the kitchen before being placed in a large tray. The sauce is separated from the spaghetti, and each person will serve themselves with the amount of sauce that they want. I am struggling to calculate how much sauce I need for one dish of spaghetti, while Bac Huong always knew exactly how much soy sauce I needed for a bowl of noodles. All the cooks are friendly, but no one can speak Chinese to tease me.
  I learned the hard way that leaving was an essential part of growing up. As I grew up from a teenager, I left my favorite teddy bear in the basement. As I grew to become an adult, I left the Hidden and my favorite noodles in Vietnam. Growing up means that we have to leave things behind so that every time we look back, we will say to ourselves: “Oh, how I miss those good old days!”
  I guess I have to grow up now. I have to grow up from Bac Huong’s noodles and start to live my life here at college.
  I realize that I am still in the process of stepping outside my bubble.

This is a repost of a story we received in December.

A Story Like Mine

We highly recommended watching Halsey’s incredible performance. If you are unable to listen, you can read the transcript full transcript below via Billboard.

It’s 2009 and I’m 14 and I’m crying
Not really sure where I am but I’m holding the hand of my best friend Sam
In the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood
The air is sterile and clean, and the walls are that not grey, but green
And the lights are so bright they could burn a whole through the seam of my jeans
My phone is buzzing in the pocket
My mom is asking me if I remembered my keys ’cause she’s closing the door and she needs to lock it
But I can’t tell my mom where I’ve gone
I can’t tell anyone at all
You see, my best friend Sam was raped by a man that we knew ’cause he worked in the after-school program
And he held her down with her textbook beside her
And he covered her mouth and he came inside her
So now I’m with Sam, at the place with a plan, waiting for the results of a medical exam
And she’s praying she doesn’t need an abortion, she couldn’t afford it
And her parents would, like, totally kill her

It’s 2002 and my family just moved and the only people I know are my mom’s friends, too, and her son
He’s got a case of Matchbox cars and he says that he’ll teach me to play the guitar if I just keep quiet
And the stairwell beside apartment 1245 will haunt me in my sleep for as long as I am alive
And I’m too young to know why it aches in my thighs, but I must lie, I must lie

It’s 2012 and I’m dating a guy and I sleep in his bed and I just learned how to drive
And he’s older than me and he drinks whiskey neat and he’s paying for everything
This adult thing is not cheap
We’ve been fighting a lot, almost 10 times a week
And he wants to have sex, and I just want to sleep
He says I can’t say no to him
This much I owe to him
He buys my dinner, so I have to blow him
He’s taken to forcing me down on my knees
And I’m confused ’cause he’s hurting me while he says please
And he’s only a man, and these things he just needs
He’s my boyfriend, so why am I filled with unease?

It’s 2017 and I live like a queen
And I’ve followed damn near every one of my dreams
I’m invincible and I’m so fucking naive
I believe I’m protected ’cause I live on a screen
Nobody would dare act that way around me
I’ve earned my protection, eternally clean
Until a man that I trust gets his hands in my pants
But I don’t want none of that, I just wanted to dance
And I wake up the next morning like I’m in a trance and there’s blood
Is that my blood?
Hold on a minute

You see I’ve worked every day since I was 18
I’ve toured everywhere from Japan to Mar-a-Lago
I even went on stage that night in Chicago when I was having a miscarriage
I mean, I pied the piper, I put on a diaper
And sang out my spleen to a room full of teens
What do you mean this happened to me?
You can’t put your hands on me
You don’t know what my body has been through
I’m supposed to be safe now
I earned it

It’s 2018 and I’ve realized nobody is safe long as she is alive
And every friend that I know has a story like mine
And the world tells me we should take it as a compliment
But then heroes like Ashley and Simone and Gabby, McKayla and Gaga, Rosario, Aly
Remind me this is the beginning, it is not the finale
And that’s why we’re here
And that’s why we rally
It’s Olympians and a medical resident and not one fucking word from the man who is President
It’s about closed doors and secrets and legs and stilletos from the Hollywood hills to the projects in ghettos
When babies are ripped from the arms of teen mothers and child brides cry globally under the covers
Who don’t have a voice on the magazine covers
They tell us take cover

But we are not free until all of us are free
So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly
Ask her story and then shut up and listen
Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian 
Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues
For the people who had to grow up way too young
There is work to be done
There are songs to be sung
Lord knows there’s a war to be won

Her Body and Other Parties

Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
Reviewed by Anna Bottrell

Immersing myself in this book took a sharp adjustment of expectations, as at first I almost slipped into mistaking Carmen Maria Machado’s surreal style for a play on the absurd, a beautiful and precise craft where the meaning lies more in the sensation of the sentences than in their larger sum. However, almost violently, at the end of every story a clear vision sets itself into place. Additionally, the stories build throughout the book with their shared theme: women’s bodies. Who has them, who wants them, and what is it like to live in such prime real estate?

The stories cover topics such as dehumanization, objectification, sexual assault, queer and lesbian relationships, and body shame.

Instead of writing women’s experiences through dialogue, Machado paints a vivid portrait with her imaginative descriptions of a world that seems inside out. Its beating heart lies in scenery. Significance is revealed through physical manifestations, and so the body and mind express themselves as one — open to the senses for observation.

It struck me as interesting that few of these stories have an exact setting, in time or in space. They seem to emanate from an archive of common culture, rather than from the manifest world. The stories take familiar elements and setups, and they bind them into Machado’s psychologically thrilling surrealism. However, this borrowing does not make them predictable. When Machado manipulates a familiar scenario, she makes it her own. She does this with a folktale in her story “The Husband Stitch”, post-apocalyptic survival in “Inventory’, and even Law & Order: SVU in “Especially Heinous”. Machado’s voice feels like something that is filling gaps in perspective, something that was always necessary to add.

After reading Her Body and Other Parties , I can re-examine the bits and pieces of common culture that Maghado wove into her stories. As they were untouched, they seem off. Stale, surface level. When Machado writes, she sees her subject matter with a sense of refreshing clarity. A folktale I heard in my childhood may appear to me through her warped vision with a new grain of truth, and suddenly feel urgent and contemporary. It may suddenly feel important.

This book is important. Machado appears to agree. She writes as if to say, “This is the world underneath your world, the world you’ve been told to ignore; but, it exists”.

She drives this point home in the book’s first passage, with a wake-up slap of reverse psychology:

(If you read this story out loud, please use the following voices:
Me: as a child, high-pitched, forgettable; as a woman, the same.
The boy who will grow into a man, and be my spouse: robust with serendipity.

My father: kind, booming; like your father, or the man you wish was your father.
My son: as a small child, gentle, sounding with the faintest of lisps; as a man, like my husband. All other women: interchangeable with my own.)

She has my attention.

See this post in the Clarion magazine as well at bu.edu/clarion

Who the #MeToo Movement is Leaving Behind

by Anu Sawhney

This weekend, while watching the Golden Globes, one which left most awestruck by Oprah Winfrey’s fiery acceptance speech, it was another – some might say less glamorous – speech that left me overwhelmed by its importance and clarity. Sterling K. Brown, the star of the NBC series This is Us, made Golden Globe history in becoming the first-ever black actor to win the award in the Best Actor in a TV Drama category. In thanking the creator of the show, Dan Fogelman, he explained how Fogelman “wrote a role for a black man that can only be played by a black man. What I appreciate so much about this is that I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am, and it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or dismiss anybody who looks like me.”

Herein, I believe, Brown was able to articulate the key to authentic representation on screen. At a time when the most powerful women in the industry wore black in solidarity with those who were silenced by their assailants, I cannot think of anything more important than ensuring that no one feels like their identity is something that can be dismissed. While we can sit here at the precipice of a what feels like a new era and view the MeToo movement as a product of important progress, intolerance, and recognition of the importance of reclaiming our bodies, I’d be one to argue that it is far too little for us to move forward as a society where no one – and I mean no one, is left behind.

As a disabled woman of color, with every “first-ever” moment I can feel my heart race at the ordeal, because somewhere in my mind this means that Hollywood – and, by extension, society – is normalizing diversity and change. And there are strides of progress that have been significant, not only for women but also for women of color. Somehow, though, almost every mainstream conversation in regard to diversity manages to leave out an important minority. 19% of Americans are people with disabilities, making us the largest minority group there is, yet somehow a latent issue outside of activist circles and sometimes, politics. On screen, disabled characters are almost always played by able-bodied actors who are awarded for portraying a disability as a costume that one can simply wear on screen or learn about through others who’ve lived with the disability for a long enough time – only to return to an able-bodied lifestyle. All of those things will remain true as long as roles aren’t given to actors in the way that, as Brown explained, doesn’t allow for the dismissal of the actor’s whole, intersectional identity.

What makes this dismissal harder to accept in the year of the MeToo movement is the findings of a recent NPR study, which shows that people with intellectual disabilities are seven times more likely to be assaulted than people without a disability. Not only is this an epidemic, the victims are described as “easy targets” and it is largely underreported, especially among women who live in group homes. We cannot seriously be having a national discussion about changing mindsets or having a cultural reckoning if we’re not giving the group who have the most to win or lose a seat at the table. This would be a disservice to the victims who have been brave enough to come out, voice their stories to all those they have paved the way for, for whom the movement is created – including the most vulnerable. The harder we are to dismiss, the more important it will be for our voices to be heard.

Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes Speech

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source: gettyimages

Oprah’s role in influencing views on love and relationships was recognized with the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes last night. Once again, she graced us with her enchanting words and powerful stories:

“Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history:” The winner is Sidney Poitier.” Up to the stage came the most elegant man I ever remembered. His tie was white, his skin was black—and he was being celebrated. I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney’s performance in Lilies of the Field: “Amen, amen, amen, amen.”

In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award. It is an honor—it is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who have inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson who took a chance on me for A.M. Chicago. Saw me on the show and said to Steven Spielberg, she’s Sophia in ‘The Color Purple.’ Gayle who’s been a friend and Stedman who’s been my rock.

I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. We know the press is under siege these days. We also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To—to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.

But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.

And there’s someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.

Their time is up. And I just hope—I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’ heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man—every man who chooses to listen.

In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”

Look forward to her work in A Wrinkle in Time.