“Chi-Raq” and Spike Lee’s Bad Feminism

Some critics say Chi-Raq, Spike Lee’s latest feature film, which will be streamable on Amazon Prime next month, is his best in years. For me, the film’s sexual empowerment slant presents an opportunity to revisit the director’s bad “feminism,” his almost uncanny ability to fail at representations of powerful women. And yet, his failures don’t […]

What Bill Cosby and the University of Virginia Can Teach Us

As accusations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby mount, students, faculty and staff of the University of Virginia, meanwhile, are adding their names to a petition addressed to the college’s president, demanding that campus organizations be held accountable for sexual violence. Both cases have gained a significant amount of media attention recently for allegations that […]

Feminism Is Not Just About Women’s Oppression

A community in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, continues to mourn and protest the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot dead by the police on Saturday. The details of Brown’s death are still unfolding as witnesses come forward and the Justice Department pursues a federal investigation. But there is one […]

Consuming Sugar: Kara Walker’s Marvelous Sugar Baby

Sugar has been one of the world’s most desired commodities since the 19th century, when it went from being a luxury item to a product of mass consumption. The demand for sugar fueled the trade in human beings to cultivate it. Abolitionists, especially English protofeminists, deployed the term “blood sugar” to try to curb the […]

Anita: Still Speaking Truth to Power

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, a beautiful new documentary by Academy Award-winning director Freida Lee Mock (Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision), is a history lesson for some audiences and a site of memory for others. Millennial girls and women who didn’t witness firsthand the spectacle of sex and race during the 1991 Senate Judiciary […]

New York City Honors 40 Years of Ms. Magazine

This past week, New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn and Councilwoman Gale Brewer joined several of Ms. magazine’s founding editors, along with Ms. writers and supporters, to observe the magazine’s 40th anniversary in the city of its birth. The Council issued a formal proclamation honoring the magazine’s groundbreaking reporting and activism on behalf of […]

Imani Uzuri: A Traveling Woman

For a woman, to travel can be a feminist act. Women who set out and proclaim themselves citizens of the world tread a path that is often the prerogative of (privileged) men. Yet women who can and do take physical journeys often experience emotional transformations as well. Singer/songwriter Imani Uzuri’s latest musical release (and second […]

Remembering the L.A. Riots, Remembering Latasha Harlins

It’s been 20 years since the L.A. Riots and I can’t put the grainy footage from that video out of my head. A young black girl approaches a checkout counter. An older Asian American woman reaches across the counter to grab the girl’s clothes and backpack. The girl responds with her fists, knocking the woman […]

For Fans of Ntozake Shange, Finally, A Memoir

Ntozake Shange, feminist author of the critically acclaimed choreopoem for colored girls who’ve considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf, as well as numerous poetry collections and novels (most recently the 600-page Some Sing, Some Cry, co-written with her sister Ifa Bayeza), gets personal, political and lyrical in her latest work, Lost in Language and […]

Sex, Power and Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later

Almost everyone has an Anita Hill story. Some of us remember exactly where we were when that theater of sex, race and gender called a “hearing” was broadcast in primetime. Others recall water-cooler and sidewalk conversations and debates about guilt and innocence, about sexual harassment as a “white lady’s problem,” about the effect of the […]