Straight Outta Compton and the Power of Black Women’s “Side Stories”


When director F. Gary Gray chose to cut the scene depicting rap producer Dr. Dre’s infamous assault on journalist Dee Barnes, then-TV host of Fox’s hip-hop show Pump it Up! back in January 1991, he dismissed the incident as one of many “side stories” that distracted from the main one concerning rap group N.W.A.’s rise to fame […]

Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You


The following is excerpted from Donna Decker’s new novel, Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You, available now from Inanna Publications. The book is based on the mass shooting that took place in Montreal, Canada on December 6, 1989 at L’Ecole Polytechnique, also known as the Montreal Massacre. Jenean had been at home on Rue Verde when […]

The Evolution of Female Masturbation in Pop Music


If you still remember Hailee Steinfeld as a 14-year-old girl who rocked twinned braids and got an Oscar nomination for True Grit, prepare yourself for her transformation. The now-legal adult recently released a music video for her first single, “Love Myself,” and it’s packed with some serious sass. While the song ostensibly centers around building self-esteem and […]

Top Films Fail to Feature Women and Minorities


Surprise, surprise, women and minorities are grossly underrepresented in film. A new report by University of Southern California Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative analyzed representations of gender, race and LGBT individuals in 700 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2014. Some of the statistics aren’t surprising, though it would be nice if they were. Here’s […]

The Lawyer Battling Human Rights Atrocities in Mexico


Just across the border from El Paso, Tex., one of the U.S.’ safest cities, is Ciudad Juarez—a city that, until very recently, was ranked as having one of the highest murder rates in the world. It is in the space between these two disparate worlds that La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights […]

8 Period Anthems for Surviving “The Curse”


The next time you’re curled up in a ball, holding a heating pad in one hand and a milkshake in the other while a wolverine ravages your uterus, don’t resign yourself to watching Nicholas Sparks movies for the week. Menstruation is no reason to feel bad about yourself, so cheer up with this Ms. Blog playlist […]

A Nobody Going Against a Somebody

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In the novel Again and Again, author Ellen Bravo tells the story of Deborah Borenstein, an activist who 30 years earlier saw her friend and roommate, Liddie Golmboch, raped at a fraternity party. The excerpt below is set in 1980 in Upstate New York at Danforth University; Liddie’s assault has only recently taken place and the two […]

Subverting the “Girlie” Calendar: August

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Ms. August Downstream in August, down the heron flew, straight through the secret bower where we stay in ferny waterfalls, safe from the day, forgotten as her words, a fonds perdu. A “girlie calendar” makes one think of men’s lockers, walls of auto repair shops or a military barracks: They’re typically collections of nude or […]

How Paper Towns Falls Short


John Green once dubbed his 2009 novel Paper Towns an attempt to “disembowel the evil construction of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” So it’s more than a little disappointing that the sneakily sexist Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype is alive and well in the Paper Towns film adaptation. Coined by A.V. Club writer Nathan Rabin in […]

The Feminist Power of Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s “Feeling Myself”


As many of you may know by now, neither the “Feeling Myself” music video nor the unapologetic celebration of voluptuousity that was the “Anaconda” music video were nominated for best video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards. Nicki Minaj took to Twitter after the snub, calling out the music industry for routinely ignoring […]