‘This Book Won’t Burn’: Celebrating Young People’s Bravery in the Face of Book Bans

Banning books is deeply harmful to children. Censorship not only removes books from library shelves; it erases identities. Bans suggest that the very existence of some human beings is controversial. Make no mistake, book banning is an anathema to liberty. It is a tool of oppression, and if we really want to protect our children, if we want to ensure our democracy, we all need to be raising our voices to stop it.

“How can I be brave?” That’s the question that planted the seed for my novel, This Book Won’t Burn.

The Cost of Being Myself: Cosmetics and Gender-Affirming Care

For Alice, a young transgender woman, navigating out of homelessness, a $40 bottle of foundation is lifesaving. She regularly purchases it, despite the steep price, because it’s the only product that properly covers the shadow of her facial hair. Doing so ensures that she is not identified and targeted as trans in public.

From physical safety to job security, how your present yourself to the world is critical. To transgender and other LGBTQ+ youth—in particular those that are unhoused, at risk or street involved—beauty products like makeup or haircare are neither optional nor frivolous expenses.

‘A Virtual Abortion Doula in Your Pocket’: Aya Contigo Helps Latinas Find Abortion Care

U.S. abortion bans impact 6.7 million Latinas in the United States—the largest group of women of color impacted by these bans. Many lack insurance, cannot travel and face language and cultural barriers to reproductive healthcare. 

To address these barriers, two Canadian physicians—Dr. Roopan Gill and Dr. Genevieve Tam—co-created Aya Contigo, an app with an embedded live virtual chat to help people access contraception and abortion. Ms. spoke with Dr. Gill, an OB-GYN with advanced training in complex family planning about her work with Vitala Global and Aya Contigo.

‘This Doesn’t Mean He’s Not Guilty’: An Interview With Rowena Chiu, a Survivor of Harvey Weinstein

When Harvey Weinstein’s conviction was overturned by the New York Court of Appeals, the decision reverberated far and wide. For many survivors, the unraveling of the conviction proved, once again, the failed promise of criminal justice. This failure was felt most deeply by the more than 100 women who have accused Weinstein of assault and harassment. Among these women is Rowena Chiu, whose account helped expose Weinstein’s predations. 

In this moment of setback, I wondered whether Chiu would feel—understandably—defeated. Just the opposite is true. As Chiu told me, beautifully and powerfully, “There’s work to be done and we roll up our sleeves and we do it.”

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Angela Alsobrooks’ Win Is a Win for Black Women Everywhere; Gender Imbalance in Local Elections

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: Delve into the persistent gender imbalance in local elections, explore the impact of cumulative voting in elections in Illinois spanning over a century, discover why ranked-choice voting is a logical solution to Maryland’s recent primary with large candidate fields and plurality winners, inclusion of plurality candidates in elections and why ranked-choice voting is a viable solution, and celebrate Angela Alsobrooks for her historic victory—a triumph for all Black women in politics.

A Violent Denial: Combating Silence Around Hamas’ Sexual Violence and Preventing Future War Crimes

Feminist lessons of war are traumatically and often fatally difficult to come by. In her 2023 book, Twelve Feminist Lessons of War, Cynthia Enloe offers a list that includes: “Women’s wars are not men’s wars,” “wounds are gendered” and “feminists organize while war is raging.” She declares that “feminist lessons are for everyone.”

Cochav Elkayam-Levy is still figuring out the feminist lessons to be learned from the Oct. 7 attack. As she has come to accept, this will be her life’s work.

(This article originally appears in the Summer 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

Louisiana’s Criminalization of Abortion Care Demands We Embrace Reproductive Justice

On Tuesday, the Louisiana House passed legislation criminalizing two drugs commonly used for abortion care: mifepristone and misoprostol. The bill received final legislative passage Thursday, and the governor is expected to sign it into law any day now. Instead of working to address the maternal mortality crisis, the infant mortality crisis or the climate crisis (and the list of crises goes on), Louisiana’s lawmakers are looking to lock up our neighbors for up to five years for possessing these life-saving drugs. The move is pigheaded, embarrassing and downright dangerous—but not surprising. 

When they’re using the same tools they used to wreak havoc on Black and brown communities for decades to criminalize anyone for simply possessing abortion care drugs, we know that our collective struggle transcends abortion rights alone.