December 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

I want to do my part in the disruption of the “norm” in the book world for far too long—white, cis, heterosexual, male—and to amplify indie publishers and amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, queer, trans, nonbinary, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities. You know … the rest of us.

Alopecia Isn’t a ‘Cosmetic Issue’—It’s a Serious Autoimmune Disease

It took bravery for Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Jada Pinkett Smith to reveal their alopecia and rock a shaved head. The two revived the national conversation around alopecia—an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its healthy hair follicles.

“To be bald as a woman really does disrupt conventional and societal norms of what is appropriate, what is professional, what is attractive, what is feminine,” said Pressley.

It’s Time to End Discrimination in Crash Testing

Men’s bodies and women’s bodies behave differently in collisions due to differences in size, muscle structure and bone density. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which issues five-star safety ratings, does not crash test cars with dummies that accurately represent women. The tests strictly prioritize men’s safety and offer only hope that women may stand a chance. Too often, we don’t. 

Crash test dummies that accurately represent women are available today, and other countries are already planning to require them in crash tests. The U.S. should do the same.

The Return of Essence Festival of Culture: ‘It’s the Black Joy for Me’

After an in-person hiatus of two years, Essence Festival of Culture returned to New Orleans for its annual festival dedicated to celebrating and uplifting Black women.

The return of Essence Festival in person during this critical social moment was vital. With the theme “It’s the Black Joy For Me,” it was a moment for Black women to take time for themselves and each other, despite what’s currently happening in the world.

Abortion How-To: The Ms. Q&A on Menstrual Extraction With Carol Downer

Before Roe v. Wade, one of the ways women bypassed the medical system to get necessary abortions was a technique feminists called “menstrual extraction,” using a syringe, flexible plastic tubing and a mason jar to extract the contents of the uterus.

Ms. spoke with activist Carol Downer about her experiences teaching people to perform menstrual extractions and how the procedure could help post-Roe.

“How in the world can that Supreme Court sit up there and deny this thing to us? How can they get away with that? You can guarantee that Amy Coney Barrett has not seen her own cervix.”

‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’: Pleasure as a Path to Wholeness

Good Luck to You, Leo Grandestarring Emma Thompson as Nancy Stokes and Daryl McCormack as Leo Grande is an exploration of whether women, due to internal and external messaging, are allowed to pursue and attain sexual fulfillment. The fact that Nancy has never had an orgasm answers that question.

In a world where we’ve started discussing the critical importance of sexual consent, and in the wake of MeToo, we must address women’s pleasure—making this film not only entertaining, but necessary.

Poetry for the Rest of Us 2022

April is National Poetry Month! Since my dormant love of poetry was reignited, I’ve found it so refreshing and inspiring to read beautiful collections each year and share my thoughts with you.

I’ve included these 66 poetry titles for a variety of reasons: because they are especially unique, because I wanted to shine a light on them, they are from debut authors, indie publishers, or because they stood out to me for any other reason. I hope you find collections that will have you reflecting on how poetry moves you, challenges you and represents you. 

March 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups. March and April are historically big months for new book releases, and this year is no exception. I’ve narrowed down a list of hundreds of books to 36 this month. In addition to some compelling fiction, there’s imperative nonfiction, memoirs and debuts.