What the 3.2 Million-Year-Old Lucy Fossil Reveals About Nudity and Shame

Fifty years ago, scientists discovered “Lucy,” a nearly complete fossilized skull and hundreds of pieces of bone of a 3.2-million-year-old female specimen of the genus Australopithecus afarensis, often described as “the mother of us all.”

Though Lucy has solved some evolutionary riddles, her appearance remains an ancestral secret.

Popular renderings dress her in thick, reddish-brown fur, with her face, hands, feet and breasts peeking out of denser thickets.This hairy picture of Lucy, it turns out, might be wrong.

At Its Moment of Peril, Democracy Needs Journalists to Be Activists

If U.S. democracy falls, one key enabler will have been the most consequential failure to date of a vital institution doing its job: journalism.

It makes my journalism friends profoundly and understandably uncomfortable to think of themselves as activists. But if they won’t use their platforms to raise the alarm loudly and persistently, beyond spotting some burning brush while ignoring the blazing forest, we—and they—are in deep, deep trouble.

Even if they do, we’ll all still be at risk, but at least the craft I believe in will have tried. And that will be a start.

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!)

Why Do Single Moms Still Get Erased on Mother’s Day?

The misrepresentation and erasure of single/lone mom’s on Mother’s Day happens right before our eyes, surrounds us—and yet can be impossible for some to truly see. 

What’s being ignored here is an opportunity to speak directly to single/lone moms who construct their own days and lives—who buy their own Mother’s Day presents. Moms who, depending on the age and situation and ability of their children, do not wake up to breakfast in bed or presents from others. Mothers who celebrate themselves. Or are learning to.

Women on the Verge of Vanishing From Afghan Media

As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, it’s worth reflecting on how it’s become a rare privilege to spot a female face on Afghan television—whether they wear a face covering or not.

Now, even these brief glimpses of women on Afghan TV might disappear. Near the end of February, Sheikh Mohammad Khalid, the Taliban’s minister for the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice, gathered owners of media companies for a meeting in Kabul and issued a warning: Women working in media needed to start covering their entire faces, leaving only their eyes visible; otherwise, the Taliban would ban women from working in the industry.

The Anti-Gay, Anti-Trans and Anti-Abortion Groups Behind Those ‘He Gets Us’ Super Bowl Commercials

Before the news cycle moves on, we must discuss the right-wing He Gets Us campaign’s two religious ads during the Super Bowl, which highlighted that “Jesus loved and cared for anyone and everyone” and which the Washington Post voted “the most controversial” of the game.

This claim of love and acceptance is directly undercut by the campaign’s connections to far-right anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion groups.

Ms. Magazine Wins PEN America’s Impact Award for ‘Contributions to Journalism, Feminism and Social Change’

On Tuesday, Sept. 19—the same day the Ms. book, 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution, was released—Ms. magazine was awarded PEN America’s Impact Award, in honor of the publication’s five decades of feminist journalism.

“Through its art, literature and journalism, Ms. magazine became a platform that educated, inspired and mobilized generations of feminists in support of equality,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel. “I am deeply honored to present the PEN America Impact Award … in recognition of Ms. magazine’s contributions to journalism, feminism and social change.”

(This essay is part of the “Feminist Journalism is Essential to Democracy” project—Ms. magazine’s latest installment of Women & Democracy, presented in partnership with the International Women’s Media Foundation.)