May 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.

Whether you read for knowledge or leisure, books are so important. May is a big month for new releases by women and writers of historically excluded communities; I’ve highlighted 60 of them here, but there are many more. I hope you’ll find some here that will help you reflect and act in whatever ways you can. 

Student Loan Debt Is a Gender Issue, Especially for Women of Color

The student loan debt crisis is at an all time high, with 45 million people carrying an estimated $1.7 trillion in federal student loan debt. Women carry roughly two-thirds of it. Black and Brown women are disproportionately impacted by this issue. 

Economic inequality, as influenced by class, race and gender, further increases each day student loan debt cancellation is delayed. 

Keeping Score: Leaders Stand Up for Trans Rights; California’s First Latina Supreme Court Justice; Oklahoma Moves to Ban All Abortions

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in in this biweekly round-up.

This week: Biden administration announces gender-neutral passports to be made available; California confirms first Latina state Supreme Court justice; Governors Gavin Newsom and Jay Inslee increase abortion accessibility; Polish pro-choice activist charged for assisting an abortion; and more.

The Pornification of War in Ukraine

The trending of #Ukraine on porn sites is only a recent development of an age-old misogyny, as old as warfare itself.

Research shows that habitual users of online porn seek ever more explicit and graphic images in order to sustain the same level of arousal. This partly explains the uptick in searches for pornographic videos of Ukrainian women after the invasion. It also accounts for the horrifying genres known as “refugee porn” and “war porn.” These videos link sex with desperation and violence. But not just any violence will do. The user is mainly interested in videos that feature the utter degradation of women and girls.

Is the Gender Wage Gap Really Closing?

A new report on the gender pay gap might make us hopeful—but there are factors not reflected in these numbers. Even still, reports show overall upwards trends for young women’s earnings. It would be easy to conclude that this means the gender pay gap will be gone in a few years as these young women continue to gain experience … right? Not so fast.