Zine culture has been flourishing of late, quickly becoming a hotbed of modern radical thought, exploration of identity, and grassroots activism. Through the creation and distribution of independent zines, we really are quite literally seizing the means. This phenomenon is by no means new, however. The turn of the 20th century (the fin de siècle) saw the birth of some of the earliest women-driven periodicals and magazines, in response to fervent public debate around women, work and education – in 1888, essayist Mona Caird called “the subjection of women” one of the central “factors of our system” (sound familiar?). They also emerged in part as a response to smear campaigns against emerging early feminist identities such as Bluestockings and the New Woman. This ‘New’ brand of womanhood had thoroughly unreasonable aspirations such as equality (gasp!), education (no!) and independence (quelle horreur!), and were largely viewed sneeringly by their contemporaries. The public image of the fin de siècle Bluestocking was the equivalent of the modern-day stereotype of the blue-haired-butch-hairy-lesbian feminist. She was cartooned and caricatured as ugly, over-sexed, unmarriageable, riding a bike – a symbol of mannishness, and independence.
by E. Photo by Mario Tama.
I woke up at 4 am London-time to check the results. Scrolling through the news in the pale dark of almost morning, my face lit up as I read the headlines declaring historical firsts. The youngest woman ever elected to Congress. The first openly gay representative. The first Muslim women elected. The first Native American women elected. At that moment, I felt a beaming, near-euphoric pride for my country—a feeling that had previously been all but consumed by the misery of Trump’s dystopian administration.
There were, however, a significant smattering of grave losses for the Left last night—Beto O’Rourke was defeated in the Texas Senate race (#Beto2020 please), Stacey Abram’s landmark gubernatorial race in Georgia is still too close to call, Florida unsurprisingly elected the openly racist Ron DeSantis, and my own home state of West Virginia passed a deliberately confusing ballot initiative to eliminate access to abortion.
Despite these setbacks, although substantial, there are many wins to celebrate. The Democrats won the House, and a record number of women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks have taken seats in the halls of the US government. Bolstered by the progressivism of the new elects, a renewed priority will be given to immigration concerns, the environment, preventing gun violence, and protecting reproductive rights. There are bold, new voices to challenge the president.
They’re calling it the Rainbow Wave: a younger, queerer, more racially diverse Democratic party. The Rainbow Wave is a culmination of two years of activism, grass-roots efforts, and no small amount of righteous anger that led to the upset of the Republican-controlled Congress.
Here are some Rainbow Wave midterm highlights that have me feeling optimistic:
Letitia James (D) became the first woman in NY elected as attorney general and the first black person to be attorney general.
Veronica Escobar (D) and Sylvia Garcia (D) are projected to be the first Latinx Congresswomen from Texas.
Rashida Tlaib (D) of Michigan and Illhan Omar (D) of Minnesota became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
Deb Haaland (D) of New Mexico and Sharice Davids (D) of Kansas became one the two first Native American women (with Davids being openly gay as well!) elected to Congress.
Ayanna Pressley (D) became Massachusetts’s first black congresswoman.
Chris Pappas (D) will be the first openly gay representative in Congress to represent New Hampshire.
Jared Polis (D) of Colorado is the first openly gay man to be elected as governor. (Remember the major Supreme Court case that ruled in favor for the homophobic Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple? Polis now governs that state. I’m looking forward to many more gay wedding cakes, personally.)
Gerri Cannon (D) and Lisa Bunker (D), both of New Hampshire will join Danica Roem (D-Virginia) in being the only transgender women representation in the House of Representatives.
And my personal favorite candidate of this election cycle: working-class, Bronx-born democratic socialist, red-lipstick-wearing goddamn Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. At 29 years old, she is now the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. (We featured her shade of lipstick in a fashion profile in Issue 04, by the way.)
As America watches her sunrise, I hope even more firsts have been counted. Learn their names; they will lead us into this rainbow era of more diversified and progressive American politics. Let’s keep this momentum all the way until the 2020 presidential election. And please, remember what a difference was made last night with your voice, your energy, your vote. To quote Beto, I’m as hopeful as I’ve ever been.
‘Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe topful of direst cruelty’ (Act 1, Scene 5, lines 39-41)
Halloween is here and something wicked this way comes. B discusses the real power of ‘evil’ women in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is not only a gritty and gruesome drama perfect for spooky autumn nights, it’s a performance of male versus female ambition and how their differences are praised and punished. Macbeth’s main theme is the destruction wrought by unchecked ambition, which is most powerfully expressed in the dichotomy between Macbeth and his female counterparts: Lady Macbeth and the three witches. Intriguingly, female ambition and male ambition is depicted differently and seem to fall into two separate definitions. Macbeth’s portrayal of masculine ambition revolves around cruelty and an insatiable desire for power. While the women of the play also desire power, their ambition reveals itself through their cunning and calculated machinations. They’re far more sophisticated than the troubled Macbeth himself, and yet their cleverness is overlooked and they are remembered in history as being evil. This 17th-century play grimly reveals the conflation between powerful women and evil women.
Sixteen years ago today, on the morning of September 11, 2001, four coordinated terror attacks carried out by al-Qaeda changed the world forever.
For the millennial generation, the subsequent War on Terror became the frightening backdrop for our childhoods; we grew up in the shadow of terror, in the aftermath of a tragedy that punctuated our lives. Around the world, in the years after 9/11, we unwillingly inherited a zeitgeist of fear, intolerance, anti-Muslim sentiment, strained international relations and fraught nationalism that continues to permeate Western culture today.
Nearly two decades later, we can look back to see that in the narrative of our lives exists a clear demarcation of who we were before 9/11 and who we became after. The staff at Boshemia took a moment to remember their experiences of 9/11. We have included the city they resided in on that day for understanding of the global impact.
Guest writer Khristian Smith shares his experience as a counter-protester of the ‘Unite the Right Rally’ at Charlottesville on August 11 – 12, 2017.
Late in the evening on August 11, I turned away from my work to find that hundreds of real-life Nazis had descended onto the Grounds at the University of Virginia. I honestly wish I could say I was surprised by their clandestine march or the fact that they were wielding torches, but given the City of Charlottesville’s, UVA’s, and Thomas Jefferson’s histories, pretending to be surprised would be dishonest and as much an assent to the violence that inevitably followed as, say, a condemnation of violence “on many sides.” Fortunately, I was not alone in my lack of surprise.
As hundreds of torch-wielding white supremacists marched their way across the lawn to the Rotunda, 20+ third and fourth year students created a wall around the Rotunda’s statue of Jefferson. These students linked arms, held signs, and met “you will not replace us” and “blood and soil” with “Black Lives Matter” and civil disobedience. Their nonviolent determent of (mostly) white men retained even when “blood and soil” transformed into “we have the right to beat you.”
Happy Pride everyone! I hope everyone reading this is decked out head to toe in glitter, rainbows and body paint. To mark the momentous occasion, there has been a victory within the gay community; the pride react button is back on Facebook. Truly, this is an event up there in the pantheon of queer successes along with gay marriage, the return of Will & Grace and this.
Everyone loves rainbows right? They’re fun and colourful and 9/10 times there’s an untouched pot of gold at the end; surely that should be reason enough for the LGBTQ+ flag to be a rainbow right? And what’s up with the recent brown and black additions? What kind of rainbow has brown and black stripes? Let’s have a look at a brief history of the most fabulous flag the world has seen.
Today’s guest writer is a scholarly friend of the blog. John is a DPhil Theology student at the University of Oxford who is specialising in fourth-century Christianity. His key interests are intersectional feminism, the history of European philosophy and left-wing politics.
Only a couple of days after Donald Trump’s presidential victory, a photo was released showing Trump and Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (not, as FOX would have you believe, the leader of the opposition) in a lift, wearing expensive suits, surrounded by polished marble and filigreed metal. We’ve all seen it. Considering their backgrounds, this is to be expected – Trump is a billionaire born to the ultra-rich, and Farage is a privately-educated ex-city trader born to a city trader. They are every bit the essence of privilege – white, older rich men. Yet both their recent campaigns tried to replace their privilege with compassion, declaring Brexit and Trump to be the manifestations of the will of the “left behind.”