Hi. Welcome to Bitter Friday. I’m feeling a little somber today as I’ve been working on a story about online harassment, and the things people do under the cover of anonymity is atrocious. As an antidote to that, I’d like to take a minute to highlight some really good things—important work I’ve come across recently that is created/performed by women.
You might think this is nice but not necessary. Unfortunately, while our modern culture pays lip service to equality in many ways, women still face significant challenges in creating and publishing their work, above and beyond the hurdles faced by men.
So in that spirit, I encourage you to take a minute and do the same—it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, it can be as simple as retweeting a few things or posting links on Facebook. There is a huge need to be vocal about supporting women whose work you admire, because regardless of who they are, it’s likely that they face persistent, targeted abuse online. And without support to counter and ultimately eradicate that abuse, many highly talented women have chosen to end their careers out of sheer exhaustion and fear for their safety.
Give it some thought and I’m sure you’ll find examples within your social circles of women whose work deserves wider recognition.
Here’s my list, in no particular order, with apologies to anyone I’ve omitted:
Leigh Alexander is a games journalist and editor of Offworld, a recent addition to Boing Boing. She writes interesting things in interesting ways, and has continually been at the forefront of independent electronic publishing. Her works include Clipping Through, which chronicles a week spent at the Game Developers Conference, and Breathing Machine, a memoir. She also produces a series of Let’s Play videos that focus on “old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era and beyond.” Other selected works can be found here.
Notably, Leigh has written an excellent guide for those of us who want to do something to combat the terrible things people say and do online. I highly recommend reading and sharing this post.
Maddie Myers is a journalist, musician, and fighting game enthusiast. She’s over at The Mary Sue now, a great publication, and has written extensively about games from the perspective of a skilled gamer that is also, thanks to gaming’s insular culture, regarded as an outsider. You can learn more about her writing and music on her site.
Genevieve Oliver is an author of incredible calibre, with a style that draws from Southern gothic and Cormac McCarthy to create lavishly beautiful dreadscapes. She has several zines for sale that showcase her talent in writing as well as design. She also maintains a tumblr and hosts a radio show, where her proclivities lie firmly in the realm of noise bands, with diversions in all directions.
Katie Chow is active in NYC as a writer and photographer. Her work has appeared in a lot of places—including an issue of Clash Magazine that came with an awesome poster of Pharrell—and it’s quite good. She recently joined the staff of Brooklyn Magazine.
Jessica Luther is an author and activist in Austin, TX. She writes about sports and feminism (and lots of other things), and has a book coming out this fall about sexual assault in college sports, which is also the subject of a recent piece she co-wrote for the Texas Observer. She’s a wonderful person who is devoted and passionate about the ideas and subjects she covers.
Mallory Ortberg is the Alpha and Omega of online comedy as far as I’m concerned. She’s never once missed the mark, whether she’s deconstructing religion or swooning over Kristen Stewart. As cofounder of The Toast, she has been a driving force in getting tons and tons of great material published. She’s also written a book. She is perfection.
Stephanie Kibbe has excellent taste in music and runs Some Kind of Awesome. I got to know her after we ended up in the same turntable.fm room on the day it went live. I remember leading off with The Cardigans’ “My Favourite Game” and spinning for at least 8 hours non-stop.
Sarah Nyberg – she’s been more than instrumental in the fight against Gamergate, and so it follows that she’s been on the receiving end of some of their worst harassment, including doxxing, deadnaming, and continuous threats. She wrote a piece for Medium recently that describes her experiences.
Leah Reich – Leah is one of the first writers I found on Twitter (@ohheygreat). She has many talents, a Ph.D in sociology, and an incredible knowledge of blues and soul music. She’s also an excellent writer, and her series for Medium (The Book of Home and A Year of Wednesdays) are highly accessible, intimate vignettes.
Phoenix is an incredible film starring Nina Hoss. I saw it last week and she does an excellent job playing a woman who is captured and brutally injured in World War II, then rescued and nursed back to health only to find a new set of difficulties barring a return to her former life. It’s a powerful and tense performance from beginning to end.
This week’s playlist is full of great songs written and/or performed by women.
(Questions of authenticity like this are nonsense; I don’t understand why the “performers who write their own music are better” trope still has traction in 2015.) I’m sure I’ll have more to say about everyone included here at some point, but for now I’ll just say that I love Natalie Merchant dearly, everyone should listen to In My Tribe and the 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged album as much as possible, and Tracey Ullman’s “They Don’t Know” is the greatest single of all time.