• Getty

    MIRACLE PILL

    The Pill Is More Than Birth Control

    We need to a better job of explaining that women use birth control for much more than delaying or avoiding motherhood.

    Lena Dunham recently sparked an online frenzy by tweeting about something that doesn’t seem particularly controversial: birth control. Her tweet “I need birth control because I have endometriosis and it helps manage pain. Why do you?” went viral. And at first I couldn’t figure out why. 

    Haven’t we all known since the contraception mandate debate began that there are a “few” women who “occasionally” use contraception for reasons other than delaying, or avoiding, motherhood? Sandra Fluke, for instance, name-checked some of these women during the congressional testimony that turned her into a conservative target and then a feminist rock star.

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  • Sandy Huffaker / Reuters

    WONDER WOMEN

    Comic-Con’s Year of the Kickass Woman

    With more female-focused panels and cosplaying women in attendance than ever, this year’s convention belonged to the ladies.

    I wasn’t surprised when my preparation for San Diego Comic-Con started out with a male employee at Home Depot questioning my ability to wield a power drill. Not that he cared, but this was only my first costume to involve a power drill, not my first time using one, thank you very much. The Bo Staff I later sawed, stained, and drilled to create is perfectly functional, and perfectly capable of whacking him over the head with should I ever run into him again.

    Despite being a comic book consumer, for me the Con is less about the comics and more about the costumes. This has less (if anything) to do with my gender or the popular assumption that female comic book fans make up a small majority of readership, and more to do with the fact that I love attention and I get a sick satisfaction out of proving to myself that I can copy elaborate fictional costumes. I may have trouble dressing myself on a day-to-day basis, but trust I’ll make sure that my resemblance to Margaery Tyrell is uncanny. Well, OK, “uncanny.” I lack the ability to smile like I know exactly when the world is going to end, but what's probably more noticeable is the whole thing where I also lack white skin.

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  • Danny Evans/Planet Hiltron

    Make-Under

    Artist Gives Lohan the ‘Natural’ Look

    One artist has decided to combat the plague of Photoshopped celebrity looks by going in the oppose direction—depicting our favorite stars as if they looked more like us.

    These days, Photoshop is almost synonymous with celebrity. Nearly every magazine and advertisement sharpens, brightens, smoothes, and slims the famous figures that grace their glossy covers and mega-sized billboards. The problem has gotten so bad that there’s even a bill before Congress to stem the flow of fake photos. But what happens when you do the opposite? Artist Danny Evans decided to explore that through a series of photos that made celebrities more like the rest of us…sans makeup, perfectly styled hair, and airbrushed skin. 

    In 2006, when Paris Hilton was at the pinnacle of pop culture, Evans “was getting frustrated with seeing all of these over-Photoshopped images of celebrities,” he told The Daily Beast. He wasn’t the only one to notice their widespread presence. 

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  • The Daily Beast

    Swipe Right

    Grindr Helps Holy Land Make Love Not War

    What happens when you tell a potential hookup you’re in Ramallah? Seven twentysomethings tried it using PalesTinder to reveal the results: sometimes racist—and sometimes just horny.

    War or no war, people still want to get laid.

    At least that’s what an English teacher in Ramallah and six of her peers have found in the 36 hours since they created a Tumblr called PalesTinder that collects screenshots of conversations from the hookup apps Tinder and Grindr. The new site’s manifesto is to see how “the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be reflected in dating apps”—and it’s a fascinating examination of Palestinian-Israeli relations, at least on a small scale.

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  • The Daily Beast

    ACTING UP

    Blake Lively Gets Her GOOP On

    The ‘Gossip Girl’ actress has followed Gwyneth Paltrow to the blogging ‘n’ selling online rodeo. We cut through the babble about historical and artisanal preservation to the $25 spoons.

    Really, before any celebrity follows the example of Gwyneth Paltrow and now the Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively in setting up a lifestyle blog, we, the poor public without access to personal shoppers and people to choose our mood colors for the day, beg you: Don’t. If money’s tight, head out to the curb and sell beads. Become a screeching red carpet anchor for E! Anything but presuming to lecture us about why, as Lively puts it on her new site, Preserve, “in a world so hectic, preserving intimacy is the key to being present. The smoky scent of sandalwood burning on a wick, the ‘ahh’ of a warm bath.” Hmm, and my current favorite: the guttural scream of a reader exhausted by lectures from actresses seeking to make a quick buck or rebrand themselves as a lifestyle expert, whatever they are.

    The trend for actresses to become these platitude-spouting gurus is continuing, then, and Lively’s site is just as simpering and irritating as anything Paltrow mashed up from her leftover kale. What are they going on about? How do they qualify in advising us about anything?

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  • Marni Kotak, “All The Meds I Took”, 2014, ornate mirrored glass and wood medicine cabinet, custom-printed prescription vials (all of the meds taken by the artist since her stay at Beth Israel Hospital in February 2012), 15 x 24 x 4” (© Marni Kotak, 2014)

    HEAD ACHE

    Brooklynite Goes Off Her Meds—for Art

    Performance artist Marni Kotak is weaning herself off a cocktail of antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs in a Brooklyn gallery. Could you call it art?

    Marni Kotak sits on a gold-painted twin bed, wearing a gold satin nightgown, with matching bedsheets covering her legs. She’s scribbling in gold ink on a cartoonishly large notepad, an expanding list of the day’s emotional fluctuations. It’s a small room, littered with gold-painted everything: chairs, desk, exercise machine, dumbbells.

    It isn’t Kotak’s apartment, but the microscopic Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, where I have come to see Mad Meds, during which the 39-year-old performance artist will document her “personal struggles with her own mind, the US medical system, and the pharmaceutical industry as she attempts to withdraw from psychiatric medicines.”

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  • Bath Fashion Museum

    On the Home Front

    How the World Wars Changed Fashion

    Think shorter hemlines, the end of corsets, and (gasp!) trousers for women. It’s been 100 years since the start of WWI, but the war’s impact on fashion is still seen on runways today.

    Britain entered World War I on August 4, 1914. One hundred years later, the WWI centenary is being honored with a slew of exhibitions and commemorative events, from a light-a-candle hour to memorials for the fallen.

    The fashion industry is no exception. Several exhibitions from Britain to New Zealand are spotlighting how the war impacted women’s clothing, from raising hemlines to new utility wear worn by the ladies left at home. Some women even turned to their husband’s closets to dress themselves for their new occupations supporting the home front.

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  • The Daily Beast

    Evolving

    Hillary’s Gay-Marriage Limbo

    She’d leave the decision to states, though many activists—and a growing number of Americans—view it as a constitutional right. Can she keep everyone on board for 2016?

    In the midst of a relatively rocky return to the public stage, it may have been the roughest moment. Hillary Clinton, on NPR, struggling to explain to Terry Gross on Fresh Air how she went from a “No” to a “Yes” on the question of same-sex marriage.

    “No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify,” Clinton snapped at one point. “I think you are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons.”

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  • The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame has selected five women to induct as part of the 39th Annual Competition.

    Did you know there was a National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame? Located in Forth Worth, TX, it’s the only museum in the world dedicated to honoring women of the American West. After a rigorous and competitive selection process – since 1975 only 215 women have been inducted -- five women (two posthumously) have been selected as the winners of the 39th annual competition and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this fall. They include sister-duo chosen for their award-winning Chuckwagon cooking; a nationally-known trick rider and cattlewoman; a celebrated Fort Worth pathologist; and a Hollywood Western screenwriter. “We are pleased with the selection of this year’s inductees, and welcome them to the Hall of Fame family,” said Patricia Riley, Executive Director, National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. “Each brings a unique cowgirl story to the Hall of Fame that will be preserved for generations to come.”

    Read it at Cowgirl
  • Globetrotter

    Nellie Bly, Feminist Trailblazer

    Even if you hated spunk, you would have to love the adventurous, forthright journalist who called herself Nellie Bly.

    Long before Jessica Mitford would publish The American Way of Death, her explosive exposé on the corrupt American funeral system in 1963, there was a young muckraker who called herself Nellie Bly. Born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864, Bly responded anonymously (but with much verve) to an article in the Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1885 that mocked women looking for work. The editor was so impressed with the response that he advertised for the responder’s identity, hoping to hire her. Hire her he did, and when she became frustrated by only receiving assignments related to the domestic sphere, she became a freelancer, chose the pseudonym Nellie Bly, and went on to write some of the most provocative journalism of her time.

    Now, to complement the biography of Bly published in 1995 by Brooke Kroeger, Jean Marie Lutes, a professor of English at Villanova, has compiled a great deal of Bly’s writings into the splendid Around the World in Seventy-Two Days and Other Writings. If you assume the word “provocative” cannot mean the same thing in the late 1800s as it does today, you will be in error. For the very issues Bly made her focus, such as women’s pay, the treatment of the insane and infirm, and immigration, just to name a few, are still very much relevant concerns of 2014.

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