Culture

Pocas Pero Locas, Episode 2: Chicken Soup for the Homies’ Soul

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An older homegirl, a hood mom whom Desiree considered her mentor, announced, "I'm jumping you in."

Desiree Gurba
On May 27, 2021

The Girl and the Nappy Halo

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As I settle into my pregnancy, I fantasize about the human I’m going to bring into the world. I picture a girl. Beautiful. Black. Freckled like her father. Myopic like me. When she is thirteen we will sit down and have the talk. Not about periods. Or boys. Or girls. Or bodies. Or pets. Or HBCUs. Or sex. But about getting a perm.

Little girl with nappy hair
On May 21, 2021

Pocas Pero Locas: An Interpersonal Chicana Essay Where Two Primas Make Sure Shit Gets Told Right

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Myriam Gurba writes about her cousin Desiree, female gangsters, cholas, Mexican bad asses with big hair, and the criminalization of survivors.

Myriam and Desiree Gurba, 1988
On May 18, 2021

For Better or Worse

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When my uncle Claude eventually passes away, he'll leave behind an estate of remarkable wealth. He's the only one of my father's siblings that was able to retire before becoming eligible for AARP citizenship. It's remarkable for me to think that for most of my life I've known my uncle as a shady real estate investor rather than the cheerful supervisor at the Palo Alto Main Post Office.

wedding in oakland
On May 13, 2021

My Life at the Dildo Factory

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A story of workplace abuse: “Saftey words are for Pussies!” read the misspelled Roy-Lichtenstein-does-BDSM faux pop art painting displayed in the office of the Anonymous Sex Toy Company. "Safe, Sane, and Consensual" was the company motto. None of the men running the company understood those slogans were incompatible.

Saftey Words Are For Pussies!
On April 29, 2021

Crying in H-Mart: Grief, Hunger, and Healing

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In rock musician Michelle Zauner's memoir "Crying in H-Mart", food is not just a vessel to memorialize her mother but a touchstone for accessing her Korean heritage.

Crying in H-Mart book cover
On April 22, 2021

A Good Top is Hard to Find: Revisiting the S&M Classic Leash 20 Years Later

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In Leash transgressive sex functions less as a subject, or site of guaranteed liberation, and more as a framework to explore how power moves through us, trapping us even as it promises to liberate us. In the age of pink-washed internet activism, DeLynn’s writing is a prescient reminder that any radical transformation of our sex lives, much less society, will never be painless.

Leash book cover
On April 20, 2021

The Crass Commodification of Black Pain

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When Black Lives Matter was formed I imagine they weren't thinking about their hashtag becoming a marketing ploy, Unfortunately the hashtag has become synonymous with feel-good #woke consumerism and brand building on the backs of public lynchings of Black people by our police state. It has launched the sales of enamel pins, baseball hats, (unironically) hoodies, and now, food. Their tenacious appeal to celebrity-driven U.S. capitalism is truly impressive. As long as our grief is a product to sell to the bourgeois, who are we to disagree?

On March 30, 2021

Girl is Cool but Woman is Accurate

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The word girl is cool, but woman is often more accurate. Though this problem might seem harmless, it isn’t. Referring to a girl as a woman is inappropriate because it assumes a sense of maturity that hasn’t yet developed. Referring to a woman as a girl disrespects us. It erases a woman’s maturity.

Girls
On March 18, 2021

Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez Explores the Legacy of a Cartoonist Who Reserved the Right to Objectify

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Toward the end of her documentary Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez, director Susan Stern asks in voice-over, “Did I make this film to defend Spain? Or to defend myself?” It’s a telling question, one important enough to justify Stern briefly putting the focus on herself and taking it away from her husband and […]

Spain Rodriguez
On March 9, 2021

“There Are No Pol(ICE) in the Future” and Other Prophetic Declarations from Alán Pelaez Lopez

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"A queer Black future is a future that allows me to envision a better reality for Black people everywhere…it is also a future that reckons with all the violence and retaliation that we will experience to get to that future. I also think that the future is now"

Alán Pelaez Lopez & Ariana Brown
On March 2, 2021

An Aspie Man’s Guide to Surviving Ladies Night

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Every time we’ve passed this shop, regardless of direction, this particular rockabilly is stepping out for a smoke. The rockabillies are calming. Their vintage etiquette is so precisely mannered that I know I can rely on them for consistency.

American Apparel
On February 25, 2021

Framing Britney Spears Deepened My Desire for Justin Timberlake to Eat a Bag of Dicks

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No daughter should live in terror of her dad and prolonged fear of a caregiver, especially a masculine one, indicates that someone may be experiencing coercive control, an ongoing form of gendered oppression characterized by a combination of conditions which are documented by Framing Britney Spears.

Jamie and Britney Spears
On February 11, 2021

The Dangers, and Pleasures, of Smoking in Bed

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Mariana Enriquez’s The Dangers of Smoking in Bed joins the ranks of magic realism's finest short story writers with a group of off-kilter tales enlivened by captivating unease.

Smoking in Bed cover
On February 4, 2021

Fucking, and Not Fucking, in the Time of Coronavirus

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Sex in the time of coronavirus: A gay man reflects on the dangers of touch past and the dangers of touch present.

two men holding hands
On January 29, 2021