the riveter review issue 2
letter from the editors
Dear Readers and Contributors, Four months have passed since the publication of the inaugural issue of The Riveter Review. In that time, we editors have been promoting, planning, and proofreading. We’ve tried to present a variety of women’s issues in a variety of mediums. From poetry about rape statistics to prose about prostitution, collages about female sexuality to photography about the female image—our goal for this issue is to show the depth of feminism. We’ve all heard the negative rumors about feminism— we’re all man haters, we love setting things on fire— and while that branch of feminism probably exists somewhere, we prefer to focus on the everyday brand of feminism: the brand that tells women not to worry about the size of their breasts, that sexual assault is never acceptable, that everyone—from stay-at-home moms to successful professionals—deserves respect. We don’t hate all men and we don’t commit arson. Through the diverse voices in this issue, we hope to portray feminism as a movement that affects everyone in numerous ways. Once again, we’re proud to present the feminists who’ve contributed to The Riveter Review. Thank you for your stories. Cheers, Katie, Sariel, and Elizabeth
ON THE COVER: We Don’t Talk About That Kaethe Butcher
about the editors Sariel Hana Friedman is a Pisces from Los Angeles, CA. She is a published poet and artist who loves travelling, watching films, listening to music, anything British and the 1960’s. She founded her school’s Gender Equality Club, and is editor-in-chief of the award-winning Dark as Day Literary Arts Journal. She was recently featured on a Nick News segment with Gloria Steinem entitled “The Future of Feminism.” Sariel has been writing, drawing, painting and photographing from a young age and has participated in five summer workshops since her freshman year of high school: Oxbridge Summer Program with a major in Creative Writing, Bard College at Simon’s Rock Young Writers Workshop, University of St Andrews Creative Writing Summer Program, SAIC Summer Institute Residency Program and the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop. Sariel will be attending Barnard College, the feminist capitol of the universe, come next fall. Sariel’s favorite Beatle is George Harrison and she follows the philosophy of Oscar Wilde — “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”
Katie Paulson is a student at West High School in Madison, Wisconsin, where she co-edits the school’s literary magazine. An avid creative writer since the age of six, she attended the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop in the summer of 2013 in order to further her interest in fiction. When she was sixteen, she wrote a 50,000 word novel for National Novel Writing Month in November. She knows too much about Harry Potter and once kept a diary written entirely in Tolkien’s elvish. She adores anything created by Aaron Sorkin and everything written by David Foster Wallace. Alice Paul is Katie’s personal hero in the women’s rights movement because she had the audacity to lead a hunger strike from prison after she was arrested for protesting outside the White House in 1917. Katie will attend Swarthmore College next fall where she wants to study English and Political Science.
Elizabeth Engel loves a lot of things and people. At the top of that list would be creative writing, followed closely by Richard Siken, Taylor Swift, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, making people smile, David Levithan, astronomy, her Bearded Collie, music, and the movie Inception. She has been writing prose from a young age, and has participated in three summer workshops since her freshman year of high school: Sarah Lawrence Writers Village, University of Virginia’s Young Writers Workshop, and the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop. She has a bad habit of liking every single thing that the Facebook page I Fucking Love Science posts, and has the Scale of the Universe graphic memorized. Emma Goldman and Laci Green own the corner of her heart dedicated to feminist role models, with Emmeline Pankhurst as a close second. If you think Phyllis Schlafly is a good person you should probably never talk to her, but otherwise she loves meeting new people and would especially love if you wanted to recommend music to her.
table of contents Dawn Mary Grahame Hunter
When Youâ€™re Getting Down Kaethe Buther
Driad Mariana Pancho Lopez
Letter to the Cat-callers and Old Men Who Stare Daniella De Jesus
Yellow Wallpaper Joelle Circe These Years Emily Zhang Occoquan Darlings Caroline Nawrocki Underground Skye Benson The Childbearers Jessica Rowshandel A Bid for the Golden Apple Kelsey Schmitt Drop Laura Collins Bad at Being Touched Drew Lucia The Embarrassed Client Joe Baldwin Puppetry Skye Benson Tour Melissa Bamerick Fingering Laura Collins
Untitled Mariana Pacho Lopez The 22% Keri Karandrakis The Movement Kieran Sperring Damned Joelle Circe Mornings and Shadows April Mae Berza Disappear Drew Lucia Kurinji Jyothsnaphanija Lady in Brown Skye Benson Smashing Images Joelle Circe Posion Boys Emily Bartholet XVI Mariana Pancho Lopez Tue, Jan 7 3:33pm Megan Manowitz
Fake Shelter Kaethe Butcher
Pretty, Fat Girl Jessica Rowshandel
Polaroid Allison Lee
Bimbo Fair Enough Melissa Bamerick
Untitled Mariana Pancho Lopez
Dreamer Kieran Sperring
Lambent Mackenzie Coleman
Paint Me Colors Lyrics from GIRLCOOL by girlpool
Valentine Sierra Morris
Untitled Mariana Pancho Lopez
Raise Up Kieran Sperring
Excerpts from â€œQuestioning Feminismâ€? K Aravind Mitra
Pablo Neruda Syndrome April Mae M. Berza
Laundry Day Lilyan Kris
The Voice Kaethe Butcher
Remodel Laura Collins
Self-Portrait in Blue Skye Benson
Feminist Pies Katherine Howell
Malala Yousafzai J.L. Harlow
Lily Orange Jyothsnaphanija
I pledge allegiance to the Young-Girl Samantha Conlon
Bridgework Laura Collins
Bitch Emma Seely-Katz
The Cruel Handeling of a Little Girl Luna e los santos
Lady Dead Lauren Howe Goldstein
The Safe Neighborhood of Shadowland Melissa Bamerick
I.N.Y.S.M.C. Kaethe Butcher The Prime Minister Is Really Cute Madeline Nesbitt Hot Laura Collins Kindling Emily Zhang
Shut Up and Be Pretty Joelle Circe Make-up Legs Lauren Howe Goldstein To My Future Lover Alessandra Albanese Love Yourself Skye Benson
Dawn By: Mary Grahame Hunter
“Well behaved women seldom make history.” –Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Winter 1429 Her first dim memory is the silhouette of her mother mending clothes by a dying fire, straining her neck and her eyes because short daylight does not mean shorter days of work and there is no money for endless wood or new cloth, but she will allow herself to freeze before she lets her children do the same. Summer 1533 She brings hope and the smell of fresh flowers to every house she enters, whether she is there to deliver a baby, cure a sickness, or comfort the dying, and she cares not a whit when the physicians sneer and mutter and call her a witch, because pleasing them was never her job. Autumn 1650 Her children read aloud from their psalters as she perches on a stool, hanging herbs from her kitchen rafters to dry, correcting her youngest from memory and encouraging perseverance with smiles over her shoulder, keenly aware of her husband in the doorway and how she blushes at the affection in his eyes. Spring 1744 She learns at a young age to wrench herself out of bed before the sun seeps through the shutters, and when the ache of hauling water or swinging a hoe creeps into her body like an unwelcome bedfellow she almost smiles, because it means she is as strong as her brothers, even if nobody tells her so. Summer 1864 Her parlor is immaculate despite the lack of visitors, not out of vanity, but because endless dusting and minute adjustments of furniture are how she tries to suppress the fear of a knock on the door that will bring her the message of her son’s death from a bullet made by another poor boy’s mother. Autumn 1918 She has spent the last four years binding stinking wounds and having the ceaseless groaning follow even to her dreams, and as she sits by the radio she realizes she never worked in a hospital but on another battlefield, where she fought an enemy who will never sign an armistice. Winter 2014 She is sick of not knowing these silent women of past generations, of searching in vain through history books as the pages rustle and whisper, “Where are you?”, of knowing everything about kings and generals and Christopher Columbus and next to nothing about those who pieced together history and sewed up her past like a quilt, only to be forgotten the moment they draped it over society’s shoulders. They raised generations instead of armies, generations that in turn raised her, and she owes it to them to be dauntless and bright, so when others see her and ask who she shines for she can take the hands of her mothers and sisters and draw them out of the shadowy past and into the light where they’ve always belonged.
Driad Mariana Pancho Lopez
Yellow Wallpaper Joelle Circe
these years Emily Zhang
She breathes out condensation, inhales grime and grey clouds. There is nothing romantic about cracked garnet wrists or sputtering eyes: she blinks. There is something vestigial about growth, the crooks-of-elbows, nodding, and all that leaves her is mist and all that returns is dust. She wonders about the air, what it feels like to not have a body.
Occoquan Darlings Caroline Nawrocki
for Alice Paul and Lucy Burns Hunger is a feminine trait, because the puppet strings tied to her denatured curls have all control except in her teeth and gums. It’s etched into her lips; the mantra that goes: you told me to stay quiet so i won’t open my mouth. She was told to look “willowy;” Perfection encompassed in a crying, decaying tree. Her skin, permanent winter. Except Her puppet strings are no longer silkworm entwined in scalp but instead wire connecting the dots, spelling lobotomy in her sideways part. Wires attach to lips and dig in, carve new words. He is the electrician, the carpenter, the artist: opening her mouth for him; he fills it with the silence he thinks she needs. Curing courage mistaken for insanity.
Underground Skye Benson
The Childbearers Jessica Rowshandel
A Bid for the Golden Apple Kelsey Schmitt
Aphrodite, listen: i was too young and small to give blood. my veins rolled away from the shadow of a needle ticking under my skin counting the time till i would be old enough to bleed. remember how i bled the first time? so much later than the rest. i donâ€™t bleed enough to be a woman. Aphrodite, listen: were you there when she walked on a broken leg for two days? remember how the bruise formed: purpling like her eyelids as dusk gnawed sleep to the bone, her hands kneading skin ripe as a pomegranate on the verge of splitting, seeds spilling thick crimson over cracked lips. but she was taught to keep her blood hidden, to chew her words and swallow. blood doesnâ€™t lie, Aphrodite. blood pools one year later in the hollow of her hips, bursts out all seeds, all bright red possibility and she remembers every crack in her lips. do you? we dropped our hearts in our hips, Aphrodite, we poured them down our legs hoping we could grow something in the watered earth, the shriveled husk more beautiful than ourselves.
Drop Laura Collins
we were always too small to bleed, to be beautiful, and they could never find a vein to draw; they only wrote puckered scars over our hands and thighs and arms until we could not hold our hearts, and they fell. Aphrodite, listen: i was diagnosed with a dissonant heartbeat, something necrotic and too dark, purpling in my chest like a stain. prognosis: bury it in the cushions of the empty seat on the bus, bury it in the backyard playing hide and seek, bury it beneath breasts too small to be beautiful. we built coffins underneath our tongues, praying our voices would rest in peace instead of rising against the insistence that brown eyes and short frames were not enough, we were not enough for anyone. Aphrodite, listen: you won’t hear her say a word because she’s tired of reading her scars aloud. remember how the bruise formed? when he fell out of her heart and hips and her hands glowed when she rocked him in the middle of the night, sleepless eyelids purpling like morning holding its breath. he is her blood, reaching for her, and she loves him without words. Aphrodite, listen: you won’t hear me say a word because i’m tired of leaving my voice in their hands. remember how the bruise formed? when my heart slipped into my hips and i broke his name in my bones, walking on it for days while my lips purpled because i was too afraid to speak. i love him without words. Aphrodite, listen: we were taught to keep our blood hidden. is this the way you made us to love?
Bad at Being Touched Drew Lucia
The Embarrassed Client By: Joe Baldwin
Butterfly looked around the bedroom that was her workplace. The windows were covered in dirt, which had trickled down the glass and slowly dried, leaving the view of the street obscured by blots of faded grime. She closed the windows so that none of the sounds would drift into the night air and drew the violet curtains, feeling the softness of the silk between her fingers. Her co-workers had already started the night’s business, and shrieks, high pitched, as if someone was being murdered, could be heard thundering around the walls, then the occasional whisper of “Yeah, you love it don’t you bitch, right in your arsehole” as one of the clients fucked Starr, or Sunshine, or whoever it was. Butterfly didn’t care much for her co-workers. The main thing was to get in, get the money for a night’s work, and go home to the shabby, dirty apartment she called home. While she was there, or in job interviews, being told that a degree in Psychology wasn’t enough, she needed practical, real work experience in order to thrive in a competitive market, though not the sort she couldn’t tell them she was doing, she lived by another name, Sarah. She was Sarah to her parents, her friends, to employers, to anyone who she met during the day-time, and then it was Butterfly they called her when they visited her in the night. It seemed to her though that Sarah belonged to her past, a time when she felt like she had a direction in life, and Wilkins, who ran the brothel, would cackle and say it was pointless to pretend that she was anything other than Butterfly, because “between Butterfly’s thighs there is a fountain of money,” though only a few notes were pressed into Butterfly’s hands at the end of a hard shift. He’s a scummy man, she thought to herself as she sat on the bed and waited. She was so tired of the routine of working here, the same thing every night. Nothing seemed taboo to her. Nothing was outrageous. She had to pretend of course for the punters, who turned up acting like they’d discovered some new sex position or fetish, and she had to convince them that no one’s dick had ever felt quite so amazing as theirs. She was an actor who sleepwalked through the same play every night. God I used to love sex, she thought miserably. Now there was nothing on earth that bored her more. There were three quiet little knocks at the door. She got up, checked her hair in the mirror on the wall and peered through the hole in the door. She opened it. The man who stood in the door was handsome, that was the first thing she noticed. He had blue eyes that were like pools of water, and for a moment she could not stop staring into them. Then the realisation of who the man was hit her, and she felt like a black cloud was filling up her brain. “What the fuck are you doing here, Mike?” Mike Foster stared at his shoes, his cheeks burning red. “I-I…I didn’t expect it to be you.” “Get in,” she said, grabbing him roughly by his jacket and closing the door with a slam that echoed down the corridor. She took a good look at him. He had lost none of his looks as the years had gone by, but now that she looked at him he seemed somehow timid, and she had never known him to be afraid of anything.
“Why are you here?” she repeated. “I come here for a good time,” he said. The euphemism took her aback. He came here to fuck paid women was what he meant, and he’d have been honest enough to say what he wanted in the old days. But back then he’d started a feminist group on campus. He’d ripped the front covers off lads’ mags and gotten in a fight with a bloke in a bar who’d fondled the barmaid. That he was here now made her want to throw up. She hated him for giving in, for not being better than this. “Maybe I should go,” he muttered, still not really looking at her. “I could find another girl here, we don’t have to.” “Oh don’t pretend,” she snapped. “You want to fuck someone and then go home. Why should it matter if it’s an old friend or not? Or is it only women you don’t know who mean nothing now?” “Look who’s talking, Sarah,” he snapped, and suddenly he was the man she’d known at university. “You’re fairly judgemental, for a prostitute.” She lowered her gaze, and she loathed him for seeing her here, for seeing the indignity of it all. “I haven’t got a choice,” she said. “All those employers, they didn’t want to hear about my skills, my qualifications. I have the wrong pair of genitals. Judging from your suit you must have waltzed into him some high-end job somewhere. People always did like you. I just didn’t think you’d become a member of the boys’ club that’s all.” She sat down, her head aching. She wanted this night to end. “What happened to you?” she asked. He sat next to her. “I split up with my wife Cathy. I was seeing someone, a woman from where I work. Cathy found out. We tried everything, counseling, lived apart for a while. But there were always other women and Cathy just couldn’t take it.” “And then you started coming here where there’d always be a woman willing to sleep with you?” “Not straight away. But I was angry. I hated my wife for leaving me. I hated her for being in the office, for batting her eyelids at me. Only I got the blame for it all. People whisper in the office. They say ‘watch out for this one’ whenever a young new intern starts. As if any of them wouldn’t have taken the chance I got. I felt betrayed, Sarah. I’ve stood up for women my whole life and now they think I’m the pervert who gropes women as they pass. I come here to make myself feel better.” Butterfly felt ill. She had never known a client to be this deluded. She had seen plenty of liars here, the men who told themselves her cries of pleasure were real, or the ones who thought they could do whatever they wanted because they had slapped money into the owner’s hand. Mike probably visited the other girls and told them this tale a thousand times, with himself as the misunderstood hero of it all, and his colleague the whore that led a good man astray. At least some of those other blokes know what they are. “What about you?” he asked. “What have you been up to since uni?” She told him the whole story. The boyfriends who had come and gone, the interviews that had led nowhere, the first time she’d fucked a stranger on this bed, and how she had wondered if he was married, the guilt that she had felt afterwards at lowering herself to this. That guilt had become like a dull ache over time, covered over by endless glasses of cheap wine and the numbness of routine. She must have screwed a thousand married men by now, and if they were going to keep lying, then she would keep taking their money.
She needed it to pay off the landlord, to buy food for herself while she looked for something better. The one thing that hadn’t quite trickled away yet was her desire to get out of here. “I didn’t think it’d be you, Mike, who’d change. You seemed to care the most of all of us.” “I guess we’ve both fallen quite far, haven’t we?” he said. He still isn’t getting it. “God I miss those days. I had something then, something going for me.” He sighed. “How much?” She was silent the whole way through. He moaned. He groped her breasts, kissed her lips passionately, turned her over and fucked her from behind. She thought about how she might once have relished having sex with the fierce, brilliant young man who’d stared down the thug in the bar and laughed in his face. She was quiet where Mike was loud. When he told her to get on top of him she stared, not feeling anything, at the wall above the headboard. She looked away from him as he put his clothes back on, feeling his eyes on her. She could almost sense the confusion in them. After he’d finished with her she opened the door and pulled back when he tried to hug her. She wanted him to remember this the next time he was with one of the other girls. How’d he given up and betrayed the ideas and people he’d used to care about. How he had betrayed her. Long after he had gone, she put on her own clothes. It was quiet in the building now. She pulled on her jeans and shirt, then her coat. His smell lingered in the room, mingling with the sickly sweetness of the perfume she was using. She would go home, wash the smell of him off of her and try to sleep, though it was difficult these days. At least she wouldn’t feel any nostalgia for university anymore, she thought to herself, laughing bitterly. I have to get out of here.
Puppetry Skye Benson
Tour Melissa Bamerick
Florence billows by, and I’m fairly certain we are enemies-- or you just don’t like the look of me. Mona Lisa wiles out you’re demeaningsatiricaldiatribe, because I wasn’t listening. I was talking to her— not you. You thought you were Da Vinci, Raphael—or better. I accept my role, you should do the same. Surrender your letters home, because I’m here to bring you back to Rome. Torsion through Europe between the train, the work, the landscape I still believe that Monet bloomed France first— cool as you are, I will not let you hold that your mind encompasses mine. Fair enough. There are birds flying out of dead dandelions, emanating grotesque truths of our maps made up of vineyard violence—you still blame the tour. I blame me. I blame you. IblameGermany. IblameItaly. IblameFrance. Not to immune our circumstances with plagues of the flesh, but art called— she wants her identity back. The truth of me a bitch in a basket, tongue hanging in the breeze because, I considered cycling though Amsterdam for three weeks stoned. I did so. To rehearse every chrysanthemum folly in a tea cold and horrid like my apparent temperament.
Fingering Laura Collins
When Youâ€™re Getting Down Kaethe Buther
Letter to the Cat-callers and Old Men Who Stare Daniella De Jesús
You’re right. I am beautiful. And my curves bounced and bobbed all the way up and down the staircase, Just as you described. But it was because I was running late about to miss a train and because the bra I chose to wear doesn’t offer much support. It wasn’t for you. And I’m not answering you back Because I’m shy, I won’t answer you because I know I’ll say something I will regret. I could cut your stare in half with a good word. Or two. But I won’t. Because I don’t want to embarrass you Or hurt your feelings. (Although maybe I should) You were just looking, And I can’t fault you. I know I am that beautiful. I know that I’m so pretty. But know that my beauty does not belong to you. I do not belong to you. And if you so dare… The moment you lay a hand on me Will not be a pretty one. I don’t play that shit.
Untitled Mariana Pacho Lopez
I am a statistic. There are nineteen women I call close friends. This is the one-week anniversary of the fourth one’s rape. I don’t think often about math. Four nineteenths is 21.05%, a little less than two slices of a medium pizza. Each pepperoni is one of my best friends. Each pigment of red food dye is a phone call to me. “What if I have AIDS; it hurts to use the bathroom; what if I’m pregnant?”
For the other 78.95% of us, life is a little easier. Some of us field these phone calls and shoot their concerns down with rational arguments. “You got tested at the hospital; drink some cranberry juice; stress fucks up your period.” Two hours later she will call again and ask the same questions, and all I can do is offer the same clichéd advice: “It will be okay; get some rest; he will go to prison.” Some days I can offer up a newer phrase, but most days I am a form letter. There is only so much I can say when she is crying on the phone, and I am crying off the phone, and I am crying in bed, and I can’t find a word or a flower or a stuffed elephant to make her okay. I am the seventy-eight percent who has never had a hand at my mouth with a man on top of me. I am the thirty-one percent that will sit on the phone with those who have for hours. I am the eighty-four percent who will never walk home alone. The thing about being in that almost-seventy-nine percent, the safe seventy-nine percent of my friends, is that the numbers are just a little bit off. Twenty-two percent of women, so the PSA at my university goes, will be like her. This is why I do not walk home alone. I could be the fifth out of nineteen. I could be that one percent. When I was fifteen, I tried to leave my house wearing a skirt. My mother stopped me at the door with folded arms. “It’s July; it’s just a friend’s house; it’s down the street,” my excuses went. Her despair appeared in her rolled eyes as I took to the sidewalk. Fast forward three hours, and it is five ‘til curfew, and my walk home is minutes long. A stick snaps behind me and my heels click faster on the concrete. The air behind me is warmer, warmer—it is not a stray dog following me. My breath slams and floors like my first driving lesson. I am at the bottom of my driveway when he says, “You forgot your purse,” and my face turns red, and I take it back, and my heart does not stop its turbulence.
This is every day. This is every woman whose mother taught her safety 101. Do not wear a short skirt, do not drink alone, do not walk home alone, do not, do not, do not. He could be your brother, your ex, your cubicle neighbour, your husband. Seventy-nine percent are enough to declare the winner of a poll, but not unanimously. Seventy-nine percent are those six slices plus a little more of the pizza, but there are still about two left. Maybe my math is inaccurate. Or maybe theirs is. But anytime there is a man in the elevator with me, my shoulders clench and I think of all the ways I could slip out of his hands. Then at the fourth floor, the doors open, and he smiles at me, and goes wherever the hell he’s going. I am alone again, and I am paranoid, and I am kicking myself for being afraid of an innocent man. As far as I know, he has never slept with anyone but his wife. As far as I know, he is a good man. I did not ask to be a woman, but this comes with the territory of breasts and dresses: any man—maybe even another woman—could put you in the twenty-two percent. We are all statistics. Forty percent of female murder victims are killed by a partner. Twenty-five percent face domestic violence. Half a percent die in childbirth. We do not get a say in which statistic we get to be in a given life. We don’t get to decide which statistics our friends will become. Our names are all in a hat, and God only knows whose the devil will draw. So I have never worn a low-cut shirt. I have never gotten in a car with a stranger. I have done everything to keep my body free of intruders; I do not expect the world to change, to be a place where I could walk a city street naked and not fear his “uncontrollable” nature. But so did she, and she still calls me every night when she relives a Wednesday night and dies again. I am a statistic, and I am not the twenty-two percent, as of tonight.
The Movement Kieran Sperring
Her Power Joelle Circe
Damned Joelle Circe
Mornings and Shadows April Mae M. Berza
When mornings are veiled with sadness I ask that you whisper no song Sell my tears in the hardware Donate my blood to the crickets Just leave the door of our bedroom Slightly open where I could hear The sunâ€™s footsteps like a burglar And remember not to water The sunflowers on my windowpane Just leave me alone with your shadow. When sadness are veiled with mornings Drop a hello to a marionette Listen to the bleeding Stradivarius As one would hear a sermon Then walk with a living saint In our living room and dance Sculpt me a rainy season soon The sawdust rippling in my bath tub And I will forget the mornings Forget that mornings have no shadows.
Disappear Drew Lucia
Red earth and pouring rain, In her eyes lying for long, Twelve years in two cycles, The memory taking her breath from her. It is no memory, but a living in her life, A bitter afflicted living, Days as wild beasts, Seasons as horrible ghosts, Years growing vengeful after each court session. Hiding her face, Even with friends and family, As if cursed by a hideous monster, For the reason in which she has no hold. It was the season when daylight, Gives food for her home, The three year old floret, When chocolate lured, Her body in the bloodshed pond, Her shrieks are killed, Even didn’t understood what the violence meant, What constitutes what, Lost in an anesthetic slumber for two days, Her body was operated, investigated, pelted, humiliated and paralyzed. Her bloodcurdling tale, She remembered to confess, With everyone who question, Her version became more turbulent, when she became young.
In the wildest dreams, Walking through the Neelakurinji carpet, A dark angel assured her virginity, As a blood hot canopy, Reincarnating her again. The Blue Mountains promised a miracle, To evanesce her childhood forever from her, The sharp wounds, the burning raiser noises, The devil caresses, the daemon sleep, The unbearable sadism of a young vampire, Everything evaporated in the wildest dreams. In the wildest dreams, Living her happy childhood, happy bride life, She covered her face when her life slayer is handcuffed. In the wildest dreams, She stood as one of those neelagiri flowers, Fresh, fragrant and pure, Questioning the world, Why she should be secluded for the crime which she didn’t do at all. Questioning endlessly, that she didn’t lose anything, And is pure and unpolluted as the blossoms of the cradle. Her tears, wounds of the mind, Nettled to strip all the petals, Ending her existence as a perishing flush, Reality trivializing her dreams, Erasing her name in history of a happy woman, Erasing her existence in the culture revering figures.
Lady in Brown Skye Benson
Smashing Images Joelle Circe
Poison Boys Emily Bartholet
Dear Angel, do you remember the first time somebody made you feel small? Dear Max, I know you do. Dear James, did you know that I still have nightmares about the swings you used to take in gym class? Our tall male teacher never thought to ask how the same little girl always wound up with bruises on her face. Poison Boys, that is what I called you in those nightmares. You scared me more then that group outside the coffee shop who shouted at me and my friend, talking mainly to our asses. And if the coffee shop boys made me feel like a piece of meat you three made me feel like a week one at that. But itâ€™s okay, I guess. Even if you beat me up again we learned so fast that words can be a sword (and I have teeth).
XVI Mariana Pancho Lopez
Tue, Jan 7 3:33pm Megan Manowitz
I tried to make our relationship romantic I would lay my head on your chest and try to synchronize my breathing with yours, thinking soul mates don’t need to try their bodies are synced together intersecting galaxies I would get light headed when I tried with you, your breathing so slow I worried if I waited any longer I would pass out I tried to make our relationship romantic I showed you a poem I wrote about flowers and then I tried to get you to take me to a flower farm where in my head we would hold hands and roll around and say about the flowers, “they’re beautiful, like you,” or “I love you more than all the flowers in the world,” or “when we have a house together, let’s surround ourselves with all these flowers.” You never read the poem though so you didn’t know how much going to the flower farm meant to me, you told me you didn’t wanna go and I dug my nails into the meat on my thigh and I didn’t speak for the rest of the day, thinking “THIS IS NOT ROMANTIC AT ALL” Next time I put my head on your chest the goal was not romance it was to see if your weighing presence could make me pass out romance is a self-induced coma
Fake Shelter Kaethe Butcher
So I have to be careful. I must get out of this So I am quiet So I say, I don’t feel this So I say, this doesn’t hurt As long as I decide not to feel this then I won’t FEEL THIS I scream The pain is so huge it burns me in half in quarters in eighths Long division before I know how to add Broken origami wings fly away past the torn flesh.
The ropes creak. Bristles tear skin already torn. Blood soaks in the fibers. All 4 starfish legs are tied and bound and bleeding. Cut them off and mine won’t grow back
You hold a knife You picture it dripping blood You will kill them You will kill them all
They, They, They Who are They? They: like the blood warm and wet It lubricates shows red on white skin Proves They were there You are there But I am 3 Only 3 And I don’t remember this when I wake up.
You are not allowed to speak I finally pick up the polaroid You know you can slice you slid through the mail slot again and again. with words sharper than knives I You use your smile as a weapon make Teeth white and sharp myself Hiding look the bones in my mouth, the skeletons in my throat. I realize it was real I don’t remember this when I wake up They were real You don’t remember this when you grow up. My god it was real Not my god Then.... Not Your god That god was not looking You find a polaroid. You send it to me. Because it happened It was real My heart clenches, but I scoff It happens all the time I say, this is Photoshopped STILL I say this only happens in pulpy fiction, midnight movies Oh goddess of broken children I say things like this don’t actually happen where have you been? I laugh, but I am nervous She was hiding among the fragments And I don’t remember this when I wake up She was in a foxhole this whole time keeping the ghosts at bay until I was strong enough You send the polaroid again and again to see them. like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts letter Hoping I’ll look eventually Until I and You becomes We. Until then you use your razors, your Gutsick knives our mouth foams to carve the truth on my arms We spasm over Your gleaming teeth bared our hands clutched to our stomach still hiding We choke We gag We vomit the bones in my mouth, the skeletons in my throat We spit out the bones in our mouth We cough out the skeletons in our throat One day I hear a woman We cry in a ball on the floor with numb lips Dry heaving over the carnage, sick with the truth describe her chains. Then after a while A time bomb goes off we stand up Volatile words shoot out without volition wipe our mouth with the back of our hand “That happened to me, shake our head to clear it That happened to me too.” stretch our neck square our shoulders You smile and finally we remember this when we wake up.
Untitled Mariana Pancho Lopez
t n e b Lam Mackenzie Coleman
I made myself fragile for you lay by your side on golden afternoons when the sun danced sambas on your skin I’d memorize your scent, trace every freckle your details made me weak. Odd, they said we didn’t make sense, didn’t fit but your eccentricities were melodic in my ears, a minor key maybe but a dominant cadence all the same. Your roots left deep grooves in the dirt we grew more twisted, your thorns more pointed I darkened and withdrew, but bloomed again breathless as light seeped from my core my foolishness illuminated by my brilliance. I returned and bore sweet nectar in the dawn of a new day, of my new luminosity impulses were clearer and unimpeded by you unsteady steps gave way to a liberated sprint I fled to where the grass was truly greener.
Valentine Sierra Morris
Raise Up Kieran Sperring
Pablo Neruda Syndrome April Mae M. Berza
I invited Neruda to my Ward but he refused That night, I cried He was resolute I stole the fountain pen Of a night-shift nurse To write an entry To my journal Trying to steal Nerudaâ€™s attention When the nurse Caught me, Neruda Felt guilty and he Opened the windows If only I could run Away with him but I am tied, tired Of eloping. Anxiety is my shadow I swallow a sparrow Or was it There is a lump On my throat My journal is bleeding I asked for the doctor But he told me I am just dreaming
The Voice Kaethe Butcher
Self-Portrait in Blue Skye Benson
Malala Yousafzai J.L. Harlow
Living proof that words are stronger than actions the pages of a book are meant to feel the fresh air of freedom, to be turned into the next chapter readers are not afraid of paper cuts nor do they ask if it is okay to turn the page and a bird does not doubt gravity or its wings, a bird is not afraid of heights it does not ask itself: am I brave enough to fly? meaningful words have souls they are always with us, always soaring it is the simplicity of â€˜they cannot stop meâ€™ a single seed growing, growing, beneath the ground growing until it cracks the dirt and sprouts, becoming a tree deeply, clutching the earth with its roots, its strength stronger within each breath, each raised voice, bravely taken in bravely filling lungs of such eager souls growing within every step, closer to Edgbaston courage provoked, yet burned, still burning a single flame, piercing orange and bright flickering, and dancing, awake during those dark nights in my swat, brightly colored dresses are danger in my swat, girlsâ€™ uniforms are fear in my swat, acid and Taliban are, not only nightmares yet reality, and haunting thoughts that swarm like ghosts a schoolgirl, forbidden from school is like a bird forbidden from the sky
I pledge allegiance to the Young-Girl Samantha Conlon
Bitch By: Emma Seely-Katz
Sometimes, marginalized communities reclaim words once used to ridicule and attack them, repurposing them into empowering buzzwords used throughout the group. This phenomenon is most obvious in the word “queer,” a former slur that the new generation’s LGBTQA community has almost entirely appropriated and absorbed into its identity. In the past few years, the feminist community has been attempting to do the same for the word “bitch. ” As an avid feminist, and someone who has used the word “bitch” in many different contexts, I would like to explore some of the history and connotations that make “bitch” a curse word, and maybe come closer to figuring out what role “bitch” should play in the language of our society. The word “bitch” has only one true denotation with no positive or negative meaning attached. “A female dog, fox or otter.” The word initially got linked to women when comparing them to bitches in heat. The use of “bitch” as a profane term dates back to the 14th century, when men used it to admonish women for their sexual needs and wants in a strait-laced era. The slur “son of a bitch” became popular around this time as well, starting the still-present trend of using female-associated words to emasculate and insult males—if you call a guy a “bitch,” you are invalidating his masculinity and insinuating that female equals weak equals inferior in one fell swoop. “Bitch” is no longer used to directly refer to a woman who is sex hungry—in modern times, it’s slang for a woman who hungers for, and attempts to seize, power. This definition by itself doesn’t sound so bad, actually, and it is this denotation that modern feminists have made a move to annex “bitch” and use it as a term for strong, take-no-prisoners ladies who are revered and feared by many. Magazines that consider themselves feminist or feminist-affiliated (see Bitch magazine, obviously, as well as Rookie Mag and tons of others) use “bitch” liberally, referring to anyone from Beyoncé to Hillary Clinton as a “badass bitch.” However, I’m not so sure the world is ready for the absorption of “bitch” into the feminist arsenal. It has been used by so many men in attempts to rob women of power and dignity that the word has an unequivocal negative connotation. Even worse, “bitch” has become so widely used, so second-nature as a casual pejorative, that women call other women “bitches,” subscribing to the underlying misogynistic idea that powerful women are bad and should be punished. I am guilty of having called other women “bitch.” I’ll admit that right now. It’s the first word that slips into my head when a female teacher makes a patronizing remark or a classmate rolls her eyes when I’m talking. I truly hope that one day, the word “bitch” will be widely used as a compliment and the feminist community will be able to own it and use it as a tool to maximize female power and glorify female sexuality instead of diminishing it. I urge you all to think hard about the reason you call someone a “bitch” and what the word itself means, connotations and all, and struggle with reconciling the word with your feminist views. Until then, I am trying to retrain my brain to use more gender-neutral words when someone is being an asshole to me.
Lady Dead Lauren Howe Goldstein
I.N.Y.S.M.C. Kaethe Butcher
The Prime Minister Is Really Cute Madeline Nesbitt
They never come like this anymore 2002 hysteria crop sweaters and low-slung jeans lace thongs curly haired guys
what a way to keep things appropriate Just because you and your pretty legs feel better on the bed doesn’t mean your soft tan chest can get close to mine repeat repeat and I’ll dance again (what line is this? A wired telephone? Who are you? What are you? I love you? Kiss me, kiss me!) black hair, does it match? do we belong? let’s be florals in spring positively groundbreaking
Hot Laura Collins
Kindling Emily Zhang
She was all questions and sharpness, matchstick cheekbones and electric veins. In circles of stutters people have always given themselves reason to worry. Everyone sees the woman carrying the bag heavy as her heart: but if the layers and layers of viscera, washing like a current, were peeled away, they would find the same static: brimming. She was all lit hands, gave them reason for fire.
Pretty, Fat Girl Jessica Rowshandel
Bimbo Fair Enough
You were scrutinizing with undeserved impact a Platonic school of thought. Accusing all philosophers of being closet poets. “Naïve,” said the chemicals. “For certain,” said the spectators. Well, darling I’ve been shaving my legs for Schopenhauer and wearing my little black dress for Aristotle long before my eyelashes brushed your page. I’ve rolled in the sheets with Hegel only to be with dissatisfied with the mechanics of his fervor. I’ve been snorting lines of Nietzsche off of broken glass, then in my catatonic euphoria of height that creeps in my sinus cavity and skips to life in my mind. To snuff out the candle, and tuck razors in the crooks of my knees reminds me of Socrates. I use the bitter morning to snap the caps of Benthem’s hedonistic mushrooms, catapulting my reality into the shimmer and pulse of breathing clouds. Whiskey, like Kant, serves as breakfast tea. The bottle lights up like a lantern of sickness in the sunshine. Fathoming the trip I stumble down the stairs my head veering off like a car accident into feminism, a fine day to pass the bottle to Mary Wollstonecraft. Tourniquet tights as the syringe is tapped, and I’m reveling with Marx with help of a substance more fantastic than the last. Stunned my body wreathes in this up roaring hysteria and then came the telephone pole when my hands came off the wheel. No recollection of how I got to lecture, I see light behind my eyelids. Sleepily hung over smile and a stretch knowing that I’ve always been a poet first. The philosophers may have their play in my panic of making sense of this world. What a maddening dream?
Dreamer Kieran Sperring
Paint me colors Lyrics from GIRLCOOL by girlpool
he locked the door he didn’t want me anymore i hid the key just in case you wanted me cause it’s saturday night i’ll never understand what it means to be a man who is white cause he never has to fight paint me colors take my nine digit number the littler that i am the less i have in my hand he locked the door he didn’t want me anymore i hid the key just in case you wanted me cause it’s saturday night
Untitled Mariana Pancho Lopez
Excerpts from “Questioning Feminism” K Aravind Mitra
The Mahabharata has always been subjected either to severe criticism or a highly positive appraisal for its depiction of women characters. In the “Sabha Parva” the central woman character of the epic is seen to be caught as a bet in the game of dice. Ancient Indian cultural values and familial norms compel her five husbands not to rescue her from the hands of the oppressors. The scene ends with the intervention of Krishna, a divinely character that saves the woman from the hands of her abusers. In a different variation of the Mahabharata, a scene is set where we see Dhuryodhana’s wife is playing dice with his friend, Karna. In the spirit of the game Karna tries to snatch Banumathi’s garland and the event marks the entry of her husband. Dhuryodhana doesn’t react to his friend’s action of snatching Banumathi’s garland. What instigates the passive reaction of the man towards his wife is not the respect on her gender but faith in his friend. John Milton’s Paradise Lost has come under the scrutiny of feminists for being phallologocentric in its depiction of woman. The eighth chapter of the epic discusses the genesis of the world and has woman, a derivative of man, only to be his help. The religious scriptures to which Milton surrenders to write the epic of the fall treats woman as a distraction, and so do other religions. The word representation is so politically loaded that there is no meta—theory to explain it. Is there an Archimedean point for women to represent themselves in apolitical manner by not subverting their opposite sex? Feminist theorists have spent years and thousands of pages questioning the male representation of woman but the same arguments sideline the political nature of representation. The French feminism which is akin to the thesis of Michel Foucault, Edward Said, and Jacques Derrida, concentrates on language and representation and posits body as the genesis point of the feminine metaphors. But the French contribution is not much when it comes to the term representation. Said, drawing from Foucault, grounds his thesis Orientalism on the basis of representation but in a way that is unique to the book and Foucault’s corpus. Said neither laments nor complains about the Western representation of the East but his main concern is about the effects of a form of representation. His logic is that what happens if a culture is represented in terms of other culture for a long period of time. In other words what are the ways in which the self tries to accommodate, interpret and understand the other? Is the self a representation of the other or its own reflection? The theoretical representation of women is tightly knit with the way western philosophy evolved over centuries. Peter Barry, in his book Beginning Theory, writes women’s claims during the initial days of struggle was aimed to ask for legal rights and equal position along with the men folk. A significant shift was witnessed with the intervention of the linguistic aspects into western philosophy. The feminist architecture changed along with western philosophy. Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is the best example of a treatise that claims a status to remain creatively active. Woolf’s ideas are to attain the status that men always enjoyed by keeping women outside of the literary and academic activities. Feminist theories have always tried to question the representation of women in the world of literature. After Michel Foucault’s work on politics, power and knowledge, feminism has got a new dimension which analyzed the man—woman relationship in hierarchical and patriarchal forms to question the representation of women in various forms. Representation in feminist or even in any other context would involve how the self sees itself other and mediates it through the various channels like language. Most mediums of representations, like language, are not transparent and hence, subject the mode, method and object to an intricate situation where meaning of the represented varies according to the context. Experience and understanding act as two important features in the act of representation.
For representation, experience is foundational which alters the medium of the former. S N Balagangadhara in his book The Heathen in his Blindness writes that experience is imbibed through a structure which can be called the structures of experiences which is similar to the structures of feelings that Raymond Williams introduces in his work. This structure is replicated in every body of work that is reproduced by a culture in terms of memory and introspection. The influence of the structures on the actions of the subjects is so strong that they think in one set of paradigms and try to canonize the same as the universal values. Emmanuel Levinas, in Alterity and Transcendence, claims that self is always in trouble with the other and the distance between the self and the other is of a fear that represents the self’s burden of carrying the other. In order to overcome this fear self starts reflecting itself upon the other. To cite Levinas’ ideas by Brain Treanor, “My being-in-the-world or my place in the sun, “my being at home,” have these not also been the usurpation of spaces belonging to the other man whom I have already oppressed or starved, or driven out into a third world; are they not acts of repulsing, excluding, exiling, stripping, killing?” (Treanor 36). Levinas’s notion of self is always inferior to the other making the latter a goal to be attained. This creates a distance and makes the self destitute in the hands of the other and seeks for help. Self is vulnerable to its incapacities in understanding the other. The main reason to understand Levinas’s quasi-transcendental philosophy of alterity is to illuminate how the self has seen its other women in the various forms of representations. It is easy to surmise that man has always seen his other irrespective of sexual difference at a vertical difference and always tried to bridge/conquer it with a great amount of enthusiasm by reversing the process with which the distance is created. As noted already that self irrespective of the superior or inferior geographical/ cultural/economic position of the other feels inferior to the other. This inferiority though not instigated or expected from the other, is assumed by self and it endeavors hard to come out of this self created pitfall. One of the easiest ways to come out of this is to dominate the other itself by various means and tried to canonize this domination. Hence, we see a wide range of discourses is generated on domination and denigration of a class by its other. The impact will be so much that the others consent for this domination becomes normative that any resistance is curbed or looked down upon. But after a period of time the domination is realized and the other starts resisting collectively against it. Considering the aspects of alterity would result in the new perspectives about the texts that are discussed above. The responses of Dhuryodhana towards the actions of women in two different situations are deeply connected to the arguments of the self and the other. In the situation where he humiliates Droupadi depicts the way he is encountering the other as a threat to his own identity and the situation which has Dhuryodhana not losing his temper on his friend’s proximity towards his wife is an example of his self-reflection in understanding the other—Karna. The Paradise Lost’s alleged anti-woman opinion is the result of a failure to bridge the self—other gap.
Laundry Day Lilyan Kris
Remodel Laura Collins
feminist pies Katherine Howell
Birth Control Pills Baked in Camouflage $9 Tastes like sex and wild game Egg Custard with a side of Breast Milk Ice Cream (locally sourced) $12 Relive your childhood Cherry Float $6 Pink sorbet in your choice of pop Old Fashioned Tea Party $25 for two Comes with scones and organic tea bags, whiskey and fruit extra Riveting Cake $10 Flavored with rose-water and nostalgia Rich Almond Macaroons $2 each Buds of nutty flavor, changing with each bite
Lily Orange Jyothsnaphanija
The vernal bliss shrouding her face, Anxious in her eyes, Each move she makes magical. Itâ€™s not only the beauty of her age, But, a beautiful reflection which she would have seen in the mirrors for all the time, If she had a home and some light. Beautiful she is in her filthy paucity draped, Where her childhood was caught in others homes, Darkness circling her eyes, Sleep stretched to eyelids late night, And dreams occupied in the young age. Walking towards the riverside, When the garlands scenting the evening, Apocalyptic sky sent an angry omen towards her life. A deadly nightshade poisoned her mind, Carried her towards a dark donjon cage, Where many other women like her for whom, Souls are stabbed from their bodies, In the custody of agony. Games everywhere to remember that they are commodities, Wounds and infecting wind to kill for thousand times, Insulting eyes and leaving from the memories of their homes, The juvenile dreams standing for cannibalism gazes, Tearing their bodies in the degenerative homicide. The young wretched queen, Looking at the half filled glass for years, Perishing as the cripple flower, From that sin, unclean thing. A broken angel among many, A scabrous bird from unclean sky. She, the betrayed, the forgotten, The sinful, the unclean, The defaming, the forbidden, The unwanted, the futile, Grinning and whimpering at the black marks of the world, Throwing as many mirrors she can.
Bridgework Laura Collins
The Cruel Handeling of a Little Girl Luna e los santos
The Safe Neighborhood of a Shadowland Melissa Bamerick
For Haile Plantation My grandmother keeps her outdoor lights on all night. Everynight. She says, it’s for my dead grandfather in case he ever wants to come home from the shadows. But we both know it’s for the women on the walking trail—. behind the fence. (All of us beguiled into thinking this neighborhood was safe.) 4:00 a.m. runners, pink sneakered, bludgeoned into the unexplained curves of this Shadowland. They pooled to the sore light of my grandmother’s dooryard, praying for someone to be awake, looking for their own teeth. The acorns should have protected them. They don’t want to know how brave they are. The Plantation put up a street light that doesn’t work when I walk to the mail box at 2:00 a.m. (But the lights near the wrought ironed fence of the Gators basketball coach blaze bright tonight.) The faster I step closer, the faster it turns off— the motion sensor working in reverse order. The Plantation said, the street light would cure the rapes- but all I can think about is that I’m wearing a sundress I could die in.
Shut Up and Be Pretty Joelle Circe
Make-up Legs Lauren Howe Goldstein
to my future lover Alessandra Albanese
I will love you so, so much Unerringly and unconditionally But in return I’ll ask for the same And all it entails For example, the contract might read “You will love me not in spite of my flaws But because they make me who i am You will love every ounce, pound and inch of me Because I am not your fetish I am not your contingency plan I am not your canvas to be painted, your vessel to be filled, your heathen to be converted nor your prize to be won I am not your manic pixie dream girl I am not your anything I am mine The license and registration to my body and mind are in my name only An inheritance that has always belonged to me You cannot siphon funds from my estate any more than you can siphon my free will from my self I am a human being, god damn you I am not a puppet or a doll My limbs are not wooden I can move as I please My eyes are not painted on I see everything clearly And when you leave me on the ground because you are done with me And you’ve found a newer, better toy With shiny hair and an official Mattel logo
I don’t stay put With my limbs in awkward positions and my clothing askew I’m not swept beneath the sofa until you vacuum me up and spit me out again Or until the neighbor boy finds me and puts my head in the garbage disposal I pull a bona fide Toy Story, grab my bags and go Because I will not take your mediocre love Your lukewarm Chinese food leftovers From the place on the corner of the street full of five stars and glowing yelp reviews You will love me as if Michelin himself was watching You will love me truly and warmly and sweetly and solely You will tell me that our love is truth I grant absolute permission to like me, appreciate me, admire me Abhor me, adore me, hate me or not care But if you want to choose the road less traveled by If you want to grab a stick and spell out L-O-V-E in giant letters in the sand If you want to hold my hand as we walk along the water If you want me to return your calls That’s where the condition comes in You will love me honestly You will love me sincerely You will love me fully Or,” the contract finishes, “You won’t love me at all.”
contributor biographies Alessandra Albanese is a freshman at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is a feminist studies major. She is currently caught in a cycle of anger at the state of the world, a desire to learn more about the world, an equally strong desire to save the world, and more anger. She’s not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but she believes what she believes and that’s that. In the future, she wants to attend law school and eventually work as a lawyer for women’s rights and reproductive justice. You can find more of her written work at portmanteauverload.wordpress.com. Melissa Bamerick has been a declared feminist since the age of twelve. For Melissa, being a woman is not only a gender but an identity; feminism is not just a philosophy, but a lifestyle. She has been writing poetry for as long as she has known how to spell the word ‘ice cream’. Her poetic achievements of feminist philosophy are most apparent at 3 a.m. Currently, Melissa lives in a crooked wooden house on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, where her yard is a mini citrus orchard. She’s convinced that one day the orchids will take over the fruit, but that remains to be seen. Melissa also loves her three children, but also struggles with having an identity separate from being someone’s mother. Emily Bartholet is a nature loving, feather wielding, giggle happy young person with every intention of making a career out of writing some day. Besides that, she plans on volunteering in the Peace Corp, photographing the world, and maybe learning to ride horses again. She loves all these things, but nothing compares to her love of learning and her passion for writing. She is one of those liberal feminist types who still believes that she can change the world for the better, and she struggles under the weight of that dream every day. April Mae M. Berza is a member of Poetic Genius Society. Her poems and short stories appeared in numerous publications in the US, Romania, India, Japan and the Philippines. Nominated in 2012 International Who’s Who in Poetry, her poem is broadcast in IndoPacific Radio. She lives in Taguig, Philippines. Kaethe Butcher is a 23 year-old illustrator who prefers traditional materials like fineliner, pencil, and marker. Her drawings show human emotions about personal situations. She uses girls to express those feelings. She is drawing half-naked girls in a natural way so they can’t become such sexual ulterior motives. She hopes that when you look on these pictures, you can see real female beauty and feelings, beauty without any sexuality. Circé is a queer feminist and very atheistic woman of transsexual origin. Circé is from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her art is informed and guided by everything in her life but what comes across most is her feminism, her woman’s gaze, and her love of all things woman. Circé studied at a private Art School in Montreal for a few years and is otherwise self taught. She brings her own unique view and understanding to her art. For her, creating erotic, queer, or feminist pieces have this in common, and they express her admiration and love for women in general. She represents women in very vulnerable states and also at their most powerful. She has been inspired to create a series of vulvic paintings immediately after her transition, because when she looked around, there wasn’t all that much representation of vulvas out there. Circé celebrates her sisters and denounces through her art abuse and violence towards us. Today, Circé lives a quieter life in SainteBéatrix, Quebec, Canada with her Butch wife and three cats. After a lifetime of dealing with how she was born, Circé has come to a place that feels right, both as a woman and as an artist. Circé’s art has been showcased in the Feminist Art Conference in Toronto, Canada, The Femail Project in Birmingham, U.K., at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Soho, New York, and many other venues. You can find more of her work at www.circesart.com.
Lauren Howe Goldstein is a feminist artist. She explores issues such as reproductive rights and the female body as the basis for studies of anatomy, the male gaze, how we view ourselves internally, externally, and how we are viewed by and targeted by society at large. She uses multimedia with an emphasis on textiles, assemblage, etching, printmaking, and drawing. Lauren graduated from RISD in 2003 with a BFA in Textiles. She has done additional course work at FIT and SVA, and continues to study at SVA. She is currently focusing on fine arts through etching, embroidery, and a variety of different media. She has recently learned to silversmith, and is creating contemporary jewelry. She spent many years working as a designer for California Closets and as a dance performer and instructor. Through her work with dance, Lauren has performed in the show Polesque, at Galapagos in Brooklyn, New York, and in a show titled Body + Pole at PS1 MoMA. She has recently shown in group shows at Greenpoint Gallery, and at A.I.R. Gallery, both located in Brooklyn, NY. Katherine Anderson Howell teaches Re-Writing Jane Eyre at the George Washington University in Washington D.C., encouraging students to write back to canonical literature. She encourages her students to see re-vising literature in the way Adrienne Rich does, as “an act of survival.” Katherine is a clinic escort, fervently believing that all people have the right to access reproductive health care without harassment or intervention. This passion can also be seen in her poetry, which provides her with not only a supportive community of people who critically examine the world, but also with opportunities to compassionately share her experiences with others. Mary Grahame Hunter hails proudly from Detroit, where she enjoys spending time with friends in libraries, art museums, restaurants, and choir rehearsal rooms. Her life is brightened by the existence of musical theatre, tea, Tom Hiddleston, Pushing Daisies, and dark chocolate sea-salt caramels. She is an avid fan of Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, in no small part because of the dynamic and nuanced ladies who populate their work, and is also grateful to Victor Hugo for writing her favorite novel, Les Misérables. Her feminist role models are Abigail Adams and the aforementioned Jane Austen, both of whom did not let the parameters of society prevent them from expressing their opinions and engaging their passions. Mary Grahame welcomes polite debate and intelligent conversation and believes it is the first step on the journey to change the world. Daniella De Jesús is an actor, poet, spoken word artist, and playwright from Brooklyn, New York. She is earning a B.F.A. in Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. This summer, she wrote and performed her one-woman show “The Thief Cometh” and is currently in the process of writing and compiling her first book of poetry. To see more of her work visit: spic-english.tumblr.com or follow her on twitter: @DaniellaofJesus. Jyothsnaphanija is a PhD research scholar in English Literature at EFL University, Hyderabad, India. She writes poetry, short stories, research articles and book reviews. Her poetry has been published in Muddy River Poetry Review, The Fat City Review, Tajmahal Review, Skeletons Anthology, Luvah, Coldnoon, Kritya, Kumquat Poetry, Writers Asylum, Solstice Initiative, Miracle, eFiction India, Fragrance, Induswoman Writing and her short storey is forthcoming in Emerald Hues- the Anthology of short love stories. Her research articles have appeared in Subalternspeak, eDhvani, Wizcraft, Barnolipi. She contributed her essays to the books Indian Women Novelists: A Critical Spectrum (2012), and Contemporary Indian Drama in English, (2013). Currently she is in the editorial team of The Criterion: An International Journal in English, reviewer for Indian Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies and fiction editor for Miracle literature and art magazine.
Keri Karandrakis is the co-founder and Editor-in-chief of Transcendence Magazine. Feminism matters to her because too many of her friends have been sexually assaulted, and too many women worldwide are denied basic rights because of their gender. Women such as Sojourner Truth, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, and Malala Yousafzai inspire her to keep believing in the strength of women across the globe. She has been published in magazines such as Cease Cows, Hemingway’s Playpen, and the first issue of The Riveter Review. She lives in Georgia with her family, which is mostly made up of cats. Mariana Pacho López is a photographer and video artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She’s a lesbian and is engaged to a woman who is also an artist. They are both feminists. Megan Manowitz is a student at SUNY Purchase studying Literature and Gender Studies. She casually makes visual art, takes photographs and writes prose. Her current main focus in both art and life is on selfies, self-love and the importance of female vanity. Her work is almost solely about exploring herself and her relationship with her own self, along with figuring out how her female identity affects the relationship she has with others. K. Aravind Mitra is from India, a developing country. Many women in her country are malnourished and the objects of pleasure and sex. Aravind heard about feminism at her home as her parents teach at a university. During her college days, Aravind read Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and the process of reading enlightened her and compelled her to change her attitude towards women. She can now say that Simone De Beauvoir is her role model. In the last year India witnessed at least ten brutal rape incidents, and so Aravind is struggling to create awareness among women about safety and their rights. Aravind has just finished her M.Phil. at the central University of Hyderabad, India and is now teaching at the Central University of Karnataka in the department of English. Her university offers a lot of courses related to women’s movements and feminism. Aravind has published papers related to the area of biopolitics, feminism, and Indian myths in various journals. Caroline Nawrocki likes to smash the patriarchy with her sharpest eyeliners and her unending supply of blue pens. From the age of three when she wrote a song about empowering girls to be beautiful, she has found an outlet to speak about feminism in her writing. When she’s not writing, she’s spreading awareness of Herstory because let’s face it, we’ve been ignoring half of the population’s history in our school’s history courses. She seeks to destroy the connotation behind the word feminist because being ignorant is just not cute. Madeleine Nesbitt is a 16-year-old Pennsylvanian who Writes for SPARK a Movement, a girl-powered feminist organization, and runs the Ladies Love Science tumblr. She has been writing poetry from a young age and hopes to continue in that vein for a long time to come. As a feminist, she is working to increase representation of women in publishing and reviewing literature by organizing women’s reading challenges at SPARK. In her spare time, she likes to write and illustrate zines, nap, or stay up late reading comic books. She is on tumblr at periodtalkwith, a chaotic mixture of period awareness and period dramas. Jessica Rowshandel is a New York City-based artist who also creates and leads online community-based art projects. Her art education is from Hunter College, though she also holds degrees from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Columbia University. At Columbia, she studied the social issues that creative people experience, which is an ongoing interest of hers. This has led to the creation of a recent online project, artiststories.wordpress.com. Much of Jessica’s work is gender-based. She is most known for The Vagina Project, an online gallery of vagina art from around the world, which was created with the intention of de-stigmatizing the vagina and giving a voice to people whose vaginas have very important things to say. For more information on her art or online projects, visit jrowart.com, vaginaproject.org, and artiststories.wordpress.com.
Luna e los santos is is the head curator of the feminist art collective The Coven. Her work primarily deals with femininity, feminism, gender expression, and girlhood. Inspired by witchhunts throughout history, her piece “The Racking and Cruel Handeling of a Little Girl” aims to give voice to the more covert forms of torture subjected upon the more helpless of females as compared to the torture inflicted upon the more powerful women. Intentionally made to look less than sinister, this piece plays with the idea of tortured vs torturer exploring the way femininity can be targeted for abuse but also used as a form of abuse in and of itself, such as in the case of child beauty pageants and patriarchal beauty standards in general. Kelsey Schmitt, 17, is a senior at the Episcopal School of Dallas. In her junior year, her history teacher gave her a word for all those pro-equality, pro-women sentiments she carried: feminism. Ever since she has taken to calling herself a feminist and speaking out about feminist issues. Many of these sentiments have emerged in poetry, which she has been writing since she can remember and writing well since sophomore year. She is Editor in Chief of her school’s literary magazine and has attended Sewanee Young Writer’s Conference and Kenyon Review Young Writer’s Conference. She writes poetry like quizzes: she asks the question and asks the reader to look for an answer. A 15-year-old living in Newport Beach, California, Emma Seely-Katz is a fervent believer in the feminist ideals instilled in her at a young age by her family and role models such as Tavi Gevinson of Rookie magazine, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, and Patrick Stewart, one of the coolest actors in the business. Emma is the Opinion Editor for the Junior Statement, a nationwide newspaper dedicated to informing high school kids about current political issues and she often writes for various publications, advocating for gender equality, abortion legality, and same-sex marriage rights. She is especially passionate about banishing girl hate, and establishing a strong, safe community among Generation Y women. Between watching old episodes of Daria on her laptop and crusading against ignorance in her high school classrooms, Emma watches an obscene amount of pro-feminist TED Talks on YouTube, interspersed with reverent playing of her favorite songs by Bikini Kill or Joan Jett. Born in 1986 in Shropshire, UK, Kieran Sperring is an emerging artist on the collage art scene. He specialises in creating handmade collage art to fuel further interpretations and imaginations, using traditional cut and paste methods. Sourcing his images from magazines, particular from the 1950s/1960s, Kieran has an unique eye for transforming mundane vintage images into modern artistic pieces. He is a keen follower of feminism movement. Emily Zhang is a student attempting to start her school’s first feminist club. She is a part of her school newspaper and magazine, and is passionate about girls’ education and the portrayal of women in the media. She hopes to advocate and blog about these two things in the future. She also enjoys learning about astronomy, watching Wes Anderson movies, and reading impatiently. Some of her favorite writers include Carolyn Forche, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, and Kurt Vonnegut. When she isn’t writing, Emily is spending way too much time on Gawker.
Love Yourself Skye Benson