Did You Read it? A round up of books and articles circulating around the office this week.

Articles we read (did you?):

  1.  “The Year we Obsessed over Identity” Sorry, NY Times, this is not the first year that we obsessed over identity. But we do appreciate this comprehensive list of movies, TV shows, books and events that provoked a discussion about cultural identity in 2015.
  2. “Where have all the Tomboys Gone?”  The fashion industry is still throwing around words like “girlie” and “tomboy” to sell boyfriend jeans. But thankfully, as conceptions of gender become less rigid, the term “tomboy” is losing relevance.
  3. “A Very Revealing Conversation with Rihanna” Miranda July interviewed Rihanna. And Oumaru Idrissa, the Uber driver who dropped her off. We were charmed by her unconventional interview format, and her loving descriptions of them both.
  4. “Yes means Yes but it’s Tricky” Sexual consent education is moving in the direction of affirmative consent as the standard. Has anyone else been told that it’s awkward when a guy asks if he can kiss you? #problematic. Like many of us, the California teens quoted in this article had lots of specific questions about what affirmative consent actually looks like: “They sat in groups to brainstorm ways to ask for affirmative consent. They crossed off a list of options: “Can I touch you there?” Too clinical. “Do you want to do this?” Too tentative. “Do you like that?” Not direct enough. “They’re all really awkward and bizarre,” one girl said. “Did you come up with any on your own?” Ms. Zaloom asked. One boy offered up two words: “You good?”” 
  5.  “A Feminism Where ‘Lean In’ means Leaning on Others” A Great interview with Nancy Fraser, author of Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis. Fraser takes on mainstream, white feminism; the brand that encourages women to move up in the corporate world without making structural changes; the brand that we shouldn’t confuse for feminism… She explains how capitalism valorizes male-centered professions and qualifications. And if you’re still feeling confused about affirmative consent and why it’s so tricky, Fraser has a good explanation:“The more common situations of sexual exploitation (and that expression is often more accurate than “rape”) are characterized by ambiguity of communication, mixed feelings, difficulty in identifying one’s desire or lack thereof, and diminished sense of entitlement in articulating it — all circumstances that work against women’s sexual and relational autonomy, especially (but not only!) in heterosexual milieus.”


  1. Did you know about the Ma’yan book club? Last month we read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In November we’ll be meeting to talk about Living in the Shadow of the Cross, Paul Kivel’s book on Christian privilege and hegemony. If that sounds like a blast to you too, you can read along with us and send your comments to shayna@mayan.org
  2. In honor of That’s Not Fair! Ma’yan’s social justice comic book apprenticeship, we’re listing our favorite comic book series and graphic novels. This week we recommend:
  • Not Funny Ha-Ha, Leah Hayes. An illustrated, handbook for abortions. It’s real and hard and kind of wry but still sensitive.
  • Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling, Sabrina Jones. Program Director, Talia Cooper says: “The U.S has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In the WORLD! A dreary subject, clearly explained by Marc Maurer and beautifully illustrated by Sabrina Jones. This comic is riveting in its accessibility of a subject everyone should learn about.”
  • Dykes to Watch out For, Allison Bechdel. Ma’yan Consultant, Andrea Jacobs says: I discovered the series my senior year of college while working at a shelter for women leaving situations of domestic violence. The mostly lesbian staff had a stash in the office. I would read them to pass the time between hotline calls. I loved the multi-ethnic, multi-racial cast of characters and the picture of womyn’s community. The challenges to gender presentation and roles the she created in her characters. And the real struggles. Those comic books were an important part of my feminist and womanist education.

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