Category Archives: Social Commentary

The Guardian: Why we hate selfies so much

Published at The Guardian, February 2015.

If you peruse my Instagram feed, you’ll find an assortment of images. Food, cats, random things I see on my travels. And pictures of myself, mostly taken by myself. (I am a greedy and jealous person who rarely hands my phone over to people.) People have been taking pictures of themselves, in one form or another, for an extremely long time. Ancient works of art clearly demonstrate that artists painted, drew and sculpted themselves. Self-portraits in visual media have provided fascinating glimpses into how artists perceived themselves and their relationship to the world. When photography was first developed (forgive the pun), photographers used timers to shoot themselves, in part because they wanted to learn how to use the equipment and experiment with portraiture.

Read more at The Guardian.

Nerve: How Amy Schumer Fought for the Right to Talk about Sex on TV — and Won

Published at Nerve, November 2014.

If you’ve watched Jon Stewart pretty much ever, you’ve probably heard him throwing around the Comedy Central-approved “dick” (as the FCC doesn’t regulate language on cable). But until very recently, “pussy” was still verboten on everyone’s favorite comedy network—until, that is, Amy Schumer’s production crew went on an all-out offensive for gender parity in slang. This month, they finally won, and the word will no longer be accompanied by an obnoxious bleeping noise on air. Score one for the feminist agenda.

Read more at Nerve.

Time: Why Are We Upset About a Dog When Thousands Are Dying of Ebola?

Published at Time, October 2014. 

It’s hard to break into theNew York Times obituaries section, but apparently being the first U.S. Ebola patient to die will do the trick. Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola by helping an infected pregnant woman into a taxi, is dead. For perspective, though: According to the CDC’s most recent count, 3,439 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, and only a handful of cases are being treated outside the hot zone in Africa.

Read more at Time. 

Bitch Magazine: Examining Blindness in “The Fault in Our Stars”

Published at Bitch Magazine, July 2014. 

It was a strange choice for a summer blockbuster. A weepy film about a girl dying of thyroid cancer who meets her boyfriend in a support group and then travels to Amsterdam so she can meet the author she idolizes before experiencing the ultimate heartbreak. The film’s distributor handed out tissues at advance screenings, counting on audiences to break down even if they included some of the most hardened and jaded film fans. Without a single explosion, spy versus spy showdown, or car chase, the opening box office of The Fault in Our Stars was $48 million, handily beating the latest Tom Cruise flick.

Read more at Bitch Magazine

The Daily Dot: Inside the real world of Teach for America

Published at The Daily Dot, July 2014. 

Is Teach for America (TFA) a neo-liberal disaster contributing to the utter destruction of U.S. public schools, or is it an innovative program providing new opportunities to children growing up in underprivileged communities? Can the students of the Internet age help fix education? It’s one of the most controversial education reform initiatives in the United States, with passionate advocates on both sides of this question. As the 2014-2015 school year approaches, TFA graduates are completing their training and getting into classrooms, and this debate is becoming even more acute.

Read more at The Daily Dot.

xoJane: What Happened In Oklahoma Last Night Was Disgusting and Shameful

Published at xoJane, April 2014. 

What happened in Oklahoma on Tuesday night was disgusting. Watching it unfold was horrifying and shameful, and it reminded me of why I am so ferociously against the death penalty. It’s cruel and unusual punishment, it’s wrong, and it’s a fundamental human rights violation. Worldwide, 51 percent of countries have already stopped using it, and we’re in the company of human rights trailblazers like Syria, Iran, and Iraq. 

Read more at xoJane.

ThinkProgress: Why Aren’t Mentally Ill Americans Invited To This Week’s Hearing On Their Own Privacy Rights?

Published at ThinkProgress, April 2013. 

This Friday, House Republican Tim Murphy is holding a hearing on whether the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) “helps or hinders patient care and public safety” in the context of mentally ill patients. The hearing, a followup to his hearing last month in which he reiterated false claims about mental illness and violence, will notably not include a single mentally ill witness. Why not? Because, according to Tim Murphy, mentally ill people are not “competent” to testify about how a relaxation of HIPAA rules would affect their own lives.

Read more at ThinkProgress.

California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom: Reproductive Freedom Week 2013: Disability and Reproductive Justice

Published at CCRF, March 2013. 

As we think about reproductive freedoms this week, we must consider all their permutations, and the importance of a world in which the right to parent is protected just as fiercely as the right not to parent, or to choose to wait to become a parent. Disabled people need the full force and support of the reproductive rights movement, and so do their children; freedom for some is justice for none, and no loving, competent parent should have to live in daily fear that her child will be taken from her simply because of who she is, how she lives her life, the fact that she lives interdependently rather than independently.

Read more at CCRF.

The Guardian: Comment is free: Pinkification: how breast cancer awareness got commodified for profit

Published at The Guardian, October 2012. 

The gradual commodification of breast cancer reflected a failure of the movement, in that it wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough to fight the commercialisation of breast cancer awareness. Now, groups like Breast Cancer Action are having to fight cancer on two fronts: battling for patients, as well as fighting the rise of pinkification.

Read more at The Guardian