Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

By the time I was twelve, I’d been molested by a teenage boy, a family doctor and an uncle. At twelve, I knew there were no adults with whom I could trust my secrets. Convinced I would not be believed, which would cause the situation to continue, I started making decisions and choices that required me to lie, in an effort to keep myself safe. I didn’t feel “powerful” in the process of creating self-protection, but I did view myself as “clever.” It took years before I understood the authority I held, even at the age of seven. Only in retrospect was I able to come to the conclusion that I did have power, even back then. Why else would perpetrators threaten me with harm or death?

In a review of her new book, “Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive”, Kristin J Sollee states, “The threat of gender parity is a frightening prospect—all those rabid, untamed women on the prowl for bodily autonomy.” I never consciously recognized myself, as a young teen, searching for “bodily autonomy”, but that’s exactly what I was doing. It’s why as a kid I wrote pleas in my journal, “Dear World”, where I stated my dream to find a haven, a house deep in the woods, a place where other abused kids and I could hide. It’s why I was pro-choice as a teen. It’s why I never had consensual sex until I was 25. I wanted my body to have its own say, since my mouth remained silent for decades. Sollee contends that “Witches, sluts, and feminists are the trifecta of terror for the patriarchy.” I’m proud to identify as all three! Don’t miss the review below, in The Guardian. HRC gets her own chapter in the book!

To lighten things up a bit, I’ve opened the list of links this week with a New Yorker article of Feminist Knock-Knock jokes. I’d start there, if I was you! Then move down to stories on murdered Mexican journalists, and American reporters being denied access to facts. Read about the Onondaga Nation of Central New York, whose school district attempted to force upon them a white military principal, causing understandable fear and concern of a return to 19th and 20th Century Indian Boarding schools. Included this week are articles that discuss a trans woman’s negotiation in public and an article regarding the abuses against gay men in Bangladesh. I conclude with a piece that focuses on female response to unwanted male attention and the Republican mis-understanding of NPR’s tweet of the Declaration of Independence this past Fourth of July.

So, for these stories and more, please READ ON! Your comments are always welcome.


  1. Annie thing you can do I can do for eighty-seven cents on the dollar.
“Feminist Knock- Knock Jokes”/ by Kimberly Harrington/ The New Yorker/ July 2, 2017


2. The application says the plans should “broaden awareness and understanding for how to resist and be resilient for the long-term struggle.” It also calls for education on “how to be an ally and disrupt prejudice and hate activity.”
“Portland Offers Grants to Combat City’s Rising Hate Crimes”/ by Jessica Floum/ The Oregonian/ July 5, 2017


3. “Witches, sluts, and feminists are the trifecta of terror for the patriarchy,” Sollee explains. “To me, the primal impulse behind each of these contested identities is self-sovereignty … witches, sluts, and feminists embody the potential for self-directed feminine power, and sexual and intellectual freedom.”
“Are Witches the Ultimate Feminists”/ by Kim Kelly/ The Guardian/ July 5, 2017


4. Many women worry about being sexually harassed or assaulted by men. I also have to worry about what will happen when men find out I’m trans. The year 2016 was the deadliest on record for trans people: At least 27 were killed. To live joyfully in a trans or gender-deviant body is to flirt with danger and even death, it seems.
“The Thrill and Fear of ‘Hey, Beautiful’”/ by Jamal Lewis/ New York Times/ June 30, 2017


5. It seems that the legal system is really asking civilians to de-escalate adrenaline-fueled cops. We must remain calm while facing a loaded gun while the trained officers can panic and overreact.
“Civilians Shouldn’t Have to De-escalate Police”/ by Tonya Jameson/ Charlotte Observer/ July 1, 2017


6. The sculpture is a permanent addition to the median at Century Park East, about a block from the Westfield Century City Mall and at the gateway to Beverly Hills. The area is home to many from a sizable diaspora of Iranian Americans in Southern California. Community groups estimate that about 500,000 Iranian Americans live in the region, the largest enclave outside Iran.
“’Los Angeles Embodies Diversity.’ The City’s New Sculpture Celebrating Freedom is Unveiled”/ by Matt Hamilton/ Los Angeles Times/ July 4, 2017



7. The policy implications are immense. If the data holds, simply moving a family’s income out of poverty might be enough to get that child much closer to cognitive developmental norms. And while we don’t yet know whether or how much these brain disparities persist into adulthood, this research—combined with past work demonstrating that people raised in poverty end up doing worse financially and suffering greater health problems than their more-affluent contemporaries over the course of their lifetimes—suggests they probably have lifelong effects.
“How Income Inequality is Messing With Kids’ Brains”/ by Mike Marian/ Mother Jones/ July 3, 2017


8. With an election approaching at the end of next year, the persecution of Bangladesh’s L.G.B.T. community is likely to get worse. In late May 2017, 28 L.G.B.T. men were arrested when they gathered for a party. A paramilitary force publicly identified them as homosexual.
“No Country for Bangladesh’s Gay Men”/ by Raad Rahman/ New York Times/ June 30, 2017


9. Mr. Hill said that appointing a person with a military background had been especially alarming, evoking the history of Indian boarding schools of the 19th and early 20th century, one of the most notorious of which, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, was started by an Army officer, Richard Henry Pratt. Pratt and others believed that it was in Native Americans’ best interest for them to renounce their traditional culture and assimilate.
“School Board Decisions Spur Onondaga Nation Protest”/ by Kate Taylor/ New York Times/ June 28, 2017


10. And so you laugh and smile, nod and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Maybe because it’s easier, but often because it’s safer. Women have been berated, attacked – and, in extreme situations, killed – for rejecting men. And so smiling politely becomes like muscle memory.
“Trump Was Sleazy with a Reporter. Her awkward laugh felt all too familiar.”/ by Jessica Valenti/ The Guardian/ June 29, 2017


11. One was killed while resting in a hammock at a carwash. A second was dragged from his car and shot dead near the newspaper he had co-founded. When another was killed in front of her son, the criminals left a note: “For your long tongue”.
“Can Mexico Save its Journalists”/ by Hugo Bachega/ BBC News/ July 4, 2017


12. And what’s most important is the opportunity to question the president himself. A president automatically commands airtime; this president, through his Twitter feed, automatically commands attention. But publicity without accountability is the antithesis of democracy. Reporters questioning elected officials serve in this sense as surrogates for the public.
“Authoritarianism Creeps Up On You. This Is How.”/ by Ruth Marcus/ The Washington Post/ June 29, 2017


13.  Plenty of people on Twitter seemed to think NPR was trying to incite a rebellion against the current administration, rather than just tweeting out an extremely apropos and historic document.
“Trump Supporters on Twitter Spent the Fourth Getting Real Mad About the Declaration of Independence”/ by Madison Malone Kircher/ New York Magazine/ July 5, 2017




Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.


2 Replies to “Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup”

  1. I found your introduction both thoughtful and encouraging…as in gaining courage through your description of autonomy. And, thought provoking articles, as usual!

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