By Christian Coleman | When loved ones perch at the table together for holiday gatherings, it’s not just the star protein with fixings that gets served. Whether it’s on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other occasion for feel-good feasting in big company, those mashed potatoes and greens come with a side of divergent viewpoints on touchy, real-life subjects. Sometimes they’re served respectfully, sometimes with vitriol, but on many occasions, they stir up tough conversations, and the meals become so ideologically fraught that digestion seems out of the question.
By Jess Zimmerman | The first thing you saw when entering the Dangerous Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a vintage dress from Versace’s 1992–1993 “Miss S&M” collection. Straps of quilted leather crisscrossed the throat and décolletage of a headless mannequin, each strap adorned with a dollar-sized brassy coin bearing the head of a howling Gorgon, a play on Versace’s usual logo of a placid Medusa face. The overall effect was oddly militaristic, a sort of four-star dominatrix look.
A Q&A with Amanda Montei | I’ll say that in both creative and academic circles, the subject of motherhood is often seen as niche and unserious, and personal struggles with caregiving and domestic work are as well. I’ve experienced some pretty outright sexism over the years, but also so many subtle dismissals of my work and my intellect as a mother writing about motherhood, or even just “women’s issues.” Alongside the very real struggle of securing affordable childcare.
By Naomi McDougall Jones | Because filmmaking is hard—for anyone, even in the best circumstances—I am well aware that there are still skeptics about whether there is discrimination against women in Hollywood at all. Thus far, I’ve built the case, I hope, for what is happening. But if you work long enough and hard enough at it, you could suggest reasons why discrimination wasn’t at the heart of each anecdote and career story I’ve provided. Let’s zoom out, then, to look at the wide shot of what is happening to women and their careers in Hollywood. Let’s look at the data.
By Christian Coleman | Come on, Barbie! Let’s go party . . . in your library! You’re about to become Bookworm Barbie and read the days and nights away. Don’t worry about Ken. He’ll be fine because he’s just Ken. Now that you’re in your self-discovery era, you’ll have lots of questions. Like why you’re in a blockbuster summer movie and how the film industry works. We got you. And everything you want to know about empowerment for women and girls, beauty (and health) standards, life in plastic in the real world, the patriarchy, and all the badassery in women’s history is in these books from our catalog. Each sold separately!
By Leslie Feinberg | Capitalism is one of the most irrational economic systems imaginable: those who do the most, get the least, and those who do the least, get the most. How can such a system continue? It couldn’t if the vast, laboring majority got together to fight for a new, more equitable economy.
A Q&A with Annelise Orleck | It felt right, and urgent, to return to the story of “Storming Caesars Palace” in these times, precisely because this political moment feels both so different and so similar to the time when the book was first published in 2005. Back then, our country was still living in the shadow of 9/11 and the militarist backlash that followed.
A Q&A with Catherine Tung | This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time! Editors all have bucket lists of books they want to publish, and near the top of my list has been a book that introduces the rich world of kink to a general audience without sensationalizing, othering, or distorting the material. When I arrived at Beacon three years ago, my senior colleagues encouraged me to brainstorm ideas for new lists that I could develop. I started with the idea of a kink book, and the idea of a sexuality list flowed naturally from there.
By Ricky Tucker | This portion of my July 26, 2020, interview with preeminent trans advocate, model, and icon Gia Love was pure joy for me on a lazy Sunday afternoon. She is a joy to be around, and accordingly, in the aftermath of a summer stricken with the murders of Black, trans, and Black trans people (which we discussed), I wanted to ask her about how she finds and leans into joy during these cruel times as a thinking and socially engaged person sitting at the intersection of those identities. Luckily, the concept of trans joy is central to her ethos, pathos, and logos. She also cast a spotlight on some of the limits of the not-for-profit industrial complex when servicing Black women of trans experience. Enjoy.
By Gabel Strickland | The proud subversiveness of a pirate’s lifestyle often makes them a heroic figure for the marginalized. For the politically, socially, and economically oppressed, pirates are a vessel (get it?) through which to see their own liberation, representation, and revolt against the powers that be. At sea, the enslaved can be free, the disenfranchised can vote, people can even create new identities—and legends—around themselves.
Whip out that #OscarsSoMale hashtag. This year, the Academy snubbed such filmmakers as Gina Prince-Bythewood, Maria Schrader, Sarah Polley, and Charlotte Wells as Best Director nominees. In “The Wrong Kind of Women,” Naomi McDougall Jones writes that this snubbery—read: discrimination—owes itself to “the film industry’s fetishization of the male ‘genius’ auteur filmmaker.” Must the patriarchy be so basic? At least Sarah Polley took home a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for her film “Women Talking.”
By Kristen Joiner | “So, you’ve been a feminist and worked in human rights your whole career?” Judy Heumann asked me the first time we met to discuss the possibility of writing her memoir. “Right.” “And you never knew disability was a civil rights issue?” Since I’d already owned up to this, I nodded again. “So, what makes you think you can write my story?”
By Naomi McDougall Jones | For female directors fortunate enough to be working, they can expect the average production budget for their film to be smaller than those of their male peers. Film budgets shrink by 20 percent when a woman has the starring role due to untrue but enduring industry “common knowledge” that “no one wants to see films about women.” Since female directors are more likely to either choose or be given films with female leading characters, they disproportionately suffer from these smaller budgets that are assigned to such films.
A Q&A with Jasmine Brown | In college, I dreamed of becoming a physician and a national leader who would make a positive impact in many people’s lives. But I was acutely aware of how few Black women there were in senior positions within the medical field, such as the dean of a medical school or chair of a medical department. Black women physicians are even underrepresented at the level of professorship in many medical schools. So, I worried that my career would be severely restricted by a glass ceiling imposed upon me due to my race and gender.
A Q&A with Gayle Wald | It’s fantastic to see Tharpe getting all kinds of recognition, especially from young people and artists like Lizzo. I should also say that there are musicians and people in the gospel world who always cherished her, so the world is catching up with them.
All right. 2022 has been cute—in a We-Lumbered-Through-Yet-Another-Plague-Year kind of way—but now it’s giving shabby and dogged. That’s right. Time to sashay away and to do so with some grace and dignity. But before then, we need to give it up for our authors and staff who blessed Beacon Broadside with their words and insight.
You don’t know Rosa Parks. Not really. Not the way you know about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Unless you have read Jeanne Theoharis’s NAACP Image Award-winning “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” you are familiar with Parks’s Cliff Notes claim to civil rights fame taught in school and not much else. Until Theoharis’s biography was published in 2013, there was no serious footnote or book about her. Let that sink in. Six decades of activism, and not a single book! And more recently, there hadn’t been a feature documentary made about her either. Until now.
Talk about an affront to human life. In a bait-and-switch tactic to push the Right’s anti-immigrant message, FL Governor Ron DeSantis paid to send 50 migrants like cattle on an airplane from San Antonio, TX, to Martha’s Vineyard, MA. The migrants were told they’d land in Boston, where they could get expedited work papers. On top of that, hundreds of thousands of people across Puerto Rico are waiting for water and power to be restored after Hurricane Fiona knocked out power lines and collapsed infrastructure with massive flooding. A rough way for Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month to start.
By Pamela D. Toler | In the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, the kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa, in what is now the Republic of Benin, employed troops of trained full-time women soldiers who fought alongside their male counterparts. The Europeans who encountered them in the eighteenth century dubbed the Dahomean soldiers “black Amazons.” The Dahomeans called them abosi (the king’s wives) or minos (our mothers).
Nobody wanted long COVID on our collective pandemic Bingo card, but there it is. In her “The Daily Show” interview, OG disability rights badass Judy Heumann told Trevor Noah that the likelihood of his acquiring a disability, temporary or permanent, was statistically high. He took her statement as a threat in jest, but there’s truth in that for us.