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Despite a society hellbent on silencing their stories, there will always be nasty women, fragile women, slutty women…difficult women.  

Roxane Gay’s “Difficult Women” went to print at a time when the United States was putting its first female Presidential nominee against its most vehemently and openly misogynistic candidate in this century. To beat that female nominee, the misogynist would use labels: “liar,” “criminal,” “traitor,” and more. The label that would later unite women across the US against him, however, would be “nasty woman.” He would follow up with “lying woman,” “frigid woman,” “man-eating woman,” and “crazy woman” before the end of the election. These labels are the very root of Roxane Gay’s “Difficult Women”, a book about feminine labels, create at a time when the leader of the free world tried so hard to reduce women to labels, and the women found the strength to push them back. In fact, 2017 could be called the “Year of the Difficult Woman”. From the indictment of white women for electing Trump the black women who saved Alabama from itself, the pink pussy-hatted woman, silenced and disrespected women of Congress, as well as the most prominent difficult women, those of the #MeToo movement. The year was all about women marching, speaking up and speaking out against the sexual harassment that men once thought was their birthright. It was as if the Universe had read Gay’s work and decided to have it acted out in a single year. In 21 stories and 256 pages, Gay explores the labels given to women in today’s society when that woman becomes something other than compliant. She takes the label, distorts it with the image of the woman carrying it. That distortion reduces the woman to a character that is still human, but now she is her label but is more palatable to a reader who has been conditioned to NOT see past the label. By the end of the story, the reader has no choice but to see the strength and power that underlies every woman as she struggles under the auspices of the label. The reader must empathize with her or simply gather an understanding and move on. This is how each woman fared in the 21 stories.
Related: 2017 IS THE YEAR WHITE FEMINISM CHECKED HERSELF INTO HOSPICE AND REFUSED TO DIE

We must hold celebrity friends and colleagues of Misty Upham accountable for not speaking out; she is exactly who #TimesUp should be fighting for.

by Abaki Beck [TW/CW: Mentions of sexual violence and rape] This year’s Golden Globes were decidedly different than years past. Attendees wore black in solidarity with the #TimesUp campaign. Eight actresses brought activists combating sexual violence and gender inequity as their guests. The recent attention to the pervasiveness of sexual assault in Hollywood was not entirely swept under the red carpet. Yet perhaps unexpectedly, one individual was left completely unacknowledged: Misty Upham. Misty Upham was a rising Blackfeet actress who was featured in critically acclaimed films like “Django Unchained”, “Frozen River” and “August: Osage County”. She was also raped by a Weinstein Company executive at the 2013 Golden Globes and died under mysterious circumstances in 2014. In the era of #TimesUp and #MeToo, her story cannot be forgotten. In October 2014, Upham was found dead in a ravine on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Washington state after having been missing for 11 days. The exact details of Upham’s death are still unclear. Her family has maintained that she fell while fleeing from the police; Upham had been involuntarily admitted for psychiatric care by police on multiple occasions, including just weeks before her death. When Upham went missing, Native social media went ablaze: she was not just an actress in Hollywood, she was one of us. She reminded us of our cousins, our aunties, or ourselves. Upham was not just an individual disappearance or death; she was one of thousands of missing Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada.
Related: WE’RE NOT SHOCKED THAT THE GOLDEN GLOBES LACKED IN REPRESENTATION

White women have a legacy of protecting white men, even if it means hindering their own progress and especially when it means gaslighting Black women.

[TW- mention of sexual assault.] Men who attack and harass women, other men, non-binary, trans and gender non-conforming people live in our social circles. It’s a culture and it’s unavoidable but when we find out that someone we know has acted poorly or worse, generally, they are no longer invited out with the gang. Unless you’re Lena Dunham in which case you just claim, “insider knowledge” and accuse the victim of being part of the 3% of made up claims. Before you slide up in my Twitter mentions with your outrage, I know that Dunham issued a statement apologizing for her earlier remarks. We’re going to talk about that too and lay out why it compounds the bullshit of the original issue.

The Problem with Her First Statement

https://twitter.com/lenadunham/status/931672937308057600 When Murray Miller was accused of raping (not just inappropriate sexual comments or touching but sexual assault) of a then 17-year-old actress, Aurora Perrineau, who happens to be a woman of color. Dunham came forward to say that she supports her friend alluding to some “behind the scenes information.” When the accused were not in her circle, she was quick to “stand with victims” and denounce the bad behavior. As soon as it was one of her friends — Miller works as a writer on her show, Girls — suddenly things aren’t so black and white. It is difficult to ignore the racial dynamics of Dunham’s statements, Perrineau is a biracial Black woman, one of the few to have made an appearance on Girls and for Dunham, who is white, to protect a cisgender white man adds layers to the racialization of rape and rape culture. White women have a legacy of protecting and electing white men, even if it means hindering their own progress. The misogynoir runs deep. This is made worse by Dunham’s position in the world. She is a well-known “feminist” actor and author. She is influential and many women see her as a voice to be listened to. Right or wrong, this is the place that Dunham occupies in our media landscape.  
Related: LENA DUNHAM “GRABBED PUSSY” COSTUME INSULTS TRUMP VICTIMS

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