Happy New Year! I’d thought I’d kick the year off with a little look back…
The internet is full of cat videos and memes, but fortunately, it’s also full of some really fantastic stuff that has nothing to do with any of the above. I wanted to highlight a few pieces that stuck out to me in the last year (yes, they’re mostly about writing, food and bicycles – no surprise there).
Why only pieces by female writers? Because women are highly underrepresented in media of all forms. Beyond being underrepresented, there are also pay discrepancies. For example, an Indiana University survey of U.S. journalists found that women employed at newspapers in 2012 earned about $5,000 less than men.
There’s no better way to fight those statistics than to keep reporting and keep producing good creative work. With that being said, here are some excellent stories, essays and multimedia pieces that I found compelling and inspiring in the last year.
– Landays: Cries of the Pashtun Women by Eliza Griswold
“Women make up roughly half of the 42 million Pashtun people in the borderland. The kind of hardship they know is rare. Some are bought and sold, others killed for perceived slights against family honor. But this doesn’t render them passive. Most of the Pashtun women I know possess a rebellious and caustic humor beneath their cerulean burkas, which have become symbols of submission. This finds expression in an ancient form of folk poetry called landay. Two lines and 22 syllables long, they can be rather startling to the uninitiated. War, drones, sex, a husband’s manhood—these poems are short and dangerous, like the poisonous snake for which they’re named.”
– 21 Photos of Women Who Shatter the Stereotype of What a Real Biker Looks Like by Elizabeth Plank (Mic)
Ponderings on the bike gender gap and photos of real women cyclists in New York.
– Hope and Fears of the Writing Life by Sarah Menkedick (Vela Mag)
“Fear that I am the quintessential woman writer who accepts that her work is not good enough while it seems every male writer with lukewarm talent is barrel-chesting his way into New York offices publishing book after book after book. Fear of saying, fuck it, I deserve this.”
– Female Farmer Project by Audra Mulkern
The Female Farmer Project is both photo and written documentation of women in the farming world. I am a personal fan of the Saving the Icelandic Goat profile.
– Is There Such a Thing As a ‘Feminine’ Way to Ride a Bike? by Sarah Goodyear (The Atlantic CityLab)
Journalist Sarah Goodyear covers a lot of cycling topics, and I like her work in general, but this piece was particularly poignant as she gathered the thoughts of many female riders and compiled them together.
“The range of thoughtful responses demonstrates just how many ways there are to see this question. One unifying undercurrent goes back to the dawn of the bicycle era, when Susan B. Anthony famously proclaimed, “I think [bicycling] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.” Bicycles and personal freedom do still seem to go together. “
– Gravy Boat: My Week on the High Seas With Paula Deen and Friends by Caity Weaver (Gawker)
Paula Deen. Enough said.
– Real Artists Have Day Jobs by Sara Benincasa (Medium)
“Real artists have day jobs, and night jobs, and afternoon jobs. Real artists make things other than art, and then they make time to make art because art is screaming to get out from inside them. Screaming, or begging, or gently whispering.”
– 24 Women Food and Agriculture Reporters You Should Know About by Naomi Starkman (Civil Eats)
This is a wonderful resource written by the rockstar of food politics website Civil Eats, Naomi Starkman.
“Women are the backbone of today’s food media. Take a look at our site and you’ll not only see that most of our contributors are women, but many of our featured stories are focused on female food movement leaders and projects spearheaded by women. And yet, the women reporting on this issue area don’t always get the attention they deserve.”
– The GIF Guide to Getting Paid by Ann Friedman (Matter on Medium)
So this one is actually less about reporting a story, but such a useful piece for anyone who freelances and knows the pains of assessing how much your work is worth. Plus Ann Friedman is a kickass lady. And hey, it’s actually from a little over a year ago, but since I found it in 2014, it’s getting included anyway. Because you’re worth it!!