Womyn Writing Highlights #1

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Author Topaz ?
Collection Womyn Writers

We want to highlight the work of womyn writers we admire. So, we're posting some dope pieces from amazing ladies. Take a look, and make sure to send the writers your love if you like their work!

1) The Death of the Female Friendship, by Alaina Leary

It’s happening again. That’s what I remember thinking as I sat across from my best friend on her Queen-sized bed and listened to her describe her ex. I was starting to have feelings for my closest female friend.

This was a pattern I knew well, and I’d been holding my breath that it wouldn’t happen again. I was incapable of having a best friend. I fell in love with all of them. I loved every moment that came before—long nights, sitting up in the dark, telling our shittiest life stories back and forth without judgment; laughing at the same inside jokes over and over again; catching glimpses of one another and understanding what was being felt without a single word.

It was everything that happened afterward that haunted me: the death of the friendship. I just wasn’t meant to have a best friend, I figured.

2) Is Prostitution Just Another Job?, by Mac McClelland

The debate has highlighted a rift among feminists, pitting two deeply held beliefs against each other. One side argues that women should be free economic agents, capable of making choices in their own self-interest, empowered to own their sexuality and use their bodies however they choose. If Chelsea Lane wants to become a sex worker, why shouldn’t she be allowed to do it legally? Those on the other side believe that the Chelsea Lanes of the world are a tiny fraction of sex workers and that many who “choose” this life are not choosing freely or choosing at all. And, even for someone like Lane, how can that choice ever be untangled from society's persistent cultural misogyny and inequality?

But for both sides, the issue boils down to whether decriminalization makes women safer. The little research that exists doesn’t definitively settle the dispute. Some studies show that legalization, as enacted by Germany and the Netherlands, is associated with higher rates of trafficking — people being coerced or conscripted into sex work against their will. Decriminalization advocates, along with some researchers, argue that this is due to onerous regulations that can unintentionally push sex work to underground markets. (In Nevada, where prostitution is “legal,” but only in strictly regulated brothels, there were nearly 4,000 arrests for prostitution in 2014.) Some studies have found that the decriminalization of selling, but not buying, sex has led to less street prostitution; other studies have not. There’s research that finds that criminalization leads to more abuse of sex workers and research that finds an overwhelming number of sex workers want out, are traumatized, and suffer from addiction. And other research that doesn’t.

3) Report from the Field: Struggling With Creative Nepotism, by Dallas Athent

The anthology, so far, is solid, but almost all of the submissions are from unknown writers. If I included these important people, it could help us all. But the important people’s work doesn’t go along with the other stories, and including it would not be agreeable from an artistic standpoint. It’s not that the work is bad, it’s just not stylistically in line with what it is we’re doing. But I promised these emerging writers I’d do everything I could to get their work out there, and simply having these bylines on the bill would help us get reviews.

This is the level of crudeness people deal with in creative communities where success is not measured in numbers, but instead, in recognition. Writers seldom expect to be compensated in money anymore. We write for the art—and sometimes the only thing you get in return is a larger audience reading your work. I was paying the writers for this book, but the royalties would likely not amount to very much due to printing expenses. Would having a better known person in the index serve as a different sort of reward for them? Would it help push the collection? Or would keeping the book one cohesive vision allow readers to understand it better and get them talking about it, pushing more copies to be sold? I had to wonder.

4) The Women Hip-Hop Justice Warriors Of Latin America, by Danielle Marie Mackey

“La Respuesta“ (“The Answer”) is a song that I wrote when I met a Salvadoran woman. She was the nurse for a family member of mine. She told me about the problems of the violence that people face here in El Salvador. The gangs tried to recruit one of her sons, and she had to flee. The way that she told me about it was very personal, and it touched me, and I found it painful.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the violences—social and individual, from micro to macro—and then I ended up writing this song, which is a bit of a catharsis. It’s my way of contributing in some way, or you could say it’s my way of being able to change a situation that hurts me. It also helped me reawaken my Central American sensibilities. At the end of the day, national borders are invisible, right?

5) My Abortion was the Turning Point In My Life, by Kelly Fitzgerald

The gynecologist said, “Congratulations!” He sent me home with some vitamin B pills, assuming that of course I was going to carry this baby to term. My heart ached and I was devastated all over again — but I knew I could not support the life of a child.

There was no other option than to have an abortion. In Cancun (as in the majority of cities in Mexico), abortion is illegal, but I happened to know a few women who had had abortions locally. Through word-of-mouth I was given a business card of a doctor I should contact. The card didn’t say anything at all about abortions — it was very hush-hush.

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