Bitch ListChaos

Hexing as Activism 

In these dark times, witches have answered our collective distress signal, stepping forward to make sure justice is served, fighting patriarchy and other systems of oppression, and hexing all those who have done wrong. Witches in Brooklyn hosted a hex party for Donald Trump, and other New York witches hexed Martin Shkreli after he raised the price of hiv drug Daraprim. Chicago witches put a hex on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and real estate developers transforming the Logan Square neighborhood and also cast a protective spell on the area to address the problems of affordable housing and gentrification. Hundreds of witches around the world participated in a hexing of Stanford rapist Brock Turner, his father, and his sentencing judge, Aaron Persky. While we rub our hands together and wait to see what mischief will come from these hexings, we can go to sleep every night comforted by the knowledge that there are witches among us watching out for us all.  —Dahlia Grossman-Heinze

Spot On

This app from Planned Parenthood literally knows everything about birth control and your period. Every day it offers fun and useful facts or a period slang definition. Plus, it has helpful Planned Parenthood resources. It makes the chaos of “omg why is my period late?” or “Shit, my period came way early and wrecked my favorite panties!” bearable. Each day you enter information about your mood, period, action, and body, which sounds like a boring task that you’ll forget to do, but all of the options are accompanied with emojis! If tracking your period with emojis and daily facts isn’t enough to get you to download the app, Spot On is very well designed and it has great transitions, illustrations, and animations that make using it a real treat. —Alex Gregory

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

When Jane Jacobs first published The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961, the book was a subversive bombshell. And that’s just what she intended—the first line of the text is, “This book is an attack on current city planning and rebuilding.” To counter planners who push to raze “slums” and bulldoze neighborhoods to make way for more regimented private development, Jacobs argues that the diversity and motley mixed-use nature of cities is what makes them vibrant, dynamic, and successful. While freeway-loving planners like Robert Moses had power and connections on their side, Jacobs’s radical ideas about the importance of pedestrian-friendly streets packed with churches, bodegas, and bars found a home in the hearts of many. Random House reprinted Jacobs’s now classic urbanist book with a new introduction this fall to celebrate its 55th anniversary and its message in praise of chaos is just as timely as ever. —Sarah Mirk

Rupi Kaur  

It started with an Instagram photo of sweatpants stained with period blood and ended with a New York Times bestseller. Rupi Kaur is a 24-year-old poet who rose to social media fame after Instagram removed the photo depicting a dramatized account of her menstrual cycle for a college course. The Toronto-based Sikh artist started doing spoken word at age 17 in the basement of a Punjabi community health center in Ontario and hasn’t stopped since. Her first illustrated book of poetry, Milk and Honey, focuses on dysfunctional family systems, sexual assault, and finding life after abusive relationships. This is poetry for people who don’t like poems—they’re short, personal, and leave you shocked with emotion you didn’t know you could feel from a four- or six-line poem. —Emily McCarty

Depression: A Public Feeling  

“Depressed? It might be political!” In her book, author Ann Cvetkovich suggests that seeing depression as a purely medical ailment obscures the cultural violence that “takes the form of systematically making us feel bad.” She looks at how disconnection from land and lineage can manifest as depression for diasporic and Indigenous people, and examines the ways that depression shows up in art produced by marginalized folks, including riot grrrl song lyrics, the melodramatic performances of queer cabaret, and feminist installation art inspired by the diy aesthetics of punk subculture. This is a book about depression but it is far from depressing; it explores the messy truth about how it feels to live in the midst of cultural violence while also offering hope for a way out. —Rebecca Koon

Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art

Transgender history is a crucial part of American history—regardless of whether or not mainstream cultural institutions have caught up to this fact. Trans artist Chris E. Vargas’s Museum of Transgender Hirstory joins the long and delightfully disruptive legacy of trans historians and artists in archiving trans communities’ great works. Not content to wait until the construction of a physical museum is complete, MOTHA currently exists as “a series of autonomous off-site experiences around the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the world.” Through culturally resonant exhibits such as “Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects” MOTHA displays the work of often lesser known influencers along with contemporary greats for a new generation and in doing so “insists on an expansive and unstable definition of transgender, one that is able to encompass all trans and gender non-conformed art and artists.” —Britt Ashley

This article was published in Chaos Issue #73 | Winter 2017

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