Everything else

Saturday Links: Stand With Wendy Edition

A state senator talks for 13 hours straight to defend women’s rights, and other acts of bravery as reported online.


Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis being congratulated by her colleague, State Sen. José Rodríguez.

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis being congratulated by her colleague, State Sen. José Rodríguez.

On Tuesday, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, walked into the Texas Capitol building wearing a back brace, pink sneakers, and a heart full of defiance to complete a 13-hour filibuster that prevented the state’s Senate Bill 5 from passing. SB5 threatened to close 37 of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas, which would have effectively made it impossible for women in Texas to exercise their reproductive rights. According to the state’s archaic filibuster rules, Davis wasn’t allowed to lean on a desk, go to the bathroom, or take any breaks; she had to stand there and talk nonstop the whole time (13 hours!) in an attempt to run out the clock and prevenot the vote from happening before the midnight deadline. As she bravely defended women’s right to choose what happens to our bodies, support was mounting across the state, the country, and the world. I watched the live feed on YouTube (not one major news outlet covered it as it was happening) and live-tweeted with thousands of others with a mixture of excitement and nervousness—the filibuster was interrupted a few times, and opposing senators did everything they could to find Davis in violation of filibuster rules. Moments before midnight, Senator Leticia Van de Putte, after not being recognized by the Senate chair, calmly asked a question:

She is a stone-cold badass! And so is Davis, who succeeded in running out the clock, only to find that other senators broke the rules and voted after midnight anyway. Thankfully, the vote did not count, and SB5 did not pass. The entire night really galvanized the need to keep fighting for women’s rights, and it was amazing to see the lengths people will go to in order to protect them.

In other good legal news, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law that barred the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages as legal unions, unconstitutional on Wednesday! Though this does not mean that same-sex marriages are legal everywhere in the U.S., it DOES mean that the federal government will finally recognize same-sex partners when it comes to things like insurance benefits, immigration, and filing taxes. The court also ruled that California’s Proposition 8, which prevented same-sex marriages in the state, is unconstitutional, and that marriages there could resume immediately. We’re a few steps closer to getting rid of what President Obama called “discrimination enshrined in law.” Happy Pride month!



That’s next week’s New Yorker cover, in honor of the overturning of DOMA. It’s called “Moment of Joy.” And here’s a collection of New Yorker covers through the years about same-sex unions.


Our beloved Jessica put together this great oral history of Liz Phair’s album Exile in Guyville. Do you know that album? It came out 20 years ago, when I was 23, and it quickly became one of those records that you just obsessively and exclusively listen to for six months straight, and it changed something in me. It made me feel a little braver and more justified in my actions and decisions and a little less willing to be treated badly, especially by men. It lifted me up like a balloon and just made me happier. In 1993 it honestly felt like no girls had to take shit from guys anymore now that this record existed. It sounds silly now, but it was that momentous a work of art—it was quiet and feminine and COULD NOT be ignored. Go listen to it, then read Jessica’s piece, in which a guy who knew Phair when she was making Exile says, “I do recall having one very long conversation about music with her, where she passionately argued to me that there were a lot of teenage girls out there who were waiting for music they could relate to, and she was making her music specifically for them.” And then, if you feel like going down an Exile in Guyville rabbithole like I did after reading it, take a look at this prequel of sorts, which might lead you here, where you can download all three of the demo tapes, recorded by Phair alone in her parents’ basement, that would eventually lead to her masterpiece.



Hunx from Hunx and His Punx is getting his own advice column at Flavorwire! That means all the down-and-dirty questions you can think of should make their way to his inbox (email askhunx@gmail.com). I bet his answers will be beyond perfect.

I think the UK-born pop star Charli XCX is perfect too—but for some reason she just hasn’t exploded in the U.S. yet. Strange, considering that she wrote Icona Pop’s mega-hit “I Love It” (then again, not that many people know she did). This Grantland article tries to answer why she hasn’t made it big yet and whether anyone can really make it as an “alt-pop” star.

Boring people—who probably know nothing about art—can be all, “EW! MENSTRUAL BLOOD IN ART! GROSS!” As Hrag Vartanian points out on Hyperallergic, Calm Down, Menstrual Blood Art Isn’t a Big Deal. In fact, it even has its own name: menstrala. Get with the program, world.

Rookie’s own Gabby wrote this amazing piece on alternative kids’ birthday party themes, and obviously they’re hilarious. I’m partial to the LinkedIn party, because I really want to see a room full of toddlers play “Marketing, Marketing, Blogging” clutching party favors like this:


Amy Rose

Rachel Jeantel

Rachel Jeantel

Much of the media coverage and public conversations surrounding Rachel Jeantel, the star witness of the Trayvon Martin murder trial, have been racist, disgusting, and cruel. Jeantel is a full-bodied, dark-skinned black teenager of Haitian descent who speaks three languages, and her dialect and speaking style have brought out some very ugly bigotry in people.

Here’s the quick backstory: Jeantel was Martin’s good friend and the last person to speak to him before George Zimmerman shot him dead in Sanford, Florida. If you’re unfamiliar with the case, Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch coordinator, called the police on and then began following Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, on the street for no apparent reason other than that he looked “real suspicious” (read: was black). The two men got in a fight (the details of this are unclear, but Zimmerman has said he did not believe that his life was in danger), and then Zimmerman killed Martin with a gun. The case has brought out a lot prejudice, first immediately following the murder, and now at the trial.

This essay on Global Grind does an excellent job of deconstructing why the things many people are saying about Jeantel (and her general treatment in this trial) are total dog vomit, and how admirable it is that she has remained unwavering and confident despite the way Zimmerman’s defense condescends to her.


There were several great reads about Rachel Jeantel’s aforementioned testimony and how she has been treated by attorneys and the mainstream media, including Brittney Cooper’s piece at Salon about how Jeantel has been labeled “combative.” “These kinds of terms—combat, aggression, anger,” writes Cooper, “stalk black women, especially black women who are dark-skinned and plus-sized like Rachel, at every turn, seeking to discredit the validity of our experiences and render invisible our traumas.” Jeantel’s court appearance was among several stories this week about women speaking for ourselves. There was also Wendy Davis and Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the DOMA case. It all got me thinking a lot about how hard we have to fight to have any accepted reality that isn’t history or morality according to who’s in power (white men). And how the real struggles of women in this country to live with humanity and dignity are all but invisible to the powers that be because so much of everything they have ever known is privilege. And about the (wrong) notion that women or children or poor people or people who live with active and inherited racism and/or discrimination every minute of their lives should just be able to yank ourselves up by our bootstraps and live according to the privileged class’s rules about what is right and wrong. I felt confused and infuriated by so many things that were orbiting around those ideas.


Britt Julious’s piece at WBEZ about how even the most famous black women in pop culture are still never considered “good enough” was super on-the-spot and did some whip-cracking on these tired conversations about whether Beyoncé (or whoever!) is a feminist or not. Those are among the arguments that fractured feminism in the ’60s and ’70s—I always think of them as signs that we feminists have internalized the patriarchy telling us that we are not good enough. Regarding Beyoncé, Julious writes: “If we seek to promote the value in feminism and challenge the negative connotations of feminism in the public eye, tearing down a performer who speaks openly about women doing right for themselves, who literally called herself a feminist, does more harm than good.” Hear, hear.


Meet Aaralyn O’Neil, the most bad-ass girl in the world. In this clip from America’s Got Talent, the six-year-old sings her original song “Zombie Skin” with her brother Isaiah on drums, and it’s the most surprising, mind-blowing performance on a TV singing competition since Susan Boyle. Yup, I went there.



On Monday, I read a blog post by the actor Stephen Fry that has stayed with me all week. His reflections on the kindness and attention he has received since his recent suicide attempt are moving. It hurt me to think such a bright and wise person could have left the world that way, and that it happens all the time. It was a clarifying reminder to check my own sensitivity towards those in my life who are battling mental illness. I cannot begin to understand what it’s like to have those battles, and that’s what can be so frustrating about seeing loved ones, friends, and people I admire go through them. Fry eloquently and honestly brought to mind that I just don’t know, can’t know, and shouldn’t TRY to know—but I can respect and honor people’s struggles, and support them by just being there for them. His thoughts on loneliness also felt so relatable, and gave me yet another reminder/humanity-check—that regardless of what we have or don’t have in our material, career, or love lives, emotions are still inescapably part of us. It’s OK to feel lonely or sad even when I’m surrounded by bright people and/or when life is vibrant, because I am a PERSON. “Feelings are not something to which one does or does not have rights,” Fry writes. The most respect we can pay him—and ourselves—is to acknowledge that we all have the right to be people, and that means to have feelings. No matter what happens.

Emma S.


Sometimes, when the day is too hot and work seems impossible, you turn to a live video feed of snow leopards at a zoo in Sweden. Mostly they curl up and sleep, and their little spots get bigger and smaller when they breathe, but they also make everything alright. Thank you, snow leopards! ♦


  • Lascelles June 29th, 2013 12:07 PM

    What a week :D

  • Chloe22 June 29th, 2013 12:23 PM

    I absolutely respect everyone and have had friends of every political and religious belief. But it is a bit frustrating for this website to just assume every girl (or guy) on this site is pro abortion. This website acts as if you can’t be a pro life feminist, and if you are your shunned and a patriarchal white male sexist. Well, no. I am a 15 year girl who is a vegetarian and hopes to be a fashion designer one day. I do not believe rape is part of God’s plan, I do believe pregnancy through rape is a possibility. I believe in science. And through my belief in science, I have found that that ”blob of tissue” is a human being. A fetus can feel pain far sooner than Planned Parenthood tells us. And my father is a diabetic. He could easily get severe neuropathy, which affects his ability to feel pain. If it got really bad, would it be moral for me to kill him? Also, my father is the son of a mother who had him when she was 16 years old, his father leaving her before he was born. I have known many families with teen mothers. They will tell you: It’s no cake walk. It’s hard. They wish they ahdn’t gotten pregnant. But that unborn child had nothing to do with the decision. I love Rookie and all the D.I.Y’s, and the way I don’t have to hate boybands to feel smart on here. But please don’t pretend pro life feminist girls don’t exist. Because we do.

    • Tavi June 29th, 2013 6:19 PM

      We have talked about whether or not one can be a pro-life feminist before, so I don’t think we ignore that question entirely. At the same time, Rookie tries to represent a set of values that is underrepresented in other mainstream media, and there is plenty of other media (even school-distributed) to tell you that abortion is wrong and bad for women and bad for children. We have a point-of-view, and we try to include all kinds, but this huge thing happened this week and so we wrote about it. We wrote about it as a victory, and we did so without saying that a grown man who can’t feel pain is the same as a “blob of tissue,” we did so without generalizing the stories of teen moms everywhere. You clarify that your stance here is a belief. We have beliefs, too. 37 out of 42 Texas abortion clinics closing would support anti-abortion beliefs, 42 out of 42 staying open supports all beliefs. If someone doesn’t want to get an abortion, they don’t have to, but if a teenager is pregnant and their circumstances are more limiting than those of the teen moms you’ve known, we believe they should have that option.

    • hanalady June 30th, 2013 2:02 AM

      that there are a lot of reasons why someone would get an abortion besides the typical narrative of “poor uneducated teenager who still wants to go to college.” although that narrative is real and valid, many abortions happen because a pregnant woman who planned her pregnancy and wanted a child discovered that there was something horribly wrong with her pregnancy–it was ectopic (implanted outside the uterus), exposed to a severe virus, had the Tay-Sachs gene, had another genetic mutation that would leave them unable to lead a meaningful life, etc. i know someone who discovered her unborn child had a heart problem that would cause it to die within months of birth, and decided to abort rather than put herself, her husband, and her child through that. i also know a woman who is taking very necessary medication for her OCD that would cause birth defects if she took it while pregnant. If she were to get pregnant accidentally she would probably opt to get an abortion because going 9 months without her medication would be extremely unsafe for her mental health. basically there are many reasons for abortion besides the ones we usually hear.

  • taste test June 29th, 2013 12:53 PM

    all these links are great this week, but that America’s Got Talent video blew my mind. Aaralyn is my new musical hero. I hope she grows up to lead the most badass black metal band ever.


  • SiLK June 29th, 2013 12:55 PM

    Living it he UK but wrapped up in feminist news, I walk about like “how on earth do you not know what women in Texas have been going through!!!”, my heart is really there with them rallying.
    I also love the party themes!


  • flapperhatgirl June 29th, 2013 1:24 PM


    I don’t know what to say… He’s one of my favorite actors, and I can’t belive it… I’m very glad that he’s been able to cope, but this is very upseting to me… I hope he’ll be OK.

  • CaseyZL June 29th, 2013 1:42 PM

    While this certainly has been a wild, and in many ways exciting, week with regards to changes US laws and policy our work is NOT over. In the same week that DOMA and prop 8 were thrown out the Voting Rights Act was repealed, meaning that communities of color will face (even more) obstacles when it comes to exercising their right to vote, the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act was struck down. For more on this topic and why we can’t run a victory lap yet read this:


    • Danielle June 29th, 2013 1:53 PM

      Thank you, Casey, for this reminder – there is still a lot of work to do.

  • KatGirl June 29th, 2013 2:31 PM

    snow leopard bebbehs :)

  • KatGirl June 29th, 2013 2:32 PM

    The pics from NPR’s story were also really sweet, especially numbers 2 and 6. :)

  • Ari T June 29th, 2013 4:09 PM

    Even though we won that round, the bill which Wendy Davis fought is still going to pass in the special session.

  • cole123 June 29th, 2013 4:33 PM

    This was a particularly awesome saturday link: Wendy Davis, Hunx and that hilarious little girl! Awesome!!

  • AidaA June 29th, 2013 5:04 PM

    I remember being so shocked when I heard about Stephen but reading his blog entry brought me close to tears. Everyone goes on saying ‘He’s a national treasure, he’s a national treasure’ and he is, and we love him but sometimes it seems so easy to forget that he is a real person. I hope he’s okay



  • artobsessed June 29th, 2013 5:22 PM

    when this happened, i was proud to be a texan for a day LOL

    • wallflower152 July 1st, 2013 11:05 AM

      Me too! It was nice for the world to see that we’re not all uneducated, tobacco-chewing cowboys. I was so inspired by Wendy’s strength and bravery. In response to Chloe22, I think reproductive rights are one of the most important aspects of feminism. Being pro-choice does not equal being pro-every woman who has an unplanned pregnancy should get an abortion. It means that each woman should have say over what happens in her body. I personally would never get an abortion unless I was raped or if my life was in danger, etc. But I do believe every woman has the right to choose for herself based on her circumstances what is right for her. I strongly believe that women should take charge of their reproductive selves BEFORE they are faced with this big decision.

  • dianabanana June 29th, 2013 8:33 PM

    all i can say is yes yES YES YES

  • MeBeKi June 30th, 2013 12:44 AM

    Life, man, LIFE!


  • unicornconnect June 30th, 2013 8:16 AM

    That girl on americas got talent is the baddest, awesomest, most rebel girl ever. It just pissed me off how the judges and the crowd were like “hahah, a little girl screaming oh my god lets all laugh and pee our pants over how adorable that is.” I need to hear lullaby crash. I need to.

  • kathryn-s June 30th, 2013 12:32 PM

    So utterly amazing. I can’t imagine going that long without drinking water or leaning against something and still remaining on topic. ~*~A true hero~*~

  • Princess Mononoke June 30th, 2013 12:54 PM

    Wow, all of these are great. 13 hours straight! Talking, that’s like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

  • Imogen_Miss_Tutu June 30th, 2013 1:30 PM

    Senator Leticia Van de Putte made me cry when she asked her question. I don’t know why! Maybe it’s her tone of voice or simply how true her statement is. I truly admire her and Senator Wendy Davis. They are my heroes!

    Have a nice Sunday afternoon Rookie! :)

    Imogen xoxo

    • febreezick July 1st, 2013 4:47 AM

      I can totally understand why, she communicated such resilience and strength. Did you know that she attended her father’s funeral before coming to that special session? Her dedication is astounding.

  • alienbabe July 1st, 2013 1:40 AM

    I wish I was that cool as a 6 year old!


  • febreezick July 1st, 2013 4:45 AM

    I recently saw Marina & the Diamonds on tour, and Charli XCX was the opening act. In fact, she was able to write that song for Icona Pop because Icona Pop opened for Marina & the Diamonds before her and that connection facilitated! Anyway, she was ridiculously good and incredibly magnetic. She’s a great performer and artist and I do sincerely hope she has a successful career. As a side note, I’m incredibly surprised that no one on this site has written about Marina & the Diamonds (or Lana Del Rey tbh) because they go so well together in my mind!

  • vvk97 July 1st, 2013 11:03 AM

    My favorite Saturday links so far. From the AGT girl who made me smile to the (finally) good news on LGBT and women’s rights, this was incredible!

  • kelsey August 16th, 2013 11:26 AM

    I have a truly honest question, and I’m not trying to start angry debate or anything – but if we are truly interested in standing up for the rights and equal treatment of women, why aren’t we considering the women who would be 40 years old this year if they hadn’t been aborted in 1973?

    Ha! I always knew Bert and Ernie were a thing.