Chelsea G. Summers, Racked
If you've ever gone shopping in the women's section of any store, you may have noticed that "ladies'" clothing is distinctly missing pockets, or if there are any pockets, they're only big enough to hold a few pennies. Pockets are, as Summers wrote, "the great clothing gender divide." But it goes beyond sexism — the dichotomy has political implications. This, my friends, is the political history of pockets.
Kiese Laymon, The FADER
After 9/11, everything was fucked, but people countrywide began pasting American flags everywhere as a symbol of unity and strength in the face of terrorism. Kiese Laymon wrote beautifully in this personal essay about his perspective of the Star Spangled Banner, and why it is our nation's most fraught symbol.
Michael Schulman, The New Yorker
Model and socialite Hari Nef is having a huge moment. She's everywhere — from the NYFW runways, to Marc Jacobs's and H&M's campaign ads, and we are so with it. In this beautiful profile, Nef tells how she got signed to IMG, and how she feels about (and deals with) the implicit gender politics she represents by being a transgender woman in the public eye. Read this.
Sara Mosle, The Atlantic
Novelist and non-fiction author Nicholson Baker was a substitute teacher in Maine, and subsequently wrote a book called Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids about his experience. Though Baker only clocked in 28 days, he learned enough to write 700 pages, in which he illuminates what really goes on in middle school and high school these days, and why he wishes to erase the stifling, rigid box of the classroom.
Also in education stories this week: Upworthy reports that Baltimore's Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has replaced detention with meditation. Amazing.
Rebecca Traister, The Cut
Selma director Ava DuVernay was the first black female director to be nominated for an Oscar. Her new documentary, The 13th will debut at Sundance later this month, she co-produced and wrote Queen Sugar, which is on TV now, and her forthcoming adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time will star Oprah, and will be first $100 million film to be directed by a black woman. This woman is fire, which is why you need to read her interview on racism in Hollywood and the modern criminal-justice system.
Amara Thomas, The FADER
Skateboarding didn't start out as a boy's club, but somewhere along the line it became one. When you watch a typical skate video, it's noticeably lacking non-male bodies. But if you keep an eye out for the right ones, you'll find them — like the three New York collectives championing women skaters Thomas profiled and interviewed for this piece about skating and gender in 2016.
Naomi Skwarna, Real Life
"Anything, especially what ails you, can be framed as a do-it-yourself project," wrote Skwarna in this article about the strange delight of wikiHow, the internet's weirdest, most helpful, user-submitted (and edited, and elaborated-on) collection of how-to guides. "WikiHow took the philosophy of many minds augmenting distinct but related knowledge sets, applying it to the active parts of human, animal, and mineral behavior... wikiHow’s badness is part of its appeal; part of what makes it a place where people, 'mixed quality' as we are, want to be."