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Anxious Breath

An Autoethnographic Exploration of Non-binary Queerness, Vulnerability, and Recognition in Step Out

Lara Bochmann and Erin Hampson

Abstract

This article is a theoretical, audiovisual, and personal exploration of being a trans and non-binary person and the challenges this position produces at the moment of entering the outside world. Getting ready to enter public space is a seemingly mundane everyday task. However, in the context of a world that continuously fails or refuses to recognize trans and non-binary people, the literal act of stepping outside can mean to move from a figurative state of self-determination to one of imposition. We produced a short film project called Step Out to delve into issues of vulnerability and recognition that surface throughout experiences of crossing the threshold into public space. It explores the acts performed as preparation to face the world, and invokes the emotions this can conquer in trans and non-binary people. Breathing is the leading metaphor in the film, indicating existence and resistance simultaneously. The article concludes with a discussion of affective states and considers them, along with failed recognition, through the lens of Lauren Berlant's concept of “cruel optimism.”

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“Because There Are Young Women Behind Me”

Learning from the Testimonios of Young Undocumented Women Advocates

Carolina Silva

Abstract

In this article, I discuss the experiences of young undocumented Latinas, aged between 19 and 22, in a university support and advocacy group for undocumented students. While recent research has investigated the advocacy of undocumented youth, there is a lack of attention on the experiences of undocumented women who advocate. To address this gap, I center the testimonios (testimonies) of five young undocumented women to examine their advocacy experiences. As a result of advocacy, the young women gained visibility as immigrant youth leaders, created a pipeline of support for other young undocumented women leaders, and faced disapproval from educators. I conclude by suggesting that schools and educators can foster the leadership of young undocumented women and acknowledge advocacy as a legitimate tool for social justice in education settings.

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Chalk Back

The Girl and Youth-Led Street Art Movement to #StopStreetHarassment

Natasha Harris-Harb and Sophie Sandberg

The Chalk Back movement that started in March 2016 is a rapidly growing collective of over 150 young activists from around the world. As part of a university class project, Sophie decided to collect experiences of street harassment, write them out verbatim with chalk on the streets where they occurred alongside the hashtag #stopstreetharassment, and post them on the Instagram account @catcallsofnyc. Two years later, the account gained popularity. Other catcallsof accounts opened in London, Amsterdam, Ottawa, Dhaka, Nairobi, Cairo, and Sydney. These accounts, discussed below, are just a few of those spanning 150 cities in 49 countries in 6 continents. We are two Chalk Back members—Natasha from Ottawa and Sophie from New York City—highlighting the risk, empowerment, and power dynamics of what we call chalking back by amplifying the voices of those doing this work around the world.

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Close to You

Karen Carpenter and the Body-Martyr in Queer Memory

Julian Binder

Abstract

There has been much thought given to role of the body as a site of political, physiological, and cultural negotiation. What place then does the beloved and astonishingly affective singer of 1970s soft-rock, Karen Carpenter, occupy in this weighty discourse? Karen's death from complications related to her eating disorder in 1983 shocked the public, eliciting a new wave of cultural consciousness about the embodied nature of mental illness. But beyond the stereotypical white suburban Carpenters fan, Karen and her story had already become a cult favorite amongst the queer avant-garde as soon as four years after death, a mysterious phenomenon that I argue is decidedly queer in its emotional trafficking of Karen's subjectivity, among other areas. This essay explores the ways in which our bodies double as cultural repositories, as hallowed sites of memory, and as icons of martyrdom with the capacity to emit a healing resonance analogous to their fabricated religious counterparts. I must admit, this paper might also be guilty of occasionally engaging in the typical essentializing tendency toward Karen's personhood. For her sake then, reader, I ask you to ponder the following question with the same aversion to neat finality that you apply to your own story as you flip the page: who really was Karen Carpenter?

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Andrew J. Ball

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Claudia Mitchell

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Groped and Gutted

Hollywood's Hegemonic Reimagining of Counterculture

Samantha Eddy

Abstract

The realm of horror provides a creative space in which the breakdown of social order can either expose power relations or further cement them by having them persist after the collapse. Carol Clover proposed that the 1970s slasher film genre—known for its sex and gore fanfare—provided feminist identification through its “final girl” indie invention. Over three decades later, with the genre now commercialized, this research exposes the reality of sexual and horrific imagery within the Hollywood mainstay. Using a mixed-methods approach, I develop four categories of depiction across cisgender representation in these films: violent, sexual, sexually violent, and postmortem. I explore the ways in which a white, heterosexist imagination has appropriated this once productive genre through the violent treatment of bodies. This exposes the means by which hegemonic, oppressive structures assimilate and sanitize counter-media. This article provides an important discussion on how counterculture is transformed in capital systems and then used to uphold the very structures it seeks to confront. The result of such assimilation is the violent treatment and stereotyping of marginalized identities in which creative efforts now pursue new means of brutalization and dehumanization.

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Hopeful, Harmless, and Heroic

Figuring the Girl Activist as Global Savior

Jessica K. Taft

Abstract

There has been a notable increase in the public visibility of girl activists in the past ten years. In this article, I analyze media narratives about several individual girl activists to highlight key components of the newly desirable figure of the girl activist. After tracing the expansion of girl power discourses from an emphasis on individual empowerment to the invocation of girls as global saviors, I argue that girls are particularly desirable figures for public consumption because the encoding of girls as symbols of hope helps to resolve public anxieties about the future, while their more radical political views are managed through girlhood's association with harmlessness. Ultimately, the figure of the hopeful and harmless girl activist hero is simultaneously inspirational and demobilizing.

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The Inheritance of Activism

Does Social Capital Shape Women's Lives?

Supriya Baily, Gloria Wang, and Elisabeth Scotto-Lavino

Abstract

In the call for proposals for this special issue, activist networks were defined as virtual or in person communities devoted to social change. The impact for girls active in these networks has been shown to promote identity development and de-marginalization/empowerment/reclamation of political spaces where girls are marginalized, intergenerational collaboration among women, and community building among feminists. In this study, we seek to explore how women at different generational points reflect on and remember their engagement in social activism. Understanding how these generational shifts affect the impact of social capital on the lives of these women and the changes we might see as they mature into leaders will provide a platform to better understand the influence of belonging to such networks during girlhood.

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Introduction

Visibility and Screen Politics after the Transgender Tipping Point

Wibke Straube