January 9, 2019
A new study by Amnesty International finds that women of color, especially Black and Latinx women, are more likely than any other demographic group to be targeted by online abuse. Black women are 84 percent more likely than white women to be targeted, and they receive more tweets that qualify as abuse (as opposed to merely problematic) than white women do. Latinx women get more threats of physical violence, while Asian women face more slurs based on their ethnicity, race, and religion. Mixed-race women face abuse “across all categories including sexism, racism, [and] physical and sexual threats.” Amnesty International classifies online abuse against women as a human rights issue, and is putting pressure on Twitter to take action against the overt and unchecked abuse faced by women of color on their platform. So far, little action on Twitter’s part has been taken.
Hugh Ryan, writing for Boston Review, reviews a new collection of essays titled Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies. The collection intends to disrupt the idea that queer people in America can only live happily and successfully in urban areas, and explores the experiences of queer people living in rural America. Ryan writes that rural queer people are often overlooked in media discussions, and even by scholars and LGBTQ rights movements. The result is a tendency to associate rural queerness with tragedy—and after finding that many of the collection’s essays still focus on the negative aspects of rural life, or falsely equate the countryside with whiteness exclusively, Ryan asks: “What would it mean to consider rural queerness in a positive light?” He looks to rural queer organizations and utopian collectives, likening them to religious communities in early America. He describes them as seeking “to create queer rural oases that reject dominant American social and sexual structures.”
Back in 2013, Puerto Rican high schoolers Chachi González, Joy Díaz Marty, and Raysa Raquel Rodríguez García founded Colectivo Moriviví—an art collective with roots in an urban arts festival that is now known “for creating bold, anticolonial feminist public art across the archipelago.” Today, the collective includes numerous other young women and aims to help fellow Puerto Ricans heal from the devastation of Hurricane Maria by visually addressing “gender-based violence, reproductive and sexual liberation, climate change, anti-Black racism, colonialism, and U.S. neoliberalism” in their murals. The public nature of Colectivo Moriviví’s art is intended to be accessible to everyone, highlighting the collective’s focus on community; in fact, the group’s pieces are brainstormed, decided upon, and often painted by members of the community, especially youth and elders. García says this process is “healing for [the community] and it’s also a form of empowerment…It shows them what they’re able to achieve when they have the tools to do so.” Looking forward, Colectivo Moriviví plans to create a grassroots program to teach “muralism as activism” to other young women.