When Hollywood, trivia, fashion, and silly jokes go into martini shaker and produce a novel: an interview with Julia Clairborne Johnson

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Story By: Pinky Hossain

As I near the end of my fourth year, I am forced to contend with the repercussions of one of the most important decisions I have made thus far: being a creative writing major. Yes, it comes with its fair share of preconceived notions, like a future involving the barista, the cardboard box, the mother’s basement, and all the rest, but there is one thing that every writer will tell you: they are crazy about writing. That’s what I saw in Julia Clairborne Johnson, a UVA alumna who just published her new book, Be Frank with Me. She reaffirmed a lot of things about writing for me — how experience shapes your writing, how much toiling is involved in the writing process, and how money can’t be the reason that you write. As Julia put it, “Novelists don’t make a lot of money. Shocker, I know, glad you were sitting down.”

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The Black Column: Black Trans Women’s Lives Matter


Story By: Taylor Lamb

Recently, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Nigerian author and feminist, said some pretty off base things about transgender women. I thought about addressing these comments, but I don’t think we need to give her any more attention. Besides, black trans women have already addressed them better than I ever could. Instead, I’d rather take the time to focus on the people who deserve it. Trans women. Specifically, black trans women, and the seven of them who were murdered in just the first three months of this year.

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Mesha Caldwell was a 41-year-old makeup artist living in Mississippi, beloved by her community. 2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people, with 26
known transgender people (the majority of them women of color) murdered. So when Mesha Caldwell was found after being shot to death onScreen Shot 2017-04-03 at 9.42.51 PM only the third day of the year, it was a very sad reminder of the terrible burdens trans women are forced to bear. Very well known in her community, Mesha “never met
a stranger” according to her neighbors. She was also known for her beauty and style. Community members admired that no matter what she put on, “It looked good on her.” Commenters on her Facebook page hope that she will “Rest in peace and power.” Mesha Caldwell was the first transgender woman to be murdered in 2017.

Mesha Caldwell. Mesha Caldwell. Mesha Caldwell.

Say her name.

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So You’re Looking for an Internship…?

Story By: Madeline Baker

It’s spring semester at UVA, and it seems everyone has one thing on his or her mind: internships. Whether an internship is paid, unpaid, summer or year round, it’s a great way to get real world experience. If you know anything about internships, though, you know that these positions are limited and really competitive. You could have a stellar GPA, awesome references, and hold a number of leadership roles on Grounds and still find yourself in intense competition for any internship. With internships this intense, why would anyone accept one that wasn’t crazy fun with super rewarding opportunities? If this criteria is describes what you are looking for, then search no further and check out the Women’s Center internship program! These year-long internships are a chance to take part in real social change on Grounds and provide participants with valuable opportunities to get involved at UVA. If you still aren’t convinced, here are 5 reasons to apply to the Women’s Center internship program for the 2017-2018 school year.

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THE BLACK COLUMN: An Introduction

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Column By: Taylor Lamb

Hey y’all. It’s me. Your favorite unapologetic, black, advocate for feminism coming at you with something new for this semester. A column. The Black Column, to be exact.

“Oh no!” One might be thinking. “They gave her another opportunity to shove her agenda down our throats?!”

Yes. Yes, they did.

So, here’s the rundown: This semester I am taking “African & African American Studies II,” taught by Professor Harold. Is this my first “black” class? Hardly. I always try to integrate my blackness into my studies in any way I can, despite not being an AAS major. But I’ve never had a platform like this. So while I get educated, I’m gonna educate y’all a little bit too.

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Teach-In (3)

Story By: Kimia Nikseresht

As an immigrant, as a follower of Islam, and as a woman, I have turned to Iris time and time again to tell my story. It may be a bit more complicated at times, but it’s not too different from yours – a journey of challenges and victories, self-exploration and set-backs, love and heartbreak, and lots and lots of laughter.

This week, though, laughter has not been an option. On the 27th of January, President Trump issued an executive order (full text here) that could have been summarized with a simple “f*** you, you muslim idiots” tweet. Here’s what the executive order did, in its most basic form: stopped all refugee admittance into the United States for 120 days, prohibited any non-US citizen born in any of the specified seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) from entering the country (regardless of their immigration status) for 90 days, and said “nah bitch” to Syrian refugees – the millions of Syrian families who are desperately searching for safety and shelter – hoping to enter the United States indefinitely. And here’s the best part: Charles Kurzman, professor at UNC Chapel Hill and an expert in Islamic Fundamentalism reminds us that “there have been zero fatalities in the U.S. by extremists from the countries on Trump’s list”.

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After reading Iris intern Taylor Lamb’s piece “The F Word,” [hyperlinked] U.K. resident Ash Moylan was moved from across the pond to submit her own story of feminist awakening. While we usually only publish the work of University of Virginia students, we thought now might be a great time to highlight a voice of global solidarity. So cheers to Ash Moylan, who has a degree in “Gender Politics,” works as a “lecture helper” in Carlisle, Cumbria, UK, drives a Fiat Panda (stick), and who is a self-described “ballsy blonde with sassy senses and a dangerous degree!”

Story By: Ash Moylan

“YOU CAN’T GO THROUGH THERE” – you haven’t got the necessary equipment,” a farmer told me when I tried to enter a tent marked “Washroom B”.

I was 8, camping with my school, and I’d assumed that the “B” distinguished it from “Washroom A”.

But no, “B” apparently stood for Boys, and I had to enter a different building entirely, and forsake the camping experience!

“The necessary equipment”? Did men really talk like that in the outside world?

I mean, I knew what he meant (this was 2002 and I had  a male cousin who peed wherever and whenever the urge took him), but I was understandably crushed.

Until I got home and told my 13 year-old female cousin, and asked her why men felt a need to run us down like that.

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