"Thanks to a generation of massive amounts of standardized testing, our students conceive education primarily as a tool for determining a ranking. The Obama administration’s policy is even called Race to the Top. We have the most read columnist in the country telling us how important it is to raise “standards” so our students don’t fall behind.
For our students’ entire lives we have communicated that the reason to learn things is not to fulfill curiosities, but to see where you stack up relative to others. Grades are no longer a proxy for learning, but a lap time determining how well they’re doing at achieving a secure financial future. Under this system, a “B” is genuine cause for distress. A “C” is a disaster that points towards a ruined life.
At the same time, we have made it increasingly difficult to pay for a genuine education. The burden of loans threatens to strangle adult lives before they really begin. It is now impossible to work your way through college. Concerns over even paying for college are also at an all-time high. We communicate that a college degree is more important than ever and then make it more difficult to achieve.
Students look at the larger culture and see not a ladder of opportunity, but a treadmill of obligation. No wonder they’re distressed."
"I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game."

Toni Morrison (via jaegerjaques)

I’ve already blogged this before but it basically sums up my entire philosophy much better than I ever could so here we are.

(via kellyzen)


[Gifset: Laverne Cox speaks at the GLAAD media awards, she says,

"Each and every one of us has the capacity to be an oppressor. I want to encourage each and every one of us to interrogate how we might be an oppressor, and how we might be able to become liberators for ourselves and each other."]



"Not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty for what guys do."

Sophie Hasty, age 13

Responding to her middle school’s ban on shorts, leggings and yoga pants for girls.

(via elledeau)

I’m glad to see these young girls are standing up for their rights and calling the school out on sexism.

(via bookoisseur)






“Repeat Rape: How do they get away with it?”, Part 1 of 2. (link to Part 2)


  1. College Men: Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists,Lisak and Miller, 2002 [PDF, 12 pages]
  2. Navy Men: Lisak and Miller’s results were essentially duplicated in an even larger study (2,925 men): Reports of Rape Reperpetration by Newly Enlisted Male Navy Personnel, McWhorter, 2009 [PDF, 16 pages]

By dark-side-of-the-room, who writes:

These infogifs are provided RIGHTS-FREE for noncommercial purposes. Repost them anywhere. In fact, repost them EVERYWHERE. No need to credit. Link to the L&M study if possible.

Knowledge is a seed; sow it.

Reblogging because I mentioned this study in a post the other day and someone reblogged & replied insinuating that I’d made it up, but I didn’t have the citation on hand right then. As I said then: rape culture is what teaches rapists that they aren’t rapists.

^ bolded for emphasis

quick thought, stop calling rape a culture, its an epidemic. cultures are ways of life, and calling rape a way of life will make it so. so stop.

I think the reason why they call it a “culture” is because it’s SO embedded into our culture that it SEEMS like a way of life.

It’s not an “epidemic” (semantics), because it didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. It’s been happening since…forever.

When it shouldn’t be, totally agree. But that’s how people ACTUALLY view it and when you call it out as a “culture” it starts discussions and questions and reflection because coining the two together makes people do what you did, talk about it, and become aware of how pervasive it is within our culture.

Is it still a dystopia if it’s really happening?


By Alexandra Duncan


Recently, I was discussing the difference between dystopian fiction and post-apocalyptica with some friends and fellow writers. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell which category a book maps most closely to because writers purposefully genre-bend or blur the boundaries. Sometimes a book ends up being labeled one thing or another for marketing purposes or we have to pick one thing to call a book for brevity’s sake. Sometimes a book is simply mislabeled.

The librarian in me is fascinated by this taxonomy and wants to spend her afternoon making Venn diagrams. What’s that? No Venn diagrams? Not even a small one? Ugh, okay.

So, what makes something dystopian rather than post-apocalyptic?  Usually in order for a society to become a dystopia, its creators have to have started out with the intention that it would be a utopia – a perfect world that circumvents the messy everyday problems we suffer from, like war, heartbreak, and the danger of free will. And then something has to go horribly, catastrophically wrong with that utopia. It has to fail and become a nightmare version of what its creators intended – a dystopia – usually through order being valued above all else. They’re often meant to be a warning about what we might become. Think George Orwell’s 1984 or Allie Condie’s Matched.

Sometimes, though, an aspect of a book will map so closely to reality that I find myself questioning whether the book should really be called dystopian, or if it’s something else altogether. For example, my own novel, Salvage, which occasionally ends up labeled as dystopian, includes both a polygamist society where teenage girls are married off to older men and a whole city of people who earn their livelihood by harvesting recyclable refuse from a floating trash dump in the Pacific Ocean. Both of these situations exist in the real world. Teenage girls are forced in polygamist marriages with older men. People really do live in trash dumps and try to make a living picking through garbage and recyclables.


(Garbage dump outside Managua, Nicaragua – 1999.  I was there with a group of other teenagers from the non-profit Witness for Peace.)

These situations aren’t the result of a utopian experiment gone wrong, they’re part of the chaotic, ugly nature of the world. They’re not a nightmare scenario we’re being warned against, they’re the everyday reality for millions of people worldwide. They’re the result of entropy, not order.

That leads me down a frightening path, because entropy and chaos are the defining characteristics of the post-apocalyptic novel. In post-apocalyptica, people’s lives aren’t planned to a stifling degree, as they are in dystopias. They have to fight to survive from one moment to the next, with no sense of security, no plan for the future. And if those things are as true of the real world as they are of books like Mindy McGinnis’s Not a Drop to Drink or Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, does that make the real world post-apocalyptic?

I was reading a blog post by Victoria Law recently that posed an interesting question – Why would readers want to escape to a world that so closely mirrors the injustices and horrors they face in everyday life? If, for example, people live lives that resemble a dystopian novel (constantly being stopped and asked for identification by police) or a post-apocalyptic novel (living in constant deprivation of food, water, medical care, etc.), what purpose does reading about a similar world serve? It’s certainly not escape. It’s not a warning about what could be. It’s a reflection of reality.

I don’t believe there are easy answers to the problems most people in the world face on a daily basis. I spent a long time as a teenager and young adult wishing I could fix everything and stop all the world’s suffering, only to end up too emotionally exhausted to really be of help to anyone. What I’ve come to believe is that all of us can do small things in our everyday lives to make the world better. (See this page on my web site for ideas.) As for writers, if we remember that some people are actually living our worst nightmares, it gives us a chance not simply to provide the lucky among us with a metaphor and a warning, but to give voice to the people whose lives our stories reflect. It gives us the chance to let other people know they’re not alone. It allows us to mirror the problems of reality in a new way – a way that might just lead to people changing their minds and then changing the world.


Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, is due to be released by Greenwillow Books on April 1, 2014. Her short stories have been featured in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi, to name a few. You can find her online at Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her web site.




Anyone who believes 300 years of oppression can be undone in a 50 year span does not have a basic comprehension of how this subjugation can become internalized and normalized, thus continuing to be a serious social issue


This can never be reblogged too many times.


Hey guys so I’m sure you probably know what Nerd HQ is but if not it’s this super cool event that Zachary Levi hosts during SDCC weekend and he gets a bunch of stars that you all love to come to these small panels of just like 200 people where the fans can really interact with the stars and ask them whatever questions they want. In the past he’s gotten Tom Hiddleston, Seth Green, Joss Whedon, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Matt Smith, Nathan Fillion, Tatiana Maslany, Dylan O’brien, and more. The tickets are really cheap (just around $20) and other than the panels, the rest of the events are free.

Basically it’s just a really nice thing Zachary Levi organizes to reach out to fans and then he donates the money raised to Operation Smile, which he is an ambassador for. In the past he had corporate sponsorship to host the event but last year that didn’t work out so well so now he’s asking for our help to host Nerd HQ. Even if you can’t physically go there, he livestreams the panels and they’re always fun to watch for everyone. Now, since the corporate sponsoring didn’t really work out well last year, he’s asking for our help to run Nerd HQ. All he’s asking for is $5. Now I know, for some people $5 means a day’s meal, but if you can afford to spare $5 for a really good cause, you should donate it!