The Girl Gang Missives Vol. 24


GGMBy Nicole BelangerThe Girl Gang Missives is a weekly report on the badass things that women are making/creating/building/writing.

Good god, I missed you all so much. As some of you noticed, the Girl Gang Missives went on hiatus for about a month. The short answer as to why the absence is that I've been absurdly busy with work. The longer answer is that I've been absurdly busy with work -- while going through the thick of some really intense healing work, and I just haven't had the head space to write this letter to you all every Thursday night.

Honestly, as of an hour ago, I didn't think tonight was going to be any different. But then I remembered that I had promised two wonderful women that I would feature their work this week, and it made my heart swell in a way that it hasn't in a while.

So, after a month, I'm back. I can't promise that I won't go away again (I hope I don't, but I'm not in a position to offer guarantees), but I really don't want to. Writing you this letter every week brings me so much joy, and I'm so glad to be back at it.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. And now, on to the main event...[divider type="dotted" spacing="10"]

[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]T[/dropcap]his week, the women are calling out ableist activism, offering up some gorgeous photographs, and helping you talk to grandma about the singular 'they'.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

  1. A breezy, beautiful photo series: Brenna O'Brien is a talented web developer (currently putting her skills to good use at TED), but it turns out she's also a pretty wicked photographer. Check out her latest series -- which lives at the intersection of nature and geometry -- on 500 px.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]
  2. The sweetest little bird orthotics you ever did see: When a wee 'lil birdie with a fatal foot deformity came through the California Wildlife Centre, Dr. Lorraine Barbosaw and her colleagues got to work! The results are, to say the very least, heartwarming af.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]
  3. Another podcast to annihilate your iPhone storage: Within the last year, Jenna Wortham has received a personal letter of thanks from Beyoncé, and gotten her own (co-hosted) NYT podcast. I honestly can't decide which is more impressive! Probs the Beyoncé letter, though.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

3.5 Not impressed by Jenna, yet? Read this piece she published earlier this week on Black health and wellness. That should do it.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]

  1. Mother, Maid, Memoirist: If you want to believe in good again, you're going to want to read the story of Stephanie Land and her very-first book deal, which is based on her widely-read essay about her time spent cleaning houses. It's not a fairytale -- there's far too much work involved for that to be true -- but it is a salve for hopeful creative hearts that are starting to wonder if dreams only come true for a select few. Enjoy.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]
  2. A (selected) history of female labor -- digitally knitted...Is what this artist, mother, and professor created after being inspired by Hillary Clinton's presidential nomination.[divider type="white" spacing="10"]
  3. How to: talk to your family about your loved one's pronouns In this fantastic advice column for Autostraddle, Maddie (she/her) and Audrey (they/them) provide a reader with really helpful and practical advice on how to get their family up-to-speed on their partner's use of the singular gender-neutral 'they'. Great advice for workplaces and friend circles, as well![divider type="white" spacing="10"]
  4. A couple of belated Girl Gang shoutouts! As I mentioned at the top, the main reason that I'm getting back at this is that I have emails in my inbox from women celebrating and promoting their work and I really want to share them with you all

First up, we have the wonderful Julie Kirk with this hilarious and relatable story of the time she started perioding everywhere right before seeing A+ hottie Benedict Cumberbatch on stage.

Next, we have the equally-wonderful Katie O'Connell (aka @dogstagemom) with an essential piece on Reproaction's website about the importance of applying a disability lens to reproductive justice work.

While "pro-life" groups reprehensibly use narratives of disability to undermine a person's right to choose, Katie writes that the pro-choice movement also needs to address the way they speak about (or rather don't speak about) disability in the reproductive justice movement.

"We — reproductive justice advocates — are better than this. We want to upend these systems and make them work for marginalized people. We want all people to be in control of their reproductive futures," she writes. "So we need to talk about disability — what reproductive freedom looks like for those of us with disabilities, and what it looks like to radically change culture and institutions to better support folks with disabilities."

8. Something giggle-worthy for the road: A crucial moment in every tween's life.

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Now, over to you…

Want your work, or the work of a friend shouted out in next week’s #GirlGangMissives? Email Nicole at!

NicoleBelangerPhotoNicole Belanger is the founder of Fourth Hour, a collection of original content that celebrates and supports everyday women in their daily lives. She is the author of the ebook On Resilience, the creator of the Conversations With Her interview series and the send-er of the Girl Gang Missives every Friday morning.

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