The Girl Gang Missives

GGMby Nicole Belanger

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

This week, the women are redefining relationships, rowing the Pacific, and feeding the hungry. Here is a small sampling of the amazing things that your Girl Gang made/built/talked about/created over the last 7 days:

  1. And still, I rise: You haven't truly lived until you've watched Nicki Minaj recite Maya Angelou's iconic poem "Still I Rise". As a dear friend said to me after watching it, "it's like that poem was for her." 
  2. Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 12.58.04 PMWay better than a bluetooth diva cup: Okay, I'm going to break my "in the last 7 days" rule on this one but trust me, it's worth it. On November 7th, NYU student and user experience designer Lauren Towles brought together a group of women in New York for the first-ever Hack the Flow, a hackathon to combat menstruation stigma. The goal of the event was to use design and tech to break down our collective ignorance about the realities of women's bodies. For the sake of menstruators in Idaho, let's hope that Vito was listening. 
  3. A widow, a bookshelf, and a skeptical dog: Everyday for the last few months, writer Niva Dorrell walked past an old, falling-apart bookshelf that was sitting in her downstairs hallway. She had salvaged it in a burst of confidence, but couldn't find the time, energy or confidence to see the project through. After all, this was Niva's husband's wheelhouse. But there was one problem: her husband passed away in 2011. This week, Niva completed the project, giving the bookshelf a fresh coat of paint and a new lease of life. Here's what it meant to her to finally be able to DIY. 
  4. Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 12.56.46 PMDispatches from the middle of the ocean: On Monday, I learned something very cool: as I type this, there is a group of four women out in the Pacific ocean, rowing from San Francisco to Australia to pay homage to the resilience of women and raise funds for wounded veterans and breast cancer charities. What? Crazy. If successful, the women will set three world records. The journey -- which is the subject of an upcoming documentary -- will last 8,446 miles and should take 5-6 months to complete. 
  5. Feeding classmates in need: Like millions of Americans, high school students in Beaufort County, North Carolina were going hungry. Unwilling to be a passive spectator, senior Erin Lewis got to work. As a result of her leadership, her classmates now have access to an anonymous food pantry -- right in their school. 
  6. After HB2, hope for the women of Texas: Since 2013, Whole Woman's Health, a Texas abortion provider, has been fighting against legislation that is preventing women in the state from accessing the medical intervention that is, you know, their right. This week, there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel when the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, a case concerning the infamous HB2 law. Unfortunately, the news couldn't come a moment too soon. 
  7. Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 12.59.54 PMJust keep swimming: This week filmmaker Chelsea Lupkin released her latest short, Sophie Learns to Swim. It's a beautiful, fun, sweet film about girlhood and growing up and a great way to spend six minutes. I've personally been a fan of Chelsea's work for some time -- if you'd like to learn more about what goes into making a film, check out this interview we did together back in the spring. 
  8. A child's death, a mother's question: [Warning - Intense story of child loss] The most heartbreaking read of the week is a rather dubious designation, but it is an accurate description of Amber Scorah's New York Times story about her son's death in day care -- and her questions about the daily compromises that so many parents are forced to make. "What this article is about is that my infant died in the care of a stranger, when he should have been with me," she writes, "our culture demanded it." 
  9. On "Vagina Problems" and vulnerability: One woman's journey to finding (hetero) love, minus the vaginal sex. 
  10. Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 1.00.05 PMSomething giggle-worthy for the road: All I can say is thank god you can't drunk-buy dogs on Amazon.

[divider type="thin" spacing="10"] 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.