7 Women Empowerment Books To Look Out For This Year

7 Women Empowerment Books To Look Out For This Year

2018 will be a good year with all the books releasing about femininity.

1. "The Cost of Living" by Deborah Levy

Releasing early July, author of "Women in Power," Deborah Levy, comes back with an autobiography about her experiences as a working woman.

2. "Not That Bad" by Roxane Gay

With her previous collection of essays titled, "Bad Feminist," Roxane Gay criticized pop culture's definition of being a feminist. With her new collection of essays in collaboration with "The Breakfast Club" actress, Ally Sheedy, releasing May 1st, Gay is returning to talk about the difficulties women face regarding rape and harassment.

3. "Basic Black With Pearls" by Helen Weinzweig

Coming out in early April, this novel is sure to take the reader on a journey of gender stereotypes and class difficulties faced during the 80's.

4. "Sharp" by Michelle Dean

Also releasing in early April is Michelle Dean's analysis of twentieth-century New York female thinkers. Recounting the stories of American poet Dorothy Parker, writer Nora Ephron, and many others this book serves as a tribute to the contributions of empowerment delivered by these women.

5. "The Female Persuasion" by Meg Wolitzer

This novel chronicles the journey protagonist Geer Kadestsky, a college freshman who is just beginning to come to terms with her own self and figuring out a path to her future.

6. "The Merry Spinster" by Mallory Ortberg

If you're into "feminist fairy tales," this book that is set to release mid-march is your perfect match.

7. "This Will Be My Undoing" by Morgan Jerkins

Releasing late January, this collection of essays focuses on the complexities brought upon African American women.



Cover Image Credit: annaspanos

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What YouTube Needs To Keep In Mind

Pointed lyrics are harmless in comparison to the showcasing of a suicide.

YouTube has changed over the past number of years. A website once used for watching cat videos and known for carrying trends such as the Harlem Shake, or moments such as "Charlie Bit My Finger" which are recognizable to anyone who had access to the Internet in 2009, has become a place where thousands on content creators seek the next big moment to bring millions of viewers to their comment, like, and subscribe buttons.

In my last article, I discussed Logan Paul's video from his trip in Japan. As the news has circulated its course and I dissected the event in-depth in my article, I will not talk about it here. However, since I wrote the article, YouTube released an open letter on Twitter in acknowledgment of Logan Paul's video.

The tweets, in short, are formal and brief, but get to the point: YouTube acknowledges that the video went against their rules, and adjustments are in the works in order to take precautions against an incident happening again. However, along with several issues involving the actual apology contained within the letter - while YouTube claims that it is "genuinely upset," there is no mention of the victim or his family - another comment was raised by Matthew Patrick of the Game Theorists in a recent video.

Patrick discusses the issue of what he refers to as the "Logan Loophole," and brings up how the algorithm organizing YouTube videos encourages the behavior displayed by both Logan and Jake Paul as a way to increase their views, and hints at what making headlines and trending videos will mean for their Internet future.

Personally, I do not know exactly how to fix the issue - in his video, Patrick suggests his own solutions - but instead I seek to draw attention to what the culture on YouTube encourages. Creators, instead of earning ad revenue and subscribers for their quality content that is entertaining, find that those such as Logan Paul make waves on YouTube for drawing attention to themselves.

As Patrick says, they create controversy in order to gain views. As the idea stands, it makes sense. Over the past year alone, songs mocking and calling out other creators swarmed the trending pages, such as Jake Paul's track "It's Everyday Bro," and the subsequent "It's Everynight Sis" by Ricegum and Logan's Paul's "The Second Verse." Pointed lyrics, while little more than a way to bring viewers to all involved channels and increase traffic to their videos, are harmless in comparison to the showcasing of a suicide.

The rapid escalation from point A to point B should be a concern for viewers and content creators alike. Content creators looking to create their own following will be drowned out for those who will go to any length to make headlines and achieve their next million subscribers, while viewers will have to sift through video upon video of diss tracks, risky thumbnails, and suggestive content before they can find anything tasteful that they want to watch. All the while, those such as Logan and Jake Paul continue to be a force to be reckoned with, their own followings growing exponentially by the day.

Dear YouTube, whatever your method of adjustment is, please do it well.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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5 Must Hear Albums From 2017

2017 was filled with good music, but for me these five albums stood out.

2017 was filled with really good music. The year saw some great emerging talent as well as some veterans returning to reinvigorate their genre. I am a lover and follower of music – strictly for entertainment, please don’t expect a full analysis of the albums I’m about to discuss – so I was very pleased by the releases in 2017. Here are the five albums that I felt were the best of 2017.

1. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Album: Damn.

Release: April 14, 2017

Favorite Song: XXX, featuring U2

If you are a fan of Kendrick Lamar, you know he was severely snubbed at the Grammy awards when his album "Good Kid M. A. A. D City" lost to Macklemore’s "The Heist", for Best Rap Album. Kendrick should have won, hands down. This year he has been nominated for six Grammy awards with his album and singles from "Damn". His single "HUMBLE." set the tone for his album and the rest of his song did not disappoint. The album ran the gamut of topics; from politics to other rappers, and even love. Kendrick’s album is a robust telling of his life and unlike some other rappers, he is not afraid to incorporate politics into his music. Kendrick is certainly one of the best – if not the best – rappers of our generation.

2. Khalid - American Teen

Artist: Khalid

Album: American Teen

Release: March 3, 2017

Favorite Song: Cold Blooded

Khalid makes you wish you were a teenager again; so you won’t feel so out-of-sorts singing along to songs explicitly about being in high school. Thankfully Khalid is graduated now and his next album should be a little more relatable to a slightly older generation. Despite the homage to high school, his album was amazing. His songs perfectly sum up what it’s like to feel like you’re in love only to have that emotion ripped away from you. He is young but he understands the human condition and how to condense it into a three-minute song.

His song "Cold Blooded", my favorite from the album, describes what it’s like to love someone even when they’re not great for you – and how hard it is to deal with their insecurities. He has been nominated for five Grammy awards. One of those – Song of the Year – is for "1-800-273-8255", a song he collaborated on with Logic and Alessia Cara.

3. MUNA - About U

Artist: MUNA

Album: About U

Release: February 3, 2017

Favorite Song: Do U Love Me Now?

MUNA is a girl band comprised of three members: Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson. They opened for Harry Styles on his first solo tour. Their music is probably best described as alternative-pop. The songs are lyrically brilliant and beautifully composed. The three members wanted to create songs that were relatable to the current societal climate. "Loudspeaker" is a strong tune that makes sure the audience knows MUNA isn’t apologizing for anything.

They’ll feel and act how they want. The song "So Special" discusses the consequences of slut shaming and the ridiculous standards we put on women to be “pure.” "I Know a Place" was played as a rallying cry after the terrorist attack in Orlando that killed many members of the LGBTQ community. MUNA is empathetic and unafraid to speak out against the political injustices of our time. I expect their next album to be just as relevant.

Side note: I got to meet this band when I attended a Harry Styles concert in October. They were extremely nice and humble and I am rooting for them.

4. Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Artist: Harry Styles

Album: Harry Styles

Release: May 12, 2017

Favorite Song: Ever Since New York

Harry Styles – yes, from One Direction – released his debut solo album in 2017 and it was really good. Styles went for a slightly different sound than what his fans had grown to expect. His self-titled album went across the board; it featured pop, rock, and even some country sounds. "Sign of the Times" his first single, was an alternative-rock anthem that sounded like it should have been played at a festival in the 70’s.

Styles really experimented with his sound and his creativity with his first album; like he was trying to test everything to see what stuck. For his sophomore album, I hope he nails down his sound and takes a few more risks lyrically.

5. SZA - CTRL

Artist: SZA

Album: Ctrl

Release: June 9, 2017

Favorite Song: Drew Barrymore

SZA, Solána Imani Rowe, is a talented singer and songwriter. Her album perfectly encapsulates what it is like to fall in and out of love in the current dating atmosphere. Ctrl garnered a lot of praise, along with a few Grammy nominations, after its release this past summer. "Love Galore" featuring Travis Scott, fit perfectly into the summer atmosphere and went platinum in the US.

Her album is vulnerable and enlightened; her song "Supermodel" discusses the artist’s insecurities. SZA is not afraid to be honest or controversial; "The Weekend" tells the story of sleeping with an already taken man. SZA has produced songs with Grammy winner Chance the Rapper and Grammy nominee, Kendrick Lamar.

Cover Image Credit: Malte Wingen

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