From the ed­i­tor

Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture - - CONTRIBUTORS -

The easy task would have been to charge our edi­tors and writ­ers to as­sem­ble an issue that throws down fem­i­nist facts for our read­ers; to gather in­dis­putable bot­tom lines fenced with im­pres­sive re­search find­ings as a way to in­vig­o­rate read­ers when so many are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hope­less­ness and res­ig­na­tion. Had we done that, though, it would have been a dis­ser­vice to our read­ers.

You read Bitch not to be told facts, but to learn and prac­tice how to more deeply in­ter­ro­gate the ones you are told to be­lieve. Agree­able is not our forte. We strive to give you what com­pels us all to en­gage beyond a the­o­ret­i­cal, high-minded ar­gu­ment. It’s not enough to talk about cli­mate change—we need to be able to un­der­stand the im­pact on poor girls and women when the fact de­niers are men in in­sti­tu­tional po­si­tions of power, as Joshunda San­ders points out in “Ex­pen­sive De­nial: The Ris­ing Cost of Cli­mate Change.” To fight the ahis­tor­i­cal lens of this cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, we need to be steeped in self-di­rected his­tory lessons, like the ones in this issue that high­light crit­i­cal fe­male lead­ers in “Cuba is the Moth­er­land” and the Ad­ven­tures in Fem­i­nis­tory comic on Eugenia Apos­tol, a vi­tal jour­nal­ist in the Philip­pines dur­ing the Mar­cos regime. We need more nar­ra­tives like Abaki Beck’s “Un­nat­u­ral Selec­tion: How Racism Warps Sci­en­tific Truths,” which desta­bi­lizes western bravado by re­veal­ing the lega­cies of colo­nial­ism and racism laced through­out our med­i­cal and sci­en­tific his­to­ries.

Th­ese days it’s not just about what you know but about how you have come to know what you know. It’s not enough to list off the pun­dits you love (ahem, Rachel Mad­dow is my bestie) and the writ­ers you fol­low, but also the in-per­son con­ver­sa­tions you cul­ti­vate and the re­la­tion­ships you build. That in­ten­tion— the rigor of thought, re­flec­tion, and

per­sonal in­vest­ment in cu­rios­ity is one of the most sim­ple and ef­fec­tive an­ti­dotes to the cyn­i­cal trend of us­ing doubt in­stead of fear as a means to gain po­lit­i­cal power.

Con­trary to pop­u­lar opin­ion, we are not liv­ing in “post-truth,” “post-fact,” “the up­side down,” or “the sunken place.” What we are liv­ing through is the wit­ness­ing of unprecedented in­com­pe­tence at the high­est level of our gov­ern­ment, courted by a will­ing white ma­jor­ity leav­ing so much in whirling un­cer­tainty. And that is im­pact­ing ev­ery facet of cul­ture and me­dia. The ques­tion is not, “Do facts mat­ter?” The ques­tion is how we choose to live with such a spec­tac­u­lar sham.

Wel­come to the Facts issue. Bring your mag­ni­fy­ing glass. —LISA FACTORA-BORCHERS

ABOUT THE COVER

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, could it ac­tu­ally be a poop­ing robot? Be­fore you think we’ve lost the thread com­pletely, read about an ac­tual, fac­tual, 18th-cen­tury French robot, our pop-art cover, and the comics and illustration in this issue, at bit.ly/art-facts-issue. —KRISTIN ROGERS BROWN

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