From the editor
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