My sexual accessibility has never been up to me, and this was a crucial and painful epiphany to have. Content Warning: this essay mentions depression and instances of sexual coercion. It’s not that I haven’t been celibate before. As someone who lives in the gray area of the asexual and aromantic spectrums, I’ve gone long […]
Thoughtful and Rad Feminist Gifts For the Holidays
by Awanthi Vardaraj
It’s that time of the year again; the Silly Season is upon us, and a lot of us are probably looking to buy a gift or two for the people we love. This can be a tricky process, though, and one that is riddled with doubt and confusion. To make things worse, there are umpteen lists and oughts and oughtn’ts out there. However, if you’re shopping for your favorite feminist, I promise that this is the ONLY list you’re ever going to need.
1. Fuck the Patriarchy Vulgar Cross Stitch
A cute little memento for your favourite feminist with a message they’ll truly approve of; this is an awesomely quirky reminder (not that we need one, right?) to keep crushing the patriarchy.
Haley, the owner and creative brain behind scometstitches, is a 22-year old angry queer feminist who is inspired by ‘intersectional feminism, queer life, activism, sex and body positivity’. They’re open to doing custom designs and larger pieces.
Buy something here.
2. We Are Bleeding Menstrual Moon Calendar
The bleeding calendar for 2017 (appropriately bordered with flowers that look like vaginas) is a beautiful way to chart your monthly cycle and follow the waxing and waning of the moon’s cycle. Its makers assure customers that after a few months of using it they will be able to ‘look up at the moon and know where you are in your own cycle.” My take? Even if you’re buying for a feminist who doesn’t menstruate, it’s probably still the best moon calendar around.
Made by Alchemilla, a small business dedicated to sustainable and conscious business choices; they use deadstock, vintage and repurposed materials to create a unique line of jewelry, prints, hand-bound journals and other magical ephemera.
Get your menstrual moon calendar here.
3. Real Feminists Support Trans Women and Sex Workers! Shirt
Profits from this shirt go to help resource fierce trans and sex worker activist Monica Jones continue to do her advocacy work on a national and international basis. Available in unisex and women’s sizes.
LoveLttrs4Liberation is a Black-owned art and apparel shop that donates profit from increased awareness to a number of organizations doing critical liberation work including, but not limited to, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project, and queer or trans artists. The shop was born out of the craft time of Matice Moore (a Black gender queer artist, dreamer, and scholar), and Shreya Shah, whose work can be viewed here.
Get yours here.
4. “The Ancestors” Buttons
Set of five buttons from NSRGNTS, which is a native-owned company that makes streetwear inspired by pop culture, with a political activist twist.
Get your set here.
5. Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) Volumes I, II, III and IV
Kamala Khan is an “ordinary girl from Jersey City,” except that she’s not. Kamala Khan also has superpowers that she starts to unlock and nurture even as she navigates the waters of her teenage Muslim-American identity. I love comic books that star women and queer superheroes, so I’d be all over this, and your favorite feminist would be too.
Get the set here.
6. Handmade Catnip Toy
Perfect for the feminist who is owned by a cat or four, this handmade catnip toy is available on order from Annah Anti-Palindrome, a Bay-area based musician, writer, and performer.
Order yours here.
7. Bergamot + Grapefruit Pit Cream
All natural and aluminium-free, this handmade pit cream is naturally deodorizing, moisturizing and anti-bacterial, and will keep your favorite feminist feeling fresh all day. The bright scents of bergamot and grapefruit are mood-boosting. As if that isn’t enough, each product from BeRealBody is made with ethically sourced ingredients, and keeps the chemically sensitive in mind.
BeRealBody is co-owned by Tiffany and Lauren, who refer to themselves as “two queer babes crafting and selling lovingly handmade, 100 percent natural, small batch goods for the body, mind and spirit.”
Shop around here.
8. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks
Every feminist deserves not just this book, but every book that was ever written by bell hooks, one of international feminism’s most influential and challenging voices. “In this beautifully written and carefully argued work, hooks maintains that mainstream feminism’s reliance on white, middle-class, and professional spokeswomen obscures the involvement, leadership and centrality of women of color and poor women in the movement for women’s liberation.”
Buy your copy here.
9. Navy and Heather Grey “Julia” Dress
A flattering body-con dress for the feminist who cares about style, sustainable living and fair labor practices, this dress was made with scrap waste and made in Cambodia by Cambodian women who are paid a fair wage and allowed to work reasonable hours.
Tonlé believes that “style is more than what you wear — it’s what you choose to be a part of.” Keeping that in mind, they source their fabrics and textiles from the leftover fabrics that are tossed aside as waste by mass clothing manufacturers; these fabrics would normally end up in landfills where they decompose and contribute to global warming by releasing greenhouse gases. Tonlé is proudly zero-waste, and has been since 2014.
Shop around here.
10. Boss Babes Coloring and Activity Book for Grown-Ups by Michelle Volansky
Who doesn’t need a “playful and play-filled ode to strong women that celebrates female powerhouses from Beyonce to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, from Dolly Parton to Malala, and from Tina Fey to Serena Williams?”
Get yours here.
11. I’m A Delicate Flower Socks
These socks are pretty, comfy, and “as strong as hell.” Sounds like a must for every delicate fucking flower out there.
Get them here.
11. Don’t Tell Me To Smile T-Shirt
Because your favorite feminist only smiles when they want to — not because they have to.
These fabulous t-shirts from Feminist Apparel come in crew necks and v-necks, and in three colors.
Get one here.
12. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
A poetry collection about survival, Milk and Honey explores the subjects of violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity. The book is divided into four chapters, and every chapter breaks your heart and then lovingly sews it back together again. It is a poignant reminder that there is sweetness lurking in the shallows of bitter moments.
Get it here.
13. Male Tears Embroidered Patch
For the snarky feminist who wants to make male tears a part of their daily uniform.
Eythink is owned by Lindsay Eyth, an artist who “aims to support women, queers, and anyone who is pushed to the margins in loving themselves and each other, feeling seen and validated in the world, not taking shit, and doing the damn thing.” We approve!
Get some here.
14. Beast Collective Basketball
A collective is a unit of organized people, and beast is a state of being where someone exceeds expected limitations. Perfect for the sports-loving, ball-dunking feminist, this basketball from Trickster Company features a design that portrays a variety of close-up shots of various beast characters, representing the synergy achieved from organizing as a group when working towards a cause, “whether you’re protecting the paint or protecting sacred lands.”
Trickster Company promotes innovative indigenous design and focuses on the Northwest Coast art and explore themes and issues in Native culture. Their goal is “to represent a prestigious lineage of art in fresh and energetic ways as a celebration of Northwest Coast culture as it lives today.”
Buy yours here.
15. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful essay is adapted from her TED talk and eloquently asks what feminism means today. It is a must for the bookshelf of every feminist and every budding feminist out there.
Get your copy here.
16. Hairy Don’t Care-y Pin
Humans have hair, and feminists know that. This is perfect for the feminist who rejects society’s standards about shaving and beauty.
Pin Em Up Designs is headed by Grace who started her business as part of a school project about body positivity and feminism. She’s happy to do custom designs, so give her shop a look and shop around here.
17. Shieldmaiden of Rohan Print
Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan, is one of the most feminist figures (in my mind) when it comes to fantasy. She was strong and brave, and rode into battle with the men, and she was instrumental in winning the battle at Gondor by killing the Witch King of Angmar.
As a young girl, I read the battle scene with bated breath, and watched the movie as a young woman with the same undimmed excitement. “You fool,” hisses the witch-king. “No man can kill me.” Eowyn whips off her helm and her blonde hair flows down her back. “I am no man,” she says, and stabs him right through the face.
Now if that isn’t a feminist battle cry, I don’t know what is.
Get your print here.
18. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
A children’s book that reinvents fairy tales, inspiring children with the stories of hundred great women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. This sounds like something that every young feminist in training needs to grow up with.
Order one here.
19. Donations to Organizations
Your favorite feminist likely has a favourite org that’s close to their heart. What better way to their heart than a donation in their name to their favourite org? We all like knowing we’re influencing the world for the better, and this is a very thoughtful gift.
My favourite orgs are TWLOHA, a non-profit movement dedicated to helping people who are struggling with depression, addiction and self-harm; The Fox Project, a charity dedicated to the protection, rescue, and advocacy for the wild fox; The Banyan, an organization that works to raise mental health awareness in Chennai, India, and that offers care in the form of medication, psychological and occupational therapies, and rehabilitation to people who would otherwise continue to suffer untreated, and StreetSmart Australia, an organization in Australia that works to end homelessness in Australia by supporting the homeless and working with those at risk to prevent them from becoming homeless. Knock yourselves out, and have yourselves a very merry and cheer-filled holiday season, no matter what you’re celebrating.
See you in 2017!