03/04/16 3:26pm
But WHEN will bearded white guys get their shot in Brooklyn? Via screenshot

But when will bearded white guys in Brooklyn get THEIR shot? Via screenshot.

See if you can guess where this story goes: A bunch of NYC comedians disappointed by what they see as the still-lingering lack of gender, sexuality and ethnic diversity in the entertainment world decide to set up their own comedy event called the Cinder Block Comedy Festival. To encourage diversity, they instituted a discount for people of color, women and LGBT folks, jokingly referred to as “wage-gap pricing,” charging 77 cents on the dollar to submit to the festival. So did you figure out what happened next? The same thing that happens anything on the internet becomes slightly less accessible to white men: the hateful comments started.

“The negative feedback is coming from, as you would suspect the usual suspects: it’s almost primarily straight white men who are angry at this,” Elsa Waithe of Bushwick, one of the festival’s organizers, tells Brokelyn. “Strangely most people who are upset have nothing to do with comedy. They are just people who have heard what we’re doing and are upset.”

But they also got a lot of support, and the organizers recommitted themselves to the wage-gap discount this week, issuing a statement saying they wouldn’t be deterred by the haters and are working on building out a diverse festival for September. They’ve now opened the discount to people with disabilities of all types, and extended the deadline to the end of the month. Bonus: When the fest does come around, it will be arranged like a bar crawl, so you can laugh your way from one Williamsburg venue to the next. And laughing is open to straight white men too.  (more…)

02/16/16 11:48am
Feminist editors hard at work. AGO / Wikimedia Commons

Feminist editors hard at work at the Toronto Edit-a-Thon in 2015. AGO / Wikimedia Commons

The modern feminist’s greatest frenemy is the internet. Despite a wealth of feminist content and support — not to mention Google’s policies designed to bury hate speech — the world wide web still suffers from a pervasive, and seemingly unsinkable, demographic of misogynists.

Among the most widely-attended virtual tea parties for these misogynists stands Wikipedia, bastion of information sharing (and arguably the closest thing we have to the sum of all human knowledge). Wikipedia’s page on its own gender bias cites a 2011 study that found only about 12% of the site’s editors were women. In a recent article covering the digital encyclopedia’s implicit sexism, The Atlantic described Wikipedia as an “Internet Oligarchy.”

But for the past few years, a burgeoning collective called Art + Feminism has sought to change the game by hosting annual feminist war rooms known as Wikipedia “Edit-a-Thons.” In cities all over the world, women and LGBTQ individuals and their allies come together once a year to edit Wikipedia articles, chipping away at misogynistic censors and censure alike.

This year’s Edit-a-Thon even has two nodes in Brooklyn! The first is at the Silent Barn on Saturday March 5, and the second is at The Interference Archive on Sunday, March 6. Head to either one with your laptop next weekend, and help smash the patriarchy — one Wikipedia entry at a time. (more…)

01/26/16 11:37am
These amendments came too late for Elaine, but you can still use 'em. via Seinfeld Tumblr

These amendments came too late for Elaine, but you can still use ’em. via Seinfeld Tumblr

Gird your loins, chauvinist bosses and creepy male co-workers: the New York Women’s Equality Act took effect Jan. 19, and it has a whole bunch of new protections for women in the workplace. It amends the New York State Human Rights Laws with new language that makes it much harder for employers to wiggle out of pay disparity and sexual harassment lawsuits, and also increases the rights of pregnant employees.

Below are five key changes that will improve women’s rights in the workplace. We’ve explained what the old laws were, and how the new Act changes each of them. We’ve also cited the legal jargon directly, in case you ever have to bring up the specifics of the Act with your boss. (Here’s hoping you never have to.) (more…)

08/13/15 9:46am
Mm hmm yeah thanks for the advice. Glockabelle photo by Nate Dorr.

Mm hmm yeah tell me more of your opinions. Glockabelle photo by Nate Dorr.

My mom was a drummer in a 90s girl band, which played everywhere from my hometown of Baltimore to CBGB to Woodstock ‘94 (I was five; I stayed with my grandparents and got the chicken pox. It was almost exactly like seeing Trent Reznor covered in mud). At one gig, two roadie dudes waited eagerly to meet the band’s drummer. “Where is he?” they asked. Instead of correcting them right away, my skinny blonde mother, set up the drum set as dudes looked on confused. They had just had it when she asked them to scamper down to Rite Aid to grab her a box of maxi pads. When she finally went on stage, their jaws dropped as they realized they’d been helping the drummer the whole time. (Also, pro Brokelyn tip from mom: maxi pads make great low-budget drum mufflers).

So this was back in the 90s; you may think women’s visibility in music has improved, but, no — even here in New York City, one of the most progressive cities in the world, women have to wade through the daily muck of harassment, especially as they’re first getting their start on stage. Hell, even Bjork and Solange have to wade through the bullshit, often not getting credit for their work the way a guy would. We rounded up a sampling of the best local (and people who play locally a lot) lady musicians to collect musings on trying, and failing, to be taken seriously as a musician and a woman.

Here’s some shit people have said to lady musicians, and what they had to say back. (more…)

07/06/15 8:21am


1. Get a triple-word score at Freebird Books’ unique Books Beneath the Bridge evening, featuring an outdoor Scrabble competition on a 15-foot-square board. (Monday, FREE)

2. Be a part of the rhythm nation at Friends & Lovers with LIT: A Music & Reading Series, celebrating Janet Jackson in verse and song. (Monday, FREE)

3. Strike a blow to gender inequality at the Way Station, where women pay only 77% of their total bar tab all night long, since women earn only 77¢ for every dollar a man earns. (Tuesday, FREE) (more…)

04/14/15 4:00pm
Please don't make us call upon our cat army. via Feminist tk

Please don’t make us call upon our cat army. via Feminist Apparel

Catcalls are some bullshit. In addition to slandering cats, it should be pretty common sense that women (and unamused people of all unamused genders) aren’t into being yelled at from cars. Yet here we are, needing to give “how to be a person lessons” and remind slimy dudes out there that nope, sorry, street harassment still isn’t cool. The folks at Feminist Apparel launched a campaign for the most basic of this city’s citizenry this weekend by creating No Catcall Zones around with signs like the above one. (more…)

02/26/15 1:13pm
They've always been progressive

They’ve always been progressive

A hot topic preceding the Oscars before the real controversy of Neil Patrick Harris’ bad job as host overshadowed everything was the fact that Hollywood is white as hell. Just a bunch of whiteys giving each other awards, talking about how Selma couldn’t get award votes because the stars wore protest t-shirts and then when a Mexican director actually wins an award there’s a completely bizarre green card joke. HBO figures maybe they can fix this by getting more women and minorities into the movie business, so they’re looking for women and minorities for their intensive writing fellowship/TV development program. (more…)

02/11/15 11:19am
Well, the do call her LADY Liberty

Well, the do call her LADY Liberty

We’ve previously covered the plight of women in these parts, at least when it comes to the feckless dudes they’re trying to date and the other dudes who are just awful, but this morning at least brings some good news. When it comes to the pay gap, the amount of money a woman earns compared to men, women in New York state have not only vaulted over it, but they’ve filled it in and are standing taller than dudes now. A new study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, shared by Glamour, contains the news that young women in New York make $1.02 to every $1 that men make. We welcome our new highly paid female overlords. (more…)

12/09/14 11:25am
emma sulkowicz

She’s leaving the mattress at home, this time. via The Columbia Spectator

Sexual assault and rape on college campuses, and college administrations’ response to it, is about as hot-button an issue as there is at the moment. Among those keeping the conversation going is Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz, who is very literally dragging her experience into the open, by carrying a mattress around campus until her alleged rapist is expelled. It’s part of a performance art piece for her senior thesis that she’s calling “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight).”

You may have read about Sulkowicz any number of places, most notably in a profile by New York Times art critic Roberta Smith, who talked with her about the senior thesis, and will now continue the conversation with Sulkowicz at the Brooklyn Museum this Sunday at 2pm. (more…)

10/28/14 2:45pm

We haven’t talked about street harassment here for a little while, but hey let’s do that now, since here a brand new video of a woman who committed the crime of walking down the street in pants and got hours and hours of people hollering at her. If you have things that we humans call “empathy” or “a working brain,” we’d suggest not reading the comments, since they’re the same depressing mix of people saying she’s just being complimented and calling her conceited. If you want to piss them off, throw the Hollaback Project some cash, and if you’re a woman who’s always dealing with catcalling, here are some tips for combatting it from someone who grew up here dealing with it. (more…)