Issue 5: Lights, Camera, Action!

Hey BADASS folks!

This month’s theme is Lights, Camera, Action! and is centered around films that tell interesting stories and star under-represented groups and diverse people, Black History Month, self love and sexuality. Oscar nominated film, La La Land, included restaurants, streets, views, murals and more that Angelenos (myself included) know well and easily recognize. Check out the mural of Hollywood stars that played a cameo in the film and is also in the Welcome to Hollywood photoshoot; ET is on the phone in the background (phoning home perhaps?). I’ve always really enjoyed watching films for the worlds that they transport you to and the ways in which they capture that. I love the cinematography, costumes, set design, and storylines and am constantly amazed by the creativity that people in this field of work possess. Even when watching a film next to someone else, everyone watching it connects to different aspects and characters and has a completely different experience which is sort of out of this world when you think about it. Whether it be a story set in the past, present or future, films have an ability to capture the human condition and experience in a relatable way.

Action connotes acceptance, courage, motivation and is INCREDIBLY important today. Talking about things simply isn’t enough, we have to go out and DO SHIT, whether that be calling your representatives, protesting and going to rallies, or supporting art spaces (hey Junior High!) and volunteering with organizations. I went to the Women’s March in January and it was one of the best days of my life where I truly felt like I was a part of history. A group of my friends and I had to go backwards (West) on the subway to move forwards (towards Downtown); a metaphor that seems especially relevant to the next 4 years. Rebecca Solnit writes in Hope in the Dark: “A march is when bodies speak by walking… when traversing the boulevards of cities becomes a way to travel toward political goals.” In a city always occupied by cars, the thought of streets filled with people is a newfound image. At the march, chants of My Body My Choice followed by men echoing with Her Body Her Choice brought tears to our eyes and faded the blue women’s signs we had drawn on our cheeks earlier that morning. It seemed that everyone was at the march, from babies in strollers with signs declaring their ‘woke-hood’ to little kids with gay pride flags to teenagers like myself at our first protest to parents, teachers, grandparents, families and more.

Following the march, many conversations and points were raised about a lack of trans inclusion in signs that emphasized a bond between cisgender females and equated women with vaginas when not all women have vaginas and not all people with vaginas are women. Gender equality and keeping our feminist dialogue inclusive is CRUCIAL. As Audre Lorde stated perfectly in Sister Outsider: “By and large within the women’s movement today, white women focus upon their oppression as women and ignore differences of race, sexual preference, class, and age. There is a pretense to a homogeneity of experienced covered by the word sisterhood that does not in fact exist.”

On the car ride back, social media was filled with posts from the march and photos of great signs all over the world, yet the silence that followed as many executive orders were passed did not match the passion for human rights that people had exerted few weeks earlier. Silence is a very powerful idea and something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Social media is really interesting in this regard because you know when people are on it, what they post and what they think and whether it is a tool for good or bad is a whole other conversation. I don’t know if people feel like they can’t speak on an issue if it doesn’t directly pertain to their lives, but not saying anything about it doesn’t seem like the way to go. Whether it’s about #Blacklivesmatter, the Muslim ban, when Donald Trump withdrew federal protections for transgender students and more, I post on social media to be an ally and supporter of those who are marginalized and deserve basic human rights and respect. History is happening right now, do you want to stay silent?

However, the resistance is not an occasional choice or something that you can buy. In an article titled The Trump Resistance Will be Commercialized from the NY Times, they state: “When it comes to viral marketing, the resistance is hot right now. The trend can draw attention to activist messaging, but it can also dilute, deflect and distract from the cause, leading audiences away from the hard work of political action and civic organization and toward the easy comfort of a consumer choice.” It’s important to remember that the resistance is not a trend, but rather a system that millions of people are a part of as we fight back and speak out against a president, government and policies that are fundamentally wrong. It is not a choice for so many who are directly affected by the decisions Donald Trump makes and it’s frankly wrong to believe that buying a #shepersisted shirt is enough to make you an activist.

Moving on to love. There are many different types whether it be platonic, romantic, familial and so much more and there’s also a whole spectrum of sexuality. RAD! GROOVY! *insert rainbow here* I remember when the Supreme Court made same sex marriage legal two summers ago, I was in West Hollywood with my mom and everyone was so happy. Rainbow balloons and flags were out in the many bars along Santa Monica Blvd. Born this Way was blasting all around. A man even gave me a pin that says Equal & Fabulous. When I came out as bisexual to my friends, I did not expect that more than half of the them would come out to me as well. It feels so great to have a community filled with support, love and trust. I can’t wait til this summer to go to the Pride Parade here in LA with a group of people I’m proud to call my friends.

This issue has come out (no pun intended) roughly a year since the first issue and I want to say thank you to all the folks who have been a part of the magazine, those who have seen it grow and supported me in that endeavor, and those who have read it and who I do not know (Howdy!)

As clichéd as it is, love is love is love is love is love.

Enjoy the issue!

Isabel Kuh