Syreeta McFadden

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Posts Written by Syreeta

“Sit back and shut the f*ck up”: On taxis, gender, and power

Ed. note: This is a guest post by Jeanann Verlee. Jeanann is an author, performance poet, editor, and former punk rocker based in New York City.

A few years ago, sharing a cab with a male friend of mine, I asked the driver to make two stops. The driver dropped my friend first and scarcely made it to the end of the block before he pulled over and told me to get out, refusing to go to the second stop. I asked why he waited until after dropping my friend to refuse a second stop and he declined to answer, simply continued demanding I leave. (It was obvious to me that he didn’t want to argue with a man, but had no qualms the moment I was alone.) I explained that I know my rights as a passenger and demanded he take me to the second stop. He did so begrudgingly—amid curses, shouting, and erratic driving—but only after I refused to leave the cab and threatened to report him.

Not long after that incident, in another taxi, I announced my destination, offering to help direct if needed, and the driver (presumably upset over going to an outer borough) began shouting at me and gunned the engine, tearing violently off into traffic. I asked him why he was angry and shouting, and he yelled, “Sit back and shut the fuck up!” I was stunned and did so almost reflexively, my mind ...

The Language of Possession

Ed. note: This is a guest post by Jeanann Verlee. Jeanann is an author, performance poet, editor, and former punk rocker based in New York City.

The possession of bodies is a trickle-down, systemic problem that has rendered much of our population with what amounts to, and arguably is, PTSD. Brown bodies have been possessed by white bodies. Female bodies possessed by male bodies. Brown female bodies possessed by all other bodies combined. I’m speaking of course in the obvious way of the once-legal actual ownership of others’ bodies—but also the latent way in which this possessiveness is rooted in our language. In our body language. In the way our mouths shape the words. Damn well into the enamel of our ...

Ed. note: This is a guest post by Jeanann Verlee. Jeanann is an author, performance poet, editor, and former punk rocker based in New York City.

The possession of bodies is a trickle-down, systemic problem that has rendered ...

Photo Essay: Malaysian Muslim women with and without their hijabs

In my *spare* time (LOL), I edit the online literary magazine Union Station, which features fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and photo essays from emerging artists. One of my favorite essays is this one featuring Malaysian Muslim women with and without their hijabs by photographer Francisco Guerrero that we published in 2011. 

In my *spare* time (LOL), I edit the online literary magazine Union Station, which features fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and photo essays from emerging artists. One of my favorite essays is this one featuring Malaysian Muslim women ...

Feministing Readz: Bad Feminist gives us permission to be complicated with our feminism

When Roxane Gay’s essay “Bad Feminist” first appeared in the September 2012 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), we were sitting at brunch somewhere in Brooklyn losing our mind over the coming zombie apocalypse and the fallout of the Citizens United decision and its very visible impact on electoral politics, sipping mimosas and occasionally nodding our heads to the break beat of a Kanye song. Kanye brought back the boom bap with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, mixed with all kinds of problematic lyrics. Autumnal equinox brought about a cool gentle breeze after a summer of ridiculous rhetoric from GOP–some dude tried to make a distinction between legitimate rape and rape; a Republican candidate for VP claimed that rape is ...

When Roxane Gay’s essay “Bad Feminist” first appeared in the September 2012 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), we were sitting at brunch somewhere in Brooklyn losing our mind over the coming zombie apocalypse and ...

Why do we still insist women share responsibility for “provoking” their abuse?

There’s a particular kind of irony when Whoopi Goldberg, who 29 years ago starred in a film that featured intergenerational domestic violence, makes comments in support of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith regarding the very lenient two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice for knocking his then fiancee unconscious and dragging her into an elevator.

On Monday, Goldberg offered her two cents: “If you make the choice as a woman who’s 4 foot 3 and you decide to hit a guy who’s 6 feet tall and you’re the last thing he wants to deal with that day and he hits you back, you cannot be surprised!” Then added, “I know I’m going ...

There’s a particular kind of irony when Whoopi Goldberg, who 29 years ago starred in a film that featured intergenerational domestic violence, makes comments in support of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith ...

Laughing to the polls

Last Tuesday, I attended the launch of the Lady Parts Justice campaign, a newly designed rapid response reproductive rights messaging hub centering around comedy to mobilize women voters to the polls for local, state and national elections. Some weeks ago, LPJ asked women from across the country to send their stories on abortion to share. I, along with Sally Kohn and Zerlina Maxwell, read stories from women around the country at the event.

I read a story from a woman in Indiana. Her candor was compelling:

Last Tuesday, I attended the launch of the Lady Parts Justice campaign, a newly designed rapid response reproductive rights messaging hub centering around comedy to mobilize women voters to the polls for local, state and national ...

Hobby Lobby and the war on poor women

Years ago, my doctor prescribed oral contraceptives after I was hospitalized from a ruptured ovarian cyst. I had insurance through my employer at the time and paid a modest monthly copay of $10. When we switched insurance plans during an enrollment period, my coverage lapsed and I had to pay out of pocket for the medication. The snafu was quickly resolved but it was important information, a quick glimpse of the kind of expense I’d incur if I didn’t have a job, or the kind of job that would allow me to contact someone without taking time off work or fearing retribution from my employer to resolve the matter. I worked really long hours then, probably about 80 and ...

Years ago, my doctor prescribed oral contraceptives after I was hospitalized from a ruptured ovarian cyst. I had insurance through my employer at the time and paid a modest monthly copay of $10. When we switched ...

Releasing a creepy, stalkerish video is not how you “get her back”

Last night, Zerlina tweeted the most important hashtag of the year to date: #stoprobinthicke2014.

Robin Thicke’s very public heartbreak and estrangement from his high school sweetheart and wife of 11 years, Paula Patton, continues to skeeve out a weary public. A video of his upcoming single “Get Her Back” from his new album, Paula–which has an eyebrow-raising and cringe-worthy tracklist–shows the singer bloody-browed and bare-chested with images of a woman favoring Patton drowning in water. There are flashes of face masks that border on erotic and nightmare. Aesthetically, the video appears to be a mashup of D’Angelo’s “Untitled” meets Rihanna’s “Roulette” and Jay Z’s “On To The Next One.” The video concludes with a text that reads, “This is just ...

Last night, Zerlina tweeted the most important hashtag of the year to date: #stoprobinthicke2014.

Robin Thicke’s very public heartbreak and estrangement from his high school sweetheart and wife of 11 years, Paula Patton, continues to skeeve ...

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