Harlots is the Most Feminist Show You’re Not Watching

There has been much buzz about Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale — the dystopian drama set in a theocratic future where women are owned and bred like animals. Less talked about but just as good is their other series Harlots, which is an exercise in the power of the female gaze.   Harlots is the story of two rival brothels in 18th century London run by madames Margaret Wells and Lydia Quigley. Harlots is unique as a feminist show in two ways. The first is that the entire creative team behind the show — the producers, director, writers, and most of …

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Jedi Wisdom for Activists

Happy May the Fourth! This Star Wars Day, we’re honoring the Rebel Alliance and everything Star Wars has taught us about how to be activists. Here are some of our favorite lessons and inspiration from the Skywalkers and their allies that have given us hope. Has Star Wars inspired you to fight the evil empire? Tweet with #May4thRebellion and tell us what you’re doing for the rebellion today. Do or do not. There is no try. The Empire is massive, and it can seem too vast and powerful to turn aside, never mind stop it. But then, lifting a ship …

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Missing from our Speculative Fiction: Government that Works

President Snow from the Hunger Games

This post is the first in an occasional series about elements we wish were more included in speculative fiction today. They do exist out there, but if they were incorporated more, they could help shift how we think about the future and social change. Today’s topic: good government.   Speculative fiction and political intrigue go hand in hand, yet we tend to see the same few stories about the same governments, over and over. In fantasy, you have your monarchies (benevolent or corrupt) or the occasional oligarchy, mostly based on hereditary power structures. This is your Game of Thrones territory. …

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Exit West’s Magical Realism Is a Blueprint for Compassionate Policy

Moshin Hamid’s ethereal, richly detailed world of magical realism simultaneously captures the minutia of human relationships and the sweeping tide of globalization in a beautiful study of character and culture. But its most impressive accomplishment is creating an effective blueprint for compassionate immigration policy in an increasingly bleak landscape. Exit West maps the relationship between fiercely independent Nadia, who wears traditional robes as battle armor while navigating a society hostile to women, and introverted Saeed, a thoughtful romantic torn between tradition and modernity. They meet in an intentionally non-specific war-torn city in the Middle East, their budding love a fresh and …

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Move the Trump Overton Window with Science Fiction

President Trump’s flagship policies like healthcare and tax reform may be hitting roadblocks, but he has already managed to do something significant with his rhetoric — move the Overton window faster than any other modern president. The Overton window is one of those wonky political science terms that describes a pretty simple concept — the range of political or policy positions it’s socially acceptable to have. For example, the Overton window on childhood hunger might range from a very conservative free-market based solution to a very liberal policy of universal minimum income. However, a position that it’s ok for kids …

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Announcing the 2017 Worldbuilding for Change Winners

It’s going to be a tough year for organizations looking to make a better future.  That’s why we’re excited to announce the 2017 winners of our signature Worldbuilding for Change workshop. Congratulations Restorative Justice Fund and Citizens for Global Solutions! Restorative Justice Fund is a nonprofit justice reform incubator based in Los Angeles. They identify, design, and deploy low-cost/high-impact programs that make our justice system more effective, cost-efficient, and equitable. Restorative justice is an alternate theory of justice that promotes healing over punishment. Citizens for Global Solutions has the “great goal” of establishing a democratic federation of nations with enforceable world law. Its mission is …

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