Feminist-friendly frights: Horror movies worth a watch

By Sophia-Joelle Oswald

For a movie to pass the Bechdel Test it must have at least two named women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Which is, quite frankly, the bare minimum. Thousands of movies have been tested for the Bechdel Test, but less than 57% of the films in the database meet all three of these criteria. 

Horror is the only film genre where women speak as often as men. Shocking, right? (Ha, see what we did there.)

Many horror movies put women at the center, giving them a chance to tell their own stories and share their points of view. 

As with all genres, there was a time when horror movies constantly portrayed female characters in an unempowering light. The final girl trope is the perfect example of this. The final girl is the last woman left alive at the end of a horror or slasher film. She alone is still standing, left to either defeat the killer or describe the series of events to the authorities. The final girl is a major part of many successful horror movies like Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween

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Midnights: Swapping Stories at Swift’s Sleepover

By Hanna Ellington

A master of reinvention, Taylor Swift pivots toward reflection with her latest release, Midnights

The album in its entirety feels similar to being at a long-awaited sleepover, where the brazen story-swapping continues long after the lights are turned out. Her 10th studio album serves as a formal departure from the imaginative stories of folklore and evermore, capturing an honest exploration of personal faults and private vulnerabilities. Accented by the return of her ever-catchy pop sound, Midnights illuminates the subtle intricacies of late-night talking and restless ponderings through its substance under the moody, synth-pop surface.

Midnights toys with what keeps you up at night, with subjects ranging from self-examination, karmic revenge, and notches in the bedpost. Combining elements of candid, late-night musings with polished and dreamy synthesized backings, Swift’s personal examination fuses her past personas and experiences to create a matured, subdued, and introspective package. Defined by her color-coded and recognizable eras, Midnights analyzes “13 sleepless nights scattered through my life,” according to her August 29 Instagram announcement, giving an intimate perspective on the inner workings of her mind and life in the spotlight.

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Women to Watch—A New World: 2024, KC’s newest art exhibit

By Nicole Mitchell

Kansas City’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is opening its newest art exhibit this month: the Women to Watch exhibition (Women to Watch—A New World: 2024). The series has been held every few years and invites women artists from across the country to respond to a theme picked by Washington, D.C.-based organization National Museum of Women Artists (NMWA) curators. Kemper participated most recently in the series in 2019 with Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020. This exhibition will be the seventh total installment of the Women to Watch series.

The theme for this year’s exhibition was inspired by the events of 2020, including a global health pandemic, intense calls for social reform, and political division. Artists across the U.S. used this as inspiration to express visions of a new world.

This year, Kemper’s presentation of Women to Watch—A New World: 2024 features five local artists Mona Cliff/HanukGahNé (Spotted Cloud) (Aaniiih, born 1977), Bianca Fields (American, born 1995), Bev Gegen (American, born 1937), Melanie Johnson (American, born 1978), and Sun Young Park (South Korean, born 1990). The presentation was juried by Kemper Museum Director of Curatorial Affairs Erin Dziedzic and presented in cooperation with the Greater Kansas City Area Committee of the NMWA.

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The Short Film Honey & Milk Will Bring an Untold Story of Gender-Identity to Life

By Sophie Oswald

Honey & Milk tells a story we have yet to see on screen. It follows Alice and Grayson in their final moments as a couple before the life they once knew comes to an end. As Grayson discovers who they truly are and breaks down the walls of masculinity, everything about their romantic relationship changes. Emotions are high with moments of intense anger and heavy sadness. 

Alice wants to take on life together, but Grayson needs the freedom to find themself. Grayson leaves and heads back into the world anew, and Alice is left to grieve what once was. As said on Seed & Spark, “Honey & Milk will leave the audience contemplating how some of the most unconditional expressions of love often come at a personal cost. Love holds the sweet grief of impermanence.”

This uniquely beautiful and inclusive film is being created by an all femme and gender nonconforming (GNC) crew. The short film not only explores gender and personal transformation, but it’s being created by people who truly understand those experiences. 

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Poetry and photography zine Tessellation explores piecing yourself back together—while raising funds for Barrier Babes.

By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young

I reached a creative roadblock in the midst of the 2020 pandemic. I wasn’t making things for myself, and my mental health was suffering because of it. So I challenged myself to make. And this book was created.

Over the fall of 2020, I pieced together poetry and film photography to create Tessellation, a zine about falling apart and putting yourself back together again. 

Over a year and a half later, Tessellation is ready for the world. And because this zine helped me through a dark time, I want it to help others. So I’ve partnered with Barrier Babes—a Kansas City nonprofit that strives to promote inclusive and unapologetic sexual health education. Barrier Babes distributes condoms as a way to help lower rising STI rates in Kansas City. 

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