Wednesday 5: Top 5 Longreads

In this week’s Wednesday 5, we share our Top 5 Longreads—longform journalism articles and narratives of more than 1,500 words, written by women and about women. As you know, women are incredible storytellers. Yet there’s a significant void in platforms for women writing stories that cannot be summed up in single soundbites. Our list includes stories about the women survivors of Hiroshima; the online abuse women face when they make their opinions public; the emotional toll of being unemployed; the intersections of journalism and environmental activism for one reporter; and deconstructing the “difficult woman” that is Vivian Maier.



Hiroshima Women Speak About the Bomb


Amanda Solliday writes for The Riveter:  “As survivors of Hiroshima start to age, they keep their stories alive through passing them down to younger generations.”



The Troll Slayer: A Cambridge Classicist Takes on Her Sexist Detractors

Rebecca Mead writes for The New Yorker: Mary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, confronts the online abuse that women face when they make their opinions public.

“The more I’ve looked at the details of the threats and the insults that women are on the receiving end of, the more some of them seem to fit into the old patterns of prejudice and assumption that I have been talking about,” she said. “It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.” —Mary Beard



When You’re Unemployed


Jessica Goldstein writes for The Hairpin: “What happens is you are called into a manager’s office to discuss your “job/future” and this is the meeting in which you are let go. You think it was sort of misleading of your higher-ups to claim this meeting was about your “job/future,” which is technically true but only insofar as you no longer have either.”



A Woman Who’s Made a Difference: Clara Bingham, Investigative Journalist

Our very own Deborah Harkins, co-editor of Women’s Voices for Change writes: “In the fall of 2000, while doing research for a Washington Monthly article about the ongoing destruction of mountaintops in Appalachia to mine coal, Clara Bingham got so outraged that she decided to tell the story visually, with helicopter fly-overs, as a documentary.”



Vivian Maier and the Problem of Difficult Women


Rose Lichter-Marck writes in The New Yorker: “Some tellings of Vivian Maier’s story suggest that perhaps we should feel a proxy regret, that we should feel sorry about her solitude, her rages, her dark edges, her impecunious existence. Shall we make her a martyr or can we allow that she may have had the life she wanted? How did she see herself? We know that she was looking at that, too—the copious self-portraits prove it.”

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  • Toni Myers November 13, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I love the Wednesday 5. Wonderful Clara Bingham. We are fighting against coal trains in Washington state, not our children’s lives. If this is not a fervent call to action, what else would it be.
    Everyone should see the film about Vivian Maier’s work and the little that is known of her life. I got the idea that she lived it exactly as she liked. Her jobs allowed her to continue her life work, though she never seemed to care about sharing it. She did it for its own sake and hers.