Soap and toothbrushes: Mundane symbols of compassion and respect

Although the U.S. government has a long history of warehousing people of color, its overt foray into large-scale concentration camps intended for desperate asylum seekers is relatively new. And the video of a Trump administration lawyer coolly offering a rational argument as to why basic humanitarian rules do not require the government to facilitate sleep, […]

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Vicarious living through Comme des Garçons: Exoticism and cultural appropriation

When I finally got around to reading the first book in the historical mystery series featuring amateur Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, I was struck by its overtly imperialist aesthetic. Set in the late 19th century, it parodies and celebrates English archeologists. It also patronizes the local people at every turn. For the White Western reader, it […]

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Gender-bending fragrance choices: The courage to be queerly perfumed

Many outspoken male fragrance enthusiasts share childhood memories of being captivated by their mothers’ perfume. It’s such an iconic moment among non-gender conforming male perfume connoisseurs that it deserves its own film sequence: the mother sweeping up her little boy in a cloud of No. 19, Diorella, Chloe, or Halston. And then his secret missions […]

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