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The Establishment
Letter sent on Jul 7, 2017


Oh, why hello. And bonjour!

I’m in my own once-future. (On the East Coast, that is, instead of Oakland.)

My boyfriend’s parents are selling their longtime home in the preposterously lovely Marblehead, MA (yes, where that terrifyingly saccharine and spooky book Charlie St. Cloud is set, which then starred ZAC EFRON in the film adaptation, hahahaha).

They’re throwing one last hurrah flanked by family (and a pending granddaughter poised to burst into this beautiful/bizarre world late September) so we hurtled across the country to celebrate the tribe. And the closing of a chapter. They are dismantling what it means for them to have a Home.

I had lived in four states by the time I was in sixth grade. My tribe — which really consisted of my mother, father and me as my brother was seven years older and at boarding school — was peripatetic, nomadic. Our roots were not in a location, but tendril-ed into one another; we were bound together by an incandescent web of heart- and mind-strings.

These bindings were not always pleasant, but they were potent.

I learned to imbue people with Home; I’ve learned, like so many of us, to strap my love for my family — chosen and otherwise — onto my back like a tortoise shell. This way we are Home just about anywhere.

It is perhaps the most potent alchemy I could have ever hoped to learn

And I hope that The Est. has become another shell to strap upon your broad or wizened, or willowy or buckling, back — a place to rest and retreat and find a respite from the winds that howl at your door.

I hope we are a small slice of Home.

With love + rage,
Katie Tandy
Co-founder | Creative Director



When Your Words Are Weapons

By Ijeoma Oluo

Good intentions are held above impact. We are made to feel ungrateful for the attempt made to write about us at all. We are told that we are going to be the death of journalism. And we are told time and time again that a journalist only has a responsibility to the truth — what is done with that “truth” is not their problem.

But as a black woman I call bullshit. And as a writer, I call extra bullshit. Words matter. If they didn’t matter, we wouldn’t be in this profession. Our platform is an immense privilege that far too few people (especially marginalized people) have access to. We do not ever speak only for ourselves because our words do not ever only impact us.

How Do You Keep Social Media From Destroying Your Mental Health?

By Sarah Kurchak

I don’t think social media is the cause of my current troubles. It’s just cranked them to 11. If the virtual world is, as I believe, just the real world coming at you faster and more thoroughly, then my issues with it are simply my day-to-day issues amplified.

I like to observe people to get a better idea of how to belong with them, so I obsessively read every tweet and post and comment and link that comes across my feeds in a misguided attempt to understand everyone. I want to be a good person, but I’m so hard on myself that I often end up overwhelming myself with information and external and internal criticism and freezing.

What It’s Like To Judge A Women’s Leather Contest

By Tina Horn

The fact that no one could give me a clear answer to the question What is Leather? did bring out my cynical side, making me wonder whether I was an interloper or not. Sometimes I felt like Leather might be a cult of circular logic. Eventually, I concluded that if Leather is a cult, it’s a meritocracy.

That may be the entire point of having contests instead of just gathering to party and fuck. Yes, Leather is about sex, but it’s also about an expansive idea of intimacy. It’s a tradition that refreshingly undermines the nuclear idea of family values.

Why We Need More ‘Hunger’ And Less ‘To The Bone’

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Yes, I saw myself represented here — both visually and experientially. But I didn’t see anyone else. In eating disorder narratives, we almost never see anyone else. And this lack of representation goes against what we know, scientifically, to be true: Wealth does not make you more likely to develop an eating disorder. Eating disorder prevalence in the United States, with the exception of anorexia, is similar across racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Queer women are similarly likely — and queer men, more likely — to develop eating disorders as their straight counterparts. Trans folks are at an increased risk for eating disorder development. Fat people have eating disorders. Disabled people have eating disorders. Older people have eating disorders. Where are their stories?

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There is no other profession in the United States that has experienced as significant a gender shift as veterinary medicine. A vocation once dominated by men now sees its schools occupied by almost 80% women, compared to 1930, when less than 1% of all veterinarians were female. This stark reversal is still largely unexplained, chalked up to a complicated mix of shifting socio-cultural-political forces.

Interestingly enough, Genevieve says her worst struggles against sexism were found not out in the field, but in the hot heart of tattoo parlors in the ‘90s.

Let’s partner, shall we?