The Madness Issue

A Women's Thing Summer Madness Issue, Cover by Kimiko Yoshida
On the Cover:
Painting (Saint Francis Kneeling by Zubaran). Self-portrait
Kimiko Yoshida

Dear Readers,

There is nothing more maddening than the feeling of being alone—on a political issue; in a personal belief; with our work, our convictions, or our conflicts—when in those moments what we need most is togetherness. Even the ubiquity of pocket-computer companionship has proven to promote isolation. It’s as we suspected: Nothing compares to old-fashioned in-personism. Therefore, we’ve decided to kick up our community game. In the next six months we’re committing to gathering our AWT body (editors, writers, artists, readers, friends) for live events in Manhattan and Brooklyn, our home. Don’t live here? Take a road trip. We want to see your face.

Welcome to our 12th issue—number of cosmic order, signs in the Zodiac, months in the year—in which we investigate the topic of Madness: what it is (the opioid epidemic, page 20), what it isn’t (patriarchal institutionalization, page 51), and how to combat it (female communities!, page 16).

In “The Dark Side to a Room of One’s Own,” Dora Vanette exposes the anxieties that can arise when women choose to work from home (page 76). Sacha Judd questions the lifespan of the tech sector’s bro culture in “Kicked in the Shins” (page 88). Comic writer Elissa Bassist catalogues her antidepressant-induced breakdown in “Depression: A Matter of a Good Sense of Humor” (page 52).

The artwork featured in this issue asks us to question our sense of identity. Our cover artist, Kimiko Yoshida, has been creating self-portraits since 2001, recently turning many of them into Rorschach inkblot tests, the traditional examination used to measure a person’s mental state. We also explore the madness of racial and gender-related power structures through the work of Carrie Mae Weems, whose career in activist art has so far spanned over three decades. We step outside of ourselves and into the dreamlike blur of Stephanie Geddes’ photos, which recall scenes from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (“You see he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do?”). Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till sparked hot controversy at this year’s Whitney Biennial. Her works included here show individuals struggling against their physical and pictorial boundaries.

We’re so thankful to our members who help us all find joy and inspiration during these maddening times. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop us a line at hello@awomensthing.org. And keep your eyes peeled for those IRL events. You’re not alone!

Your AWT Team

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