Culture Feature

Meet America's Favorite "Proud Boys"

Like K-Pop stans before them, these "proud boys" are drowning out the voices of white supremacists.

Photo by Teddy O on Unsplash

At the first presidential debate, Donald Trump was given an opportunity to disavow the violent white supremacist group known as the Proud Boys.

The Proud Boys—who have made a name for themselves by instigating violence with anti-fascist activists and Black Lives Matter protesters—insist that they are not white supremacists, defining themselves instead as "western chauvinists." In effect, this means that they are welcoming to racial minorities... as long as those racial minorities agree that white culture and "western civilization" are fundamentally better than the rest of the world.

Keep ReadingShow less

Taking Back Pride: Black Lives Matter Marches Led by Queer and Trans People Reclaim Pride's Radical Roots

The Brooklyn Liberation March, a protest for Black Trans Lives, was truer to the original spirit and point of Pride than any corporatized Pride march.

This year's truest Pride event so far had no corporate floats and no rainbow flag logos.

It came together in a spirit of rage and defiance. It was the Brooklyn Liberation March, which began at the Brooklyn Museum and wound its way through Brooklyn for hours.

15,000 people, most clad in white, walked in the hot sunshine on June 12th. The march, organized by several Black trans-led organizations, was first conceptualized by a drag queen named West Dakota, who saw hypocrisy in the George Floyd protests erupting around the world that Sumer.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gal Pals Forever: Ashley Benson and Cara Delevingne Got Matching Friendship Rings and the Internet is Dead

During a St. Tropez vacation, Ashley Benson and Cara Delevingne apparently cemented their entirely platonic love for each other with matching rings.

Cara Delevingne & Ashley Benson cutest moments

Ashley Benson and Cara Delevingne are already one of the Internet's favorite pairs of gal pals—and yesterday, a photo of the duo sporting matching rings has sparked a wildfire of rumors that they've solidified their commitment to being friends forever.

Their relationship sure seems close, and it's great to see that the two feel like they can be there for each other and can celebrate life while they're still waiting for the right man.

The rumors started when a photo surfaced of the two embracing platonically on a vacation to St. Tropez. A closer look revealed that both women appeared to be wearing identical gold bands—and Twitter is sure that they're friendship rings.

Though these rings mark a major step in their friendship, it wouldn't be the first time that the two have performed grand gestures to show their affection for each other. They've been hanging out for just a year, but during that time, Delevingne rented out the Museum of Natural History for a night to celebrate her friend's birthday—what a great pal!—and the two moved in together in June.

The two have been quite public about their adorably pure and clearly non-romantic feelings for each other. Later in June, in an acceptance speech at the TrevorLIVE Gala, Delevingne announced her affection for Benson to the world. "I also have another very special woman in this room to thank, and you know who you are," she said. "She's one of the people who help me love myself when I needed it most, and I really needed it. She showed me what real love is and how to accept it, which is a lot harder than I thought." She concluded, "I love you, Sprinkles."

Wow—it's so great to see that women can do more for each other than give each other advice about boys (though certainly they must do a lot of that while crying, drinking wine, and watching sitcoms in their apartment, like all single women).

These ladies have yet to officially confirm their commitment to eternal friendship, but one thing is for certain: The two are definitely living it up this summer. They were also spotted holding hands while wandering around southeastern France (friendship goals!)

Neither Benson nor Delevingne has been seen with a man for a long time, so it's inspiring to see that they can be there for each other during this dry spell. Even if they don't know it themselves, they're obviously just waiting around for the right guy to show them what they've been missing.

Of course, they've clarified that their relationship is not just a friendship many times, even lashing out at a good Samaritan who commented the truth on their photos. This is clearly an example of the delusions that feminism has inflicted on our youth, but they're bound to come to their senses.

Until then, it seems that they're pretty set on enjoying girls' nights every night for the rest of their lives.


Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson’s Relationship Is a Gift

Cara Delevingne's public declaration of love for her girlfriend is a reminder of what Pride month is really about.

On Monday, Cara Delevingne received the Hero Award from the Trevor Project for her support for LGBTQ+ causes.

In her speech, she discussed the challenges of being queer in Hollywood, and she had some special people to thank, including a very special woman in her life: her girlfriend, Ashley Benson.

"She's one of the people who helped me love myself when I needed it most," Delevingne said. "She showed me what real love is and showed me how to accept it, which is a lot harder than I thought. I love you, Sprinkles," she said, setting every lesbian and bisexual's heart aflame and giving us all the Pride Month gift that we never knew we needed.

Later, Delevingne shared that she decided to go public with the news of the relationship for two reasons: first, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that launched Pride, and second, because this month marks their one year anniversary.

Though they had never actually discussed their relationship in the public eye until this week, fans had long known that sparks were flying—the two were photographed kissing in London last August, and they appeared together frequently over the course of the year, even sticking up for each other when trolls left hateful comments on Benson's Instagram.

They fueled the flames when adorable photos of them cuddling in a car and riding roller coasters together appeared online, along with their matching outfits and extravagant celebrations (Delevingne rented out the Natural History Museum in London for her girlfriend's 29th birthday).

Things reached a fever pitch at the absolutely iconic moment when they were photographed carrying a $400 sex bench into their apartment on May 29th, effectively ringing in Pride Month, as one Twitter user noted.

Their relationship is just a gift that keeps on giving. As a cherry on top, Delevingne later shared this clip of the two passionately kissing, illuminated by sultry red lights.

Benson and Delevingne's admission comes at a time where Pride is rapidly being commodified and distorted beyond recognition. As LGBTQ+ acceptance becomes more mainstream, countless companies and powerful figures (cough, Taylor Swift) are adopting rainbow flag logos in order to sell their products or present an illusion of allyship when all they want is profit.

This fundamentally distorts the meaning of Pride—which began as a riot when Marsha P. Johnson threw a brick at a cop, but is ultimately supposed to be about activism and love. In light of Delevingne's work for the Trevor Project and open proclamation of love for her lady, her relationship with Benson is a gem that reminds us what the rainbow flag really stands for.

New Releases

Taylor Swift Finally Has Something to Say

With an awkward (albeit successful) transition from country to pop, the star struggled to grow and change with fans, but now Swift is rediscovering her voice

Taylor Swift

Photo by Tinseltown/ Shutterstock

After a decade of heart-wrenching, soul-shaking, and groundbreaking love songs and breakup anthems, Taylor Swift is finally singing about something bigger than herself.

Whether the criticism for being apolitical wore her down or she needed to rebrand to stay relevant by cultivating a newer, younger fan base, we're relieved. Swift's Reputation era left some fans disappointed. They expected her to tackle the media and her "reputation," but instead, Swift victimized herself and gave us nothing new or lasting. Her latest rollout is plastered with pastel rainbows, making some question if Swift is hinting at something about her sexuality, especially since her most recent single, "ME!," was a rumored coming out. With her new single, "You Need to Calm Down," Swift is finally beginning to break down her walls, calling out the negative nellies of the world and celebrating self-expression.

An anti-hate anthem isn't a new idea for Swift, but here she dedicates a whole verse to uplifting her LGBTQ+ fans. The notable verse smoothly articulates homophobia as a waste of energy: "Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD? / Sunshine on the street at the parade / But you would rather be in the dark ages / Makin' that sign must've taken all night." The sly spelling of GLAAD could go unnoticed, but her lyric "Shade never made anybody less gay" doesn't beat around the bush. She even celebrates gender expression, gutsily asking in the refrain, "Can you just not step on his gown?" "You Need to Calm down" is the adult "Mean": Swift uses the external instead of the personal to explore societal hate, effectively grounding her message in everyday examples.

For the first time in three albums, a Taylor Swift pre-album single is intriguing and insightful. While expectations were low after "ME!," "You Need to Calm Down" delivers a Swift we've never heard before: a grown woman speaking her mind. At last, she's hit her cool-girl stride, effortlessly blending vocals with spoken word components. With an awkward (albeit successful) transition from country to pop, the star struggled to grow and change with fans, but now Swift is rediscovering her voice. She's no longer the raw, thumping country-rock adolescent; she's an adult using her platform to speak out about greater issues. Hopefully, this Taylor sticks around.


Vulture Dehumanizes Drag Queens with Random Ranking

Unfortunately, New York Magazine overlooked the depth of those underneath the makeup, even dwindling some down to a footnote.

When New York Magazine began releasing photos of international drag sensations, many fans were excited to read profiles on the artistic geniuses.

Unfortunately, Vulture's coverage reminded many that a RuPaul's Drag Race bubble exists and not everyone respects the Queens for the artists they are. Instead of treating the magazine's cover stars like those prior, the publication ranked the performers, classifying them as either Top Tier or Bottom Tier. The reductive representation offered no further insight on the fascinating queens—who they are beyond surface level accomplishments or individual placements on the show. While Drag Race is a launchpad for hundreds of queens, Vulture failed to appreciate the profundity of the new generation of Instagram and reality TV celebrities.

The lives of drag performers tend to be disregarded, with fans favoring the spectacle and on-stage characters. This is a reminder that queens embody a type of expression that both embraces and rejects gender to cultivate a new narrative and understanding of personhood. Drag culture is a celebration of self and the ability we have to truly be ourselves. Unfortunately, Vulture overlooked the depth of those underneath the makeup, even dwindling some down to a dehumanizing footnote.

Queens photographed for the publication reacted swiftly, taking to Twitter to criticize the written content and the photos' lighting.

Although Martin Schoeller is known for his up close, unedited style, the article did not match the quality of the photos. Willam Belli (of Drag Race and television fame) called out the journalistic integrity of Vulture's editors, claiming none of the subjects were informed they would be ranked.

If journalists bothered to look beyond the accessible information on a drag queen's career, each artist's influence on our cultural consciousness would be more recognized. In turn, they could become championed members of our society, surpassing Pride coverage and queer-oriented events (ahem Met Gala). Uplifting their stories year round (outside of the reality show format) would increase the number of pivotal voices allowed to transform our culture. If it wasn't obvious enough, these entertainers have contributed to a shift in Western society and impacted younger generations for good: Gen Y and Z are more inclusive and expressive than past generations, which will inform the future, with or without journalistic appreciation. Vulture should know better.