In September, after a year of being bullied online, Rebecca Sedwick threw herself off a three-story cement silo, sparking an international freak-out over the responsibility social media networks like Ask.fm have in fostering this kind of harassment. But for Rebecca’s family, friends, and neighbors, the problem isn’t technology or opportunistic startups — it’s people. Read it at BuzzFeed.
2. Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt — NPR
Reporters used Kickstarter to commission a Planet Money t-shirt and follow it from cotton farm to consumer, meeting the machines and people — like Bangladeshi seamstresses — who make it possible. A fascinating multi-media experience that will alter the way you see your own clothing. Watch and read it at NPR.
3. The Other Side of the Story — Texas Monthly
When Jenny Kutner was 14, she and her former eighth grade teacher, who was in his twenties, fell in love, and became sexually involved. A decade after her parents caught on, the DA got involved, and he went to prison, she complicates the concept of what it’s like to be the “victim” in a case such as this. Read it at Texas Monthly.
Rega Jha writes beautifully and honestly about a very difficult topic: “After having lived in the United States, going back home to India in 2013 means readjusting to more than modest dress and unwanted stares. It means confronting a past I’d rather forget.” Read it at BuzzFeed.
5. Gretchen Molannen’s Legacy: Suffering, Suicide and a Journalist’s Responsibility — Tampa Bay Times
Leonara LaPeter Anton wrote a profile of an unstable woman who suffered from a rare syndrome that left her constantly, painfully, aroused. When, after publication, she killed herself, the journalist was left to contemplate whether she deserved the blame. Read it at the Tampa Bay Times.
6. Fat City — The Monthly
Fed up bariatric physician Karen Hitchcock discusses obesity — and what should be done about it — thoughtfully and, no doubt controversially, in this persuasive piece. Her experience has convinced her that regarding severe obesity as a “disease” is part of the problem. Read it at The Monthly.
8. The Secret Life of Grief — The Atlantic
Derek Thompson discusses the science of grief in this loving essay about his mother’s death. “For some people, the death of a loved one is truly life-stopping, and I worried it would stop mine.” Read it at The Atlantic.
9. Why the “Rape Girls” Are Speaking Out — BuzzFeed
Today, more than ever, victims of sexual assault are speaking out — for example as part of the Unbreakable project or in essays like Emily McCombs’ on XOJane. Jessica Testa considers what’s caused this shift away from keeping victims anonymous and silent, and its potential ramifications on our culture at large. Read it at BuzzFeed.
- Tom Perez has been named chair of the Democratic National Committee. He was Obama's Labor Secretary.