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7 Essays To Read: Social Media As Obituaries, Selfie Sticks, And Shaving Your Legs

This week, Stacia L. Brown wrote about stalking the Facebook pages of black teens who have died at the hands of white cops. Read that and other essays from The Cut, Grantland, The Guardian, and more.

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1. "The Big Secret of Abortion: Women Already Know How It Works" — The Cut

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After an antiabortion organization released a video purporting to show Planned Parenthood's mishandling of aborted fetal tissue, the man behind the sting, David Daleiden, asked whether Planned Parenthood's president knew how abortions work. In response, writer Rebecca Traister penned a piece criticizing Daleiden's tactics and presumption that he could educate women on the grotesqueries of termination. "We know about babies, and many of us also love them ... and, yes, we know that those bitty features develop while the fetus is inside us," she writes. "We also know the physical, economic, and emotional costs of raising those children outside our wombs." Read Traister's essay at The Cut.

2. "Why I Facebook Stalk Dead Black Teenagers" — BuzzFeed Ideas

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When a person of color is gunned down by white authorities, Stacia L. Brown turns immediately to social media, tracking down the young victims' accounts within hours of the first report. For BuzzFeed Ideas, she explains why she Facebook-stalks dead black teenagers like 19-year-old Christian Taylor. Simply put, "the social media feeds of young people of color are auto-obituaries — and a corrective to the news narratives of black lives." Read her essay at BuzzFeed Ideas.

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3. "A Life Story in Tattoos, and How They Liberated Me" — The Muse

Judnick Mayard / Via themuse.jezebel.com

Throughout most of Judnick Mayard's life, people have tried telling her what not to get inked onto her body. Whereas people are now more liberal with the idea of tattoos, they're still conservative when it comes to the content. But that has never stopped Mayard from getting whatever tattoos she wants. "When I die, I will not be erased," she writes in a piece for The Muse. "The story of my life will be etched on my skin and they’ll remember that I lived as a real person and those who sought to quiet me, to quiet us: Fuck Them All." Read her essay here.

4. "Gwen Stefani, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Garner, and the Dilemma of the Powerful Woman" — Grantland

Chris Polk / PMA 2014 / Getty Images / Via grantland.com

In the aftermath of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale's split, tabloids have pushed a misogynistic narrative, blaming the divorce on Gwen's success. For Grantland, Molly Lambert reflects on the high-profile relationships of Gwen, Nicki Minaj, and Jennifer Garner and points out a dilemma every powerful woman faces. “Just as men are expected to be emasculated by successful women, women are expected to seek out a man whom they can stand behind dutifully while he takes the spotlight," Lambert writes. Read the entire essay at Grantland.

5. "A Moment That Changed Me – My Father Finding Out That I’d Shaved My Legs" — The Guardian

Nell Frizzell / Via theguardian.com

The moment Nell Frizzell's father found out she'd shaved her legs for the first time is one that still resonates with her today. It was then that she realized her body was a weapon and political background that others would try to control. "I was conceding to the patriarchal bullshit that said my body needed fixing," she writes in a Guardian essay. "I was buying into the idea that women should deny they’re mammals. That we should mark ourselves out from men by being hairless." Read it at The Guardian.

6. "Who We Love and Who We Eat" — BuzzFeed Ideas

Will Varner / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Cecil the lion's death has sparked an outrage — one Summer Anne Burton has felt her whole life — but there's something puzzling about people's outrage, too. For BuzzFeed Ideas, Burton asks why we feel so deeply for a lion and not for other creatures or fellow humans. "If you’re publicly mourning Cecil but you aren’t moved by the big game trophy hunting that happens everywhere, or the atrocious human rights violations taking place in other countries, or by police officers who shoot unarmed and nonviolent teenagers, it becomes fair to ask: Why now? Why this life?" Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.

7. "What Selfie Sticks Really Tell Us About Ourselves" — The New York Times

Tim Enthoven / Via nytimes.com

Intrusive and tacky, selfie sticks (and, by extension, selfies) are frowned upon for a reason. For the New York Times, Kate Murphy writes about all things regarding the selfie. What does it mean that people are obsessed with looking at and documenting themselves? Are we narcissists? Are we dying for gratification? Read Murphy's piece at the New York Times.

Want to read more?

Noah Charney gives tips on how to get more done in less time. Kirsten King recounts a hilarious first date, during which she choked on a piece of spaghetti. Hallie Bateman explains what happens when you try to stay silent for 10 days. And finally, Sandra Allen admits she hasn't read most books.

Susan Cheng is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Susan Cheng at susan.cheng@buzzfeed.com.

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