Photo by Daniel Bosse on Unsplash

In my mid-twenties, I secured my first nine-to-five office job: a prestigious internship with a reputable environmental nonprofit in Washington D.C. I then rented a room in a lovely old house in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland.

Every morning, my alarm went off at seven. I would then dress, eat breakfast, and walk the mile and a half to the red line subway station to take to DuPont Circle. I did this whether the weather was searing, swampy heat, bone-deep cold, drenching rain, or snow. Thirty minutes later, I would be deposited about five blocks from my office. …

For many disabled and low-income people, the internet is a critical utility that remains unaffordable and largely unregulated

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

It was in March 2020, during the first few weeks of the shut-downs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that my internet started to constantly crash.

My broadband connection, which had always been decent if not top-notch, began to slow to a crawl. This tended to happen during the most inconvenient times — when I was on the phone with a doctor or interviewing someone on Zoom for an article I was writing.

I assumed perhaps that the problem was the surge of people working from home now and using their internet. The speed tests I ran on my machine revealed…

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

Nearly a century ago, the renowned British-born economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that technological progress would eventually lead to people only needing to work 15 hours a week. Several decades later, in 1965, the United States Senate subcommittee predicted that its citizens would only be working 14 hours a week by the year 2000. Unfortunately, not only were these predictions off base, they seem rather lofty compared to the direction we actually went in cultivating the contemporary American approach to work.

Here in the United States, we work harder than most other developed nations in the world. Altogether, we average…

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

I was born with a really severe case of clubfoot — the kind of case that required several surgeries as an infant and wearing a cast for the first few years of my life to correct.

I still walk with a slight limp at times and even occasionally require a cane, and the condition has led to other complications with my body as I have aged. As a child, my mother always reminded me that had I been born a few years or decades earlier, or even born at the time I was but in a less industrialized nation, I…

Illustration: Rose Wong

Trolls, death threats, and constant harassment — the risky business of being a woman journalist in the social media era

“Feminist cunts should die.”

This was the subject of an email I received a year and a half ago. Wary but curious, I opened the message and confirmed that the feminist cunt in question was me.

I didn’t delete the message. Instead, I printed it out and brought it to my local police station, where they added it to a growing file that had started some months earlier, after I published an article in Politico correlating toxic masculinity and mass shootings. …

You’re not even making sense. I already stated my other post was in error (almost immediately actually) in the way I worded it and clarified that most mass shootings were forms of murder-suicides arising out of domestic violence incidents rather than most suicides involving white males were forms of murder-suicides — yet nonetheless, murder-suicides are still a problem and the vast majority of their perpetrators are white males and most of the victims are females. And in some states that’s more prominent. And in some states, it’s even a more prominent problem (Vermont, Florida).

While women have made strides in media and publishing, it seems we’re still often subject to the whims of men

Photo: Ralf Geithe/Getty Images

A year and a half ago, in the wake of the tragic Las Vegas shootings, I was struck by a single idea: If mental illness is such a prominent culprit in the phenomenon of mass shootings — as so many politicians and media pundits claim it to be — where are all the female mass shooters? After all, we have mental illness too, in arguably much greater numbers than men (at least according to the best available data). And yet, almost all mass shootings to date have been committed by cis men (most of them white).

In October 2017, I…

Just because I don’t “look” disabled doesn’t mean I’m not

Photo: ake1150sb/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The doctor I’d emailed earlier that day agreed to a 20-minute phone call with me. He was known for performing a rare procedure I hoped might potentially restore some of the nerve function to my right leg, which had been compromised ever since I suffered severe herniation and cyst formation in several discs in my lumbar spine nearly three years prior. He quickly shot down that hope when I shared my other diagnoses, though, because I had too many other things going on in my body that would make me a risky prospect.

Nonetheless, he stayed on the phone with…

It often begins like this: I run into an issue with an authority figure who is a gatekeeper to a service or safety net I need to survive, or someone of some esteem in my town or an organization I do some sort of business with.

It may be that my healthcare benefits are temporarily shut down due to supposedly not getting in required paperwork on time (even though I sent it weeks in advance and have the certified mail receipt to prove it arrived before it was supposed to). …

Image Courtesy of Common Dreams

Starting this summer when the Trump administration put its “zero tolerance” pilot program regarding immigration to work along the Mexican border— effectively separating parents and legal guardians from minor children by the thousands in the course of only a couple of months in a policy move that can only be called cruel and inhumane— I watched the debates explode on social media.

It was not my friends saying troubling things, but their friends or relatives — who in smug tones decried that the people trickling into our country are taking away precious resources that “real” Americans so desperately need. There’s…

Laura Kiesel

Writer w/bylines in the Atlantic, Guardian, Salon, Vice, Politico, etc., covering feminism, sustainability, health. My Patreon is @

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