Dayna Tortorici

All articles by this author

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Psychologically, there are two L.A.’s. One is where Naomi Watts gets to be the sunny aspiring actress Betty and have beautiful teeth and a gorgeous lesbian relationship with an amnesiac Laura Harring. The other is where Naomi Watts is Diane, with fucked-up teeth, an unrequited romantic obsession, and a bullet in her head. They’re both the same movie, and none of it makes any sense. But it says something about how the city sees itself: things are one way, or suddenly another.

Those Like Us

Those Like Us

On Elena Ferrante

I confess that this anecdote and its contents — the theory of the “symbolic mother,” the concept of a “female symbolic,” the school of difference feminism (unfashionable in egalitarian America), and écriture féminine in the French tradition — made no sense to me until I read Ferrante. Not that it’s so crystalline now: a convenient difficulty of difference feminism, for anyone asked to explain it, is its insistence on being inexplicable in legible (“male”) terms. But Ferrante’s novels animate these ideas with a generous clarity.

Hands Up

Hands Up

A roundtable on police brutality

The events of the past few days weighed heavily on our minds as we assembled the final transcript below. The relative calm and humor of our conversation feels slightly dissonant with the anger and sadness we feel now. We chose to present it precisely because of this dissonance. Across the country, regular people have taken to the streets to say that we’ve had enough. We say the same. The following roundtable is the first of several we plan to publish, with the hope of continuing a dialogue we believe is vital to social accountability.

In the Habit

In the Habit

Living itself is vengeance. But the fantasy of the gun is one of finality. No more explaining: Bang. One sees the appeal.

Where her friend’s backtalk nips unwanted advances in the bud, Thana’s silence reads to the men around her as an invitation. Eventually, she starts carrying the gun. She hacks Rapist 2, still stashed in her bathtub, into pieces, dumping trash bags full of his remains around the city two at a time. When one sleazy guy chases after her—Hey lady! You forgot your bag!—she panics and shoots him. Her muteness offers a good enough explanation for why she’s a perfect shot: she’s a cowboy.

Fedora

Fedora

The single woman wears a fedora to say, I want a man who is like a woman in a hat.

The fedora is not Monica Lewinsky’s sex-guerrilla beret made sweet with a bow, taking no prisoners with an infantile feminine twist. Nor is it Mary Tyler Moore throwing her beret to the sky—You’re gonna make it after all. We are not sure whether we’re going to make it, in a fedora.

Sex Class Action

Sex Class Action

When do women count as a "class" in the eyes of the law?

Too many women find themselves isolated in their experiences of prejudice, left to whittle offenses down in their minds to nothing worth complaining about — to accept each experience as “a fluke,” in the words of one Wal-Mart supervisor in Alabama, who told deli manager Gretchen Adams that there was nothing he could do about a sexist pay discrepancy.