How did Jessica Valenti lose the baby weight?

A major news organization wants to know. Jessica Valenti, feminist activist and author, recently gave birth and wrote a book. In promoting her book, she pitched story ideas to various news outlets dealing with issues she address in Why Have Kids? One organization wasn’t really feeling her original pitch, and came back with this:

Would Jessica be interested in writing something about weight loss after having a baby? We’re doing a lot of coverage around Jessica Simpson’s efforts to lose the baby pounds, and we’d love to hear from Jessica Valenti about what it was like for her to shed the weight. She can get as personal as she’d like—our readers love personal stories. Along with the actual process of losing weight (what she ate, when she exercised, etc), it would be interesting if she could focus on setting realistic expectations for yourself as a new mom. I feel like a lot of conversation among our audience has turned to the fact that new mothers aren’t prepared for the onslaught of all the worrying that comes with having a baby, including her looks.

I nearly choked on my coffee this morning, trying not to laugh at the irony of it all. Read more here.

Conference: Black ExistentialismS: Situating Black Existential Philosophy TBA February 2013

Existentialism is a theory on the meaning of the being of human being. Black existentialism is a theory on the meaning of the being of blackness. Blackness, like being, has a myriad of understanding, explanations, and explorations.

Celebrating the diversity of understandings, explanations, and explorations into the meaning of blackness within cultural, political, philosophical, and aesthetic life, Duquesne University in conjunction with the Black Aesthetics and Politics series invites participants from a wide range of disciplines and mediums to this year’s topic, Black ExistentialismS: Situating Black Existential Philosophy. This year’s conference focuses the different experiences and differential histories and different existentialisms throughout the Diaspora. What are those aspects of living that influence who we are, what we are, and our world. While geography or place has become a critical aspect of much of existential philosophy, we have yet to fully acknowledge and incorporate it in the creation of knowledge and the construction of world and identity for black existentialism. Black ExistentialismS asks whether place is significant in the construction of race identity, or if the experience of race is ubiquitous throughout the world.

This conference seeks to provide multi-dimensional aural and intellectual encounters and experiences ranging from innovative paper presentations to poetry to monologue, to music to photography and installation and stage art as a means of expressing black existentialisms. We are interested in the development of differential accounting of the meaning and experiences of being black; through articulating our differences we come to appreciate our deeper similarities.
Our last two conferences have featured documentary filmmaker M.K. Asante, in 2010 and a live, onstage dance and music performance in 2012. We want to continue this tradition. We encourage creative usage of space and theme to help think, or re-think the meaning of blackness.

Ytasha Womack, author of Post-Black: How a Generation is Redefining African American Identity

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko of The Philadiction Movement

Staycee Pearl of Staycee Pearl Dance Project

Themes and/or topics include, but are not limited to:
Philosophical foundations for black existentialisms
What are black existentialisms?
History of black existentialism
Black American existentialism
African existentialism
Caribbean existentialism
Indigenous black existentialism
Comparative black existentialisms
Black Futurism
Black visual arts
Black being (ontology)
Black being-in-the-world
Black Phenomenology and existentialisms
Black existentialisms in literature
Black existentialisms and feminism
Black existentialisms and womanism
Black existentialisms in black political theory
Black existentialisms and black aesthetic theory
Black existentialisms and contemporary black culture (e.g. hip-hop, film, etc)
Black existentialisms and post-blackness
Black existentialism and post-humanism

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2012
Departmental sponsorship?? Music, theater arts, film/media, English,
Departments: Literature, arts, theater, music, philosophy, social science

Send submissions and inquiries to