TABLE OF CONTENTS

TOP TEN

Hari Nef

Hari Nef is a New York–based actress and model. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Dazed, Original Plumbing, and Adult. In May, Nef was signed to IMG Models, and she will appear in season two of the Amazon series Transparent, which premieres December 4.

  1. MISS PRADA

    Not to be confused with the Milanese fashion god, Miss Prada—first name Joanne—is a vlogger, musician, and actress. She describes herself as the “queen of pop” and the “baddest tranny,” and her tracks—many of them self-produced—are fire. (My favorites are “Voodoo Pussy,” “What’s the Tea,” and “Young Money Audition.”) Equal parts comedian and tragedian, Miss Prada offers a radical poetics for being.

    *Still from Miss Prada’s 2015 video _Pop That Box_.* Still from Miss Prada’s 2015 video Pop That Box.
  2. MIUCCIA PRADA

    If Joanne taught me my ABCs, then Miuccia covered the birds and the bees—the subtleties of desire. She bears the torch for a rare breed in fashion: the Female Creative of Universal Interest. In a critical landscape where female designers are lauded for “understanding women” and “designing for themselves,” Prada’s taste has emerged as a dictatorship. She leads! Her methods vary from season to season, but Prada’s work at large serves as an education in the power of female sex.

  3. SEX AND THE CITY (1998–2004)

    Where Prada drafts theory, HBO’s rom-dram offers practice. After all, “The Power of Female Sex” is the title of one of my favorite episodes from season one. Carrie Bradshaw is all and none of us. I don’t look to her clothes, friends, or men—but to her moments spent in between. Sex and the City is a guidebook for how—and how not—to be a woman in Manhattan.

    *_Sex and the City_, 1998–2004*, still from a TV show on HBO. Season 1, episode 5, “The Power of Female Sex.” Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). Sex and the City, 1998–2004, still from a TV show on HBO. Season 1, episode 5, “The Power of Female Sex.” Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker).
  4. EURIPIDES, MEDEA

    What does it mean to be a woman? I ask myself this question every day, and Medea is the reason. The plot is ancient history: Man scorns woman, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, woman becomes monster. As Medea preaches to a Corinthian chorus (of women), I search for the moment woman plummets into monster. When does it happen, and why? What’s a woman supposed to do with her rage and sorrow?

    *Frederick Sandys, _Medea_, 1868*, gold and oil on panel, 24 × 18 1/8". Frederick Sandys, Medea, 1868, gold and oil on panel, 24 × 18 1/8".
  5. LANA DEL REY, ULTRAVIOLENCE (POLYDOR/INTERSCOPE, 2014)

    I’m a woman too. I’m mad, and I’m sad. I doll up for men because sometimes I need one. I cannot “love the skin I’m in,” so I sculpt it with daily hormone supplements. Basically: I’m a second-wave feminist’s nightmare, which is why I love Lana Del Rey. Ultraviolence (2014), her third album, plunges women’s interests into velvet darkness. Lana wraps her troubles in perfume, cig smoke, and tears—in good old-fashioned glamour.

  6. DIANA VREELAND, D.V. (ALFRED A. KNOPF, 1984)

    But whatever happened to glamour? Is she dead? Vreeland’s memoir makes an argument for her speedy recovery. As editor in chief of Vogue from 1963 to 1971, Vreeland inhabited a world that was style itself: champagne, lace, boleros, and celebrity gossip. Deemed ugly and vulgar by her mother, a Manhattan society beauty, she rouged her flaws and became a legend.

  7. LARA STONE SHOT BY JUERGEN TELLER FOR THE COVER OF THE JOURNAL, FALL/WINTER 2008

    As another Manhattan woman claimed (by some!) to be ugly and vulgar, I sometimes wonder why I wound up as a fashion model. I spent my adolescence staring at models on the Internet, trying to figure out what I ought to look like, or how I ought to be. Lara Stone looms in my memory. The industry has since embraced her as a supermodel, but I remember the buzz around her measurements, her tooth gap, her frequent nudity. Stone’s 2008 cover of The Journal might be my favorite fashion image of all time: It’s fun, brash, a little nasty. At fifteen, I right-clicked this image, and saved.

  8. RYAN TRECARTIN, I-BE AREA, 2007

    I can only describe Trecartin’s masterwork as uncanny. I vibe (yup, vibe) with his vision of millennial life, having spent the majority of my own in front of a computer. At eighteen, I reblogged a clip from this video—all garish makeup, spooky Net-speech, and fun-house editing—with the only caption I could think of: “literally me.”

  9. DONNA HARAWAY, “A CYBORG MANIFESTO: SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIALIST-FEMINISM IN THE LATE TWENTIETH

    CENTURY” IN SIMIANS, CYBORGS AND WOMEN: THE REINVENTION OF NATURE (ROUTLEDGE, 1991)
    Sometimes I’m not sure where my body ends and my computer begins. Looking down as I type, I find that everything I see I’ve already found on Google: the size of my body (#fitspo and #fatspo), the clothes on my body (VFiles sale), the gender of my body (“Siri, how do you be transgender?”). Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto”—a dead-serious sci-fi escape plan for late-capitalist feminism—offers gender transcendence via future tech. To me, it’s a trans bible. Haraway taught me that I’m a woman because I have made myself one: I am a custom model of my own design. If I could check a box next to “Cyborg,” I probably would.

  10. FINAL FANTASY X (SQUARESOFT, 2001)

    Before my computer, there was my PlayStation 2. When I turned fifteen, I swapped games for boys, but maybe it’s games that are forever (I don’t know about boys). Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy X—a stylish time-travel adventure romance—has lingered. It pops up when I’m on dates, in bars, on set—on my mood boards. I have yet to find true love, but I sobbed when I beat X.

    *Promotional image from Squaresoft’s _Final Fantasy X_, 2001.* Tidus. Promotional image from Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy X, 2001. Tidus.