Best of 2016

The subject of women and death continued to make frequent headlines this year, as well as issues concerning gender, identity and death, reproductive rights and an examination of our complex and ever-changing relationship to our own mortality. Here’s a recap of what 2016 had to offer from our co-founder Sarah Chavez.


Women and the death positive movement was covered by one of the most popular women’s interest magazines, Marie Claire, in The Women Who Love Death.


Once upon a time, a corpse was crowned queen. Read, The Corpse Queen of Portugal from one of our favorite sites, Strange Remains.


One of our favorite deathy writers, Kelly Christian, takes on the subject of Victorian hair art in Unruly: Hair, Politics, and Memorial for Dilettante Army.


There were so many outstanding offerings from The Establishment in 2016, it was hard to chose just one – so, I didn’t. Here are several great reads to get you started: I Gave My Father’s Heart Away, from Alex Blank Millard, Accidental Death Among the Mentally Ill and the Tragic Case of Elisa Lam  by Melissa Petro and General Leia Organa is the Hero We Need Right Now by Anne Theriault.


“It was winter 2008 when I first dismembered a human body,” begins Madeleine LeDespencer in Speaking With the Dead: Life and Learning in a Cadaver Lab  for Dirge Magazine.


Author Colin Dickey reminds us of the Spiritualist Origins of Ghostbusters and the important role the relationship between women and death have played in feminism.


Parents facing the terrible decision of what to do when your baby is labeled a “fatal anomaly” are hard pressed to find support, let alone information to help them make informed decisions from peers as well the medical community. This important and honest interview by Jia Tolentino with A Woman Who Recently Had An Abortion At 32 Weeks is one of the most important reads of 2016.


Also on the subject of reproductive health and rights is this brave and valuable piece from Courtney Scott who details reproductive loss in words and images in This Is What happens to the Bodies of the Women You Know  


What happens when your very identity puts your life at risk? Denise Oliver Velez discusses this subject that we talk about often here at Death & the Maiden, in My Identity Can Get Me Killed.


Death & the Maiden was featured in a recent Dazed piece, Why Women Are Leading the Death Positive Movement  on why feminists are redefining culture’s broken relationship with mortality.


Mortician, Order of he Good Death founder, and death positive advocate Caitlin Doughty gave us a plethora of fantastic content on women and death in 2016. An episode of her popular series, Ask a Mortician was dedicated to Death and Feminism , Racked ran her What the Dead Can Teach Us About Aging and Beauty which challenged our obsession with looking young. Finally, we were very honored to have our work at Death & the Maiden recognized in Caitlin’s piece on The Future of Women, Social Justice and Death Acceptance.


Speaking of Caitlin’s The Future of Women piece, it “spurned some obviously stewing discomfort” among some readers. Undertaking LA mortician and regular Death & the Maiden contributor Amber Carvaly, responded eloquently to critics in her new blog, Death and the City. 

One response to “Best of 2016”

  1. Newbie here.
    I’m actually a conservative Catholic housewife from Texas who’s wondering how the crap she got here, lol.

    Interesting food for thought. I actually am really glad I read the late-term abortion piece from Jezebel. I’ve been involved with the pro-life movement since I was in high-school, and now consider myself a pro-life feminist (I didn’t make that term up, it’s an actual movement). Her story didn’t change my mind about abortion, but it gave me food for thought and a perspective I don’t normally hear from this side of the fence. I absolutely agreed with her and the journalist covering the story that women need to be able to honestly discuss their abortion experiences– we’re never going to meet the needs of women if we shut them up. We need to be able to talk about it. (That seems to hold true for most things).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at