Monday Reads

A few tidbits to start your week off right.

First, self-promotion! My Guardian column this week is about how deriding fashion week (and fashion generally) is a little bit sexist. When it comes to clothes, women can’t win — if you don’t care, you’re slovenly and lack self-esteem and you might face getting fired or not hired in the first place; if you do care, you’re shallow and materialistic. And while critiquing mindless consumption is fair, we don’t seem to moralize quite as much about spending that’s stereotypically male.

More self-promotion: If you feel like reading something entirely shallow and mindless, I wrote about OkCupid’s new blind date app.

This is not so much as thing to read as a thing to snicker at. But this, from one of the women in the photo, is a thing to read.

An oldie but a goodie in honor of the winter weather we’re getting here on the east coast: David Sedaris on snow.

Can’t say I’ve ever read a Jodi Picoult book, but I love this interview with her. She hates Nicholas Sparks! She stands up for female writers! She seems just great.

Frank Ocean? Frank Ocean. (His was hands-down my favorite album of 2012, and I still listen to it constantly. If you don’t have it, buy it. It’s an incredible piece of work).

Can money buy happiness? Kinda-sorta-not-really-but-kinda.

Hey, look at that, the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy is really racist.

New solidarity tumblr for Asian women on internet dating sites: Creepy White Guys.

Ann Friedman on women who fake it.

Essie Washington-Williams and unspoken racial histories.

Simon Rich’s Sell Out series in the New Yorker is maybe the best / funniest thing I have read in 2013. Part 1 is here, click through for the other four.

A great piece on Aaron Swartz, the programmer and internet activist who committed suicide earlier this year.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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57 Responses to Monday Reads

  1. Datdamwuf says:

    I read the Aaron Schwartz article over the weekend, stay away from the comments, they were overall sickening to me. Not surprising, I don’t know what’s happened at Slate but for the last few weeks the entire site seems covered in nasty trolls.

  2. miga says:

    Also…THE POPE RESIGNS. LIBERAL CATHOLICS EVERYWHERE DANCE IN STREETS.

    Also Also…DRONES IN CALI.

    • I’m your biggest fan
      I’ll follow you until you love me
      Papa-PopeRazi
      Baby, there’s no other superstar
      You know that I’ll be
      Your Papa-PopeRazi

    • ch says:

      The drone thing is not at all plausible at this point, unless you can point me to some more reliable sources I haven’t seen. The rumor came from an anonymous source who talked to the Express, a conservative tabloid in London, of all places (why not bring the rumor to local media?). There are so many things to talk about WRT the Dorner case: racial issues within the LAPD, police incompetence (they shot several dozen bullets into a truck which was not the same make or even the same color as his, whose passengers were two women delivering newspapers), how the police force (and the navy) deals with kicking out violent, scary people like Dorner. At this point, as far as I’m concerned, the drone thing is just a distraction from the real, substantive issues.

      • miga says:

        After I read this I saw an update that basically debunked the story (or rather, it was neither confirmed nor denied). Sorry!

    • DouglasG says:

      Most of the liberal Catholics I’ve come across today think the abdication is just to make sure one of B16’s handpicked hard-line conservative cardinals gets in while he still has the influence to make it happen.

      Also Also Also… Remains identified – it’s Richard III!

    • TomSims says:

      “LIBERAL CATHOLICS EVERYWHERE DANCE IN STREETS.”

      Sounds oxymoronic.

  3. tomek says:

    When it comes to clothes, women can’t win — if you don’t care, you’re slovenly and lack self-esteem and you might face getting fired or not hired in the first place; if you do care, you’re shallow and materialistic.

    is this sexist, consider that woman is biggest culprit of going after other woman for clothes/apearance issues. how exactly can woman be sexist towards other woman, if she herself is using agency to do this?

    • Andie says:

      It’s called internalized misogyny.

      It’s a thing.

      • tomek says:

        that sound patronizing to me. would you tell woman to her face that she have internalized misogyny… that she hate woman? it seem ridiculous to me.

        i think that when woman are choosing a thing for herself, it is wrong to call this misoginy. i believe that woman make her own choice, she is adult.

      • Unree says:

        tomek, you really need to read more and comment less. Seriously.

      • Andie says:

        There are women who hate women, by the way.

        I don’t call choosing something for yourself misogyny (although it can be informed by misogyny).

        Policing and judging other women on their appearance can DEFINITELY be called internalized misogyny if said judgements are informed by the patriarchy.

        But from here I’m just going to second Unree’s comment.

        you really need to read more and comment less.

      • TomSims says:

        @Andie

        “There are women who hate women, by the way.”

        I agree completely. I think it’s also safe to say there are an equal amount , if not more, men that hate men.

      • Natalia says:

        How is babby formed.

        How is babby formed.

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve been slut-shamed by lots of other women for being a sex worker… Do you honestly think only men can be sexist?

    • A4 says:

      how exactly can woman be sexist towards other woman, if she herself is using agency to do this?

      This seem like hand wave premise

      • You know, A4, I really love you.

      • Donna L says:

        I still think this is tomek’s all-time greatest comment, from back in November:

        i remember in child science was taught one can achieve two eggs and with electricity join and then grows into baby. the electricity is provided normal by sperm, but can be provided instead from wire of electricity.

        Look, if one can with electricity join eggs from two women and grow baby, then how hard can it be for a woman to be sexist with other woman?

    • mxe354 says:

      You know, it’s getting increasingly difficult to see your English as unintentionally poor. Just saying.

  4. wanttobeanon says:

    I read the first three comments at the Guardian piece, which was enough to find out that you can’t be much of a feminist if you ever do a lighthearted feminist take on a non-deadly-serious topic. Good going Jill, you’ve made a bunch of dead feminists sad, or something.

    • Donna L says:

      My favorite so far is the comment that called Jill a

      Sold-out liberal capitalist flunky

      All we need is a few “fun feminist” accusations (not that she isn’t already being condemned for that, albeit in different words) and we’ll have bingo.

      • wanttobeanon says:

        Ha, that’s a good one! I didn’t get that far, and I was actually rather proud of myself for stopping after 3 comments. The Guardian’s comment sections are not good for my emotional health.

    • Natalia says:

      Do not read the comments at the Guardian.

      Just don’t do it, if you value your mental health.

      A lot of authors are encouraged to interact with readers in the comments section – I’ve definitely done it before – but I think I am done. It’s too much.

  5. Nobody says:

    Not surprising, I don’t know what’s happened at Slate but for the last few weeks the entire site seems covered in nasty trolls.

    My impression is that Slate was always pretty bad. Are you saying that it’s gotten even worse? (!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  6. Nahida says:

    I want to make an OKCupid account just to laugh at the messages.

  7. Re: OKC… if I never hear “BUT IT’S A COMPLIMENT!!!ELEVENTY!” again it’ll be too soon.

  8. Amelia the Lurker says:

    It’s Swartz, not Schwartz.

    I went to school with his brother and everybody always called that kid “Schwartz,” too.

  9. Amelia the Lurker says:

    And now something that’s not a nitpick: I very much enjoyed the fashion article. The more [absurd (redacted)] double binds that get highlighted, the better.

    • Amelia the Lurker says:

      Wait, what did I say???
      Mods: I’m not asking you to repost it, obviously, but can you give me a hint to jog my memory? I don’t remember saying anything offensive and I want to avoid doing it again (but can’t if I don’t know what I did).

      • Odin says:

        I’m not a mod and I didn’t see your original comment, but given their edit seems to have inserted the word “absurd”, I’m guessing you used a disablest adjective as a pejorative or intensifier.

      • Amelia the Lurker says:

        Oh yes, now that you mention it, I might have said “[redacted]”—just wasn’t thinking. As someone with a (less-stigmatized) mental illness, I’m still on the fence about whether “[redacted term]” is as ableist as language that refers to specific illnesses or disorders (e.g., “[synonym redacted]” referring to either psychosis or psychopathy), but I should have been more careful.

        [Moderator note: Yup, you got it. Redacted again because off-topic.]

  10. karak says:

    I’m really into alternative fashion, and I Jezebel did a piece on it a few years ago. My favorite comment was from someone who insisted that shaving her head made HER truly progressive but lolita fashion was all about sexual submission to the patriarchy.

    I love fashion, I love clothes, and I do despise the more dangerous parts of it, but I refuse to pretend to hate something I love because it is associated with women and therefore weak.

  11. steve says:

    okay I’m a white guy and I find Asian women attractive but I hope that doesn’t make me creepy. I find women of all races attractive but asian women give me a slightly extra tug. Don’t know what it is… but i would never leave the kind of comment those guys left… I would agree, those are creepy.

    • Well, speaking as an Asian woman in a relationship with a white woman? There is a huge, HUGE line between being attracted to a person’s general looks (to take an example, my wife’s Type is really consistently dark hair and eyes; she’s dated white/south Asian/east Asian who fall into that description) and fetishising somebody for being (insert racial stereotype here). If you’re not getting “ugh creepo get away” from every other woman you meet who happens to be Asian, then you’re…probably not being creepy.

      And frankly, I’m almost the first person in line to call out racial fetishising on this site, and I still think that being attracted to a certain look = / = fetishising. And fetishising is REALLY REALLY REALLY obvious and grody to people being fetishised! So, like I said, if you pay careful attention to how you hit on/stare at/date/have a relationship with anybody, of any race, and deconstruct your own privilege and/or assumptions, you’re probably never going to creep anybody out.

    • TomSims says:

      “okay I’m a white guy and I find Asian women attractive but I hope that doesn’t make me creepy. ”

      You can hope all you want, but there will always be some women who find you creepy for any reason or no reason.

      • …there will always be some women men who find you creepy worthy of harassment/abuse/sexual assault/shaming/stalking for any reason or no reason.

        Fixed that for you.

        Also: Abloobloobloo. Waaaaaaaaaah. Poor, poor TomSims. Poor, poor all the menz.

        (Seriously. Dude there wasn’t looking for misogynistic shoulder-slapping; why are you giving it to him?)

      • TomSims says:

        I made a factual statement. And I think everyone should like whatever they choose and not worry about what others think. He seems to be more worried about what others think about what kind of women he is attracted to than he is to his own interest.

        Everyone is entitled to be attracted to whatever type of woman/man they choose without having to be judged by others!

      • EG says:

        Everyone is entitled to be attracted to whatever type of woman/man they choose without having to be judged by others!

        Where did you get this idea?

      • yes says:

        Your statement and his aren’t mutually exclusive. And his wasn’t misogynistic any more than yours was misandristic, unless you’re playing the “oh, when you say that you must really mean…” game.

      • Tyris says:

        Nothing happens for no reason. Maybe it’s a reason you’re not privy to, but that doesn’t make it invalid.

      • yes says:

        Worth noting something can have a reason, and still be invalid.

  12. Glauke says:

    That Jodi Picoult interview made me snort coffee over my computer screen. Thanks for sharing, I would have skipped it otherwise.

    Oh, and she’s so right of course.

  13. TomSims says:

    “When it comes to clothes, women can’t win ”

    I agree completely. But having said that, the vast majority of criticism of women and their clothes is from other women, not men.

  14. Fat Steve says:

    Jill,

    You made some great points, but unfortunately your opening paragraph summed why I personally hate ‘Fashion’ so well, that while you made an effective case against sexist critiques of Fashion Week, I don’t really feel you made ‘The Feminist Case for Fashion Week’ or that you really wanted to.

    • Jill says:

      Yeah, I wasn’t trying to make the feminist case for fashion week — I don’t write the headlines.

      • Amelia the Lurker says:

        That’s gotta be frustrating, isn’t it? LIke you put all this effort into writing the article but then you’re not allowed to choose how to package or label it.

  15. Constance says:

    I’m a white woman who loves Asian men. And for the most shallow of reasons… I find them just too good-looking to be true! But very rarely can (white) people just accept that I find Asian men handsome; they just keep saying, “Rrrrreally?” like I’m going to yell April Fool or something.

  16. Foxy says:

    Fun just begins.Drones soon going to land on american soil.

  17. Leah says:

    Thanks for the link to the Fox wedding fail response, and the Creepy White Guy tumblr is both disturbing (content) and great (response).

Comments are closed.