Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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Big City Lights (welcome to New York)

“I always say, in New York City there are 8 million people, and 7.5 million psychopaths,” said the taxi driver who transported Mr Musings and I back to Brooklyn with the plates and duvets we had bought to fit out our new apartment on Saturday afternoon. He was trying to warn us against the evils of the city: how everybody lived a material existence, how their friendships and commitments were false, how as Australians we should really only trust each other, because no one here was to be trusted.

I did what I usually do in these situations, expressing my disagreement with non-committal challenges and polite “mmmhmmm”s, until finally I cracked. “I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe I am naïve, but I think a lot of it is about who you choose to spend time with. New Yorkers have always been really nice to me.”

And it’s true; they have. I’ve written here before about how the first time I visited New York, I met an older journalist for breakfast and she offered me to the keys to her apartment so that I wouldn’t have to stay in a hostel (the Australian in me, who doesn’t like to “impose,” turned her down). How the second time I visited, a young editor heard that it was my birthday the following week, and arranged to take me out to drinks with her friends that night. How the third time I’d visited, a woman I’d arranged a dinner for once in Sydney arranged a dinner for me with her friends in Manhattan, one of whom went on to introduce me to my agent.

There is an openness here; a kindness. And while I’m conscious that kindness doesn’t always translate to a deep connection or commitment (but then, it shouldn’t have to, should it?), I appreciate it for what it is. A substance that makes the day run more smoothly, and creates serendipity.

I relocated here on Friday, after spending half my life dreaming about living in the city, and I am already seeing that kindness again. In the friend who helped me find my apartment (which happens to be owned by one of my favourite feminist authors), and took me out for a drink in her favourite Soho bar. In the two friends who have put my name forward to speak on panels, and the editor of a publication I admire who reached out to ask me to write for her. The air seems alive with possibility and opportunity.

I also see fragments of what the taxi driver warned me about: in the man who stared directly at my breasts while making Hannibal Lecter style noises; in the fawning over status and celebrity; in the people who speak with just a little too much self-confidence and bravado to be authentic.

But I feel good. And as I said to the taxi driver, a lot of it is about who you choose to spend your time with.

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"Sometimes I go into a room and do this."

meghanagain:

Philip Galanes: There’s another aspect, too. As a gay guy, for instance, I often act differently in a room full of straight men — to make them more comfortable. As women, do you do things to make men more comfortable with your power?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: No, they’re just going to have to get used to it. Wait! Nancy’s standing up. I like this!

Nancy Pelosi: [She flips her chair around and straddles it, like Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.”] Sometimes I go into a room and do this.

HOW did anyone in the room live through this moment, this moment would have killed me with a joy unparalleled.

Love.

(via somethingchanged)

It only takes one person. Support Elena Rossini and The Illusionists.

I first met Elena Rossini a little shy of four years ago, when I first moved to London. An Italian feminist filmmaker living in Paris, I had read about her work (on Feministing, I think), and thought she seemed like exactly the kind of person I would like to meet.

And she was. Like me, Elena was then two years into the creation of her first magnum opus. In my case, my book The Sex Myth, “a consciousness-raising exploration of how sex has come to define who we are and how we fit in”; in her case, her documentary The Illusionists,a damning critique of the marketing of unattainable beauty standards around the world.

In the years that have followed, Elena has been an inspiration to me. I have a huge admiration for her tenacity, for her sense of what is possible, her big picture thinking, her ability to draw people into her projects and make them feel involved – and, of course, her skill as a filmmaker and storyteller.

Elena and I are now both six years into our respective projects. Mine is currently sitting with my publisher, with only a couple more rounds of edits and polishing to go. And The Illusionists is hitting the festival circuit, looking for a home that befits its message and Elena’s formidable filmmaking skills. But this has proved to be as much a challenge as creating the film itself. In order to get her film seen and maximise its impact, Elena needs support from someone who is already a big name in the industry. Which is where you come in.

This week, Elena is launching a campaign based around the idea that it only takes one person. She is reaching out to five people whom she believes could turn The Illusionists around, whether as an executive producer, an ambassador, a voiceover narrator, or a mentor - Lena Dunham, Stephen Fry, Geena Davis, Michael Moore and Alex Gibney – directing them to a sneak preview of the first four minutes of the film on her website, and encouraging her legion of Twitter followers and supporters to get involved.

It would be great if you could get involved, too. I think you will really like the film. And if you know of anyone else who might be able to help The Illusionists make the impact it deserves, please reach out them – or Elena – over Twitter. 

You can watch a short of The Illusionists above, and read more about Elena’s journey here.

Hey :) Basically I read that you attend the occasional feminist campaign/talk and was wondering whether you think men are more inclined to exploit women on an emotional level in order to bed them?! Or, do you think both sexes do so as often as the other? I know it's hard to generalise, and you might disagree but I feel like a man will readily exploit a woman, in the formative months, emotionally for sex. Whilst a woman would exploit a man emotionally once he is attached, to get what she wants.

Asked by
mannyfinb

brightbluecellardoor:

rachelhills:

I don’t really see the world in terms of exploitation. Or rather, I don’t think that most people, male or female, enter into relationships with the intention of exploiting other people. 

Isn’t generalizing by sex something that feminists work against?

^^ That too.

Hey :) Basically I read that you attend the occasional feminist campaign/talk and was wondering whether you think men are more inclined to exploit women on an emotional level in order to bed them?! Or, do you think both sexes do so as often as the other? I know it's hard to generalise, and you might disagree but I feel like a man will readily exploit a woman, in the formative months, emotionally for sex. Whilst a woman would exploit a man emotionally once he is attached, to get what she wants.

Asked by
mannyfinb

I don’t really see the world in terms of exploitation. Or rather, I don’t think that most people, male or female, enter into relationships with the intention of exploiting other people.