Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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Ironically, the feminism in Unspeakable Things might just be more likely to reel in new converts than its glossier, more deliberately palatable counterparts. As a teenager, I went to an all-girls’ high school that drummed into its pupils that women could do anything. We wore purple on International Women’s Day, studied women’s history, and were presented with a parade of successful former female students. But this “girl power” feminism always felt hollow to me. It was only when I began to think about how gender influenced our everyday experiences, and saw things I had thought were personal to me put into political context, that feminism suddenly became relevant and interesting. I wasn’t drawn to feminism because people had told me it was cool; I was drawn to it because it helped me make sense of my life.

ICYMI: here’s me talking about feminism and Laurie Penny’s Unspeakable Things at The Daily Beast.

The best of the rest of the internet: super duper #feminist special

Weekend reading a la me.

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Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, read this: My year as an abortion doula. (NYMag.com)

Let’s face it, fashion bloggers were never out to make fashion critics obsolete, and the fact that fashion writers seemed to think so betrayed a lack of perception and surfeit of self-importance on their part. The true incarnation of the fashion blogger was a post-modern revision of the socialite." Danielle Meder on the end of the fashion blog. (Final Fashion)

For Playboy, feminism is just part of being a gentleman. (Think Progress)

"The #allwhitecast is our workplace. The #allwhitecast is the Central line to Tottenham Court. The #allwhitecast is the queue for the Sainsburys self-checkout. Sly in its ubiquity, we almost don’t see it coming. Until we do." (Interrupt)

I’m a feminist writer, who feels desperately constrained by what’s regarded right now as feminist writing." (Melissa Gira Grant)

"Honestly? I find her the most fascinating, most interesting person, ever.” Monica Tan meets with Kim Kardashian fans at a mall appearance in Sydney. (The Guardian)

#Realtalk. What I learned from my first year as a lesbian. (Oh, Sarah-Rose.)

"Just the idea that this person would look at me and my interests and say, ‘You know what? In this hypothetical world, maybe we could have sex.’—that was really liberating. That was really, really intensely, powerfully liberating." I find most trend pieces about Tinder boring and overstated. But this one is excellent. (Playboy)

Ultimately the men who are yelling at us about our asses in the street are not the men reading impassioned essays on Salon or Buzzfeed or Cosmo about how wrong it is.” Chelsea Fagan on the uncomfortable privilege of being catcalled. (Chelsea Fagan’s blog)

In an era in which much feminist writing (in print at least, online is a different story) seems designed to be as agreeable as possible, Penny’s unflinching politics are a breath of fresh air. Unspeakable Things harks back to the early work of writers like Germaine Greer, Shulamith Firestone, and bell hooks; to the days when intellectuals weren’t afraid to offend, or to throw ideas at the wall and see which ones stuck.

Suffice to say, I rather liked Laurie Penny’s new book, Unspeakable Things. Review up today at The Daily Beast.

The blog is dead, long live the blog.

Image via Instagram.

On Sunday, I attended a funeral for fashion blogs, hosted by Danielle Meder of Final Fashion fame. Four of us gathered outside a church in the East Village, doused ourselves in sage, and reminisced on our experiences with the blogosphere: the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

For the record, I don’t think that blogs are dead, although it’s true that they aren’t what they used to be. It has been at least a year since I’ve stumbled upon a blog that has made me think, “I have to meet this person!” (I still get this feeling, but it is more likely to arise now from Twitter, or Instagram, or books, or journalism, or art, and the blogs, where they exist, are more compendiums of work that has been created outline the blog, rather than the locus of creation itself.)

Earlier this year, I closed down Disqus on this blog; not because I was being inundated with abuse, but because although people were still sharing and reblogging and responding, that action wasn’t happening in the comments section. And it is true that, like Danielle and Rachel and Autumn, many people who started out blogging in order to find their voices have since found them, and turned their passions into paid careers.

I didn’t start blogging to build a writing career. I’d already been freelancing for a couple of years when I started this blog. I started posting to Tumblr because I wanted to build a community; because back in 2007, this was where all the cool kids were. Because I wanted to create a space where the people who read my paid work could connect with me as a three-dimensional human being.

The second part of that didn’t work out quite as I had planned, in part because it turns out most people aren’t interested in connecting with journalists as human beings (or at least, they weren’t back in 2007 – I suspect things are a little different now that so much content consumption happens online rather than in print). But I did find the community I was seeking, not just in the fellow bloggers who became my offline friends (among them the three ladies who attended the Danielle’s fashion funeral), but in the community of people who have read this blog over the years, who have responded to what I write with more passion, gusto and connection than the readers of most of the work I am paid to write.

I love that you guys care; and that you care about the same things that I do. I love that you reblog and respond like crazy whenever I put together a post that means something, and that you absolutely could not give a fuck when I phone it in. Your approval (or lack thereof) is a surprisingly excellent measuring stick for the quality of my work. I love the intimacy of the relationship, even if the writing in question is posted on the internet for the world to see. And as a reader, I love that blogs allow me to discover new and beautiful minds (even if I have not been discovering enough of these lately!), in a way that newsletters, however fashionable they may be, just don’t.

All of which is to say that blogging may be dead, but this blog is not. I will continue to send you missives from my heart, even if those missives don’t come as often as I would like (a girl has got to eat, and my constant writing deadlines sometimes leave me in a state of paralysed anxiety).

And if you have any thoughts on the kind of writing you would like to see on this blog - or beautiful online minds you think I should discover - please let me know. I may not have Disqus anymore, but there is always email and the ask button.