Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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I’m still tied up with book revisions (so close, so so close), so haven’t had the headspace to write here, but I do have a bunch of tasty jewels for you to eat. Er, read.


"Ironically, as I have become a ‘public figure,’ I am less and less able to exist in public." Shanley Kane on visibility as violence on social media. (Model View Culture)

Even the most flattering profile ultimately, in its obsession with appearances, diminishes a woman’s power.” Sarah Kendzior dissects how ladymags write about female politicians. (Politico)

Jessica Valenti on anti-feminist women. (The Guardian)

Laurie Penny on the feminist writer’s dilemma: how to write about the personal, without becoming the story. (New Statesman)

How I made sure I didn’t go home with a rapist. (The F Word)

"Greer is a brand. Hannah will never be one: she lacks charisma, is morally cautious, has an average body." (London Review of Books)

How to be popular on Instagram. (Complex)

"This fairy tale—normal girl is spotted and becomes internationally famous—is one that fits particularly nicely with the reality-show ethos that we find ourselves surrounded with.” (The Beheld)

The hardest thing you’ll ever have to write. Alexandra Franzen on how to write a eulogy. (Alexandra Franzen)

What happened when we gave our daughter my last name. (The Hairpin)

Do fashion bloggers deserve more respect? (About Time)

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I collated a list of my favourite writers, and you know what I noticed? A good 50% of them edit or contribute to The New Inquiry. TNI is doing a flash-fundraise right now, with an anonymous benefactor kindly offering matching all donations until August 1. Head over, and help ensure they’re able to continue doing their great work. (The New Inquiry.)

What is “fourth-wave feminism”?

"Fourth-wave feminism isn’t a religion with a holy book, or a club with a pledge of allegiance…"
Financial Times

There’s been a lot of talk about “fourth-wave” feminism in media over the past few months, especially in the British press, but what defines it? I think:

1/ No single voice or icon. So much fourth-wave feminist dialogue takes place on the internet, and the internet is home to multitudes of voices, all colliding with one another, debating, and pursuing different causes. This means that while our generation may produce great ideas, we are unlikely to produce a Steinem, a Wolf, or a Greer: a single iconic voice that stands for our movement and our generation.

2/ Intersectionality. Being a woman is not a single experience. Feminism is not just for white women, or for middle class professional women, and it should not just deal with its concern. In terms of our generation’s political/theoretical contribution thus far, I feel like fourth wave feminism is pretty much defined by intersectionality.

In a lot of the articles I read about “fourth-wave feminism,” though, it seems to boil down to: third-wave feminism, but with added internet! Or: zero change in what comprises feminism, but oh gosh, isn’t it great that people are finally talking about it again?

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them. Head over to my Facebook page to share what you think fourth-wave feminism is (and if you think it exists at all).

The best of the rest of the internet

Sorry I’ve been so quiet these past couple of weeks. I’ve been working crazy hours trying to finish up a big round of book edits, turn around a long form feature, and trying not to let myself get too distracted from a potential business idea which has me so excited that it’s threatening to take over my brain. Let’s just say it’s all I’ve wanted to talk about with Mr Musings this week. (Not good when you’re on multiple deadlines!)

My silence isn’t for lack of ideas, though - I’ve got one essay post half written up in a word document, and another couple half written up in my brain. I can’t wait to share them with you soon.

In the meantime, here’s some writing I’ve enjoyed from other people over the past couple of weeks to tide you over.


Missy. (Fear City)

"She is brilliant with men, charming, tactile, very nearly seductive. … She is also brilliant with women – intimate, comic, always an ally." Is it weird that whenever I read a profile story, I wish that I possessed the qualities of the person being profiled? Even, in this case, Rebekah Brooks. (The Guardian)

"Without meaning to, beauty YouTube has gone beyond emulating magazines, perfecting the rhetorical voice that the lifestyle media has been chasing for years.” Alice Bolin on the YouTube beauty vlogger economy. (The Hairpin)

Anatomy of a men’s right activist. (Vice) And Jessica Roy on what she learned as a woman at a men’s rights conference. (TIME)

Jean Friedman on the Somaly Mam affair, and the problem with basing our assumptions about the world on the most extreme, harrowing examples of an issue. (This problem exists across the board.) (Beacon Reader)

At times I liked being anorexic. … So I am really to blame, aren’t I?” Joanna Kay responds to my piece on bulimia for The Cut last week. (The Middle Ground)

You know what is amazing? This risotto. And also this salad. And this cake (although maybe add a little baking powder if you don’t want yours to come out flat, like mine did).

And this is lovely. Morning rituals for heart-centred entrepreneurs. (Mara Glatzel.)