Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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It’s a couple of weeks old now, but Clementine Ford’s essay on body image is full of “yes”:

Girl, you look much healthier now! Girl, stay just like this! Girl, do you think you need that second helping? Girl, you need to start watching what you eat again. Girl, you made me promise I would tell you if you ever started getting fat again and I’m just keeping my promise. Girl, don’t blame me – I’m just trying to help. (Mamamia)

Fashion celebs and their look-a-like animals. (Lost At E Minor)

Attention: “You look great! Have you lost weight?” is not a compliment. (Broadist)

Why there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone, Greta Garbo style. (Persephone Magazine)

Did you know Tyra Banks published a novel? About an ANTM-style modelling school in an alternative universe? I didn’t, but Ann-Derrick Gaillot has kindly reviewed it, feminist style, for our edification. (Bitch)

Some notes from inside the closet. (Notes From Inside The Closet)

Sady Doyle deconstructs the hidden class dynamics in the recent spate of “single ladies” stories. (In These Times)

I’ve been loving Natalie Perkins’ stuff on “ugly femme pride”. (Definatalie)

This NYT profile kind of made me want to be Carine Roitfeld. Make of that what you will. (New York Times)

Shit white girls say to black girls. (Youtube)

I’ve been freelancing for seven years now, and I still learnt things from this guide on how not to pitch. (The Open Notebook)

As a woman who writes (usually) serious articles for the “life and style” section, these recent meditations on why stories about women are usually relegated to - you guessed it - the “life and style” section, got me thinking. (Jessica Valenti, This Ain’t Living, We Mixed Our Drinks)

Okay, it seems like a weird argument to make, but Lee Siegal 60% won me over with his claim that we’re hell bent on desexualising Marilyn Monroe. (New York Review of Books)

Save the world, wear less clothing. (Emily D’ath)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Veronica Grow’s adorable and accessible (yet thought provoking!) introduction to race relations, A Kit For Uptight White People.

Chally tackles the bizarre media coverage of the severe maiming of beautiful 23-year-old Lauren Scruggs, who fractured her skull and severed her hand when she accidentally walked into the propeller of a small plane:

Women are shepherded into a box in which we’re taught our only worth is in embodying those beauty standards, in being desirable on heteronormative and otherwise narrow terms, and, increasingly, in being famous in ways that relate to this. Women are expected to do this, and feared, envied, pined for, and spat on as a result. Misogyny sets up a sword of Damocles, and the world waits until that horsehair snaps and the tension releases. People like Ms Scruggs cop the fallout: huge, international media attention directed at positioning her as a tragedy, a perfect being fallen. (Hoyden About Town)

How I write: great advice from Kate Swoboda. (Your Courageous Life)

Is friendship a feminist act? (Sociological Images)

Five easy ways readers can help out their favourite authors. (Lusty Lady)

My friend Matt Clayfield remembers one of his idols, Christopher Hitchens, beautifully:

"I had real plans for my next decade," Hitchens said not long ago, "and felt I’d worked hard enough to earn it."  I have real plans for my next decade, too, but haven’t worked hard enough to earn anything. The best way to express my solidarity today is to dedicate myself more fully to doing so. (Matthew Clayfield)

The benefits of being a blogging outsider. (Final Fashion)

Bust that ego, block out the distractions and work on something that matters. You’re not as busy as you think. (Chris Brogan)

What reality TV does to girls. (Autostraddle)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Hugo Schwyzer’s The Lolita Myth and the Lingering Lie of Male Weakness:

Some teens do want, or think they want, sexual attention from older men. But the reality that underage girls (be they 11 or 17) occasionally behave seductively towards older men doesn’t mean that older men can “be seduced.” The word “seduce” means “to be led away” or “to be led astray.” No adult is so weak that he (or she) is powerless to refuse sexual temptation, much less from a child. As powerful as the libido is, it is not so strong as to trump the will. (Good Men Project)

Devin Troy Strother (artwork above) knows how to throw a party on a canvas." (Lost at E Minor)

And speaking of parties, here are a bunch of photos from my recent wedding. (Belinda Dipalo Flickr)

Banking as a high impact ethical career?:

Wealth, of course, can be spent on champagne and yachts and private jets.  But it can also be spent on helping people.  In fact, there are reasons for thinking that, if you spend your money wisely, you can do much more good by taking a lucrative career such as banking than by pursuing a conventional ‘ethical’ career such as charity work. (Practical Ethics)

Can you trust the editorial integrity of style blogs? (Fashionista)

Work hard, not long: the surprisingly relaxed lives of elite achievers. (Study Hacks)

Joan Didion’s packing tips for reporting trips. (Something Changed)

Glee earned itself a ratings boost with its triple-virginity loss episode. Here’s what they got wrong, and what they got right. (How To Lose Your Virginity, Time)

Hey America, life sucks? Welcome to the real world:

She paints a picture that is bleak: young people without stable or high-salaried jobs, no disposable incomes, no safety nets. … There is a loaded implication in these statements. “It shouldn’t be like this.” This isn’t fair. It isn’t just. No, it’s not just. And yet this is what life is like for just about everyone else in the world. (Kapooka Baby)

Former Harpers editor Lewis Lapham’s revolutionary reading list. (Melville House)

The missing maternal link: I talk We Need To Talk About Kevin and maternal ambivalence in Sunday Life and the SMHAge. (Sydney Morning Herald)

The no new gifts holiday challenge. (Zen Habits)

Success is relative. (Yes and Yes)

The trouble with “it just happened” sex. (Jezebel)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Jess Zimmerman’s takedown of “choice feminism” - pertinent in light of recent discussions on this blog about beauty privilege and positivity. Thoughts?:

Until the woman who doesn’t want to be seen as sexually available can go out with certainty that she won’t be harassed or ogled, your choice to turn heads and revel in attention is a privileged one. Until the woman who doesn’t prioritize appearance gets taken just as seriously in just the same contexts, it’s a privileged choice to achieve certain standards of beauty. You may be doing what you love, but you’re also doing what you’re told. (xoJane)

10 top tips to stop rape. (We Mixed Our Drinks)

Tavi Gevinson interviews Leith Clark, editor of Lula. (Style Rookie)

Camilla Peffer on the similarities between top style bloggers and glossy magazine covergirls:

Fashion and beauty have always been about creating magical worlds, with control over these fantasies commanded from the top down. The Internet has given fashion and beauty lovers a place to openly share and create their own worlds, and take a little bit more control over what the media hands to us. The thing is, sometimes the pages of Tumblr aren’t that far away from the sartorial jungles of high-fashion magazines. (Girls Are Made From Pepsi)

How to improve your writing. (Forbes)

And how to build an audience for your work online. And while we’re at it, how to get invited to a writers festival. (Lisa Dempster)

Why don’t we love drag kings the way we do queens? (Rachel Rabbit White)

Why are most sitcom pilots not very funny? (AV Club)

A great big giant ass list of feminist lit. (ameliorate or destroy)

No one is too smart to worry about beauty. (Eat The Damn Cake)

And finally, MookyChick is running a competition for feminist short fiction. Go enter it. (MookyChick.co.uk)

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My favourite media finds in a very, very busy week.

Best magazine cover ever of the month? I think so! (New Statesman)

Sadie Doyle compares SlutWalk and Occupy Wall Street:

I had been staying away from Occupy Wall Street. I wasn’t sure why; I, like every other progressive in the city, had been exhorted to attend, reminded that it was both my right and my duty. As a recession casualty, and a woman from a working-class family, I often thought that my lack of money controlled my life, and brought violence and suffering into it, just as much as my gender had. But the exhortations made me resentful, for reasons I couldn’t name. It was something to do with the big, sexy, non-specific targets; something to do with the language of duty; something to do with the fact that men who had routinely given me gentle or not-so-gentle crap for my own activism were now Tweeting constantly about the power of the people and the obligation of the masses to protest. (In These Times)

Climate change and the end of Australia. (Rolling Stone)

“Sometimes I say ‘yes’ when I’d rather say ‘no.’” (The Good Men Project)

Sesame Street takes on hunger, while new online game SPENT asks people to see what poverty is really like. (Think Progress, Feministing)

Why is Paris a major fashion player and Toronto not? Danielle Meder on public splendour and why fashion needs an audience. (Final Fashion)

"I’m not afraid of Berlusconi in himself, I’m afraid of Berlusconi in me." The secrets to Silvio Berlusconi’s success in Italy. (Wall Street Journal)

Why has Rihanna become the chief scapegoat in the “sexualisation” culture wars? (Laurie Penny)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Touré’s The Most Racist Thing That Ever Happened To Me:

He’s saying that in modern America blacks can ascend to the upper class, it’s possible, but they have to fight so much more to get there because white supremacy remains a tall barrier to entry. The fact that a few slip through the infinitesimal cracks is a way of advancing the idea that white supremacy does not exist, an attempt to mask its awesome power, because the Matrix doesn’t want you to know it’s there. How can someone argue that Alpine, New Jersey, is racist when four black families live there, welcomed by the community and unharassed by police? (The Atlantic)

The Daily Mail’s moral underground. (Londonist)

How tabloid trainwrecks are reinventing gothic literature:

When people talk about a contemporary gothic revival, they’re usually talking about Romantic fictions like “Twilight” and “True Blood.” But it’s in the so-called real world of the tabloids, Internet gossip sites and reality TV that the genre is truly thriving. With their troubled heroines, haunted castles (or bad-vibe hotels), fakes and counterfeits, long-buried secrets, madwomen, controlling patriarchs, damsels in distress, reckless cads, depravity and the looming threat of financial ruin, these stories are striking for their endlessly recurring themes of excess, addiction, decadence and madness. (New York Times)

Aging is not ‘lost youth,’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength. It’s a different stage of life, and if you are going to pretend it’s youth, you are going to miss it.” (Already Pretty)

The difference between pop culture feminism and pop culture feminists. (Think Progress)

Why everyone says “I love you” now:

All the kids now tell their friends “I love you.” Girls my daughter’s age, 12, all say “I love you.” And so, sometimes, do boys my son’s age, 10.  They say it when they part ways after school. They write it in e-mails, in text messages, on Facebook. “I love you.” They even say it to their parents. “I love you,” they say, and then head off to the movies. “I love you,” they say, and then climb on the team bus. It’s not something I did at their age, all those years ago, saying and writing “I love you” all the time, and it’s not something that the other kids did, either, particularly not outside the home, the family, where love, as we then defined it, didn’t exist. Outside the family, people ‘liked’ each other. Now they love each other. And they say so. Sincerely. With feeling. (Walter Kim)

Roman Polanski admits the girl he raped was his “victim”. (Feministing)

Global warming’s biggest losers: a colour-coded map for your edification. (The Daily Beast)

What is a girl worth? (We Mixed Our Drinks)

I enjoyed my friend Terrible Fabulous’s post on getting de-married, re-married, and being “super friends”. (Terrible Fabulous)

See also: Reclaiming wife: do I have to call him my husband? (A Practical Wedding)

Erica Bartle’s post on the detestable self had me emailing her for spiritual advice on how to become less detestable. As an atheist! Is it time for an Ask Erica column?:

Oftentimes, we react or act without checking in with our Better Selves, leaving our lesser selves – The Detestable Self – to run ruin over our relationships or daily social interactions. For those who try to abide in their conscience, according to whatever moral parameters you have chosen, this giving into The Detestable Self can lead to unnecessary feelings of guilt and shame, or, worse, strained friendships, frazzled family or strangers who hope not to see you again. (Girl With A Satchel)

And while we’re on the subject of “detestable selves”… my new favourite Tumblr? Suri’s Burn Book. (Suri’s Burn Book)

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano’s "Open letter to an unhappy swan" is beautiful. See also the Cary Tennis column that inspired it. (The Beheld, Salon.com)

Why British conservatives support same-sex marriage, when Americans (and Australians) do not. (The Daily Beast)

No writing clips? Here’s how to land a freelance assignment without them. (The Urban Muse)