Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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Some things I have read and liked recently.

Simone Decker does chewing gum art in Venice. (Lost At E Minor)

Laurie Penny has some smart things to say about eating disorders:

In Italy, there is a tradition called “sciopero bianco” - the white strike. Here, it is known as work-to-rule. Workers who are not permitted to strike fight their bosses by doing only what is required of them - to the letter. Nurses refuse to answer phones that ring at 17:01. Transport workers make safety checks so rigid that trains run hours behind schedule. Eating disorders, particularly anorexia, are to riots in the streets what a white strike is to a factory occupation: women, precarious workers, young people and others for whom the lassitudes of modern life routinely produce acute distress and for whom the stakes of social non-conformity are high, lash out by doing only what is required of them, to the point of extremity. (New Statesman)

Teju Cole attacks the White Savior Industrial Complex. (The Atlantic)

Really, there are only two rules when it comes to having a beach body. The first is that you need to have a body. The second is that your body must enjoy going to the beach.” (This Ain’t Living)

Stop writing on the internet to make people love you. I liked this article, except the part about freelance writing (and freelance writing on the internet, of all places) being the “easiest” way (for the author, at least) to make money. On what planet? If making money was my priority, I would have looked for a job in accounting, or law, or advertising, or a staffer job at magazine, or even an activist. I would not become a freelance writer. And I definitely would not become a freelance writer on the internet, which in most cases pays absolutely appallingly. Seriously. It’s a bad, bad idea. (The Gloss)

How to network without going to networking events. Or plonking your business card in front of people who don’t want to employ you. (Forbes)

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This week’s best reads on gender, politics and creativity… chopped up, roasted and served to you on a platter.

Lego Moleskins. Tell me you don’t want one. (Lost at E Minor)

"A feminism that doesn’t allow for paradoxes and contradictions in the ideals versus lived experiences of its proponents is not terribly useful." Elizabeth Nolan Brown talks Hugo Schwyzer. (Elizabeth Nolan Brown)

Celia Emmelhainz on the rhetoric of luck in the 99 percent:

Yet the current economic and political situation didn’t just happen to either the “lucky” or the “unlucky” ones. As in other periods of U.S. economic history since the 1700s, the underemployment, debt, financial instability, and lack of affordable life-goods that Americans face are the result of deliberate policies designed to streamline and protect growth for investors, large corporations, and other profiteers. (Sociological Images)

How to engage with criticism. (Seth Godin)

What the failure of Katherine Heigl’s career says about women in Hollywood:

However, the problem with Heigl herself is that she’s good at talking the talk — speaking out about the inherent sexism in the movie industry — but terrible stepping out and doing anything about it, and she seems almost willfully against challenging the norms of gender in cinema that she criticizes. In an interview conducted shortly after Knocked Up made her a star, Heigl criticized the fact that every up-and-coming actress is touted to be the “next Julia Roberts” but mentioned, “There’s not another woman I look at and think, ‘That’s it. That’s whose career I want to have.’” (In Our Words)

Funny! All woman panel has some great ideas about men’s sexual health. (RH Reality Check)

10 ways to feel rich. (Yes and Yes)

Sarah Nicole Pickett on the collective bargaining of creative success:

Still, for reasons economic and otherwise, we won’t all work for ourselves. More and more of us, I think, will work for each other. Not in the old ladder-climbing way, but in a new friends-with-benefits-and-maybe-someday-a-salary way. (Toronto Standard via Jessica Stanley)

Some of the best advice I’ve read on how to stay productive and get lots of shit done. (Illuminated Mind)

Or on the other hand, you could stop being a tortured creative and go and have fun. (Nextness)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Ian Parker’s very long, but very excellent analysis of the events leading up to gay teen Tyler Clementi’s suicide in 2010. I’m cutting it out and keeping it for my “awesome journalism of the kind I hope to someday produce” file. (The New Yorker)

College student Brittany Molina was passed a note advising her to “consider that what you’re wearing has a negative effect on men” this Valentine’s Day when she dared to step onto campus wearing a knee-length dress, leggings and a cardigan. (Footage Not Found)

Exhile in Gal-ville: the Atlantic takes on the Hugo Schwyzer versus the feminist blogosphere fight that dominated my January web browsing. Great subject matter, wish it had been tackled with more depth (or perhaps just different emphasis). (The Atlantic)

Rachel Rabbit White tackles the old “can men and women be friends?” chestnut in a manner that actually is fresh and real and reflective. (Rabbit Write)

When did TED stop trying to collect smart people and instead collect people trying to be smart? (The New Inquiry)

I talk to the ladies at Feminaust about how I came to feminism “through words”. (Feminaust)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Lou McCudden’s Three Faces of Feminism: Louise Mensch, Laurie Penny and Jodie Marsh:

Less than 800 people could be bothered watching Louise Mensch and Laurie Penny argue about the role of the state and the speed of the government’s cuts (important issues though they are), but all around the world, women and men were watching ‘Jodie Marsh Bullied: My Secret Life’, and learning something terrifying: that as children, girls like Zoe are taught never to be clever, and then, later in life, women are blamed and mocked for acting dumb. (Left Eye, Right Eye) 

Mitt’s new rapper name: R-MONEY. (Democratic Underground)

Jessica Valenti on online feminism’s big win against Komen for the Cure. (The Nation)

How to stop “trying on other people’s sparks” and learn to embrace your own. (Roots of She)

Why I broke with up with my Girlfriend (and Dolly too). (Girls Are Made From Pepsi)

"I am fat, curvy, busty and genderqueer. This body which I have has very little to do with my gender – except in other people’s opinions." (Medicinal Marzipan)

On identifying bigotry:

If you ask someone if they are racist, sexist, or homophobic, they aren’t going to say that they are. No one likes to think they are doing something shitty. If we use the intentions and feelings of privileged people to determine when bigotry occurs, you will find that no one is bigoted by that definition. The experiences of oppressed people is the more appropriate way to judge the behavior of privileged people. This is uneasy feeling to people with privilege, but its not difficult compared ot actually being subject to bigotry on a daily basis. (Skeptifem)

Lessons for creatives from artist David Hockney, including why he never bothered to meet Picasso. (Nextness)

Do you have the “quality of keeping people together”? (The Happiness Project)

True story: I gave up on my dream. (Yes and Yes)

This post on the Occupy Movement resonated with my thoughts on recent controversies in the femmesphere:

What’s going on, I observed, is that Occupiers on-site are mirroring the social dynamics they want to challenge.  Rick said ‘Yeh, someone else said that. We are becoming them.” My response: “I wouldn’t put it that way. No. I’d say that we are them – we’ve always been them. There is no them, only us. Whether we like it or not, consciously or unconsciously the 1% exists in part because of the complicity of the 99%.” (See And Connect)

Olivia Hambett and Sandi Sieger’s new e-publishing company is all kinds of awesome. (O & S publishing)

Liz Phair on Lana Del Ray: "As a recording artist, I’ve been hated, I’ve been ridiculed, and conversely, hailed as the second coming. All that matters in the end is that I’ve been heard." (Wall Street Journal)

And Flavia Dzodan says she sings Video Games for the fourteen year old girl she once was. (Tiger Beatdown)

Yellow fever: dating as an Asian woman. (Persephone Magazine)

And how to create eight article ideas in one sitting. (The Urban Muse)

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A short but sweet collection of links on feminism, creativity and the politics of everyday life.

Low-Commitment projects: making stuff happen with little time and energy. (Low-Commitment Projects)

Hilarious. The Purity Bear will cock block you until you’re married. (Jezebel)

Why #mtrsues is good for feminism. (The News With Nipples)

"Tory feminism" is feminism for the 1%. (The F Word)

The real advantage rich kids have is the confidence that they’ll be “okay”. (Penelope Trunk)

"The [high fashion] waif is thus chosen not as a type with a great sex appeal to men, but rather as an exaggerated version of what insecure women feel they ought to look more like." (What Would Phoebe Do)

What do your shoes say about you? Mine say I’m a peasant. (Final Fashion)

Why Liz Lemon needs a divorce from Tina Fey. (Bitch Magazine)

Out of the mouths of US Presidential candidates comes… Shit Homophobic People Say. (Lost at E Minor)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Tami Winfrey Harris’s Not everyone is laughing at Shit White Girls Say To Black Girls:

The discussion is hard because it requires good, well-meaning people to admit to and examine their own racial privilege. It requires those who may think of themselves as anti-racist allies to do more than tsk tsk along with black friends about some madness, say, Rick Santorum said, and recall the things they personally (and perhaps innocently) may have done to make friends, family and co-workers of color feel othered. That’s tough. And it’s not just tough for the “white girls” mentioned in Ramsey’s work. It’s hard for everyone who has any kind of privilege, be it educational privilege, sexual privilege, gender privilege, etc. (Clutch Magazine)

Jon Hamm, via Mademoiselle Robot.

How to own your privilege and not be a jerkface about it. (The Gloss)

"Mommy, they are just like me." «« One of many reasons representations of gay people in pop culture matter. (And this is my blog…)

Why you usually look like crap in other people’s Facebook photos. (Gawker)

The euro crisis isn’t really about money. It’s about the fiction that Europeans ever existed at all. (Foreign Policy)

Grieving the loss of your body fantasy:

We talk about grief in regards to losing those that we love or having to give up possessions or places by necessity of circumstance. Less often, you will hear people talking openly about the grief that they experience at having to give up a notion of themselves that they clung to for dear life. (Medicinal Marzipan)

And while we’re at it, we may as well grieve the fact that we’re never going to look the way we do in our own mirrors, either:

One of the biggest things I learned during my mirror fast was exactly how much I do control what I see in the mirror: My “mirror face,” for starters, which ensures I’ll always be seeing a wider-eyed, poutier-lipped version of myself than what you might see when you look at me. Then there’s makeup, hairstyles, lighting, angles… (The Beheld)

How to deal with copycats and idea thieves. (Productive Flourishing)

But there are some good reasons not to laugh at the “Shit girls say” meme that spawned it. (Feministing)

Of all the responses to my Melinda Tankard Reist profile last weekend, this analysis felt the most dead-on:

It’s this strong line up of critical voices which shows us the magazine (and Hills in her blog) sees that running a profile of Tankard Reist is controversial for the readership. Sunday Life is anticipating a reaction from traditional second wave and libertarian feminists. (Bible Society)

Red dress, blue dress. Danielle Meder dissects the meaning of colour in The Iron Lady. (Final Fashion)

How do you deal with feelings of intellectual inadequacy? (Ben Casnocha)

Who’s next in line for the editorships of Vogue, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair? (Ad Week)