Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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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. (

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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,

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)

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

Spanish street artist Escif beautifies the streets of Valencia. (Lost At E Minor)

I interviewed Canadian cum Londoner Danielle Meder for an upcoming Cosmo story a few weeks ago. Here she is on 'it' girls, the five degrees of social adventurism, and making the continential leap to London. (Final Fashion)

How the Tea Party changed the climate debate. (Washington Post)

Forget about looking for “The One” and have fun with the many:

The relatively recent cultural narrative of The One - the idea that everyone has a soulmate whom they are destined to love for ever, and that your life will always be incomplete if you fail to meet, mate and move in with that person - is not only implausible, but also cruel. It implies that those who do not find their One will somehow never be complete, that those who divorce, who live and raise children alone, or who find alternative arrangements for happiness, have somehow failed as human beings. (Laurie Penny)

Stop stalling, start creating. (Goins, Writer)

"Fighting against depression is also fighting against your lesser nature." (Ben Pobjie)

On weddings as work. Hells to the yes! There will be more on this subject later. (Kay Steiger)

Scarlett Harris wonders what makes someone a good person? (Early Bird Catches The Worm)

Isn’t he lovely: The Beauty Myth for men:

But men aren’t immune to the “beauty myth” lies, either, as Hill’s faux tirade indicated. And his was an interesting example of that since fans lambasted him for losing weight rather than gaining it, which is what typically incites tabloid public shaming. Perhaps, in that case, pop culture’s image ideals for men come with their own complications and double standards, which are worth addressing as thoroughly as those leveled toward women. Just as Western female beauty ideals are modeled around straight, white women, Western male beauty standards worship at the altar of the straight, white, six-pack ab-toting man. And both are equally problematic. (Bitch Media)

On why you should read Jilly Cooper. (Blogelstein!)

How to be awesome on the internet. (Medicinal Marzipan)

"I’m glad we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter on 9/11." (

I am super excited for this book. (Feministing)

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Yeah, I know. I totally owe you one. So here goes: a few of the things I’ve read and loved in the past few weeks.

Walt Disney hits the streets of Paris with these intriguing art mashups. (Ufunk)

Chloe from Feministing writes beautifully on 9/11:

In the years that followed, Australians would sometimes comment that Americans thought they were the center of the universe. But in the days following 9/11, New York really was the center of the universe. Did New Yorkers know that, thousands of miles away, on their lunch hours in Sydney, people were watching them, praying for them, crying for them? Or did they feel instead that the world had grown bigger, and more dangerous, with more dark corners than ever? (Feministing) 

When awkward public transport conversations with people who want to get into your pants go beyond awkward… and turn into stalking. (The Early Bird Catches The Worm)

Rachel Rabbit White on the subversiveness of rock groupies. (Rabbit Write)

How to live a beautiful life. Gala Darling gets it right. (Gala Darling)

In defense of period sex. (Feministe)

Fired: Can a friendship really end for no good reason? (The American Scholar)

Nubby Twiglet on getting your blog noticed. Take note, Brian! (Nubby Twiglet)

Puritan pundits should chill out: Greta Christina (who wrote one of my favourite ever essays on sexuality) lists five reasons she’s happy she’s had lots of casual sex. (Alternet)

When allies fail: what to do when you politically put your foot in it. (What Tami Said)