Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

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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)

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

'Invisible man' Liu Bolin disappears again. (Lost at E Minor)

Camilla Peffer dissects Beyonce’s particular brand of feminism (it falls some place between third wave and post-). (Girls are Made From Pepsi)

The top ten things that piss off Londoners. (Londonist)

Dear professional blogger: how do you make money? (Yes and Yes)

Why were we so quick to presume the London rioters were poor?:

Did we see violence, looting and vandalism and assume that this could only be the work of poor people, and passively accepted the media’s categorization of the perpetrators as such?  Or are we so blinded by our ideological beliefs, romanticizing the riots to be exactly what Marx warned us of that we bought this generalization? Or do we want so desperately to blame governmental cuts against the poor that we ignore the lack of solid evidence as to who these rioters really are? (Sociological Images)

My girl Monica on the London riot lootings and China’s quest for luxury. (Kapooka Baby)

Some nice media analysis of US Glamour from Kate Harding: How one woman’s weight loss story went awry. (Jezebel)

And more on consumerism and the “costly pursuit of popularity” from Erica Bartle:

In the worst of cases, you wake one day to find that you are not a whole but, indeed, an assembly of lots of selves and cultural artefacts. Your attempts to emulate, to run with the pack, or even stay two steps ahead, have left you flat with nothing to give back. You feel like an iPhony. So the quest to find your true self begins… only beneath all the clutter, you’re not so sure you’re going to like what you find. Not to worry: more stuff will numb that straight away! (Girl With A Satchel)

You don’t have to be “born this way” to be different. (Zero At The Bone)

Eight bloggers under 18 you need to be reading. (Refinery 29)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Kate Authur’s profile of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, ‘When Reality TV Fame Runs Dry’:

“We were living each other’s mistakes—everything we were doing, in retrospect, was a mistake. The second we continued on our quest for fame was a mistake.” Spencer said. “This isn’t a business. That was the big thing I didn’t get: Reality TV is not a career. Anyone who says, ‘Oh, you can have a career in reality’—that is a lie.” (The Daily Beast)

I love this idea from Tavi of writing letters to your friends (and other future readers) on the blank pages of your favourite books. (Style Rookie)

Food for thought: revolution is the name you give to riots you like. (L’Hote)

I totally agree with Scarlett that much "slut shaming" is a defence mechanism. (Early Bird Catches The Worm)

How to get out of a creativity rut. (Nextness)

Speaking of “creativity ruts”, I’m trying out the tips in this post to get out of the one I’ve been in. Lack of attachment is totally counterintuitive to both my personality and my general mode of being, but it might just be the answer to my usual over attachment. (Zen Habits)

Also on creativity ruts, I loved this. Today I do not feel like a superwoman. (Feministe)

Are “body positive” blogs helpful or hurtful?:

“These websites represent a ground-flow of young women who want to find peace with their bodies, but the messages—‘I love myself, but please accept me’—can be confusing,” said Elizabeth Scott, psychotherapist and Co-Founder of The Body Positive, a national body-image program for women. “These girls want community, and they want to be told they’re beautiful, which makes sense, but focusing on measurements or specific body types is troubling.” (Refinery 29)

Very much in line with not just one but two stories I’ve been working on this week. Phoebe Maltz on the fiction that buying the right moisturiser/shampoo/skirt will trasnform you into the celebrity promoting it. (What Would Phoebe Do)

They want to do real bad things to you: class war on True Blood. (Tiger Beatdown)

"Going forward the focus of the climate debate is going to be food." Here’s how to eat well, whilst minimising waste. (Sarah Wilson)

True story: “I’m 23 and never been kissed.” (Yes and Yes)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it Anna Sussman’s essay on the perverse platform eating disorders provide for female bonding. Me, Too! Me, Too! All the girls in NYC once had Body Dysmorphic Disorder:

As warm and fuzzy as it feels to know I’m not alone in being tortured by irrational, unhealthy standards of beauty, I find it highly troubling that body-dysmorphic disorder and its more proactive companions, anorexia and bulimia, are rampant to the point of banality. “A or B?” a friend asked me nonchalantly when I told her I used to have an eating disorder. She asked it with as much concern as a waitress in a Greek diner: “Coleslaw or potato?” (NY Observer)

Collage artist Agent X (above) describes him/herself as "a cross between Banksy and D’Angelo, as I like my privacy, but love real people and the art that connects us." (Lost at E Minor)

Is Australia too obsessed with sport? The BBC’s Nick Bryant responds to this week’s storm around Mia Freedman and Cadel Evans. (BBC)

Margaret Attwood’s Cat’s Eye has been on my reading wishlist for months and months. This review at the Hairpin is a nice reminder to actually buy (and read) it soon. (The Hairpin)

In response to Amy Winehouse’s passing, Laurie Penny on how Winehouse defied the “normal rules of female celebrity”. (New Statesman)

Also inspired by Winehouse’s death: Teri Floyd on the relationship between drug addiction and the entertainment industry:

Celebrities, especially musicians, are often dead in the water the moment they become famous. Record companies and executives are said to be very shrewd and callous in the way they deal with their artists. Oftentimes musicians are encouraged to develop drug and alcohol habits, and people are hired to cater to their every whim. Drugs, alcohol, and other vices are bought and paid for by the label to keep their artists happy and producing work. In the case that those addictions lead to the demise of the artist, well, the record company benefits from that, too. (Persephone Magazine)

49 promotion ideas: the simple, the grand, the tried and the true. (White Hot Truth)

If you can’t tell whether you’re an apple, pear, or an hourglass, you’re none of them. (The Beheld)

Things you should know: 5 lessons for young, female directors by Elena Rossini. (Women and Hollywood)

Have writers swapped alcohol and depression for early nights and yoga?:

Perhaps people knew each other’s true states because they spent time together, in person; they congregated, in salons, cafes, colonies. You came as you were. But on Facebook, you compose your status, you present a manufactured version of yourself, your voice, your images. It occurs to me that I recoil from Facebook and Twitter partly because they feel to me like the Flanders household from The Simpsons, where everything is “okeley-dokeley!” — upbeat, positive, happy. Excited to eat this ramen! with accompanying photo, not Broke-ass and alone, vodka and blow for breakfast. (The Millions)

Ask a clean person: the basics. I don’t know, this sounds like a lot of work to me… (The Hairpin)

10 reasons your “ugly vagina” is normal and gorgeous. (Em & Lo)

I think there are a lot of rapists out there in the world, right now, who honestly don’t realize they are rapists. Good people. People who, if asked, would emphatically swear that they would never rape someone, never commit sexual assault, and yet, they have. They’ve done it, and it’s our fault, as a society, for allowing so many young men and women to grow up without an understanding of consent.” (Persephone Magazine)

Ego checks you may encounter as a blogger-turned-book-writer. (The Awl)

Slutwalk redux with Rebecca Traister and Feministing writers. (Feministing)

Best. Video. Evah. Rebecca Black’s Friday done News of The World style, starring Jean Hannah Edelstein’s sister. (Blogelstein!)

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If you read one thing this weekend, make it climate activist Anna Rose’s essay on Twitter, Q&A and sexist smear campaigns:

And then, we received a text message from a friend. “Have you seen Twitter?” it said. Immediately, I looked online. It turns out someone had been watching us at the restaurant. Whether it was someone who had just happened upon us by chance, or someone who’d deliberately set out to track us down and monitor us, I didn’t know. Either way, it was creepy. This guy had been sending a series of messages talking about what we were eating, drinking, and talking about, and most incredibly, making things up about this! (Power Shifting Towards Tomorrow)

Camilla Peffer celebrates her art obsession du jour, Sophie Calle (above):

One particular favourite of mine is a series of 28 articles she published for French daily newspaper Liberation (1983). After finding an address book on the street, Calle photocopied the contents before returning the address book to the rightful owner. What followed was a series of stalkerish conversations of the people listed within the book. (Girls Are Made From Pepsi)

Perfection, population 0: Hannah Mudge deconstructs the media obsession with ‘having it all’. (We Mixed Our Drinks)

Did News Corp hack the ClimateGate emails? (Think Progress)

How not to be creepy:

I don’t agree with Clarisse Thorn that “creepy” is a meaningless or sexist term. I think it has a very clear meaning: someone who is creepy is someone who makes you feel unsafe and uncomfortable in a sexual way. When it’s realest are the times when you don’t know why you feel it. If someone strikes you as “creepy” and you can’t put your finger on it, you feel a little unfair applying the label because they’re clearly so nice but you just keep having this feeling—do not get alone with them. (The Pervocracy)

How dare you make time for your children, Mr Deputy Prime Minister! (No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?)

What’s invisible at Harvard. (The Awl)


The world map of useless stereotypes. (Flowing Data)

Amy Mahnick turns everyday trash into art. (Lost at E Minor)

The un-democracy of fashion blogging:

What concerns me is what happens when the everywoman is nothing more than a shill—a curated example of the glossy ideals that continue to terrorise femininity and perceptions of femininity in the mainstream media. When fashion bloggers essentially become caricatures of themselves—with professional photography, unrealistic beauty and lucrative deals for product placement, what message is being sent to the other side of the screen? (Thought Catalog, via Something Changed)

Is Alanis Morissette the awesomer Jennifer Aniston of Canada? (The Hairpin)

Want to be a freelance writer? Act like one. (Musings of an Abstract Aucklander)

So, what the hell are we supposed to put on Google+? (Gizmodo)

Lust and loneliness, and the art of Laurel Nakadate:

The PS1 exhibit, “Only the Lonely”, also includes videos and photographs that do not feature her male collaborators. Some of these works complicate the sexualised tropes of pop culture, and are all the more disturbing for it. Ms Nakadate takes images that would otherwise be as familiar as an American Apparel ad and pushes them to melancholy and perverse extremes. (The Economist)