The death of Irish novelist Maeve Binchy earlier this week has inspired a lot of articles, most of them warm tributes to her kind heart, quick wit, and writing ability.
British novelist Amanda Craig took a different tack.
In a piece published today by The Telegraph, she wonders whether Binchy might have been a better writer if she had been a mother. The subtitle is even more blunt, asking: “Does a female novelist need to have experienced motherhood to truly understand human emotions?” Keep reading »
Despite endless work by anti-sexual violence activists trying to change the narrative, the myth persists that rapists —at least so-called “date rapists” — are men who got a little out of control with lust one night and accidentally went too far. It doesn’t help that this is the story that we usually hear on those very rare occasions when rapists tell their side of the story, usually to escape social consequences or even jail.
But recently a self-identified rapist went on Reddit and, for whatever reason, told a story that social research shows is much closer to the truth: Rapists rape because they like to rape. They aren’t confused about consent, nor are they overcome by lust. The pleasure is from the act of overpowering a woman and making her submit against her will. Keep reading »
In the days, weeks and months following a national tragedy, myths settle into our national consciousness. Myths are not falsehoods, per se. Rather, myths are the stories that we repeat to explain a complex and unnerving topic and make sense of the confusion — to label something “good” and “evil,” to finger the “bad guy” and the “hero.” A story coming out of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting — which I have heard again and again these past few days — is of the three boyfriends who saved the lives of their girlfriends by throwing themselves in the line of fire during the “Dark Knight Rises” shooting.
Matt McQuinn, 27, Jonathan Blunk (above), 26, and Alex Teves, 24, were all killed by gunman James Holmes while trying to protect their dates. According to The New York Post — admittedly not the most reliable news source — McQuinn “dived” in front of his girlfriend. Blunk “threw his date … to the floor, pushing her under the seat.” And Teves “used his body” to shield his girlfriend. Teves’ grandmother Rae Iacovelli said her grandson “got down on the floor and covered [his girlfriend] up.” Blunk’s date told “The Today Show” herself that “he took a bullet for me” and his ex-wife even weighed in to say Blunk “wanted to die a hero.” Keep reading »
It is usually not my style to meddle in other people’s relationships, but I’ve got to join the chorus of those advising — in internet comment sections, duh — Patricia Lagarreta not to marry Jamie Rohrs. Legarreta, Rohrs, and their two kids were among those at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado last week (don’t even get me started on bringing kids to a late-night showing of an ultra-violent movie); when James Holmes entered the theater, set off tear gas bombs and began shooting people in the crowd, Rohrs and Legarreta became separated. They were later reunited at the hospital, where Rohrs dropped to one knee and asked Legarreta to marry him. Normally I would be like, “Aww, after facing death, they decided to make the most of life!” but no. See, after Rohrs was separated from Legarreta, her four-year-old daughter, and their four-month-old son, he managed to get out the theater. And then he went to his car. And then he drove off. Legarreta and her kids, meanwhile, barely escaped harm thanks to the heroic actions of a total stranger, Jarell Brooks, 19, who shielded her and took a bullet in the leg in the process. Legarretta’s leg was hit with schrapnel but she and the children were otherwise unharmed. No thanks to Rohrs, mind you. Keep reading »
Some thoughts for Taylor Cotter (the 22-year-old girl who wrote about wishing she could be poorer on the Huffington Post):
Right now things kinda suck. I know. You wrote an oblivious-sounding piece about how you kind of wished you were getting the chance to be poor and scrappy in your 20s, like artistic people are supposed to be. Like the girls on “Girls,” which sometimes seems very realistic because Lena Dunham is the only young woman with any body fat on TV. And then the piece went up on HuffPo and then Gawker picked it up and now everyone is making fun of you.
My friend sent it to me. She was like “OMG this girl wishes she was poor!” and I was already worried about you.
I mean, maybe you’re totally OK and don’t even care. Maybe you’re laughing. But if you’re anything like me, I’m guessing you’re not. I’m guessing you’re more like, “Oh shit shit shit. No wait! I didn’t mean it that way! Wait, guys! I’m not that bad! I swear. I said that in a funny way. I was trying to make this point, and I was trying to illustrate it, and the piece is more about how we’re taught that being poor is cool when you’re an artist than about how I actually really wish I was poor. The piece is really more about the images we’re given of artists. And how it can be awkward not to fit the image, even if that means being more stable than the image. You know? Seriously! I’m not a bad person!” Keep reading »
I have been working in the tech start-up and digital advertising agency worlds for the past six years. These two worlds overlap in a few places—namely social media and the uncertainty of being able to pay their staff in six months. But there is another area where I have seen a commonality so real it has grown from a stereotype to an expectation: the notion that working, all the time—as in 24 hours a day, Christmas Eve and at your kid’s dance recital—is not only normal, but encouraged. Keep reading »
I recently stumbled on the video of a bride singing Christina Aguilera’s “The Right Man” while she walked down the aisle, and I reacted so strongly that I startled myself. The video opened up a cavern of emotion that, while I knew it was there, went deeper than I realized. And that emotion was repugnance. To me, this serenade was not an act of love, but an act of vanity. I saw a woman in the midst of a performance that had nothing to do with how she felt about the man she was walking towards and everything to do with a fantasy she’d been playing out in her head since she was a little girl–groom TBD.
But self-aggrandizing brides aside, the bottom line of my repugnance was that I hate weddings. I think they have gotten so out of control that they have become intolerable, and I deeply resent being held hostage to their preposterous demands. For years I’ve faked my joy for brides and brides-to-be both out of respect and fear. I have put on a smile and cooed over dresses, shoes, cakes and flowers, partially because I usually do love the person the bride is when she is not a bride, but also because I am afraid that I will be shunned from the sisterhood if my disdain is discovered. Keep reading »
Hey guys? As a woman, and a feminist and a working person, I can honestly say I’ve never asked if I was going to “have it all.” But Anne Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic cover article about women’s continuing fight to win both the brass ring of family and work seems to have opened up this old chestnut of a debate, with women around the web asking how and when and if we can “have it all.” My response? Let’s shut this crappy concept down all together. The “can women have it all” question is reductive and frustrating — and it only serves to promote the idea that women are constantly going to be failing if they don’t somehow fulfill the work/family mandate.
After all, the construct of “having it all” perpetuates the myth that there is one ideal way to live, rather than understanding and allowing for multiple ideas of happiness. And in this “having it all” myth, a woman’s main responsibilities can be boiled down to feeding the capitalist mechanism (through working) and submitting to her essentialist role as a child-bearing female (having a family). Keep reading »
I’m going to say something as a feminist ladyblogger that I suspect I’m not supposed to say: Why You’re Not Married … Yet: The Straight Talk You Need To Get The Relationship You Deserve, by Tracy McMillan, actually isn’t a terrible book.
Oh, it has some problematic aspects — and I’ll get to those. But generally what’s wrong with books like Why You’re Not Married … Yet or 2009′s Marry Him! The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough, by Lori Gottlieb, isn’t the actual content. I’ve read a decent number of self-help books, both for professional reasons (to write about them on The Frisky) and for personal reasons (to find out why am I such an idiot when it comes to boys), and I even read that godawful Steve Harvey book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man because my surrogate mother gave it to me. I’m open-minded to reading them, I guess you could say. So, while Why You’re Not Married … Yet is getting bopped everywhere from Jezebel to The Good Men Project, who titled their piece “Fuck Off Tracy McMillan,” I’ve actually read the book and what’s more, I loved it and found it extremely useful. What’s wrong with Why You’re Not Married … Yet isn’t the dating advice — it’s how that dating advice is only marketed towards women. Keep reading »
I just had the extreme displeasure of reading Elizabeth Wurtzel’s essay for The Atlantic, about how rich stay-at-home moms are “anti-feminist and helping make the ‘war on women’ possible.” In the opener, Wurtzel says that she wants to “smack the next woman who says that raising her children full time—and by that means going to yoga classes and pedicure appointments while the nanny babysits —is her feminist choice.” Why yes, we’d all want to smack that woman too. Does she even exist?
To be honest, I seriously doubt that even the wealthy 1 percent women are going around making up excuses for why they don’t work—they’re rich enough not to, and surely don’t feel defensive about it. So it really seems that Wurtzel is just pissed that some women out there can afford what she perceives to be a life of leisure. She bashes them by saying people who don’t pay their own rent and bills are immature and anti-feminist. Actually, what Wurtzel is doing is immature and anti-feminist. Sure, everyone is jealous of rich women from time to time, but to take a personal axe-to-grind and pretend it’s about feminism is a total joke. Keep reading »