Author Kathleen Hale has been in the middle of a shitstorm this weekend because of an essay she wrote for The Guardian about how she stalked a Goodreads reviewer to try to prove that she — the reviewer — wasn’t who she said she was. Why that matters, no one can really figure out. Hale’s beef was that the reviewer, who goes by the name Blythe Harris on Goodreads and elsewhere but — at least from what Hale could infer — is presenting a false persona online (who’s named Blythe these days, anyway?) posted a pre-release review of Hale’s book No One Else Can Ever Have You that was profanity-laced and described problems with the book that had no apparent correlation to the book itself. Hale obsessed over it, found out that there’s a whole community of online reviewers who bully authors for no apparent reason, and proceeded to dox Harris, both privately, and, ultimately, more publicly through the Guardian essay. Hale went so far as to book a car rental months in advance and showed up on Harris’s doorstep. Keep reading »
In case you are unaware, there is something called “The Whiteness Project.” Per the website, the project, from documentary director Whitney Dow, is “a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as ‘white’ experience their ethnicity.” The first installment, titled “Inside the White Caucasian Box,” was released a few days ago and is an assemblage of interviews of 24 Buffalo, New York, residents who identify as “White.” To further explain the aims of the project, the website provides an “Artistic Statement” that poses some of the poignant questions that are explored in the interviews:
While many media projects have investigated the history, culture, and experiences of various American ethnic minorities, there has been much less examination of how white Americans think about and experience their whiteness and how white culture shapes our society. Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow?
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Before the movement to end street harassment really gained steam, I penned an essay about my childhood experiences as a poor, Black girl. In the piece, I detailed an interaction I had, at 11 years old with a group of men more than two times my age, where they publicly sexually harassed me while on my neighborhood street. The piece expressed the hurt, anger and rage that is buried so deep within me after decades of feeling unsafe in this world just because I am woman. This was the story of how I learned that my entire being was defined, in this society, by my sexuality. Not my intelligence, not my humor, not my wit, but access to my body.
I looked back on that piece and felt all the fears and anxiety that I have so long tried to cast aside and dismiss. Fears that resurfaced because of stories that two women were brutally attacked within the past couple of days (one of whom lost her life and the other who thankfully is expected to survive), by men who sought to gain access to their sexuality but were denied. Men who invaded the personal physical and emotional space of those women, without any permission or invitation, and murdered them simply because they were made aware of the fact that their advances were not welcomed. Keep reading »
“Can women have it all,” has been asked hundreds of times over — it seems as though the media never tires of the question. They tell us that, because many women are not in a position to manage a career and a family (or that, at very least, it is extremely difficult to balance the two), feminism has failed us.
But why do we think “having it all” means getting married and having kids? Keep reading »
Gwyneth Paltrow, who loves juice cleanses and is responsible for bringing the term “conscious uncoupling” to the mainstream, is no stranger to insults. The skinny, rich, blonde Hollywood star gets plenty of flak for her lifestyle brand GOOP, where she sells eco-friendly nail polish and monogrammable reclaimed-wood skateboards while sharing stories from her fabulous life and namedropping her celebrity pals.
Paltrow’s tone deafness at trying to come across “accessible” to her largely female fanbase is ripe for criticism, and it has become a touchstone of the way that many stars fail at appearing relatable to us regular folks. But there’s one word in particular that keeps coming up in criticisms of Paltrow and others like her that deserves a closer look: “smug.”
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A new Tennessee law makes it legal to charge a woman with child abuse and assault if she takes illegal narcotic substances while pregnant. The first woman who was arrested under this new law was a 26-year old woman whose baby girl tested positive for methamphetamines after being born. The woman was reportedly arrested on her way out of the hospital. Although she was later directed to a rehab, this new law may set a terrifying precedent to all pregnant women.
Laws like this are disguised at protecting babies, but in fact just feed the prison pipeline and deter pregnant women from seeking healthcare. If we really want to uplift the status of women, then community resources and further education better serve this, rather than the cycle of incarceration for one nonviolent act after another. Keep reading »