Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Curious (Links)

Here's what I've been reading that made me happy, sad, and thoughtful. Feel free to add anything you've read or written this week in the comments.

The Good
  • "Why I Submit to My Husband"--This post over at from two to one is a great read that both challenges some traditional assumptions about Christianity and feminism and looks at the difficulties of making that balance:
I submit to my husband.  My husband submits to me.  We mutually submit to one another.  For those who will pray for our souls given our "radical feminist interpretation" of these difficult verses to swallow, so be it.  We do not see this as a salvation issue, and we do consider this to be an incredibly complicated, personal matter for husbands and wives to respectfully decide together. 
  • "Feminism is Squashing the Thin Ideal"--SPARK looks at some research that suggests women who spend their time reading feminist materials are less likely to internalize a thin ideal. 
  • Over at The New York Times, Anne Lamott is answering reader's questions. Lamott is one of my favorite authors ever, and I'm currently reading Some Assembly Required, the book she wrote together with her son upon the birth of his own son.
I wish I had thrown out the bathroom scale at age 16. Weighing yourself every morning is like waking up and asking Dick Cheney to validate your sense of inner worth. I wish I had known that I was beautiful by my 20s, and that what makes a body so lovely is self-love and care — smoothing delicious lotions onto your thighs like a gentle yet ferociously committed mother would. I wish had not felt so shy and self-conscious in a swimsuit all those years, because I don’t look quite as much like Brigitte Bardot or Sofia Vergara as I hoped. I wish I had plunged into even more oceans and swimming pools than I did, in front of God and who-cares-who-else-who. 
I wish I’d known what I wrote to my grandson, Jax, in “Some Assembly Required,” that everyone goes through life thinking that he or she missed school on that one day in second grade when the wise Elder came and taught the kids the secret of life, of living to find your self and your own purpose and voice, instead of needing to become addicted to people-pleasing or domination. 
But that no one was there that day. Everyone is flailing through this life without an owner’s manual, with whatever modicum of grace and good humor we can manage.

The Bad 

  • This Salon article about adjunct instructors definitely made me sad:
Lara, a graduate student at the University of Mississippi, told AlterNet that student teaching salaries are so low that those making $8,000 annually “are the rich people.” She added that the glut of graduate students desperate for work ensures that employers in the surrounding area have access to a ready supply of cheap and essentially disposable labor, which forces most graduate students to take out large loans to meet living expenses, while working two or more jobs in addition. 
  • This Mommy Wars: The Political Edition has seriously got me ready to swear off reading the news until after November. In particular, this re-surfaced clip of Mitt Romney saying that he was willing to spend more money on daycare so that parents on welfare could get jobs and have "the dignity of work" drives me crazy.  When women are rich and married and stay home with their children (as his wife did, and who--when it was said she'd "never worked a day in her life"--became the center of the GOP's claim that there is a "War on Moms"), it is hard work worthy of respect and accolades. (And I'd agree with them). However, when poor women do it, it's not work, without "dignity," and a drain on the rest of society.

The Curious

So as much as I resent the limited range of desire that it seems (Black) men have and the ever-present male privilege that allows them to never have to interrogate their sexual and romantic investments, I hate my limited partnering prospects much more.  As un-feminist as I’m sure it is, and as much my Sagittarian self wants to say f**k the world and embrace my life of singleness in a blaze of principled feminist big girl glory, the #truestory is that I’m seriously trying to figure out how I can get my J.Hud on. 
  • Then, the Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss posted a response piece that was equally thought-provoking:
Big girls have to live, date, and eventually love in this environment. It's especially difficult as a feminist--admitting you're doing it because you want to benefit from the patriarchal bargain of being more of what men want to look at--because during 22.5 hours of the day, you're fighting the patriarchy . . . but there's an hour and a half of the day you're working hard to increase your ability to benefit from it.
  • Latoya Peterson has a post over at Racialicous that looks at what kind of female characters make it onto the television screen and what kinds don't, even when they clearly have a large fan base and support.
  • Tami Winfrey Harris writes at Clutch about men, housekeeping, and the value of work:
We live in a society where childcare providers–mostly women–are barely paid living wages. American parental leave pales in comparison to that of most European countries (Parents in Sweden receive a whopping 16 months to care for newborns, for example). And when a woman forgoes a career to help a man reach the pinnacle of success by tending to home and hearth, and then divorces in the face of infidelity, some folks greet the idea of equal division of family wealth with, “Bitch, you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym.” I guess child-rearing skills just aren’t as important as tossing a ball through a hoop with amazing accuracy. 


  1. Thanks for linking to my post, Balancing Jane! I'm considering a spin on it for your identity series - loving it so far, by the way!

    1. I was thinking about how well it looked at different identities while reading it. I'd love to have a post on it!