books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About this Week

Here’s what I’ve been reading and thinking about this week.  I don’t have a ton of stuff for you today, mostly because I’m lazy.  But here are a few things to read and think about this week.

Choosing Comfort Over Truth: What it Means to Defend Woody Allen (The Nation)

Look, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow sexual abuse allegations, and no matter what you think about the whole thing (and I hope you are thinking about it, and being critical about how the media portrays it and how people react to stories like this), you need to realize that despite what people say, we are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape accusations.  We are in the middle of an epidemic of quiet sexual assault with a culture that condones rape.  We are.

This article is brief but thought-provoking.  Whether or not you agree with Jessica Valenti’s article (she’s a bit polarizing, I guess), you should take a minute to think about what all of this means–and how you feel about it.

Finally, a Bachelor Contestant Exposes the Show’s Weird Sex Issues (Slate)

Let’s start this by saying that I don’t watch The Bachelor.  I have seen the show, but not in years, and I don’t generally care about what happens on it, because it’s a step up from the worst kinds of reality TV, in my mind.  I think the show is icky and gimmicky and completely ridiculous.  But this article caught my eye because it touches on so much of what I find appalling about the show and its bizarre, backwards ideas about sex.  Take this quote:

The show assembles a harem of attractive women who attempt to woo one man not just with their charm, but their bodies, their insecurity, and their willingness to suppress any part of their personality that might make them seem difficult—in particular, their innate discomfort that this man is availing himself of numerous other women as he speaks to each of them about feeling a “real connection.” To distract from the ickiness of this setup, The Bachelor plays the prude, only ever speaking of sex in the most coded, vague terms, like a pimp who blushes at the word “vagina” and claims his clientele are just playing cards.

There’s not much else to say, but this Slate article tackles the issues head-on and provides some interesting things to think about, whether you watch the show or not.

Mean Girls Director Spills 10 Juicy Stories 10 Years Later (Vulture)

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since Mean Girls came out?  I’m feeling super old today.  At any rate, this is some fluffy entertainment reading to get you through your Friday.  I’ve always liked stories about what happens behind-the-scenes, and this is the perfect example of that.

What Happens When You Tell People You’re Reading Only Women (The Toast)

Some of the things you’d probably expect: people lauding the effort, people following suit. Others aimed accusations, calling the project sexist, reverse-sexist (uh, okay), misandrist, etc.  But that’s sort of missing the point, isn’t it?

But the point of the reading project was to raise awareness about the way that female writers are still seen as less important, less literary, and less canonical than male writers, and even some of the coverage about my work hasn’t changed that.

Case in point: when The Guardian launched its #readwomen2014 project, they interviewed one writer/critic who had vowed to read only female authors in 2014 …Even when it comes to promoting books by female authors, it’s evidently still more important to ask men what they think in order to legitimize something that might reek too strongly of feminism.

There’s some great stuff here, about reading and experience in general:

Reading is so much more than looking at words on a page. At least they’re reading, as if a grocery list and a poem could be the same, could each weigh as much as the other. I wanted my reading, a pastime I enjoyed for its quietness and solitude, to also be a declarative statement. Women have always understood that there is more than one path to revolution. Quite simply, I would not be the human I am without having read My Antonia when I was sixteen years old.

At any rate, there’s a lot to unpack and think about here.  I really liked this article.

What got you thinking this week?

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