books and reading

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

Welcome to another installment of what I’m reading and thinking about.  Here are the articles that got me thinking this week.

Uses and Abuses of Girls (Dear Author)

I’ve been following the whole VidCon/Youtube sexual assault stuff, and while I’m pretty far removed from the whole thing (I’m not a vlog watcher, literally couldn’t care less about the Green brothers’ Youtube presence, etc), I am alarmed and irritated by VidCon’s complete inability to put together a code of ethics for their event(s).  And their claim that they don’t think they need one because their attendees are so “cool.”  Blech.

However, the emphasis here is not on content, but on the production of celebrity as a function of teen girl fan loyalty, a commodity generated by these young girls, and then commodified by men and sold back to them in the form of celebrity stand-ins. And that’s not so wholesome. It’s theater for the purpose of commodifying teen girl enthusiasm…

At any rate, this lengthy letter examines not only those issues but the larger ones about teen girls, older men, and the allure of celebrity.  It’s thought-provoking and definitely worth your time and investment.

The Fault in Our Stars Review (FILM) (Persnickety Snark)

I don’t have a lot to say about this one, but I did want to say that Adele’s blog is amazing and if you follow YA stuff or pop culture, you should definitely be tuning into it.  She had a chance to see an early screening of the summers “most anticipated” movie, and her review of the film is both well-written and extremely fair (much more fair than I could ever muster, so jaded am I by the entire production at this point).

At any rate, it sounds like the cast performances and the soundtrack are standouts, and the movie is so faithful to the book that it actually does a disservice to the final product.  I’m not going to be rushing to see this one, but I will see it eventually.

No, Liberals Haven’t ‘Brainwashed’ You. Yes, You Can be Drunk and Have Sex (The Guardian)

Basically, some conservative politicians are trying to put roadblocks into the work that anti-rape advocates are doing to dispel myths and misinformation about rape, sexual assault, and rape culture.  This piece is basically a response to a piece that one such conservative loony-toons person wrote for another blog (I’m not linking, but Valenti does) about how we’re totally blowing up the issue of rape and sexual assault and it’s not really that big of a deal.  Valenti responds quite wonderfully, but the end of her piece stood out to me:

When men make the kind of argument Delgado does – bending over backwards with no evidence or research – to say that rape really isn’t that big a problem and that what women call assaults aren’t assaults at all, I generally advise women not ever leave themselves alone with them. Someone who has such a stake in arguing that rape doesn’t happen makes me nervous.

When women say these things, though, I think about how selfish they are. Because the only reason I have ever been able to come up with – for why women would ignore facts, science and the experience of so many rape survivors – is that they believe victim-blaming will keep them safe. If only “bad” women get raped, then they don’t need to worry about getting attacked themselves.

Basically amazing.

What did you read this week that got you thinking?

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