books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About this Week

These are the things I’ve been reading and thinking about this week.

Why It’s So Hard for Men to See Misogyny (Slate)

I’ve been loosely following the #YesAllWomen campaign, but maybe not as closely as I should have been.  At any rate, I’m aware of what it is, what it’s trying to do, and why there’s been a backlash (that was probably expected by pretty much everyone).  This article examines that backlash.

In this (excellent) piece, Amanda Hess posits reasons why men were so, surprised about the stories women shared on social media during the campaign.  One of the possibilities is that by claiming they don’t see the misogyny, the men can claim innocence in the face of it.  In that regard, it’s this piece that stood out:

But there are other, more insidious hurdles that prevent male bystanders from helping to fight violence against women. Among men, misogyny hides in plain sight, and not just because most men are oblivious to the problem or callous toward its impact. Men who objectify and threaten women often strategically obscure their actions from other men, taking care to harass women when other men aren’t around.

The entire article is worth a read, because Hess deftly binds personal anecdotes with larger cultural commentary.  Go read it.

Why Teenagers Need to Play Teenagers on Screen (Film School Rejects)

This article is a few weeks old, but I stumbled across it on Tumblr this week, so I’m linking to it all the same.  The title gives you the gist of the article, but it’s still worth a read because it’s really interesting and hits my pop culture sweet-spot where we’re talking about movies and TV shows and also the politics involved:

When 12-year-old girls are watching something like the CW’s long-running campy drama One Tree Hill (which aired from 2003-2012), in which actors like 25-year-old Hilarie Burton played 17-year-old cheerleader Peyton Sawyer, they’re not seeing an accurate portrayal of their future on screen…When a real 16-year-old cheerleader flips on the CW and sees fellow pompom shakers who look like Burton or costar Sophia Bush, also well beyond her high school years, they’re looking at themselves at wondering why they don’t look like that in their uniform. Here’s the secret: they didn’t when they were 16, either.

The article touches on a lot of the issues at play when casting much older actors to play teens: they look more attractive, it makes adult viewers more comfortable to see older faces engaging in scandalous behaviors, etc.  And the article makes a really good point about how hollow it can feel when you watch a 27-year-old playing a 19-year-old onscreen as she wails about how she’s insecure.  It’s a good read.

My Life in 16 Authors (Book Riot)

Basically a list with brief descriptions, this piece by a woman who works in publishing is pretty great for anyone who loves books, defines moments in their lives by books, and geeks out over authors.  I laughed several times while reading this, and it’s the perfect Friday diversion for you.



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