books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

It’s been another particularly frustrating week to be a woman on the internet (UGH TIME MAGAZINE UGH), but here are the the things I’ve been reading and thinking about this week.

“Did You Ever Mind it?” On Race and Adoption (The Toast)

I’m operating under the assumption that you’re already reading The Toast every week, if not every day like I am, but in case you missed this excellent piece, please drop what you are doing and go read it now.  In it, Nicole Soojung Callahan explores her own past as a transracial adoptee and what it has meant to confront the way it has impacted her life and her sense of self:

If another set of white adoptive parents asked me those same questions today—Should we adopt? Could we be good parents?—I still wouldn’t say no. Those answers are so often unknowable. I might say that I no longer think of adoption in terms of good or bad, but realistic and unrealistic. I would explain that my own parents tried very hard to be good parents, and in many ways were good parents, and we did not have a single honest conversation about race until I was in my late twenties and are still dealing with the consequences of that.

It is awesome and well-written and wholly thought-provoking.

Let’s Just Say it: Women Matter More Than Fetuses (The New Republic)

I cannot believe that this statement is still controversial.  I cannot believe that we have to write articles like this, reaffirming the belief that women should be able to regulate their own bodies and that their life matters more than the life of the fetus inside them.

And so we need to make it clear that abortions are not about fetuses or embryos. Nor are they about babies, except insofar as they enable women to make sound decisions about if or when to have them. They’re about women: their choices, health, and their own moral value.

BRB ordering a copy of Pollitt’s book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

On Young Men and Virginity (Carrie Mesrobian)

Carrie Mesrobian is one of my favorite people on the internet and she’s also one of my favorite writers.  So I am biased in my thinking that she is pretty brilliant and amazing.  This piece, posted last week on her blog, is interesting for all sorts of reasons: it talks frankly about sex, about masculinity and femininity and media expectations and so on and so forth.  It also features a picture of Sam Heughan (Jamie Frasier) shirtless, and also a picture of Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon).  It’s also just a good piece of writing:

There is a sort of har-har-har involved when dealing with male virginity – or debut sex, if you want to be fancy – and it just gets worse the older the dude involved is. He’s a nerd, he’s awkward, he’s got some awful problem, blah blah blah. Because the larger myth we’re contending with is that Men Are Rapacious Sex Monsters Every Waking Moment.

Also, she touches on an important part of all of this as it relates to consent and rape culture and all the things I refuse to shut up about because I am an ULTRA FEMINIST or whatever:

The reason we need to see more fiction that deals with debut sex – and that deals with how young men encounter such sex – is that though mechanistically, porn gives us lots of data, what is important for young people contending with sexual experience and identity is the context in which these decisions are made. A shorter way of saying this is you cannot fully understand what CONSENT means if you only know about sex outside of any kind of interconnected CONTEXT.


Anyway, Mesrobian is a really funny and smart lady and her whole post is worth a read.

#Pointergate: What Happened After the Mayor of Minneapolis Posed with a Black Man (Vox)

This is a case of something I’ve been tracking locally that has sort of blown up.  KSTP, which is a local news affiliate, engaged in some racist bullshit “journalism” last week after they reported that Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges posed with a “convicted felon” and flashed gang signs.  Or, um, possibly the guy is not a convicted felon but is just a black man and they were pointing at each other?  Could that be it?  Since pointing is a thing Hodges does in a lot of her photos?  OF COURSE NOT.

At any rate, this article rundown over at Vox is really comprehensive and a quick read.  It’s worth your time to read, in part because this sort of shit is indicative of what is happening all over the country and speaks to the larger problem of how the media views black men in general.

Oh, by the way, KSTP and the “reporter” who filed the story have yet to apologize or admit any wrongdoing.  FUCK EVERYTHING.

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