What I’m Reading and Thinking About this Week

After a week or two off, here are the things I’ve been reading and thinking about on the internet this week!

The Paradoxical Rise of the Viral Marriage Proposal (Buzzfeed)

This is a really excellent, really thoughtful piece about the spectacle culture of marriage and heterosexual love, and also about the wedding industrial complex and how social media plays into all of this.  What’s especially remarkable about the rise of the viral marriage proposal is the fact that the popularity of marriage is actually on decline among young heterosexual people in America. Quite the paradox, and this article has all kinds of things to think about and unpack:

This sense of ubiquity — everyone is having engagement photos taken! — creates a perception that this kind of public performance is necessary, a standard part of the ever-expanding process of getting married. The combination of new social media and the decades-old American urge to keep up with the Joneses has been a boon for the wedding industrial complex, and professional photographers are profiting from the new perception that this costly but once-rare part of the marriage ritual is expected.

Perhaps this is all of interest to me because I’m in a committed long-term relationship with a man who I am not married to and have no current plans to marry.  Neither one of us wants a wedding at all, and yet we are surrounded by people who are getting engaged, getting married, and literally posting every detail on every kind of social media outlet available to them.

But I digress.  In the article, Angyal also brings up a point that has long bothered me about all of this spectacle proposal stuff, too:

…there’s something unsettling about all this performing, and it’s not just that a man surprising a woman with a public proposal — and that’s almost always how it goes — places her under an enormous amount of pressure to say yes…Indeed, watching some of these public proposal videos, it seems that the men are not so much proposing to women as at them.

But that’s probably my ultra-feminism acting up or whatever.  At any rate, it’s a great article and well worth a read.

Ayn Rand’s Sweet Valley High (The Toast)

It’s basically what I’ve been waiting for my entire life.  Mallory Ortberg is often very funny and this piece helps illustrate that:

“I told him we didn’t want to miss a single minute of mall time. I mean, what’s better than spending an evening at the mall? That’s where money lives.”

“Money is only a tool, Lila,” Jessica reminded her friend. “It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver of your lime-green Triumph, complete with car phone.”

It’s just really funny writing.

Every Conversation on the Internet with Dudes, Ever (Medium)

Humorous but also sadly true, this article takes a tongue-in-cheek look at how dudes derail conversations about women, sexism, and feminism on the internet, all day every day.  A sample:

Woman: There’s still a long way to go to achieve equality.
Dude: Not true! A woman was mean to me once.
Woman: That’s not what —
Dude: SO MEAN

I actually saw an exchange exactly like this happen on one of my favorite sites the other day.  TOO REAL.

Most Anticipated Books of 2015 (The Millions)

This is just a really excellent round-up of books being published this year, complete with descriptions and links to read more.  I added so many books to my TBR pile.  Out of control!

What did you read that got you thinking this week?

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