books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

Let’s get to the links.

My Wedding Was Perfect – and I Was Fat as Hell the Whole Time(The Guardian)

I love Lindy West for a lot of reasons, and she never ceases to impress the hell out of me with her writing and fearless devotion to being totally honest and unapologetically herself.  This piece about her wedding and being a “fat bride” is so excellent:

There’s an awkward three-way tension between wedding culture and feminism and fat acceptance – because of what “acceptance” demands of women in our culture, a lot of fat activism takes the form of fat women trying to “prove” that they can wear the trappings of male fantasy and traditional gender roles just as well as thin women. Fat women can be pretty. Fat women can get married. Fat women can “get” conventionally attractive husbands. But how is that constructive? Male approval isn’t where my self-worth comes from – and that realisation was a huge part of what made my current relationship healthy and fulfilling.

And this:

Choose your rituals, but make them yours. If you want to look like a flower market ate fat Betty Draper and then barfed her up in the middle of a haunted forest (YEEEESSS!), great choice. If you want to get married to a burrito while wearing a barrel with suspenders, I’m cool with it. If you think the very concept of marriage is hot garbage, that’s legit. But regardless, remember that you absolutely do not have to “fix” your body, chase after “flattering”, be somebody’s dark secret, or beg for permission to be happy.

Bad Blood: Taylor Swift’s Misguided Feminism (Ravishly)

If you aren’t caught up on what happened, Nicki Minaj was snubbed for a nomination in a major category at the MTV VMAs.  She tweeted her displeasure at this, and implied that if she were “a different kind of artist” (read: white, thin) she would have been nominated.  Taylor Swift, who was nominated in the category, felt personally victimized and tweeted out an obnoxious response.  This launched a thousand think pieces.  This is one of the best and most accessible ones:

Taylor Swift’s feminism (I don’t even like to call it that, but my feminism leaves room for any and all women to consider themselves feminists, and I stick to that because I have, you know, actual principles that guide my politics) is the kind of feminism that makes me want to shut my head in a car door a few times. It lacks critical thinking or inclusion. It’s about nothing but gender, and in the most limited of terms.

And this:

In being so reactionary, in not considering the many different ways womanhood is experienced and the context of Nicki’s thoughts and concerns, Taylor Swift did the very thing she so condescendingly accused Nicki of doing. She pitted women against each other. She detracted from the real and important conversation, and made the news and media coverage about two ladies fighting. And guess who was the victim in these news stories? Just guess.

Not a very long read, but definitely a worthy one.  I’ve always enjoyed Taylor Swift’s music while finding her mildly problematic, but this makes her seem like the goddamn worst.

White America is Addicted to Black Death (Dame Magazine)

This is a hard read, but it contains important questions and truths that need to be examined.  Taking the focus on a white artist who has created an installation recreating the death of Michael Brown as a way to help “the healing process,” this author takes issue with basically all of it:

Why must Black agony be appropriated and sold to the highest bidder? Is the oppression and degradation of Black people always going to be on the auction block? One piece of the exhibit, a Confederate flag with the names of the nine victims of the Charleston church shooting, has sold for some $4,500. Moore and the gallery owners claim that a small percentage of the money will go to a worthy cause.

Also, this very important point:

In reality, the exhibit is a show of privilege, as evidenced by the fact of who is empowered to do such “artistry,” and who is not. Can you imagine an exhibit by a Muslim artist of 9/11 victims? A Nazi Holocaust exhibit by a German artist?  Or a Black-Caribbean artist’s rendering of Colin Ferguson’s mass slaughter of commuters on the Long Island Railroad?

Upsetting, thought-provoking, and wholly worth our time and consideration.



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