books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

These are the things that got me reading and thinking this week.  Without further ado:

No Country for Young Women (

Erin Kissane wrote an essay that basically sums up my feelings about stories about men lately, and it is excellent:

I didn’t set out to stop reading fiction written by men, or to stop watching movies and TV with male protagonists, I just got tired.

Even though she and I don’t necessarily agree completely on the things we like to watch, the end result feels the same:

If a piece of fiction is made by and emotionally centered on men, chances are, it defaults to the belief that women are nothing but fuel. Doesn’t matter if I’m catching every reference and gleefully staying ahead of every jump. It will eventually declare that it’s not meant for me. Sometimes the women are missing, or just vacant; sometimes there’s a string of bloody bodies that look like mine. The point comes across.

At any rate, this is super excellent and thoughtful and well worth your time.

How Helpful Are Those Rape Tips? (Dame Magazine)

Super awesome person and feminist Kate Harding has a new book out about rape culture (I’m still on the waiting list at the library but will probably buy a copy, too), and this is an excerpt of that book, posted at Dame Magazine.  It’s awesome:

A bunch of those recommendations are manifestly useless, but they are all in my brain, a full catalog of two and a half decades’ worth of “helpful tips.” Even the ones that are based in some sort of recognizable reality still ultimately send the same message: As a woman, you must live in fear and behave impeccably. If you fail at either charge, you will most likely be raped—maybe even murdered—and it will be at least partly your fault.

God, I can’t wait to read Harding’s book.

Slenderman is Watching (NY Mag)

A really thoughtful, chilling account of the girls who attempted to murder their friend in an apparent ritual to bring forth the mythological “Slender Man” of internet memes.  It’s an upsetting read, but it’s excellently researched and super well done.


Anissa is also a mess. She seems unable to retrace her steps and fully understand how she got to this place. In July of last year, after threatening self-harm, Anissa was put on suicide watch and given a straitjacket. She occasionally complains of stomachaches, enough to keep her out of classes in jail. Last March, she fell to pieces after a bunch of girls started taunting her, calling her a “monster” and a “fucking bitch” for what she’d done. She started to cry and refused to leave her room, according to a jail administrator, saying, “That’s what I am, exactly what they had called me.”

Whew.  What got you reading and thinking this week?


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