- 50 Shades of Nonsense – There was yet another awful article published where a Man shared his Manly Thoughts on romance. Natalie breaks it down for our small ladybrains.
Giraldi’s article is an absolute textbook example of the ways women’s writing is suppressed. The thing that struck me the most about the article, apart from the thoroughly insulting language used throughout it, was Giraldi’s flat refusal to use the name under with E.L. James publishes. In fact, he states that James is a “sacral” name (real interesting use of that word there, was sacred not fancy enough for you, big guy?) and refuses to use it and instead uses James’s legal name through out the article–right after he calls her a “charlatan amorist”.
- Men, stop lecturing women about reading romance novels – Alyssa Rosenberg was at Washington Post rolling er eyes at Giraldi as well.
Reading the greats may be improving, and it is often hugely entertaining. But sometimes even the most dedicated grubber needs a fortifying dose of rewarding fantasy before heading back toward that which has been deemed serious and worthy. Romance novels are a tonic, a form of reassurance that someone is interested in ordinary women’s inner lives and is rooting for us to resolve our conflicts about work, love and what we deserve from our relationships.
- Trigger warnings and teaching – Trigger warnings made the news yet again, ushering in a fresh round of hand-wringing over how they coddle students who need to take personal responsibility and toughen up. Sunita brings some much needed sense to the discussion.
There is a powerful argument to be made that avoiding triggering material can make it harder to overcome the trauma in the long term and also silences and isolates the individual who has this condition (h/t to @RRRJessica for the link). I’m more than willing, within some limits, to allow someone with PTSD or other traumatic conditions to participate in potentially triggering discussions and manage their reactions in the classroom setting. But that’s not my call to make. I’m not going to demand that a student do that for her own good. Every person is different, and if I believe that teaching difficult material is important, then I have to work with students to ensure that they are able to create an environment in which they learn what I teach. It’s a two-way process. I’m in charge of the classroom, but I’m not the only person whose behavior affects it.
- Sex, power, and money: how a porn star took on web payments and won – I follow a number of sex workers and banks freezing their accounts has been an ongoing thing. If you think this doesn’t involve you, ask yourself why retailers are so loath to sell erotica that labels its kinks.
The reaction seemed sudden to outsiders, but for sex workers, this kind of soft discrimination is painfully familiar. Both PayPal and WePay regularly hold up payments from porn sites, creating enormous payroll problems. Last month, Chase Bank abruptly closed checking accounts belonging to hundreds of porn stars, challenging the simple mechanics of paying the rent. There’s nothing illegal about what any of these women were doing — porn is a legal and widely regulated industry — but they still face widespread discrimination when it comes to spending and receiving money.
As WePay and others describe it, that discrimination comes straight from the federal government. The FDIC officially considers pornography a “high-risk activity,” alongside firearm sales, drug paraphernalia, and Ponzi schemes. That means anyone handling payments is cleared to use extra caution, or refuse their business entirely.
- The Case for Reparations – Ta-Nehisi Coates is at the Atlantic with a longform piece on African-American history that every white person who’s argued “It’s not race, it’s class!” needs to read. (TW: Discusses racialized violence and contains a photo of a lynching.)
Liberals today mostly view racism not as an active, distinct evil but as a relative of white poverty and inequality. They ignore the long tradition of this country actively punishing black success—and the elevation of that punishment, in the mid-20th century, to federal policy. President Lyndon Johnson may have noted in his historic civil-rights speech at Howard University in 1965 that “Negro poverty is not white poverty.” But his advisers and their successors were, and still are, loath to craft any policy that recognizes the difference.
- The Only Time I’ve Ever Been To Connecticut – Mallory Ortberg has a story about an “informational interview” that’s hilarious and infuriating in equal measure.
“The best piece of advice I can give you,” he said in a broad and cheerful tone, “is to find a rich husband.”
“Oh,” I said, in absolutely no tone at all.
“Yes, that is the best advice I could give you,” he said again. “Find a rich husband, and then you can work at whatever you like on the side, and it doesn’t matter, because you already have money.”
The goal of the informational interview was no longer to glean what wisdom I could from someone with a different life experience from mine. The goal now became to agree with him so readily and so blandly on all points that he would release me from this boat-festooned room and I could return to California, where people behaved normally and women were allowed to have offices and Diet Coke handmaidens were allowed to run free. I could not argue with him. I could not laugh, no matter how outrageous his advice became. I could not betray a moment of independent thought; this was the most serious improv exercise of my life and I was going to “Yes, and…” my way out of this windowless prison.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.