Posts Tagged: longreads

The Shark Has Pretty Teeth, Dear: Why I Teach Women Self-Defense

I took my first empowerment-model self-defense class in 1999, and I've been teaching it since 2000. For 14 years, I’ve been deeply invested in this way of helping women, children, and other targeted populations discover their power and reduce their risk of harm.

Empowerment self-defense, or ESD, was developed by feminist activists who rejected the old, male-designed-and-taught self-defense models of the '50s and '60s. They wanted a system that taught practical skills within the context of rape culture; one that addressed the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social/cultural components of self-defense. The ESD model is constantly fine-tuned by the people who teach it; today, for example, the National [...]


How I Found Out I Didn't Have the Herpes I'd Been Living With for Four Years

This story is an update to this story, published here in April 2012.

Six months ago, I sat waiting in my gynecologist’s exam room chair, fully clothed and wishing I were anywhere else. At that particular moment, I’d even have preferred being naked and spread-eagled on the paper-lined bed. It’s not true what they say about the stirrups being the worst part of the ladyparts exam room: it’s the chair. Once you’re clothed and in the chair, it means you’re there to talk.

You never forget your first time debriefing with your gynecologist. Mine was four years ago, at age 22, when I sat crumpled in a chair [...]


Women and Their Issues

Via Longreads—a wonderful service that you, too, can support!—here is a story from a small town in Missouri that endured its own Steubenville-esque trauma in January 2012, when a senior football player from a prominent family was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl while she was intoxicated. Another male student allegedly filmed the act on a cell phone. Maryville, Mo., initially rallied around the girl, but within just two months, the county prosecutor dropped charges against Matthew Barnett, the girl's alleged rapist. There is a lot to process in here, but one thing that stuck with me is when the local sheriff said [...]


Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Ecstasy of Hedy Lamarr

The first time audiences saw Hedy Lamarr, she was running naked through a field. The second time they saw her, she was in the throes of a very animated orgasm. The next time she appeared on screen—more than five years later—she’d have a new name, a new language, and a new image, but the effect was the same: just the sight of her was enough to stop Hollywood, and audiences across America, in their tracks.

But a new name wasn’t enough to distance Hedy Lamarr from her past as the “Ecstasy Girl,” the star of the so-called “art film” that scandalized all of Europe, and received special denunciation by the [...]


A Post-Lunch Tab

"You are a typical egg-laying chicken in America, and this is your life: You’re trapped in a cage with six to eight hens, each given less than a square foot of space to roost and sleep in…" Here is a tab that you should probably only click on after you've eaten lunch. [Rolling Stone]


Health Care on the Rosebud Reservation, Where Male Life Expectancy Is 47

Via Longreads, a heartbreaking read from the Stanford Medicine Magazine:

Across the United States, American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 15 to 24 are still committing suicide at rates three times the national average of 13 per 100,000 people for their age group, according to the U.S. surgeon general. On the Great Plains, the suicide rate for Native Americans is 10 times the national average. Unemployment hovers at 80 percent, and the life expectancy of 46 years is one year shorter than Haiti’s — 33 shorter than the U.S. average.

That life expectancy shocked me so much that I kept trying to [...]


The Wells Tower Wagon

"The Elvis Impersonator, the Karate Instructor, a Fridge Full of Severed Heads, and the Plot 2 Kill the President."

-Wells Tower, owner of the 18th best name in America (The Hairpin, 2013), writes in GQ about "the dude in Mississippi who mailed ricin to Obama and then tried to frame some other dude in Mississippi for the crime." I stopped in Tupelo, Miss., for lunch this summer and had some delicious fried chicken but saw exactly zero severed heads. [GQ]


Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Most Kissable Hands of Pola Negri

Pola Negri looked like something from a storybook: she had jet black hair, pale skin that reporters compared to a camellia blossom, and a sensual mouth that, painted bright red, read as something deep and mournful onscreen. She was Polish by birth and Hollywood’s first foreign import; the Czar of Russia once said she had “the most kissable hands in the world.” To American audiences, she was exoticism manifest: an amalgamation of connotations that added up to different, not us. That exoticism was fiercely appealing—five years before Negri came to Hollywood, it had made Theda Bara into a massive star, at least until the public figured out the creature who had [...]


bell hooks on Sheryl Sandberg's "Faux Feminism"

Instead, she comes across both in her book and when performing on stages as a lovable younger sister who just wants to play on the big brother’s team. It would be more in keeping with this image to call her brand of women’s liberation faux feminism. A billionaire, one of the richest women in the world, Sandberg deflects attention from this reality. To personify it might raise critical questions. It might even have created the conditions for other women to feel threatened by her success. She solves that little problem by never speaking of money inLean In; she uses the word once.

It was never going to be too late for [...]


Good Man Profiled

BuzzFeed today has a very good long BuzzRead about Thomas Matlack and his Good Men Project, the website he launched in 2010 with the intention of "fostering a national discussion centered around modern manhood and the question, 'What does it mean to be a good man?'" Theodore Ross had an afternoon of conversation with the 40-something-year-old, and he came away with a fascinating story and a handful of damning asides, such as:

(But not his wife. More than 15 years after their divorce, Matlack still struggles to be charitable about her. He says she’s working toward a Ph.D. in theology, a process he ascribes to a [...]