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On Talking to Kelly Lewis, Professional Solo Female Traveler

I think women are often afraid to get out and take on the world.

I think the issue of safety for solo women travelers is fairly significant -- I wish that was addressed more thoroughly. Like the whole couchsurfing thing. I'm not sure I would feel comfortable staying in an apartment with men in them; it might be paranoia, but it seems like a risk to me. Also there's no accounting for how much help you'll get from strangers depending on your ethnicity and size and attractiveness. That's just the crappy world we live in. I hope the guide has more concrete resources of where to go get help as needed rather than any assumption that what one traveler experienced will bear out for others.

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm 0

On No Future: The Sing-Off and the Art of A Cappella

So so so many thoughts about the Sing Off and the marketability of a cappella in general. Elements is a much weaker group than Delilah. I really wish that they can have a girl group that didn't have that glam-queen-bee look about them; when I hear Shawn Stockman talk about how preeetty they are as the opener for his critique I can't help but grimace. If guy groups are allowed to be goofy, why couldn't they find a goofy girl group?

In terms of whether a cappella can be a successful career for these groups (or Pentatonix), I think the problem is that all of the awesome power of a cappella comes from live recordings rather than studio work. Studio work immediately sounds artificial. So the longevity of the group is really dependent on being able to tour a lot and keep voices healthy in a much more critical way than mainstream pop artists. It seems like Pentatonix tour a lot, and I think they're all young enough to keep going for a good while.

Posted on December 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm 0

On 26 Abortion Stories

What a great piece, and I so appreciate these women for sharing their stories. The woman from Kentucky who sought after a friend who she thought seemed liberal but was rejected and -- who then did not go through with the abortion -- broke my damn heart. All of these women and those like them deserve all our compassion and support. Who are we, as individuals, to judge what each woman in her pregnancy is going through?

This also reminds me of one of the abortion doctors featured on "After Tiller" (which I watched because I heard about it on the Hairpin! Hooray!) who said that she does in fact consider the women who came by to be carrying babies. But yet there she is, doing the work, because she is there to carry out a woman's choice for her own body, as long as it is medically safe for her to do so. Abortion is a more nuanced issue than anyone (in U.S. mainstream society) is willing is discuss in calm, compassionate terms.

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm 0

On "The Logic of Stupid Poor People," Or, the Only Thing Worth Reading About the Barneys "Shopping While Black" Arrests

@archived I really like your comment -- the amount of judgment directed at the way people show their wealth (or lack thereof) is astounding; our society as a whole places a shit-ton of character value on the way people (everyone) spend their money: when rich people dress in jeans, they are considered "down to earth", whereas poor people who spend what looks like too much money are accused of being irresponsible (never mind the fact that the one judging likely has NO IDEA where that money came from -- could've received a gift! who knows?). And yet in terms of character value linked to class, Richer people give a smaller percentage of their income to charity than poorer people. WTF, everyone? I think it really becomes back down to the idea that regardless of personal wealth, our consumerist culture hits us all equally hard, but it hurts rich people less. ARGH.

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm 1

On bell hooks on Sheryl Sandberg's "Faux Feminism"

@EleanorHiggsByson Argh JUST a memoir.

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm 0

On bell hooks on Sheryl Sandberg's "Faux Feminism"

@juniper I brought up the Oprah part because bell hooks quoted her and Oprah is a very powerful mainstream media role model for middle-class women, whether she should be one or not. And what she says about Sandberg matters. The examples of the advice from the book that you've included are all very well meaning (and I did take some positives out of the book!) but they're mostly effective within the vacuum of her very privileged circumstances. (I've always leaned in at work, for years, so I've been taking much of her advice, but clearly without her success.) Ultimately, it seems that Lean In is framed as something that every woman can (if she wishes, there's always a choice) do, but in actuality is the aspirational story of one lucky woman's rise to the top. If it was a memoir maybe it would've been easier to swallow, but the fact that now there's a Lean In Foundation/Movement (complete with unpaid interns) makes her message all the more dubious.

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm 1

On bell hooks on Sheryl Sandberg's "Faux Feminism"

@juniper But how is Sheryl Sandberg NOT telling women what to do -- her whole book is about what women should be doing to succeed in the workplace. I guess I'm not feeling the hostility that might be coming out of bellhook's piece as others may be, but I think part of her frustration is that SS is being touted as "the new voice of revolutionary feminism" (by Oprah, of all people) when Sheryl's voice is neither revolutionary nor feminism -- all bellhooks is doing is dissecting that. (And the praise for SS has way outshouted the criticism, at least in mainstream media.)

I guess the part where I have to disagree with you is exactly how powerful (useful) SS's book really is, but in terms of taking the fangs off the "feminism" a bit, may be that's enough of a step forward. But I welcome reading criticism from all angles about Lean In because social justice deserves representation from all viewpoints. Maybe if we heard less from already-powerful women and more from the disenfranchised, then we could move toward those policy changes, those cultural changes, that are at the root of true equality.

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm 6

On "The cost for each attendee: $4000. And that was after Tracy’s fiancé paid one night for everyone at the W hotel"

Bridal parties/bachelorette parties are ripe with emotional and financial minefields; even if your friend the bride has perfectly reasonable (non)expectations for an outing, as a bridesmaid, you're likely planning a party with people that you are not close with -- best friends from grade schools, siblings of the fiancee, etc. I've been in my share of weddings, and it is unbelievably hard to feel like you want to give your friend an amazing, memorable time but at the same time being conscious of the fact that maybe you are the poorest person in the wedding party. I sometimes think I'm just throwing money at the situation to avoid any drama.

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm 2

On Recycling

Edith, I know that the self-deprecating thing is your style and all, but you gotta stop calling the stuff you've been up to "stupid." I'm sure I'm taking this way too seriously but it destroys me that a woman with your chops needs to knock herself down when referring to her own work. Not that I can say to you, "Don't be insecure!" You feel you. But I'm pretty sure nobody who reads this blog on the regular thinks any of your work is stupid. Hearts.

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 11:11 am 8