This is one of the most cynical, offensive, and utterly tone-deaf pieces that I have read in a long time, and I'm incredulous that I'm reading it on The Hairpin. This feels like xoJane or Thought Catalog fodder, although it might even fall below their standards.
There are valid critiques to be made of college activism -- its transience, its tendency to be both altruistic and smugly self-serving, the fact that college students sometimes do not devote adequate time to serious research of the issues they're tackling. But this piece does not articulate such critiques in a way that is substantive or proactive; rather, it's simply snarky, flippant, and self-disparaging. As with The Economist article from a few days ago, this reads as yet another instance of, "LADIEZ!!! THE POLITIX, SO HARD, AMIRITE??!?! BUT OMG THE HOTTIES AT DARFUR RALLIES! AND EXCEPTIONAL GENOCIDE PILLOWTALK!"
What this author has taken from her experience, in her own words: "I learned about booze, men, and which heels to wear with suits when you're going clubbing later." WOW. I cannot even.
That statement, and everything else about this article, is deeply offensive to activists who have dedicated their careers, and often their lives, to fighting against genocide (and not for "fashion and men"). It is deeply offensive to women who maintain serious political commitments out of the strength of their convictions, not because they need a new subject for "pillow talk" and picking up guys while wearing heels. And, most of all, it is deeply offensive to the millions of dead and/or forcibly displaced Sudanese -- whose lives, apparently, are reduced on The Hairpin to being fodder for a privileged, self-indulgent, cynical American to write about how she once viewed genocide as an "opportunity."
I suppose that I can appreciate and understand the author's introspection. However, the flippant, cynical tone and plethora of gender stereotypes completely contradicts what (I think?) she is trying to do with the piece. Although, I honestly don't know what she's trying to do with this piece, or why the editors published it. My entire comment (tl;dr) could be summed up as Bunburying's much more succinct reply.
I'm a longtime reader and very infrequent commenter (and that's my fault, as I wish I'd weighed in earlier). However, The Hairpin is dear to my heart, and I've long valued this site as a space for smart, insightful commentary -- commentary that can be (and should be!) controversial, at times, but is consistently smart and doesn't cater to clickbait, shock value, or tongue-in-cheek "we suck and/or we can't do these things because LADY ISSUES!" pieces. I'm writing this lengthy comment because I don't recognize that Hairpin anymore. This article is really the last straw for me. Although I appreciate Emma's responses to the recent criticisms on the Economist article, this essay PRECISELY exemplifies what so disappoints me I (and perhaps others) about the new direction that this site has taken. I will be curious to hear what others think.
@bvb That's an unusually insightful spambot.
Late to the party as always, but I might as well add my lurkeresque voice, since this is something I've been wanting to vent about for a few weeks now. I feel like every time I come here, there is a new trite joke list. What's more, half of this ~clever~ list is under a cut. I just don't see the point in clicking through to the rest of a mediocre, tongue-in-cheek list unless I notice that there are a lot of comments, and even then I still don't read the list itself. This is not a new complaint, and it is perhaps less distressing than some of the valid concerns mentioned above, but nevertheless it really bums me out to realize I've forgotten to check the 'Pin for a few days--something which never used to happen--and then I come here and there's ANOTHER ironic list.
How did this piece even come from the same person who wrote the article about the Kundalini yoga retreat? That kind of article, the kind that has you howling for days just thinking about it, is the kind of thing that I miss about The Hairpin these days. I know that that particular piece was published on The Awl, but there were a lot more articles of that timbre here, say, a year ago. It's hard to understand how related sites that frequently cross-publish articles could diverge so quickly in terms of content quality (and perceived demographic?).
(Also, a personal and minor axe to grind: come on now, with all that Brazil's been in the news in the past few years, you didn't ever look at a map or hear some random journalist mention that Brazil covers almost half of South America? Really? Even my grandma knows that at this point. Literally, she does.)
By RNL on Friday Open Thread
@Inkling I just want to add: I think trying to figure out what's going on for him is the wrong approach. Who knows! Not even him! He may be asexual but romantic, or some other variation, or at some particular point in the fluid shifting of his sexuality. All of that is totally fine, but besides the point.
What's important for you is what is going on for YOU in this situation. Don't let yourself get all sucked in to his deal if it's hurting you.
@CalamityJanet Reply with a generic "Thanks for the feedback. I am constantly striving to improve and will take your [bland] advice under consideration." And then never think about it again. Because it sounds like it was a bad fit for whatever reason, but that reason could very well be bad fit/personality mismatch. In which case, bullet dodged! The person sounds like a pompous douche, but no need to burn any bridges on account of one person's pompous doucherie.
ETA: leave out the part in brackets.
@shoop I did almost exactly the same thing when I was 20-21 with my "first love", and it was awful and terrible for a long time until I cut off communication with him entirely and moved on. I was single for awhile after that, which is definitely what I needed, and after that I actually ended up meeting my now-husband (who is awesome), so perhaps you will have similar luck if you JUST STOP TALKING TO HIM and especially stop sleeping with him, both of which will be very hard, but YOU MUST.
Also, don't talk to the new girlfriend. You know deep down that what you're hoping for is that she will break up with him because of it and he will come back to you, and he might, but only for a little while, and then he will do it all over again, and you will feel totally 100% crazy in the meantime and it will never be good again.
By iceberg on Friday Open Thread
@shoop Oh honeybee. You poor thing! What a manipulative jerk your ex is. It's so tempting to separate these guys into Jekyll and Hyde and hope that Hyde will go away at some point, but real people don't work like that. He is Jekyll, he is Hyde, and you cannot have one without the other. There is no future in this relationship for you. You will cry over him, but one day you will wake up and smile, and soon after that date someone else who would never DREAM of stringing you along like this.
@crane your neck @adorable-eggplant My husband is in the final year of his history PhD. He freaks the fuck out about his (very nearly half-done) dissertation AND the academic job market on a daily basis. We've been dating for four years, living together for two years, and married just shy of two months.
The most important thing I know about this is that you can't do your partner's work for them. I have a somewhat crazy and masochistic work ethic, and lots of ideas about how I would behave if I were getting my PhD. It used to drive me crazy when I'd see my husband doing something on a weekday, between nine and five, that wasn't his dissertation. But you know what? It's not my dissertation. It's not my work to do, and he'll only resent my thinly veiled hints that he should be working harder. (Turns out, my hints about how he should have worked harder in the past aren't particularly appreciated, either).
A partner can be a tremendous source of support to a grad student. I help make our house feel like a home, rather than a library that has a bed and leftover Chinese food. I enjoy reading and editing his dissertation, too--I get to learn about Vikings and have really intense conversations about writing. However, you are not your partner's ONLY source of support. "Grad school partner" is neither your job nor your calling. I strongly recommend therapy, dissertation writing groups, and whatever other sorts of professional help are available.
Wow. I should just go ahead and write a novel about this, to get it out of my system. Supporting a partner in grad school is tough, no doubt about it (and I didn't even get in to the financials, like how between our two advanced degrees we're gonna be in debt forEVER). But...your partner is doing what he or she feels called to do, and that's a major decision. You're with an intelligent badass who might just change the world someday. That's awesome. Learn what you can, talk them down when they freak out, and hold on to yourself.
@Inkling I don't think he's an objectively terrible juicebox, but he was inconsiderate and even if he's dealing with super-confusion, you're not responsible for working him through it. I don't think you should talk to him again unless you want to.
Edited to be less curt.
@Inkling Ha! Choosing not to talk to him again is valid. Even in the generous interpretation where he is genuinely confused about his feelings and not just a giant bag of dicks, he should be way more considerate of you and shouldn't have said anything unless he was sure of what he wanted. Taking back a confession of feelings is a dick move regardless of whether or not you are actually just a dickbag.