I haven't read a good book in a while. I have, however, been reading articles and think pieces left and right. It's my favorite way to find a break in the day. Instead of scrolling mindlessly, I'll grab something from my pocket queue for a quick, meaty piece of content to consume. I'm not usually a fan of non-fiction works, but thanks to so many good reads lately, I'm opening my heart for the likes of Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino (a couple of her articles are below) and To Hell with the Hustle by Jefferson Bethke.

In the past, my recently read posts were focussed on the books I've read, and the articles roundup appeared in a filter the fluff post. There's really no good reason to split the two. Whether it's a book, magazine or online article, it's all getting read! So... it's all going in one place from now on.

Okay, that's a long enough intro. Let's get to it. This one's for all my working women out there.

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How Steak Became Manly and Salads Became Feminine 

by Paul Freedman for The Conversation
The 20th century saw a proliferation of cookbooks telling women to give up their favorite foods and instead focus on pleasing their boyfriends or husbands. The central thread running through these titles was that if women failed to satisfy their husbands’ appetites, their men would stray." 
This sort of marketing clearly had an effect. In the 1920s, one woman wrote to General Mills’ fictional spokeswoman, “Betty Crocker,” expressing fear that her neighbor was going to “capture” her husband with her fudge cake.
I have strong opinions on many topics, but gender norms is not one of them. It's still comical (and sometimes infuriating) to see the way husband and wife dynamics have had such a strong influence on so many societal norms over the years. Bonus points if you take a peek at this gem: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband.
(Joke's on the author because there's only one way to please a husband, and it doesn't work so well in the kitchen.)

LARPing Your Job

by Anne Helen Peterson

... People who do “knowledge work” — whose products are often largely ineffable — struggle with the feeling that there’s little to show, little tangible evidence, of the hours of work that they sit in front of their computers. 
Hence: LARPing your job. The compulsion, I think, is heightened for those of us who worked, jobsearched, or were laid off during the post-2008 recession: we’re desperate to show that we’re worthy of a salaried job, so eager to demonstrate just how much labor and engagement we’re willing to give in exchange for full-time employment and health insurance.

Anne published a viral article around this time last year about millennial burnout. I didn't share it here because I figured everyone with a social media account had probably at least read the lede (millennials are burnt-out because of all the adulting). This gem came from her newsletter, and hit me in the professional feels.

Is It Weird to Wear Leggings at Work?

by Olga Khazan for The Atlantic

Working in leggings is approximately 400 times more comfortable than working in literally any other garment. I sit for at least 10 hours every day. Sitting for that long is not comfortable in regular pants. The waist band digs in, the legs ride up, and, depending on how long in the pelvis you are, the crotch gets more intimate with you than is common on Tuesday afternoons.
Personally, I've never paid enough attention to the workwear of other women around my office to notice whether they're wearing leggings or not. Sure, I notice cute outfits and a great pair of shoes, but leggings? Nope. To answer the titular question of the article, yes, I'd find it weird to wear them at work.

The High Cost of Having a Baby in America

by Olga Khazan for The Atlantic

The cost of having a baby can be especially steep for the 45 percent of women whose pregnancies are unplanned. Because they might not have been expecting a baby when they signed up for their health plans, they might not have set aside the money to pay for their delivery or signed up for coverage that would have taken care of more of their delivery costs. (Childbirth is the No. 1 reason for hospitalization among American women.)
Two Olga pieces back to back for the win. As a woman who googled "how much does it cost to have a baby" well before I was even married and/or thinking about kids, it would've been nice to have this article surface to the top of my search results. Spoiler alert: it ain't cheap.

What Happens When Instagram Babies Grow Up?

by Katherine Gillespie for Paper Magazine

What seems certain is that if kids do object to having their growing pains uploaded for all to see, they won't have much legal recourse — at least not in the United States. French privacy law now dictates that anyone non-consensually publishing and distributing images of another person, including a minor, can lead to a one-year prison sentence plus a hefty fine. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation, meanwhile, enshrines a "right to be forgotten," which enables people to request their data be deleted from the web.
I am officially a mom with a baby who has an instagram account. It's private and really only for friends and family, but it's easier to post pictures there than to remember to send them to everyone in my contacts list who might be interested. If they're not interested, they don't have to follow. If they are, they do - simple as that. I do think about if and how this will affect Gabriel as he ages, to have an image library of his entire childhood at his fingertips (assuming instagram is even still a thing). The older he gets, the less I'll probably share online, because at the end of the day, should I really be making that choice for him so young? I'm always very intentional about showing pictures of my family and friends in this space, out of respect for their privacy. Why should I treat my child(ren) any differently?

The Age of Instagram Face

by Jia Tolentino for The New Yorker

It wasn’t hard for me to understand why millennial women who were born within spitting distance of Instagram Face would want to keep drawing closer to it. In a world where women are rewarded for youth and beauty in a way that they are rewarded for nothing else—and where a strain of mainstream feminism teaches women that self-objectification is progressive, because it’s profitable—cosmetic work might seem like one of the few guaranteed high-yield projects that a woman could undertake.
If a New Yorker subscription wasn't so darn expensive, I'd most certainly be a permanent subscriber. Pieces like these are at least worth one of the 5 free articles per month they offer.

Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman

by Jia Tolentino for The Guardian

Most women believe themselves to be independent thinkers. Even glossy women’s magazines now model skepticism toward top-down narratives about how we should look, who and when we should marry, how we should live. But the psychological parasite of the ideal woman has evolved to survive in an ecosystem that pretends to resist her. If women start to resist an aesthetic, like the overapplication of Photoshop, the aesthetic just changes to suit us; the power of the ideal image never actually wanes.

Another great writeup on beauty standards us women have shoved in our face, mainly via social media. For the record, athleisure is super comfy, barre is not my cup of tea, and I love me some kale.




photo source »»

8 comments

  1. I read Anne's article on burnout when it came out and it helped me to realize I was burned out last year. Functioning but burned out which led to my break. I didn't realize she had a newsletter so I will have to subscribe and check out her article on LARPing. Thanks for sharing these reads!

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    1. ok now i don’t like the burnout article anymore because i miss your blogging!😫

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  2. These are some really interesting articles that i'll have to check out especially about instagram and the manly steak and our feminine salads lol

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    1. yessss. the ig one is long but worth it!

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  3. Literally yesterday I was playing with all the "instagram face" filters and sending them to a good friend of mine to discuss how creepy they are. Now I sent her the link to the New Yorker Article, super interesting! I love that you share your selection with us <3

    xxx
    Isabel
    https://isabelstories.com/

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    1. very creepy. i feel like i am catfishing myself!

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  4. Yesss Trick Mirror & Jia Tolentino in general! <3 Trick Mirror was one of my most memorable reads of 2019. I followed her on Twitter right after finishing her book, and I've been keeping up with some of her articles. I read the one about Instagram Face, TikTok, and Juul haha. I don't know if you caught it, but I shared a review of Trick Mirror and included summaries of her essays! You could give it a browse if you're debating on whether you're interested in the content in Trick Mirror (but the blog post is also a bit lengthy, so no pressure at all haha, just there if you want it!). One of the essays in Trick Mirror is called Always Be Optimizing, and she examines the pursuit of becoming the ideal woman that coexists with mainstream feminism.

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    1. yess!! i saw your review and saved it for later. I want to go back to it after i've had a chance to read the book for myself. hopefully it's available from the library soon. i'd love to chat about it while it's still fresh in your mind.

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