I hate to follow up my last post – which I was pretty proud of – with a list of links, but I’m having a little trouble with writer’s block at the moment, and haven’t felt passionate about anything besides food for at least at week. But even though I’m at a bit of a loss for what to write about, I have been doing quite a bit of reading. I’ve also been doing some thinking on language and the “blight of political correctness,” as some would term it, so hopefully within the next few days, I’ll have something more substantive to offer you.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading what I read!
Lisa Wade for Sociological Images: Devaluing Hospitality Workers
In this article, Lisa shows some pretty interesting advertisements for a company that performs background checks on service industry employees, like cooks, hotel maids, etc. In the images (one of which I’ve sampled below), the advertisement makes it clear not only that hospitality workers are of low value, but they are interchangeable, disposable. Sociological Images always gives me some food for thought.
Dear Sugar for The Rumpus: The Three-Year Dry Hump
As far as advice columns go, I feel that Dear Sugar stands alone as being aware of feminism, oppression, rape and sexual assault, sex positivity, and self-care. Usually, I’m applauding when I get to the end of a Dear Sugar column. This past week, however, I was a little disappointed. While I feel Sugar’s advice is sound, nowhere does she mention asexuality as a possibility, which is kind of a big oversight. I find that asexuality is often ignored, and awareness of it is extremely low. This would have been a really good opportunity for Sugar to raise awareness, as there are lots and lots of people who read her column. I suppose I have to assume that she was not aware of asexuality, which is also disappointing – it’s pretty easy to find resources online.
However, Sugar “write[s] like a motherfucker,” and her advice is always doled out beautifully – if not lyrically – which is one of the column’s chief strengths. For example:
Healing is about breaking threads and making new ones. It’s about redrawing the line between our powerlessness and our power. I don’t agree with you that those who’ve suffered sexual abuse can’t ever heal completely. I think we’re altered by what hurts us, but with love and consciousness, with intention and forgiveness, we’re capable of being whole again. Completely.
s.e. smith for Tiger Beatdown: Oh, the Depravity! Pearl Clutching at the WSJ Over Young Adult Fiction
I am a pretty big fan of young adult fiction myself. Many times, I just want something I can read quickly and indulge in – some people turn to romances or thrillers for that type of escapism, but I turn to YA fiction. Much of it is so well-written, so honest, and so easy to relate to as a person who used to be a teenager.
Of course, it should come as a surprise to no one that people are offended by many of these books. Indeed, book banning has been a much cherished pastime since words were committed to paper. s.e. smith argues that the “pearl clutching” surrounding YA fiction is not only ridiculous, but dangerous. Says smith:
Gurdon says that modern YA is ‘too dark’ for teens to be reading. Well, when I was a teen, I read a lot of dark books. And you know what? They were there for me in an extremely dark time, and they spoke to me in a way that other books did not. They reminded me that I was not alone, that other people had similar experiences, that there was a chance I could get through it. I could escape from my own darkness and into the darkness of another in a way that more upbeat books couldn’t pull me outside my experiences. I couldn’t read a cheerful book and feel better about myself. If anything, ‘nice’ books made me feel worse. Like more of a failure and a freak. I needed to read books where the protagonist was like me. I wish I’d read more books where the protagonist was like me.
If I remember being a teenager correctly, feeling “normal” was extremely important to me – even now, I often find comfort in reassuring myself that other people have gone through the same things I’m going through. In that context, I’d have to agree that YA fiction can be an extremely important coping mechanism for the kids (and adults) who read it.