hear me

Many of the women shouting now are women who have not previously yelled publicly before, many of them white middle-class women newly awakened to political fury and protest. Part of the process of becoming mad must be recognizing that they are not the first to be furious, and that there is much to learn from the stories and histories of the livid women — many of them not white or middle class — who have never had reason not to be mad. 
If you are angry today, or if you have been angry for a while, and you’re wondering whether you’re allowed to be as angry as you feel, let me say: Yes. Yes, you are allowed. You are, in fact, compelled. 
If you’ve been feeling a new rage at the flaws of this country, and if your anger is making you want to change your life in order to change the world, then I have something incredibly important to say: Don’t forget how this feels. 
Tell a friend, write it down, explain it to your children now, so they will remember. And don’t let anyone persuade you it wasn’t right, or it was weird, or it was some quirky stage in your life when you went all political — remember that, honey, that year you went crazy? No. No. Don’t let it ever become that. Because people will try.

Rebecca Traister, "Fury Is a Political Weapon. And Women Need to Wield It." NYT, 9/29/2018.


Helena AlmeidaOuve-me/Hear Me, 1979. Via Stephen Ellcock.

he said/she said

The point of all this is that “he said, she said” accounts aren’t the empty contradictions we often dismiss them as; they can tell us quite a bit about the different realities in which men and women get to live. We think of these testimonies as being equally valid, even if they’re at odds. (Kidding: We usually assume that the woman has somehow exaggerated or misremembered or misread the context or lied: “I think she’s mistaking something, but I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know her,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Ford.) We don’t question the particulars of someone’s account of their mugging, but rape inspires people to start panning the story for possible “misunderstandings.” But given all of the above, there is, actually, a decent explanation for this: The painful experiences claimed by women make no impression at all on a certain kind of man’s sense of reality. Her perspective is as unreal as it is inconsequential to him. Result: His and her story can be, in a limited and horrifying sense, equally true. 

Lili Loofbourow, "Men are More Afraid Than Ever." Slate, 9/18/2018.

Women are believed when they go on the record, potentially sacrificing their own career goals; they are believed when their words are dissected and fact-checked and tentatively quoted. Men are believed when they render an argument with the trappings of a heartfelt confession.

Nausicaa Renner, "On the confessions of fallen men." The Columbia Journalism Review, 9/18/2018.

In all of the cases that I heard about, it seemed to me essential, as a bare first step, for the man in question to understand that his experience is not inherently more important than the experiences of women, to acknowledge what he did, and that it was wrong. This is the minimum precondition for the better world we’re struggling toward. It is amazing, if not surprising, how many of the men in question are incapable of it.

Jia Tolentino, "Jian Ghomeshi, John Hockenberry, and the Laws of Patriarchal Physics." The New Yorker, 9/17/2018.


All three of these pieces are enraging and brilliant, well worth reading in full, as is this incredible excerpt from Rebecca Traister's new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger.

It feels hopeless to keep calling my Republican senator, who has publicly lauded Brett Kavanaugh as a friend and a "good man," but I keep calling anyway. I'm too angry not to. As Traister points out:
This work of perfecting our union is often circular, always daunting; these efforts take time; they require our resilience and determination. Rage helps drive them forward, through the bleakest periods.

'it's always the man looking through the lens'

“You know what?” she says. “I’m not that into images. This is like a major problem for me, lifelong. But I’m really good at admitting it now. I just don’t care that much about fashion photography.” One reason is content. “All the images are from a male point of view, all of it, my whole life, all of our lives — it’s always the man looking through the lens. Imagine if it were more women? … We’re missing out on things. And we’re conditioned to be ashamed of menopause and aging. I’m just not doing it. I’m into embracing menopause — I’m not there yet, but Frances McDormand style.”
Rachel Comey, quoted in "Rachel Comey Makes Herself Comfortable," by Cathy Horyn for The Cut, 9/5/2018. It's a great read.

I remember the first time I saw a pair of Rachel Comey shoes back in 2008, and it's a terrible 21st-century cliché to say this, but I felt seen. It was the first fashion thing I ever experienced where I felt like someone out there was making something for the person I am, not some version of the woman someone else expects me to be.

odds and ends / 9.4.2018

Haford Grange dandelion paperweights at Choosing Keeping (I bought the small one when I was there in June, and hope to buy the big one when I go back in October.)


Ito Shinsui: Kibi (Approaching Storm). Taishō period, 1912-1926. Found here.


Rembrandt van Rijn: The three trees, 1643.


“The happy day has arrived,” he concluded, “when nobody any longer considers the plastics package too good to throw away.” Just one of the gasp-inducing lines in Rebecca Altman's heartbreaking history of the plastic bag, which is punctuated by Jan Stoller's disturbingly lovely photographs.


Encountering grief, a guided meditation. (I had a miscarriage last month and this helped.)

"An important, powerful, memorable book that invites us to look differently not only at The Iliad but at our own ways of telling stories about the past and the present, and at how anger and hatred play out in our societies. ‘The defeated go down in history and disappear, and their stories die with them.’ Barker’s novel is an invitation to tell those forgotten stories, and to listen for voices silenced by history and power.”

Emily Wilson on Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls, which I can't wait to read.

(Sidebar gripe: why do U.S. editions get such boring covers? The cover for the U.K. edition is 1000% better.)


New books for Hugh: The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie MorrisA Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin.


The glamorous life of a Parisian honeybee (NYT).


A tuna sandwich of note.