Women entering the temple

Original article here.

Two women enter a temple after a centuries old ban, because the deity is celibate and should not be “tempted” by them.

Sigh.

When will there be an end to the separation of men and women? When will men learn to control themselves or face the legal consequences?

Maybe that deity should stay in his house, not a public space, so that womankind can move about freely.

If men are responsible for their actions, then women should not be punished and controlled. Men are not animals who cannot control themselves. Men CAN control themselves. During the industrial revolution, it was decided that women should stay at home for their own “protection”. Men who attack women should face legal punishment. Men should have curfews.

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Viv Albertine’s new autobiography

Original article here.

Significant changes are not easy for you or the people around you; there will be casualties.

I don’t think I am unlucky. I think I take lots of risks. You are going to fail more if you take lots of risks, but you are going to succeed more, too – and live life on your own terms.

 

 

Roxane Gay

Original article here.

Gay is fascinating on the “goodness” of girls – as a societal requirement, as an often impossible standard; on how often being good is a matter of being “one who knows how to play by the rules and cares to be seen to be playing by the rules”; who knows how to be liked. (Philip Roth novels? Lauded, yet full of unlikable men, she has written. Woe betide the female novelist who tries the same thing.) Above all, on goodness as vulnerability, not least because she knows, in the most visceral way possible, what that can mean. One day, when she was 12, a handsome classmate took her on a bike ride to an abandoned shack in the woods where a pack of other boys, fuelled by drink, were waiting. “There is a before and an after,” she writes, in Hunger. “In the after I was broken, shattered, and silent.”

 

She was beginning, too, the long discovery that would sustain her, that “through writing, I was, finally, able to get respect for the content of my character”.

 

When it comes to literary writers, Gay is drawn to those who have an acute social eye – Edith Wharton in The House of Mirth, Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy (“It’s not a perfect novel, but it’s a perfect political novel, and it just showed me what you can accomplish with fiction”), Zadie Smith’s NW. Gay writes the way she reads, she says, deliberately moving from genre to genre – short stories, a novel, essays, Marvel comics, movies and TV (she is adapting stories from Difficult Women for a TV anthology, and one has been optioned for a feature film). It is a concerted and self-aware bid not to be pigeonholed in any way.

Female Friends

On Christmas day, we got on to the topic of how, a) tinder dates tend to use us as psychologists, and b) when a guy gets a girlfriend, he stops speaking to his female-friends.

I’ve experienced it myself, how men, starting a sexual relationship with me, start to tell me all their traumas. After a certain point, I feel like this is a bit unfair and emotionally draining, like I’ll spend all this time improving this guy for another woman to reap the benefits, which is termed “emotional labour”. I think: “I pay a psychologist to talk this through. This is not my circus, these are not my monkeys”.

A close male-friend of mine once told me that he wasn’t allowed, or “knew” that it would cause a biiiig conflict in his relationship, if he was friends with me. When people “know” things like this, but can’t quite explain why, it’s suggests that their past (in this case, negative) experiences condition their current fear motivated behaviour. Another male friend, having missed the last metro, stayed at my house, and felt uneasy about telling his girlfriend about it.

I’m not sure where these fears come from, or how we can change them. It seems that these men are afraid of being accused/suspected of cheating. Toxic masculinity states that “boys will be boys”, and doesn’t hold men responsible for cheating, lying, forcing.

Heterosexual dynamics mean that women become marginalised and kept out of social networks, which affect them in a plethora of different fields. Don’t even get me started on the guy who says he’s a “feminist”, and then hits on every woman in the room.

When my male-friends get girlfriends, I make an effort to make friends with the girl, as female-friends of my boyfriends have done.

When I’m debating whether or not to let a man into my life, I now suss out the following:

-how he treats his mum

-if he’s friends/cordial with his exes or not

-if he has any female friends

 

Interview with Dan Brown

Original article here.

“I got great advice early on: if you read your reviews, the good ones will make you lazy, the bad ones will make you insecure, so just do what you do, you’ve proven that you know what you’re doing. There’s a portion of the population who will wait for my novels and say: ‘Oh my god, I love that.’ And there’s a portion that will just go: ‘Oh my god, not again, not that guy, I hate that guy.’ That’s OK, you write for the people who love you and the great thing about books is if you don’t like mine, there’s a million others published every year and you can find one you do like.”

Does he ever suffer from writer’s block? “The cure to writer’s block is to write. Write something bad that nobody will ever see. But that process will show you the way back to what’s good. I throw out about 10 pages for every one that I keep.”

He insists he is not a political person but admits he is “pretty horrified” by the 45th president. He adds: I think he’s a profound threat – less of a threat to the republic than he is to the honour of the presidency. The republic will survive: there are enough smart, levelheaded people on both sides of the aisle to keep the ship afloat. But he’s certainly damaged the reputation of the presidency and, to some degree, the country.”

Given Brown’s vast following, I suggest, he must have Trump voters among his readers? I do,” he says. “It’s fascinating. You realise you really can’t be political. For me to say I’m not a fan of Trump to you publicly is probably professionally not that smart. But at some point you just say, ‘Well, that’s how I feel.’”

Please stop telling me to leave my comfort zone

Original article here.

On the inside, I was feeling defeated and helpless. In accordance with the self-improvement mindset, I rationalized these feelings as stemming from my own inadequacy. If I felt I was juggling more than I possibly could, I clearly had to hustle more. “I just need to work harder,” I told myself. “I’m out of my comfort zone. It’ll get better. I’ll adjust.”

The idea of using anxiety to enhance performance gained traction in the face of the economic deregulation of the 1990s and the resulting competitive pressures. In 2009, the well-known British management theorist Alasdair White repeated established wisdom when he wrote that “in understanding and managing performance, the key is the management of the stress” and described anxiety as a tool to assist in performance management. Yet a 2017 paper at the University of Leicester found that there was no empirical evidence to support this idea. “Nevertheless,” the author wrote, “despite all the evidence to the contrary, the notion that stress is ‘good’ for performance is still being peddled by management textbooks”.

Katharine Hamnett

Original article here.

People are the most powerful canvases – you can’t not read what’s written on a T-shirt. The slogan – three words, and lettering you can read a long way off – there’s no filter which stops it. Once you’ve read it it’s in your brain.

It makes sense to make your own clothes when you’re 10% longer than you’re supposed to be. It was hard to get clothes my size, so from the age of 12 I was making them. I should have learned to make shoes, too, actually.

The fashion industry isn’t doing enough about climate change, it’s dedicated to making a profit. Doing things in a cleaner way costs more money. We need a neat piece of legislation that says we only allow goods into our economic blocs which adhere to the same environmental and labour standards as we have inside them. It’s simple.

Having your own place is the secret to a happy relationship, because then you don’t have to put up with another person’s shit taste. The most successful relationship I’ve ever had started with a pact: we had to be totally honest with each other, even our darkest most paranoid fears. We’d confess, and not play games.

Getting old is a licence to kill. You become more sure of yourself, more confident in your views. There are some dodgy bits: you still feel 25 inside as you get older, and sometimes I look at myself and think: “What the fuck happened?” I loathe exercise – but now it’s do it or die.

I used to be a compulsive liar, people could never ask me a straight question and get a straight answer. When I was on the train to see my parents in Stockholm as a teenager in the embassy brat pack, I’d assume a different nationality from the station each time. Now I’m a compulsive truth-teller. It’s a lot more fun.