Things I Read That I Love #109: Do You Think Ocean Would Wear This?

HELLO and welcome to the 109th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about Fallon Fox! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love. The feature image is via shutterstock — and yes, I’m moving away from the “laptop” theme for feature images ’cause I ran out of good laptop photos. Right now I am experimenting with “animals reading books.”

A Speck In The Sea (January 2014), by Paul Tough for The New York Times – The story of John Aldridge, who kept himself alive in the Atlantic Ocean near the Montauk Harbor for a crazy-long amount of time after falling off his lobster boat in the middle of the night, and how they found and rescued him. It’s also about small-time fisherman in general and the culture of the area.

The Death Dealer (December 2013), by Matt Stroud for The Verge – Wow so, this guy who was in The Secret is full of shit, and he hosted expensive retreats where he did sweat lodge rituals despite having no training in them and doing them all wrong, and many were injured and some people even DIED and he is just really awful, and this is all about that. There’s a video, too, so read it on your computer.

And I Cannot Lie: The Oral History of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”  (December 2013), by Rob Kemp for New York Magazine – Wow there is a lot of story behind this song and this video! It’s also really cool to hear the inspiration behind the song, little disagreements with the directors. Also we hear from Mix’s girlfriend at the time, Amylia Dorsey-Rivas, who felt like as a curvy woman of color, her body type was not appreciated at all and this song kinda spoke to that. There’s a lot of interesting bits in there like that. Rivas also did the voices for the girls at the start of the video, we used to start sentences with oh my god becky in that voice all the time back in middle school.

Failure is Not An Option (October 2013), by Mimi Swartz for Texas Monthly - This is relevant to your interests, especially because the focus of the piece is a black lesbian track coach. “She rose from nothing to become the decorated head coach for Women’s Track and Field at The University of Texas, winning six NCAA Championships, sending countless athletes to the Olympics, and turning the school’s program into the country’s standard for excellence. Then Bev Kearney was abruptly forced to resign because of an illicit affair. But she didn’t get where she is by giving up without a fight.”

Allergic to America (January 2014), by Sheela Raman for narrative.ly – A girl raised by parents who’d moved from India to achieve the American dream finds, in her first job at a newspaper, that the American focus on work is literally making her sick. It wasn’t the point of this article, but after reading it I felt like my girlfriend and I need to stop eating GMO foods, period, but I don’t know how to do that when they aren’t labeled as such.

Fallon Fox: The Toughest Woman In Sports (January 2014, by Nancy Haas for GQ -I’m really happy that this article, about trans* lesbian MMA fighter Fallon Fox, was in GQ, because I think it’s really well done (besides using male pronouns to refer to Fox pre-transition) and hopefully will illuminate some otherwise ignorant people about trans* women because it sounds like Fallon has been through HELL after being outed.

Yoga, Spinning, and Murder: My Strange Months at Lululemon (December 2013), by Mary Mann for Salon.com – Ugh working at Luluemon sounds unbearable. Also as the former employee of so many corporate-owned restaurants and retail stores, I really hate it when a store tries to make your underpaid hourly job into an all-consuming “lifestyle” and require everybody to pretend like this thing you’re doing for money is actually your life’s passion.

Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet (January 2014), by Amanda Hess for The Pacific Standard – This is really important and you should read it if you haven’t already. (I am also really fascinated by the fact that as queer women, we don’t attract threats of violence in the same numbers as straight women (or women writing for non-queer-oriented publications) do. Are men uninterested in women who they don’t see as potential sexual partners? Is it weird that “dyke” and “lesbian” are often hurled at straight women on the internet, and rarely at actual dykes and lesbians? Most of our hate and ugliness comes from the religious right and other lesbians.) However, on a personal level, I was APPALLED in 2007 when somebody I knew was targeting me and I learned that death threats delivered over email or on blogs weren’t worthy of police attention because “anybody could’ve written those emails.” Anyhow enough about me, read the article!

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1760 articles for us.

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    That Amanda Hess piece is really frightening and spot-on and has been making the rounds this week, and unfortunately that means it’s excerpted and whined about all over this here internet by this point — there should be some serious massive red “TRIGGER WARNING!” signs at the start of every single comments section discussing the essay. Because, you know, apparently the same things happen to everyone else and they just shrug it off and move on but we women can just never suck anything up and always have to blame men. You know, for “no biggie” kind of stuff like rape and death threats.

    I clearly need to spend more time looking at baby animals instead of scrolling down to comments sections.

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    I read about James Arthur Ray a few years back, when he was first killing people in sweat lodges. He did not, however, write “The Secret”; Rhonda Bymes did. He was just interviewed for the documentary. Concepts similar to the secret have actually been around for thousands of years, and are simply reworded ways of encouraging individuals to focus their will. Sadly, Oprah endorsing charlatans is nothing new, either.

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    Thought on Riese’s question, why queer ladies writing in queer spaces don’t get harassed as often:

    For abuse-inclined men, female empowerment threatens the priviledged status quo they enjoy in typically male-dominated spaces (e.g. most of the internet). They react by trying to squash the “problem.” By writing in a queer space, however, we’re not “inpinging” on a domain these types of men see as “rightfully” theirs.

    I hope excessive air quotes sufficiently convey my distaste.

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