Things I Read That I Love #60: Skate Like A Girl

dogs-can-readHELLO and welcome to the 60th 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 lady skateboarders and Sea World! 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 Killer in the Pool (July 2010), by Tim Zimmerman for Outside Magazine - There’s a documentary premiering in Sundance this week that you’re gonna hear about called Blackfish, and it’s about the conditions for sea mammals at Sea World. The filmmaker was inspired to make the film after reading this article, which tells the story of Dawn Brancheau, an experienced senior trainer at Sea World who was killed by Tilikum, the killer whale in her charge. It’s a good story.

What Counts, by Ryan Pittington for The Rumpus“That night, I looked over at my boyfriend and asked him if he really loved me and how could he. I told him why he shouldn’t. What I was like – about drinking, about sex. Everything I didn’t want to say. Even though he was tired, even though he said he didn’t want to talk. I fell asleep scared.”

Why You Never Truly Leave High School (Janaury 2013), by Jennifer Senior for New York Magazine“Maybe, perversely, we should be grateful that high school prepares us for this life. The isolation, the shame, the aggression from those years—all of it readies us to cope. But one also has to wonder whether high school is to blame; whether the worst of adult America looks like high school because it’s populated by people who went to high school in America. We’re recapitulating the ugly folkways of this institution, and reacting with the same reflexes, because that’s where we were trapped, and shaped, and misshaped, during some of our most vulnerable years.”

Gang Rapes and Beatings, Brothers Filled with Teenage Prostitutes – The Depth of American Brutality in Vietnam (January 2013) by Nick Turse for Alternet - This is an excerpt from the author’s new book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. It’s profoundly jarring, especially because so many of us have relatives who fought in Vietnam, to think of the culture they lived in… this is all just so hard to stomach. It gets really horrifying, read it if you can. But you should read this if you can.

How to Catch a Falling Star (January 2013), by Stephen Rodrick for The New York Times - The headline on this piece is “This is what happens when you cast Lindsay Lohan in your movie” but the headline on the cover of The New York Times Magazine is “How to catch a falling star” and I like that one better.

Ladies on Board, by Stephanie Foo for The Bold Italic- You need to read this one on the site because it has a lot of pictures and cool design and stuff.  - “More often than not, the girl-skater origin story is the same. Girl picks up a board in high school to hang with her guy friends. She’s the only female she knows who skates. When she leaves her house with her board it does not cross her mind to call a girlfriend to skate with, because there simply are none. But in the past year, I’ve realized that we are not alone. They’re out there – more and more girls whizzing past on their boards. Young, old, punks, businesswomen. So I started chasing them down.”

The Story Behind Mitt Romney’s Loss in the Presidential Campaign to Barack Obama, by Michael Kranish for The Boston Globe - This was compelling because I feel like it was written sans bias, and generally I prefer a heavy dose of Liberal Bias in my news, but sometimes I think that gets in the way of communicating information like the more nuts-and-bolts strategy (w/r/t money and get-out-the-vote people) behind Obama’s win.

How Older Parenthood Will Upend Society (December 2012), by Judith Shulevitz for The New Republic - Not gonna lie, somewhere around page four I almost started crying in despair and I had to sort of skim the last page to save myself from having a complete mental breakdown about I’m 31 and therefore how little time is left in my life for me to have a healthy baby or something. The main takeaway is that I should probably use a 20-year-old sperm donor to counteract my seniority.

When Men Are Too Emotional to Have a Rational Argument (November 2012), by Jen Dziura for The Gloss - THERE IS SOME GOOD SHIT IN THIS ARTICLE. (not the quote from this other article that I hate, but the rest of it is pretty brill) “Not only do I think men are at least as emotional as women, I think that these stereotypically male emotions are more damaging to rational dialogue than are stereotypically female emotions. A hurt, crying person can still listen, think, and speak. A shouting, angry person? That person is crapping all over meaningful discourse.”

Drinking at 1,300 Ft: A 9/11 Story About Wine and Wisdom (September 2011), by Cal Fussman for Esquire –  “Maybe it shouldn’t have been so hard to write. Looking back, it had everything: merriment, adventure, and a journey to the top of the world. It contained a crash into ground zero on one of the darkest days in America’s history and a search for fulfillment afterward. Yet for ten years, the words were trapped inside me and I couldn’t get them out.”

The Best Night $500,000 Can Buy (September 2012), by Devin Friedman for GQ - “If you’ve been to Vegas, you’ve heard about it or stood in line to get in. Marquee, the superest of the superclubs, sprawls over an astonishing 60,000 square feet. It allows you to party very, very hard. For just thousands of dollars! Would you like bottle service at one of our dance-floor tables? That’ll be another $10,000. How about a 30-liter bottle of champagne to share with a dozen women you’ve never met? $250,000. How about we get Kim Kardashian to come? $100,000. Devin Friedman explores the world, adds it all up, and explains the mysteries and the pitfalls of the hottest club on the planet.” AMERICA!

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Riese is the 32-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 1744 articles for us.

14 Comments

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    Sorry if this is off topic but the ladies on board article prompted me to ask this. I really want to take up skateboarding but I don’t know where to begin. Does anyone have any cool advice for someone past their teens who wants to do it? I used to skateboard when I was a kid but it was just going in a straight line and curving.

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      I’m 22 and I just started skating 2 weeks ago, so the Skate Like a Girl Article was super exciting to read!

      My best advice to you is to find a friend who skates and have them take you board shopping/ skating. Even if they’re not a friend you usually hang out with a lot, having someone there to teach you is a: way more fun and b: means you will learn way faster.

      Failing that, I recently found out that a lot more of my friends skate than I thought just by carrying my new board around! So my second piece of advice would just be to do it! I’ve also found that wobbling my way to school from my bus stop, even though it’s just a small distance, is helping me improve a lot faster by making sure I skate every day, after I got over the embarrassment of being seen by everyone on campus looking like a noob. I look like a huge dork and fall a lot right now, but 9 year old me is super proud of myself for finally doing it, and it’s been ridiculously fun.
      (also, if you happen to be in Colorado, I will totally be your skate buddy and we can look silly together)

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        Wow, so inspiring! I bought a longboard during my summer so that I could have a lot of fun cruising the streets. Unfortunately, it remains to be not as cruised as I wanted it to be. I’m thinking of buying a small board (a mini) when I get a lot better so that I can ride it to the train station, like you to the bus stop, and I can carry it on the train and around campus without a space issue!

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        That is so neat, thank you for explaining! Unfortunately, I don’t have any skater friends and I’m pretty positive that most people I know stopped being into skating in their teens, but your advice of carrying the board around to meet new people sounds good -hopefully people who skate will start conversations with me and voila, new skating friends.

        I also love the idea of trying to incorporate it in something I do everyday, thank you so much for that tip.

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    I’ve been assuming for years now that most of the info in “How Older Parenthood Will Upend Society ” was common knowledge! I feel like a lot of those things, especially way higher rates of downs syndrome and other genetic diseases, are fairly obvious. She didn’t really go into too much detail on this part, but all the radiation and chemicals encountered in the natural course of life have a huge effect on men’s sperm and so it degenerates quite quickly and causes lots of problems. Cool article though!! And yes Riese, having a 20 year old sperm donor is probs a good plan haha

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      i mean i sort of knew that stuff, but also have been raised and reared to be skeptical of anything the medical industry ever says about what women should or shouldn’t do or what they can or cannot do. so i didn’t realize that any of these things were absolutes, if that makes sense?

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        That makes a lot of sense! I think I’ve been really lucky in that whenever I’ve heard these issues in classes my instructors have always made mention of the issue of older male sperm being a huge factor as well. And anytime people speak in absolutes (even when they’re pretty convincing like this article) its smart to be skeptical! Basically my plan is to be like Jennifer Garner in Juno :p

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    “When Men Are Too Emotional to Have a Rational Argument” is such a cool piece. It also happens to be one of the *very* few things I posted on my facebook wall that got TONS of comments from my male friends/acquaintances online and IRL. It gave me some choice feelings how many feelings they had about being told they were emotional.

    I should post it again.

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    Oh, I read that Lindsay Lohan article when it came out and it was…funny-sad. Sigh. It’s like, she’s aware that her life is screwed and she’s not quite sure what to do about it, like she’s in too deep.

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    “Why you never really leave highschool” was so true. I’d lump middle school in there too. Those were the times when I learned my “default” attitude when first meeting people or a group of people.

    thanks for posting such thought-provoking articles, Riese; they give me loads to think about.

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