Also.Also.Also: Dirt, Normal Bodies and Other Stories to Start Your Week

Good morning and hello! If you find yourself living in a city-type place, or maybe just a crowded suburbanish condo, and you really miss the country, I have a very handy tip for you. Buy a bag of potting soil for your new houseplants — the ones you adopted after the holidays in order to give your life a sense of purpose and dignity — and, after using about 1/4 of it to pot those plants, close your bag of dirt using a rubber band. Next, store the bag of dirt in a closet or cabinet that you open semi-frequently. Now every time you find yourself in need of one of the other things that also reside in that closet or cabinet, you’ll be met with the unmistakable and very pleasing smell of fresh dirt, and for that brief flash of time, you’ll feel the most home. I don’t know how long your dirt bag will stay fragrant, but ‘at least three weeks, so far’ feels like a good bet.

Doll Parts

+ My Year Without Makeup by Meredith Talusan.

As a trans woman, my relationship to makeup — and accompanying cisnormative beauty ideals — has been particularly fraught. My 2015 resolution was to stop wearing it entirely. Here’s how things turned out.

+ Aerie Features Teen With Normal Body in Campaign.

+ An interview with Ariell Johnson, owner of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, a Philadelphia comic book store focused on diversity and other cool shit.

+ 11 year-old Marley Dias, tired of reading books about boys and dogs, launches #1000BlackGirlBooks book drive, is hero.

+ Sex Workers and Other Women in the Arts by Violet McLean.

Saw This, Thought of You

+ Why Are There So Few Black Children in Gifted Programs? by Alia Wong.

+ The Law of Peanut Butter and Jelly: Why some flavors work well together. This just made me miss PB & J Otter. :noodle dance:

+ Would you like to engage with this list of Neko Atsume cats as ranked by a person on the internet? You can do that.

+ I loved this excerpt so much, I typed it out and printed it on a little card and hope to read it at least once per day for the next several days: The Best Jobs of 2016, Explained in the Style of Richard Scarry by Dayna Evans.

No. 11 Analytics Manager

“My analytics! My analytics! Is there not one brave soul who is willing to manage my analytics?” Mister Loopy screamed aloud at the greengrocer. Around the bend in the grain aisle, Shelly the Sheep shouted, “Me! I can help!” She was an analytics manager.

+ Here’s a free (for a limited time) MP3 of Bruce Springsteen’s January 19 show in Chicago because he’s a cool, nice guy.

+ Snow and why it squeaks when you step upon it.

+ Ok, listen, this is serious: The Dark Underside of the Show-Dog World.

And Finally

Giraffes Use Their Butts as Pillows and Other Weird Animal Sleep Habits.

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Laneia is the Director of Operations and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 927 articles for us.


  1. Although the only comic I am reading is Lumberjanes, I think I’m still going to have to hit up that comic book shop. For reasons. And coffee. Coffee is one of the reasons.

    Marley’s project is so cool. One book that fits her criteria, that I still haven’t gotten over, is Nobody’s Family Is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh (of Harriet the Spy celebrity). Also, if anyone is in the market for a beautiful and really clever new picture book, I just read One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail.

    Lastly, I have to say that in yesterday’s snowed-in Scattergories tournament, I played “noodle” for “types of dance” (and totally dominated).

  2. My Year Without Makeup really resonated with me deeply. I relied on make-up heavily during the first 6 months I presented as female, but I basically stopped using it once I’d had enough beard shadow removed and my face had feminized sufficiently due to HRT that I no longer needed it to be seen as female. Partially this was a protest against the demands beauty culture makes on women, but large part of it was also I just didn’t want to spend the time in the morning, and deal with the added complication of it.

    But I definitely recognize that, like Talusan, I’ve probably given up an advantage by not using it- however, I’d rather be seen as I actually am, imperfections and all.

    (Also, like Talusan, I *really* miss being able to roll out bed in the morning in a pair of sweats. I mean, I technically still can, but it’s definitely a lot less accepted).

  3. So far the aerie no photoshop campaign has been a huge disappointment, using Emma Roberts as their poster girl. Like anyone ever looked at an actress who is basically professionally thin and said, “wow, the fact that she feels comfortable with her body me feel so much better about myself.” I’m happy to see that they are making some sort of effort to make this utter than a bullshit press opportunity.

    (I totally recommend the product, just hate the Emma Roberts campaign.)

  4. I didn’t read the neko atsume list, but you can add “Oh no! what if they find out about their ranking and are at the bottom?” to the list of absurdly irrational thoughts I’ve had about neko atsume. Right alongside “But what if they eat the goldfish?” and “What if they got stuck in the pipe and I couldn’t get them out because they live behind the screen?”

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