HELLO and welcome to the 316th 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 know more about Brazilian Butt Lifts!! 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.
Pleasant Dream, by Alexandra Molotkow for Real Life Magazine, August 2020
Environmental branding pairs nicely with items for personal care, scaling intractable dread down to the body, where it can be temporarily soothed. Hydrating one’s skin with natural oils, or washing one’s hair with botanical shampoo, one “feels” nature intimately, and it feels good.
Marilyn Manson ‘Almost Destroyed Me,’ by Angelina Chapin for The Cut, February 2021
Actress Esmé Bianco on her harrowing and abusive relationship with Marilyn Manson.
Ultra-Fast Fashion Is Eating the World, by Rachel Monroe for The Atlantic, March 2021
I’ve noticed Pretty Little Things and Shein pop up but never ordered from them — like I wasn’t entirely sure they were real? Now I know!
Inside the Worst-Hit County in the Worst-Hit State in the Worst-Hit Country, by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker, February 2021
An interesting look at the conversation around masks and closings and politics around the Coronavirus in a small town in North Dakota that resisted regulations throughout it all.
The True Story of Jess Krug, the White Professor Who Posed as Black for Years—Until It All Blew Up Last Fall, by Marisa M. Kashino for The Washingtonian, January 2021
Truly appalling stuff here!!!!!
Brazilian Butt Lift: Behind the World’s Most Dangerous Cosmetic Surgery, by Sophie Elmhirst for The Guardian, February 2021
The “ideal” body has shifted from stick-thin to something curvier and now this is the fastest growing plastic surgery in the world even though it also is very risky!
Following the chain of cultural appropriation that has led to this point is bewildering. The notion of the idealised Brazilian bottom, which some rich white Brazilian women disdain because of its stereotypical associations with biracial women, has become the desired shape among certain white women in the US and Europe, who are in turn emulating a body shape artificially constructed and popularised by an Armenian-American woman, who is often accused of appropriating a black aesthetic, which some black women then feel compelled to copy, not having the idealised body shape they believe they’re supposed to have naturally. “You steal a version of what a black woman’s body should be, repackage it, sell it to the masses, and then if I’m black and I don’t look like that? That’s a mindfuck,” summarised Gaines.
Writing Sex with Women, by Women, for Women, by Emily Hashimoto for Catapult, September 2020
I just read her book and the sex scenes are very good, so, just a heads-up re: that.
Bring Back the Nervous Breakdown, by Jerry Useem for The Atlantic, March 2021
As somebody who had a nervous breakdown in the early fall of 2019, I agree with this article’s essential premise.
The Beach Bum Who Beat Wall Street and Made Millions on GameStop, by David Hill for The Ringer, February 2021
I read so much about this story when it happened but nowhere did I read that there was momentum around GameStop totally separate from Reddit? This was so interesting!
How Things Work, by Nick Denton for Gawker, August 2016
I honestly don’t remember how I landed here again but I did, and it was interesting to re-read at this moment during our fundraising campaign. Denton spends a while in this piece defending what often felt to me like an unnecessary meanness of this flagship publication, and that’s fine, but the part of it that spoke to me in this moment was about how dedicated Gawker was to its voice, to the writers building relationships with its readers — and it gave all of us hope that it was able to do this without losing ad revenue. So much of what we do here was influenced by the approach that Gawker pioneered and popularized on its site and Jezebel (and the subsequent projects of its writers, like The Awl) a dedication to young unique voices and letting people pursue the subjects that were of interest to them. But it’s also a case in which you know… the rich white man won simply because he had enough money to do so, in the end!
The Hollywood Con Queen, by K.J. Yossman for Marie Claire, February 2020
The intriguing thing about this scam was that so much of the money that got spent did not benefit the con artist! There’s also a Hollywood Reporter piece that has audio recordings of the con artist.
Seeing at the Speed of Sound, by Rachel Kolb for Stanford Magazine, March/April 2013
On how difficult-to-impossible it is to accurately read lips, which the author describes as “essentially a skill of trying to grasp with one sense the information that was intended for another.”
‘There’s Been a Kind of Erasure of the Pervert’: An Interview with Jeremy Atherton Lin, by Ilana Masad for Hazlitt.
An interview with Jeremy Atherton Lin, author of “Gay Bar.”
If these had been safe spaces, I wouldn’t have had a lot of the anecdotes in the book. We’re in these kind of intrinsically solipsistic zones now because online engagement is all centered around us, and we choose where we go and we’re often in echo chambers. So there’s this three-dimensional thing that you lack, which is the experience of feeling slightly uncomfortable and yet forgiving towards a stranger.
My Mommies and Me, by Alexandra Tanner for Jewish Current, December 2020
Quarantined in North Carolina, a writer gets sucked into the world of Mormon Mommy Bloggers on Instagram. I wish the piece had been longer!
Have You Seen These 51 Women? by Ben Austen for The Chicago Reader, February 2021
Suspected serial killer could also be a metaphor. If there wasn’t some homicidal fiend in Chicago who picked off women without detection for decades, then the city was broken in a way that gave off the illusion of one.
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Thanks for the Emily Hashimoto essay! This reaffirms my choices in my own writing. Also I can’t wait to read her book!
the mommies piece is so good
riese thank you for including so many articles that are free to access! paywalls are the bane of my existence because even though i know there’s extensions and hacks to get around them i am a fundamentally lazy person who wants to read my fifteen long-form pieces without extra clicking about
i truly want everybody to be able to read all the things so that we can talk about them together! but also i have accounts with most places bc “paying it forward,” but i usually read articles on my iPad and my phone where i am not signed into anything, and all of my passwords are insane bc i had identity theft last year, and typing in those passwords is simply more than i can bear!!!!!!!
I liked the nervous breakdown article so much!
In particular I like the concept of “temporary emotional bankruptcy” which really I think is the case multiple times over the course of a single day as well as a long-term event? And the battery analogy feels very appropriate for introversion.
I also found the idea of reframing time out/off as a “power break” hilarious and eye-rolling in equal measures. In Why We Sleep there was a similar anecdote about how power naps were initially going to be called “prophylactic naps” or “planned naps” for keeping pilots more alert on long flights, but then they got rebranded as power naps so they were more “fitting with leadership- or dominance-based job positions.” Because of course everything needs to be framed so it can appeal to male egos.
ANYWAY I hope we can all learn how to take breaks properly, including moves to fewer working days a week which is frequently mooted around Europe because we love that socialism. As someone in the fortunate position to have been working 4 days a week by choice for a couple of years, I feel confident in saying it’s A Good Thing.
I do love the idea that once society really gets to grips with the use of sex as pain relief and anxiety relief, some dude will release a screed on Power Wanking as the newest ‘productivity hack’. If it hasn’t been done already…?
That “Pleasant Dreams” piece really gave me the deep dive on Mrs. Meyer’s soap I’ve always wanted, AND linked to a tumblr that’s just vintage Bath & Body Works merch !? *swoon* 😍
If you are looking for more Hollywood Con Queen content there is a really interesting podcast about it called Chameleon. https://www.campsidemedia.com/shows/chameleon
I thoroughly enjoyed it.