This week, the New York Times covered the death of a Lorena Escalera, a Brooklyn woman who perished in a suspicious fire. They could have opened with a colorful description of her career in the ballroom scene—Escalera was a member of the House of Xtravaganza. Or they could have focused on the poor electrical circuitry in her apartment—a probable cause of the fire and symptomatic of lower-income housing. Instead, Al Baker and Nate Schweber opened with neighborhood gossip and physical descriptions: "She was 25 and curvaceous, and she often drew admiring glances in the gritty Brooklyn neighborhood where she was known to invite men for visits to her apartment, her neighbors and the authorities said." This turns out to be a set-up for them to mention that Lorena Escalera "was born male." You know, according to neighbors.
What's the most useful career advice anyone ever gave you? Here's my best shot at dispensing words of wisdom that I wish someone had told me when I entered the workforce but I didn't know until later. Feel free to add some to the comments. I'm sure me and my imaginary boo, Ryan Gosling, are missing something.
Last week, Argentina gave citizens the freedom to change their legal and physical gender without having to undergo medical, psychiatric, or judicial procedures. Along with eliminating patronizing barriers to swapping an "M" for an "F" on a driver's license, the law gives Argentinians a freedom you won't find anywhere else: gender self-determination.
This is why solar panel company Sunrun's new ad campaign feels like a breath of fresh, sun-warmed air. It makes fun of solar energy's leftist hippie stigma in a way that's funny and relatable for, say, my dad. Or whoever else! These ads avoid the exhausting political rhetoric and instead treat renewable energy like any other old industry, which can have nothing but positive effects at this point. Turning green energy into a political debate fuzzes the big picture; environmental issues like this one deserve an apolitical, agenda-free discussion. People don't need to wear hemp and attend drum circles to be part of a movement that secures the future of clean air, clean water, and healthy land. We can all be different and still work together.
Maybe it is because I am breast-feeding my own son and am used to seeing women whip out a boob to put in baby's mouth at the drop of a hat, but when I saw the cover of TIME this week, I didn't find it all that odd.
Frankly, my first thought was, "Great! A picture of a woman breast-feeding!" After the uproar in 2009 about Facebook removing photos of breastfeeding mothers, as well as the rise of "lactivists" staging nursing sit-ins everywhere from airports to the Hirshhorn Museum—places that had asked women to stop nursing their babies—I usually appreciate seeing breastfeeding in the media. Obviously, though, when we have steps forward, we have steps back. The TIME cover is problematic in several ways, its problems well-pointed out in a previous Bitch post. Also unfortunate is the way the image coats the story inside, which covers "attachment parenting" with a greasy, unfriendly film.
It's great that we know more about the business lives of women and celebrate them for the progress they've made. But what is it about corporate culture that keeps it unfriendly to women? And why haven't women achieved more in business? There are 12 Fortune 500 CEOs. That's 12 who weren't there three decades ago, but that's still a pretty low number. In the words of Sue Shellenbarger in a special "Women in the Economy: An Executive Task Force" report published in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, "You would think the problem would be solved by now…So why are we still talking about this?"
The lead singer of Against Me! came out as transgender in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which hits newsstands on Friday. While some of the comments on Rolling Stone's online article are predictably disgusting, commentators on the official Against Me! message board have been overwhelmingly supportive.
After all, any diehard fan knows it's the music that matters. And if transfolks are the ones making it, well, that should come as no surprise.
So, I thought the point of making the investment to get more education was to not rely on government assistance. I want to be careful about my tone, since I was a welfare recipient as a child. I don't think we should stigmatize men or women who need assistance, but this is a frightening precedent for institutions to set for women and families.