Each week, artist Erika Moen explores some aspect of sex and reports back on the result for Oh Joy Sex Toy. This week: Erika and her partner Matt discuss long-distance relationships and the ins-and-outs of sexting.
• There has already been a lot written about Amy Chua's new book The Triple Package, but a new piece from Julianne Hing aboutwhat the book gets wrong about race is certainly worth a read. [Colorlines]
• Switzerland's government has approved strict new immigration rules that limit the number of foreigners who can live and work in the country. This new law could set a precedent for the rest of Europe. [New York Times]
• I was actually considering going to see new movie Vampire Academy because it's by the director of Mean Girls and the writer ofHeathers but... I don't know, y'all, it seems pretty ridiculous. [The Toast]
For the week around Valentine’s Day, writer Jessica Luther is writing a series of three articles about gender, race, and sexuality in romance novels. This is the first article in the series.
Romance novels are incredibly popular. Millions of people—mainly women—read them each year, generating billions of dollars in sales annually. Romance novels are the largest share of the fiction market. And the vast majority of these novels feature white, heterosexual, typically thin, not poor, educated, able-bodied protagonists.
But there is an exciting thing happening in romance these days: if you know where to look, you can find are a wide variety of novels that feature people of color, queer relationships, fat characters, and/or protagonists with blue-collar jobs.
• Last week, the AOL CEO Tim Armstrong explained to his employees that AOL would be cutting retirement benefits, pointing to the huge cost of assisting the birth of two employees' "distressed babies." The mother of one of those babies has penned a response as to why Armstrong's framing was way off. [Slate]
The most competitive sport in the Olympics, I would argue, is storytelling. Everything from the opening ceremony to the national uniforms athletes wear is carefully planned to create a specific story about the unique identity of countries (I'm not sure what story Norway's curling team uniforms are telling, but I know it would for sure involve a sweet soundtrack).
This show explores the spectacle of Olympic narratives. First, figure skating enthusiasts Andi Zeisler and Sarah Marshall talk about media coverage of female figure skaters, specifically revisiting the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan scandal. Then, I dig in to how Olympic host cities make themselves over to create a shinier version of themselves for the international spotlight. Finally, we talk with Russian queer studies scholar Roman Utkin on the impact of the Olympics on LGBT politics in Russia.
Before you tune into the Olympics next week, listen to the show and excerpts below! A transcript is below the cut.
Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan seeming a little icy in 1994. (Photo via)
The other night, I took part in a shouted conversation—as I so often do these days—about Tonya Harding. This time I was in a bar, and the shouting was necessary not in order to make my point convincing, but simply to make my voice heard: a dubstep remix of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” had taken over the room, and conversation was not the order of the evening, but I prevailed—as I so often do when the subject is Ms. Harding.
“I had no idea any of it even happened,” my friend said, referring, of course, not to Tonya’s nearly decade-long career, but to the scandal with which her name has become synonymous. “I mean, I loved figure skating—I was crazy about it—but I grew up in Russia, and they just didn’t cover the scandal there.”
As Portland hunkers down today for an impending blizzard, we're also getting ready for the annual Portland International Film Festival at the Northwest Film Center, which starts today and lasts two weeks, with dozens of movies from around the world. Here at Bitch, we'll be rounding up some of our favorite films. Here are our picks that are playing this weekend, come snow or sleet! If you're not in Portland, make sure to keep these films, directors, and actors on your radar!
• On the subject of heinous word choices, Steven King thinks describing Dylan Farrow’s open letter as having “an element of palpable bitchery” was “probably…the wrong word” to use to refer a victim coming forward about sexual abuse. [Salon]
• I made a New Year’s resolution to use fewer exclamation points, and this video presents the perfect opportunity to break that resolution. Here’s an amazing interview with Pussy Riot on the Colbert Report!!! [Huffington Post]
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