An interview with Veronica Arreola, Shay Stewart-Bouley, Renee Martin, Arwyn Daemyir, Deesha Philyawby Bitch Magazine,Illustrated by Jasmine Silver,appeared in issue Red;published in 2011;filed under Internet culture.
Five bloggers on race and erasure in the mommy blogosphere
Several months ago, Bitch published a piece on the vexing economy of mom blogs and the contentious personalities that have come to define their corner of the Internet, for better or worse. The discussion it sparked wasn’t about whether mom blogs were, on balance, good or bad—it was about why they were so...white.
In 1972, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss published The Flame and the Flower. With this novel, Woodiwiss transformed the romance genre by making explicit what had previously been implied—that is, sex—and created a formula for success that romance authors would follow for decades. The archetypal romance plot of the post-Woodiwiss era goes like this: An innocent young woman experiences sexual awakening when she succumbs to an older, very powerful man, who in turn is domesticated—but not in any way emasculated!—by the aforementioned innocent young woman.
America, it would seem, is on a bender. From the shot-fueled mayhem of Jersey Shore (the most popular show in MTV’s history) to a special booze-themed episode of Glee, to the blog Texts From Last Night immortalizing those crucial missives sent while sloshed, there seems to be no way to slake our collective thirst for entertainment exploring the fun of drinking—though attempting to do so has become a popular and lucrative pursuit.
Nowhere is this quite as clear as in the music industry.
If you know your way around an Internet meme, you've probably heard of the online cooking show Epic Meal Time, a Food Network–meets–Jackass celebration of heart-clogging lowbrow cuisine. Each Tuesday, its rowdy Canadian creators cook up something both imaginative (Chili Four Loko, for instance), gross (meat salad), or, more likely, both (the Thanksgiving episode found them taking Turducken a few carnivorous steps further, stuffing five different game birds into a pig). The show has become understandably famous for its humor, its gratuitous use of bacon, and the creators' proud disregard for suggested fat and cholesterol intake. (Each episode features a calorie and fat count with numbers that regularly reach the tens of thousands.) But what's been less discussed is EMT's more uncomfortably cavalier attitude toward women.
The setting is 35 years after World War III: The Water War. A society felled by ecological destruction has been relegated to a subterranean existence, and citizens’ movements are strictly regulated by an authoritarian government propagating a single message: “The outside is dead.” Then a young scientist named Asha discovers a sprouting seed, sparking a journey that will force her to defy her superiors and abandon the world she knows for a chance to prove that there is still life above ground.
Women are God-fearing and don’t challenge institutions. Men, on the other hand, are skeptical and rational, and go out of their way to publicly call bullshit on faith and religion—which is why today’s well-known secular thinkers, especially in the ranks of the New Atheism movement, are all male.
With all the pixels expended on the annual female-blogging extravaganza known as BlogHer, you might be forgiven for having overlooked the very first Modern Media Man Summit, a heavily sponsored and branded affair held this past September in Atlanta. Targeting "the blogosphere's top men and dad bloggers," M3 promised to "change everything"—presumably by connecting dad bloggers to new and improved products and branding opportunities from corporations like GM and T-Mobile. While some BlogHer attendees complain about the ever-increasing commercialization of the convention, the organizers of M3 are eager to get in on the brand-pitch action, cleverly positioning the newest iteration of the New Man as, well, a housewife: "Today's Modern Media Man now is a domestic engineer. He cooks, cleans and often times stays home while the woman of the home goes off to the traditional office job. Men do an increased level of the family shopping, are taking an increasing role in rearing the children and are creating a new definition of what happens in a home."
An interview with Peggy Orensteinby M. M. Adjarian,Illustrated by Rebecca Green,appeared in issue Primal;published in 2011;filed under Books.
From the outside, Peggy Orenstein epitomizes feminist success. She's an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in such distinguished publications as the New Yorker, Elle, Vogue, Discover, Mother Jones, and O: The Oprah Magazine. But her work itself is dedicated to asserting the ways in which "having it all"—or trying to—in a world built to the measure of men can have profound effects on women and girls.
Articleby Eryn Loeb,Illustrated by Kristopher Pollard,appeared in issue Confidential;published in 2010;filed under Books.
In a sweetly musty used-book-store, I recently bought a few thick, oversize issues of Good Housekeeping and Ladies' Home Journal. Dating from the early 1950s, they were full of ads for Del Monte fruit cocktail (serving suggestion: use it to top a loaf of canned ham, for something "really different!"), Lustroware plastic wastebaskets ("Love its elegant beauty"), and articles worrying that comic books "create child criminals" and warning mothers that "Nobody likes a young smart aleck."