Linky Links of Linkyness

Lindy West reacts to a new book by the authors of The Rules with the correct amount of “What the everloving fuck?” (h/t Bitches Gotta Eat)

So, essentially (according to these jokers), online dating is a forum where you put yourself up for auction and then passively watch while men compete for your silent company by bidding varying amounts of pork tenderloins and tennis bracelets. Whatever you do, don’t express an interest in or attraction to anything. The worst thing you can do for your romantic life is to play an active role in your romantic life. Also, Fein and Schneider say, once a man does contact you, under no circumstances should you let him know that you’ve looked at anything on his profile. Keep yourself vague. Because there’s nothing hotter than a woman-shaped blob of nothingness.

Or you could ignore all this speculative, baroque, antifeminist bullshit and just be a fucking human being.”

Yo, should I dump this asshole? should cut into my traffic & inbox significantly. I agree with the author that people who self-describe as “feisty” are to be avoided. See also: Quirky, zany, and madcap. Always avoid the madcap. Though, on that topic, I liked this piece at The Gloss taking down the overuse of the word “crazy”:

You know, it’s funny, generally when men refer to their exes as ‘crazy’ what I keep hearing is ‘she had emotions, and I did not like that…’

And when men do this on a regular basis, remember that, if you are a women, you are not the exception. You are not so cool and fabulous and levelheaded that they will totally get where you are coming from when you show emotions other than “pleasant agreement.”

When men say “most women are crazy, but not you, you’re so cool” the subtext is not, “I love you, be the mother to my children.” The subtext is “do not step out of line, here.” If you get close enough to the men who say things like this, eventually, you will do something that they do not find pleasant. They will decide you are crazy, because this is something they have already decided about women in general.”

A good friend and collaborator once told me I was the first and only non-crazy female director he’d ever worked with. He meant it absolutely as a compliment, I am sure. It’s not a compliment, and it took me a little while to figure out why it sat so badly with me. So then I gave him a piece of my mind about it that started with “Actually, I have a mental illness, so I AM technically ‘crazy,’ and if we’re going to work together again I need you to think real hard about whether you have a different standard for what’s crazy when a woman does it vs. a man.” People paid Stanley “I need the clouds to be just right” Kubrick, Werner “Yeah, we’ll need to carry that over the mountains” Herzog, Terrence “I can only shoot at the Magic Hour” Malick to direct movies. Meek, ever-agreeable and self-effacing is not actually a good quality in a director. Or a girlfriend.

Work/Career Advice:  Bitch Magazine’s post on 10 Things That Would Have Been Good To Know At and After Graduation is pretty spot-on. Congratulations, class of 2012, especially my beloved students and former students. This speech from Neil Gaiman about making a career as an artist is what I wish I could tell all of you. This advice about How To Get and Keep A Mentor is pretty useful as well.

Got any recent great reads you want to link in the comments? (Shameless self-promotion is allowed).

Oh, before I forget, yesterday I spotted honest-to-god FEELINGSART/FEELINGSMAIL outside my CTA stop:

"Billy Jean, I love you. Call me. Love Louis" written in chalk on a sidewalk.
Way to use your words, Louis!

44 thoughts on “Linky Links of Linkyness

        1. This is the most brilliant stuff ever, I want to mesh my existence with whomever is behind it

          (well, not really since I can’t be arsed even trying to find out who’s behind it, but still: greatness)

      1. Billy, Billy don’t you lose my number…

        (oh gawd, I can’t get it out of my head now! AAAAAHHHHHH!!)

  1. You may or may not know, but my country is hosting this big sports festival this year, with athletes from 200+ countries, and the organisers were (last year) full of how this event was for EVERYBODY. So a bunch of British knitters decided, as knitters will, that the appropriate way to celebrate such an event was to knit a cushion for each athlete, from British wool, stuffed with British wool, so that every athlete could choose a little bit of Britain to have in their rooms while they’re here and to take home with them as a gift from the knitters (and sheep) of Britain, if they wish.

    When they realised this would mean knitting fourteen thousand cushions in about 12 months, you know what they did, if you know knitters: (a) They recruited some more knitting buddies, and (b) they went out and bought more yarn.

    And then the organisers screwed them over. The story of what happened is in my blog: Do not meddle in the affairs of knitters.

    I have zero connection with them (beyond the blog post) but heartfelt admiration for them and heartfelt rage at the commercially-minded committeeness.


        We had a recently squashed public art push by a bunch of determined local knitters. I’m sad to report that the stop sign flowers that were mere blocks from me have since been removed by the city. Boo.

      1. That’s GREAT. Apparently the only way the athletes from other countries will be able to choose Woolsack cushions is if they get in touch with the group directly – the knitters aren’t allowed to contact them. So, the more publcity, the better!

    1. I’m kind of aghast at the whole “athletes can’t have nice free things because paid things would be mad” thing. Thanks for sharing.

      1. It’s such a purely commercial decision – “You want to give the athletes anything? You’ve got to PAY for that” against what is such a genuine spirit-of-the-games idea as British woolly cushions.

  2. I was talking about this with a friend recently and we concluded that men calling women “crazy” is the rough equivalent of women calling men “creepy”.

    Of course, there are plenty of men out there who do express attraction inappropriately and without respect for boundaries, just as there are women whose emotional reactions are unpleasant and draining to deal with*. But too often it’s just used as a generic brush-off.

    As Tom Haverford says (roughly, I’m paraphrasing) “The great thing about being a guy is, when things don’t work out with a girl, you just tell your guy friends ‘she was crazy’ and that’s all there is to it.”

    *And of course there are women who are the first, and men who are the second.

    1. I’m with you right up until we slam into patriarchy & male privilege. A lot of “creepy” comes from a sense of entitlement to women’s attention and vaginas. “If I just perform x I am owed y.”

      1. YES, I was just gonna reply with something in this vein. Also, I think “crazy” is way more damaging. Once someone is labelled crazy, you can discount everything they say, think and feel. That’s dehumanizing the the extreme. Creepy doesn’t say anything about a man’s sanity. Not to mention, there is a lot more social support for “creeps” than for “crazy chicks”. How often have I heard well-meaning people pressure a lady to give a creep a chaaaaaance? How often have I seen blatantly creepy men get protected in their friend circles? “He’s not that bad!” “He’s socially awkward, you must be patient.” “Crazy chicks” don’t get that kind of indulgence.Men don’t pressure their bros into giving the “crazy chick” a chance.

      2. hey while we are doing links and recommendations – can anyone recommend some good books on feminist theory / male privilege/patriarchy? i really want to delve into the academics of it a bit more to broaden my own ability to explain/discuss the issues when they come up (as it does a bit too often)

        1. Hopefully commenters will link some things, but really, get thee to Feministe! There’s a whole list of recommended books on the side, and I’m sure they’ve done book rec threads.

  3. The piece from The Gloss is awesome. Favorite bit:

    Dudes of the world – if you do not return your girlfriend’s calls for a week, and she shows up at your door yelling, she is not crazy. She is angry at you. There’s a difference. “Crazy’ would be if you did not return her calls for a week and she decided she was a lighthouse.

    1. I totally want to email an ex boyfriend with I AM A LIGHTHOUSE in the subject line. (No, I will not do that. But it’s tempting.)

  4. “Nor is the correct response to decide that you can be saner. This is tricky, because trying to be saner when “being saner” means “behaving in a way one specific individual wants you to behave” is cuckoo for cocoa puffs ludicrous. It’s also really difficult. That’s not to say it can’t be done. It’s doable! But it’s going to require never expressing a single genuine emotion, sizing up every word or action before you express them and frankly, perfecting a good natured smile while people say things you find unbelievably stupid or offensive. Keep in mind – it is extra hard to do these things when someone is behaving in a way that makes you frustrated, or angry, or sad, or insecure, or whatever other emotion has been labeled as “crazy.” Trying to uphold this person’s conception of “sane” will turn you into the emotional equivalent of a smiling, well dressed lithopedion. Everything that animates you and makes you a person will get submerged, until you become utterly pleasant and undemanding and utterly brittle.”

    This paragraph just hit me in the gut. Because this is not just about what happens when you are in a bad relationship, this is what abuse is like. And this is what it does. I get really really “sane and logical” when I am really really upset. This is because…well, this.

    1. That article is remaining in my bookmarks for writing about abuse and gaslighting and jerkiness forever.

    2. I grew up with a father who thought emotions were illogical and that women were inherently over-emotional. So, make the connection. 🙂 If I ever wanted him to even listen to me, I could never cry or even have a waver in my voice. To this day, even though I know it’s bullshit, I tend to act very calm when I’m upset. I analyze and second-guess all my feelings. As a result, I often feel disconnected from human emotions and had to untrain myself to see normal emotional reactions as “drama”. Thanks, Dad!!!

      1. Yep, I hear you. Whenever I get enthusiastic, passionate, whatever, apparently the emotion in my voice and general intensity are often interpreted as angry. This has happened repeatedly with different friends over the years (mostly women), and it really hurts and is upsetting to be so misunderstood. I feel like I’m supposed to squelch my feelings and present a bland, smooth, low-key communication style or be perceived as being on the attack, in other words, try not to care too much about things. Most recently was last week, and the time before that (several years ago) when I explained why this was upsetting, that friend suggested I engage in some self-reflection to understand what I was doing wrong. After all, if that’s the usual reaction, the common factor is me, and maybe I should listen when people are suggesting that I’m angry. Not helpful. Last week, my friend suggested that the appropriate response to such a question is, “No, I’m not angry.” Problem resolved! And also I should be grateful that she used her words to ask me directly instead of just making assumptions. Yes, it’s great that she used her words, but I wasn’t in the mood for giving her cookies, since her suggestion was after I explained that no I wasn’t angry and why I found the question distressing. And actually, usually it’s not that easily resolved. I say no, I’m not, and the other person probes because of course the angry person will deny it and the nonangry person’s response would be something like, “That’s interesting, why would you think I’m angry?” I’ve been through that routine too. It’s pretty much a no-win for me, because no matter what I answer, it never seems to match the listener’s expectation, and I’m told what the appropriate response would have been. And my pain at the repetition is never part of the discussion. Sigh.

        1. yes me too! Anger, argument and “intensity” was allowed in my family, because those were coded “male”. Only crying, fear, sadness, “weakness” and other coded-female behaviors weren’t. So, as you can imagine, there’s a lot of yelling in my family and sad to say, I picked up a bit of that. My husband knows when I get “ranty” I don’t mean anything by it, and it certainly isn’t AT him (I’m usually ranting about something nerdy, lol). But I’ve come a long way from sand-blasting the people I love with my emotions. That’s not fair to them.
          Your comment about women really hit home for me. I was always the “I don’t get along with chicks” chick. But that was because I’d internalized a lot of my Dad’s misogyny about weak, girly emotions and that women were inherently illogical. (Why, YES, I DID have a lot of self-hatred! Wee!) That’s all bullshit, and I’ve realized that their emotions are NOT broken or weak, they are NORMAL. I’m the one who wasn’t normal. And a part of me envied them, being able to feel their emotions so freely and connect with other women while I was denied that pleasure. I never had best girlfriends growing up and even now it’s hard, but I try. And I don’t judge them.
          Ah, yes, the bland, smooth facade! It’s not just my upbringing that influenced that, but that Gen X “apathy is cool and caring about shit or having standards is not cool”. UGH. Like the pressure to be the Cool Girlfriend, who is Open-Minded even though she is having serious Red Flag Gut Feelings! Kind of ties into that “crazy” link too.

        2. Oh yeah, I was rambling and forgot to say:
          If your friend continues to be convinced you are super-pissed even after being told you aren’t, that isn’t right and also isn’t your problem. I know people who are convinced I never know my own mind, and that is some toxic stuff and can lead to pretty gas-lighty territory. I’ve found that people who are convinced I hate them, or that I am lying, or that I really AM super-pissed at them, are (most of the time) projecting their own feelings of insecurity onto me.
          Some of us are just prone to be less chipper in presentation. I tell my friends, “I have no idea what my face is doing, I’m sorry!” Because my default expression is a sort of scowl? I’ve had people ask me what’s wrong, am I mad? etc. But I really am friendly and nice and NOT MAD AT YOU. 🙂

          1. Thanks for the words of support and encouragement. Actually, my facade is not particularly smooth and featureless, since many people have commented that my face is quite good at revealing less than polite emotions. I suspect I telegraph WTF very well. There’s more I want to say, but I gotta get a lot more done before I leave the office for the day…

  5. Thanks for the careers links Cap’n. Following the breadcrumbs from the ’10things to know after graduation’ led to lots of useful stuff. 🙂

  6. You can’t win on the opposite side of the emotional spectrum either. I (female) have been criticized in the past for being “unemotional.” I think some of those people got discombobulated because they couldn’t immediately identify what I was feeling.

    Funnily enough, one of them was at least as hard to read as I was. I just didn’t fret over not being able to read his mind. If he wanted me to know his emotional state, he could tell me.

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