Well, I’m back, as promised, working on a new normal. I appreciate the electronic and in-person support I’ve been receiving in response to my most recent loss. Thank you. <3
It’s the last week of summer before school starts, and thus this week has been largely filled with working to prepare for the upcoming fall semester classes that I’m teaching (Gender & Society, Gender & Communication, and Intro to Mass Communication, woo!). Also yoga, it was definitely a week filled with lots of yoga.
Here is a picture I took outside of the Institute of Contemporary Art last week when I got to see Mykki Blanco perform. The show was amazing and the views outside weren’t too shabby either. This pic definitely feels like “end of summer” to me, right?
And with that, four things from the internet + a list of stuff that made me happy this week. <3
I cannot say enough how much I LOVE this post from Ali at Chickpeas & Change. Her analysis of power and oppression is spot on, and she importantly points out the failures of individual (and thus deeply neoliberal) approaches to creating social change. Unfortunately, much of the vegan “movement” relies on these same approaches. Ali writes, “…lifestyle politics — instead of calling for exploited peoples to unite against systemic oppression — encourages individuals to opt out (or rather, attempt to opt out) of those systems rather than confronting them, to distance themselves from those around them who are still engaging in “problematic behaviors.” Far from fostering solidarity among oppressed peoples, lifestyle politics can easily animate a “holier than thou,” “me vs. the world” understanding of society in which we begin to demonize individuals as moral failures for acting in certain ways (mostly in ways related to consumption habits), instead of realizing and confronting the larger power structures and systems that condition people’s actions.” She righteously concludes, “Let’s understand that anti-speciesism and all other forms of oppression won’t be eradicated until we move beyond capitalism. Let’s do this all and more, and let’s do it collectively, united, together.” CHURCH.
The always-fabulous Jes Baker nails it with this response to the grossawfulterrible website that takes pictures of fat women and alters them to make them thin. The goal of the site is to try to show these women how much they could be “improved,” but Jes explains that her life didn’t actually improve until she stopped trying to attain some “perfect body.” Instead, Jes writes, “I’m fat now. But you know what else? I’m happy. Succesful. Fulfilled. On a career path that makes me feel whole. In a relationship that feels like it’s a dream. Mentally balanced in a way I’ve never experienced before, and no one gets to take this away from me by demanding I change my body for their comfort. I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my happiness for someone else’s approval. I’ve moved beyond that. I’m smarter than that. I am soaring high above that. And after realizing that I could be happy just as I am, I decided to dedicate my time to taking anyone who’s interested along with me on this body acceptance journey.” The post goes on to provide a whole bunch more really excellent thoughts and resources on body-acceptance. Highly recommended read.
Loove this article about emotional labor on the Free Thought Blog. The feminist author explains emotional labor as a task that is disproportionately placed upon women. She writes, “for the most part, women are expected to do a lot of [emotional labor] in relationships and friendships, and men are not. It may well be that men are on average objectively worse at them than women are, but that’s only because they’ve never been held responsible for these things and therefore haven’t developed the skill. Most men have gone their whole lives hearing that women are “naturally” suited for these things and men are “naturally” not, so why bother working on it? Gender essentialism doesn’t exactly foster a growth mindset, and many people don’t realize that things like communication skills and empathy can actually be improved to begin with.” She then proceeds to give a long list of examples of what emotional labor might look like, all of which involve the fundamental power dynamic between people socialized as female and people socialized as male. I think it’s also really important to extend this conversation outside of gender dynamics, and also to any relationships in which power imbalances exist: between white people and POC; neuronormative and neurononnormative people; teachers and students, etc. The author also provides several helpful ways people who often get out of doing emotional labor in relationships can try to step up and share the load. Another must read!
I am loving the sound of these spicy, zesty cauliflower steaks from The Kitchn. I don’t have a grill, but I might try these on the stove. And for those of you who do have a grill (lucky ducks), I hope you’ll add this to your list of things to make before summer’s end.
Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy
boycat snuggles; teaching Sculpt & Vinyasa yoga classes; fizzy water; al fresco white string lights; workdates with colleague-friends; Mykki Blanco (the show was a week ago, but that fierceness has carried over into this week, for sure); getting excited for upcoming classes whilst syllabus-planning; touching emails from a former student/mentee who is starting grad school and giving me all the feels!; songs that you want to play on repeat because they are so beautiful (currently this one and this one); Chani Nicholas (always inspiring my woo bb heart); sipping champagne during a conversation about the ways in which queer lives can be more affirmed; technology & how it enables me to stay connected to my loves spread all across the country; meditation; solitude; & feeling, for now, totally capable of coping with things exactly as they are.
What made you happy this week? xoxo