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"In one of several genial interviews, Dunne asks Didion about an indelible scene toward the end of her Haight-Ashbury essay—which, as any student who has ever taken a course in literary nonfiction knows, culminates with the writer’s encounter with a five-year-old girl, Susan, whose mother has given her LSD. Didion finds Susan sitting on a living-room floor, reading a comic book and dressed in a peacoat. 'She keeps licking her lips in concentration and the only off thing about her is that she’s wearing white lipstick,' Didion writes. Dunne asks Didion what it was like, as a journalist, to be faced with a small child who was tripping. Didion, who is sitting on the couch in her living room, dressed in a gray cashmere sweater with a fine gold chain around her neck and fine gold hair framing her face, begins. 'Well, it was . . .' She pauses, casts her eyes down, thinking, blinking, and a viewer mentally answers the question on her behalf: Well, it was appalling. I wanted to call an ambulance. I wanted to call the police. I wanted to help. I wanted to weep. I wanted to get the hell out of there and get home to my own two-year-old daughter, and protect her from the present and the future. After seven long seconds, Didion raises her chin and meets Dunne’s eye. 'Let me tell you, it was gold,' she says. The ghost of a smile creeps across her face, and her eyes gleam. 'You live for moments like that, if you’re doing a piece. Good or bad.'"

-- "The Most Revealing Moment in the New Joan Didion Documentary"

Sally

I bought this Sally doll at a comic book and collectibles store in Burbank. I suppose in theory I could've kept her in her packaging, but instead as soon as I could I ripped her out of it. If you don't know Sally, she's a "humanoid ragdoll" from Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "made of various pieces stitched together, with dead leaves used as stuffing." There's a great scene in the movie, where she comes apart, and she stitches herself back together again.

The Queen Bee in the Corner Office

Read Olga Khazan's "Why Do Women Bully Each Other at Work?" It's an interesting, insightful, and illuminating investigation of how women relate at work -- in ways that are not infrequently toxic. 

Large surveys by Pew and Gallup as well as several academic studies show that when women have a preference as to the gender of their bosses and colleagues, that preference is largely for men. A 2009 study published in the journal Gender in Management found, for example, that although women believe other women make good managers, “the female workers did not actually want to work for them.” The longer a woman had been in the workforce, the less likely she was to want a female boss.

Calling

The other night I volunteered for Planned Parenthood. Usually, I'm an escort for those who are going to the clinic to have abortions. This time, I went to a house where maybe 40 or so mostly women were trying to stop one of this red state's senators from voting for legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Typically, I would've joined the group of folks writing letters to the senator, but because I had recently read this article, by a guy who chose phone calls over emails and discovered a greater intimacy, I decided to stand on the back patio in the heavy humidity and call people to ask them to call the Senator and tell him they stand with Planned Parenthood and they don't appreciate his attempt to defund it. I actually haven't really done anything like this before. Sure, I've cold called, but this was more like chilly calling. Some numbers had since been changed. Sometimes, I left a message. Occasionally, I got a person. My favorite response on the no end of the spectrum was: "Honey, I'm 90 -- click." Clearly, she had better things to do. Sometimes, you got an enthusiastic response. More often than not, that was from a woman. Yes, she would call. Clearly, she was delighted to hear from Planned Parenthood. She understood that this was a call to action. She was ready to go. 

Girls who Box

I've taken up Muai Thai boxing and really love it. Here's why.

It's all about aggression

I think as a woman sometimes it's not OK to be aggressive. Even if you're six-foot-plus. Or maybe especially if you're six-foot-plus. In a way, Muay Thai boxing is all about aggression. But it's not about being angry. It's about focusing intensity for maximum effect.

It's a great workout

My sit-ups and jumping jacks aren't too bad, but, my god, my pushups are an exercise in humiliation. Apparently, I have no upper body strength. Muay Thai boxing is great for being long and lean, for losing fat, and for building muscle. All good things.

It's fun

I would probably be at a total loss if I hadn't done karate several decades ago. Because I did, I get some of the basics. And I'm not too twitchy about striking someone. At the same time, there are some things I learned that I'm now having to unlearn. That's the hard part.

One Is Never Enough

Valley of the Dolls is 50!

The jury is still out, though, on whether Generation Y will take to "Valley," a book that includes passages like: "A man must feel he runs things, but as long as you control yourself, you control him," and "Close friendships with girls come early in life. After 30 it becomes harder to make new friends — there are fewer hopes, dreams or anticipations to share."

[NYT]