Who says girls don’t like trains?
Hi, friends. Happy Friday. It’s been a weird month. My yoga friends tell me that Mercury is in retrograde. My scientist friends tell me that wildfires in California are only going to get worse. My political friends tell me there is no cure for our uniquely American disease of mass shootings. So I’d like to take this opportunity to issue a hearty fuck you to Mercury, global warming, and the culture that enables rampant mass casualty events.
Now that that’s taken care of, here’s what’s top of mind this week.
Who knew thoughtfulness could feel so radical?
I’m only 10 minutes into Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, and I’ve already cried at least once.
Unlike so many political or politics-adjacent memoirs, her writing feels thoughtful and judicious, not disingenuous or partisan. Her agenda is bigger than reactionary fear tactics and petty infighting. It’s a breath of fresh air and I’m hoping to steal away a few moments of solitude this weekend to really sink into it.
Speaking of crying over books…
I read this excerpt of How to be successful without hurting men’s feelings and I also cried, because I relate to and/or have taken EVERY SINGLE ONE of those approaches and it’s embarrassing and infuriating.
Like this one:
I bought the book so I can feel more shame and rage over how I operate in a professional environment.
Speaking of threats and tears …
I’m reading Rebecca Solnit’s Good and Mad and there’s a whole section on how women’s tears are a proxy for unexpressed anger. Solnit writes, “Crying affirms us as female, and if you’re a woman (again, especially a white woman), comporting yourself in traditionally female ways is rewarded, while lashing out is punished.”
My default emotional response—when I’m angry, ashamed, worked up—is tears. All my life I thought I was just a crybaby; what vindication to learn I can blame the patriarchy (and my own complicity in it, dammit) for my inconvenient emotional displays.
In all seriousness, though, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about how to be a better ally, including a lot of writing about white woman tears. I’m trying to be more conscious of own privilege so I can stop using it as a weapon—unintentionally or not, the effects are the same. The more I learn, the more I realize the extent to which I’m complicit in supporting white supremacy and how much I have to unlearn. One place I’m starting is with Rachel Cargle‘s #dothework course. A friend of mine also posted a list of resources and people to follow here, and I’m working my way through that list and following those sources where they lead.
Actually, girls do like trains
Mattel is seriously missing out on a market opportunity. We went on a special underwear buying adventure, and since the only Thomas the Train underpants we could find were in the boys’ section, my daughter is wearing boys underwear.
This picture in its entirety is super adorable but I think it’s not something I should put on the internet. If you’re family, text me and I’ll send you the full version.
Why do girls only get princess underwear? Every design she wanted: Thomas, Lightning McQueen, construction vehicles, were all boys’ underwear.
Hey toddler clothes designers: DO BETTER.
On a brighter note…
A friend shared a few books with me that I’m adding to our library. They’re all about inclusiveness and understanding people who are different from us.
Reading these at bedtime helps us all sleep better at night, I think.
And just for giggles
Because the imperative to end on a happy note is a part of white womanhood I have yet to unlearn:
Many thanks to Nic for introducing me to this video.
Disclosure: none of these are Amazon affiliate links. I’m too lazy to log into my other account to grab the affiliate links. Also, if you are able to, be a rebel and go get a book from your local bookstore.