A Culture of Busyness

I’m not going to lie — there were some more self-serving motivations lurking behind my latest article, namely that it’s the start of a summer semester and I have to get my affairs in order. If you ever taken summer college courses, you probably know that most of them are “accelerated,” meaning that instead of taking place over the usual 15 week duration, they are 10, 8, 5, and sometimes even 3-week classes that meet several times a week for more than the standard hour and fifteen minutes. I have four of these this summer, which, at times, will feel like eight. The potential for headspin is high for both students and teachers!

The thing is — I love my job. I really do. And whenever I talk about work, I like to think of myself as more the “I really love what I do and being absorbed with it” type rather than the “Look, everyone, at how BUSY I am” bragger-for-the-sake-of-bragging. And yet, even though some of us may willingly define ourselves by our professions, we can’t exist exclusively in that capacity. This week’s Role/Reboot article offers some practical advice to those of us who happily “live to work”: let’s not feel guilty for taking time to have some fun, too!

“Knowing How to Play When You Live to Work” — June 10, 2014 on Role/Reboot


Hashtag Advocacy and the #YesAllWomen Movement

I was a little late in acquiring all the details of last week’s horrific shooting in Santa Barbara, but fortunately was able to catch up thanks to the trending #YesAllWomen on Twitter to point me in the right direction.  The practice of hashtag activism (or “slactivism” in some circles) has recently come under fire for being a lazy, useless, and trendy-for-the-sake-of-being-trendy mode of communication.  But I would argue (and do, for Role/Reboot this week) that hashtags like #YesAllWomen at the very least spread information and draw attention to issues that might otherwise have flown under the radar. 

Is Hashtag Activism Just a Lazy Substitute for the Real Thing? — May 30, 2014 on Role/Reboot

One of the commenters on the original article asked “where is this hashtag conversation going?” if the activism never really branches out beyond our shared words and stories, which is an excellent question.  But I think that if we are going to ask that question, why not question the power of written media as a whole?  The hashtags themselves aren’t as important as the words and stories they are tied to, which have the power to change the world.  If books can radically change mentality and culture (hellooo, Betty Friedan!), so can online messages — albeit in a different format.

Hot Town, Summer in the City

We here in the mid-Atlantic United States have moved straight from a harsh and unforgiving winter into hot hot summer.  You know what that means: out come the shorts, the tank tops, and the rampant sexism.

This week, I found inspiration in a flyer that, thanks to a mother who commented on my Role/Reboot piece, I now know was originally posted around Lakewood High School in Colorado.  Apparently, temperatures inside the high school had reached 80 degrees and in order to combat the heat, several girls violated the school’s dress code and were called into the office.

The strange double standards boys and girls face while dressing for summer are, as far as I’m concerned, directly connected to our sexualization of female bodies: Men freely walk around topless in the heat, but a mother breastfeeding on a park bench sends us into an uproar.  All of our lovely female curves are loaded with the implication that because they are on “display,” (never mind the comfort factor in sweltering temps), they openly invite criticism, deserve comment, or indicate a lack of self-respect. So absurd, but oh-so ingrained.

I’m happy to report that this piece now has over 3,000 “likes” which is a tremendous (and welcome!) surprise. I hope that some of you will share it around.

A Message to Teenage Girls About Summer Dress Codes — May 15, 2014 on Role/Reboot

Rape is Not a Competition

Last week, Slate published an article on recent results from the National Crime Victimization Survey, reporting that 38% of sexual assault victims were male.  This is quite the shock compared to the statistics we’ve grown used to seeing: RAINN reports, for example, that male victims comprise 10% of all cases.

Why the drastic increase?  Are there more cases, or simply more victims coming forward?  Are the majority of the cases male-on-male, and how do we define female-on-male rape, anyway?  I’m interested in asking these questions in hopes of someday being able to answer them, and hopefully without the “awareness of one kind of rape detracts from another” sentiment of some of the comments on the Slate piece.

Why We Need to Talk About Men Who Are Raped — May 5, 2014 on Role/Reboot

The Friday Five

Back in the dark ages when I kept an online journal as a teenager, I always looked forward answering the Friday Five questions at the end of each week. As it turns out, the Friday Five thing was here to stay, and a lot of blogs and magazines today release weekly “most loved” lists.

This is one bandwagon that I’m happy to jump on. Here are my five favorites from around the Web this week:

1. The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back A former professor of mine once called adjunct work “exploitative,” and she couldn’t be more spot-on. This Atlantic piece is one of the most comprehensive overviews of the adjunct professor problem, and I love it even more for providing a solution.

2. What’s So Lame About ‘Girly’ Drinks? Have you seen the commercials for Jim Beam whiskey starring Mila Kunis? More and more women are drinking “hard” liquor according to a recent Slate article, so what does this mean for future marketing and branding?

3. A History of Synchronized Swimming” Whether you have an interest in synchronized swimming or not, this article is beautifully written and defies the standard conventions of what academic writing should look like. I may have drooled a little.

4. Taking Away My Childhood: On Sexual Assault and Boyhood Incredibly brave piece by Preston Mitchum for Role/Reboot yesterday on the aftermath of child rape.

5. Farewell, How I Met Your Mother: The Sitcom’s Top 10 Most Memorable Song Moments Say what you will about the series finale (I loved it), this series had one of the best soundtracks, corny originals aside, EVER. This list only leaves out three of my favorites: “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, “Heaven” by the Walkmen (played during the finale’s final scene), and one of my favorite songs of all time, “Mother of Pearl” by Roxy Music.

How can divorcing parents be there for their adult children? Let me count the ways.

I’ve been wanting to write a sort of follow-up piece for quite some time on my “Stop Telling Adult Children of Divorce to ‘Get Over It'” article for Role/Reboot last December.  As a fairly new adult child of divorce (or ACOD), I do not believe that there are enough resources for people like me on the Interwebs and that I would have benefited greatly knowing that I wasn’t alone during the process.

I received a ton of positive feedback on the December piece from friends of mine who are parents — parents who have gone through divorces, are currently divorcing, and even a friend’s father who assists divorcing couples and their children as a pastor.  These parents are looking for resources, and I felt well-equipped from the “child’s” perspective to outline a few suggestions for how parents can support and better understand their adult children during this tough time.  Of course, there are so many more suggestions I could have included (not expecting your child to readily embrace your new significant other after the split is a HUGE one), but for the sake of maximum word count, here we are with my top five.

5 Ways Divorcing Parents Can Support Their Adult Children — April 13, 2014 on Role/Reboot

“Bill, I love you so, I always will.”

Bill O’Reilly says things sometimes. Things that make me tilt my head to the side like a confused dog. Things that make me visibly angry. And things that call attention to the glaring irony of his “Pinheads & Patriots” segment, being that he has repeatedly made himself known, at least to me, as the former.

And usually, I’m able to write O’Reilly off, until one day when he called two female analysts onto his show to grill them about Michele Bachmann’s assertion that America “isn’t ready” for a female president. I enjoy writing open letters, particularly to people who drive me crazy, because I can interject more than my typical amount of sass into my language. The two analysts are as baffled answering O’Reilly’s question as I was watching the entire segment, but even more outrageous is the fact that rather than subject himself to backlash by agreeing with Bachmann, O’Reilly clearly intends to use his female guests as scapegoats. It’s two and a half minutes of cloak-and-dagger and it fails, miserably.

An Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly: No, There’s No ‘Downside’ To a Female President — March 3, 2014 on Role/Reboot