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Welcome back to Byte Me, our feminist newsletter that makes everyone mad <3
This month, Cara became a horse girl in Scotland, Anouk finally started watching The Sopranos, and Gigi got her IBS prescription refilled after weeks of procrastinating.
We’re skipping illustration this month — but you can reply to this newsletter to tell us how much you love us instead? We need external validation, thanks x
[Also read our previous issue: Byte Me #18: Sexist jokes, sausage parties, and ‘lazy man insults’]
the bloody news
- Presidential nominee Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris as his running mate. “Smart” Republicans saw her as a threat and tried to smother her years ago. (The Washington Post)
- Letetra Widman gave a powerful speech after her unarmed brother, Jacob Blake, was shot in the back by police 7 times: “I don’t want pity, I want change.” (The Guardian)
- Remember #ChallengeAccepted? Gal-dem reported the black and white selfies actually did lead to a small win for women’s rights in Turkey.
- A study from Duke Research found that black women with natural hairstyles were perceived as less professional and less likely to be offered interviews.
- i-D wrote about how a new generation of Korean novelists is dismantling the patriarchy .P.S. Gigi personally recommends Winter in Sokcho.
The Atlantic published a piece on the women making conspiracy theories beautiful on Instagram.
- The Cut featured the amazing Dana Canedy, the SVP and Publisher of Simon & Schuster, for its “How I get it done” series. Previously she was the administrator of the Pulitzer Prize, and pushed them to recognize more diverse voices, including Kendrick Lamar and Ida B. Wells.
A lot of people are clutching their pearls over Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP.” Vox wrote about why the song is actually a public health triumph. The Cut also wrote about how the song fits into the rich history of female horniness in music.
I haven’t attended a party since February but this video has somehow magically transported me to being trapped in a corner by a man at an afters https://t.co/Ph9KC02PVn
— Zing Tsjeng (@misszing) August 15, 2020
- Jessica Knoll wrote an op-ed for NYT: “I want to be rich and I’m not sorry.” Ugh, same.
- Monica Hesse for The Washington Post: “If you can punish a teenage girl for spaghetti straps, you can enforce a mask mandate.”
- Only Fans? The Face wrote about how major musicians are embracing sex work culture.
- Bon Appétit appointed Dawn Davis as their new Editor-in-Chief, Eater reports.
- Us if we were better:
A rural Japanese town under siege by monkeys is defended by three elderly women armed with airguns who call themselves the “Monkey Busters”. pic.twitter.com/ZIooj1wrov
— Belgrade (@Aeljik) August 26, 2020
that’s what she said: should we talk about women’s bodies?
Because we’re all magical and unique snowflakes who don’t always agree on feminist issues — and subsequently feel like we’re “bad” women — we’re going to discuss something we found online in each newsletter.
For this month’s that’s what she said, we’re discussing whether it’s ever ok to talk about someone’s weight. We’ve linked to our full discussion here, and included the TL;DR below:
Georgina: A couple of months ago, everyone got all excited because Adele lost a bunch of weight. A lot of it was “positive” — saying she looked “amazing,” etc. — but it also sparked a lot of think pieces about how we obsess over women’s bodies… which was kinda ironic cos that was drawing even MORE attention to her bod.
Cara: I think it’s gross, even if it’s positive. I don’t think there’s ever a right time to comment on someone’s body. It also just adds to the idea that there’s only one form of beauty e.g. a size XXXXXS.
Georgina: I agree… but I gotta admit, I clicked on the Adele story.
Anouk: Yeah, we did all look to check out the pictures, right?
Georgina: I def clicked out of curiosity, but then I did get kind of irritated when even my fucking mother brought it up on our weekly call. Like it really is a societal obsession — it shouldn’t be headline news.
Anouk: Next thing, is that I then start getting a little disappointed with Adele, like: Why Adele? Why would you cave to beauty standards? ARE YOU EVEN A FEMINIST? Which is also mean, because that’s her business.
Georgina: Beyond celebs though, do you ever comment on other women’s weight that you know? Like: “Oh wow you’ve lost weight!”
You can check out the full conversation here, which discusses objectifying men, fat positivity, and insecurity.
Feel free to comment on the document with your thoughts, or send us an email!
the best and the worst
In this section, we ask women much smarter than us about the best and worst piece of professional advice they’ve ever received.
We recently asked Catherine Price, a science journalist, speaker, and consultant whose work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing and The New York Times, among others. Price is also the founder of Screen/Life Balance, a movement dedicated to helping people scroll less and live more.
“The best came from a history professor who encouraged us to follow a philosophy of what he called ‘creative drift’ — do your best at whatever you’re doing in the moment and be open to new opportunities as they arise. You’ll end up in far more interesting places than you would if you sought a more linear path.”
“I don’t know!”
Read Catherine Price’s full AMA here.
tweets of the month
me to a bunch of white women at soulcycle
— ryan farr (@rymfarr) August 26, 2020
I’m engaged!! My fiancé and i met when he DMed me to correct the grammar in a tweet about my tits and I said leave me alone and then he messaged me back calling me a bitch
— Hannah Boone (@boonecomedy) August 3, 2020
“Women are so emotional”, sir I have never punched a hole in my dry wall
— 1984’s George Whorewell (@EwdatsGROSS) August 6, 2020
word of the month: brokini
Next up in our new and improved Dicktionary (sorry):
We didn’t have to think long and hard about this edition of Word of the Month: Brokini got handed to us on a silver platter. Or, more accurately, by two guys from Toronto who launched this bro-y bathing suit this week.
And, because it’s 2020 and the world has turned into a pit of depravity and despair, the brokini took the internet by storm.
First, there were hot takes, like the debate on whether or not the brokini was inspired by Borat’s ‘mankini.’ Spoiler: it wasn’t.
Then there were even hotter takes, like this guy claiming brokinis were just another way to weaponize the patriarchy:
First off, stop protecting fragile masculinity with pandering portmanteaus like manscape, bromance, and *ugh* “brokini”
Second, if you ever see someone with a Bam Bam brokini tan line, run. He makes terrible decisions and will take you down with him https://t.co/8cuqTU2peO
— Loren Crowe (@LorenCrowe) August 25, 2020
So here’s our take on brokinis: they’re stupid. We hate them. We’re certain they will soon deface the historical center of Amsterdam, when drunken Brits start wearing them on stag parties while vomiting in our bicycle baskets.
BUT… it’s nice to see the focus deflected from women’s bodies for a change. Viral attention for the brokini might dampen our collective obsession with Adele’s weight, or Katy Perry’s postnatal body, or Mariah Carey’s left elbow, if only for a few days.
And who knows? If they really catch on, maybe society will start imposing rules and limits on the bros who wear them. Maybe certain men will be deemed too fat or skinny to pull them off. Maybe we will see specialized diets and #thinspo posts, urging men to “get their brokini bodies ready for summer.”
If that’s the case, we happily welcome the brokini. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
How to use in a sentence:
“Hold my beer, Sean,” said Travis while he plucked his brokini out from between his muscly buttocks.
“Chad, I have to tell you,” Dave said, tearfully. “I don’t think my brokini bod is ready for our spring break trip to Cancun.”
The brokini is really just appropriation of traditional Mexican wrestling attire,” Anne hissed while angrily flagging an ad for the bathing suit on Instagram.
What do you think of Byte Me? Love it? Tell us. Hate it? Tell us — as female journalists we love hate mail.
<3 TNW Shrews