Successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist Cyan Bannister describes herself as “genderqueer” — both a man and a woman. She talks about her gender publicly for the first time with Backchannel’s Jessi Hempel.
Death, Sex & Money podcast – College Sweethearts: Transformed:
Liam Lowery and Marisa Carroll have a charming, if almost archetypal, New York love story. They were college students. Liam had been crushing on her for a while, and one day, he spotted her on the subway. They came to his stop. And he stayed on the train. That led to coffee, Facebook flirting, making out, and as Liam says, fantastic sex.
When they got together, Liam identified as trans, but didn’t yet have that scruff on his cheeks. Soon after they began dating, he started taking testosterone, and he had surgery to remove his breasts last spring. While Marisa had considered herself a straight woman prior to dating Liam, they are, together, in a queer relationship. And as of this Thanksgiving, in a queer marriage.
Lowery says no one other than a medical professional had seen him naked until he met Carroll. Not even himself — when he bathed, he’d get in the shower and scrub himself as fast as he could without looking.
Ezra Klein talks with anthropologist Arlie Hochschild, who visited Trump country in Louisiana, and talked with many of his supporters to learn how America looks to them.
They see themselves as patiently waiting in line for their due reward, only to find the line isn’t going anywhere. When they look ahead, they see immigrants and other special interest groups cutting ahead, and Barack Obama and the federal government waving the line-cutters in. Trump supporters feel like aliens in their own country.
Much of Trump’s support comes from divisions between social classes — something that Americans still pretend doesn’t exist here. Trump supporters are told they’re privileged because they’re white, but they don’t feel privileged. And they’re right, because they’re white but they’re lower class.
Not discussed much in this podcast: Trump’s supporters aren’t the white poor; they’re more affluent than their neighbors. That doesn’t necessarily contradict the narrative that Trump supporters come from the lower classes; economic class and social class aren’t the same thing (as anybody who watches Downton Abbey knows!).
This is a terrific podcast, with many thought-provoking points.
Arlie Hochschild on how America feels to Trump supporters – The Ezra Klein Show podcast:
I’ve been reading sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s writing for about a decade now. Her immersive projects have revolutionized how we understand labor, gender equity, and work-life balance. But her latest book, “Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,” is something new: she spent five years among tea party supporters in Louisiana, trying to bridge the deepest divide in American politics. It was, she says, an effort to scale the “empathy wall,” to create an understanding of how politics feels to people whose experiences felt alien to her. In this conversation, we discuss:-How she approaches immersive sociology-The kinds of questions she asks people in order to get them to open up about their political feelings-What it takes to “turn off your alarm system” when you encounter oppositional ideas-What she describes as the “deep story” that explains how conservative Americans, particularly older white men, feel increasingly looked down on-Why she feels empathy on the part of people who disagree is an important part of creating dialogue-Whether empathy and respect are in tension with each other-Why many white men don’t feel they’re part of a privileged group-What she thought of Clinton’s comments that half of Trump’s supporters are a “basket of deplorables”And much more. This is a time when listening and empathy are in shorter supply than ever, at least in American politics. It’s well worth listening to Hochschild’s advice on how to bring both back.
Charlie Jane Anders interviews the pseudonymous author of “The First First Fifteen Lives of Harry August,” which Julie and I both loved.
The author’s real name is Catherine Webb, who write her first book when she was 14, and who wrote seven more successful young-adult novels and a series of fantasy novels for adults using the pseudonym Kate Griffin. Pseudonyms keep a writer from being pigeonholed, but they have their own pitfalls.
Webb made the protagonist of “Harry August” male because a female protagonist would have inevitably made gender more of a focus of the novel than Webb wanted it to be.
The biggest reason for writing a male protagonist was the history of the 20thcentury itself. When Harry August is born, women still don’t have the vote; by the time he dies, the women’s rights movement is a loud voice fighting battles across the world. The change in society in that century is massive, but women were – and are still – discriminated against. Knowing what I do of my own politics, it seemed unlikely that I’d get through the book without being drawn massively into the world of gender politics and the changing battle for women’s rights throughout the century, and while this is vitally important and a story that must be told, the story of the kalachakra didn’t feel like the right way in which to tell it. Writing a male protagonist, therefore, allowed me to focus on the story of the Cronus Club that seemed most appropriate to the narrative.
Webb has training as a historian, and says writing a historical novel requires a mind-trick:
A great deal of the history wasn’t about big events – Harry August spends a lot of time dodging World War Two, for example – but about zooming in on little things that made the time come alive. Thus, 1936 would not be described by someone living in it as ‘a year when war became inevitable’ since in 1936, war wasn’t inevitable and no one without the burden of retrospect would think of it in terms of war, whatever history has to say on the subject now. Rather, it is a year of jazz, economic recovery and the rise of ‘talkie’ movies. A generic knowledge might point to Charlie Chaplin as being active in this era; a quick internet search reveals the movies he made; a look at the movie of the year (Modern Times) shows that by then talkies were well underway; another click through gives the names of rival ‘talkie’ movies and fairly quickly, from just a general sense of what was happening in a decade, you have the kind of details of leading actors and popular musicians that can bring a year to life.
RamsesThePigeon explains the difference between men and women.
A modest proposal: Use -x on the end of gender-specific words, to make them gender-neutral. It starts with Mx replacing Mr. Ms Mrs. and Miss. Also, Latinx instead of Latino or Latina.
I like it, for many uses.
Ties in with something I’ve been thinking about recently: 60 or more years ago, gender was a primary characteristic in our interactions with each other. Now, most of the time, it’s not.
What I mean is that women were barred from most roles in society, particularly in the workplace. So your gender determined what kind of job you could have – if you had a job at all – and the types of interactions you’d have with other people. A man dealing with other men behaved differently than men dealing with women.
Now, most roles are open to both women and men, and we deal with people as a function of their role rather than their gender. I’m a business technology journalist; if I’m interviewing someone for an article, I’ll treat them the same way regardless of race or gender (other than the very rare cases where the article focuses on their race or gender). And the same is true for me trying to make a hotel reservation, getting tech support, talking with someone at the park about dogs, or whatever.
Yes, if I am dealing with an attractive woman, I’m aware of that. But that information is compartmentalized. It doesn’t effect how I deal with them.
I expect Mx instead of Mr. Mrs. Miss Ms. etc. will be extremely unpopular among folks who are perpetually wetting the bed about the terrors of “political correctness.”
Women in tech are always female-first. No matter where they go, they’re the face of women in tech, even where they don’t want to be, writes Nellie Bowles at The Guardian:
The Silicon Valley season premiere panel was eight men and one woman, and anyone could predict what would happen.
The interviewer onstage asked each man questions about the popular HBO show satirizing Silicon Valley’s tech boom. He asked the creator, Mike Judge, what inspired the show; asked a main character whether he knew it would be such a hit; asked an actor how much his comedic riffs got into the final cut. And then he turned to the one woman on stage, Amanda Crew:
“So Amanda, what is it like – this show is obviously a lot of guys – what’s your experience as an actress in this type of situation and also representing the females of Silicon Valley here?”
There it is.
I’ve never felt more gendered than since I started covering tech. I certainly like being a woman, but I wouldn’t consider it my primary identifier or interest. In Silicon Valley, one does not have that luxury. A woman in Silicon Valley, even one who’s just visiting for the night, is very specifically female – representative of women and there to talk about women. It’s by dint of scarcity (how odd to find her there!) but it’s deeper than that.
Monica Rogati, a data scientist, coined something she called the Bechdel test for tech conferences. It is a measure of whether women are truly being represented at an event. The requirements: 1) two women speaking 2) on the same panel 3) not about women in tech.
After covering tech for five years, I think I’ve seen it maybe twice. More typical is something akin to the upcoming Paypal panel called “Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace”, which boasts a grand total of four men and zero women.
Meet the men of PR: ‘It is a different world for us’ [Yuyu Chen – Digiday]
It can get lonely for a guy in PR.
One senior exec with more than 15 years experience has often found himself to be the only man in the room. He recalls one meeting in particular when, while waiting for things to get started, a female colleague gushed about Tory Burch. Others joined in. “I had no idea what in the world they were talking about,” he said. “She responded, ‘You don’t know what Tory Burch is?’ And the rest of the women were like, ‘Really?’”
Sure, the smallest violin in the world plays the saddest song for this fellow. And yet, at some of the companies he’s worked for, he was often excluded from happy hour because the rest of his colleagues wanted a girls night out. He’s been left out of office perks, like manicures, when there was no macho equivalent.
I’m curious what my friends in PR think of this.
I have no idea who Tony Burch is. I don’t remember ever hearing the name before.
‘Bathroom law’ puts North Carolina governor in crossfire of GOP civil war [James Hohmann – The Washington Post]
The bathroom law isn’t just unfair to trans people. It’s ridiculous, and its supporters are insane. Trans people aren’t preying on children or anybody else in women’s bathrooms. It doesn’t happen. It’s an imaginary threat.
And that’s why I’m a Democrat. The Democrats are wrong but the Republicans are fucking nuts.