The discrepancy between how women and men are perceived in the workplace in our society is out of control.

For every “intimidating” a woman gets, a man gets “confident”.

For every “stressed”, men receive “focused”.

For every woman who “needs” to “remember self care”, a man is simply “career driven”.

There’s nothing wrong with a woman who doesn’t smile constantly, make small talk in the halls, or appears stoic or busy.

There’s nothing wrong with a woman who prioritizes her career over making a family.

We need to stop placing priority on the number of social relationships women have within the workplace and focus on the work they do in the time they aren’t “being outgoing”.

Allow us to have a business-like demeanor, and accept that we aren’t at work to be gentle and sweet. We are there to climb the steep ladder we’re presented with.

All you working girls who don’t give a shit how many coworkers find you “approachable” - rock that intimidating power you bring to your career field.

9

Friendly reminder that an episode of Pokemon anime involved a native, Hawaiian family being insistently harassed and terrorized by a rich, white business man to sell their property. Throughout the episode things line up well enough that they gain enough proof and support from everyone around them to get said troublemaker arrested promptly. An even bigger moral victory is that Kiawe himself manages to punish the man with a defeat in a Pokemon battle in a rematch after losing previously. Truly, it’s things like this that remind me that the Pokemon world is meant to be (for the most part) a progressive utopia of openness and justice for all.

All the Ways Your Rich Friends Will Not “Get It”

I’m a kid from a blue-collar, working-class background, doing my master’s degree at an Ivy League school. I’m incredibly grateful to be here, and I fully understand that this is an opportunity most people of my upbringing never get to have. Not everyone here is from a rich background - there are other working-class kids, getting by on loans, scholarships and part-time jobs. But for the most part, the people around me grew up very differently than I did, and although I love my friends, there are things about my life and my college experience that they’re just never going to get. Things like:

Money can buy good grades. My wealthier friends aren’t slipping the TAs a wink and a $100 bill on their way out of the midterm, but being wealthier does make it easier to earn better grades. I have to work a part-time job in order to afford my rent, while my rich friends are abstaining from work so they can focus on school. That’s 20 hours per week that they can spend on school, while I’m at my job. Our school is in a neighborhood in Manhattan that I can’t afford to live in - I’m spending at least ten hours per week commuting, while they live steps from campus. That’s all extra time that they can spend studying, or just relaxing and getting the sleep they need to be mentally alert. Many of my friends pay to have a laundry service pick up their dirty laundry and bring it back clean and folded (which is common in NYC). I can’t afford this, so instead I spend hours lugging laundry up and down five flights of stairs, because I can’t afford to live in a building with an elevator. I cook and prepare my own meals, they eat mostly takeout. And so on, and so forth. My life is filled with hours of work, chores and annoyances that they don’t have to deal with, and all of it cuts into my time. We may be taking the same classes and doing assignments that are the same difficulty, but I’m going in with a 40-hour per week handicap that they can afford not to have. 

“Follow your dreams” is a risk some of us can’t afford to take. My old roommate spent long hours agonizing over whether she wanted to major in art history or creative writing. For me, that would be like asking if I preferred a pet dragon or a unicorn. My biggest passion in life is fiction writing, but I can’t justify spending tens of thousands of dollars to study it - I’m paying for my education by myself, and I had to choose a field that would let me make enough money to pay back my student loans and afford my own rent after graduating. My friends can focus on the things that really interest them, without worrying about future career prospects. A lot of them are using their college years to “find themselves” and plan to take some time off to travel the world or work on their art after graduating. Many of them have parents with connections in hard-to-access industries like fashion, publishing, television, or the art world. They can take unpaid internships and go for their shot at a one-in-a-million dream job - if it doesn’t work out, they can move on to something else, no harm done. If I put tens of thousands of dollars into being an author and it doesn’t pan out for me right away, I’m in deep shit. I’m happy for people who are able to follow their true passions, and I wish more people were able to do so without fear, but I’m tired of the pitying looks and condescending lectures I get when I tell my friends why I’m not in school for my greatest passion. I didn’t make that decision because I’m boring, or because I don’t believe in myself hard enough - I made that decision because my parents co-signed on all my student loans, and they could lose their house if I can’t find a job. 

Your “funny mishap” is my “life-changing disaster”. My friends talk about the time that they accidentally got drunk and spent all their rent money at a strip club, or the time that they slept through their final and had to re-take a class. For them, these are funny stories. For me, this would be a life-defining catastrophe that could change the course of my 20s and beyond. If I blow all my rent money, I can’t call my parents to beg for more - I could get evicted, or ruin my credit score. Best-case scenario, I’d probably have to take on so many extra hours at work that I could barely finish my schoolwork. If I sleep through a final and fail a class, I will lose my scholarship and be unable to complete my degree. To my friends, I come across as uptight and overcautious, but I don’t have a choice. The same mistake carries much greater consequences for me than it does for them, and they have a hard time understanding that. I wish that I could be carefree about money, and laugh about accidentally getting drunk and spending $500 on Amazon, but I can’t. It can be hard to tell the difference between “oh shit, this really sucks” and “oh shit, I’m going to be dealing with the consequences of this for years” when you’ve never been on the latter end of the spectrum. Again, I love my friends, and I’m happy that they don’t have to have these stresses in their lives, but it’s hard when they attribute my cautiousness to a personality flaw, and not to the financial reality of my life. 

Having no safety net is more stressful than you can imagine. Many of my friends insist that they aren’t really rich - rich people own private jets and private islands and party with celebrities, while their parents just own a modest condo in Manhattan and a sensible vacation home in Connecticut. They’ve grown up around people who are much richer than they are, and they’ve come to think of themselves as middle-class, even though many of their parents easily make double or triple the federal upper boundary for the middle class. But they don’t have unlimited money. They don’t have their own 6-figure bank accounts or unrestricted use of Daddy’s black credit cards.  If they run out of money, they will have to call home and ask for more, which will be awful for them - their parents will probably yell at them, and make them feel shitty, and give them a huge unwanted lecture about responsibility. It could have a huge toll on their mental health, and that really sucks. But if I run out of money, I’m just kind of screwed. My parents cannot help me, even if they desperately want to. The best they can do is let me move into the guestroom of their home, in a desperately poor rural area where the best job available is cashier at the grocery store in town, because it pays $2 above minimum wage. I wouldn’t be homeless, but I would almost definitely default on my student loans, launch my credit score straight into the sun, and waste months or years trying to get back on my feet in an area with no opportunities. If my friends screw up, they have to face their parents’ scorn and disappointment. If I screw up, I have to face my entire life coming apart at the seams. Living with that constantly hanging over your head can affect your entire life, and it really does feel like you’re trying to walk across a tightrope dozens of feet up, with no net to catch you if you fall. 

Once again, I love my friends dearly, and I am grateful to have every single one of them in my life. They have made my life and my time at graduate school infinitely better with their humour, their wit, their friendship and their sympathetic ears. I am in no way blaming them for the way they grew up - they didn’t choose their lives any more than I did, and many of them appreciate how lucky they are. But there’s still a gulf between me and them, and it’s one that can be surprisingly difficult to cross. My rich friends love me, but they don’t understand me. They don’t understand that money isn’t just an aspect of my life - it shapes my entire life, for better or for worse, and I don’t have the luxury of forgetting that it exists for even a moment. My rich friends love me, and they try. But they just don’t get it. 

restorative things

There are a bunch of people for whom bubble baths, scented candles, and chocolate is self-care. 

There are a bunch of people for whom early-morning yoga, vegetable smoothies, and aggressively minimalist redecorating is self-care.

There are a bunch of people for whom playing with kids is self-care, and a bunch of people for whom dressing up and going to a fancy restaurant where no kids are allowed is self-care, and a bunch of people for whom sleeping in late is self-care and a bunch of people for whom getting up early is self-care. 

Lately I’ve been moving from ‘yeah, humans are vast and varied’ to a sense that there’s a similar underlying thing in all of these cases.

I think something tends to be more restorative - to be an activity that leaves you more energized than you started it, more okay than when you started it - the more of these criteria it meets:

- restorative things are often things you associate with being prioritized, valued and valuable. This is why some people find chores restorative - it hits ‘valued and valuable’f or them - while other people find them draining - their association with doing chores is being incapable or not-good-enough or ordered-around,

- restorative things are usually things that don’t draw on the resources you feel constrained on - if you’re tired from being on your feet all day, running sure won’t do it, and if you’re lonely and isolated then bubble baths probably won’t help. Dong stuff that causes you anxiety won’t often be restorative.

- restorative things tend to fit into your understanding of what a good life for you looks like. early-morning yoga works for people who find it empowering to think of themselves as someone who does early-morning yoga. prayer and attending religious services tends to work for people who are like ‘my best self attends religious services’ and not so well for people ho are like ‘ugh I’m supposed to do that’ or ‘doing that just reminds me how much I disagree with my community about what my best self looks like’

- restorative things are pleasant in their own right. It’s astonishing how often this one gets passed-over. If you do not enjoy something - if the experience of doing it isn’t a good experience - then it’s really unlikely to be restorative. Making yourself do yoga when you find every minute awful will not be restorative. It might sometimes be valuable but it won’t be restorative. (Things that are unpleasant to start, but pleasant and rewarding once you’re doing them, can be restorative).

I think there are a couple takeaways from this framework. One is hopefully to make it easier to identify things that’ll be restorative for you. The second is that people attach a lot of moral valence to which activities other people find restorative - accusing people of being consumerist or selfish or lazy or privileged - and I’m hoping that there might be less of it if people are aware that the things that work for them won’t work for everyone. (Related to that,of course privilege plays a role in which things you experience as making you valued and valuable, and which things you conceive of as being part of your good life. So it’s a terrible idea to try to impose one version of ‘self-care’, like employers signing employees up for exercise programs in the name of self-care; people of a different class background get particularly screwed by this.)

Today, we mourn George H. W. Bush, a true American patriot whose brave acts included failing to acknowledge HIV/AIDS until it ravaged the gay community, allegedly groping at least eight women and nominating Clarence Thomas (another accused sexual abuser) to the Supreme Court, engaging in race baiting tactics to win elections, ramping up the “War on Drugs,” and using propaganda to drop countless bombs on civilians in the Middle East.