Weekend Reads #192

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From Estructuras Transformativas by Maria MartinezCañas

Weekend Reads

What if this is just the way things are now? (Culture Study)

Mail is going missing at Boston University. One mother went searching for answers. (NBC News)

The surprising thing about being an empty nester. (Cup of Jo)

Quinta Brunson, the bright light. (Essence)

My garden of absolutely no delight. (New York Times)

Idaho’s new anti-abortion law offers cash bounties to rapists’ family members. (Slate)

The rough, rough road of gentle parenting. (Gloria)

An innovative cooking method Is making mealtime a lot more enjoyable for people with dementia. (Washingtonian)

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Love to see Representative Katie Porter's relatable style being featured. (The Cut)

All pandemic long, scientists brawled over how the virus spreads. Droplets! No, aerosols! At the heart of the fight was a teensy error with huge consequences. (Wired)

The U.S. is nearing 1 million recorded COVID-19 deaths without the social reckoning that such a tragedy should provoke. Why? (The Atlantic)

Healthcare…can't live with it….can't live without it. (Ijeoma Oluo: Beyond the Book)

Angela Davis on the power of protest: ‘We can’t do anything without optimism’. (The Guardian)

Wish you could use your Airpods with that airplane screen or with the treadmill at the gym? How about using wireless headphones with your favorite gaming device? Wish you and another could watch the same movie on your iPad at the same time with your own separate earbuds? Then I have the device for you.

One year after Atlanta: how Asian women heal when misogyny and racism endure. (Elle)

I love Lizzo—but body positivity isn’t enough to fight racialized misogyny. (Ms.)

I'm done being your model minority. (New York Times)

The bat mitzvah turns 100. It marks more than a coming-of-age for Jewish girls. (NPR)

How to murder a good idea with conventional wisdom. (In These Times)

The most haunting truth of parenthood. (The Atlantic)

Mourning our parents can start before they die. Here’s how to cope with anticipatory grief. (Washington Post)

I can't sleep through the night. I continue to doomscroll. The return to normal seems like it's maybe bullshit. (Esquire)

I'm someone who prefers brights and jewel tones to pastels, but this spring the softer colors just are so darn pretty! Pair with faded jeans, stone-colored relaxed chinos and shorts, white denim and linen, and gold jewelry. Switch out the blush for a bronzer and focus on brows in place of eyeshadow for a look that welcomes the warmer weather.

how to style faded jeans

one (XS-XL) | two (XS-XXL) | three | four | five | six (on sale) | seven (0-24) | eight | nine (0-20 with petite and tall) | ten | eleven | twelve (1X-3X; link for XS-XL) | thirteen (S/M-L/XL) | fourteen

And speaking of faded jeans, a few great styles I saw this week. For more suggestions on denim for spring, check out my article on the three denim trends to consider this spring that will last more than one season.


turning red movie poster

Like many parents, last Friday we as a family watched Turning Red, the latest Pixar movie available on Disney+. The movie is about a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl who is a pretty typical middle schooler except for the fact that when she gets emotional (like most kids her age), she turns into a giant red panda.

turning red movie bathroom scene
Oh. My. God. Are those PADS on that bathroom counter? Won't someone think of the CHILDREN?!?!

Turning Red has gotten a LOT of press for what is about ten minutes of the entire film – talk about periods. You know that thing that happens to half the world's population and most any mammal born with female reproductive organs? That thing that happens to most bodies with a uterus and needs to happen so that we can continue the human race? Yeah, that thing is causing this movie to be boycotted and hated and seen as inappropriate for the children who wouldn't be on the planet if it weren't for the wombs that carried them having the ability to experience said periods.

turning red movie
What horrible degenerates destroying the youth of America with their filthy thoughts

And if you haven't seen the film, you'd think the entire film is coated in menses or something. But really, it's two short moments in a film that well represents a mother/daughter relationship especially in Chinese culture, being a young teen, embracing your emotions and uniqueness, getting crushes, and the power of friendship.

turning red 4town poster
Fun fact: all the songs performed by 4*Town in the film were by Billie Eilish and Finneas

I personally was overwhelmed by this fever dream of a movie. It's so over the top. I mean, a kid turns into a giant panda which of COURSE means hijinks ensue, but there's no news or issue with it beyond in her family and other close relationships? And near the end… just imagine if Godzilla arrived at the Hollywood Bowl during a One Direction concert and destroyed the facility and then passed out in the middle and Harry Styles crooned to its body to help it turn into a middle-aged woman That's really weird, right? Well it's not that far off from what happens in Turning Red.

turning red movie
I believe I would have the same face if my mom read my middle school journal.

But my 13-year-old loved Turning Red, and she's the audience it is for. And honestly, I think it's for kids younger than she as well. Some may go over their heads, but don't most Disney films have parts that go over the heads of their audience? And if you think that your child is too young or the wrong gender to see a film that mentions menstruation, I gotta say, you're perpetuating the patriarchy.

turning red movie friends
I feel like these same kids were eating flaming hot Cheetos on my back deck last weekend

There's nothing wrong with what happens to almost all the people reading this, and if we keep making it something taboo or an inappropriate topic based on age or gender, we'll continue to be disregarded by medical professionals and pay tax on a necessity and be held down and back by those who consider our bodies lesser than. Those who hold us down wouldn't exist if it weren't for our ability to bleed once a month, and our younger generations should be taught that.

For Your Entertainment

Summer of 2019, I went to the Firefly music festival with my friend Nicole. I was in the best health of my adult life, feeling strong and free with a dear friend who is also a live music lover. We were two decades older than the majority of the attendees and we didn't care, we had a BLAST. We rocked the fest, grown-ass woman style. We stayed hydrated, we went VIP, we slept in a hotel, we splurged for pedicabs, we stood rail for amazing shows.

And one we were rail for was Tank and the Bangas, and they melted my face. I only casually knew their music, but that mid-day performance blew me away and made me a forever fan. Tank and the Bangas' next album is coming out in May but here is a single to tide you over until it's released:

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. “My baby daughter, who has managed to become a college freshman despite being born five seconds ago….” is perhaps the best line about parenting I’ve ever read.

  2. I haven’t seen Turning Red yet, but I was at the zoo this weekend and the red panda is the new celebrity animal. Everyone was skrieking, “It’s Turning Red!” Zoos always bring mixed feelings for me, but the positive response was encouraging to see.

  3. Watching the drama unfold around Turning Red has been unbelievable. From the “unrelatable” comment via a 3rd rate white male cinema reviewer to Fundamentalists throwing up their collective hands over the “sorcery” (seen Frozen or Raya or really name one Disney movie without magic?) and *clutches pearls* a child rebelling against her mother (that never happens!), it’s been quite a ride. I am so grateful for this movie, making people think about how we approach puberty and being female, and it opens so many opportunities for conversations (pink tax, anyone?)

  4. I took the red panda to mean puberty in general, right? (Becoming hairy, smelly etc…) So even if periods were part of it, I think the metaphor can still be beneficial to those without periods too.

    As a child of immigrant parents who had her first one towards the end of 10 years old & was utterly mortified by it (partially because of my parents but also because my school did not have the resources for me to continue using the student bathrooms during ‘that’ time), I can understand how it might look like a lot to someone on the outside (who didn’t have to deal with the deep amount of shame & ‘signalling readiness for marriage’ that my new bodily functions brought me). Even if my parents weren’t backwards enough to *actually* marry me off then, I was no longer allowed to socialise with boys & was now given more ‘grown up’ tasks to do around the house – at 10/11 years old!

    My life changed that day, & not for the better, mind you… So seeing someone reconcile with that part of themselves so young (instead of hiding any evidence of it, like my own mother) is what people like me need. Representation matters, after all – not just racially, but for the everyday human experience, too.

  5. I am horrified by the article on new abortion laws in the US which will only force poor women into backyard abortions like the old days.

    I sincerely hope that this trend does not appear in Australia, where I live, like so many US trends do.

    Dear God in heaven!

  6. Thankfully the outrage against Turning Red hasn’t made it to NZ, or at least the circles I move in! I’d like to say that it’s ridiculous, but that would diminish the insidious nature of such comments. As you say, menstruation is natural and necessary and should be recognised and understood not perpetually brushed under the carpet. For real. My husband and I watched Turning Red and loved it. Fever dream is a great way to describe it!

    As ever, your curated list of articles issimultaneously right up my alley and inclusive of new to me thinking. Thank you

  7. I love WR—thank you for continuing to do this! My spring break starts today, so I’m going to take my time reading through these articles. Thank you, though, for not pretending that Covid didn’t happen, that Covid hasn’t been awful, that Covid is over, & that we still must deal with the aftermath of it. That Atlantic article about the huge number of deaths & the attitude towards them—heartbreaking. I live in a rural Southern state ruled by Republicans, so as you can imagine, it’s been bad here (based on our population), but our state government’s attitude has been to worry about the economy & little else. Our Republican legislators actually passed laws recently banning mask mandates, banning vaccination requirements, & limiting our ability to move to virtual school if Covid numbers were high enough. I’m exhausted & disheartened by all the ignorance but also by all the cruelty towards looking after our fellow men/women. All this to say, I appreciate WO for your great info about all things fashion but also for being real with us.

  8. We loved Turning Red! Many Asian films have elements of fantasy, like Over the Moon and Abominable, and the panda scenes in this film were similar. That plus the mix of bright colors, lot of sound, plenty of action, and just overall “bigness” is what makes them so beautiful to watch! The metaphor of the Godzilla-like creature crushing everything in sight, because the mom didn’t learn to cope with her anger (and other emotions), was perfect. Agreed with the age recommendation: My 7 yo (almost 8) understood very much what the pandas represent, and how and why Meilin takes a different path and figures out how to cope with and even celebrate her panda. Admittedly my kid goes to a therapist weekly to learn emotional regulation skills and we frequently talk about our different inner parts, so she was primed to see it that way. But other than us explaining a few things related to 13 year old girls, it was fine with parental guidance and some debriefing.

  9. My family enjoyed Turning Red.
    As a European immigrant I relate to the fact that so many things that are normal for other cultures seem strange, over the top or unrealistic for North Americans from family dynamics, way of parenting and what is considered socially acceptable or not.

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