Just a little (link) love: Happy (hamster) Thanksgiving edition


Do you have a used baby carrier that could use a good home? Consider donating it to Syrian refugees. As a child of former refugees, I keenly feel the plight of these parents trying to survive and keep their families safe.


A $15,ooo bridesmaid dress? I’d probably save you the trouble of disowning me as a friend if you insisted on that and then said my inability to pay that kind of money for a DRESS reflected on the friendship. Cut your losses, I say, this person’s off the deep end.

It’s so easy to tell someone to bootstrap their way up and that education is the answer. This story gets at the heart of the struggle when you go to college and you’re not from that world.

Brand names don’t guarantee quality but if you’re going to spend money on clothes, why not spend on something well made?


Talented crafty friend Maryam sews for her daughter

If I hadn’t already spent most of my annual allowance on other people, I’d get myself this and this.

This spooked me AND pushed me to write up some of our spooky stories.


This study on the smell of newborns is mildly interesting but I’d like to see a much larger sample size that includes father and non father males.

Getting spam texts? We do. Report them to the FCC. It’ll take 10 minutes, probably, but it’s satisfying to think that maybe they’ll get in trouble.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Grey’s Anatomy on careers, negotiating, and the patriarchy


This is what a feminist looks like, sir.

Spoiler alert: If you watch Grey’s Anatomy and haven’t watched recent seasons, and care about spoilers, don’t watch this clip. I don’t think the post is specifically spoilery but I’d need an outside opinion on that.


I am HUGELY conflicted about this scene. Mind, I don’t watch Grey’s anymore, I used to have it on occasionally for background and it’s too much life drama for me to really get into. Plus I mainly enjoyed it because of Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh. Not the sex in the workplace, part, that weirds me out in a lot of ways, but their hard-driving, take no shit from anyone, I will prevail come hell or high water approach to work? Those were good.

And they weren’t caricatures, they were complex human women and I liked that.

On the one hand, I’m all about Bailey’s professional standards:

YES, you can only mentor someone for so long.
YES, a person must stand on hir own feet to know that ze can.
YES, you can be taught and taught and taught, but only YOU can actually put those lessons to use.
YES, you have to learn to work within the system in order to succeed in it and change it.
YES, part of the system dictates that Miranda has a fiduciary responsibility not to just give money away if it’s not asked for.

On the other hand, I’m not about that system AT ALL:

The system as it stands, where every individual must negotiate and with the internalized bias against women for negotiating, SUCKS.

I say this as someone who has negotiated in every single job she’s taken. I’ve fought for every raise and promotion to be at least close to commensurate to the value I brought. I make a decent salary. But the system SUCKS. The system is riddled with bias and is innately structured to benefit men, who are expected to negotiate, and discriminates against women who are penalized for negotiating.

Hell, according to the first study below, women are already penalized simply for being women at the point of application.

Ilana Yurkiewicz’s post Study shows gender bias in science is real. Here’s why it matters: scientists presented with application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position and who intended to go on to graduate school. Half the scientists were given the application with a male name attached, and half were given the exact same application with a female name attached. Results found that the “female” applicants were rated significantly lower than the “males” in competence, hireability, and whether the scientist would be willing to mentor the student.

So I’m firmly on the side of “everyone has to learn to stand on their own two feet”, but I’m also intensely uncomfortable with the assumption that women have an equal chance at the same money that men do, “just negotiate!”

It is NOT that simple.

Obviously, from the lower salaries that women were offered to begin with, they’d have to negotiate for a much larger amount just to catch up to what the men would ultimately receive.

And I’m tempted to say that Ellen Pao’s move to cut out negotiating entirely would be a good answer except that I don’t really trust companies to make a good, fair offer at the outset.

Getting back to that scene, my conflict stems from knowing that you have to challenged to get stronger. Sometimes being challenged results in your failure to rise, your failure to see it through, or your failure to even recognize there’s an opportunity to win in the challenge. Simultaneously, I rage at the fact that there are times it simply doesn’t matter how much you rise, or struggle, or fight, you lose because you fought, you lose because you fought as a women, you lose because it’s not “appropriate” to push back as a woman.

I don’t know what the answer is but I know this: there is a startling amount of bias in the current system and it sucks. And it sucks to see someone being admirable in her growth from a mentorship position to an authority position and realize that the line she’s holding for a damn good reason was drawn, and is redrawn every day, by people who never intended to level the playing field.

My feelings are complex on this.

More on this, if you really need the additional data

From the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Who Goes to the Bargaining Table? The Influence of Gender and Framing on the Initiation of Negotiation

From Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Not competent enough to know the difference? Gender stereotypes about women’s ease of being misled predict negotiator deception: “negotiators deceived women more so than men, thus leading women into more deals under false pretenses than men.”

Harvard Business School on How Benevolent Sexism Undermines Women and Justifies Backlash: “Benevolent sexists, more often than not, are also hostile sexists”

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Just a little (link) love: attack kitty edition



Kazuaki Kiriya

Want an egalitarian marriage? Pick a different spouse, suggests a new study of HBS grads.


Hunger Games and gender roles

Animal puns

TinyPrints has given me some exclusive Friends & Family discount codes for 40% off all cards and 30% off gifts. Let me know in the comments if you want one (include an email address).
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Reading this account of how chronic pain in women is ignored was infuriating. I remember being told my pain was all in my head as a kid and knowing even then how wrong the doctors were.

On the subject of pain, what the heck, placebo effect in the US? And oh how I wish I would respond to placebos!

Interesting article (though, oh, the typos!) on witness protection

The explicit promise the Government made was for the family’s physical safety. And it was offered in exchange for testimony that the Government ultimately never used. The witness program’s implied promise is rehabilitation.

It’s amazing what a difference the program made for this family. It saved their lives and gave them a way to build new ones.

This man understands what’s really up with MRAs, aka The League of Extraordinary Butthurt:

I am a man who respects women and has benefited from feminism, and I call out MRA bullshit. MRA gives men a bad name and holds inclusive feminism back.This is an important role for male allies to play, because men who are on the MRA fence are less likely to listen to a woman’s views on the subject—but they may listen to a man. Male allies can pull them back from the brink.

Plus, it’s safer for us men. Yes, I was inundated with hate for a few days after my TIME article, but there weren’t any rape threats or getting put on some “offender registry” to be a target of harassment. MRAs are far more vitriolic and violent toward women who call out their crap than they are to men.


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In Memoriam: Life after Mom

A decade ago, dementia stole my mother’s body, and gave it to a stranger. We buried her years later, but on this anniversary of Mom’s passing, the loss feels as fresh as though it happened yesterday.

I think about her, and miss her, every single day. Every time I sneeze, I hear her sneezing. Every day I look at my child, who is hir own person, I see the striking resemblance to hir forebears. Any day that I speak with relatives who remember her, that she loved dearly and would support and defend no matter what it cost her, I’m reminded that she loved me at least that much and more, even when I was a brat. Even when I was a petulant jerk and didn’t deserve it. Every time I learn something new with my Wee Warrior, I realize that she went through this with me or my sibling and understand a little better her hopes and fears and dreams as a parent.

I owe her for giving me life and, more, I owe her for fighting to teach us wisdom long before we needed or even understood it.

My soul may always bear the weight of her death, much as it bears the weight of my sibling’s life, but I am going to make an honest effort to honor her memory with gratitude each year, until I can remember her with joy, as Shelley does her mother.

She was my first and best teacher

I learned that being comfortable in your own skin is much more important than what others see. Make up was fine but she discouraged me from using it as a mask I’d eventually come see more as my face than myself, unadorned. But combing your hair once a day would (probably) be better than not. Were she alive today we’d probably still disagree on that last point.

I learned to protect myself, and my loved ones, fiercely, unapologetically, unremittingly.

I learned that my face was a mirror of my feelings. I could get it under control and make it my shield or refuse to and accept that that readability allowed others to make it a weapon. It was my choice.

I learned that people have to earn my trust and not all are worthy.

I learned that patience is, especially for our family, hard won, but a battle worth fighting within.

I learned that I’d rather fight til the death than be beholden to people who were not worthy of being in my life.

I learned that family is important but not all of them are worth sacrificing myself for. We disagreed on this in practice, she always sacrificed for her own family even when they repeatedly demonstrated they were awful. I would have done, and have, the same for her and Dad. I’d never do it for people as terrible as her siblings.

I learned that bringing your work home may be OK but not if it means making your spouse feel like their boss came home with them. And even if you are the boss at work, you’d better not play out that power differential at home lest you damage your partnership.

I learned that I’d far rather be alone my entire life than to settle for a mediocre partner in marriage. She wanted me to want a husband and a wedding but never asked me to pick someone to suit her.

I learned that we all have to get older, if we’re lucky, but we don’t have to stop having fun. Mom was the ultimate straight-faced sneak-prankster. When LB gets that mischievous glint in hir eye, I flash back to all the times we fought back giggles during the most solemn of events because of something Mom did or was about to do.

Do you have any fond memories of loved ones to share? Please do.

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