Tagged: working women
This week we’re featuring three poems by Maryann Corbett. Poetry editor Anna Lena Phillips asked for her thoughts on the poems and on the writing life; she shares them here. Please share your own thoughts about the poems in the comments section below.
“Art Song’s Chicken Wings” makes such a great conceit for “Stream.” How did the idea for the poem come to you?
Utter serendipity and plain fact. There really was, for many years, a billboard right near one of the entrance ramps to Interstate 94 that advertised for a local Asian restaurant whose proprietor’s name was Art Song. As a singer with some serious training, I have several basic books whose covers read “Arias and Art Songs.” Over many years in choruses, I’ve known many, many aspiring musicians who have had to give up their career dreams. Those streams of consciousness had a way of segueing one into the other.
You’ve used couplets of tetrameter to good effect in “Mean” as well as other poems, such as this one from Umbrella. The closeness—maybe I mean tightness, along with the really nice rhyme, make these poems the kind I want to pick up and hold, to see on a broadside (or a billboard,... more »more »
Do you know what it is to “flee”? Perhaps not, since all of your ilk are transfixed by screens and it’s doubtless difficult to animate a first-class flee, though I suppose some brainy little git is even now adjusting his quadrants and trying. You have no range yet, nor do you have the historical reach essential to the finer aspects of theatrical flight. Flouncing you do well enough. I’ve admired your overblown, hand-to-forehead imitation of Jo March’s triumph of overacting. The... more »
I’m a fan of Slate V’s Open Book: Writer’s on Writing—a collaboration between Slate and the NYU Creative Writing Program. Check out their most recent video interview of Jorie Graham in “Balancing Parenthood and Poetry.” I love the image of Graham rubbing her pregnant belly on Emily Dickinson’s grave!more »
A good friend of mine used to joke that “only boring women keep clean houses,” and being anything but boring myself, I have always vowed to pay someone to do my cleaning if I could ever afford to do so. But I got a rude awakening when I triumphantly posted in my Livejournal that I’m paying my new maid 500 ringgit a month for eight hours a week of labor. To see my actual cost, divide that by 3.5. When I posted that blog, I did so with the idea that my American friends would be jealous, a rare occasion because having a maid is one of the few perks of living in Malaysia. Instead, my friends informed that this 40-yr old woman will be make $4.46 an hour, making me a sweat shop slave driver. The money I am giving her is what she asked to be paid for the amount of work that she proposed to do, though, so what that amount meant hadn’t entered my mind. And I have the air conditioning on with NPR’s All Things Considered in the background. Surely she could do worse.
My conscience was unsettled, though, so I decided to check up... more »more »
I am a female pushing 30, who moved 300 miles away from the place I’ve always lived, and who finally, half a decade after graduating college, has embarked on what can tentatively be termed a “career.”
Yes, I am a publishing newbie, but I don’t feel terribly new. Honestly, sometimes I just feel fucking haggard. And I’ve only been here 4 months.
I have an advanced degree and hold numerous honors that would be too ostentatious to list here, but I swear they exist. For 3 years I helped manage and run a nonprofit organization. I co-founded a magazine, interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winners and artists and filmmakers, and edited countless manuscripts and articles. People in my old hometown knew who I was. I was occasionally quoted in the local paper in articles about the “local literary community.” The neighborhood sandwich shop knew my “regular” (turkey on wheat with American, lettuce, tomato, dollop of mayo). For a while, it seemed like I was moving up the ladder. Making the most of myself. Achieving my potential. Writing for a living. Receiving sandwiches without saying a word.
And now: I am back at the bottom of the totem pole in an entry-level position in a town where... more »more »
Judith Jones, at least to me, is one of those women in publishing. You know, those ones. You’ve heard their name somewhere, only you can’t remember where. Maybe on NPR? You know she’s responsible for something to do with…oh, cookbooks…publishing…you’re pretty sure she’s really important. Recently I picked up a copy of The Tenth Muse at the library feeling I ought to get to know a bit more about what this woman has done for publishing and also for cooking.
Suffice to say if there was a great discovery to be made, Jones quite likely had a hand in it. It was Jones who brought The Diary of Anne Frank to publication and, as if that weren’t enough of a career accomplishment, Jones who championed Mastering the Art of French Cooking into its publication. Jones chronicles the process of working with Julia Child to present a recipe for a French baguette because, at the time, no such thing was commercially available in the US, and both women believed French bread to be crucial to a fine French meal.
Jones’s memoir reads like a who’s-who of the genesis, not only of American cooking (Marion Cunningham. MFK Fisher, Edna Lewis, Jams Beard)... more »more »
I learned about Babes for Breastfeeding (BfB) in my latest eagerly awaited Fit Pregnancy magazine. The basic premise of the non-profit is to bring together “celebrities, corporations, foundations, fashion and advertising to create a cultural acceptance and celebration of breastfeeding” to help new moms feel less guilty and embarrassed about breastfeeding. They also offer advice about how to be successful, prepared, and informed.
All of this sounds great, but in spite of myself, I became enraged when reading Kim Acosta’s In the Spotlight article about the organization in Fit Pregnancy. Acosta says (citing the co-founder of BfB Bettina Forbes) “Lack of visible, positive role models and conflicting advice are two reasons many women don’t success at breastfeeding.” This comes right after the accusation that only 11% of women who gave birth in 2004 succeeded in breastfeeding exclusively until their infants were 6 months of age. “Women don’t need more pressure and guilt,” says co-founder of BfB Danielle Rigg, “they need to see people like themselves who incorporate nursing into their lives.”
In my opinion, the issues surrounding overall breastfeeding success have much less to do with the lack of glamorous breastfeeding role models than they do with socio-economic factors, like whether or not the mother has... more »more »
Brook Busey-Hunt went from working in a cubicle to stripping a la stage name Diablo Cody to blogging on The Pussy Ranch to writing a memoir called Candy Girl: A Year in The Life of an Unlikely Stripper all by the age of 28. It isn’t a traditional path for a screenwriter, but it’s the way this particular Midwest girl got to Hollywood – and her first film Juno comes out this week.
Juno might be one of the best films out right now for a number of reasons.
1. It is not a war film
2. It is not begging for an Oscar (although it might get nominated for a couple)
3. It is an indie film! We love indie films!
4. Killer soundtrack
But probably the best reasons are the lead actress, Ellen Page, and aforementioned Brook Busey-Hunt, who now goes by Diablo Cody, and who penned the script for this film. The premise of the film is pretty basic: high school girl gets pregnant, decides to keep the baby and then put it up for adoption. The boy who impregnates her is Michael Cera, from this summer’s blockbuster Superbad, and the adoptive parents are played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman. It sounds... more »more »
Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, and I love giving and receiving gifts. But after all the hassle my office has just gone through deciding how to give the gifts (yankee swap vs. secret santa), the merry has melted right out of the thing. There are so many rules to consider, so many feelings to potentially hurt. Like when the big boss takes the best gift out of the hands of the lowliest office worker, because that’s how you “play.” Or when the poor Jewish person is forced to trade gifts as a Secret Santa (my office elected to go with Secret Snowflake, instead). Or when someone opens your carefully selected, deprived-you-of-sleep yankee swap gift and says, “What kind of gift is this?”
Frankly, I could do without anything from my co-workers. It’s enough for me to take a few hours out of work, eat some good (enough) food from our contracted caterer, and chat with everyone. But some are very adamant about it; last year someone floated the idea that rather than give each other gifts, we collect gifts for a charity. Nice idea, was the response, but we should still do yankee swap, too (and we did,... more »more »
This year, for the second time in my writing life, I thought about participating in Nanowrimo.
When I did Nano before, in 2003, I wrote an awful 50,000 word genre novel. I didn’t pretend it was serious work, but I was proud of the accomplishment. There’s something intimidating about a novel–all that time, and all those words, namely–and in a month I had created one.
This year, working upwards of 60 hours a week, Nano just doesn’t seem feasible, at least if you are also trying to get some sleep.
While I spent the last week of October stressing about logistics–Could I do it? How would I carve the time out of my schedule to write? What shape would the novel I had in mind take, and how would I link its disparate pieces together?–I allowed an even larger, scarier question to form in my mind.
Was it still the best way to get my writing out there? Is the novel, in our current society, a valuable product? Is it the best use of my time, of my reach? Hardly new ideas, I know. While we’ve all been talking about print culture being dead and how no one ever buys novels anymore, we’re still... more »more »
So it has been a while since I’ve posted, but when you hear my story, you’ll forgive me.
I am pregnant with my first child (due April 30th), and though I am utterly thrilled, my husband and I didn’t exactly plan the pregnancy. Being the crazy person that I am, I decided that I would get a second (third??) job and work as hard as I could for as long as I could to make some extra cash..afterall, we all know how expensive babies are! So I was happily working an extra 15 hours a week for TripAdvisor, bringing in some dough, and feeling proud and capable.
But these things catch up with a person…especially when the first trimester of pregnancy makes you extremely tired all the time. I was walking home from the subway, rushing to be home in time to start my second job. It was dusk. I was using the only 10 minutes I’d had free all day to call a friend, and…dun, dun, duuuuun…I was hit by a car while crossing the street.
I got a concussion, some stitches in my face, a bruise on my hip and some nasty swollen, strained knees, but the little one was fine…protected... more »more »
In a WeNews article yesterday, correspondent Wency Leung reported on sex workers founding a brothel in Vancouver to help with the aid of “cleaning up the city” in time for the 2010 Olympic Games. Let’s try to put a dialogue of the politics of sex work aside (prostitution is legal in Canada but solicitation is not; while the co-op brothel if being founded by female sex worker advocates, the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter has voiced dissent on the subject along with escort agencies threatened by the potential competition). The tourist trade surrounding an international event must both represent the city/nation as being “civil” while offering an abundance of debauchery for actual visitors at night. Leung reminds us that an estimated 40,000 female sex workers traveled to Germany during this year’s soccer World Cup. National events like the Olympics become a spectacle, where gender, race, and social politics are perhaps forced to momentarily surface, which makes me wonder why sex workers in Vancouver are finding a safe place only when it’s fitting to national interest…more »
In the search for my own engagement ring and an ethical diamond, I came across a peculiar trend: the right hand ring. Ads and websites urge women to “celebrate your success” with a diamond ring worn on the right hand. (Now single women can join in the fun of owning a diamond and show their individuality and empowerment — through blind commercialism! That supports slavery!)
Like Art Editor Julia, I loathe ad campaigns that encourage pamper-spending for women. And obviously, the promotions occasionally insult women’s intelligence. This Generous Gems page actually tries to convince you that right hand rings are fitted differently from left-hand ones.
My personal annoyance aside, I think the most interesting part of this trend is the way that it equates marriage with a successful career. Right hand rings are supposed to showcase a woman’s monetary success, while presumably left hand rings showcase her skill as a mantrap.
I find this distinctly unsettling. Marriage and engagement rings are part of the private sphere and of a tradition that extends back through time, while careers are part of the public sphere, and for women at least, a relatively new concept. By extension, the right hand ring suggests that career women are married to their careers,... more »more »
In general, I’m not susceptible to reality TV (unless it involves cooking), but I have to admit that even though I don’t make a point of watching E!’s show The Girls Next Door, I find myself flipping to it during commercials with shocking frequency.
The show is “reality” fare that follows Hugh Heffner’s three girlfriends’ lives in the Playboy mansion. Of course the reality presented does not resemble the reality I live in, but is strangely compelling nonetheless.
So why do I, a self-proclaimed strident feminist, get sucked in?
In a certain way, the very substance-less nature of the program appeals to me — Kendra, Holly, and Bridget are doing exactly what popular culture tells our women to do:
- Define their value in relation to men;
- Consume, consume, consume;
- Spend a lot of time exercising, waxing bikini lines, putting on makeup, and vamping for men.
To watch the girls on screen is to see my psyche as I might be if I bought in to the standards of beauty and consumption that our culture elevates. For this reason, the show both fascinates me and sickens me.
On the other hand, the girls have each made shrewd calculations and sacrifices to get where she they are —... more »more »
Word in the fishbowl is that Jane magazine is folding. Jane was founded by Jane Pratt who also founded the defunct Sassy Magazine–a cult favorite among 80s teens. If Sassy was the edgy, sarcastic girl who developed before all the other 8th graders at the sleepover, Jane was the equally sarcastic, slightly jaded, tell-it-like-it-is best friend to the more mainstream women’s magazines out there. With Jane gone, there leaves a hole in the market, and a need for a fresh new voice from the modern American woman.
To me, this is the voice of a woman who enjoys kick boxing as much as salsa dancing, reading postmodern fiction as much as shopping for party dresses, and creating great art as much as appreciating certain pop culture guilty pleasures (SexyBack, what?) She’s the type of woman who will check her lipstick in the glass ceiling before smashing it with the stilettos she got on sale.
Who is this woman to you?more »
Isn’t it just common courtesy to offer your seat on public transportation to a pregnant woman who has just stepped on? I recently started taking the T to work again (for those of you who aren’t from Boston, that’s the subway), and boy did it make me angry when not one, but two pregnant women had to stand, attempt to hold on to the bar, juggle a briefcase, and try to protect their precious bellies from the jostling of the busy rush hour T traffic. I was standing, too, or I would have gladly given up my seat for them. But it amazes and disgusts me that so many commuters “pretend” not to notice (nose in a book, furiously texting on their PDA, or sitting with their eyes closed) when a pregnant woman gets on.
I swear I almost ripped a man’s head off this morning when he didn’t offer an obviously pregnant woman his spot. I gave him the evil eye and shook my head disdainfully at him, but he didn’t seem to notice that, either.
Is this view anti-feminist? Some men would say so. Afterall, why should they give up their spot for a woman? Isn’t it first come, first served... more »more »
Ever watch a flight attendant giving the safety spiel before takeoff and wonder what s/he’s really thinking? Well, now you can find out–or at least get a good idea.
Betty’s a flight attendant who puts together a fabulous little podcast about flying the friendly skies. She’s upbeat and frank, and great at capturing the strange, irresistible, sometimes gross details of the job (like the mysterious “water” that dripped on a couple of passengers for an entire flight. Only after they’d landed did the flight attendants realize that someone had put their two pet ferrets in the overhead bin.).
The background music is occasionally a tiny bit repetitive–but other than that, the show is well-made and entertaining, and it gives you that satisfying feeling of having just heard a good bit of gossip.
For those of you who like it analog, this new book by Kathleen Barry talks about the history of the profession from its ambiguous beginnings to the present. For more info on Femininity in Flight, and an interview with the author and with Betty, check this episode of the Diane Rehm show.more »