Jezebel notes that Molly Templeton, a former alt-weekly editor (w00t!) now cast into the cold sea of self-employment with the rest of us, was really annoyed at the latest NYT Book Review cover. Have a look at it and see if you can figure out why.
(There are several options here, I suppose. Why are they all about writing? Will Dave Eggers ever stop being a Thing? How have we stumbled into this precious little hall of mirrors, and why is it so yellow?)
Anyway, unlike the New York Times, Templeton is under the impression that women can do more things besides cook and breed, and has started a Tumblr of How To articles written by women to prove it. From her inaugural post:
I’m sure there’s something you know how to do. I’m sure there are things your many brilliant friends know how to do, or something you could write about that has to do with doing a thing (most of the NYTBR pieces were, of course, book reviews).
Basically, if there is something you know how to do, and you're one of those women-people, Molly Templeton would like for you to write a how-to essay about it for her blog. Which shall stand as a glorious beacon in the night, shining with the deeply inspiring light of Women Doing Things.
So far, here are the things that the avowed women of Molly Templeton's blog can do: Read Infinite Jest, do public readings, write songs, dump their therapists, feel really really guilty about the heavy responsibility of speaking for other people (!), clean oil paintings with their own spit, love their mothers, light fires, look like they're working when they're doing fuckall, and be fisherwomen.
I found an excerpt from that last one, about the "wild and womanly"* fisherladies and how best to emulate them, particularly striking:
You have nothing to prove, and you have everything to prove. It is the paradox of being a woman, and of being part of a species that loves to categorize itself into small and confining subspecies. You are doing this for yourself, whether for your career or for the experience, not for anyone else. Yet you paradoxically have suddenly come to represent any woman wishing to do something seen as beyond her physical/mental/natural capacity.
There's a lot of adverbs in there, so I could be wrong, but I think this tortured passage might be some sort of cri de coeur about how vastly irritating it is to have to go around in life being a goddamned ambassador for three and a half billion other people all the time.** In a blog whose entire purpose for existing is to represent all thing-doing women everywhere. What?
Not gonna lie: Everything about this -- from the NYT's insufferable twee-ness, to Jezebel's vacant signal-boosting, to the earnest curation of Things Women Can (And Do) Do as an antidote to misogyny everywhere -- annoys me right down to the depths of my blighted ovaries.
*AUGH, MAKE IT STOP.
**I have to admit. It's pretty vastly fucking irritating.