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Weekly Reading: The best longreads all in one place

Friday 16th June 2017

Our weekly recap highlighting the best feature stories from around the internet


This week BuzzFeed discuss Kim Kardashian's impact on the representation of pregnancy in the media.

Photo: AFP

How Kim Kardashian Pushed The Boundaries Of Celebrity Pregnancy, by Anne Helen Petersen, BuzzFeed

"New motherhood is often depicted as something darling: sweetly sleeping babies on all crisp white sheets and gurgling babies in the bath. But childbirth is a messy, primal process: consider the afterbirth, the leakage of breast milk, the caked gunk scraped from the newborn’s body, the blood and screaming, and the fact that for so long, so many otherwise healthy women died in the process of giving birth."

Grow Up, by Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

“It’s in Carly Rae Jepsen’s bangs and her pre-sexual chirpiness. It’s in seeing pre-adulthood as a utopian realm of freedom and a purer type of being. That purity is sexual and political and economic: Women and women’s media who obsess over teen girl culture are in a sense obsessing over a version of themselves that does not have to live as a cog in capitalism and does not (in this fantasy) have to contend with reproductive choices. The teen girl is ever exhorted to “just be herself.” The adult woman has no equivalent option: She must find herself, find love, find money, manufacture healthy babies, find the lost nubile beauty that she left behind at cheerleading tryouts.”

The Long, Lonely Road of Chelsea Manning, by Matthew Shaer, The New York Times

“As far back as Chelsea Manning can remember, to her earliest days in Crescent, on the far edge of the Oklahoma City metro area, she suffered from a feeling of intense dislocation, something constant and psychic that she struggled to define to herself, much less to her older sister, Casey, or her parents, Brian and Susan. During one of our interviews, I mentioned that I heard a clinical psychologist compare gender dysphoria to a “giant, cosmic toothache.” Manning flushed. That was it exactly, she agreed: “Morning, evening, breakfast, lunch, dinner, wherever you are. It’s everywhere you go.”’

One Woman’s Story of Reporting Her Rape In New Zealand, by Anonymous, Vice

“I was raped on the 2nd of January, 2016. I went out with friends, and woke up at 2am to find one of them had come through an unlocked door in my house, and was in my bedroom. He raped me, and left. This is what happened next.”

Bella Thorne Doesn’t Care About Her Bad Reputation, by Kerensa Cadenas, Complex

“Despite all her confidence in front of the camera, there are tiny moments where she’ll gingerly place a hand on her latex-covered stomach or pull down on the sides of a high-cut bodysuit. In those moments she’s a regular, self-conscious 19-year-old, not one living her entire life in the spotlight. But then, just like that—snap—she’s bouncing right back into mugging for the camera, having her assistant take video for her Instagram and talking about her favorite TV shows (Sense 8 and Falling Water), movies (White Chicks and Fear—“That roller coaster scene, I could masturbate to that scene”) and astrology. She doesn’t believe in dating her own sign—she’s a Libra. But she insists that she always dates Geminis. “Geminis are my shit. I fucking love you two-faced guys.”’

Pornhub Is the Kinsey Report of Our Time, by Maureen O’Connor, The Cut

“Pornography trains us to redirect sexual desire as mimetic desire. That is, the sociological theory — and marketers’ dream — that humans learn to want what they see. In porn terms: If you build it, they will come. Women who want to see images of female sexual pleasure learn to use “massage” as a shortcut to find it, triggering a feedback loop that brings them more massage porn and encourages pornographers to make more of it.”

Getting Others Right, Teju Cole, The New York Times

“Sympathy is often not enough. It can be condescending. But taking on the identity of others, appropriating what is theirs, is invasive and frequently violent. I have heard appropriation defended on the grounds that we have a responsibility to tell one another’s stories and must be free to do so. This is a seductive but flawed argument. The responsibility toward other people’s stories is real and inescapable, but that doesn’t mean that appropriation is the way to satisfy that responsibility. In fact, the opposite is true: Telling the stories in which we are complicit outsiders has to be done with imagination and skepticism.”

Bill Cosby’s Defence and its Twisted Argument About Consent, by Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

“The spectrum between creepy and criminal can be confounding. There are plenty of men in this world who have, for a variety of reasons, become drawn to intimidated women, to impersonal interactions, and to sex obtained under circumstances in which the strongest sign of a partner’s enthusiasm is the lack of a hard no. The defense is arguing, essentially, that Cosby is simply one of these men, who are sad enough on their own. But Cosby is more than that; his own testimony suggests a pattern, the intention to incapacitate Constand, a consciousness of guilt.”

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