Things I read (mostly) this week: 11/3

I missed last week because I played hooky to celebrate halloween the little nieces, so this week you get extra content! Lucky for you. Themes in this dispatch: loss, women in tech and the arts, and elections.

+ This piece on kindness was widely shared this week, and for good reason. If you are struggling with a loss, or have a sick parent then this’ll lighten your aching heart some.

+ I loved this piece about what it’s like to be a black woman in tech. Anyone who’s ever been the token anything will relate to this story, but I also encourage men to read this to learn to recognize some of the signs and be more empathetic to the women facing them. Related, the pitfalls of being a male ally.

+ How being 41, pregnant, and single is the new normal.

+ This travel story on flying kites for Dia de los Muetos at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala came out of nowhere, crazy because I wasn’t looking for anything when I picked up this magazine and I happen to be going to this exact part of Guatemala in a couple weeks for a yoga + writing retreat. Even if you don’t have any trips coming up, it’s a well-written rumination on how different cultures celebrate death.

+ Listened to how women stopped coding in large numbers in the 1980’s.

+ Dads talking to their daughters about body parts and how to be supportive as girls grow up.

+ I’m going to nom on these delicata squash and black bean enchiladas, only with salsa verde pro favor

+ Curating art for characters is a lovely series. The art picked for Amelié is pitch perfect.

+ 10 Female Dataists you should know

+ A teen (girl!) comes up with the best algorithm for fighting cyberbullying I’ve seen so far. Research so far shows it is over 90% effective in reducing hate speech messages. Investors, where are you? Give this kid all the moneys.

Ugh, Elections amiright:

“It was demoralizing to watch some truly pro-woman candidates like Wendy Davis lose on Election Day as other candidates win by ignoring or outright disparaging the very feminist values that enabled them to become politicians in the first place. As I watched the Republican women deliver their victory speeches, I wondered: Has she never been on birth control? Has she never had a pregnancy scare? Has she never had a friend threatened by a man with a gun? Has her life experience really taught her that everyone ignores race and gender and judges each other on the merits?” – Why the Midterms were bad for Women

Interestingly, I finished Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale last week, which is a strange book to read around the time of an election. It’s about a futuristic dystopian, heavily militarized, and highly physically repressed American society where white women (there are no openly gay, trans, or people of color in the story, because according to the epilogue, they were “phased out”) are ENTIRELY subservient to men upon threat of extreme exile or death. This book taught me to imagine how it could be possible that slowly and steadily people could be stripped of choice until after a few generations, no one remembers what it was like to be able to do anything, much less vote. Written by Atwood in 1985, it’s still quite relevant as this week’s election presents no major gain for women and other marginalized groups. As much as a downer as this book was, I think it’s an important story in remembering why civic duty exists in the first place. And to bring this book’s message beyond women’s studies classes where it’s probably most often discussed, to continue to fight for equal rights for all. As I was mulling this over, I saw this excellent explainer on Facebook, which gives me a huge dose of hope that these election losses can be improved on in 2016. So, there’s at least a hopeful note to end on!

Until next time, friends!

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