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My Sophomore Effort

the pressure is on for this second column…

I hit publish on that first column about four hours ago (at the time of writing) and to stop myself from obsessing over reader numbers and posting too much on social media – I actually made a LinkedIn post about this column – I’m starting column number two, my sophomore effort.

On Instagram, I attempted a joke comparing my second column to Courtney Love’s second album, Live Through This, and said my sophomore effort would be a review of hers.

Well, here it is: I like Live Through This, however, I like Celebrity Skin (third album) more and cannot compare it to Pretty On The Inside (first) which is beautiful in its raw, under-produced quality. My favourite song from Live Through This is Jennifer’s Body. But that might have to do with the movie Jennifer’s Body starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried.

More on misunderstood women later on…


introvert vs extrovert

Someone – yes, a man – once told me I’m ‘as approachable as the sun.’ Which I found confusing because unless the sun is discussed literally, as a flaming star, it is generally considered good and pleasant. Was I sunny and warm, or a freezing hot hostile giant?

Turns out I’m the latter. In that man’s opinion, which like a cow’s is moo.

I know I am sunny and warm to those who bring me peace. And if someone thinks I’m unapproachable then they’re just emotionally intelligent enough to recognise I don’t want them in my orbit.


word counts

I hate them. Throughout my entire master’s program, I kept finding myself woefully over word count. I appreciated that my professors accepted a set percentage plus or minus and I aimed for the ultimate maximum every time.

So what if I’m wordy?

I took a poetry class during my bachelor’s, way back in 2006 and way back in Idaho. It was really interesting and I love to attempt poetry, but there are so many words out there and so many different ways to order them and I am a messy maximalist at heart so I want to use them all!

It is one of the reasons I stopped writing blog posts. The search engine optimisation program kept giving me red marks all over because my sentences were too long and my post scored too high on some reading assessment. Too high for whom?

Editing myself is a skill I am still working on (and one I’m focusing on with this column).


women

Yes. I think about Monica Lewinsky. A lot.

For a few years I’ve been thinking a lot about women whose reputations, careers, and lives have been obliterated just because they didn’t fit into society’s impossible conception of The Perfect Woman:

Monika Lewinsky. When I think about just how young she was and how much EVERYONE, Republicans and Democrats alike, viciously blamed her for daring to be a young woman working in the White House, I get so sad and angry. She was thrown away like her future didn’t matter, as is so often the case in man vs. woman stories.

Do you remember that awful little man-boy who raped an unconscious young woman and went to jail for, like, three months because the judge didn’t want to derail his future?

I think that I think about Monika Lewinsky, specifically, because I was so young when it happened. I didn’t fully grasp what actually did take place until much later. But it was the first major lesson in what happens to young women and girls who dare put one toe out of line.

Joan Rivers and Dolly Parton are two women who were pop culture punchlines in the late 90s early 00s, so I never paid them the attention or respect they deserve. They were too loud and had too much plastic surgery and continued to wear form-fitting low-cut clothing no matter their ages. How dare they?

Now when I see their names written about online it is with reverence for the hard work and no bullshit attitudes they cultivated in response to their hyper-misogynist industries. I am glad that women like Joan, Dolly, and Miranda Hobbs are able to enjoy adulation now. But they should have had it this whole time.

There is a long essay to write about the character of Miranda on Sex and the City and how her rejection of the male gaze and the patriarchy demonised her to a couple of generations of women. (I hope I can afford the time and headspace to write that here and I would love to steal those qualities!)

And last but not least, the inspiration for this edition of A Tasteful Thief, and a woman whose confidence, independence, and style I want to steal:

Courtney Love. There was a rumour in my home-town when I was growing up that Kurt and Courtney got married at a tiny little building called the Hitching Post. And one time when I was watching some music awards ceremony on MTV or VH1 I saw Courtney crash a sit-down interview with Madonna by throwing a makeup compact into the interview area. At the time I sympathised with the terrible expression on Madonna’s face as she tried to figure out how to react on live tv.

But now I can imagine what made Courtney do that. I can imagine her being annoyed at the nascent bubble gum corporatisation of music, her personal art. I can imagine her being tired of the inauthenticity of that awards show. I can imagine the frustration that triggered the fuck-it switch in her brain.

Madonna and the interviewer were lucky the only thing Courtney threw to express herself was a bit of makeup.

I am a new Courtney Love fan and that is directly due to how the media has treated her. I have vague memories of people judging her harshly for having a baby and, I must assume this was their grievance, not immediately changing her entire being into that of a Mother.

And just a few years, ago I was listening to Ru Paul’s podcast where he and his cohost were interviewing Frances Bean Cobain. They asked her what it was like having Courtney Love as a mother. I’ll let you imagine the judgmental, negative tone they put on that query.

Courtney Love has not had a kind of pop culture re-do that other ‘problematic’ women have, but if I can influence some of my readers to examine their feelings about her or women in general, I’ll consider that a net good.

These women I’ve listed were found guilty of being the wrong kind of woman in public.

The right kind of woman wouldn’t give her powerful boss a blow job when asked, she wouldn’t get plastic surgery because even though women should present themselves as objets d’art they mustn’t acknowledge they know that, she wouldn’t be messy and loudly emotional, and she should never EVER assume she is equal to a man.


gen z

I cannot wait to work with generation Z!

From what I’ve seen on my TikTok For You page, gen Z is amazing. I know there is a kind of ‘war’ between millennials and Z (how lucky are they to get one cool letter?!) but I’m going to be ultra sincere and say that this millennial loves gen Z.

In the worst, post-apocalyptic way their generation learned how to truly give no fucks, probably around the same time they were learning their multiplication tables.

Unlike millennials who were raised to chase after the college-career-marriage-house-family-retirement fallacy, I suspect that gen Z were raised to expect nothing but climate disaster and gross inequality.

If millennials are the first generation in a while to be worse off than their parents, what does that mean for gen Z?

My master’s program was, amazingly, racially diverse. By the time we were done with formal lectures and working on our grand theses I was the only white girl left. I was also the only millennial. I was lucky enough to go to school with ‘elder’ gen Zs!

They were much more serious about school and employment than anyone I knew when I was 20, but then that was in 2005 before we knew how serious shit would get after 2008.

In my limited experience in working with gen Z, they are generally more professional than millennials were at their age, and more professional than most boomers I have encountered in a professional capacity.

I honestly, sincerely look forward to working with them and learning about how they view the world and their place within it.


latest acts of thievery

Most of these two weeks were spent listening to Courtney Love music to try and absorb some of her muchness but here are a couple of other badass women who inspired me:

Sammi Jefcoate, like Esther from the previous column, is another subtly badass woman who, in her quiet confidence, gives me the permission I think I need to cover myself in beautiful armour. Known for her headscarves, she has created four collections so far and regularly sells out of the more accessible styles. To support her and to try and steal a bit of her confidence and style I bought Good Fortune, a black scarf embellished with gold details and skulls.

Of course, the packaging was perfect and on-brand.

And of course, I had to throw the scarf up on my head immediately, despite not wearing the proper outfit to match such a statement on my head.

The day that I finally purchased Good Fortune I actually had good fortune and I hope the same proves true when I wear it!

Nisa, from her YouTube channel nisipisa, is another badass makeup-adjacent woman I follow and she is hilarious. From this particular upload, I am stealing the random beam in her room, her vocal cords, her air pods, and her iron ovaries in showing this to the world.

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