Inspired | February 2019

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in February.

Forget Strong Female Characters! We Need Complicated Female Characters Who Screw Up (A Lot) by Charlie Jane Anders

And…that’s part of the trouble with the whole “strong female character” framework: at its worst, you can end up with a paragon, who makes no mistakes and conquers every challenge the world throws at her. Which gets…kinda boring. When I think about the characters I love as an audience member or reader, they’re always the flawed, conflicted, messy characters, who sometimes go off half-cocked or make a bad situation worse. Not only that, but I have a much easier time believing in someone who’s not a perfect human being.

When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism. (And When It Still Is.) by Teju Cole

To insist that contemporary photographic practice — and I mean to include a majority of the international news coverage in newspapers like this one — is generally made (and published) for the greater good is to misconstrue history, because it leaves out the question of “Good for whom?”

Whose facade is it, anyway? by Alexandra Marvar

But since Instagram exploded into the world in 2010, photography—travel photography in particular—has evolved faster than the law can accommodate. Where the law falls short, we have ethics—moral principles that guide our conduct in business and life. And in the application of our ethics, we have etiquette—a societal code that shows us how to be polite.

How to Read 80ish Books a Year (And Actually Remember Them) by Clay Skipper: “Reading is a skill that once you’ve learned, you probably don’t spend much time trying to get better at. (Not all that different from, say, breathing.) And yet, many of us don’t have to look far to see signs that there’s plenty of room for improvement.”

The Soothing Promise of Our Own Artisanal Internet by Nitasha Tiku: “This vision of decentralization is more back-to-the-land than blockchain. If portals to the digital world are so exploitative, it asks, why not curate our own?”

How Austerity, and a Cowardly Ruling Class, Brought About Brexit by Laurie Penny

Imagine you’re trapped in a burning building with your friends and family while two posh people who hate each other stand in the doorway going, “After you”; “No, after you!” That’s what it’s like, being British and watching the news right now. We need an exit deal, and nobody can agree on one, and here’s why.

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Serial Killers by Carolyn Murnick: “When crime shows aren’t eclipsing the stories of female victims, they’re objectifying them.”

The Racist Backlash Against Marie Kondo of Netflix’s ‘Tidying Up’ by Clara Mae

There’s this sense that no one is actually listening to Kondo. She’s been reduced to an anime caricature, a fantasy creature who paradoxically both elicits dread and is easily dismissed because of her stature. White women writers found a way to profit off their collective disdain for her, and her intended meaning has just gotten buried and buried under think pieces repeatedly renumerating how wrong she is. She literally just wants to help people declutter so their physical belongings no longer take a mental toll on their well-being.

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?