(Originally posted: 3/31/17)
Hello friends new and old!
Last week, I posted a story on Medium about workplace sexism on Capitol Hill and emailed it to you all here. I didn’t expect much, except the tiny burst of freedom that comes from finally releasing something you’ve been holding close to the vest for quite some time. The equivalent of taking your bra off after a long day.
TWIST: the response absolutely floored me. It started with a slow burn, but by the weekend the piece had caught on like wildfire (wondering how the one commenter who called my writing style “appallingly unreadable” will take to that gorgeous cliché).
On Saturday, it was one of the top 20 most recommended pieces on all of Medium. As of today, the piece has been viewed over 25,000 times (!!!). 25,000 being one of those universally-acknowledged “oh, shit” numbers. It all feels kind of wild for a self-published little ditty like this.
So many of you identified with my story of quiet sexism, implicit biases, misbehaving men, and just good old-fashioned hypocrisy. Thank you to everyone who tweeted, emailed, texted, and otherwise shared this piece. Let’s keep this conversation going.
But also, let’s pause this conversation for just a *sec* because now it’s time to share my Staunchly picks for March!
America continues to feel like Azkaban but here are some things I recommend to still the black death of despair that threatens to destroy us all!
1. A Winona Ryder ’90s Double Feature: Little Women (1994) and Girl, Interrupted (1999)
I have a complicated relationship with movies about girls and their broken brains. As such, I had never seen Girl, Interrupted until this past week. I absolutely adored it. Sure, I could probably make a list of all the conflicting and problematic statements it seemed to make about mental illness. And sure, the main story of a young lady from a nice rich family who overdoses on aspirin in a misguided attempt to flee the pain of her existence did hit a *little* close to home. Still I found it kind of...delightful. In a deeply dark and upsetting way, of course. (What? How do you define "delightful"?)
When you think about it, Little Women and Girl, Interrupted are not that different. Both are period pieces about young ladies and the worlds they create for themselves to beat back the expectations of a rigid, patriarchal society. Both offer a sort of appealing insularity—imagine sharing a home with your kooky best friends!—with an all-too-real danger (scarlet fever, self mutilation) lurking just out of frame.
So this weekend, get your girls together, watch these films, and ruminate on how our ability to form indelible bonds with other women has helped our sister ancestors survive for centuries.
2. Glossier Cloud Paint
A friend of mine recently spent a day in bed watching Girl, Interrupted three times then applied a couple pats of this (smooth, super-blendable) cream blush in “puff” (cotton candy pink) and “beam” (peach taffy) before a dinner and came out looking like a healthy, unneglected Neopet dipped in one of those golden paintbrushes. She recommends it. I trust her. I am her.
3. Mini pillowcases from Hill House Home
I recently ordered a fresh bedding set from Hill House Home (the Waverly Luxe Set with scalloped powder blue piping, yum). It’s certainly an investment, but far more reasonable than other luxury sheet brands. I also purchased and customized a couple monogrammed boudoir pillows to zhuzh up the spread, including this one that reads “staunch” in thin, baby pink script (branding never sleeps). It’s really quite darling, which is a word I don’t just throw around! Also, the writing is tiny enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re shoving a monogram in someone’s face—although I am not opposed to that look, on principle.
Tip: these make excellent gifts. I recommend personalizing them with a friend’s old school AIM handle. Mine was sgrnspice1989 just FYI.
4. “When You Were Mine” by Prince
Y’all know about Prince though?
I rediscover this song every spring. It’s kicky and nostalgic. It feels like being a second-semester senior in high school: wistful, tender, antsy, jumpy with all the good kinds of hormones. It’s just a great song. I like the Cyndi Lauper version too—but, c’mon: Prince.
5. *March Guest Pick!* The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Recommended by Taylor Templeton, tastemaker and literary agent
If you aren't already a fan of Ariel Levy, this book will make you one. A beautiful memoir that will move and change you in ways you couldn't possibly expect. A must-read.