Bridesmaid shoes, conferences, and patriarchy

#2 has decided on bridesmaid dresses that have a bit of an Ancient Greek thing going.  There’s probably a lot of that going on in weddings across the country this year given their popularity at David’s Bridal.

While listening to a somewhat dull talk at a recent conference, I noticed these sandals (in black, not tan) on the conference-goer beside me.  They look much better in person than they do on the website.  And they have just that hint of an Ancient Greek thing going on.

“Where did you get those?  They are perfect!” I whispered.

“Teva,” she whispered back.

“NO WAY!” I said quietly, causing the gentleman on my other side to give me a raised eyebrow.  (He then teased me for shoe-shopping during a talk as I looked up the name of the shoe and emailed #2 to make sure the sandal was approved before purchasing.  A few minutes later I suggested that perhaps that email he was writing was not about how exciting the talk was.  It wasn’t.)

The next day as I told my former seat-mate that I’d purchased her shoes for the wedding, the woman she’d been talking to looked down and said they were awesome shoes and she wanted them too.  Where did she get them?



After we had a brief discussion of their comfort and elegance, she wrote down the exact name of the shoe for later purchase.

As I related this conversation to DH, my oldest asked why these shoes being Tevas had produced such surprise.

Well, I explained, the patriarchy makes it difficult for women to wear the same kinds of shoes as men without facing social disapprobation.  With women’s shoes, usually shoes are either comfortable or they’re fashionable but not both.  Teva is a brand that is known for being extremely comfortable, but not something you can wear to work or a wedding.  They mostly make hiking sandals.

With women’s shoes, the holy grail is elegant shoes that don’t hurt a person’s feet.  When such an impossibility occurs, it naturally elicits surprise and happiness.

It shouldn’t be that way.  Men and women should both have shoes that are comfortable and attractive.  They should be able to wear the same kinds of shoes.  But society says no.  And society suggests that when it comes to formal or professional wear, only women’s shoes should come in styles that damage a person’s feet.  Stupid patriarchy.

Leave Cara alone!

On the way to work while trying to avoid election coverage, I flipped to a top 40 station, as one does.  On this station, there was a stupid radio program with the talking heads bashing Cara Delevingne (a model/actress whose face you have seen because it’s everywhere right now both because she’s in a new John Green movie and making news but also because she’s the face of several products).  The talking heads excerpted an interview where the interviewers were trying to get Ms. Delevingne to say something terrible about her new movie or to admit that she’s exhausted/tired.  At first she denies denies, the movie is great, I’m not tired, then finally they’re like, is it just us?  And she says yes.

Then the radio hosts cut away and said Cara Delevingne continued to watch the tv as those reporters talked smack to her.  Then they started talking their own smack about her about how she is an actress and makes lots of money and shouldn’t be rude to reporters.  No mention of the reporters being rude to her.

They treated her as if she’s not a person, she’s just a figure that they want to take down.  She’s a successful woman and they want to exploit every perceived weakness because women are not allowed to be strong and rich and successful.  If they are, they’re certainly not allowed to be happy.  And the fact that she still pays attention to what the media says about her means they have a chance for drama which will drive audience towards them.  They’re probably hoping for a Britney Spears style melt-down (or, failing that, a Lindsay Lohan style collapse).

Would they do this to a man, even an outspoken man?  Of course not.

Stay strong, Ms. Delevingne.  You are a human being, not just a media idol.  I can’t imagine having to deal with all that nastiness.  You certainly don’t deserve it.

related:  A little googling finds that John Green is on the same wavelength here

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I hate the way I’m more racist when I’m tired

When I’m tuckered out I am SO bad at not being racist… I do that thing where I get people of the same race/gender/height/bodyshape/hair color mixed up with each other.

And then I do that embarrassed white woman thing where I turn bright red, make up excuses, then keep apologizing way after the time that it’s appropriate to be apologizing. I understand that just makes it worse, but I cannot stop!

Most of the people I know are polite about it. Except this one prominent economist who I keep getting mixed up with the same guy, usually late at night the same day of the same conference… he thinks it’s hilarious and now makes a point of asking me who I think he is (I haven’t gotten it right yet, mainly because I know the other guy by name because he works in my field but I’ve actually seen the other guy more often). I deserve that, though I can’t remember his name right now (whereas I can remember the other guy’s name…).

And I could make excuses that I’m pretty bad with whites too (which is true– I mostly identify people by their height and hair color), but it’s far worse with non-whites.  I’m terrible with names.  I’m terrible with faces (but not terrible enough to believe I have that medical thingy where you can’t recognize faces… I do recognize faces of people I know).

And I know it’s not just me.  I know there’s tons of research showing that when we’re tired or have too much cognitive load one of the first things to go is correcting for implicit biases.  But it’s still pretty excrementy of me.

All of this is to say, I wish I were either less implicitly racist or I were always less tired!!!!!

(And yes, I know that some people are going to say that this post is just making things worse because it makes the problem all about me.  You know, like white women do.  [Because nobody ever says that about white men; they always get credit for just trying.]  But at that point I throw up my arms and say, “I think I am going to ignore that and take a nap.”)

link love in our ongoing series

… our ongoing series of F*ck the police.

U.S. police as an extension of slavery and white supremacy.  The police love racist dudes who shoot unarmed black teens.  The police ALSO hate Hispanic people as well as black people (warning: violence).  F*ck the police right in the irony.

I don’t know that the first part of the article is correct (there are dangers to confronting the advisor), but the rest of the advice is SPOT ON.  (Men: Don’t do this.)

How to be a better secretary even though that’s not your job title.

Depressingly few books on sale at Powell’s 20% off we need diverse books YA sale.  (Not an affiliate link.)

An old post, but NK Jemisin discusses her science fiction she shouldn’t be shelved in the African American section.

hiring managers, throw away your codpieces!!!

What could possibly go wrong?

Wisconsin used to be such a great state.  WTH is going on there?

This just in:  Media reports comments taken out of context in the media.

The posthumous Terry Pratchett will be a Tiffany Aching.  (not orderable yet!)

Leigh doesn’t want kids or early retirement, but saves anyway!

Nzmuse with another great post in her “loving your work” series.

This was me earlier this week.

I will buy this book when it comes out (also not orderable yet.)  BCN back on the air 6/15!

Jon Stewart notes how quickly the media devolved into misogyny with Caitlyn Jenner.

my daycare mommy used to make pice bach

stack exchange, not just for programming questions

the last panel is something I would say


One space or two?

Books on teh wimmenz

If you liked Lean In (or thought it didn’t go far enough!), here are some other books you may enjoy:

Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women by Virginia Valian (we <3 Valian’s work, referenced here)

Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman’s Guide to Surviving in the Academic World, by Paula Caplan, who is an awesome writer of things.

Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth

Women Don’t Ask. (Ask For It)

Failing At Fairness (#2’s not such a big fan of this, but go ahead and read) (also there’s a sequel out, which neither of us has read yet)

Women of Academe: Outsiders in the Sacred Grove (old but still good)

Claudia Goldin’s Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office (which #1 is less a fan of — a lot of this advice is outdated and just wrong… it’s one of those advising women to be more like men books based on zero research, even though the research-based norm now is advising men to be more like women!).

I have What Works for Women  on my to-read shelf.

Who’s got more recommendations for us?  Let everyone know in the comments!

link love

First ted talk on abortion (also check out the abortion myths slideshow at the bottom)

chilling stanford article (discusses rape and reporting retaliation)

in our ongoing series of F THE POLICE (disturbing picture)

On a plate

dickipedia:  ted nugent

It really is the devil’s underpants.

Pockets and patriarchy

Why we need erasers, I mean history.

Octavia’s brood

zomg gail carriger’s fashion blog I will read IT ALLLLLL

News is what someone wants suppressed.  Everything else is advertising.

may possibly be true

case for and against homework

that’s full professor notorious to you

Hide and seek cats

How misogyny keeps women down

I just wandered onto econjobrumors because a prominent female economist who I like a lot was quoted on a blog post with school designation different from the one I last knew her to be at and I wondered about it.  So I googled.  Big mistake.  Now I feel really really dirty.  It reminds me how horrid and misogynistic most of economics is, at least when people are allowed to post anonymously.  Jeez.

The thoughts through my mind as I first read through the thread about her tenure denial and everybody bashing her were, gee, I’m glad this mob doesn’t know I even exist.  I’m glad I wasn’t working at a top 5 school.  I’m glad I didn’t write that popular press book that she wrote (that I could have written, but probably could not have published, and was very glad that I didn’t based on the backlash I read just on the Amazon reviews).

I don’t want to stick my neck out because I don’t want the mob to find me.  I’m happy being less than the top because I see what happens to outspoken women at the top.  I’m glad I’m not at a top 15 school where I would have been punished for having a baby before tenure.  (The things I hear from my friends at those schools always make me glad to be someplace more supportive.)

But as happy as I am with my non-star status, I wish it weren’t that way too.  I wish I could be more like her… I mean, I’d rather be more like Amy Finklestein, who I hope that nobody says anything bad about ever, but my true self is a bit more like this other woman.  If I hadn’t had self-confidence beaten out of me or had that extremely scary brush with infamy in middle school and if I’d had more privilege (and if I were a little smarter and more organized and a little less careful), I might also have the opportunity to stick my neck out and have internet mobs come after me because they didn’t like my opinions or attitude or my success.  I would be even more brash and more self-confident and more willing to tell people what’s right or wrong than I am now.  Things we aren’t allowed as women, when men with those characteristics get early tenure at Harvard.

If I were less weak.  If the world were a better place.  If I were male.  Then I would be less scared of true success.  Less scared of being a big fish in a big pond.  My ambition would have no limits.

But given my constraints and the way the world is… I’m pretty happy where I am now.  Valued by my colleagues and administration.  Making a small name for myself in my area of study.  Answering interesting questions.  Reading the occasional romance novel.  Having time for an anonymous blog that isn’t usually about economics (except that it sort of always is).

But wouldn’t it be nice if men and women had the same opportunities for success and balancing life?  And women didn’t have to be thankful that their mediocrity protects them from the mob?


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