Women and unpaid emotional labour, the Genius of Music breaks down pop music, and the mash up of Star Wars and Calvin and Hobbes you didn’t know you needed. Also, 2016 gets off to a sad start with the loss to cancer of two big forces in arts and culture, David Bowie and Alan Rickman. The Jeneral finds this week: 2016-01-17
Leah McLaren asks “Should women be paid for emotional labour?“. It’s the unspoken glue that keeps communities together, isn’t it? And I another realm of unacknowledged tasks that many women perform on top of all they do at work and in their direct families. Examples: making phone calls to circle of friends just to check in, remembering to get birthday cards and/or presents for children’s classmates, organizing baby showers for work colleagues, keeping track of friends and acquaintances’ goings-on so you are aware when things aren’t well and help is needed…and then offering the help, etc. No wonder it seems women often seem to have a harder time to balance life and work, their buckets of work in the “life” column, beyond home maintenance and family duties, are larger than men’s.
Why are some pop songs just so catchy and infectious? Chilly Gonzales is a self-proclaimed Genius of Music, but he earns the title honestly. He is a pianist, producer, songwriter, and more, working with the likes of Feist, Daft Punk, and Drake. He has a done a series of videos deconstructing popular songs that are fascinating. In this video, Gonzales breaks down The Weeknd’s “I can’t feel my face”
Of course, the last month’s entertainment hype has been all about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And as a lovely response to this, Disney Animation Story Artist Brian Kesinger did a series of wonderful mashups of Star Wars and Calvin and Hobbes together. (these are just two of them, peruse some earlier posts in his twitter feed to see them all)
Thank you for the amazing response to this series, I hope you had as much fun looking at them as I did drawing them pic.twitter.com/01rD6xqdIN
The real reason many women struggle to advance their careers, on losing the love of your life, a profile of a potential Prime Minister of Canada, and the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, in this week’s Jeneral finds: 2015-10-06
It has always felt so unfair to me how our society doesn’t properly value those who care for others and teach others – nurses, teachers, caregivers. Instead we place higher value to those who “make things” and generate value (aka money) – business people, engineers, professional athletes. What I didn’t realize was how this frame of mind also systematically hinders women in the workplace even in those “making things” and “generating value” careers. “Caregiver discrimination penalizes women at all income levels“, an excerpt from Ann-Marie Slaughter’s Unfinished Business. Identifying and recognizing the issue is the first step, but what is great about this piece is it also provides ideas on how to move forward. Between this piece by Slaughter and her prior writings, I’ve really come to admire her.
Close friends of my parents had their 40-year-old son-in-law pass away suddenly this weekend, leaving his wife and three young children. I can’t even imagine the grief and shock their family must be going through; I went and hugged my husband and held on a little longer than usual. I was also brought back to this truly moving post from Sheryl Sandberg earlier this year, a month after her husband Dave Goldberg also died suddenly. Would that we all have the same type of support in our times of need.
In the shadow of the upcoming election, Ian Brown continues to deliver outstanding writing in his in-depth profile of Justin Trudeau in the Globe (unfortunately it may be behind a paywall). It is a long read, but I’ve been yearning for more context and depth in the media coverage of the election, and this delivers on this front.
Physics friends celebrate! Canadian Arthur B. McDonald is the 2015 Nobel prize co-winner in Physics! Along with Takaaki Kajita, they were awarded for their contributions to experiments demonstrating that subatomic particles called neutrinos change identities, also known as “flavours.” The neutrinos transform themselves between three types: electron-type, muon-type and tau-type. The metamorphosis requires that neutrinos have mass, dispelling the long-held notion that they were massless. Cool that something I have vague memories learning about in Physics classes are newsworthy again. =)
Two of the finds this week are longer reads, but I found them worth the time investment. The third is food for thought for attracting, and keeping, women into the STEM fields. Jeneral finds of the week: 2015-05-06.
In Walking the Tornado Line, magazine journalist Justin Nobel goes on a walking journey in Alabama and Tennessee following the path of a mile-wide monster tornado on April 27, 2011 chewed up everything in its path for 132 miles. But the piece is more than a mere chronicle of the people and places impacted and tally of things destroyed. As he collects the stories from people who lived through it, and relays his own walking journey through Alabama during tornado season, his writing style conjures up clear and haunting imagery in the imagination. There is an underlying sense of dread, never feeling safe in the elements, like a great suspense novel or movie. I didn’t realize how I take for granted the lack of tornados in the places I’ve lived, until I read this.
On the fourth night of my journey I camp in woods owned by a Baptist deacon named Sammy Swinney. It was here in the rolling hills of northern Alabama where the April 27, 2011, tornado roared through at sixty-five miles per hour, a black cloud the width of twenty-five city blocks with winds stronger than any hurricane. And it was here in the sleepy farming community of Oak Grove that the tornado morphed into something truly unfathomable, and did things few people knew tornadoes could do: ate large brick homes straight through to the foundation, spawned side tornadoes that flanked the main like evil henchmen, climbed a mountain and rattled down a steep valley on the other side, turned an entire forest to spindles, and carried away cars and cows and people, too.
The update of the health curriculum in Ontario where I live has garnered a lot of debate and controversy over the sexual education component of it. Full disclosure: I am totally in support of all the changes, which is why I get so frustrated with those protesting against it…but that’s going to be another post. It’s in this climate that this essay published in the Globe and Mail grabbed my attention. Yes, her own backstory is lurid, but her wading through the challenges of educating her teenaged son about sexual health hit on so many of the points that I’ve been worried about when it comes to the impact of online pornography.
Sierra Skye Gemma survived unthinkable childhood abuse. Now the loving mother of a teenaged son, she finds herself on a deeply personal journey to teach him a healthy attitude to sex in the age of online pornography.
This op-ed in the New York Times has a really interesting approach for positioning engineering to be attractive for women to study and pursue careers in: provide the socially beneficial context in which the engineering work will affect changes. On a surface look, it makes a lot of sense: making things for the sake of making the thing better/stronger/more featured than before is not so attractive to me. However, using engineering skills to help solve a problem in society? That is a better sell. Does it harken back to the days of my youth when much of the pretend play was about building a family and making sure everyone was taken care of? Maybe.
Here are the good/interesting/provoking finds I’ve stumbled across this week: 2015-02-01
I don’t know if you’ve caught this story from the photo blogger Humans of New York (HONY), but it’s the kind of thing that restores your faith in the decency of the human spirit and the good of the internet. This is the first post that I saw, and I’ve been following each post since. Any of the posts featuring Vidal or Ms. Lopez beings me to tears. What a great story. The indigogo fundraiser to provide their scholars the opportunity to visit Harvard, has become so successful they now have enough to have 10 years of Harvard visits, summer programs AND provide scholarships to future grads
Glassbreakers—a Tinder-like platform to match peer women in the tech field in your area with the intent to create peer mentorships. Like networking, but with a discernible purpose. http://m.fastcoexist.com/3041529/change-generation/women-in-tech-this-platform-will-match-you-to-peer-mentors-tinder-style
“Why I Am Not a Maker” [The Atlantic]. “When tech culture only celebrates creation, it risks ignoring those who teach, criticize, and take care of others.” Hear hear. I think in today’s day and culture, this extends past the creation of tech, and includes the glorification of the creation of money. Now how do we bring balance back to our society to value these other highly important contributors to our society?
I know I’m a day late, but here are the good/interesting/provoking finds I’ve stumbled across this week: 2015-01-18
This NYT article is written by a woman who decides to test whether this test done by psychologist Arthur Aron twenty years ago is a successful recipe for falling in love with someone. In its essence, there are a series of 36 increasingly personal questions, that the two participants are to answer truthfully with each other. While certainly no magic potion, I can see how this can transform the whole courting period into just a few condensed, powerfully intimate sessions. And in the intimacy, love can bloom.
There is a history of mental illness in my family, and while my family discusses the occurrence of it pretty matter-of-factly, there is not so much discussion on the actual challenges of care and agency of the person who is ill. Reading “My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward“, from Pacific Standard Magazine, is food for thought in this regard.
Did you know there is a live-action Disney version of Cinderella going to be released next year? I didn’t, until I saw this trailer yesterday while watching another Disney movie. Why is there even a need to make a live-action version of this? Don’t tell me there will be live-action Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast coming soon.
Lately I’ve been on a reading kick, and particularly autobiographical books from funny women. Amy Poehler’s contribution to the collection is one of the best. Part memoir (from her “middle-years”), part words-of-wisdom, part collection of funny stories, it was a real treat to read.
You can tell that this was a book written as snatches of stories in stolen snippets of time, but masterfully edited together. Seriously, kudos to her editors. The 3 sections/themes of the book likely weren’t planned on the outset, and yet it works.
The reality is that the composition of my teams in the past 8 years of my work at Accenture has increasingly become more virtual. I know there have been times I’ve struggled to adapt to the differences in being a part of, and managing, these teams that are not all located together. Further challenging the situation is the frequency with which the teams change, and the typically aggressive schedule for completing the work. Unfortunately, the training and mentorship I’ve received from Accenture to date on managing virtual teams amounted to little more than cross-cultural awareness and how-tos for the collaboration tools available.