Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Link List: "Tiger" Moms and Ann Taylor Dresses

The photo is from brunch at the trendy Butcher's Daughter, which was only okay. It was one of the less flavorful avocado toast dishes I've ever had. That's not dirt on the outer edge of the plate, it's just... intentionally chipped, or at least, intentionally not replaced after it chipped.

1. // I generally appreciate a reminder about Amy Chua's much talked-about memoir from years back, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (affiliate link), as it's one of those books that's really had an emotional impact on me. For better or worse (probably mostly the latter), I relate to Chua as she describes herself, though I find her general approach to book marketing and sensationalized scholarship rather... unsavory. Except that I'd also absolutely love to have her life, be a legal academic who doesn't actually write about law and instead sticks her nose into topics she doesn't have a higher degree in, so you know, maybe I'm just jealous.

The article I linked does start from a flawed premise, as I don't think Eleanor Young from Crazy Rich Asians (affiliate link) is a "Tiger Mom" in that stereotypical sense. She's just rich and stuck up. Still, I always appreciate more discussion of Asian-American identity.

2. // Rarely have I seen someone affected so quickly and dramatically by internet mob justice. It's shocking how bad his public behavior had been over the years, enough that several people, at several points in time, felt the need to film it, and now it's all coming out. I don't feel even an ounce of sympathy, though I'm also not sure he can be disbarred for speech made outside the context of his work as an attorney. (The answer to this legal question is likely fairly complicated, enough that there are probably colorable arguments both ways. It's a bit beyond the ambit of the basic required education in our professional responsibility rules.)     

3. // There was some interesting discussion on r/blogsnark about Refinery29's Money Diaries. For all that this particular subreddit has its roots in a strange and nasty corner of the internet, and things sometimes get weird, I've found that it's generally pretty good, as far as internet spaces go. It attracts a crowd of mostly fairly reasonable and intelligent women. I certainly find them more consistently reasonable than, say, the Corporette crowd. Sometimes, some really mean stuff is said, but it usually gets swiftly and decisively downvoted to oblivion. Someone made the sad but accurate point that, even as the Money Diaries commentariat is unusually nasty, they're also generally pretty ill-informed about basic things like how tax and pre-tax deductions simply won't look the same at every job, in every state, among other things.

There were some interesting discussions on r/femalefashion advice too, one about what to do when a significant other makes critical comments about your style and how complicated that relationship question can be (though in general, they really shouldn't be doing that), and one far more lighthearted discussion about what your favorite brand says about you. As for me personally, the question of whether I even have a favorite brand is difficult to answer, much less what it says about me. There's also a difference between brands I like and brands that would do a better job representing who I am.

4. // Congratulations to Audrey on being done with college! College can be such a wonderful, special time, one that I did not appreciate enough while I was there. (I really hoped that law school would be College 2.0, but alas, that's not usually the case. I do really miss being a student, though.) Luxe did a great interview with photographer Alice Gao, providing an unique perspective on personal finance. I came away from it with a lot of respect for Alice's entrepreneurial spirit (and for Luxe's interview-writing skills)! Jess did a post about that life milestone of moving in with a significant other and needing to downsize and Engineer L did a post about the feeling of empowerment that comes from finding and taking to a new physical fitness habit, both experiences that I can relate to. (My own fitness epiphany, that brief time in law school when I had time to run outdoors and a nice nearby park to do it in, was, however, extremely short-lived.)

Please note that this portion of the post contains affiliate links that could result in a commission, typically a few cents, for me if you click. Thank you for your support!

5. // Speaking of brands that might sort of represent who I am, for better or for worse, one of those brands is still Ann Taylor, even if I've become distressed by their design choices and quality issues over the years. While their sister brand Loft is suddenly and decisively "dead to me", Ann Taylor still does the occasional dress of the type I look for (conservative, generally with little feminine details here and there, and has potential for both work and play, though the dresses get boring if I wear them to every single wedding I attend).

As for what Ann Taylor says about a person who gravitates towards it? Well, I'm not sure it's terribly flattering. At some point, someone pointed me to this very old Washington Post piece about the brand and its place in Washington D.C. style. The article's not very nice, nor is it likely accurate about any of it, really, but I confess I was sort of entertained by it and could relate to bits and pieces. There was a response piece. All this provides a strange and awkward transition to the below, a short list of Ann Taylor's current dress offerings that I would consider buying, if I were in the market. For certain wardrobe needs, they still get it right (but that's not very high praise).

Is there a brand that you think represents you? Is that the same thing as your actual favorite brand? Did you have any thoughts on Amy Chua's memoir back in the day? It really brings up some complicated feelings for me, including that I resent her use of the stereotypes (which are harmful) to sell her book. Except that I also see a lot of myself in her, which is an uncomfortable thing. (If I was living the dream of being a legal academic that could write about whatever I wanted, I'd probably write some really boring and probably not very good scholarship about Chinese bistory that nobody would read or buy.)

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