Thursday, July 26, 2018

Link List: The "Subtle Horror" of Women's Media and KonMari Branded Boxes


Random question, has anyone else ever experienced hours of tingling, stinging fingers from chopping and handling hot chili peppers? It had never happened to me before this week, despite having cooked with fresh chilis on many occasions before. And the pepper in question wasn't anywhere near as spicy as some I've used in the past with no ill effect! I'm very careful about washing my hands immediately and not touching anything else until I've washed the knife, cutting board, and my hands. This time, I got a persistent stinging and slight burning sensation that lasted for hours, through several hand washings and a shower. How very strange! It wasn't actually painful, but was odd and persistent. 

1. // After that Refinery29 money diary about the intern who claimed an income of $25/hour (but was supported by her parents and grandfather paying her rather fancy rent, and a generous monthly allowance on top of that) went viral, I guess someone wanted to capitalize on the resulting buzz with some silly, overblown clickbait about how "women's media is a scam" and Refinery29 presents some unique "subtle horror"? Because it's apparently shocking that they derive advertising revenue? Because most other media isn't also financially supported by advertising and never, ever publishes advertorials? Good golly, I found that New Republic piece and its headline ridiculous. 

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to criticize about media and advertising, and the often fuzzy line between advertising and journalism in the fashion and women's lifestyle space. See, for example, the fawning "news" coverage of Everlane's underwear launch, when it was rather obvious on its face, that the product was not particularly new or revolutionary, and certainly would not suit all women. I was probably an outlier in actually feeling a bit angry about their faux-feminist ad campaign, but either way, I think it's obvious that most of that "news" was either paid-for editorials or, at the very least, heavily cut and paste straight from their press releases. In terms of Refinery29 specifically, one side effect of that viral money diary was that I've seen whispers here and there alluding to their bad labor practices, which I could totally believe, and that would be something worth criticizing. 

2. // Now for some blog entries I've been reading recently: Leigh wrote about her experiences with discrimination in the tech industry, which sound just awful. I've been working through my own  feelings about discrimination in my own industry, which has been sneaky and pervasive. Both forms take a lot of strength to endure, and I'm one of those people that feels pushed out of biglaw much sooner than expected. Jess wrote about her wedding budget in the Bay Area, and it sounds like a lovely day. Breath of Fresh Wear wrote about the process of trying out pink hair, which sounds very time-intensive, and turned out looking cool! Sophie wrote a helpful review of several items from Vetta Capsule, a brand I only recently learned about and was interested in, though it sounds like many of their items are a bit fussy, and not too practical as a result. If I actually want to try them out, I'll need to think carefully about which items could be useful to me. 

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3. // Wasn't it one of Marie Kondo's "rules" to avoid buying items solely for storage? Both because buying new things to wrangle what you already own won't actually help solve the clutter problem and because she recommends re-purposing things such as cardboard boxes you already have lying around as trays and drawer dividers. The latter tip, in particular, is something I took to heart. Those white "trays" in the bottom left of that photo were the box from an iPad mini, and I still use old candy and cell phone boxes as trays on my dresser and desk now. So the upcoming rather fancy and expensive set of KonMari branded boxes ($89 for 6, purportedly), which appear to be cardboard, is... an odd direction for her brand to go in. I had thought the same thing when she collaborated with Cuyana to make a set of small, color-coordinated leather storage cases (pictured at the top of this post) to nest into Cuyana's larger leather jewelry case. I had also secretly thought the Cuyana x Marie Kondo cases were really cute (though too expensive and impractical for me), so I didn't think about the contradiction with her actual written methods that much.  

Only time will tell if the upcoming set of KonMari boxes will be a successful product, but it did remind that it can be difficult and expensive to find well-designed, functional storage items. I totally overpaid to get some Ikea Skubb Boxes from Amazon  once (because I am so not making the trek to Ikea by subway and ferry for something that small) on the belief that they'd fit perfectly into my dresser and allow me to use all the space in an organized way. Spoiler alert, they did not take up the entirety of the drawer as I imagined, or allow me to use all the space efficiently, so I felt cheated. 

Dd you see that New Republic piece about the women's media "scam"? What did you think? (It's probably not an intelligent, novel, or deep enough a take to be dignified with much of a real response, however.) In terms of responses to the original viral money diary, I thought Jia Tolentino's take at the New Yorker was great. (She's such a wonderful, thoughtful writer!) 

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