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Faulty Phone Algorithms: Reflections on the Idea of Home

As I’m sitting in an airport for the fifth time in two weeks, I’m thinking about the idea of home and what it means to have a home. The flux of “home” as a college student has really caused me to adjust my personal definition of the word to better suit its current purpose in my life. College, at least for me, is funny for the concept of home because I live in a dorm but I also haven’t really moved out of my home in Florida. And my dorm feels like a home but I’m reminded of my own impermanence in its existence when I put everything I own in boxes at the end of every year and move into a new dorm. And I say, “I’m going home,” when I visit my family in Florida but I also say, “I’m going home,” when I return to Providence. My phone’s algorithm, coincidentally, is equally confused about where home is for me, and has called my Florida house, my dorm, several friends’ dorms, the library, and (most recently and perhaps most appropriately) the dance studio my home. So it’s a squirrelly definition.

Continue reading “Faulty Phone Algorithms: Reflections on the Idea of Home”

The Politics of the Apolitical

I’d like to start by acknowledging that I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a long time, but I kept finding more angles to come at this concept from, and wasn’t sure which was best.  So, with that in mind, this may be a sort of triaging of all of the angles because there’s value to all of them.  Particularly: I want to look at the performativity of objectivity in daily society, but also the labeling of anything as “apolitical” and the inherent politics in that, and also the tendency to do this to science.  So, without further ado: Continue reading “The Politics of the Apolitical”

Hiding In the Light

I’m taking contact improv this semester, which is honestly one of my favorite things ever, BUT recently my professor had us do a series of exercises that involved A LOT of singing in A LOT of different capacities, notably including singing while dancing and staring at another person in the eyes with no affect in your face and singing directly at them.  I knew the minute he said we’d be doing anything with singing that I wouldn’t enjoy it at all (I hate singing) and I was right about that – I didn’t enjoy it.  But it certainly made me think. Continue reading “Hiding In the Light”

Not My Problem: The Feminization of Emotional Labor

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how I allocate my time and how this can and should be affected by the way that people respect or disrespect the time, energy, and expertise I put into my endeavors.  For me, this has a lot to do with emotional labor.  Emotional labor is, essentially, lending your emotional capacity to ameliorate someone else’s emotional distress or just to serve someone else’s perceived emotional needs.  This often goes without acknowledgement, compensation, etc. and it is coded as very feminine.  Women, feminine-presenting people, and people taking on traditionally feminized positions are trained from day one to offer themselves as people who are present to listen and to help, which has a lot to do with the ways gender roles are constructed in our society.  Women, and consequently feminized roles, are coded as being positions of support.  Some classic examples of this are the secretary and the nurse, which are both highly feminized professions that are considered to be support for higher up executives and doctors, respectively.  This stems from a long, deep-seeded history of conflating femininity with weakness and also conflating emotional sensitivity with weakness. Continue reading “Not My Problem: The Feminization of Emotional Labor”

Movement as Healing: Why I Love Improv

I’m currently grieving the loss of a person and an animal that were both very important to me, so my life’s been in a bit of emotional turmoil in the past week.  As corny as it may sound, the best way for me to process that is with dance.  There is some science that talks about the benefits of dance on the brain in various ways, but I don’t want to talk about that here.  What I do want to talk about is the less science-y bit where I just really like dance and it’s had a really positive impact on my life. Continue reading “Movement as Healing: Why I Love Improv”

Cracks in the Castle Walls: Why I’d Read My Kids Dystopias, Not Fairytales

I’d like to open by saying that when I refer to “my kids” in the title, these are very very very theoretical children.  As in I don’t intend to have kids.  Certainly not in the near future.  Quite possibly not ever.  So this is, by no means, a commentary on parenting style.  What it is is a commentary on the shortcomings and the deep-seeded problems with the stories fed to our kids from day one.  It’s also important to note that the fairytales I’m talking about here are the Disney-rendered modern versions of the stories, not the Brothers Grim originals, as these have very different intentions and often different plots. Continue reading “Cracks in the Castle Walls: Why I’d Read My Kids Dystopias, Not Fairytales”