Around The Internet In 8 Articles: Ken Dolls, Queer Parties and “Serious” Reading


Hello havers-of-that-app-for-saving-articles-to-read-later-on-yr-phone-that-will-not-be-named-until-they-start-sponsoring-this-damn-column,


Another month, another roundup of the articles from the non-DADDY internet that are essential to you leading your best life.


‘Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP Conference Made Me Sick’

— by Claire Carusillo (The Outline)


Do you subscribe to funny beauty-product obsessive Carusillo’s newsletter That Wet Look? If not, consider this article about hitting up the GOOP conference an indisputable reason to do so. I had the only possible rational response to the piece and annoyed the bejesus out of my nearest and dearest by emailing them selected sentences throughout the day. Haha, this one! “One man foam-rolled a few mats away from me at myofascial impresario Lauren Roxburgh’s class, and when he entered the studio, he looked around in that playful and disbelieving “Boy, am I a fish out of water, but you have to admit, I deserve a little credit” way that some men do when they enter a situation where they’re outnumbered, which occurs maybe once every two to five years.” I’m awful. Anyways, devote your eyeballs to this article because unlike GOOP, it is a Thing Of Beauty and doesn’t cost all your life-savings to check out.


‘Being Pretty Is A Privilege, But We Refuse To Acknowledge It’

— by Janet Mock (Allure)


Which leads me neatly to this piece, penned by writer/activist/TV host Mock, who “knew very early on that I was not pretty,” before blossoming in her teens. It’s fascinating since she delves into the ways race and gender and passing play a part in people’s assumptions about beauty and is unabashed about acknowledging the privilege granted to her by a world which worships the beautiful. And you might want to bookmark the series this forms part of: Beauty Beyond Binaries, which Mock will be penning on a biweekly basis and which, if this is anything to go by, is going to be GOLD.


‘The Ken Doll Reboot: Beefy, Cornrowed, and Pan-Racial’

— by Caity Weaver (GQ)


Forget the ultra generic plastic bro you once knew, Ken’s diversifying, he’s getting “broad”, or skinny or wearing cornrows or a man bun. “In a condition of affairs at worst disastrous, at best depraved, Ken, Ken, Ken, and Ken are all dating the same woman.” A smart take on the reboot of Barbie’s hunkiest arm candy, complete with facts you never knew before (Barbie and Ken are probably Jewish, members of the Mattel team imagine Ken as being a little “Ryan Seacrest-y” and why kids own Ken dolls). It’s a work of art that’s fun! Like a Dan Brown novel.


‘The Founder’s Dilemma’

by Alex Lubben (The Awl)


Funny and acute in equal measures. Lubben explores the “dystopian business simulator video game” The Founder, which requires you to found a startup which builds a robot whose first command is to replace you as CEO and touches on very terrifying, very real aspects of the startup world (like how isolated these tech communities are from the real life effects their products have on our reality), the implicit politics of video games (like SimCity’s neoliberal bent), as well as post-work theories.


‘How Power Operates In Modern Britain: With Absolute Contempt’

— by Aditya Chakrabortty (The Guardian)


How to start even discussing Britain at the moment without tearing up with rage? The Grenfell Tower fire, in which at least 80 people lost their lives due to unsafe (but cheap) cladding catching fire and burning for 60 hours, has exposed what many people had already assumed to be the case: the sheer ruthlessness and inhumanity with which Britain is governed. After all, according to the BBC at least “Four separate government ministers were warned that fire regulations were not keeping people safe”  and that those living in tower blocks like Grenfell Tower were at risk . Chakrabortty’s article is a powerful insight into the one thing connecting the fire and plans to privatise an entire housing estate in Haringey: contempt. Such contempt, in fact, that the local government, who “boasts of being transparent, then releases 1,500 pages of legal and financial documents on the HDV just a week before tonight’s cabinet meeting.”


‘A Party Has To Be More Than Gay To Qualify As Queer’

— by Rose Dommu (Thump)


Dommu unpacks the word “queer” and its complex history. She argues what it boils down to is: “You don’t choose to be gay, but I believe that you do choose to be queer. That choice—to reject heteronormative, patriarchal standards—is the root of queerness. Not all gay people are queer, and the inverse is just as true.” Also covered: how “Going from being a fag to a fag hag is a fucking trip,” why parties shouldn’t be called queer (at least, not just like that) and how “Femme erasure in nightlife isn’t limited to trans women.”


‘The Great White Celebrity Vacuum’

— by Anne Helen Petersen (Buzzfeed)


Petersen explains the factors behind why “major [female] white movie stars, musicians and celebrities are struggling — to earn our attention, to keep our interest -” and why their careers are either plateau-ing or declining. Her argument is neat: a culturally divided America and a growing mistrust in white celebrities and “the well-intentioned, yet inwardly focused white woman in particular” (both by people of colour and white women themselves). Obviously, Taylor Swift plays a part in this, because of course she does.


‘What does it mean for a journalist today to be a Serious Reader?’

— by Danny Funt (Columbia Journalism Review)


If you dabble in the written word, get ready to weep forever because Adam Gopnik didn’t just get that cool job at the New Yorker because he’s better at interviews than you are! Nope: he spoke to Funt about his reading habits and, well, they’re a little intimidating. Believe me, few people have read close to as much as the piles of books Gopnik gets through on the regular because Gopnik sets aside vast chunks of his working day to read books and who has that luxury beyond academics?


It also contains this devastating sentence: “He came back with a shipment and said, “It would be,” pausing to think of and lean into the proper word, “brutally unkind and unrealistic to say, Oh, all of you should be reading Stendhal. You’ll be better BuzzFeeders for it.” ” Anyway, if you’re looking to guilt trip yourself about skipping a re-read of Arendt to consume that fun new novel about the recent graduate entering into an affair with an older married man in Dublin, then this is the article for you. ENJOY. DESPAIR. ENJOY.


Written by: Sophie

Image by: Coco