Belated Sugar Bowl: Week of 5/4/13

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently graduated from college and moved out of my place in Orlando. Currently, I’m living with my aunt in Columbia, SC, and with any luck I’ll find myself settled into Winston-Salem, NC, in the coming weeks.

Although I would usually consider myself pretty laid-back, this feeling of not being in school or employed is making me feel extremely restless. I feel like I’m caught in limbo right now, and while my friends and family are encouraging me to take it easy for a while, I can’t help but plunge into looking for a job right away. I just want to start my new life as soon as possible so that I can start a new social life (leaving all of my friends behind in Orlando was pretty traumatic. I spent most of my going-away party sobbing uncontrollably, locked in my friend’s room like a freak).

In light of all of that, I was still able to stay (somewhat) in touch with the blog-o-sphere. I’ve listed the highlights below. I promise that this week I won’t be late!

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Sugar Bowl: Week of 4/27/13

Oh my God—I graduate next week.

I move next week, too.

The following are some of the things I’ve been reading this past week to distract myself from the anxiety of finishing my undergraduate education and starting a transitional period of my life. I’m pretty nervous about finding a full-time job in a new place, especially since I’ve been out of work for a while. I need to seriously work on my resume because it’s currently pitiful-looking.

Compared to last week’s mania, I feel like this week had far fewer blogs that really caught my eye. Then again, I might just be feeling too wound-up to really settle down and comb carefully through my feed. In any case, click below to see what I’ve been reading this week instead of working on the dozens of tasks I need to complete before next Wednesday!

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How to Apply to Graduate School: Don’t Panic!

3Feb2013aI wanted to launch a little series on this blog about applying to graduate school since I recently survived my first (and perhaps my last!) application season. I don’t start my Master’s program until August so I’m not really an expert on graduate programs; however, I did spend most of last autumn and winter scrambling to learn as much about applying to graduate school as I could. I didn’t feel ready to apply to Ph.D. programs (save for one, just for the hell of it, and wound up being wait-listed) because the job market for English Ph.D.s right now is absolutely dismal. Besides, I’m twenty years old, and seven to ten years is a massive commitment. I love school, and although presently my dream is to one day complete a Ph.D., that may not be the case when I’m twenty-two and accepting a Masters degree (assuming I finish my program, of course!).

Part of the reason I think it’s so important for me to write about this, even though this sort of information is easily accessible all over the internet, is that I really want to do a thorough job of giving tips and relating my personal experiences in a way that doesn’t foster crippling anxiety. I’ll be honest—graduate school applications gave me so much anxiety, I was unable to get more than four hours of sleep a night for a few weeks. I used to call my mom, in tears, because if I didn’t get into grad school my life would be over (obviously this was hyperbolic of me; but it still stands that my mom’s loveseat back in our population: 10k hometown is not an option for me). I look back on my behavior and think it silly, while at the same time recognizing that there are a lot of other people out there who are likely going to be just as neurotic several months from now.

My first official “tip” about applying to grad school, while not exactly productive, will make this process so much less painful: calm down. Being a nervous wreck will not make your application better, it will not make you test better, and your grades will likely suffer as you spend more time agonizing over your applications than focusing on your existing work. I’m not really an advocate of the power of positive thinking, but having confidence in yourself—a little bit is totally fine, I promise—will keep your life from dissolving into a four-month long, e-mail refreshing hell.

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Ten Years Too Late: Why I Miss the “Goth” Subculture

graphicsfairy4I missed the “goth” trend by barely a few years. I was born in 1992, and by the time I entered middle school (and was finally riding the “big kid” bus with middle and high school kids), I was eleven years old and the year was was 2003. I remember maybe two or three individuals on my bus, high schoolers, who would saunter down the bus aisle every morning, their eyes downcast and a HIM hoodie pulled up over their heads. Their Tripp pants seemed about four times the size of their legs. These kids reminded me of the piercing-laden, green-haired sales associates at Hot Topic and they scared the life out of me.

As I got older and found myself spending just about all of my free time on the internet (I’ll be sure to compose a super riveting post one day about my shameful DeviantART era), the subculture that to me was “goth” suddenly started to seem much more appealing. From my pre-teen perspective, goth kids were quiet intellectuals, not troublemakers, and they listened to emotionally dark music and read books by Anne Rice and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (none of this Twilight garbage). And yet, while I find myself oddly attracted to the subculture, I resisted all public association with it (meaning I listened to Evanescence and watched Neurotically Yours at home but at school I scoffed at the “gawths”). Unfortunately, I was born with ghost-white skin and black hair so most of my classmates assumed that I identified as a goth anyway. By the time I entered high school, I was dyeing my hair lighter colors and made a fierce attempt to lose weight and wear feminine clothes. By the time I entered my sophomore or junior year, the goth subculture had faded away. I instead embraced the “scene” style since it seemed significantly more feminine and sexy to me than goth ever had. (Ugh, I feel like this post is turning out to be nothing more than a painful nostalgia trip. “First I was kinda goth, then I was scene, then I was this other obnoxious teenager-label…”).

In any case, looking back I really miss the goth subculture, or at least, what I knew of it from the internet. So many of the goth/alternative kids that I actually knew (not just the terrifying ones on my bus) were actually some of the sweetest, gentlest people I had ever encountered as an ugly, misfit tween. Goth was artsy, goth was smart, it was misunderstood and in a weird way kind of mature.

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Sugar Bowl: Week of 4/20/13

I really hate the word (phrase?) “roundup.” It reminds me of Toy Story 2. Although TS2 is a good movie, that damn “Woody’s Roundup” song still gets stuck in my head to this day, and I probably haven’t even seen the movie since the third Toy Story film was released. In any case, I’ve chosen not to use the word “roundup” for my link list (and “link list” sounds too boring). Instead, I’m using a kind of stupid, albeit non-irritating-song related, title for my occasional (weekly? bi-weekly? only time will tell) link lists: sugar bowl.

The embarrassing idea behind this title is the thinking that sugar is added to a variety of almost all drinks—coffee and tea in particular. Everyone has their own preference towards this ritual, and the spoonful, pinch, or dozens of packets of sugar we add to our morning drinks seem to add just that little extra something to our daily experience. I feel like link lists do the same thing—everyone has their own taste in reading material, and a good blog or two can just give our day some extra sweetness.

This whole metaphor falls on its face when considering that many people take their drinks without any sugar added. Maybe I should have thought this through a little better…

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“Pink” Journalism: Does anyone even talk like that?

gerbilinachairIn my introductory post, I declared that this blog would not be a platform for me to be “hoity-toity.” Okay, well, I think that this post sort of violates that promise. However, I would like to start by making it clear that I’m not trying to make it seem as though my writing is of perfect quality and flawless in every way. I really just want to articulate a trend that I’ve been seeing bleed over from magazines to the “blogosphere.”

I’m gendering this trend by calling it “pink” journalism. Essentially, I’m arguing that pink journalism is a gendered form of yellow journalism (which if I’m not mistaken is historically associated with political news and commentary). In a year-old post featured on The Frisky, blogger Rachel Rabbit White defines “pink journalism” as blogs and news columns written by and for women. To White, pink journalism is a positive way to reach out to and connect women. My definition of pink journalism differs from White’s in that I don’t apply the term to all women’s writing. In fact, I think that many women produce fantastic pieces of writing; most of my favorite authors and journalists happen to be women. I also want it to be clear that I don’t think writing about “frivolous” or “feminine” things is bad. I call myself a feminist, but I am certainly not the kind of feminist who spits in the face of femininity entirely and in fact, I regularly indulge in “feminine” activities such as stalking makeup blogs and watching trashy reality television (it’s for the sake of research though, I swear).

Anyway, my point is that pink journalism works the same way yellow journalism does: by dumbing down writing/reporting in order to in theory make the content more accessible. Instead it works to manipulate a reader and sensationalize a subject in order to (usually) sell a product. I would like to add that pink journalism sells not only products but also lifestyles and brand loyalty in general (there go my hopes of ever making money with this blog!).

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Books for the Budding Feminist

First of all, I wanted to go ahead and mention that I’ve changed the name of this blog from “A Second Infancy” (which I realized over time was giving the impression of a mommy-blog) to “Discharmed” (which really makes no frackin’ sense but I like the way it sounds! Interpret the meaning how you wish). I also made an effort to create my own banner which resulted in epic failure because the theme I’m using only allows for a puny header, hence the microscopic image at the top of my pages. Maybe one day I’ll invest in a domain and then have more customizable freedom with my layout but until then I’m just going to have to suffer through the clunkiness.

The purpose of my post today is to showcase some neat reading material for people who have “feminist tendencies” but haven’t quite unpacked their opinions and beliefs. Despite their obvious importance, I tried to avoid including more “dated” feminist works in here (think A Room of One’s Own or The Feminine Mystique). Let me reiterate: these books are still very significant, even today, and I encourage others to read them! However, when I was first dipping my toes into women’s studies, I found myself drawn to books that I found to be especially relevant and observant of trends now, in the early twenty-first century. These books aren’t exactly cut-and-dry as far as what the women’s movement in the U.S. *should* be doing, rather, they function as discussion-starters or as food for thought. These books make you think about the issues currently at hand in our culture, in the wake of events like the Steubenville rape case. Although the writing style in these texts is simpler than what one might find in an academic study of feminist theory, I feel like that makes them more accessible.

These books require an open mind. I don’t know if I agree 100% with everything these texts argue for or against, but that’s the beauty of thinking for yourself, right?

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