Thursday, June 12, 2008

Online spring cleaning

A week or so ago, I unsubscribed from a listserv on folklore and folk magic that I've been on for, like, four years. At first it had seemed so promising, with the chance of real interaction with one of the writers in the field whose work I really admired. But one day, I realized it had reached a point of no return; it had degenerated into a cult of personality, flaring up into perpetual cries of "disrespect" toward the hallowed figure. One day, I read the various comments on the latest pointless, contradictory controversy, and said to myself, "These people are psycho!" And that was that.

At first it felt kind of weird, not getting the emails any more. But now, I feel like there's been a cumulative lightening of my spirit.

So today I de-subscribed from a blog feed I haven't been on that long, but which seems to have gone downhill even quicker. It's a web site devoted to a frothily feminist perspective on the media. I used to find a lot of interesting news tidbits and witty commentary, and while there are still flashes, they've got some new writers who are always making me say, "What the hell are you talking about?"

This was the small straw: their comments on a Glamour article about the worst money mistake women mistake. According to Glamour (a reliable source, if I ever saw one!), it's buying a house. The comments on the article by the readers ran the classic spectrum from "yes, a house is a money pits" to "renting is throwing your money away," along with various tales of current real estate woes. But the actual point is: is it a mistake for people in general to buy a house in this economic climate, or is it a mistake FOR WOMEN? Since that was the whole thrust of the article, and why this website was even talking about it.

If a single woman is in a decent economic position to do so, and other people are still buying houses as investments (who? couples with male breadwinners?), then how is that worse for her than for a married couple with kids doing the same? I'm not arguing that people should get into major debt and then foreclose, duh. A lot of people were caught up in the subprime loan business, not just single women. So all other things being equal, what does being a single woman have to really do with the issue? Other than scaring women into thinking: nope, better wait until you have a man?

That seems like something a feminist website ought to have noticed.

This follows on the heels of their article on "You should totally lie to your kids about your past, because my mom told me the truth, and I blame that for messing me up," which made me cry, "I see your anecdotal evidence and raise!" Time to pull the plug.

And don't even get me started on the "new and improved" (shudder) Television Without Pity site. From must-read to utterly useless, one corporate takeover later...

1 comment:

Beth said...

Oddly, I read a similar article in Glamour recently (how embarrassing - can I propose the "sometimes a person needs some shiny pictures and brain candy" argument?) - with cpmpletely opposite advise. I had to dig out the issue to check, but the one I have is about four smart moves to make in our current economy, and its recommendation was to buy a house if you can.

Though I don't know why I expect consistency from a magazine like that....

If indeed they say buying a home is a mistake, I really hope they contextualized it with "buying a house you can't afford or not reading all your loan paperwork i s a mistake." I'm a single woman and own a house, and yeah it can be scary, but it also feels really darn good.

Anyway. Good for you for housecleaning! I need to do that too.