Sponsor Shout-out: Financial Times

We are just two days away from the start of BinderCon, and we can see you’re all getting excited. We are too!

We are very grateful to the Masthead_blackFinancial Times for making BinderCon possible.

Make sure you check out the Financial Times‘  Executive Diversity Report, out today! It includes articles about how a rental car company might be more inclusive than Hollywood, how a contribution to the fight against marriage equality cost a Mozilla chief exec his job, and a list of the top 100 LGBT people in business.

The FT’s Team Communities would like to invite you to join their Communities Forum (signup here). What’s in it for you? Exclusive access to events, giveaways and more. It is free to join and you don’t need to be a subscriber to get in on the action.

Great access and opportunities aside, the FT would welcome your feedback. If you have any ideas about how they can better meet your needs, email teamcommunities@ft.com or find them on Twitter @FTCommunities.



Sponsor Shout-Out: The Harnisch Foundation

harnisch2The Harnisch Foundation has been encouraging philanthropy, investing in entrepreneurial journalism, and funding research into professional coaching since 1998. What all these things have in common is a search for improving people’s lives with great ideas the Foundation seeks out. As the Harnisch Foundation puts it: “We are collaborative and inclusive. Our projects often showcase the work of others, and we act as a convener.”

We are so grateful that the Harnisch Foundation chose to invest in us and in women and gender-nonconforming writers through their support of BinderCon, and we wanted to let you know how else they could help you directly.

The Harnisch Foundation has a long history of supporting innovative models of entrepreneurial journalism, which have the potential to upend the old model that has left women and people of color behind. One project they’ve supported that we really love is the Op Ed Project, which seeks to diversify the range of expert voices being heard in the media by giving those experts media training and connecting them with journalists.

And new this year, the Harnisch Foundation has gotten on board with the Awesome Foundation, starting its own chapter called Awesome Without Borders, which gives out $1,000 grants every week to people with an awesome idea that will help the world. You don’t have to be part of a non-profit; you don’t even need to live in the States. Just have an awesome idea and apply here. (Just take a look at least; the form is so straightforward, you might be inspired!)




Required Reading: Links of the Week

Here’s what we at BinderCon have been reading this week. But first, a reminder to act fast and grab one of the last few slots for our speed pitching event, happening on Sunday morning of the conference, which starts in eight days!

Ali Liebegott, writer for the TV show Transparent (available to you through your own or somebody else’s Amazon Prime account password), penned an essay about their experience as a butch dyke freelancer writer, being invited to write for Transparent, and how their experience informs the show:

I wanted to get it right, and recognized the dangers of a bad representation. I’ve lived a good part of my life in a gender non-conforming body. As a butch who is constantly misgendered and regendered throughout the day by strangers, I have some crossover with a trans experience especially when it comes to using public restrooms, navigating airports, getting wanded by security detail on entering a sporting event, so I felt like I could use my experience to add to the conversation.


Daisy Hernández‘s account of a summer editorial internship at the New York Times is funny, enraging, and useful to other young women writers of color entering journalism (alas, things haven’t been getting better). Hernández’s anecdotes are cutting, like this one:

Because it’s the beginning of summer, NPR has an obligatory story about the high number of girls who are going to tanning salons. I listen to this while lying in bed next to my girlfriend, who frequents these salons, and with my idea for getting Colombians political asylum stalled, I suggest writing on the evils of the fake tan.

Mr. Flaco loves it. White men can always be counted on to agree that girls do crazy things in the name of beauty and that they need to be chastised. Who better than to scold teenage girls than a young woman herself?

BinderCon speaker Jill Filipovic wrote about how “parental consent” laws in Alabama are putting minors who want abortions on trial (not just morally; literally in a court room):

It allows the court to appoint the embryo or fetus a “guardian ad litem,” which is a person, usually a lawyer, tasked with advocating for the embryo’s interests in court. It also requires that the district attorney appear to represent the interests of the state — which the law explicitly says are “to protect unborn life.” And the DA can call the young woman’s friends, family members, teachers, or employers as witnesses if he deems it necessary.


Zoë Heller and BinderCon speaker Leslie Jamison ask: Should Writers Avoid Sentimentality? Jamison gets to the heart (ahem) of it, saying:

The fear of being too sentimental — writing or even liking sentimental work — shadowed the next decade of my life. The fear was so ingrained in me it became difficult to tell where outside voices ended and internal ones began. But the whole time I wasn’t entirely sure what I was afraid of: What was the difference between a sentimental story and a courageously emotive one?

Finally, ICYMI, as if: a conversation between Roxane Gay and Lena Dunham, including this dialogue about Internet criticism:

[Gay] Absolutely. I run into it because so much of what I get is noise and people being evil, and there is nothing I can do to fix that. But then something comes through, whether it is in a comment or on Twitter or via email, that is lucid and that challenges me in a truthful way, and that is when I respond. I respond when I am going to be able to become better and do better.
[Dunham] That is so well-put. It is hard to be criticized and it is hard to change, but it also feels good. The thing that allows you to keep being vital in your work is to open up to stuff and to be a permeable membrane. When I first started, the [charges of] racism around the first season of the show — I did not know what was going on and I had evil people telling me not to speak, but I also had people [saying], “You have to shut everything out, or you are going to go insane.” And it took me a little while to realize that it was going to be better for me to engage and learn and hear than it was for me to go into my house and wrap a blanket around my head. That was the beginning of a really, really, really important lesson for me.

Happy Weekend Before BinderCon! Rest up!


Meet Marie Myung-Ok, Journalist and Novelist

MarieMyung-OkLee200We sent out a survey asking the same questions to our speakers to help you get to know them better. Here’s Marie Myung-Ok Lee, who will be participating in the panel Mothers Writing Motherhood, on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Great Hall at Cooper Union.

In a few sentences, who are you?

My essays have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The Guardian, The NationSalon, and I’m a regular contributor to The Atlantic.  I was the first recipient of a creative writing Fulbright Fellowship to South Korea and has been one of the few journalists granted a visa to North Korea. I’ve held residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, Ucross and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and teaches fiction at Columbia, where was the Our Word Writer-in-Residence. My forthcoming novel is being published by Simon & Schuster.

Describe one moment, event, person, relationship or other thing that put you on the path to becoming a writer, or told you that this was going to be your career.

When I was nine and my brother gave me his old typewriter. I’d been writing stories before that, but with the typewriter, I was struck at how “professional” they looked right off the bat, so I three-hole-punched it and bound it in yarn, and sold it to my parents for I think a dime. It was at that moment I realized that’s ALL I wanted to do, forever.

What’s essential for your work routine, ie. early morning start, some type of music, clean teeth, a looming deadline?

Piping hot, french-pressed coffee, beeswax candles, 4:30 a.m., gluten-free cookies. Also, no chi-moving stuff (e.g., yoga, meditation) until after writing is done.

After casting a glance at our program, who’s another speaker you’re excited to see at Out of the Binders and why?

Leslie Jamison. She’s taken the essay form, exploded it and put it back together in a way that some of its irregularities are the most beautiful parts. Her essays evoke something in the viscera that I once thought–snobbishly, I know–that only novels could do. And that she’s a woman and writes with the “I,” but is obviously a writer to be reckoned with, makes her a perfect fit for BinderCon.

Why do you think this Out of the Binders conference needs to exist?

We need to connect, support, share, inspire as women writers and just as writers. Plus, it’s fun to be in a club as an adult.

What’s one link you’d give to someone who wants to read or find out more about your work?

My forthcoming novel is not autobiographical, but it’s a satire about the “future of medicine,” and I’m realizing how much it’s been influenced by my father, who was quite a “character”–this essay [published in the New York Times, and featuring our favorite Mitt Romney] captures aspects of both my nonfiction and fiction.

Let’s get people connected with you!

Twitter: @MarieMyungOkLee [and Instagram too!]
Facebook: Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Feel free to add anything you’d like included in this post, like a thought, a quote, a cat gif, whatever.

Flannery O’Connor, one of the best writers who ever lived, said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” I feel exactly the same way. Thank you, Flannery!



Sponsor Shout-Out: Bustle, Financial Times and hint

BinderCon has been lucky to find great partners to help make the dream of helping women writers out of the binders and supporting, sharing and collaborating with each other into a reality. We’d like to tell you about three of our sponsors–Bustle, the Financial Times, and hint–who generously support BinderCon.


The Financial Times’ new Communities Forum

The FT’s Team Communities would like to invite you to join their Communities Forum (signup here). What’s in it for you? Exclusive access to events, giveaways and more. It is free to join and you don’t need to be a subscriber to get in on the action. Great access and opportunities aside, the FT would welcome your feedback. If you have an ideas about how they can better meet your needs, email teamcommunities@ft.com or find them on twitter @FTCommunities.


Bustle is a website “Redefining Women’s Interest” with smart takes on news, entertainment, fashion, book, lifestyle and anything else that women care about. Dig in, starting with our own BinderCon Director of Outreach’s Bustle piece, “I was in an abusive relationship with a woman… until one book got me out.

hinthint_Logo 2014 JPEG

hint is unsweetened flavored water that refreshes without calories, sweeteners and preservatives. hint is available in a variety of flavors such as watermelon, blackberry, crisp apple and blood orange. hint also makes a sparkling version called hint fizz, available in flavors such as grapefruit, blackberry and strawberry-kiwi. Plug your zip code into their handy store locator to find out where to try it near you.


Meet Ava Chin, Author of Eating Wildly

AvaChin200We sent out a survey asking the same questions to our speakers to help you get to know them better. Here’s Ava Chin, who will be participating in the panel called Double Whammy: Women Writers of Color Discuss Challenges and Strategies, on Sunday at 3:30 in the Tishman Auditorium.

In a few sentences, who are you?

I’m a native New Yorker and the author of the memoir Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal, about the ways that foraging for food in urban natures altered the way that I interacted with my hometown, my family, as well as myself. For several years I wrote the Urban Forager column for the New York Times about the wild edibles flourishing throughout our region (now I do it at www.avachin.com), and I’m currently an associate professor of creative nonfiction and journalism at the College of Staten Island-CUNY.

Describe one moment, event, person, relationship or other thing that put you on the path to becoming a writer, or told you that this was going to be your career.

When I was an undergraduate at Queens College, my creative writing professor told me that my father’s absence was the wound that made me a writer. Back then, I was constantly writing about daughters trying to reconcile with their families and meeting their fathers for the very first time. But what really turned me into a writer was having a very colorful family full of people who love to talk!

What’s essential for your work routine, ie. early morning start, some type of music, clean teeth, a looming deadline?

I need to wake up in the early morning to a clean desk in order to write—and playing Phillip Glass certainly helps (it’s truly Pavlovian—I hear his music and I feel compelled to work). Lately, my work-life balance has been in a bit of a shambles due to my becoming a mother of a very active toddler. Her toys have overtaken our living space, including my desk. It’s impossible to work from home these days and I usually have to hightail it out to a café or a library.

 After casting a glance at our program, who’s another speaker you’re excited to see at Out of the Binders and why?

Um, everyone? Seriously, I’m so impressed with all of the speakers, from the featured ones to the panelists, that I just want to run up to everyone, introduce myself, and give the writer a big hug.

Why do you think this Out of the Binders conference needs to exist?

Women writers need in-the-flesh role-models and spaces to network and interact. BinderCon is kind of like “A Conference of One’s Own.”

What’s one link, aka URL, you’d give to someone who wants to read or find out more about your work?

You can find out more about what I do, and about Eating Wildly, on my site www.avachin.com. There I showcase the edible plants and mushrooms that I encounter all across New York City, as well as give tips about the writing life for emerging writers, including how to stay sane during book tour during a family crisis.

Let’s get people connected with you!

Twitter: @AvaChin
Website: Ava Chin
Facebok: Ava Chin


Sponsor Shout Out: WAM!


Women, Action and the Media, better known as WAM! is a people-powered independent nonprofit dedicated to building a robust, effective, inclusive movement for gender justice in media. They are also BinderCon’s fiscal sponsor, and we couldn’t have done it without their generous contribution and guidance!

Across the country (and Canada!), WAM! fights for women to be present and represented in journalism, TV and film, comics, video games and music. Through the local chapters, casual meet-ups, panel discussions and more, WAM! connects women with each other, building professional support networks.

Have you attended a WAM! event? If not, check out their website to find a chapter in your area and try it out! You can also like them on Facebook, and get updates via Twitter. Here are two upcoming events from the WAM! world, both great ways to dive in and get involved:

  • WAM!’s first Seattle Happy Hour meetup is happening Oct. 7th at 5:30 at The Bar at Central Cinema. RSVP to go get “happy” with your people!
  • The In/Visibility of Black Women film screening and panel discussion on Oct. 4th in Santa Monica, CA, will discuss the way racist stereotypes devalues the lives of Black women and girls. In the wake of Michael Brown’s killing and the trial of Renisha McBride’s killer, the panel will also discuss how mainstream media criminalizes victims.

Talking to Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison is the author of the New York Times–bestselling essay collection The Empathy Exams. She’s also a novelist (The Gin Closet), a Ph.D. candidate in American literature at Yale, and a writing teacher at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Writer and BinderCon Director of Outreach Alison B. Hart caught up with her at City Bakery to talk to her about empathy, self-doubt, gender skews, and why she’s excited to open BinderCon with her keynote address on Saturday at 10 a.m. in Cooper Union’s Great Hall.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and a bit for clarity.

Out of the Binders: Can I ask you a little bit about the National Book Award? The nonfiction long-list came out yesterday and I think a lot of people felt strongly that you should be on it. But even more than that, some people were upset there was only one woman on the list. How did you react to the under-representation of women on that particular list?

Leslie Jamison: Yeah, it is troubling to me to see a list generated in a year where there were so many incredible books of nonfiction written by women. This year I felt particularly aware of that because I was in the world of publication and getting sent a lot of books—a lot of books were crossing my path that were really interesting—but I’m sure it’s been true in any other year.

I know the work of judging is hard, and I know that there are a million variables that go into how these things happen, but it just seems impossible for me to believe that any collective understanding of the ten best works of nonfiction written for this year would be nine of them written by men. It feels wrong to me. And I would also say, there were two other skews that were as troubling to me as the gender skew, and one was a more longstanding kind of genre issue around what the National Book Awards think of as serious nonfiction, which really does privilege history, certain kinds of archivally-based cultural studies. I’m not looking at the list so I don’t want to speak too definitively, but it’s been my impression that there’s not as much memoir or essays.

For that reason it was really exciting that—and Alexander Chee wrote a great piece about this, too—but it was exciting to me that Roz Chast was on there, not just so it wouldn’t be 100% men, but also so we would see some sort of formal experimentation on there. When I think of works by women that I would have loved to see on that list, like Jen Percy’s book or Eula’s new book, part of why I find them exciting is because they are doing a lot more with form and genre, I think, than the books that are on that list. And then the other thing is just the skew toward big presses. One of the things that’s been exciting about a lot of awards in recent years: they really are understanding the value of what small presses are bringing to literary culture. Especially with nonfiction, I think small presses serve a really important role.

This kind of self-perpetuating mythology around what people want to read really streamlines what big presses want to publish. I feel 100% sure that The Empathy Exams never would have sold to a big press, and it’s obviously not because it couldn’t sell well, because it did. So there’s this sense [among big presses] of, “Well we know what the market likes,” which in turn dictates what the market is allowed to like.

You know, you’ve got that line in The Empathy Exams: “You court a certain disdain by choosing to write about hurting women.” Do you think that’s relevant at all?

You know, I really … I couldn’t speak to that. But one thing that I can say is it’s been really interesting to me to see just the range of critical responses to the book and how I feel that many reviews of the book were really participating in a conversation, wittingly or unwittingly, with that last essay [in The Empathy Exams, “Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain”]. I think a lot of people when they respond to the book critically, I can sort of sense in their reviews this real level of irritation with the person they have imagined me to be, which I think is inevitable—and I get that and don’t take it that personally—but there was one review that said, like, “I’ll read what she writes next, but I would never want to go out into dinner with her.” Stuff like that that feels like it’s about this sense of being a whiny woman and that you were just relentlessly going on about your damage. And whatever nerve ending gets touched, for either men or women, it was kind of an embodiment or a manifestation of what I was trying to put my finger on in that last essay.

I like the way you crowd-sourced different women’s opinions of female pain in that essay too. I felt like I could have been a friend you had crowd sourced, too.

The whole experiencing of crowd-sourcing was really interesting. It did set in motion a lot of dialogues with friends—even women that I knew very well—where we were talking very specifically about stuff in a way that we hadn’t before. It made me feel like I could think about writing in a different way, too, that every essay would set up its own set of challenges and questions and I could go about responding to those challenges and questions any way that I wanted.

One of the things that I like about the tradition of academic writing—it can get tedious when you’re reading a piece of academic writing when it’s, like, touching base with everybody who’s ever had a thought about prayer shawls in Chaucer or whatever—but I do think there’s a real spirit there of collective knowledge and a sense of generating a piece of knowledge that is part of a web of other pieces of knowledge. And for me it pushes back against an impulse to understand myself as sort of a lone gorilla who’s tackling huge questions for the first and only time. Never the case.

How early in the process of writing the book did you know that empathy was going to be the thread?

I’d probably written about half the essays that showed up in the book before I wrote the title essay. In the process of then clarifying empathy as a conceptual keyword or center, it was liberating to see that what I had thought of as very separate fascinations that I was following—things like why people would subject themselves to the physical extremities of ultrarunning; or what might be redeemable, if there was anything redeemable, in a tour of silver mines; things that were very far apart on the map—did have these common questions about how do we try to make meaning out of pain or understand other people’s pain.

How did that change the last half of the work?

In some ways it gave me impetus to move forward on projects that I had just conceptualized or thought it would be amazing to write about. Like that piece on Morgellons disease [“Devil’s Bait”] had been an idea and a hope that I’d had, but once I had this sense of what the book would be, and also once Graywolf had purchased the book (because almost everything I wrote, I wrote on spec), it helped me to go out on a limb financially and trust-wise. It helped to go out on a limb for certain pieces to know that they would have a home in a book no matter what. But the downside was, when I wrote the first draft of the Morgellons piece, the word empathy showed up 45 times or something like that. So there was this way that once I had it in mind for a guiding concept, it was always, like, knocking at the door. It was almost kind of oppressive in terms of how its footprint was all over the book, so I had to exercise restraint in trying to just let it be this force moving underneath the pieces, not completely dominating them.

You still write so well and beautifully about empathy. I saw it coming up in the “52 Blue” essay [published by The Atavist in August 2014]. Do you feel like empathy will still be your beat for a while?

Yeah, I have joked with various people in my life, about the next book just being More Empathy Exams. Empathy is a pretty wide-ranging concept insofar as it’s so much more about how we encounter other lives. I think it will keep coming up for me, I’m sure. But I am interested in following other kinds of questions and other kinds of paths and just thinking even about different ways that a collection could be structured. Like the [next] collection that I am working on, I’m thinking much more about the relationship between private experience and more public acts of writing and thinking in particular about the way that private emotional experience inflects the process of doing journalism, how every journalistic piece also has this shadow story, whatever the radically subjective experience that act of journalism was.

In the Slate review of the book, I thought Mark O’Connell said something really interesting. He was saying how thrilling it is “to encounter a writer who so elegantly incorporates her own writerly anxieties into her work, who is so composed and confident about the value of her own self-doubt.” He’s getting at something that is about why everybody is so taken with the book, so it’s obviously working. But I wonder if there’s a flip side for you. Does it feel penalizing in any way that you’ve come out with the anxieties and the self-doubt?

I do think that owning certain kinds of fear and vulnerability, for me at least, does mainly dissolve its power. Owning what my perspective is and the ways in which that perspective is contoured by certain sorts of fear and anxiety and uncertainty, that almost feels like a position of strength to me. Because what makes me feel weak is a feeling of fraudulence or trying to be something for somebody else that I’m not, and that’s what makes me feel kind of scared and frantic inside. When I’m just representing where I feel certain, where I feel uncertain, where I feel called to emotional dimensions of my gaze, it feels like I’m not trying to be anything for anyone and that’s why that’s like a strength. It’s less that I feel absolutely certain of the value of my own self-doubt, and more that there is no other position that I feel comfortable occupying.

I read The Paris Review interview and it was interesting when you were talking about when you were feeling gender start to play a role in these conversations, and that you didn’t notice it until Yale and in the world of academia. I’m curious, why there?

Part of it might have to do with the fact that academia privileges a kind of discourse that makes me feel uncomfortable, or can privilege a kind of discourse that makes me feel uncomfortable, which is to say very oppositionally driven. If somebody offers a point, somebody else challenges that point. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s a way of speaking that tends to make me feel insecure, I think because I am very quick to doubt myself in certain ways, and so I respond much better to people who, sort of, not like knee-jerk affirm everything I say but …

Entertain a line of thought….

Yeah. And then I can build it and explore it and sink down into it. So it could be that academia brought up some of my own insecurities and then I became hyper-sensitized to dynamics that I had blithely skated through before. But also it was a place where I started to look at these things—and I don’t like being reductive about eliding the difference between correlation and causation and stuff like that—but I would just look at rooms and it seemed like most of the people who are speaking in this room are men. And I don’t know if there’s a coherent reason for that, or what play of kind of conscious and subconscious variables are in common to that, but I’m noticing that that was happening. And it was the first place where I’ve really been struck by that.

It makes sense to me that more men are reading your work now than were before, just because women read all the novels and now you’ve got this New York Times bestseller nonfiction book. Do you think about it? Or are you able to just shut your mind out to those types of issues?

It’s funny. Anecdotally, one thing that I always like about the fact that I’ve written the piece about the Barkley, the ultramarathon [ “The Immortal Horizon”], it did mean that that piece got very circulated in quite a small niche community, which was the ultrarunning digital community, which is, like, all men. A lot of them read the novel because they got really interested in, “Oh, who is this person who wrote about Barkley?” I kind of love the idea of these super-athletic, highly driven, highly trained men almost unawares stumbling into this deeply emo, feelings-driven novel about two women. I felt like I’d almost Trojan-horsed them into reading this other kind of work.

With certain pieces I think I subconsciously am probably imagining a gender for my audience. I do think I wrote “Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain” more for women than for men. That’s sort of the way I needed to write that essay, and I think the crowdsourcing was part of it, that I felt like I was almost just in conversation with the women who had become a part of the conversation with me. But I certainly love the idea of men reading that essay. Certainly some of the most interesting responses I’ve gotten to it have been from men, and I’m always interested in engaging with those responses. It’s very important to me to think about essays as not an autonomous event, but the seed or a kernel inside of a larger series of conversations around it, so I’m interested in how that piece got received by a variety of gender viewpoints.

You were an early supporter of Bindercon. It was great that you lent your name to the Kickstarter effort and you agreed to speak. Why was it important for you to support BinderCon, and what does it mean to you?

I feel like … questions of gender and how gender inflects the publishing industry … there still are gendered issues that we need to face, and those sorts of forces are operating in really complicated ways. And for me, that means that I’m still working through what I think and feel about how I want publishing to evolve and how I want some of the ratios that feel really troubling—or the VIDA count numbers that feel troubling—like, what I think should happen to make those better. The fact that it’s a live issue is part of why I feel really excited about the idea of a bunch of women coming together to talk about it. I think the fact that I have spent more time on the literary circuit in the recent past than I was before has made me aware of the ways in which, especially being a young woman, I do think you get treated differently in all sorts of ways that sometimes are explicit enough that you feel like “Oh, well, that’s now self evident and tangible and palpable in the room” and sometimes are much more subterranean. And for that reason I love having a space where this whole range of female voices are being given platform and an environment in which to be taken seriously.


Sponsor Shout Out: Follow These TinyLetter Newsletters

TinyLetter_WordmarkTinyLetter is a personal newsletter service brought to you by the people behind MailChimp. Some of our favorite writers use it to send updates, digests, and dispatches to their fans and friends.

In addition, TinyLetter is a generous sponsor of BinderCon, and we’re grateful for the generous contribution they’ve provided to make this conference possible. Want to show your gratitude? Check out what they have to offer!

Have something to say? TinyLetter is a great platform for getting your message out to the world. Need some help to get things going? Rebecca Greenfield has some tips on how to make your newsletter really stand out. One hot tip: “A newsletter is different than a publication. People like informality.”

More interested in being a newsletter recipient? Here are some recommended TinyLetter newsletters to get you might enjoy:

  • Get in on the ground floor with MSNBC’s social media manager Nisha Chittal’s brand new This Week in Lady News (now she has to keep it up!).
  • Hardly Working by Rena Tom, founder of co-working space Makeshift Society and Market Editor at Anthology Magazine, gives you one thing to read, eat, covet, or meet every newsletter. And she has great taste.
  • Veteran digital campaigner and social media guru Laura Olin’s everything changes promises a “newsletter with a different format, theme, and frequency every week.” Variety is the spice of life.
  • Sarah Jeong and Parker Higgins’s 5 Useful Articles makes intellectual property news actually interesting. Promise.
  • Links I would gchat you if we were friends by Caitlin Dewey of The Washington Post is a wide-ranging daily roundup.
  • Charlotte Shane’s Prostitute Laundry gets personal, hot, and heavy. Perfect for reading on public transit.
  • The Ann Friedman Weekly, a weekly dispatch from the popular writer for NYmag.com, The Hairpin, ELLE and so much more. There’s a reason this is one of the most popular newsletters on TinyLetter – sign up to receive it, and see for yourself!

Required Reading: Links of the Week

Found time to write? (Eric Parker/Flickr)

“Exercise the writing muscle every day” -Jane Yolen (Eric Parker/Flickr)

Here are the best links the BinderCon crew found this week about women, the written word, media and…whatever we like.

The New York Times’ TV critic got it wrong (again) when she decided to evaluate the work of creator, screenwriter, producer and director Shonda Rhimes solely through the racist construction of the “angry black lady.” Willa Paskin at Slate and Kara Brown at Jezebel had some choice words for why relating everything to the stereotype diminished Rhimes’ weighty work and was, ultimately, beside the point. Here’s Brown:

It’s just boggling that a New York Times television critic is unable to write about black women without calling upon three of the oldest racist stereotypes about black women. What is spectacularly ironic is that Stanley, after using descriptions that necessarily relate to race, later suggests that Rhimes’ and her characters are not even concerned with race.

Not unrelated: Anna Silman at Vulture writes how few women are actually working behind the camera in TVOITNB notwithstanding, and how it’s getting worse.

According to the annual “Boxed In” report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women make up only 27 percent of the behind-the-camera workforce in broadcast television, down 1 percent from the previous season. Meanwhile, women make up only 42 percent of onscreen broadcast speaking roles, a 1 percent decline from last season.

Jeanne Whalen over at the Wall Street Journal wrote about slow reading clubs that helped people read without distraction.

Slow readers list numerous benefits to a regular reading habit, saying it improves their ability to concentrate, reduces stress levels and deepens their ability to think, listen and empathize.

Ron Charles at The Washington Post is wondering where all the women are in the National Book Award nonfiction long list, and frankly, we are too.

Objective-sounding words like “quality,” “depth” and “significance” were, for centuries, defined in ways that privileged certain kinds of writing (and excluded certain kinds of authors). It’s no coincidence that great books are described as “seminal” instead of “ovular.” Publishing has come a long way, but as the sharp-eyed readers at VIDA keep reminding us, we have a long way to go.


Roman Mars, host of the great design podcast 99% Invisible, compiled a list of good woman-hosted podcasts he listens to, addressing how women tend to get overlooked in lists. [full disclosure: I’m interning at one of the podcasts.] When you’re not writing, listen to them!

I’m so proud of that and honored to be presented and championed by journalists and podcast fans. I can’t help but notice that we’re always grouped with a whole bunch of other male-hosted shows, so I thought I’d present my favorite podcasts hosted (or at least co-hosted) by women, since they don’t always receive the same amount of attention.