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.