Published by St. Martin's Press on March 29th 2016
Genres: Essays, Form, Humor
Gina Barreca is fed up with women who lean in, but don't open their mouths. In her latest collection of essays, she turns her attention to subjects like bondage which she notes now seems to come in fifty shades of grey and has been renamed Spanx. She muses on those lessons learned in Kindergarten that every woman must unlearn like not having to hold the hand of the person you're waking next to (especially if he's a bad boyfriend) or needing to have milk, cookies and a nap every day at 3:00 PM (which tends to sap one's energy not to mention what it does to one's waistline). She sounds off about all those things a woman hates to hear from a man like "Calm down" or "Next time, try buying shoes that fit". "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" is about getting loud, getting love, getting ahead and getting the first draw (or the last shot). Here are tips, lessons and bold confessions about bad boyfriends at any age, about friends we love and ones we can't stand anymore, about waist size and wasted time, about panic, placebos, placentas and certain kinds of not-so adorable paternalism attached to certain kinds of politicians. The world is kept lively by loud women talking and "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" cheers and challenges those voices to come together and speak up. You think she's kidding? Oh, boy, do you have another thing coming.
Hello Dazzled by Books Reader. Today we have Gina Barreca taking over Dazzled by Books. I loved her book, IF YOU LEAN IN, WILL MEN JUST LOOK DOWN YOUR BLOUSE?. I invited Gina to take over today and I think you will love her. Stay tuned for a review of IF YOU LEAN IN, WILL MEN JUST LOOK DOWN YOUR BLOUSE?.
What Are You Most Judge-y About?
What are you most judge-y about? Does being judge-y show you have discernment, standards and ideals, or does it illustrate elitism, insecurity, and a narrowness of mind?
My father was in the rag trade; I’m judge-y about fabric. I don’t care if Rayon is currently resurgent. It is unwelcome in my wardrobe. I’ve never been able to order clothes from a catalog or website because I need to feel the weave, touch the fibers and see if the design is woven or printed. Don’t tell me I should eschew design for durability or renounce style for sustainability.
And I’m most certainly not sleeping on sheets made from repurposed tires or recycled candy wrappers even if it’s good for the planet. I will help the planet in other ways, but I’m sleeping on high-thread count all-cotton sateen. If they want to take that away from me, they’ll have to pry it out of my cool, well-rested hands.
Even as a kid, I bought my clothes at thrift shops instead of Woolworth’s was because I preferred a twenty-year-old silk dress to a brand-new polyester pantsuit.
Look, we’re all judgmental about something, and that judgment perhaps not completely unattached to malice, so what does your particular category selection say about your character?
Judge-y folks are those who imagine their sensibilities, tastes or responses in a specific arena are more discriminating, more informed and more exacting than anyone else’s.
Other folks are judge-y about wine, cereal, chocolate, lip-liner, toilet tissue, music, fruit (“heirloom tomatoes are serious business” says a produce aficionado), jewelry and pizza.
Actually, many people are snobs about food, but particularly Italian food. “I won’t eat any pizza that’s not my mother’s and I won’t eat any sauce that’s not my own,” says my friend Yvonne. Now, that’s a snob. That’s someone who believes that she is so entirely an expert on the topic of pizza and red sauce that she regards as automatically inferior any version created by someone who does not share her DNA.
At it’s best, being judge-y can be seen as having cultivated a thoughtful and finely curated sense of selectivity. (And yes, people think they have that about cereal and toilet tissue.)
At it’s worse, being judge-y can cut you off from experiences you might thoroughly enjoy. It took me a long time, for example, to admit that I love reading horror stories and long, epic historical fiction as well as canonical literature (and, of course, lots of humor). I was far more judge-y and much more of a snob about books when I was younger—I’m an English teacher, after all– but now I have gleefully thrown away all caution and am a glutton for gory and gooey volumes, grabbing them by the armful and having to please no one but myself.
Shrugging off the judgments of others is a glorious feeling. And it’s also true that if we judge ourselves less harshly, we can be more generous towards the rest of the world. That’s not judge-y—that’s simple good judgment.