We deserve better.

I keep coming across disheartening reminders that having a successful career rarely translates into financial stability.

s.e. smith, a writer whose work I’ve followed for years on XOJane and elsewhere on the social justice internets, recently posted a list of tips for freelancers. In the introduction, ou* admitted:

Alas, the fact of the matter is that while I have been freelancing for seven years now, I still don’t have what I would call a wildly stable or successful career, and it’s highly likely that will never realistically happen. The same is true of many freelancers, especially in an economy where intellectual labour is valued less and less, which translates into lower fees for your work or dreaded offers of ‘exposure’ in offer for your free work.

The same day, I came across Susie Cagle’s post Eight years of solitude: on freelance labor, journalism, and survival. And it’s just depressing:

More newspapers and magazines want to profile me and the strange work I do than hire me to actually do it. Other writers and illustrators chastise, how can you complain about getting that kind of promotion? The year I got the most TV and radio spots and magazine write-ups, I made about $17,000.

Even though freelance writing doesn’t appeal to me for a number of reasons–I do best with external structure and routine, I need to be around people, and I just enjoy writing more when my rent doesn’t depend on it–it hurts to see how little our economy values people with skills and interests similar to mine. It’s incredibly frustrating to see so many people doing such good work but barely making enough to live on.

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Sunday links, 11/17/13

Glamming it up with my friend Jesse at The Thicky Chicky‘s launch party, which I’ll be posting about soon! (source: Hill Zhou Photography)

So, it’s official: I’m switching my weekly links post to Sundays. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week; feel free to share what you’ve been reading or writing in the comments.

Fa(t)shion 
-I so want to bring back half of these forgotten early 2000s trends.
-Through Danimezza’s outfit post from a horse race (how amazing is that entire outfit?!), I found Locopa Designs, whose Facebook page is pure fascinator porn.
-Plus size designer Elizabeth Denneau writes a love letter to Betsey Johnson, whom she met at Tucson Fashion Week. I’m glad she had such a positive experience, but that doesn’t change the fact that Betsey Johnson designs only straight size clothes (with the exception of a plus size lingerie/sleepwear line a while back), and I’m not ok with that.
-This handmade 18th century princess costume for a 3 1/2-year old girl is amazing.
-If you’ve been eyeing something at Domino Dollhouse but waiting for sale, they currently have 20% off to celebrate their third birthday.
-Mel rounds up black and gold dresses, Sally rounds up ballgowns, and Naomi rounds up all things velvet.
The mistakes plus size designers often make, and how they could do better.
-Two great responses to Lululemon’s latest asshattery: I’m a size 18 yogi, and Lululemon can kiss my fat ass, and Bodies are NOT a problem (despite some yoga pants’ attempts to make us think otherwise).
-These Miss Universe 2013 costumes may have been posted to make fun of them, but I think they’re amazing.
-Leah talks about sizism within the plus-size fashion world.

Fat Acceptance
Two posts about the community day at Plus London 2013.
I’ve been eating bacon and Doritos all day, and that doesn’t make me “bad.”
Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign is helping bullies.
Today in accessing healthcare while fat…
Public health missteps.
-Melbourne fatties, check out the Va Va Boombah Fat Burlesque performer showcase!

Climate and Sustainability
“I find my reassurance that we’re going to win from the steel-strong piece in my heart that is awake and wanting to live quietly among good people, growing things, and wildness. That is my revolution.”
-Tree porn: Singapore’s urban greenery and a Fibonacci-inspired treehouse.
Decolonizing minds and lands: how we stand with indigenous nations.
In the wake of Haiyan, we must divest from fossil fuels.

Jobs and the Economy
-Two NYTimes articles that show the human cost of the economic crisis: Young and educated in Europe, but desperate for jobs and Caught in a revolving door of unemployment. (And yes, they both made me cry.)
A great interview with Sarah Kendzior on unpaid internships, the prestige economy, and the importance of empathy.
-This story about how Sweden increased gender equality by offering men use-it-or-lose-it paternity leave is fascinating, and it’s an important reminder of how much economics can affect behavior–and why we can’t separate economic and social justice.
-The 40-year slump, a great historical economic analysis from the American Prospect (which, ironically enough, pays its interns below minimum wage).
Why I make terrible decisions, or, poverty thoughts.
-On a similar note, these two responses to a post judging poor people for occasionally having nice possessions is important: “Every time someone yelled at us because poor people shouldn’t have nice things, we all died a little inside, and I clutched my horses even harder.  I needed something bright and beautiful in the world, to make up for the roaches in the walls and the mold growing on the butter.”
Occupy Wall Street activists buy $15 million of Americans’ personal debt.

Everything Else
A love letter to the ‘hood.
The racism in healthy food: why we need to stop telling others what to eat.
-On a related note, Kit writes about how healthy lifestyle advice can cause so much stress and anxiety that it becomes counterproductive.
New study shows that individuals with autism don’t lack empathy – if anything, they empathize too much. This isn’t actually anything new–I’ve heard as much from people with autism and Asperger’s for a long time–but it’s always good to get the word out.
What Joss Whedon gets wrong about the word “feminist.”
There’s an adorable Tumblr devoted to queer men of color in love.
-Aoife analyzes what’s wrong with the saying, “Every time you spend money you cast a vote for the kind of society you want.”
-I love Lily Allen’s music, and was disappointed to hear about her latest racist bullshit. These three posts explain exactly what’s wrong with it.