Is George Washington Canceled?
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Apply must hello and welcome to the wave spread Thursday February thirteenth. The is George Washington cancelled addition. I'm Christina Ricci staff writer at slate and host of the sleep podcast outward. I'm Marsha Chow on a professor of history at Georgetown University. Hi I'm Nicole Perkins writer and Co host of Thirsty Kit and I'm Jim Thomas Senior managing producer of sleep. Podcast happy early Valentine's Day guys. Happy Gal tight totally real thing. We have a great episode plan for this week But before we get into it I want to let our listeners now. Everyone listening to our next episode. We are going to be talking about portraitist and street artists. Tatyana Fasel Lozada's new book. Stop telling women to smile so if you WANNA check that out to get prepared for our discussion with a little pre reading. You've been warned as for this week. We are going to start off with a review of Alexis. Cho's new book. You never forget your first. What some have been calling feminist biography of George Washington some being Marcia Chaplain Discuss Taylor Swift Jessica Simpson and the ways women in the spotlight are trying to correct and take control of their own stories and finally we're going to talk about women and alcohol. Y alcohol related deaths among women are rising in the US and why some women say alcoholics anonymous doesn't work for them and Nicole. What is our slate plus bonus segment this week in slate? Plus we're going to ask. The question is ghosting. Sexist the habit of disappearing from all communications with someone that you're dating is that a sexist act. That one came from a listener. Here's a snippet of that conversation. I mean it's just the question the yeah. I think I think what's happened is that she's recognized feeling of like why did I think that So I guess she has that awareness but yeah it is. It is very. It's it's always interesting when you. Kinda have some behavioral like POPs up And you're like Oh God. Where did that come from that? Is I some old fashioned thinking there? Yeah Yeah if you're not asleep plus member yet and you WANNA know. If ghosting is sexist. You can start your free two week. Trial by visiting SLEEP DOT COM SLASH. The waves plus. It's just thirty five dollars for your first year. All right onto our first topic. You never forget your first. It's a new biography of George Washington by the historian. Alexis Co June is GONNA sit out this segment. Because she wasn't able to get her hands on the book. Marsha you brought this one to us wanting tells about it yes just in time for every patriot. Who LOVES TO CELEBRATE PRESIDENTS DAY? You never forget your first Viagra of George Washington by Alexis. Co does two things really. Well that I think will get people interested in considering presidential biography as something that they want to read. She immediately kind of deconstructs. The nature of presidential biographies which is often in that category of father's day slash. Dad Books that come out in June at a local bookstore where you'll see it with a military history books presidential biographies and Books. About barbecuing and she talks about what happens to the quality of the history. We learn when it's not only almost exclusively written by men but what the stakes are in writing about George Washington in a particular way and I think it is a feminist look at George Washington because it not only rethinks some of the dynamics that have been written about his relationship with his mother and with his wife but it also critiques the power in setting the narrative of. Who's a great man? And why and it's really funny because they think the tone is both rigorous but also exposes. Just how ridiculous. The kind of presidential hero worship is and I think that in the age of trump to read about the dangers of canonizing. Great men just for the sake of doing it or what? The kind of investment is. It's an interesting warning sign because I'm sure there will be a generation of great man biographies of trump. If you can imagine. And it's the same kind of politics that I think really exposed the sexism and gender inequality in the writing of history. Yeah what I like about this. Biography is it makes its own biases very clear And by that I mean it. It sort of does away with the idea of sort of an objective historical analysis of anything. It makes you know. Right from the introduction makes clear that every biography is an interpretation like a new synthesis of source materials every telling of facts is biased in its own way And I loved that. It was a little bit of a critical review of previous biographies As much as an assessment of the facts that that Alexis Co was able to find us. She was researching George Washington. And it's incredible. How different my impression of George Washington was by the end of this book? Not that it. It was like a takedown of George Washington or anything but it was a lot more of a humanizing. Look I think I mean I left the book kind of like concern for his work life. Balance. You know very. He wanted to be home with his family a lot more than he was able to be. I think we all know you know the popular. History of him does acknowledge that he was a little bit of a reluctant leader. At first you know he wanted to retire then he was sort of drawn back in to be president. But I think you get a lot more of a sense of his personality in this biography than you do a lot of other telling 's in part because she wasn't afraid to highlight characteristics of his. That might not fit this. Sort of like hyper masculine. Military leader Persona which I think a lot of people are very invested in maintaining and it just it like I went on a lot of You know little rabbit holes in my brain as I was reading this about what other things we might learn about other leaders and also like ourselves if we divested ourselves from You know this sort of national myth making around masculinity if we didn't feel like we needed to like venerate everybody in American history as a war hero or something. If we were able to you know just examine our leaders as they were not to cancel them but to like understand them and learn from them as actual people instead of as ideas that we create in order to make our nation seem extra strong. Yep One of the things that I like about. This biography is that it actually made me interested in one reading a biography and to reading about George Washington. I am not a biography person at all. I find him usually very dry. Even if they're supposed to be the tell all variety I just don't I'm not very interested in them For the most part and I realized that I was reading the introductory Materials here that it is because You know specific to presidents and Historical figures that it is because most of them have been written by men who are trying to prove that these leaders again almost always men have always been leaders from the time that they were you know. They took their first steps. They were born to be the president of the country. And it's like no. They were just kids. You know like at some point you know. These people were human So I feel like Alexis. Cold has a really good job of you. Know part in the Cliche of humanizing George Washington and I also really appreciated that. She just went ahead and gave me as someone who barely wants to know about. You know president as someone who you know has just heard all these different like myths about him. Just got right down to it. What's up with George Washington's teeth? I know she gave us that information at the very beginning and the practice this way you're not thinking about it the whole time she going to get to the like she just says it. Yes and so I. I really liked that because for me as a black woman from the south. I've definitely hurt. No his teeth were made from the teeth of slaves also the way that she brings it up is just beautiful. She says why Shington had a poacher smile so she talks about not only did he have teeth from animals in his mouth as part of his dentures but he had the t he did have the teeth of slaves sometimes he would buy them and sometimes not but he. You know if you can imagine various dentures set with different species The teeth of different species. Then you've got George Washington and it's kind of like. Wow that gruesome a little bit and I mean it's but yeah. I really appreciate that. She gave me that. And I know this is what you want here. It is and now. Let's get to you. Know the nitty gritty. Well I think the part of it that is also important and kind of weird to think about. Is How many of these presidential biographies gloss over slavery or make kind of light of slave owning and presidents and that is another thing that this book does not feel the need to either defend or to try to rationalize George Washington's you know deep dependence on slavery for his wealth you know. Some of the myths of some of these presidential biographies are of the Benevolent Slave owner who supported slavery. But they were super nice about it. I think this book and another one called never caught the Washington's relentless pursuit of their runaway slave owner judge are probably the two presidential books that I've read in the past few years that I have appreciated the ways that they are trying to tell a really full story not only about people but their choices and remind us that they actually could have made different choices but didn't because the system of slavery and the system of wealth was so much tied into them. I never read presidential biographies and then a few years ago. I taught this class called race and racism in the White House. Because I'm a huge troll and I had to start reading presidential tax and the number of pieces that I reviewed for class that did not take race or gender seriously was really appalling so I hope that the kind of both funny and very serious tone that this book takes will inspire other young women historians to kind of do this type of work. The other thing that really struck me about the way. This book approached the people that Washington enslaved was that it really made visible all the sort of quote unquote secondary and tertiary characters. That made his life and his achievements possible and it exposed what. I think are gaping holes in other biographies. That really try to take a narrow view of one person in American history whether it be you know a president or a military leader or a business leader to the exclusion of all of the people doing the Labor that supported those people like for example. Washington's manservant enslaved manservant billy Lee who accompanied him everywhere he went and was basically his secretary in addition to being his personal assistant and performed all these other duties for him. Like I had never read such a clear eyed view of of what that meant and also a critique of how other biographies talked about Billy Lee where they would sort of like you know. Praise him for his devotion. Stuff without really recognizing the fact that he didn't have a choice in the matter you know He. He was enslaved by Washington who had aggressively pursued another enslaved person who had run away from his Plantation Alexis also writes about Martha Washington and Mary Washington George Washington's wife and mother and the effect that they had on him and his The the home that they capped and the support that they provided him. And when I try to think about what it means to write a book about a president that's not targeted at Man. I was initially like. Am I being sexist to think that this book that focuses a little bit more on these other characters is like more appealing to women And is not one of those dad books that you mentioned Marsha I I was like am I being sexist do. I think that it's I'm like selling women short by thinking that we need a special kind of history book but I actually think it's. It's a good thing for people to expect more from history books that you know as Alexis Comex very clear every book has its own biases. It just so happens that the history books that have been written by men for men are biased in a way that excludes a lot of women people of color who are equally important to the narrative. Yeah kind of go back to George Washington and the slaves. And the idea that you know a lot of previous biographies kind of paint him as A benevolent slave owner. Who was just you know a victim of the times and he had to go along with process but I think it's telling that as a Lexus Co points out that as soon as he had died many of the slaves ran away they you know they couldn't count on the fact that maybe he had freed them in his will or maybe somebody will actually honor that so they ran away and I think that that speaks to you. Know it doesn't matter how quote Unquote Nice. Your master was slavery was terrible and the first chance that people felt that they take they took it to leave and that his wife Martha was afraid of what would happen to her after his death when it came to what she had to do to honor his request and how she was going to live with the slaves with you know with the people there so I really appreciate it that Alexis Cole pointed out the nuances of of what it meant for George Washington to be a slave owner and how that affected the rest of his household including I think one of the sons who was abusive. And it was like a terrible person So I I just thought that was very honest and refreshing and I hope that causes more people to Kind of open their eyes about the truth of of the situation and that it's not just you can't just brush off so well that's that's just what was happening at the time that people may decisions and we need to understand that sometimes those decisions were harmful to the people around him. Marsha as a fellow historian. How do you think about the audience of these kinds of books? Like what makes a book Dad Buck and and and what makes a book not a Dad Book? And is there something What is it about this kind of history that is biased toward like the mail reader the older white male reader? Because I think that's what we're talking about when we're when we use the shorthand dad right. Yeah so a lot of it is just marketing. The publishing industry's decision. That this is the group of people who will best understand and appreciate this work and then it sells really well and then it kind of fuels the system. You know I think what the idea behind the kind of dad but construction is that men are constantly pooped on by a culture. That is constantly critical. So why don't we celebrate the great men of the past in hopes that you can project yourself onto these characters and one of the things Alexis talks about and it's Kinda funny but also really disturbing is all of the depictions of George Washington thighs and about his physical specimen. And she put she says. Is that some of that is about trying to sort out this discomfort of the fact that he didn't have any biological children and it's to suppress any kind of inkling that he may not have been the most heterosexual of all heterosexual men and so in many. I think this genre of writing isn't just about the person the book is about. It's about masculinity and I think in these moments where there's a segment of the population that feels like masculinity is in crisis the prescription is often to then fixate on great men in the past and I think that that is where some of this comes from but I also think that some of the gate keeping of the historical profession create situations where only men do presidential history and so then they train a lot of men in presidential history presidential biography and so there isn't a lot of space for women to assert their voices. Let alone a different point of view on the form. Can I pop in here so I didn't read it yet? Although I'm going to because for one reason your conversation's making me think I'll really enjoy. Also I really liked Alexis Coz I book Alison Freda Forever. Which was kind of a lesbian historical story? Or you know true history but I i. I have a question Marcia. Like is this good history. All of the things that you've said just made me think this is a bit different. And I must concede that in my head like those big tones of written by dudes these like seven hundred eight hundred pages about a president who's been written about so many times like this is different is good history. I would say that this is exceptional history. Because there's actually a lot of archival research that is synthesized in order to make really good points or even listed goals and I think that this is good history because unlike some of the other biographies what they do. Is They just cite other biographies? So there's an entire industry of popular history in which people aren't doing a lot of primary document research to find the source they're deciding all the other dudes who wrote the history before and part of her discussion of the process. I saw her give a talk about this book at Mount Vernon which was fascinating to watch the audience but know she said like I would read these books about George Washington and people would make these claims and I would go to their notes and they were just fighting each other and you know she spent a lot of time at Mount Vernon actually reading the documents there and I think again those big books the the dad presidential books give you the feeling of authority and I think it's just because the covers are designed that way and because there's a man's name on the cover and there's a man's name on the cover and he might have an affiliation at At what we say is a top university but it doesn't take long to see a lot of sloppy work in that field. I love the shade in what we say is a top university. I'll also say that her devotion to the primary source material here is really clear and she makes it clear that a lot of people can read even even folks who did go back to those primary documents can read the same you know letters from Washington to his mother. Let's say and come up with completely different interpretations of it and I think that's where she says some biases come in. Where you know previous biographers have talked about Mary. Washington George Washington's mother as like shrew ish and unloving and she brings in all of this context where you know when you were a mother in that day and age and you were concerned about your children dying dying. You weren't preventing your son from joining the British Navy because you didn't want him to succeed or you were selfish or whatever you were doing it because you thought he was probably going to die and he was really important to you and I. I loved reading what it seemed like. We're you know new bits of information that she was bringing out. That may be previous biographers weather because they were citing each other because they just didn't think the other characters were important I'd left out of their histories but also the ways. She interpreted the the same documents a little bit differently. I don't know if it's just me but I kept confusing. Marion Martha and I don't know I don't know why. I guess maybe because I was bringing my own previous experiences with trying to learn about Washington's history and it felt like maybe his wife and his mother were kind of dismissed in the same way as just These shrew ish people are these coldhearted not very maternal people and so the key had to power through their lack of love or something to get the the president but ed thought it was very interesting. That I learned that Martha really did not enjoy sharing George with the world as it were and it kind of reminded me a little bit of Michelle Obama and and and how she was reluctantly a first lady and that she really didn't seem to enjoy her experience but had to kind of suck it up and go with the flow. I don't know if that if that comparison is accurate. But that's just kind of what popped into my head when I was reading this all right. I think that's all the time we have for this book. It's called you never forget your first. It's a great book listeners. We'd love to hear from you. Do you read the kinds of presidential histories. Were talking about. Have you bought a dad book from someone? Have you read a Dad? Book? Are you a dad. Who LOVES BOOKS AT THE WAVES AT SLATE DOT com? Do you need a break a break from your inbox that never ending laundry cycle or the exhausting amount of social media? So it's time to prioritize little. Meet time to help you. Recharge and dipsy can help you. 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Even the act of observation changes the events in a documentary So I think it's probably better interpreted as a commercial than any kind of tell But the fact that Taylor swift made this at all in this way is interesting to me so she negotiated with Netflix she. She expressed interest to them. She chose the director. Lana Wilson and the fact that this is a Netflix documentary instead of a series of self released videos which is very possible in the age of social media gives it a kind of air of authority and objectivity and it's framed very much as an attempt to reshape the public narrative around Taylor swift so around her. Her issue was with Kanye West conflict that she really didn't ask to be a part of age twenty but somehow ended up being portrayed as like a two sided feud talks about her relationship to her body to fame and her fans would. It feels like to be pressured to fit a certain mold of a female celebrity but then hated for trying too hard to fit into that mold and at the same time in sort of the same Vein Jessica. Simpson has now released a new autobiography open book and in interviews. She's given on the press store for this book. She has painted a similarly kind of grim picture. A little bit more grim. I think than Taylor swift of what it was like for her for so many years to be the subject of media fascination and disgust. I think those two things kind of come together as a pair a lot when we're talking about female celebrities. She has talked about what it was like to have constant chatter and criticism about her weight. Her relationships are intelligence. She also writes that it drove her to abuse alcohol and to develop unhealthy eating habits and so reading those interviews watching Taylor Swift's documentary. I feel like they reacted to similar pressures of fame. In Two Different Ways Jessica Simpson was sort of portrayed as like this Ditz and she kind of ended up embracing it because maybe she didn't have a choice. She didn't really fight back that much. She committed to a bunch of reality. Tv shows she stopped making music. She hasn't released an album in ten years and then she step back from the spotlight and made millions of dollars making clothes and really kind of let go of her career as a pop artist. Taylor swift meanwhile double down her pop music and made it name for herself for dragging her haters for writing songs about them about you know how hard it was to be the subject of this media obsession with her and Kanye West and you know sort of building this army of fans who are ready to defend her at at return So I'm wondering what you guys think about these two artists and and famous women coming out at this time with their own. What did you get out of it? It does seem part of this whole process that we've observed in many people have observed over the last few years of life people taking back control because now it is easy. I agree Christina that it's interesting that Taylor swift to is you know in a position. Where if you want to documentary about your you can get one if you want to have millions of people. Watch your videos. You can do that like you get to make choices that she chose to make a behind the scenes thing you know all of that thing that you know what happened to the tabloids. They're pretty much dead because celebrities now have control themselves. They put their own photos on instagram. And it was really interesting to me that Jessica Simpson whose book you know has been relatively well responded to received there was a New York Times profile and the the writer went off to spend time with her and she talked about how great that she got the interview. Pr Person WHO's promised they wouldn't be hanging around was hanging around the whole time and that after after the reporter Esther I question Basically Jessica. Simpson just talked for two hours. Solid just like gave her just like one long monologue and that feels like it's a part of it to me is about taking back. Control is about being in charge. You know people have written books You mentioned tells are behind the scenes. You know it's my chance to tell you what really happened. That's been around forever but just the level of control now just seems to to have gone up on all basis. I thought was really interesting when slates Sam Adams wrote about Miss Americana Sundance. He said it's not a movie about getting behind swift's public image but about her decision to alter it. So you can see the the you know you can see the strings being polled. Yeah but that's you know that's where we are now. There's no point fighting it. Yeah I liked from that same review that he says there's version that we're getting of Taylor swift may not be the real one but it's a new one and so that's how I feel and I you know I freely admit I have some biases against Taylor swift so I was very reluctant to to look at the documentaries. Watch it but one of my really good friends. She was like no. You should absolutely watch it because I kind of did it change my mind about her and I was like. Are you sure I do not change my mind about Taylor I I do feel like it. What Christina said that it is a commercial which I guess. That's what it's supposed to be anyway. Maybe but I. I didn't really feel like I came away with too much. That was new or surprising. And maybe that's again my fault for try to expect something a little juicier from a documentary and not necessarily specific to Taylor Swift. But just in general. Maybe I'm just I duNno CELEB- gossip has like twisted my my mind and I want something. That's a little more interesting than what I saw a Miss Americana but what I I liked Jessica. Simpson's memoir autobiography. That she did feel very much like I was going over to. You know a friend of the family's house and she was like come on in. I'm GonNa fix you some sweet tea. And then she just tells me all about her life. Yeah just like everything It was just very. It's very personal. And I you know very intimate I felt like I was a part of an actual conversation with her and that may be again that Texas charm. You know those kind of beauty pageants kind of feel to it but it makes me think of As we're talking about celebrities particularly women trying to get control of their image it makes me think about this situation with Janet Jackson and The late director John Singleton on the set of poetic justice. So he put out this rumor that she refused to kiss to park her co-star until he had an HIV test until his test results came back so at the time. Of course everybody was terrible to Janet and then it wasn't until I believe after John Singleton past are like shortly before that that it came out that he made that up because he was trying to drum up publicity for the movie and so we have you know twenty years of people being assholes to Janet about this and she couldn't correct it. You know there was no way for her to correct it. These actions of men to change the narrative of a certain way to present a certain narrative have affected women but now we have more celebrities. Who are like I let it go for long and now I need to correct it because I don't want this to be a part of my legacy. These lies to be a part of my legacy. Some really interested in seeing who else is going to come out to try to correct the lies and rumors that people have put out there in order to advance the various projects. Marcia would you think I don't know if I'm the audience for this type of celebrity stuff? Although I'm not above celebrity gossip magazines are tabloids. Or what have you? But I think that Taylor Swift is thirty and Jessica Simpson as close to forty and I think for these two women who very much grew up in the spotlight who were groomed at a young age for performance. They're letting us into their existential crises. I think Jessica Simpson probably feels like she has a little less to lose because her brand has migrated from pop music to her clothing line. She has kids in a family and so her reappearance as a reflective character. I think doesn't disturb what she's had going on financially for a while. I think for Taylor. Swift. It's not in her best interest to expose too much. I think Christina's right that this is her infomercial that is designed as she approaches her thirties to remain relevant and to appeal to another segment of the population. Because both of them a lot of interest in them came from little girls. And I think that when you are in a position where you're marketed because of your youth and because of your popularity with youth then growing up and finding a new identity must be really really hard and so I don't find them that compelling and I think it's interesting to think about what kind of developmental stages people go through when they're so young and they're not only performing but in many cases they're earning the household income or they're contributing to it or they're keeping their parents on their payroll. All of those dynamics I think are far more interesting. Maybe than the types of things that they especially for Taylor Swift. I think that her movie doesn't reveal very much about her. Yeah oh I just realized why when we're talking about Jessica Simpson Taylor Swift. Why I feel more more drawn Jessica. Simpson is I feel like. She has kind of always been an underdog or she's been presented as an underdog when she first came on the scene and she started out doing Christian music. I believe and you know. She was forced to hide her breasts. Like you know because she was fairly well developed at a young age or whatever so people thought that she was too sexy to be singing Christian music as she felt. You know she talked about that. I remember early on and it always seemed like her relationship with her father as the breadwinner was you know. Always kind of weird and strange And when the reality show when she's like is this chicken or tuna. You know that famous thing yeah. Chicken Fish That thing I always felt like. Oh poor baby. You know there's something more here whereas Taylor kind of came out the gate like I told my parents I wanted to go to Nashville and become a star. And that's what they did like. She always kind of presented. This very assertive confident persona. So maybe I didn't have that same sort of like. Oh I need to make sure that she sixties. Because she's GonNa to make sure she succeeds. I don't need to do anything to help her. So that that just kind of helped me look at my own bias I mean I. It's funny because I my experience of Taylor. Swift is really listening to her albums or watching things to talk about them on podcast. I've never experienced it naturally. Organically and that of course is yet another weird. You know perception thing that I've always been you know watching someone else's version of a thing that she's put out to win win over listeners to to sell stuff and I have to admit that I did find the the the images in the documentary of her as a kid where she seems. So you know pressure naturally confident and capable and poised as really a taught and that she also had that Luke that is in many ways Perceived as are sold as that perfect luke. She's tall she skinny. She's blonde. She's Da da like none none of the things that I am. But you know we know what's valued and that is valued and just like how she would've how does she get that confidence how they're interesting things to me among all of it but yeah that they`re. I know exactly what you mean this whole thing. We all suspect suspect are no that Jessica Simpson got the the crappy added. She got the added to bring eyeballs to her show. It was very early reality show and so like she was. It was almost like she was being experimented upon Thursday to find out. What is it that will make people watch this thing that we're calling reality? Tv and and there is a sympathy. And I think the fact that her clothing brand is all the articles mentioned like is a massive success and you know broke a billion dollars in sales per year pretty early on that like she is massive at the same time when in all of these pieces and in fact in her book as well when she's talking about her life sure she talks her kids. She's got three little kids. She talks about her husband who was an NFL player and went to Yale She mentioned those things but she also talked so much about her employees. Her employees are her family. And you know they. They've been with for a long time and I and I get that. She has this weird life but it is still a very strange and unattractive version of financial success and and commercial success at all the things that we're supposed to think. Well I don't want that yeah. I think it's interesting to read both of these but especially Miss Americana as sort of a Meta commentary on what we expect of female celebrities now. So you know we've talked before on this podcast about how influencers are expected to and and benefit from sort of performing imperfection and vulnerability and insecurity in a very specific way and for Taylor Swift. I think in her songs and she is a great songwriter. I think it's part of why her fans love her because she is very good at bringing out those feelings and those sort of quote unquote insecurities in her songs. She mentioned in in the documentary. Like the thing that a lot of people have observed which is that people who become famous when they're young sort of freeze at that developmental stage. You know one thing. I don't like about her. Most recent album is it does still feel like album. And she's about my age you know far from high school but in the documentary when it's showing her you know quote unquote trying to figure out whether it's time for her to expose her political beliefs or come out in favor of a politician or in this case against Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee where she lives now. I thought that was interesting as an indication of what we expect from political celebrities. We we really criticize celebrities. I think for making these kinds of decisions based on business imperatives know. What is it profitable for me to do versus what is moral or ethical for me to do. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing that that she was also considering or that her team was considering. Will it? Tank your career? If you express an opinion on politics but in her film she tries very hard. I think to make it clear that she was the only person on her team or she and her mom were the only people saying I want to do this. Because it's right and I don't care what happens to my business when you know as we all know. She did not take any significant hit from expressing an opinion against Marsha Blackburn and trump but I think she feels the need to sort of prove that those opinions come from a place of honesty and not from a place of pandering calculation. Right where you know. Of course. Everything is calculated when you're running a million or billion dollar business and have hundreds of people on your payroll. There's some possible to do anything without calculating it. Yeah I think that's about it for women celebrities On this episode listeners. If you've watched Miss Americana have you read the interviews with Jessica Simpson or read her book? We'd love to hear what you think. Especially if you've been following their careers for awhile. Our email address is the waves at slate dot com. It's twenty twenty and this year. It's time to get what you want that dream job more amazing friends that perfect departments and the best sex you've ever had with Kyi Lube. Sex goes from good to an experience so mind blowing. It'll leave your glowing. That's not just a figure of speech. Either better sex can reduce stress booster mood and get you glowing. So whether you're planning is sexy. Valentine's Day are just looking to spice up your Tuesday. Turn up the pleasure and show off the glow with K Y. Get Your Glow on K Dash Dot Com and get ten percent off with Promo Code sexy. That's K DASH DOT COM and get ten percent off with Promo Code sexy all right our last topic for this show women and alcohol June. What's the story here? So the subject of women and alcohol. It's come up in the news and opinion pieces recently with such frequency. That is seemed like something. We should talk about a recently released analysis of the rate of deaths related to alcohol abuse. Showed that it rose sharply for Women Between Nineteen One thousand nine and two thousand seventeen so in one thousand nine hundred nine like a little over seven thousand. Five hundred women were classified as dying from causes related to alcohol and in two thousand seventeen. That number was eighteen thousand. So it's a jump of eighty five percent now. We should note here that this is still much lower than the rates for men for men. The death rate was up thirty five percent over that period but the raw numbers were much higher. Nearly thirty six thousand in one thousand nine hundred nine and seventy two thousand five hundred in two thousand seventeen so still a lot less than men but Huge jump and around the same time that this information was released there have also been a number of op-eds and bucs suggesting that the Post Rehab Treatment for alcoholism that has become the standard treatment and a scene quite often as the only treatment Alcoholics anonymous can be problematic for women so Holly Whitaker pointed out that. Aa was founded back in nineteen thirty nine. By some very privileged white men and that the essential steps things like admitting powerlessness setting aside ego submitting to a higher power making amends aren't necessarily the underlying causes of women's excessive drinking she wrote powerlessness. Isn't what many women who struggle with alcohol need. It's what made them sick in the first place so it seemed like there was both statistical information suggesting that women are not only drinking more but having more problems with alcohol but also that some of the receive notions. Like when you have a problem with alcohol when you recognize the problem. This is what you do to address. It may actually not really be right for for everyone and certainly maybe less right for women. I thought these articles were really interesting to think about whether the whole addiction model needs an update. Because I think that this idea of why people abuse alcohol we have a more sophisticated understanding of maybe the social pressures that can fall along gender lines. But I don't think there has been very much innovation in the treatment of alcoholism anything that's because A. has been successful and is considered the gold standard of how to provide accessible treatment to a large population at no cost and to create a community around addiction. But I think that some of the arguments against alcoholics anonymous or are really compelling about the framework to do the kind of self inventory that I think when we think about gender can be more destructive to women than empowering. Yeah this was so interesting for me to read about because it kind of gave me like this dumb moment like of course we need to figure out a better way to treat women because so much medical research for the most part has always been done on men or male patients And so whatever. Research has gone into how to help people with alcoholism most often. It's going to be dedicated towards men and this idea that powerlessness is the cause of the sickness. I think that's that just kind of blew me away and I'm thinking also about our previous discussions about those mom shirts and things you know like it's you know. Mom needs her wine time. And things like that and the ways that we have possibly given a lighter Look or or whatever like we don't necessarily hold Women's issues with alcohol in the same way you know we kind of make light of it. I guess is what I'm trying to say and I. I know that I have a history of alcoholism in my family so for me. I I've never talked to anybody about that because I always made sure that I did not get into the habit of drinking alone. Like when I'm at you know at home I tend to just be a social drinker on. You know only when I'm around friends or something like that so I feel like that's me trying to combat my history and so to see in the research that re-read to see the way women have kind of had to take it into their own hands to figure out the ways that they have to combat dependency on alcohol even in our Jessica Simpson Materials we saw that she kinda had to figure out her own way to cope with with not to go with how to cope with our dependency. So this was really fascinating for me and I am. I'm interested to see like what kind of what kind of help will come for women because it seems you know in the way that a lot of You know we have these kind of women's centre things now. I'm thinking of something like the wing as we talk about. Alexis Co and stuff like that and and how you know sometimes when we focus on women sometimes. It's not the best either so I'm interested in seeing where the recovery options. What kind of recovery options we can provide that are specific for women without alienating women in like covering it and pink or something you know. I read actually in vice about a women only addiction recovery group in London called Feminism for change and women in that group said In this piece that in mixed gender addiction recovery groups whether they're a or not men often dominate the conversation. I mean it's almost like the kinds of things that happen in any mixed gender group. You know those groups will tilt toward serving the men's needs and caused women to monitor their own behavior for Acceptability in mixed company where women are conscious of coming across. Says you know a bitch or don't feel comfortable talking about quote unquote woman things. The example given in the pieces periods. I don't know why talking about periods in addiction recovery group that who knows but I can also imagine you know sexual assault domestic abuse the other kinds of things that often go along with addiction. There are ways that a gender informed recovery group whether it's only are not could Be of a lot more use than a one-size-fits-all mixed gender group that is automatically going to skew toward whatever the the dominant identity in the group is and it's really easy to see. Why alcoholics anonymous and the other related anonymous groups are so popular partly because they are effectively free. They're voluntary there you know. There's there's the structure for socializing and I'm for getting support that it's you know is kind of wonderful. I wish there were more of that kind of free. Voluntary support kind of structure in other parts of life and clearly. It has been very effective for many people. You know. I've known many people who have been gone you know their recovery was possible because of Nara kinds of groups at the same time just some of the specific messaging some of these twelve steps. That seem You know don't knock it until you've needed it but it they when you kind of look at the language and you look at what people are expected to really reflect on to really take seriously to to us to to restart their lives. They don't seem like the kinds of of kind of Cohen's that you necessarily will will put you in the right kind of place to start over to go back to what Hollywood Accor- wrote about in the New York Times about why. Alcoholics anonymous wasn't a solution for her and she said the antidote to my drinking problem looked a lot like feminism. When we were reading about the study on Alcohol Related Deaths Patricia Powell of the National Institutes for health said part of being liberated from male dominance is being able to behave in which way you choose. Some women have gotten the message that it's liberating to drink like a man and she was talking specifically about young women consuming alcohol and first of all I think there's a big difference between quote unquote drinking like a man and quote unquote abusing alcohol. You know it's not the same thing and and certainly I don't think we've been liberated from male dominance yet But it made me think about the social conditions under which women for instance arrive at college and participate in a heavy drinking scene and I think part of it is that women are taught. That casual sex. You know is shameful. Makes THEM DIRTY? You know I think about all the abstinence only sex education women get in middle school and high school about when you lose your virginity. You're like chewed up piece of Gum that everyone's passing around or something and and certainly that's not the whole reason why people drink in college. But I think one reason why people drink is to alleviate some of that social anxiety or to take away some of those ambitions that are affected by gendered indoctrination like. Oh if if you are a woman in college who wants to have sex and you think the only acceptable way to do that is to be drunk. I or if if it's the only way that you can make yourself feel comfortable doing. It is to drink. I like. It's not just because of what everyone's doing around when you're trying to keep up with the boys or whatever it's it's because of the way we've trained women to conceive of themselves in a in a social situation and I think too that there's there is something to the way that female behavior male behavior it does is no less separate. I mean just to use the most ridiculous and anecdotes. We'll piece of evidence. I'm making scare quotes like in Britain. When it used to be that you you know went out with your friends. Women would drink half pints men would drink pints. Now there were there. Were reasons why this was annoying. Especially in the culture of buying runs that basically women are paying for men to drink more than they. The men have to pay for them to drink. Was it like a bartender? Would automatically give a woman at a half pint or they say like three half pints and four pints. It wasn't automatic but I think there was. It was considered. I mean a no. I'm old so this this is now decades ago. It was considered. Just it would be very strange for a woman to drink a pint like that was. Ibm behavior now. Everybody drinks the same because for various reasons like it's fairer You know the why. Why would we have all these different? I I don't even know why but I see it like on television. I see it in Pope's people if people drinking beer they are drinking pine so everybody's drinking the same. There's not like that. Gender Difference has if not disappeared certainly decreased a lot and you know what we also read. Is that women's bodies. Don't deal with alcohol in the same way and it has a bigger effect on women and so you know that just feels like A. I think that the fact that we have less strict You know female behavior male behavior. That seems like an absolute positive but then when it causes health impacts than Hannah the not so much not so great We're drinking. We're literally drinking more alcohol. That's probably not the best thing for us. The whole gender thing of drinking like a Man. You know whatever Lately I was in the last five years. Or so there's been kind of this increase in women's signaling. A certain something by saying that they drink whisky to be you know to impress him in hugging. Us TWITTER HANDLE WOMAN. Maybe a little bit. But that's not what this war But no anytime I mean you know if a guy's GonNa buy me a drink or something I say you know I just want whiskey. And they're just like Oh my it and I'm like what are what are you drinking that you know it's like I don't know People still expect women do hold onto their glasses of wine. Yeah right Yeah so they're still very much Ah GENDERED TENT TO DRINKING. What women are allowed to drink now? So I'm from a place where women really don't drink beer or they're not supposed to drink beer like men drink the beer and women drink the coolers wine or whatever some sort of cocktail. This very sweet and fruity So he you know me. I get like impressed when I see a woman drinking beer because I think I don't know it's just not what I was kind of raised on. So they're still definitely gendered thinking about women drinking and what we're allowed to drink So to hear you talk about the half pints the full pints and things like that that's I'm like wow all right. I think that's about all the time we have for this topic listeners. Have Your Habits on? Alcohol Changed A. Have you heard of any modified treatments around substance abuse for women? Let us know the waves at sleep. Dot Com all right. It's time for our recommendations. Okay so I am going to recommend a limited series on net flicks. The English title is playing with fire and the Spanish title is who Dr Cohn Frago and it is about a Mexican immigrant and Columbia at these coffee farms are coffee plantations. His name is fabrizio and He is very very pretty and You know he is quite charming and he ends up having relationships with This woman named Camilla and another woman named Martina and then Andrea Martinez daughter. Go play with. Fire is very much a Steamy soap Spanish language soap. It's just you know ten episodes on Netflix. It's just something that you kind of if you just need to let go of the world and you just want to look at some very passionate people and very beautiful people and just kind of you know. Get into some soap opera loving I strongly recommend that playing with fire. it is subtitled. I watch was subtitled. So if you are okay with that Goforth I don't know if you can on a lot of the Netflix shows that are in Spanish. You can choose to listen to it version. But I don't know because I don't if that's the case with this one. Yeah Yeah but I I like watching Shows that are not in English? Just for my. I don't know I feel like it. Exercises my brain in a different way. Just changes up Changes up the experience so playing with fire net flicks ten episodes lovely little steamy passionate soap. Get into it. Sounds great I am also going to recommend a TV show Which I have been binging. I know that a charged word. But it's really what I've been doing As I was very late to it it's called the expanse and it's now available on Amazon Prime. And you know that the title. We'll give it away. It's a kind of a space opera but like many soft sci fi shows. It's really a thinly veiled comparison with with situations that we can Can kind of pin to something. That's happening in our real world in this particular world. It's which is relatively far in the future. Earth and Mars are always very close to war and the people in the asteroid belt in between those planets. They have fewer rights. Their their bodies are literally you know punished by by the place where they grow up By where they grew up by where they have to live this this of circumstances in which they live everyone's fighting for water for oxygen. And you know that may sound like something that is not for you. It might not be and there. Aren't that many really prominent female roles but the two that are very prominent are really interesting. Bonn is Naomi Nagata. Us An engineer. Who can make any craft work She's played by this English woman. Dominique Tipper from from what I hear from the accent that she uses in the show a working class Black Brit. Whose awesome and Also Schori Dash Lou Who has been on many shows but she plays a U. N. official. She's often dismissed as an old woman on the old woman but she is canny incredibly smart. Maybe not trustworthy. It's really good. I have find myself turning it on At all kinds of you know when I just kind of in a similar situation to the one you described Nicole is. It's a nice show that has a lot going on and can be used as as a like a way to think about the real world but can also just be kind of escape with pretty people doing interesting kind of like This podcast. I'm going to recommend something a little different this week so I've been taking a free online class on a website called core Sarah. I was inspired by a friend of mine. Who's studying to be a nurse midwife and she was taking an anatomy class and I had just had somebody in my family who had a whole thing and I had been doing research on it and I kind of realized how much I didn't know about you know having a body which I have all the time and so it was like maybe I'll enroll in community college course but my friend who's a scientist was like if you're not trying to get a degree there's absolutely no need to pay. You know thousands of dollars for a class you can go on this website and take a free kind of like a college class. Some taking an intro to human physiology class encore. Sarah by these two duke. Professors and I haven't taken a hard science class or really done anything related to the hard sciences since high school and it has completely awakened a new part of my brain. Actually kind of two parts of my brains. The part that is learning about science stuff and also just the part that is learning about something for a no reason at all. You know I when I think about the other kinds of. I guess you could call this a hobby like hobbies that I do you know. I'll like make candles or like bread and those are things that have an end result that I that could be better or worse or even like playing music or something. I taught myself a little bit of when I was in a band. But that's also a thing that I could do better or worse. There's really no better or worse way to like learn how a neuron works. And there's like quizzes at the end of every section but I kind of don't care how I do on them and I'm really just trying to like gain new information not for work again like a lot of the books. I read like have something to do with my job. And My beat here and and this is just like knowledge for the sake of me wanting to learn a thing and it has been like kind of difficult. I'm having to look up a lot of words that I don't because again like in college. Though only science class I took was like philosophy of quantum physics which was more the philosophy than the physics part. Because I was like oh I'm not going into the sciences I have. I have no reason to learn about them. So it's been a lot of fun and increasing my sense of wonder about the world and I highly recommend it. It's it's completely free. I don't know how they do that. I guess you can pay to get a certificate or something. So maybe that's how they make their money but yet it's a lot of fun awesome. That sounds great. My recommendation comes from the feminist press. And it's a reissue of Zora. Neale Hurston reader called. I love myself when I'm laughing and then again when I'm looking mean and impressive and it has a new introductory essay by Alice Walker an introduction by Mary Helen Washington and it's a nice introduction to the range of Zora Neale Hurston who I find fascinating. Not only because she was a preeminent scholar and anthropology and creative writer but she's one of these authors who had this period of obscurity and then was kind of introduced into the Canon of high school and college and so a lot of people have read their eyes are watching God but have no concept of her range as a writer and as a thinker and so It's a very beautifully edited collection of excerpts of her work and I think for people who are looking for something a little different in terms of both fiction and nonfiction. This reader is the perfect thing to get. Oh that's interesting. I almost recommended Zora. Neale Hurston hitting a straight lake with the cricket stick which is a collection of stories from Harlem Renaissance and that just came out last month and within the last couple of months I so I almost recommended that. So as we're kneels on their mind today all right. That's it for our show. Thank you to Lynn Crowell. Who produced this episode Rachel Allen our production assistant and Rosemary Belsen who recorded in DC? For Marsha chatwin Nicole Perkins and June. Thomas I'm Christina Ricci. Thanks for listening.