While the Coffee Brews: Links to Read

On the theme of makeovers and #TransformationTuesday…

“Young people in the West now face an increasingly uncertain future, in which markers of adulthood taken for granted by their parents – financial security, home ownership, secure careers and a nuclear family – appear ever more unattainable. Our appearance is one of the only things that seems to remain within our control. In such difficult times, the makeover reassures us that we need look no further than our own bodies – that the solutions to all manner of personal and political problems lie within the fabric of the self, rather than in the external and unmanageable structures of the material world. It encourages us to become isolated citizen-consumers, who need nothing but the commercial industries and the services they provide to achieve a successful, happy and satisfying life. In the world according to the makeover, the most important relationship you have is with just one person: yourself.”

Michael Lovelock, writing in Aeon, about the underbelly of the drive to ‘find yourself.’

On the theme of sewing…

“For my grandmother and others, the inconvenience of time spent negotiating the slippery garment fabrics and stitching buttonholes was apparently worth more than the convenience of designing a fit unachievable by the standardized garment industry. And the repetition and uniformity of the sewing machine present their own problems. The first innovator to dream up the idea of a two-thread machine, Walter Hunt, backed away from his own insight for fear of casting seamstresses into unemployment. His fears had a basis, too: In 1841, a horde of angry, fearful tailors burned down a factory using Barthelemy Thimonnier’s recently patented machines to make army uniforms. In the U.K., mechanization had certainly put individual artisans out of work, compelling them to seek factory jobs in crowded industrial centers like Manchester and London and condemning many to poverty.”

Joceyln Heath, describing the art of the sewing machine in the Atlantic.

On the theme of feminism….

“[Mary Tyler Moore] hit the sweet spot in the development of feminism, when it was still a reform movement. The women of my generation remember it as then being fluid, optimistic and democratic rather than ideological and dogma-driven. And Moore herself felt strongly that the show should not be about activism. ‘We’re not Maude [starring an oft-indignant, thrice-divorced, pro-choice feminist played to great and deserved success by Bea Arthur],’ Moore said. ‘I feel strongly that sex is a private thing not to be shared with an audience—or even with friends.’”

Barbara Kay, discussing the significance of the Mary Tyler Moore for portrayals of feminism in television, in the Walrus.

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