Women We Read This Week

Sarah Schweitzer’s “Chasing Bayla” in The Boston Globe

For the second time in two months, my “Women We Read This Week” pick is a sad, moving story about a whale. But while Leslie Jamison’s 52 Blue was about loneliness and the way we so often transpose our own feelings onto animals, imagining that they feel the same way, “Chasing Bayla” is about the undeniable physical suffering our activities cause to the right whales that migrate up and down North America’s eastern seaboard. It follows Bayla, a young whale so tangled in ropes that they are cutting her open and killing her, and the veterinarian/marine biologist who hopes to save her. It’s fascinating and frustrating. Give it a read.


Rachel Sklar’s “I’m 41, Single and Pregnant: Welcome to the New Normal” on Medium

Rachel Sklar is 41, single, pregnant, and happy. She writes, “For single women, admitting that you want kids when you’re still unattached can feel like exposing a vulnerability.” This is true, and Sklar is helping change the conversation. It is OK to be single and want a baby, to be single and pregnant and happy, to choose to raise a child by yourself. She writes:

Actually, I’ve discovered that I am living a whole new reality for women — that is to say, approaching and experiencing motherhood from outside the narrow bounds of the default, traditional model. You know that model — boy meets girl (the girl is always met, after all!), boy marries girl, boy impregnates girl, smiling happy family ensues. But sometimes boy meets boy, and girl meets girl. Sometimes boy and girl meet, marry, and struggle with that third part — maybe boy has a low sperm count, or girl has uterine fibroids. Sometimes there are basal thermometers and blood tests and injections and ultrasounds and many visits to the doctor. Sometimes girl meets a bunch of different boys and none of them quite take. Sometimes girl says, fuck it, I’ll do it on my own.

We need to have the option to do it on our own. Not all of us are going to want that traditional model or find happiness in it.

Katie McDonough’s “Jian Ghomeshi is my friend, and Jian Ghomeshi beats women” on Salon

Jian Ghomeshi is Canada’s radio sweetheart. Multiple women have accused him of assault. This week Owen Pallet, a close friend of Ghomeshi, wrote an open letter in which he said “Jian Ghomeshi is my friend, and Jian Ghomeshi beats women.” As McDonough reports, many people were shocked by Pallet’s statement and his willingness to believe the women.

In his letter, Pallet wrote:

Jian is my friend. I have appeared twice on Q. But there is no grey area here. Three women have been beaten by Jian Ghomeshi. I have sat with Jian over drinks and discussed our respective anxiety disorders. We have been photographed hugging on camera. Just ten days ago, I helped him find musicians for his father’s funeral. Three women have said that Jian beat them without their consent. “We will never really know what happened.” Yes we do. Jian beat, at the very least, three women. Three women said so. “They were jilted exes.” Maybe so. They were beaten by Jian.“They were freelance writers looking to get ahead.” Three women were beaten by Jian Ghomeshi. At no point here will I ever give my friend Jian’s version of the truth more credence than the version of the truth offered up by three women. Anonymity does not mean these women do not exist.

These women do exist. We need to respect their testimony, and to challenge a culture in which we automatically blame the victim.



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