A few weeks ago I stumbled across an article by the Huffington Post titled Best Articles 2012: The 25 Pieces That Should Be Required Reading For Women. As a woman, I immediately set out to read all of them. I didn’t read them all at once, but instead read a few at a time and then forgot about them for a few days before picking the list back up. The articles cover a range of topics from weddings to weight to success to parenting. Some of the articles fell short of expectations, but for the most part they were all great reads. If you don’t have time to read all 25 articles, I have made a list of my top 9 for you.
1. “Transformation and Transcendence: The Power of Female Friendship”by Emily Rapp (The Rumpus)
This article was about a young woman who made friends with an unlikely trio of women. The most powerful part of this article is when the author admits that before meeting this particular group of women, she saw single, older women as failures.
2.“At the Pinnacle of Hillary Clinton’s Career” by Rachael Combe (Elle)
What’t not to love? I admit, I am a huge Hillary fan, so any article that talks about how great she is wins my approval. My favorite sentence is the following:
“….women, as I have over the course of my career, who are perfectionists and never think anything they do is good enough, and they’re competing against men who think everything they do is star quality…. I could sit here and say, `Am I the smartest person to have ever been secretary of state?’ Well, I don’t know. Thomas Jefferson was secretary of state. I have no idea. `Was I the smartest person who ever served in the United States Senate?’ Well, you don’t know those things. You can’t ever know them until you actually get out there and try. And it’s the trying that’s the most exciting part of the whole journey.”
3. “Being Mean to Fat People is Pointless: A Good Old-Fashioned Plea for Civility” by Lindy West (Jezebel)
There were several articles about obesity and body image, but this was one of the best. There are so many good quotes in this article that if I listed them all there would be nothing else for you to read. She addresses the national campaign against “fat people” and discusses how, as a society, we are, “actively campaigning against kindness, and treating it like a legitimate and productive political stance.”
4. “The F Word” by Jennifer Weiner (Allure)
Another great article about obesity is this article by popular author, Jennifer Weiner. As someone who has struggled with weight her entire life, she discusses how she felt when her daughter was the one to call someone else fat. I appreciate the brutal honesty of the last sentence in this article.
5. “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” by Anne-Marie Slaughter (The Atlantic)
Even after reading this article, I am convinced that I am one of the women who will have it all. This article was so great that I sent it to my best friend, who is also an amazingly talented and hardworking woman who will have it all, but she had already read it (that’s how on the ball she is). I love everything about this article, from the way it outlines the cliches that women tell themselves to the brutal honestly that the author had contributed to the problem. It tackles the need for investing in families and women, offers advice on kids and careers, and that she pushes her female students to have confidence in the value of their words. I recently had a professor like this and she did wonders for my confidence simply by pushing me harder (not that I appreciated it at the time). The following is my favorite quote:
“I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).”
This article is about how the magazines aren’t the only ones to blame for Photoshop’s popularity and that we should all just admit that Photoshop is a part of life. Instead, we should focus on why we have an obsession with being skinny. The author was so dead on that it could have been me that wrote the line, “It took me a little bit once middle school started to realize that if I didn’t read Seventeen, I didn’t feel obligated to watch what I eat.” She also mentions margaritas, which is always a plus.
7. “Boys on the Side” by Hanna Rosin (The Atlantic)
Witty, insightful and, from what I understand, completely true, this article takes a look at the “hookup culture” of today’s college kids. Turns out, it’s the women who are keeping this culture afloat, not the men. In fact, more and more college aged women are entering relationships with “fake boyfriends” (guys who aren’t marriage material but are good for the short-run). It goes on to compare a serious suitor to an unplanned pregnancy 50 years ago, pointing out that women today are manipulating circumstances (social and academic) to favor their longterm success. It’s definitely an interesting read.
8. “The Great Pretender” by Jenny Zhang (Rookie Mag)
Anyone who knows me well will tell you that the first thing out of my mouth is a lie. Okay, that’s not true, it’s an embellishment (see what I mean?). It’s not intentional, but it happens nonetheless. And whatever I am saying is just the more grandiose version of what actually happened. Needless to say, I am great getting people’s attention. This habit is probably why I enjoyed this article so much, although I don’t have as noble of a reason for doing it as the author does. Either way, I understand her fear of being irrelevant.
9. “She Who Dies With the Most ‘Likes’ Wins” by Jessica Valent (The Nation)
“Wanting to be liked means being a supportive character in your own life, using the cues of the actors around you to determine your next line rather than your own script. It means that your self-worth will always be tied to what someone else thinks about you, forever out of your control.”
This line pretty much sums up the entire article. It’s focus is on how women’s desire to be likable is squashing our abilities to succeed. Like article #3, this one filled with so many great lines that if I listed them all I would have pasted the entire article below. That said, any woman who wants to be successful in her professional life should read this article.