Unsurprisingly, I am a reader of blogs as well as a writer of one. I am one of those people for whom checking their Google Reader is the daily step that comes right after checking my email. I didn’t start out this way, though; I had to be coaxed into it by a friend of mine whose frequent mention of them prompted me to look for ones I like. “What? You don’t read Feministing?” “Oh, let me just find that recipe on one of the soup blogs I read.” Now that my personal transformation is complete, allow me to share my five favorites with you, taking them from a wide range of topics and genres.
This Girl Called Automatic Win. Probably my all-around favorite, if I had to choose. This woman is everything I want to be and do with my life: witty and gay and New York-based and ironic and a writer and prone to bad decisions but in kind of an attractive way. On election night she sliced her entire lower leg open while changing a window blind, and still had it in her to liveblog the entire thing and then go party in Harlem afterwards. She chronicled the buying of her couch on Craigslist, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. She drinks a lot of vodka tonics and is accompanied by a stuffed toy Chihuahua named Tinkerbell. Granted, she’s been posting less lately, but it’s only because she’s been busy creating an awesome and unprecedented site for “girl-on-girl culture” on the internet. Why yes, she does sell stickers and hotpants. Go check it out.
EDIT: for instance, here is where Riese does an interview with her best friend over AIM, and then gets to put it on the internet for her job. “What are you wearing? Tight yoga pants?” I want to be her when I grow up.
Mason-Dixon Knitting. Ok ok ok let’s get this out of the way now: I do read knitting blogs. Like, blogs whose express purpose is talking about stuff people are knitting. I realize this is not for everyone, or even for anyone who is not me. But let’s try to keep an open mind, ok? For people who don’t knit or care about knitting blogs, I still think this is an excellent place to go. There is so much going on here besides sweaters! They liveblogged the Oscars! They crashed the Obama’s tea with the Queen! They occasionally put on beehive wigs and sing Nashville country on YouTube! Also, they are hilarious. For real, guys, go look.
Smitten Kitchen. This is a food blog. I don’t know how much you know about those, or what preconceived notions you have about people who read them. But I’d like to put forward the idea that this is not a blog for people who like to cook; this is a blog for people who like to eat. There are beautiful, mouthwatering photos of food everywhere, and free recipes for them. What a great idea! There’s a range from the complicated and esoteric (parmesan-black pepper biscotti, butternut squash and caramelized onion galette, swiss buttercream wedding cake) to the dead simple (arroz con pollo, homemade pizza, and prizewinning chocolate chip cookies). This lady is exhaustive. I cannot think of a dish you could not find a fantastic recipe for here – and you see photos of how she made it step-by-step, how she thought it came out, and her own tips and recommendations from when she tried the recipe. Even if you don’t cook, find someone to make it for you.
Sociological Images. If you’ve ever taken a sociology or sociologically-inclined class – for instance, gender or race studies – you may remember the process of looking at some piece of pop culture – a magazine advertisement, a billboard, or in more recent years a Youtube video – and picking it apart in class. You know, having your professor point out how women in fashion advertisements are often posed as if they’re dead or unconscious, or in some kind of physical distress. Or noting that the only black women you see in commercials are light-skinned with straight hair. You will remember that this was probably the most fun part of the class; who doesn’t love watching Justin Timberlake videos and then talking about them? No one! That’s why a group of sociology professors made a whole blog for doing just that! Every day they post a series of images or artifacts from pop culture, and talk about their implications. It’s interesting, and it’s also eye-opening.
Racialicious/Feministing. Okay, so I couldn’t choose between the two of these. Which is okay with me, because I honestly believe you should be reading both. As you can maybe guess, one deals largely with race issues in the news and pop culture, and one deals largely with women’s issues. I’m serious, though, when I say both are important; I really think that their commentaries should be read in tandem. Partially because there’s a lot of overlap and intersection: obviously both have done a lot with the Rihanna/Chris Brown domestic violence story, for instance, which is talked about with a lot of both gendered and racial implications. But also because there’s rarely ever a gender issue that doesn’t also have a race factor, or a race-based incident that didn’t also involve gender. (See the link above about Justin Timberlake, which is actually from Racialicious.) For example, there’s a post right now on Feministing about the book G-Dog and the Homeboys, which focuses on one priest’s efforts to combat gang violence in LA. When talking about gangs, gang violence, and police intervention/brutality, there are huge things going on with masculinity, race identity, and the intersection of both. I think if you’re going to look at current events and cultural issues – like the media response to Michelle Obama – you’re missing half the story if you’re only reading (mostly white) feminist media or only looking at non-white news sources.
And while I don’t need an RSS feed to read it, there’s obvs this blog too. Check it out.