The Gray Lady discovers twinks

Female body types have always cycled in and out of style; yet with men, alternatives to the ideal of imposing physicality have usually been ignored or lampooned. But as women continue to use their voices to undo that legacy of toxic masculinity, a different kind of change is taking place from within the culture: These twinks, after all, aren’t just enviably lean boys or the latest unrealistic gay fantasy, but a new answer to the problem of what makes a man.

Hat tip Ted Kerr. Oh boy, do I have feels about this. I was a teenager in the 1990s, when the hegemonic body shape was either bulky or ripped muscle. It’s kind-of hilarious to see the NYT just now announcing this trend. The shift to a more slender body shape began with emo and scene looks in the early 2000s: to see that, we only need trace the changing look of 90s boy bands through to 1D and 5SOS. (Or the changing body shape of Spiderman.) The shift has enlarged the margins of what counts as desirable masculinity to include features that would previously have been derided as pretty and therefore feminine. It also intensifies ageism, since ‘pretty’ and ‘slender’ are much harder to maintain once you’re past your twenties. It has altered the configuration of gay sexual racism, as well: mid-2000s scholarship on multicultural queer describes prejudice against ‘skinny Asians’, but I now mainly see that enacted by gay men in the South-East Asian circuit culture. I am curious to see whether this trend will intensify or dissipate in the next decade.

Read on: Welcome to the Age of the Twink – The New York Times

Calls for ‘streamlined’ access to mental health treatment

(Psychiatrist) Professor Baune said the processes for gaining access to mental health specialists needed to be streamlined to prevent people giving up. (…) “Seventy per cent of people had a negative experience in navigating the mental health system and find it daunting and confusing, and that is a large number which I found quite alarming,” Professor Baune said.

The research was commissioned as part of a plan for MLC Life Insurance to provide specialist medical access to mental health clients. In partnership with Best Doctors, the insurance company is launching its Mental Health Navigator, providing a specialist second opinion to customers to ensure their diagnosis is correct.

[record scratch] Wait, what? What’s a life insurance provider doing offering a service for second opinions on mental health diagnoses?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments?

Read on: Calls for ‘streamlined’ access to mental health treatment

No-waste or ‘NO, WASTE!’

“Let’s also set the record straight: Individuals who use family cloth do not only have *a* single piece of cloth. We have dozens of smallish strips of cloth. Each visit to the toilet gets its own cloth. In each bathroom of our home, there is a container of many clean cloths on top of the tank and a small bin on the floor that we use as a hamper. After each ‘go,’ we take one cloth, use it, and drop it in the hamper.”

I can’t. I just can’t. I have forgotten how even to can.

Read on, if you dare: What Is “The Family Cloth” And Why Do People Use It? An Explainer

David Letterman just can’t figure out why he never had women writers

Next Letterman claims, “I didn’t know why there weren’t women writers” and here’s where it gets weird. Earlier in the interview, Letterman notes that Fey was the first female head writer of Saturday Night Live, but technically the first female head writer in late-night variety was Merrill Markoe who co-created Late Night with her then-boyfriend, Letterman. (Fun fact: the show’s writing staff won Emmy awards every year until Markoe left the show in 1987. After that, Late Night never won another Emmy for writing.) Did Letterman forget about Markoe? This seems to go beyond memory lapse into disinformation. I emailed Markoe, a friend, and asked her why she thinks she may have slipped Letterman’s mind. She wrote back, “Because we were having sex, maybe he remembers me as an intern.”


Read on: David Letterman Can’t Imagine Why He Never Had Women Writers

Who Is Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Really For?

Some incisive commentary on Childish Gambino, aka. Donald Glover’s audience, narratives and perceptions from the viewpoint of a black disabled femme writer, Jazmine Joyner, with a bold opening statement:

Childish Gambino truly made a video for the white voyeurs of black death.

Keen to see further commentary and analysis about how other black creatives are producing similar work (e.g. Janelle Monáe in ‘PYNK’, Beyoncé in ‘Formation’), and how (or why) media chooses who to examine in detail.

Source: Who Is Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Really For – Wear Your Voice mag

‘Ms. Marvel’ superhero will make it to the big screen

Pakistani-American teen Kamala Khan, the main character in G. Willow Wilson’s comic serial Ms. Marvel will mean a Muslim superhero on the big screen – I so wished she existed when I was a (note: raised Roman Catholic) teen! In the meantime, there’s eight volumes of collected trade paperbacks to get stuck into while waiting impatiently…

Marvel plans to bring first Muslim superhero to the big screen – Sydney Morning Herald

A Classic Indian Cookbook Returns

(For Sameen Rushdie) Being “real” meant being specific and sidestepping all of the clichés, including the notion that Indian cuisine was too mystical, complex or time-consuming for the average home cook to handle. (“For best results, cook your biryani by candlelight,” Ms. Rushdie wrote sarcastically in the book’s introduction.)

Oh my god I am excited for this.

Read on: A Classic Indian Cookbook Returns, This Time for Americans – The New York Times