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Findings from around the Internet.


“Maintain the sharp boy/girl product division.”

January 21, 2016


The toy industry is more gender-divided now than at any time in the past 50 years, according to Elizabeth Sweet, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Davis. She’s a noted authority in the sociology of gender-based toy design and marketing. Analyses of historical toy catalogs show that in the 1970s more than half of toys were not designated as being specifically for one gender, whereas now, very few toys are marketed as gender-neutral, according to Sweet.

Marcotte points back to the deregulation of the advertising industry in the 1980s under Pres. Ronald Reagan as the origination point for the gender-division trend. “Once that happened, toy manufacturers realized they could increase sales by designing toys to be more narrowly targeted. Instead of having just a ball, you could make it pink and put a princess on it; or, paint it blue and put GI Joe on it. Now parents have to buy two sets of toys, one for their daughter and one for their son.”

But that long-term trend has had significant sociological impacts. “Girls and boys do not play together as much as they used to,” [John] Marcotte said. “These gender divisions are hard-coded into their toys and it informs their behavior in ways that has lasting results on their presumptions.”

Read more | “Where’s Rey?” | Michael Boehm | Sweatpants & Coffee


“forced to quit her job at Starbucks because fans memorized her schedule”

December 14, 2015

from Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta's video "$8,000"


The disconnect between internet fame and financial security is hard to comprehend for both creators and fans. But it’s the crux of many mid-level web personalities’ lives. Take moderately successful YouTubers, for example. Connor Manning, an LGBT vlogger with 70,000 subscribers, was recognized six times selling memberships at the Baltimore Aquarium. Rosianna Halse Rojas, who has her own books and lifestyle channel and is also YouTube king John Green’s producing partner, has had people freak out at her TopMan register. Rachel Whitehurst, whose beauty and sexuality vlog has 160,000 subscribers, was forced to quit her job at Starbucks because fans memorized her schedule.

In other words: Many famous social media stars are too visible to have “real” jobs, but too broke not to.

Read more | “Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame” | Gaby Dunn | Fusion


“a desperate attempt to stay relevant on my part”

December 7, 2015


Reverend Joseph Bannerman is a sharp teenager from Alabama, whose presidential campaign was born from a promise to a dying cousin to take on the campaign. Like at least one other candidate mentioned here, he hopes to use his run as a platform to highlight the inherent value of black people in this country. So what sets him apart from any of the Democratic frontrunners, you ask? On his website, the “Platform” section reveals something quite rare in contemporary presidential candidates: consistency. From education to healthcare to business, Bannerman has a simple, clear, effective policy solution: “I’m a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.” What a breath of fresh air — and simultaneously a sharp comment on the way what a candidate actually says is ultimately secondary to whatever aspirations and fears the public chooses to project onto them.

Read more | “SEO-in-Chief” | Anwar Batte | Mask Magazine


“we’re of the by-any-means-necessary vein, and we literally do mean by any means necessary”

October 14, 2015

Photo by Wes Sauer

I actually think moving forward, you’ll see a lot more splits and splinters. And you will be able to see clearly where people’s politics differ ‘because I think up to this point in [Black Lives Matter], it’s been sort of presented as a monolith, right. So people will rally around “If we don’t get it, shut it down.”

Well, a year later, what you find out is some of those people mean, “Shut down that meeting until you can get a black Democrat in the office,” and some people mean, “Shut that meeting down until you can get a socialist in office.” And then some people mean, “Shut that down until you can have your own black state,” and then some people mean, “Shut it down until America is dismantled and everybody gets to decide what they want for themselves, and shut it down indefinitely.”

Read More | “Silence is Broken” | Mara Willaford and Marissa Johnson, interviewed by Rianna Hidalgo and Martha Tesema | Real Change


“It is no longer the time to be silent at the water cooler.”

October 13, 2015

Click to download the resource guide as a PDF.

As workers and organizers, the time to be silent is over. Black lives matter. Racial violence rolls on. What does this mean for us in the labor movement? What can we do to uplift the rage of the current moment and address the collective trauma of anti-Black violence? What can we do to dismantle white supremacy where we work and beyond?

Read More | “Black Lives Matter at Work” | Young Worker Media Project