home Must Reads Must reads: Assault, garbage, Miss America, Kristi Yamaguchi

Must reads: Assault, garbage, Miss America, Kristi Yamaguchi

Before we delve into sharing the longreads we’re loving right now, our most popular post last week was E. Young’s exploration of the triumphant return of the Western. Long-time fan of the genre? Thinking about dipping in? Talk to us!

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What to Do With a Man Who Has a Story, and a Gun (Lisa Romeo for Longreads)

The reality of an abusive relationship rarely crashes in all at once. Instead, it comes through in trickles, surges of doubt and then dismissal of same, until the moment of a critical tipping point. Where that point lies depends on the person, and the relationship, and the pressures surrounding them both — even if, for outsiders, the answers to these things seem obvious and evident.

I told myself his locking me in was a sweetly protective gesture. It didn’t occur to me for several more months all the ways in which locking someone in a third floor room, without a phone might be wrong. How would I have gotten out in an emergency? What if — as happened a few months before — a building nearby caught fire and the dorm was evacuated? What if I just needed the bathroom? What if his most untrustworthy roommate realized I was there and decided to flirt with me, or was after the stash of good cigars, and — drunk, high, or just emboldened — rammed his six foot frame against the flimsy door?

How I Learned to Look Believable (Eva Hagberg Fisher for the New York Times)

This piece has been making the rounds since it went live, and with good reason. It’s a fantastic look at how every single element of someone’s presentation, when they’re accusing a person of sexual harassment or assault, needs to be perfectly, carefully calculated. It’s an autobiography in carefully chosen outfits and thoughtfully styled hair, and it’s particularly recommended for men.

Over the last year and a half, I have needed a lot of outfits. I have also needed to be consistent. I have needed to be ready, at every moment, to be seen as both a poverty-stricken graduate student and a reliable adult. As an accuser, I need to be a news-team-ready correspondent and someone who certainly wasn’t doing this for the limelight. I didn’t know any of this when I started. I learned this all on the full-time job that is being an objector to sexual harassment in America.

Trashed: Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection (Kiera Feldman for ProPublica)

Your connection with garbage crews may be sleepily rolling over to block out the sound of crashing glass and beeping trucks outside on garbage day, but who collects your trash? How much are they being paid? How did they get there? What kinds of working conditions do they experience?

Pedestrians aren’t the only casualties, and Action isn’t the only company involved in fatalities. Waste and recycling work is the fifth most fatal job in America — far more deadly than serving as a police officer or a firefighter. Loggers have the highest fatality rate, followed by fishing workers, aircraft pilots and roofers. From the collection out on garbage trucks, to the processing at transfer stations and recycling centers, to the dumping at landfills, the waste industry averages about one worker fatality a week. Nationally, in 2016, 82 percent of waste-worker deaths occurred in the private sector.

Fifty Years Ago, Protesters Took on the Miss America Pageant and Electrified the Feminist Movement (Roxane Gay for Smithsonian)

This history of an infamous feminist protest made for a fascinating read, exploring cultural movements led by women, the Freedom Trash Can (no bras were burned) and how women organised to speak out against an archaic, sexist, and absurd social ritual.

The organizers obtained a permit, detailing their plans for the protest, including barring men from participating, and on the afternoon of September 7, a few hundred women marched on the Atlantic City boardwalk, just outside the convention center where the pageant took place. Protesters held signs with such statements as “All Women Are Beautiful,” “Cattle parades are demeaning to human beings,” “Don’t be a play boy accessory,” “Can make-up hide the wounds of our oppression?”

Kristi Yamaguchi, Unlaced (Nicole Chung for Shondaland)

Not all of us get to interview our childhood heroes. Nicole Chung did, in this amazing discussion with a U.S. figureskating legend who became a role model for Asian American girls in the 1990s. Their conversation about Yamaguchi’s time at the Olympics, the projects she’s working on now, and the state of figure skating is deeply enjoyable.

Sometimes we can’t understand or name what we’ve been missing until we see it with our own eyes and realize that it’s possible after all. When I watched Kristi Yamaguchi triumph at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, I was too young to grasp the cultural power of the Olympic Games — the glory, the adoration, the lifelong cachet of champions who become touchstones for a generation and beyond. But I understood Yamaguchi had achieved something great, a victory for which she would always be celebrated. That she was not just the Olympic champion — the best figure skater in the world — but also an Asian American girl, like me, was more than an inspiration; it felt like a lifeline. Living in a small Oregon town where nearly everyone I ever saw being centered or adored was white, I suddenly felt free to dream beyond the boundaries I’d long imagined.

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