James Devaney

Over the past years of unwilling contact with other humans, I’ve learned (the hard way) of what not to talk about in a conversation, the “conversational taboo” if you will. To the universal list, we know its politics and religion, but did we ever think that Beyonce would enter that list? Unless you’re in a conversation with me, she is not.

In class learning to journalistically write about arts and culture, we were assigned to review Beyonce’s album (which I do on a regular basis anyway as my primary hobby).

In regards to Beyonce’s album, one kid claimed not being able to comfortably watch her music videos because they featured so many themes about “sex.” He then went on to criticize Beyonce for preaching feminist values, which he thought was contradicted by her revealing “too much skin.” So I said, “Who the fuck do you think you are, shithead?” Of course I didn’t say that, and I never would. But I certainly thought it.

He then claimed that women who “believe in feminism” (as if feminism was Santa Claus) should not show skin or be sexy. I then asked, “Why not?” to which he did not respond.

His completely naive and invalid argument, however, was made solely on the basis of personal judgement and stereotype. It is embarrassing that a supposedly educated student is allowed to make such asinine statements.

It turns out, that I would be the only unabashed Beyonce fan in the class and a vocal one at that, but I should not be the only who believes that women should have equal pay and wear La Perla lingerie at the same time. The exchange I had with this other student did not matter that it was about Beyonce, but rather how women are allowed to behave. Let’s just disregard the fact that he was speaking about Beyonce, but he could have had the same opinion or generalization about any woman.

People like this kid still exist.

He then asked, “Is Sasha Fierce her real name?”

Please stop.



Throughout the week, I spend a lot of time online and off to consume information and stories that fuel me for conversations with friends, essay topics, and simply to expand my frame of reference. Most times, 140 characters isn’t enough to share what I love, so every week I will share what I read, watched, or learned for all the world to see. It’s also my time to “get real” with y’all. Let’s be smarter together!

The F stands for Feminism, everybody.

1. “My Mademoiselle Summer”

I started reading this article from the New York Times over breakfast on Monday. Written by Meg Wolitzer, it’s a nostalgic and lovely piece about her time with Mademoiselle magazine. As an “aspiring journalist” (which seems like an oxymoron these days), the article was a sort of time capsule of women writers in the 70’s and earlier. I admire all the writers she referenced in the article, which made me want to pick up another Didion book.

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Instead, I started reading The Bell Jar immediately afterwards. The only thing I knew about The Bell Jar before reading the article by Meg Wolitzer was its cover, as it is a common decorative fixture in Barnes & Noble. Five pages in, I have already highlighted almost every other line. It’s a roman-a-clef of Plath’s spiral into madness and insanity while working at a magazine publication. GIRLS meets Mad Men-ish?

TIP! If you don’t got the dough to buy a book, here’s a website where you can download thousands of ebooks, including The Bell Jar. Virtual. Heaven.

3. The Virgin Suicides

As a reward to finish off my productive Thursday, it only seems appropriate to watch some sort of feministically-charged film. Another episode of Sex and the City? I kid. Ironically, I watched The Virgin Suicides (based on the book by Jeffrey Eugenides) for the first time. Sofia Coppola is kinda sorta my film hero. Okay, she is my film hero. Capturing the horrors and tragedies that is adolescence and high school, The Virgin Suicides was signature Sofia Coppola with some scenes that looked like my daydreams in high school. Rainbows and slow motion unicorns, y’all! I can understand why Rookie can’t get enough writing about it.

That’s what I loved this week. Is this a good thing to do?


P.S. What did you love this week?