No, not the celebrity sex (I couldn’t care less about who’s shagging who in Hollywood). And no, not for the graphic descriptions of leaked sex footage or sexting or scandals. I read the news to understand what is happening with the treatment of sexual minorities; the rights of women; how sexual assault is being defined in various places; how gender roles are being represented and perceived; and more.
To tell the truth, I find reading the news so depressing that I can hardly make myself do it at all. I was a sensitive, bookish child, so reading about atrocity after atrocity, unfairness after unfairness, quickly turned me off the whole enterprise of keeping up with current events. Luckily, I found a solution: since I’m deeply committed to gender and sexual equality, I can grit my teeth and skim enough of the news to find out what’s going on in those realms. More often than not, staying informed about gender and sexuality keeps me abreast (pun intended) of other important happenings, such as war-related sexual violence against men, important policy changes in US health care coverage, and so on.
Another survival strategy is training all my news-savvy and internet-loving friends to forward me relevant articles. Yes, it’s under-handed and diabolical, but it works, and it’s better than simply sticking my head in the sand (or whatever novel I’m reading while on a break from writing my dissertation). I figure so long as I’m staying somewhat engaged, and following what I’m passionate about, there are worse ways to do things. What do you think?
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