Gentrifiers focus on aesthetics, not people. Because people, to them, are aesthetics.
Proponents of gentrification will vouch for its benevolence by noting it “cleaned up the neighbourhood”. This is often code for a literal white-washing. The problems that existed in the neighbourhood - poverty, lack of opportunity, struggling populations denied city services - did not go away. They were simply priced out to a new location.
That new location is often an impoverished suburb, which lacks the glamour to make it the object of future renewal efforts. There is no history to attract preservationists because there is nothing in poor suburbs viewed as worth preserving, including the futures of the people forced to live in them. This is blight without beauty, ruin without romance: payday loan stores, dollar stores, unassuming homes and unpaid bills. In the suburbs, poverty looks banal and is overlooked.
In cities, gentrifiers have the political clout - and accompanying racial privilege - to reallocate resources and repair infrastructure. The neighbourhood is “cleaned up” through the removal of its residents. Gentrifiers can then bask in “urban life” - the storied history, the selective nostalgia, the carefully sprinkled grit - while avoiding responsibility to those they displaced.
”—Sarah Kendzior - The peril of hipster economics (x)
“Rather than constantly thinking about the 5 to 10 pounds you could ‘stand to lose’, or that ‘flat stomach’ that seems unattainable unless you subsist on lettuce alone, put your energy into working with the body the universe has given you. If you put energy into all the things you don’t like, the product will be that you don’t feel good.
I have also found the opposite to be true, if you put your energy into making what you have stronger and loving the positives, you will spark positive change in not only your head, but also your body and it will radiate in how you appear to the rest of the world.”—Amanda Russell (Click through to check out her ‘Crazy Cardio Jump Rope Workout’! It’s killer!)
“First of all, you need to know that an emotion is only that—an emotion—even though it may be a big, strong one. You are so much bigger, so much more than this emotion.”—Thich Nhat Hanh (via thecalminside)
“For many of these women, the reading experience begins from a place of seething rage. Take Sara Marcus’ initial impression of Jack Kerouac: “I remember putting On the Road down the first time a woman was mentioned. I was just like: ‘Fuck. You.’ I was probably 15 or 16. And over the coming years I realized that it was this canonical work, so I tried to return to it, but every time I was just like, ‘Fuck you.’” Tortorici had a similarly visceral reaction to Charles Bukowski: “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Emily Witt turned to masculine texts to access a sexual language that was absent from books about women, but found herself turned off by their take: “many of the great classic coming-of-age novels about the female experience don’t openly discuss sex,” she says in No Regrets. “I read the ones by men instead, until I was like, ‘I cannot read another passage about masturbation. I can’t. It was like a pile of Kleenex.”
This isn’t just about the books. When young women read the hyper-masculine literary canon—what Emily Gould calls the “midcentury misogynists,” staffed with the likes of Roth, Mailer, and Miller—their discomfort is punctuated by the knowledge that their male peers are reading these books, identifying with them, and acting out their perspectives and narratives. These writers are celebrated by the society that we live in, even the one who stabbed his wife. In No Regrets, Elif Bautman talks about reading Henry Miller for the first time because she had a “serious crush” on a guy who said his were “the best books ever,” and that guy’s real-life recommendation exacerbated her distaste for the fictional. When she read Miller, “I felt so alienated by the books, and then thinking about this guy, and it was so hot and summertime … I just wanted to kill myself. … He compared women to soup.””—
Here’s a fun thing you learn when you study literature: the western canon is not universally beloved. Those books are not the Truth any more than the New York Post is skilled journalism. The main reason they’re held in such high esteem is because they were written by boring white dudes with rage fantasies and boring white dudes with rage fantasies also happen to be largely in charge of deciding which books are deemed classics and taught forever in the American school system. So if your boyfriend tells you he loves Kerouac then you tell your boyfriend Kerouac was a fucking second rate hack who wrote Beat style because he didn’t have the skill or talent to write any other way, which is probably also why he just copied every adolescent male wanderlust story since the beginning of time. That shit’s derivative and boring.
“The thrill of appropriation lies in accessing the perceived authenticity… Transfer to a white body elevates the action. It’s no longer primitive because while nonwhite culture is assumed to be rooted in instinct, white culture is one of intent… White people clamoring to up their cred by appropriating nonwhite culture do so hoping to be rewarded for choices that are falsely seen as inherent in people of color.”— Ayesha Siddiqi (via afrometaphysics)
“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”—Anais Nin (via psych-facts)
i accidentally told my friend the sweetest pick up line ever. i started talking about solipsism (the belief that everything around you was created by your mind) and i went “If everything around me is all my imagination, then you’re the best thing I’ve come up with” she was speechless for a solid five minutes.
“A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.”—The Mermaid by William Butler Yeats (via remuslupinly)