Marie Kondo’s new messier mode chimes neatly with the times
Marie Kondo embraces goblin mode
Marie Kondo, the queen of clean, has always been rather more aspirational than relatable. Looks like that’s changed: the organizing guru has sparked widespread joy, and a touch of schadenfreude, after announcing that she’s happily succumbed to the chaos of having kids. “My home is messy, but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life,” Kondo said (via an interpreter) at a recent media webinar. “Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times … I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”
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The fact that someone with three kids and a busy career is prioritizing parenting over organizing their pantry shouldn’t be newsworthy. But Kondo’s “messy” house (and, by the way, I refuse to believe it’s messy by normal people’s standards without photographic evidence) has generated a lot of headlines. People have always had strong opinions about the organizational consultant despite the fact that she’s never really done anything to warrant those opinions. Kondo, let’s be clear, never said that you needed to get rid of all your worldly belongings and live in a spotless and soulless beige dungeon Kim Kardashian-style – she simply said you should be more mindful about the things you own and think about what makes you happy. But a lot of people seemed to wilfully misunderstand her advice and chose, instead, to take it personally. And what you can do, eh? We live in a world where getting angry on the internet seems to spark a lot of joy.
Kondo’s pivot when it comes to tidying up may be due to her personal circumstances, but it’s also a savvy business move. 2014, which is when Kondo first became popular in the United States, was a very different time. We honestly didn’t know how good we had it then, did we? It was pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-Covid. Women still had abortion rights in the US. Elon Musk hadn’t taken over Twitter. We didn’t have to hear about Prince Harry’s “todger” every few minutes. Oxford Dictionaries chose “vape” as its word of the year. It was a simpler time when we had the luxury of worrying about things like tidying up.
Almost a decade on things are rather more chaotic. Oxford Dictionaries’ 2022 word of the year was “goblin mode”. The phrase describes “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”. Which is not exactly compatible with cleaning your cupboards. Further, while everyone in 2014 was busy presenting a “perfect” life on Instagram, one of the most popular apps today is BeReal, an anti-Instagram that celebrates authenticity. Kondo’s comments about giving up on tidying are perfectly in tune with the zeitgeist. She may have a messier house now, but she can certainly read a room.
Florida panel wants to force student athletes to share their menstrual history
For decades the physical evaluation form that Florida student athletes need to fill in has included optional questions about menstrual history, including the date of the most recent period and the amount of time that had elapsed between periods. Now, the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) has recommended that these questions be made mandatory. This would be creepy and worrying at any time but is particularly alarming in a post-Roe world. A lot of people are worried that this data will be used to track whether any students are pregnant and to out transgender kids.
Japan PM aide told off by ‘ashamed’ mother for putting hands in pockets on Biden trip
Fifty-two-year-old Seiji Kihara, the deputy chief cabinet secretary, said he’d had an angry phone call from his mum telling him to “sew up his pockets”. Always listen to your mother.
Can stopping the birth control pill turn you into a lesbian?
An Australian woman said she “became a lesbian” after stopping her hormonal birth control and the claim went viral. Jezebel investigated this claim and, what do you know, it may not be backed by science.
Please don’t call my cervix ‘incompetent’
If you became pregnant after the age of 35 you are probably familiar with the ignominy of being labelled “geriatric”. In the Atlantic, Rachel E Gross looks at the weird and archaic ways that medicine describes female bodies – from “incompetent” cervixes to “hostile” uteruses.
More than a woman: images of female empowerment – in pictures
The Guardian showcases some great photos from a new exhibition featuring British female photographers.
Sexism in France is ‘alarming’ and getting worse, says official report
There are a lot of depressing statistics in this study of 2,500 people by the High Authority on Equality. Thirty-seven per cent of French women polled said they had been subject to non-consensual sex, for example. Eighty per cent of women said they felt they had been less well-treated because of their sex, while only 37% of men said the same.
UK menopause law change rejected as it ‘could discriminate against men’
The government rejected a proposal to make menopause a “protected characteristic” under the Equality Act in part because of “unintended consequences … for example, discrimination risks towards men suffering from long-term medical conditions”. I’m still trying to figure out the logic on that one.
Surprise Brett Kavanaugh documentary premieres at Sundance
“I do hope this triggers outrage,” said the producer after the premiere. “I do hope that this triggers action, I do hope that this triggers additional investigation with real subpoena powers.”
The week in pawtriarchy
The Open Space and Mountain Parks in Colorado is full of motion-capture cameras used to track animals in the area. Most animals don’t pay them much attention but one black bear has become very keen on taking selfies. Officials were amused to discover that, out of 580 images captured by one camera, 400 were of the same bear. And very fetching they are too – the bear definitely knows its good side.