September 10, 2021
What's New on Uptime
Here at Uptime, we like to keep an eye on what books everyone is talking about so that you don’t have to. Here’s a guide to our pick of the best new Knowledge Hacks over on Uptime.
Here on the Uptime Blog, we like to make your life as easy as possible. In case you missed them, here’s a quick catch-up on our new releases on Uptime; this week, we’ve got everything from a deep dive into music and its effect on our brains, to wisdom from the one and only RBG (that's Ruth Bader Ginsburg, of course).
American political activist and academic Angela Y. Davis walks readers through the ways that mainstream feminism has failed to account for the experiences of women who don’t fit into the bracket of the white upper and middle class. Here are a few of her essential takeaways:
1. There is no such thing as a ‘Universal Womanhood’
The idea of a universal womanhood emerged in the 1800s, when industrialisation created a division between home life and work life. Many ambitious and well-educated white women were therefore deemed unfit for any work other than childcare and housekeeping. This created a dangerous dichotomy where the housewife and mother became the universal model of womanhood.
2. Feminism has implicitly sided with the patriarchy
By refusing to come to terms with its own inherent racism and classism, feminism is closer than ever to the patriarchy. While the myth of universal womanhood seemed to extend to all women, it only really extended to a small and privileged group. Any women who weren’t middle or upper class were not put into this universal role, but their working identities were also erased by the universal womanhood myth.
This challenged the womanhood of Black and working-class women.
3. Mainstream feminism needs to acknowledge and support a broader range of female experiences
Embracing a wider multitude of expressions and experiences - such as those of Black women or those in the LGBTQ+ community - would make feminism a more powerful political force, writes Angela Davis.
To explore these insights in detail, have a look at our Women, Race, & Class summary on Uptime.
David Byrne, vocalist and lead guitarist of the Talking Heads, takes us on a musical journey through the history of music and its impact on humanity.
1. Environment shapes music
David Byrne believes that context plays a much bigger role in shaping music than we might expect. Of course, inspiration from within plays a big part, but the culture that surrounds artists plays an even bigger one.
The next time you’re listening to a song, think about the environmental factors that contributed to its sound. By doing so, you will have a much greater appreciation for how history has shaped music.
Technology has had a huge impact on the way that we create and consume music. For example, the industry standard of a song being 3-4 minutes long was because early phonograph records had less than four minutes of recording space.
The introduction of portable music stations - ie. the Walkman, then the iPod and iPhone - has meant that we can constantly be surrounded by music. It’s also made music a far less tangible thing due to the fact that streaming has seen a huge decrease in CD or record sales.
3. Music and humanity are intrinsically intertwined
Humanity has a deep connection to music. The first instance of man and music dates back to 45,000 years ago and we have been obsessed ever since. We even use music to regulate our emotions; happy music makes us happier, sad music makes us sadder. It’s also a social glue that holds communities together; it can be a place for growth and a place for change.
A decade in the making, award-winning journalist Lisa Taddeo takes us on an intricate journey through the sex lives of three women. Upon publication, the book sparked important conversations on how society perceives female desire.
1. What is the criteria for sympathy?
When young women are exploited, their accounts are often disbelieved if they don’t fit the right 'criteria' for sympathy.
For example, when it comes to a woman from a working-class background accuses a 'respected' (i.e. powerful) figure in the community - whose stories are believed, and whose are not?
2. Be heard - but be heard 'correctly'
Whenever women are given the chance to be heard, they have to be a certain 'type' of woman if they want to be actively heard. Lisa Taddeo notes that even when women fight back, they must do it in the 'correct' way. For example, they can only cry the right amount, say the right things, and look pretty - but not too attractive.
3. Society shapes women's desires
Society dictates that women should be ashamed of their sexual desires. Whereas a man actively seeking pleasure is seen as normal, a woman actively seeking it is seen to be obtuse and shameful.
Lisa Taddeo asks us to examine our own impulses, choices and desires, and to withhold our judgement from people whose story we don’t know anything about.
To explore these lessons in detail, have a look on our Three Women summary on Uptime.
My Own Words is a book from the late, great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; a collection of essays and speeches, sprinkled with Ginsburg’s own personal writings, that chronicles RBG's beliefs, philosophies, and vision.
1. Unity lies in belief
Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a deep admiration for the Supreme Court’s unity towards their reverence for the Constitution. Although each member had different alignments along the political spectrum, they all held the same love and respect for the law.
2. Dissention is key
The Supreme Court’s decisions are based on a majority. This leaves space for differences in opinion and dissension.
Justices try to limit their number of dissenting opinions - as when they take umbrage with a decision, it speaks volumes due to its rarity. This will get more media attention and create a much larger conversation.
3. Ruth Bader Ginsburg - women’s rights activist
Before RBG committed her life to the Supreme Court, she spent her life striving to advance women’s civil rights. She was inspired by the female figures in her life to break through the glass ceiling, and help women transcend the systemic barriers set up by a patriarchal system.
To explore these insights in detail, have a look at our My Own Words summary on Uptime.
We’re constantly striving to add new and relevant content here at Uptime. We hope you’re enjoying reading our content as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.
For more about Uptime and its founders - Jamie True, Jack Bekhor, and Patrick Walker - have a look at our blog post here.