It includes articles we loved from elsewhere on the web—many of which are the same ones we’ve texted our friends, emailed our siblings, or discussed as a team. (And it’s not only articles—we throw in the occasional video, book, or song recommendation, too.)
Below, we’ve pulled together our favorites from this month’s newsletters; enjoy. And if you’d like to get a breath of fresh air in your inbox everyday, subscribe to our newsletter.
“Exploring the Biology of Friendship” / Salon
Elizabeth Svoboda reviews a new book, Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond by Lydia Denworth, which posits that friendship is important on a biological level.
“Denworth marshals new evidence that in friendship, as in so many areas, we’re not all that different from our primate forebears,” writes Svoboda. “Friendship isn’t just ‘the leavening in our lives’; it evolved because it has a direct bearing on our mental and physical health. Among the Cayo macaques, biologist Lauren Brent reports, those with the strongest social networks have lower levels of stress hormones—a factor known to buffer against disease. ‘Friendship is not a choice or a luxury,’ Denworth asserts. ‘It’s a necessity that is critical to our ability to succeed and thrive.’”
“The ‘Dating Market’ Is Getting Worse” / The Atlantic
Ashley Fetters and Kaitlyn Tiffany consider the perils of analyzing dating through an economic lens.
“Technologies have emerged that make the market more visible than ever to the average person, encouraging a ruthless mind-set of assigning ‘objective’ values to potential partners and to ourselves—with little regard for the ways that framework might be weaponized,” they write. “The idea that a population of single people can be analyzed like a market might be useful to some extent to sociologists or economists, but the widespread adoption of it by single people themselves can result in a warped outlook on love.”
“Moms Were Once Expected to Stay Hidden in Their Children’s Photos. Too Many Still Go Unseen” / The Washington Post
Theresa Vargas offers a window into nineteenth-century photography of children—in which it was common for mothers to act as a cloth-covered backdrop, holding their children—and considers as well why moms are often absent from modern family photos.
“Once at an outdoor birthday party, my younger son climbed into my lap to recharge for a few minutes before darting off again. As he rested his sweaty head against me, another mom raised her phone to take a photograph. Before I could tell her not to bother, which is what I tended to do even before I had kids, she said, ‘No one ever takes pictures of moms.’
“That’s true. Mom moments have a way of blending into the background in a way that moments with other family members don’t,” writes Vargas. “Grandma reads a book to the baby and we know instantly we want to preserve that image forever. We read to that child every night for years and it doesn’t occur to us to capture it even once.”
“What’s It Like to Be a Real-Life Disney Princess?” / Vox
Luke Winkie interviews Kristen Sotakoun, who worked at Disney World as a range of iconic characters like Winnie the Pooh, Mulan, and Pocahontas.
“It’s so weird to look back on that job and think it was a normal part of my life for four years,” says Sotakoun. “Once I was trained as Pocahontas, I was her five days a week for three months straight. At a certain point, just like any job, you [would] wake up in the morning and be like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to go to work today.’ I had to remind myself that I was saying, ‘I don’t want to put on makeup and hug kids all day.’”
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