We were floored this week by the posts we came across on WordPress.com. This community is full of different voices: bold, opinionated, and honest. You take risks and put yourselves out there. You offer perspectives on issues that matter to you. You use your blogs and websites as platforms to share your insights and musings with others.
If you’re looking for reading material, here are four recent posts to consider:
I have been Muslim for about two and a half years now. About 6 months after that, I began dressing more modestly, wearing long sleeves, looser fitting clothes, etc. I knew then that I would eventually want to/ need to wear a hijab, but wasn’t ready for that.
The writer at Meditations of a Muslimah explores life as an American Muslimah. In this post, she describes how she’s thought about wearing hijab for a long time, but has always come up with excuses: it could be a distraction at work, where she deals with clients in social work, as well as in her community. “Living in the ‘Bible Belt,’ people can be pretty judgmental here,” she writes, “though they won’t always admit it or blatantly say it to your face.” Writing with both eloquence and honesty, she concludes that these are all just excuses — “excuses for not doing what I’m supposed to do.”
As such, I’m not sure I would go as far as to say that gay celebrities have a social or moral duty to be open about their sexuality. But I am prepared to argue that by refusing to acknowledge that they are gay — or that once, not that long ago, they were scared to admit it in public — they’re perpetuating an inhibiting and heteronormative status quo.
It’s film awards season, and last Sunday Hollywood rolled out the red carpet at the Golden Globes ceremony. In a personal and emotional acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award, actress Jodie Foster talked about a whole life lived in the public eye — and the value of privacy. Josef Church-Woods, a writer at LGBTICONS, appreciates Foster’s speech: “We need all the positive, gay role models we can get, flying the flag for ‘modern families’ and the notion that love is love, regardless of sexuality.” But he goes on to explain how important it is for public personas to speak up — and to see that talking freely about sexual orientation doesn’t imply an invasion of privacy.
Social agents constantly feed the young with sugar-coated phrases. You may have heard them before; they appear on posters sold in stores that target teachers. “You are special,” “The world is your oyster,” “You are unique,” etc. Everyone is being told they are special. Everyone is unique.
Michelle, the university student behind The Grumpy Giraffe, tackles social issues, particularly in education, and we enjoyed reading her take on individualism, entitlement, and today’s youth. She is critical of educators who “feed pretty phrases” to students, making them believe they’re innately special, and urges them to provide specific, behavior-targeted feedback instead of meaningless phrases that set up students to fail.
Two months into our new life in Munich, two months after burying our son in another country, and my parents have not contacted us yet.
From the very beginning, we were locked in to Melissa’s personal, sad, but beautiful piece at Melissa Writes of Passage about grief and dealing with the death of a son. Intimate and painful, she tells a story that has to be told, with honesty and carefully crafted dialogue. She also writes about how things are not said: parents and friends who keep their distance — who give her breathing space — when the opposite is needed and craved. ”If we think it’s better we all pretend nothing happened, and that we as friends are safer staying far away, we are also terribly mistaken.”
Did you read something in the WordPress.com Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.
For more inspiration, check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader. For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.
In August, WordPress.com bloggers hit us with their best: Smart takes on the month’s biggest stories. Thoughtful musings on culture. Photographs and art that bring the world to life.
The following ten picks represent what Freshly Pressed is all about: original content that engages readers, timely posts that contribute to a larger discussion, and personal writing that resonates with others. Enjoy!
This photo essay documents quiet, unexpected moments of daily life in Iran and captures the delicious details and textures of Yzad and elsewhere. The collection of six photographs illustrates quality over quantity—each image is strong, well-composed, and tells its own story.
“But I’m still happy to be in their gang, because we don’t all have to think the same.”
This post examines hot-button topics—abortion and feminism—through an original and nuanced discussion of actress Patricia Heaton. We are impressed with the blogger’s honesty, respectful but confident voice, and willingness to ask questions; these elements encourage readers to comment and join the discussion.
“Why do we turn to these stories? For shelter. We need an explanation, because “It happened for no reason at all” is somehow too horrifying to face.”
In this reflection on Hurricane Katrina, writer/photographer Kim weaves thoughts on Louisiana, loss, and the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. We especially like her musings on how we create stories to cope, and to make sense of why things happen in the world. Her gallery of evocative images of New Orleans complements the piece.
“This whole long, sordid episode ends in two competing realities. The first is that Armstrong – despite his protests – likely is guilty. The second is that doesn’t matter if he is.”
After introducing the story on Lance Armstrong’s battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency, Mark presents an opinionated yet fair take on doping in cycling (and touches on other sports, too). He admits he is not an Armstrong fan, which further illustrates a balanced approach to the issue.
“As a writer, I’m not comfortable with the idea of someone writing a review of my book if they haven’t read it. I’m not writing so people can pat me on the back, I’m writing because I have stories I want people to read.”
Here, Jo offers her thoughts on an interesting publishing story: an entrepreneur who set up a business in which authors pay him to write a positive review. Solidly written and thorough, the post leads to a discussion for both writers and readers alike. We like how she asks questions at the end to help launch a healthy debate.
“The point is, this is a decision that most deeply affects the victims of rape; those victims have to live with the outcomes of that decision as well as the effects of the crime itself; and those women should be allowed to make the decision that is best for them.”
August saw no lull in controversy in the news, and WordPress.com bloggers confronted these issues head on. A post tackling a hot-button issue can become polarized—even angry—but this take on Todd Akin’s statement on rape is at once passionate and professional.
“Actually, Timmy, there’s a really, really good chance that you won’t be an astronaut. Considering your complete inability to understand long division, you’re probably going to sell cars when you grow up. Now let’s talk about Santa Claus.”
Readers enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek list about the lies one father tells his kids. Whether or not you are a parent, you can relate to this lighthearted post, and will likely recall your own childhood and wonder: did my parents lie to me?!
“Before she pricks her finger, she hesitates, her hand outstretched, but then at Maleficent’s urging, she finally touches the spindle. I’ve always preferred to think that she did it on purpose, not just because she was under a spell. I like to see it as an act of rebellion, a refusal to go from Briar Rose to Aurora quite yet.”
We like how Melissa uses a childhood tale to express ideas about coming of age. Musings are particularly resonant when a writer takes something familiar—such as the story of Sleeping Beauty—to illustrate observations on a more personal level. As a result, she engages with her readers, who have made their own connections through her insights.
“Cartoons – the word, the concept, the feeling, the religion — is dead. Dead and obsolete like the Gothic-arched mouse hole where Jerry took refuge. Drowned in a sea of endless animation.”
This homage to old-school Saturday morning cartoons left readers swimming in a sea of nostalgia. He-Man! Dungeons and Dragons! The shows of Hanna-Barbera! The sharp and entertaining commentary and palpable passion for the subject contribute to this well-received post.
“Rest in peace other Neil.”
We’re always on the lookout for original artwork: illustrations, paintings, sketches, and more. Shortly after learning of Neil Armstrong’s death, (another) Neil shared an illustration celebrating the famed astronaut. The piece is just as much about Armstrong as it is about the artist himself, and this makes the post timely as well as touching.
What do you think about these selections? Were there other Freshly Pressed posts that stood out this month?
If you’re looking for more, peep the latest posts on Freshly Pressed; check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at the Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the reader.
For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.
It wasn’t just a one-time event! The Automattic Worldwide WP 5k is back again in 2012! Set your timers for April 29th!
At Automattic we work from all over the world, and we use internal blogs for socializing and exchanging non-work ideas in addition to making WordPress.com and our other products more awesome. One of the things we’re really concerned about is staying healthy – we even have an entire internal blog dedicated to fitness.
We had a great idea: Get all Automatticians from 79 cities & 24 countries to run/walk a 5k on the same day! This way we can get some exercise together as a company even though we’re apart (though we won’t rule out a softball or Texas scramble at our next meetup).
A year later, and there are now 105 Automatticians we hope will take part in the 5k all around the world in 2012.
We want to invite you to join us, WordPress.com users (and self-hosted WP users, too!), in the Worldwide WP 5k – the 5k blogged around the world! The date is approaching, so read on to find out how to participate.
WHAT IT IS: A 5k run/walk (approximately 3.1 miles). You can run, walk, or skip. It’s up to you. There’s no time limit and there’s just one requirement: that you participate! You can do it inside or outside, on a treadmill or on a track, or even do a swim or a bike ride instead of running/walking – just get moving!
A 5k is roughly equal to:
- 3.1 miles
- 12 laps around a track
- approximately 6000-7500 steps
- approximately 50-60 minutes of brisk walking
If you ran/walked last year’s Worldwide WP 5k, why not try to shave a few minutes off your time and set a personal record (PR)?
WHEN: We’re all busy, but we want you to participate, so we’re giving you some flexibility, too. The WWWP5k is set for Sunday, April 29th, but you can do your run/walk anytime from April 23rd-29th (you’ve got a week to fit it in).
WHO: Anyone who’s ever used or loved WordPress (and your families and friends, too). Heck, the entire Internet is invited!
HOW: Post about it on your site and tag the post “wwwp5k” so we can find you (and for a chance to be Freshly Pressed). If you’re not on WordPress.com, link back to this announcement post so others can find it and participate, too.
You’re welcome to blog your entire route and your preparation (videoblog, perhaps?) but above all we’d love to see where you are and how you’re completing your 5k. Give us a picture of you and what you see when you cross the finish line and tell us your location as you complete your 5k with the rest of the world. Some tools & suggestions: