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Meet Virginia.

My work has appeared in more than 50 national magazines, websites, and newspapers including ElleSlateHarper’s and the New York Times Magazine. At the moment, I’m writing a book (called THE EATING INSTINCT, and coming from Henry Holt Books sometime in 2018), about how we learn to eat, and not to eat. If you’d like to learn more about my research, please subscribe to my newsletter, On Eating (And Writing). You’ll get everything that appears on this blog days ahead of everyone else, plus special newsletter-only content about eating, writing, and other fascinating things.

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Farewell Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin’

Those of you who read this blog on the website or via email can ignore this quickie housekeeping post.

But if you read this blog through Google Reader, this is just a head’s up to let you know that since Google Reader’s days are numbered, I have now claimed my blog on Bloglovin’ and you can follow it over there.

I am personally still adjusting to the loss of Google Reader (and pondering why Google killed that but not the completely irrelevant Google Plus?) but Bloglovin’ is growing on me, despite the cheesy name. If there are other blog readers that you use/love/want to see this blog on, let me know and I’ll figure out how to make that happen.

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[Mission Statement] What’s Going On With This Blog

2013 marks my fourth year of blogging, and when I look back over how this blog (and this whole website, and my career and my whole life while we’re on the subject) has evolved during that time, it’s a little amazing to me.

But what may amaze and delight me may be confusing to my lovely readers. As in, I’ve noticed a lot of new subscribers in the past few months — and a lot of new un-subscribers. Ouch… except I understand why. People often come to my site because they’ve read a specific story that I’ve written elsewhere — and then understandably get bored or turned off when they realize that I don’t blog 24/7 about that specific topic. (Be it MLM marketing scams or lighthouse renovations or what have you.)

So I thought it would be helpful to all you readers, new and old, if I sketched out a clearer mission statement for this blog and kept it posted right here on the top of the blog page, always and forever. (Or until everything about this site evolves again and that no longer makes sense.)

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Those Posts I Meant to Write

Tori of Anytime Yoga (a fellow endo girl, awesome yoga teacher and all around kick-ass person if you’re into that) did this last week and I thought it was pretty genius: She cleared out the Drafts file of her blog by posting a list of all the blog post titles she had come up with, but never got around to writing.

I am so guilty of this, partially because I just don’t have as much time to blog now that it’s a little less intrinsic to my writing day job (than say, when I was going to beauty school and the blog kinda was my day job). And also because I use my blog’s Drafts file to keep tabs on ideas that I think might be bigger than blog posts and should be pitched around to my editors as articles and what not. But sometimes it takes me awhile to decide whether something is a full article, or just a post, or really nothing at all… and anyway, here we are with a drafts folder that is 20 “posts” strong. And that’s after a strenuous round of editing.

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[Inside the Pink Pyramid] Virginia In OtherWords

I was very pleased to be asked to contribute an op-ed about the Mary Kay story to OtherWords, a project that distributes progressive commentary and cartoons to 250 newspapers around the country — mostly small dailies and weeklies in America’s heartland. (AKA Multilevel Marketing Mecca.) So you can read the piece, The Lipstick Profiteers, on the OtherWords website, or look out for me in your local newspaper.

A big point that I make in this piece: We need to stop blaming the victims. A lot of critics have suggested that I think Mary Kay ladies are stupid. And they’ve suggested that I think this for a lot of different reasons: Mary Kay ladies are stupid if can’t make their businesses work. (It’s a defense only Stephen Colbert could love: There are no bad businesses, only bad business people.) But others suggest that Mary Kay ladies are stupid for falling for the sales pitch in the first place and for thinking they could be successful in this way. Or they think that I think direct salespeople are too stupid to know they’re being scammed. It gets a little confusing.

I interviewed a lot of (current and former) Mary Kay ladies for this project, and trust me, not one of them was stupid. Because this isn’t about stupid and smart. Direct sales doesn’t work by appealing to anyone’s intellect. As I wrote in the op-ed:

[B]laming the women who wind up with basements full of unsold makeup is a cheap ploy — and ignores the power of the Mary Kay sales pitch. When Ash launched her business in 1963, she knew she was selling way more than lipstick.

She promised economic independence and female empowerment with her “Enriching Women’s Lives” tagline. It was a pitch that connected with frustrated Mad Men-era housewives — and continues to speak to women today who are wondering how to support their families in a tight economy, but also chafing against corporate workplaces or low-wage jobs that deny them the flexibility or freedom to also be the kind of mom and spouse they want to be.

Keep reading (and tell me your thoughts!) over here. 

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