Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves

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:

No More Excuses; Time to Be a Hijabi

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.”

Silence of the Gays — Why Celebrities Should Come Out and Speak Up!

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.

The Cult of Individualism: I’m Special and You’re Not

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 Giraffetackles 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.

Disregard, Dissociation, Distance

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 challengesphoto 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.


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Cheri Lucas Rowlands

21 Comments

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  1. Opinionated Man

    Not my cup of tea, but I am sure they are well written.

    Like

  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Great picks. Silence of the Gays and the Muslim story were very worth the read.

    Like

  3. Angelia Sims

    I love reading about how you make your freshly pressed choices. These are great reads.

    Like

  4. dondinozzo

    Silence of the gays and the cult of individualism were my favourite…. Excellent articles and well titled.

    Like

  5. Amotherslove

    Awesome!!

    Like

  6. strawberryquicksand

    Hi, guys, I love Freshly Pressed and would LOVE to see Might War freshly pressed. This is a blog by an amazingly articulate African born British woman who is living with a dreadful, undiagnosed illness that has robbed her of her dignity, former physical self and throws challenges at her daily. She still manages to produce the most amazing blog I have seen in a long time. Her blog incorporates “the listening booth” (her top ten tunes for the week), travel tales from her earlier life, gallery (weekly photo contest), plus, of course, some amazing writing.

    Please consider.

    Like

    • Cheri Lucas

      Thanks for the suggestion — we’ll check out her blog.

      Like

      • strawberryquicksand

        Thank you so much! Also bear in mind that she has only been blogging since November 10th 2012. She has been writing forever but has never blogged before so I think she has done a stirling effort. :) I can’t wait to see if she makes the grade or not! :D

        Like

  7. eof737

    Love the range Cheri… Impressive and distinct. :-)
    Eliz

    Like

  8. Elisabeth

    Thanks, Cheri, for these sensitive and thoughtful choices. I want to read all three!

    Like

  9. KDawg

    This girl can write compelling posts, fiction, non-fiction, and always compelling, entertaining and informitive stuff. Give her a visit! http://kbunge.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/quotables/

    Like

  10. marekofpoznan

    Again, not a single poet. We do have some good ones here, you know.

    Like

  11. ascof2012

    Your neglect of poets continues! Here’s one that deserves to be featured http://shonadaowna.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/i-will-kill-my-rapist/

    Like

  12. lovelychange

    I liked the silence for gays one, but I’m curious about something. Why do celebrities need to speak out when we can start in our own communities? I bet if at least one person in each community started a protest or an awareness group we would be heard. It’s a long shot but hey it takes one to be heard and many to make a change. Oh and why not also start with our youth? I mean it is the youth who make and break a society. So teens could start groups in their schools about the gay situation or any for that matter.

    Like

  13. haywardhelen

    The knee-jerk response is that blogging is for egoists, so nice to see that the people inside the blogging world have real values. It’s been a real eye-opener for me to join in this kind of conversation. At its best it touches the soul, which is a good ambition to have.

    Like

  14. KDawg

    Blogging isn’t for “egoists” in many cases. It’s for people who feel they have something to share with others. One big reason why I like to blog is I want to start conversation and interraction and on variety of topics.

    Like

  15. Jodie-Lauren'X

    In reply to ‘silence of the gays’ – I have to say that in my personal opinion whether a celebrity or not, you should have the right as a human being to be who you want to be/are, being gay isn’t something you wake up one day and decide. I understand that a lot of celebrities wouldn’t want to ‘come out’ as they’re probably worried that it would ruin their reputation, and they’d be less respected by the population, it’s horrible really to think that these days society is so f****d that people can’t even be true to themselves for fear of how others will see them.

    Like

  16. Leanne Cole

    So how does one get freshly pressed and who decides? I was asked recently by someone how they could get freshly pressed and my response was I have no idea. The I see some blogs by people who have been freshly pressed several times. It can’t be because my posts are boring, I get lots of likes. So it really is a mystery. Perhaps a bribe. Though after 2 and half years on WP, I won’t hold my breath for it to happen.

    Like

    • Cheri Lucas

      We have an editorial team that reads new posts every day in the WordPress.com Reader. We search popular tags, but also specific tags if we’re interested in seeing what people are writing about a topic du jour, and also follow topics in the Reader, too. We consider posts suggested by our followers on Twitter (@freshly_pressed), and also listen to our readers at The Daily Post, too. In fact, we have a series at The Daily Post which explores why particular posts were FreshlyPressed: What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able. You’ll see the archive of past posts via that link.

      In short, there are thousands and thousands of blogs out there, and only a few of us. It takes time to discover stuff, but we do each and every day.

      Like

  17. TheGirl

    I enjoyed reading the post about the woman’s journey into Islam and her decision to cover. It’s definitely refreshingly to get an “insider’s” perspective — as in college I had a friend who was born into Islam but only started covering after her 2nd year, and I always wondered why…since she was Americanized did she want the freedom not to? Well as it turns out it’s all about the freedom to express religio-social traditions and go on a truly spiritual journey and awareness of self. It was nicely written!

    Like

  18. Karen George

    Great picks. The Cult of Individualism: I’m Special and You’re Not; and Disregard, Dissociation, Distance these are worth reading. Thanks.

    Like

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