Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: Megan Thee Stallion opens up in a candid interview and an investigation into why Facebook has designed camera-equipped sunglasses.


Megan Thee Stallion: ‘I’m not a normal woman’

In The Evening Standard, Megan Thee Stallion chats to Julie Adenuga about why it’s her “job” to make men “uncomfortable”, among other things – like having a make-up and clothes line: “Growing up, a lot of people, especially black people, feel like nobody teaches us about investing and money management. If you do go and do your research it’s kind of boring… but then imagine Megan Thee Stallion, your favourite artist, is telling you, ‘Girl, let me tell you about investing.’ Now you’re listening and you’re super into it and now you’ve got stocks. You’re doing things that you never thought you would have been doing because of who it came from.”



Why Facebook has designs on your face

After Facebook and Ray-Ban in league revealed smart-glasses (yes, that’s sunglasses with cameras within) on 9th September, Will Dunn decided to investigate further.

He compares the move to “Google Glass, which was launched in 2013 and swiftly banned from bars and restaurants in San Francisco and Seattle, the cities that are home to the US tech community (and where Glass users became known by some as “Glassholes”). People didn’t hate Google Glass because it was another camera – cameras were already ubiquitous and people had adjusted to that. They hated it because it was a Google camera, and its purpose was clearly tied to the surveillance technologies from which the world’s largest advertising company makes its money.”

With Google Glass reviled and Facebook’s smart-glasses likely to follow suit, Dunn suggests that Facebook may be trying to outdo competitors – or claw back its reputation.


Hollywood: Stop Emasculating Asian Leading Men

Jennifer Li looks at Hollywood’s first leading man, Sessue Hayakawa, and muses on why Asian men in cinema are so often emasculated: “the weirdo foreigner (Silicon Valley’s Jian-Yang), the techy nerd (The Big Bang Theory’s Raj), or the ambitious Yappie (that one gay Asian guy in the Sex and The City movie).”

“OkCupid founder Christian Rudder wrote in his book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) that from 2009 to 2014, Asian men were considered the least desirable racial group for women in the US, according to company data.”

Li ponders Hayakawa’s hidden history as Hollywood’s very first “sex symbol” – who just so happens to be Asian.


After 9/11, We Wanted the Old NYC. Instead We Got The Strokes

Jesse Rifkin in Vice looks at the emergence of the seminal band The Strokes on the New York scene. “The Strokes, with their commitment to idealizing a gritty past the city was working overtime to shed, seemed poised to become, at best, another local cult act, like Cibo Matto, Blonde Redhead, and King Missile before them,” she argues.

“But 9/11 changed everything about New York City, including the fortunes of The Strokes. Suddenly, being “so New York it hurts” no longer only had niche appeal. Supporting the city became a national patriotic pastime at the precise moment when the collective trauma of 9/11 sent many in search of the soothing power of nostalgia. In an era otherwise dominated by California nu-metal and pop-punk, suddenly four greasy-haired New Yorkers (plus one Angeleno) in tight jeans and leather jackets were one of the biggest rock bands in the world, ushering a new renaissance for the city’s scene by LARPing its iconic past.”

Hedwig and the Angry Inch remains a testament to self-acceptance

Two decades after John Cameron Mitchell’s cult hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Gina Tonic looks back in retrospect at how the movie shaped her own life.

“At 24, I was past the point of caring about anything as much as I used to care about My Chemical Romance, but following a series of unfortunate mental health events, I was suckered into watching Hedwig’s rock performances over and over and over. My mantra became this: If Hedwig can get through a botched gender affirmation surgery, a stolen discography, repeated heartbreak since her childhood and being misunderstood by the masses, surely I can get through the lowest months of my life.”

Tonic also speaks to Miriam Shor (aka Yitzhak) about how the film nails the theme of self-acceptance.

MJ Rodriguez on Pose and making Emmy history: ‘I want to play anything: trans, cis, superhero, alien’

Ahead of the Emmys on Sunday, Chitra Ramaswamy chats to MJ Rodriguez about being the first trans performer to be nominated for leading actress for her groundbreaking role as Miss Blanca in the showstopping series Pose. But her nomination is not as straightforward as it seems: ““It’s crazy to think that just before Pose none of this was even a thought in anyone’s mind [… ] We had never been in these spaces, on those sets, in Hollywood. So it’s amazing, and honey, I’m living for it. But I do wish there was more of it so we didn’t have to constantly be the educators. Some of us just want to be the artists.’”

“’I want to be seen as a human being first. […] What comes after is my being African American, Latina, a trans woman. I just want people to see me as a performer. An actress. When you keep reading ‘She’s the first trans performer to do this, the first trans woman to be nominated for that’, I wonder how people start to perceive me. I would love it if my trans-ness was not always the leading cause of why I am celebrated. When people watch me singing on stage I don’t want them to be thinking about my trans-ness. I want them to be thinking ‘Who’s that girl up there? She’s turning it!’’”

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