“Five for Your Eyes” is a new series of posts where I share five features that I found to be interesting or worth reading. I read a lot of books, but I also love reading long-form pieces in publications like the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the New Yorker, looking into slices of the world I was previously unaware of, or have held interests in. I hope some of these articles will interest you as well!
☆ Dying To Be Apart | Siamese Twins Documentary (Only Human)
In 2003 the world held its breath as two remarkable twins, conjoined at the head since birth, went through a pioneering surgical separation. Ladan and Laleh Bijani didn’t survive the procedure, but Dying to Be Apart talks exclusively to the key players in the remarkable drama that ended in their tragic deaths.
☆ Why Being A Parent Can Widen The Gender Pay Gap To 20% (The Huffington Post)
Having children sharply increases the pay gap between men and women, and this “motherhood penalty” has long-term consequences for a woman’s earning potential and a man’s ability to spend time with his family, a study suggests.
Working mothers earn nearly 20 percent less than working fathers 10 years after their first child was born, according to the report by think-tank the Social Market Foundation (SMF). The researchers suggest fathers should be supported and encouraged to work flexibly to reduce the impact that having children has on women’s careers and to improve their own life satisfaction.
Nicole Gicheva, SMF researcher, said: “There is a common idea that it makes sense for women to work part-time while fathers remain full-time because men earn more. But wage rates before children are not so different and it is actually the choices that parents feel they have to make about their working patterns after having children that can increase variations in pay rates.
“The consequences of those choices can disadvantage both women and men. Women miss out on work and pay, men miss out on time with their children. A better balance of work between the sexes could benefit everyone.”
☆ Disabled People Say They, Too, Want a Sex Life, and Seek Help in Attaining It (The New York Times)
In her sexual fantasies, she is a fit and impetuous blonde who dominates her male partners. In real life, she is a virgin who relies on an electric wheelchair, her body touched only by home care aides and medical personnel.
“A disabled person is seen as a child,” said the woman in the wheelchair, Laetitia Rebord, 31. “So inevitably, child and sex don’t go together.” A translator and teacher, she has a genetic spinal muscular atrophy that has left her entirely paralyzed, except for her left thumb and her facial muscles.
Ms. Rebord, who says she feels physical sensation acutely, has looked for sexual relationships through friends of friends and men on dating sites and even with male escorts. But her disability has scared many away, and she says she is now ready to pay for sex in Switzerland or Germany, where so-called sexual surrogates are legal.
Stories like Ms. Rebord’s are far from unusual in France, where behind a facade of sexual freedom, disabled people struggle to have a sex life. But their desires are often disregarded, and while prostitution is legal here, soliciting potential clients and serving as an intermediary between prostitutes and clients are not.
☆ LaDonna (This American Life)
Podcast: A security guard at the airport notices something going wrong on the tarmac, and takes it upon herself to fix it. It’s way harder than she expects.
Known as hikikomori, the phenomenon of social withdrawal has become increasingly commonplace in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese shut themselves away, spending months and sometimes years in isolation. The social recluses don’t study or go to work. They retreat into their rooms, rarely venturing out to get food in a convenience store and to communicate with immediate family.
One of them is Ito. He spends time listening to music, playing video games and surfing the internet. But he has neither the power nor desire to leave his bedroom, where he has voluntarily locked himself. Unlike his younger brother, Ito was regularly yelled at and hit as a child. His parents, he says, only wanted him to be successful in life.
Hikikomori often strikes families, where the fathers spend day and night at work, while the mothers focus entirely on their offspring, particularly the eldest sons. Smothering mothers, bullying at school, social pressure and expectations are among the reasons that push some Japanese into self-imposed confinement. RTD travels to Japan to hear the stories of Ito and others, who ended up trapped inside their bedrooms.
We question why the epidemic of hikikomori has gripped modern Japan, and what drives the people into seclusion and how some of them eventually decide to get out. From personal stories of hikikomoris and their relatives, and from those who reach out to them, RTD offers an intimate portrait of Japan’s modern hermits.
Five for Your Eyes – 006
So that was the sixth installment of “Five for Your Eyes“! I hope at least one of the articles intrigued you! Let me know what you think, or anything you thought was interesting!
If you have a recommendation for an article, please share them with me!