Feminists Who Love ‘the Bachelor,’ Cheap and Bad Drug Tests, and More: Today’s Recommended Reading

Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. Today, we’ve rounded up a researched piece on faulty and outdated drug tests that are still used today, an analysis of Margot Robbie’s Vanity Fair profile from pervert hell, a so-called nerd’s opinions on rightful representation for Marvel’s new character, and an important look into why some feminists love The Bachelor.


On ProPublica, co-published with the New York Times Magazine, Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders rounded up evidence to find that drug tests conducted by officers are done with $2 roadside drug tests, resulting in a series of unjust arrests. Through both a specific recounting of personal anecdotes and breaking down studies and factual evidence, the authors uncover the explicitly corrupt justice system that continues to fail its citizens. This piece is powerful, intricate, important, and bound to provoke some unrest.

Police offers arrest more than 1.2 million people a year in the United States on charges of illegal drug possession. Field tests like the one Officer Helms used in front of Amy Albritton help them move quickly from suspicion to conviction. But the kits — which cost about $2 each and have changed little since 1973 — are far from reliable.

The field tests seem simple, but a lot can go wrong. Some tests, including the one the Houston police officers used to analyze the crumb on the floor of Albritton’s car, use a single tube of a chemical called cobalt thiocyanate, which turns blue when it is exposed to cocaine. But cobalt thiocyanate also turns blue when it is exposed to more than 80 other compounds, including methadone, certain acne medications and several common household cleaners.


At Paper Magazine, Sandra Song covers the unsettling Margot Robbie cover story, which ran in the most recent Vanity Fair. Song comically and intelligently analyzes the language the interviewer uses to depict the young actress. Granted, author Rich Cohen doesn’t make it difficult to dig up some painfully vile verbiage that makes the piece sound like a well-worded premise for a porno.

A drooling, one-dimensional piece, it’s yet another example of the disappointing way coverage of female celebrities is typically handled. Because after reading, you’re left knowing that the only offered takeaway is that this woman is attractive, and also a woman, and attractive. And the author, longtime VF contributor Rich Cohen, follows this flimsy model for much of the profile, quoting Robbie a total of 16 times in an almost 4000 word piece — which pretty much leaves the reader wondering if Robbie is a person or a literal projection screen promoting a forthcoming summer blockbuster (in this case, Tarzan).


On Vulture, Abraham Reismann researches why “nerds” are speaking out against the newly announced black female Iron Man. Reismann goes into depth about both the history of Marvel characters as well as the history of its writers.

Even though creators expected a bit of backlash, it wasn’t quite expected to be from the black nerd community it was aiming to represent. Marvel fanatics and followers of color were quick to discover the company’s lack of not just female writers but writers of color working behind the scenes. Although the representation is appreciated and creating characters with face for more viewers to see themselves in is important, it is still essential to make sure the aim toward diversity is a complete one.

That pecuniary line of criticism led to the second, more startling realization: Not only was this black female not being written by a black female, Marvel has no black female writers. Indeed, experts struggled to name a single black woman to have ever written a Marvel comic during the company’s 77-year history. “Still can’t think of a Sister who ever wrote for Marvel,” tweeted columnist Joseph P. Illidge. “Q for the superhero comics historians: has a black woman ever written an ongoing series for Marvel?”tweeted podcaster Al Kennedy, and when no one could come up with one, he followed up by saying, “Jeez. Feel like an prime idiot for not picking up on this before now. Easy to be in a cocoon as a white dude.”


At Vogue, Michelle Ruiz discusses why some feminists are obsessed with The Bachelor, further extending the definition of feminism while reminding readers that the definition is broad to begin with. Namedropping self-proclaimed feminists, including Amy Schumer and Emma Roberts, who are also self-proclaimed viewers, goes to show how acceptable it is and should be to indulge in and simultaneously analyze the quintessential-quest-for-love television show. It may sometimes be a love hate relationship but it’s a good one.

Why do feminist Bachelor/Bachelorette devotees love it? For all of the reasons we shouldn’t. Beneath the avalanche of rose petals, many see a bizarro societal case study. “The Bachelor is something that we can sink our teeth into as engaged feminists,” says Emma Gray, the executive women’s editor of the Huffington Post and cohost of theBachelor/Bachelorette podcast “Here to Make Friends.” “It taps into all of these really base and often regressive ideas our society has about how love and sex and courtship should look. That makes it really ripe territory to analyze from a sociological perspective.”