Tagged with caitlin abber

My Gross Life: Let’s all start being honest on Instagram

By Caitlin Abber

This post originally ran on HelloGiggles.

As someone who works in social media, I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook, and therefore am constantly being reminded about what other people are doing, eating, feeling, celebrating, hating, and loving at any given moment. Escaping the noise of other people’s need to announce their existence in every format possible has proved to be a weird challenge for me. Most days I oscillate between giving up on the Internet entirely, and wanting to be a loud member of the conversation alongside everyone else.

In the xoJane post, “The Competition Is Killing Us: When Social Media Makes You Feel Like Crap”, editor Lesley Kinzel confesses what I think a lot of us experience as we are constantly bombarded with updates about other people’s lives. From jealousy, to sadness, self-doubt and even anger, often knowing even the most inane information about someone else can make us feel bad about ourselves in comparison. Engagement announcements, houses bought, jobs acquired, weight lost – simply logging into Facebook can be a trigger for all the goals or aspirations we have not yet met. But let’s remember, “yet” is the operative word in that sentence, because the truth is, much like “reality” shows, the online content everyone shares online is a choice, and a highly curated one at that.

“What we forget is that social media is not an all-seeing eye.” Writes Kinzel, “We choose the things that we share. Indeed, this is partly why social media is so seductive — it gives us the opportunity not only to aspire to the perfected ideals others promote, but it also enables us to craft our own faux personas, to portray our own lives with an intoxicating degree of control.”

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Cait on Culture: I am not a fan girl … but I sort of wish I was

Cait on Culture: Comic-Con

By Caitlin Abber

My Twitter feed is blowing up with everything Comic-Con this week. Photos of celebrities dressed up as cartoon characters, Elijah Wood shaking hands with tall hobbits, and a bunch of actors I don’t know sitting on stage looking really happy. It seems like a fun party, but one I would inevitably feel uncomfortable at. I don’t think I’d have much to say to anyone there, because, well, I am just not a fan girl.

I say I am culture obsessed, and I am not going to refute that claim – but perhaps it needs some clarification. My interests are varied, but often I only skim the surface. I have never called myself a nerd, a geek, or a ninja. I can’t watch TV for more than three hours without feeling like a useless lump. I don’t have a favorite comic book character, or actor, or book series. The most intense fan-girlish thing I’ve done is hang a screen print of Beyonce over my dresser – solely for daily inspiration purposes, and because she is so pretty.

People who get obsessed with things – especially in the fantasy/sci-fi realm — fascinate me.

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Cait on Culture: The Culture of Home

By Caitlin Abber

This past weekend my partner and I drove from our Brooklyn apartment to my parent’s house, about thirty minutes outside of Boston. This is a trip we take every few months, as my sister had a baby last September and I just can’t get enough of his sweet face. On occasion we will also stop around New Haven, where my partner’s family lives, and have dinner or a brief visit with them as well, if time permits. Then it is back in the car, checking the traffic updates and waiting until we see that pretty New York skyline.

I’ve wrestled a lot with the distance between where I choose to live and where my immediate family resides. For a while I lived in San Francisco, and at one point I did not see them for an entire year. Not too much had changed in those twelve months, but I can recall times when I had wished I was closer to my parents so I could help them move from one condo to another, or I longed to have seen my mom when I was going through breakups or feeling particularly lonely. Wanderlust is in my blood, but I hate that it so often takes me away from those who gave me life.

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Cait on Culture: The Culture of Hustle

By Caitlin Abber

I have been working in the tech start-up and digital advertising agency worlds for the past six years. These two worlds overlap in a few places—namely social media and the uncertainty of being able to pay their staff in six months. But there is another area where I have seen a commonality so real it has grown from a stereotype to an expectation: the notion that working, all the time—as in 24 hours a day, Christmas Eve and at your kid’s dance recital—is not only normal, but encouraged.

I wrestle with this a lot when I work with the CEOs of these companies. I want so badly for them to slow down, to take a week off to go hiking, and to chill out so they aren’t so testy with their employees, but I know that is not the culture of the industry. Hustle, as a point of strength and character, is often the way these guys (and yes, they are mostly men) prove they really care about and believe in what they are doing.

In Tim Kreider’s New York Times piece, “The ‘Busy’ Trap”, he talks about how this emotional need to constantly work to fill time may just be a cover-up because we are scared of what happens when we don’t have work. “They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”

I think, for a lot of people, what we fear more than anything is failure, and especially in the tech world, the worst way to fail is by not working hard enough. Even if their company is not doing well, if a CEO is at the office until two in the morning, sitting at their desk looking stressed out, they feel they have done everything they can.

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Cait on Culture: Take me to the movies

By Caitlin Abber

In my very first column, I was complaining about how all the good shows were on the same night. “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “Girls”—Sunday had become an overwhelming evening! But now all of those goodies have ended for the season, and I am left with a Sunday night as quiet as a sleeping kitten.

I don’t mind this necessarily, but I do miss my standard Sunday ritual of making a big dinner, having a couple friends over, and staring at the TV for almost four hours. So I’ve decided that this summer, I am going to carry on the tradition by catching up on all the movies I’ve never seen but should have. Since, you know, I am really into culture and all.

Last week, with much influence from my boyfriend, I settled into the first disc of “The Lord of The Rings” (the extended version, duh). I somehow avoided these Hobbit tales my entire life (I never even read the books!) so I had no idea what to expect. I thought they were all going to be woodsy tales of tomfoolery, but I was wrong. They are super intense! Don’t tempt me Frodo!

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Cait on Culture: I Was An Extra On ‘Girls’

I was an extra on "Girls"By Caitlin Abber

Last week I was called in to be an extra on HBO’s “Girls”. I had applied for a casting call a few weeks prior, and figured since I live in Greenpoint (the neighborhood most of the show is filmed in), and look like their target demographic, as well as a complete composite of what the casting call was asking for, I was a shoe-in.

It was weird to be told, “You will be playing a hipster at a nightclub”, as if I could put on some costume and parody myself. Trying to decide what a parody of myself would wear out on a Saturday night was even stranger. I ended up putting four outfits together and sending photos to my girlfriends for second, third, fourth and maybe fifth opinions. This is not how I usually roll on a night out, but I guess on most night’s out I don’t end up on a popular cable television show.

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Cait on Culture: A note on inspiration

By Caitlin Abber

Last week I attended an event in Brooklyn hosted by the group Her Girl Friday. The event was titled Throw Like a Girl: Pitching The Hell Out Of Your Stories, and featured a panel of esteemed writers and editors from publications like The New York Times and The Atavist. The event focused on the gender disparity in bylines and published editorial, and how female journalists can work to bridge that gap. It was pretty fascinating stuff, but what I found truly interesting was the hundreds of other women packed into the room with me, grasping for a little bit of advice.

Even though I’ve considered myself a writer for my entire life, I have spent the majority of my twenties trying my hand at other (more lucrative) professional pursuits. Writing full-time has never really been a financial option for me (though I admire those who have the dedication to commit to it), so I have worked as a receptionist, a marketing manager, a PR consultant, and a social media maverick. I did what I thought was the responsible thing to do and got an M.A. in Media Studies and Management, as opposed to an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. I put a dream on hold in order to pay some bills, but I never fully deferred it.

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Cait on Culture: What’s your summer jam?

By Caitlin Abber

The summer jam is as crucial to summer as BBQs, wedges, and blockbusters. Summer jams of the past have included Nelly’s “Hot in Herre,” Third Eye Blind’s “Semi Charmed Kind of Life,” and LFO’s “Summer Girls.” If any of those songs come on at a backyard soiree or a day in the beach, the crowd is likely to be transported back in time to a year when Abercrombie and Fitch was a relevant cultural reference. And isn’t that the point of the summer jam? To bring us to a magical happy place, where we are younger, tanner, and having more fun than we actually are?

To that end, I put together a list of 5 songs I think are in the running to be the Summer Jam of 2012.

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Cait on Culture: Dear Graduating Kates, A Note On Advice

By Caitlin Abber

I am sure I am not the first person to congratulate you on finishing up whatever degree or program you were working on, but let me extend my cheers to you anyway. Whatever you did, be it a four year B.A. in pottery or your entire 20s in law school – you deserve to feel awesome for the mere fact that you completed something. So many things in life will begin with enthusiasm and then dwindle out or end with a halt and later we will wonder where they ever went. Trust me, the feeling of finishing something is felt far too rarely, except when it comes to delicious meals and seasons of “The Wire.”

Along with congrats, you’ve likely also received a plethora of advice. People have told you things like, “be bold,” “follow your heart,” “try new things,” and “say thank you” – and all of that is true and good and yes, things you should do. But it is also what we already morally know to be the ‘right’ way to act in the ‘real’ world. No one ever says, “Hide in your room all day. Speak to no one unless you are yelling at the delivery person. Always eat the same pad thai.” I mean, even if that is what your heart wants, no commencement speaker is going to tell you it’s a good idea.

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Cait on Culture: The 5 Things Every Kate Must Do This Summer

By Caitlin Abber

We received a little taste of summer this weekend in NYC. The sun was shining, the heat was on, and everyone was out and about in their little short shorts and tank tops. It got me thinking about my  summer to-do list. From beaches to museums to, of course, all the outdoor drinking opportunities, summer is easily my favorite season, and I take making the most of it very seriously. With that in mind,
this week I put together a list of The 5  Things Every Kate Must Do This Summer to get you thinking about the more important things in life, like margaritas and shoes without socks.

1. Lawn/Roof Party
Depending on where you live, this could also be a backyard BBQ, a mixer with a killer view, or a party on the beach. Either way, find yourself somewhere outside with a cooler full of beer or a pitcher of sangria and lots of cute strangers. Wear something flowy or revealing, and stay way after the sun goes down. You know to bring sunscreen and bug spray, but don’t forget your list of hot topics, complete current TV and summer blockbuster knowledge. These types of parties thrive on conversation (and, well, bare legs).

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Cait on Culture: The Beyonce Manifesto

The Beyonce ManifestoBy Caitlin Abber

I was completely unsurprised when I found out Beyonce had been named People Magazine’s 2012 Most Beautiful Person of The Year. As someone who studies pop culture and spends most of her time in front of a computer, I tend choose my favorite icons and idols early on, and Beyonce has always been at the top of the list. She is my most beautiful woman every year! Her poise, her talent, her choices – they are all aspirational in nature, a sort of to-do list for any woman who wants to be at the top of her game and have an awesome Tumblr to show for it.

But its more than that. In all of my years of loving Bey, I have used her music to define and finely tune certain areas of my life. Knowing that her lyrics come from a very real place, and that she truly believes in me as an independent woman, has only strengthened my one-sided bond with the world’s biggest entertainer.

Beyonce is a way of life.

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Cait on Culture: All Adventurous Women Do…

By Caitlin Abber

On Sunday night’s “Girls,” the main character, Hannah, was faced with the news no woman wants to hear—that she has acquired an STI. As she wrestles with the source of the problem (like, who gave it to her), and what it means for future partners, she seeks advice and comfort from her friends. One friend in particular, the precocious but virginal Shoshanna, tells Hannah that she shouldn’t worry about it so much, because you know what? All Adventurous Women Do (have an STI).

This particular line got me thinking about a lot of prominent female characters in books, television, and even real life, and the similarities they have in regards to the experiences they must go through in order to be considered “adventurous.” A couple marriages, a DUI, a bad tattoo, telling their boss to shove it, even a sex tape—none of these are terribly shocking as they now represent a frequent coming of age tale for many young women. Things that used to be considered taboo—like Peggy of “Mad Men” moving in with her boyfriend before marriage, are now pretty standard for the modern girl. That isn’t to say that these experiences are universal—not all of us are cut out for or interested in racking up exes or body art, but we recognize them for what they are the minute we see them. “Oh,” we say, as we look at the cover of People Magazine or US Weekly, “She is going through her wild phase.”
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