Weekend Reads: Filipino Caretakers, Transnational Surrogacy, And Anita Hill
Our special guest this week is Deputy Culture Editor Karolina Waclawiak, talking about some of her favorite stories she’s read recently.
I would be remiss if I didn't include this week's bomb of a story, the Panama Papers. If I were purely a cynic, these papers would elicit no more than a shrug from me. After all, is it a surprise that the super wealthy hide their money? Don't pay their taxes? Have unfair advantages? Of course not. However, the papers have framed the reading week for me as I continue to think about the vast wealth inequalities not just in America, but in the world and what it means for us in terms of human empathy.
The pieces I recommend run the gamut when it comes to work and labor. In “The Cost of Caring,” Rachel Aviv looks at Filipino caretakers (nannies, elder care workers, housekeepers) who leave their own families overseas to come to America to work and end up caught between wanting to provide for their families and becoming more and more disconnected from them. She writes, "More than thirteen thousand Filipinos live in the blocks surrounding Roosevelt Avenue, under the tracks of the No. 7 subway line, which takes them to Times Square. The avenue has evolved to meet the needs of female migrants: there’s a shop specializing in uniforms for nannies, housekeepers, and home health aides, and several freight and remittance centers, where workers send their earnings and gifts to their families."
I love VQR and think they provide a really good mix of work in each of their issues. This issue features “The Surrogacy Cycle,” which takes a close look at the business of transnational surrogacy. Indian women put their health and lives on the line by acting as surrogates for couples who could not conceive. And while they were promised the kind of money that could change their lives, one has to wonder at what ethical and human cost. A long read, but well worth it.
In stark contrast to these stories, GQ looks at the business of celebrity club appearances in “Money for Nothing: The Lucrative World of Club Appearances.” The opening line says it all: “In a single night, Scott Disick — the runt of the Kardashian litter, the fuckup father of Kourtney’s three children — makes more money doing nothing than most Americans earn in an entire year.” And you can imagine where we go from there.
Also! Melissa Harris-Perry interviews Anita Hill (!) in Essence ahead of HBO's Anita Hill biopic coming out April 16th.