THE RAG | WORK

The more marginalized identities you hold, the less Insta-worthy it tends to be

Laptop on brick wall with view of ocean and town behind it.
Laptop on brick wall with view of ocean and town behind it.
Photo by Nomadic Julien on Unsplash

One pandemic silver lining has definitely been the transition to more flexible working arrangements, something women have basically been asking for since they entered the workforce. Bosses are trusting their team members to get shit done outside the office and normal working hours.

With many countries opening borders and offering special visas to remote workers, it may actually be possible to live that #digitalnomadlife and clock in from overseas. I mean, who wouldn’t want to conduct Zoom meetings with an ocean sunset at their back and an umbrella cocktail in hand?

As a Black lady freelancer based in Istanbul, Turkey…


The Rag | Living

Taking a break made social media fun again

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

I’m not real cute social media. I’m inconsistent on Insta and I might never make a TikTok video. My hashtag game is lackluster. Unlike other media workers that I follow, I don’t have a knack for those effortlessly cool tweets that are somehow equal parts office in-joke and the most globally relevant thing I’ve read all day.

But it’s Facebook that’s the real challenge for me—especially freelancer groups. I forget that folks don’t actually know me or when I’m being sarcastic. I always hit the wrong note when I post anything emotional or venting. I inadvertently alienate people. …


The Rag | Tech

Ponies, Shibus, and CryptoKitties—oh my!

Cartoon CryptoKitty with daemonwings.
Cartoon CryptoKitty with daemonwings.
Daemonwings are a unique CryptoKitty trait. Image by CryptoKitties

I’ll admit to being a bit turned off by NFTs when I first started reading about them earlier this year. First, the word “fungible” is gross. So is someone paying bazillions so they can say they owned a stupid tweet, IMHO.

After the initial vicarious sticker shock wore off, I reflected on how NFTs aren’t really about NFTs just like cryptocurrency is about so much more than money. The idea of registering provenance and ownership of anything in a decentralized blockchain is a revolutionary one.

Maybe NFTs are just a fun way (mainly, for rich people) to explore possibilities and…


The Rag | Style

Generational trends often marginalize people of color

Person with laptop taking selfie.
Person with laptop taking selfie.
Different generation, same influencer culture? Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about the Gen Z and millennial wars that kicked off in February when Gen Z canceled our skinny jeans and side parts. Initially, I thought my persistent annoyance came from being an Old who just can’t let things go, a distinct possibility given that my anxiety often presents as rumination. But then I remembered that I also felt alienated from all the millennial in-grouping of the aughts and 2010s.

In America at least, we overwhelmingly defined millennialness in terms of what young, white, and privileged people were doing, or saying they were doing…


The Rag | Living

Here’s what I consumed this week

Cat on sidewalk with people behind him.
Cat on sidewalk with people behind him.
“Wait, why are there so many humans out during lockdown?” asked Istanbul cats this week. Photo by Emre on Unsplash

Things are… interesting here in Istanbul, where lockdown is starting to feel like its own superspreader event. First, there was the mass exodus from cities to rural areas before lockdown started. Those who stayed flocked to stores to stock up on food and alcohol, sales of which are banned during this lockdown.

Now, on my social media, folks all over the city are talking about seeing people chilling at parks, riding bikes, and crowding pharmacies and grocery stores. In a city with a centuries-old tradition of delivery infrastructure, it’s hard to make a compelling case for the necessity of going…


The Rag | Pop Culture

Accountability is important but so is decentering whiteness

Black person with green locs seated outside on chair, possibly wondering why white people are still trying to do this hair this way and get away with it.
Black person with green locs seated outside on chair, possibly wondering why white people are still trying to do this hair this way and get away with it.
“Laaaaaaawd, why won’t white folks just stop with this nonsense?” asked Black people this week about Justin Biber’s hair. Photo by Kory Williams on Unsplash.

Justin Bieber’s new dreadlock hairstyle went viral amid allegations of cultural appropriation this week. This isn’t the first time he fell into some peak whiteness and, Lord knows, it probably will not be the last.

Let me spell it out ICYMI (and clearly many people have): a lot of Black and brown folks find it offensive when white people loc their hair because a) it is a style deeply rooted in our culture and b) we are still castigated for wearing the style at work, at school, and on the red carpet.

Historically, I have not been vocal about hair-related…


The Rag | Living

Feline inspired self-care for sheltering in place

Two cats on a red chair
Two cats on a red chair
That’s Lily (left) and Minik (right) last year when they were tween-age.

As vaccine-privileged folks are blowing up Instagram with maskless party pics and vacation photos, people in many parts of the world, including Turkey, where I live, are retreating back into lockdown.

Despite my natural extroversion and frequent pre-pandemic travel, I’ve been OK in lockdown. Living and working overseas, I was already used to using platforms like WhatsApp and Zoom to connect with family and friends and to work remotely.

WhatsApp even presented a lockdown silver lining this year: through a WOC group, I’ve connected with women who live far enough away from me in Istanbul that I never would have…


The Rag | Living

So much gluten, so much sci-fi

Person in cape with back to viewer, facing snowy yard and wooden house with windmills behind it.
Person in cape with back to viewer, facing snowy yard and wooden house with windmills behind it.
Photo by Syfy.

Last week, I returned to Istanbul from a trip to the Republic of Georgia, a border run of sorts that turned out to be one of the least relaxing trips ever. I self-soothed with grains and a heavy dose of sci-fi.

I succumbed to the demon of gluten

Oh boy, did I fall off the no-grains wagon this past week. Now, I don’t really believe in all that lectin-leaky-gut-inflammation nonsense. I also don’t believe that grains impart a wild amount of nutritional value, compared with alternatives like quinoa or buckwheat. Take that food pyramid, I mean MyPlate!

I do believe that the forms in which I typically…


The Rag | Living

Lenten tacos, Black TikTok, and a side of conspiracy

Close up of fishing nets
Close up of fishing nets
Fishing gear accounts for almost half of the plastic in the ocean, according to the Netflix documentary ‘Seaspiracy.’ Photo by Kristin Snippe on Unsplash

When I was planning The Rag, I decided I wanted to have a weekly roundup of interesting recommendations, sort of à la “At Home” by The New York Times. Ideally, this would happen on a weekend but, well, it’s Wednesday and I’m doin’ it, soooo… I’ve been reading the The Gilded Ones, a West African-inspired YA fantasy by Namina Forna. (I hope the pace picks up.) I’ve been knitting up gauge swatches and scrolling through Ravelry in search of sweater patterns that will work with this local yarn. I watched all 12 episodes of “I May Destroy You” and wished…


The Rag | Pop Culture

And a couple of things I liked

Photograph by Natalie Seery/HBO

Content warning: This article discusses “I May Destroy You,” a BBC x HBO series that explicitly deals with rape, sexual assault, drug use, and trauma. There are also spoilers!

This week I watched “I May Destroy You,” the critically acclaimed tour de force by Black British auteur, Michaela Coel. The 12-part series, which is billed (mistakenly, IMHO) as a “consent drama,” was this month’s selection for my intersectional women’s group film discussion. I foolishly waited until mere days before the event to watch the series in its entirety. …

Ruth Terry

American freelancer in Istanbul writing about culture, mental health, race & travel. Bylines everywhere from Al Jazeera to Zora. Tw: @Ruth_Terry | IG: @ruth.ist

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