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Lacking a Laundry Room?? The Ultimate At-Home Hand Washing Laundry Guide

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photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: how we designed a family-friendly laundry room in the portland project

LAUNDRY, GUYS. It’s all I can think about. Riddle me this: how is it possible to wear the same few pieces every day and STILL amass piles of things to be washed? Did I break a time-space barrier? Is this physics? Did my spring cleaning unlock a black hole of clothing that’s been sitting, un-laundered, for millennia? Is this what you talk about in science class?

Like a lot of apartment dwellers, laundry day is a whole THING for me. I wasn’t #blessed with an in-unit (or even in-building) washer or dryer, so once a week, I load up a sack and haul my clothes, towels, sheets, and other unmentionables down the block to the laundromat. It’s the only place in the world where I can simultaneously turn my life savings into quarters and spend 2 hours testing the structural limits of the 10-load washer. Honestly, I don’t miss it much.

But now, since I’m trying to avoid any unnecessary schlepping, I figured HEY, what better time to finally figure out how to do laundry — and do it WELL — at home? I wasn’t sure where to start, but guys, after some trial and error I FIGURED IT OUT and I may never go back.

So if you’re like me, overwhelmed by an overflowing laundry basket, or if you’re a parent just trying to make it through the now-daily loads (“we’re going out LESS, how are you wearing MORE?”) here are some tried-and-true tips on getting everything clean from the comfort of your own home. (I promise if you are one of the people #blessed with an in-home laundry situation, there are still some tips for you too. And if you have any advice or if you’re just drowning in cups of detergent and want to commiserate let’s dish down below.)

Alright, let’s get started. Manual laborers are up first. 

Hand Washing

Castile Soap or Laundry Bar | Plunger or Laundry Wand | Tub or Trash Can

Yep, all you need are those three things. But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the plunger. From personal experience, I promise that it makes this process so much easier. But first, let’s talk a little more in-depth about all of the tools:

  • Detergent: Because, duh. And some good news — your regular liquid detergent will work just fine for almost everything (be careful with your delicates since normal detergent can easily break down their fibers — I recommend this laundry bar for those)! If you’re nervous about touching detergent, a friend swears by this Dr. Bronner’s, but any liquid Castile soap will clean you AND your clothes safely.
  • A bathtub, a sink, or a container: I used my tub, but you can also make this work with a large plastic storage box, a bucket, or a (clean) garbage can. 
  • The plunger: I learned from trial and error that this is really a lot easier if you have what I now know is referred to as “an agitator.” Details below.
  • Bonus items: Vinegar, tea tree oil, spot treatments, or specialty detergent for delicates like this crowd favorite are great additions for “those extra attention jobs.”

EASY PEASY. You probably have most of these things in your home, and if not, they’re super affordable. (Cheaper than all the quarters I haul around the laundromat every week, at least.) I was able to safely pick up liquid detergent and a new plunger at my local Walgreens. If you want to get really fancy, you can buy something like this instead of a regular plunger, but come on…look at it. It’s basically the same thing.


  1. Place the plunger: Plop that plunger right into the middle of your tub and make sure it’s sealed tight to the surface. 
  2. Add in clothes: Place anything you’re ready to launder in the tub. Some people choose to run the water first, but I found that you can waste less water by just dumping your laundry basket in first.
  3. Pour in your detergent: You can use the same amount as you would normally — and fill with water till everything is submerged. Using cold or lukewarm water is fine as you’re about to let your clothes soak in this for a bit to loosen up the dirt.  
  4. Let them soak: You know how sometimes you’re just not in the mood to do dishes, so you just let them soak? That’s ACTUALLY relevant here. Take a break and do something else — you can let them rest for as few as 10 minutes and for as long as 2 hours, depending on soiling — and then come back for your workout. 
  5. Put the plunger to work: “Finally, it’s plunger time,” said no one ever…until today. You know how your washing machine tosses your clothes around? Start pushing on your plunger and it will agitate the water in your tub in the same way. Sure you can avoid the plunger and just swish everything around with your hands, but here’s the truth, I tried that and it made me miserable. Larger items are heavy when they’re soaked, I have a bad back, and I’m not particularly interested in leaning over a tub and getting water all over myself and the floor. Just plunge it. Channel your inner colonial woman churning butter and go to town for 5-10 minutes. (You know yourself and how dirty your clothes are. If they’re lightly soiled, you can just swirl them around. If they’re gross, throw in a teaspoon of tea tree oil (natural way to prevent fungal and bacterial infections), then pop on a podcast and try to make it 10 minutes with plunging. Feel the bicep burn. I believe in you!)
  6. Time to scrub: Once you’re done, you can hand-scrub any extra dirty or stained areas with a bit of soap. Hit those hot spots real quick!
  7. Drain the water: If you’re using a tub, drain it. If you’re using a plastic storage bin or trash can, you can dump the excess water down the shower drain.  
  8. Rinse it all out: Now, onto the easiest part: rinsing. Pick your preferred water temperature and location (the tub? A shower? The sink? A hose outside? The world isn’t your oyster at the moment, but the water sources in your home sure are!) so go to town. You’ll actually be able to feel when the items are detergent- or soap-free (who knew?!). 
  9. The end: YOU’VE DONE IT YOURSELF. Your clothes are clean. Congratulations! It’s time for phase 2.
Hot Tip

If you choose to use something skin-safe like Castille soap, you can replace a plunger or agitator with your children's (clean) stomping feet. They'll have fun stepping on clothes in the tub and shockingly, they'll get them cleaner, faster. A win-win!

Air Drying

photo by tessa neustadt |from: how our new laundry room came together

Okay. All your clothes are SPARKLING. But that’s because they’re still soaked — you’re just looking at water droplets, you silly goose. You’re going to need to wring everything out, which is admittedly the least fun part of the process. Wringing out underwear? Easy. Wringing out sweatpants? Not my favorite hobby. You can skip this, but everything will take WAY longer to dry.

Once you’re finished with the wringing, you can finally start hanging your laundry out to dry (or laying it out flat, if it’s something like a sweater). I sped up the process a bit by rolling my heaviest pieces in a clean towel, which absorbed some extra water before putting them out on a drying rack. (Where’s the Shamwow when I need it? Do you remember those commercials, too?)

Another confession: I’m a recent drying rack convert. The first time I tried washing laundry at home, I just laid things out over my shower rod (effective), over chairs (kind of effective) and over open doors (not effective AND not recommended). Drying racks store almost flat and promote airflow. Just invest in one — even a cheap one, like I did — and save yourself the headache. I’m lazy and I’m telling you that it’s worth it, so you know that means something. Jess, who is a hardcore air dryer (like 80% of her wardrobe), also very much agrees and loves hers.

Now, if you’re in a pinch — like, for example, if you opened your underwear drawer and saw that you only had your FANCY and uncomfortable underwear left, and you really wanna speed up the drying process of your newly-cleaned comfy pair — you can hit your lighter-weight items with a blow dryer. T-shirts, tanks, and undergarments are fair game. I know it sounds nuts but I have done it and it works. For anything else, set up your drying rack near a fan or heater to promote air circulation.

And if you’re washing sheets (guilty as charged), it’s worth looking into something like a hotel-style clothesline. I “installed” (read: somehow got it to stay up) something similar on my balcony, but that one’s only $15 bucks and seems like it’d save a lot of hassle. (If anyone has any additional tips on hanging sheets for those of us without outdoor drying spaces, I’d love to hear them!) Here are some of our favorite current indoor options:

1. Real Simple Adjustable Drying Rack | 2. Bamboo Wooden Clothes Rack | 3. Gold Retractable Clothesline | 4. Trenton Laundry Drying Rack | 5. Wall Mounted Unfinished Drying Rack | 6. Folding Drying Rack | 7. Silver Retractable Clothesline | 8.  Folding Sweater Drying Rack | 9. Hanging Laundry Drying Rack

And Some Hacks for Everyone (YAY)

photo by tessa neustadt |from: laundry closet makeover

You didn’t think I’d leave my in-home washer/dryer owners out of this, did you? Let’s close strong with a few pro tips to get the most out of laundry day, whether you’re rockin’ it by hand or running loads through a machine.

  • Vinegar: A half-cup of distilled white vinegar can boost softness AND brightness while destroying lingering odors. (Perfect for things like sheets or workout apparel!)
  • Chalk: Chalk can absorb grease stains. Just regular old .79 cent chalk, you guys. It’s super-absorbent, so grab some to keep on hand for kitchen spills (or if you’re just a messy eater, like me).
  • Shaving Cream: If you’re out of stain remover, try blotting some shaving cream on the affected area instead. (Transparently, I didn’t think this would work…until it did.)
  • Baby Shampoo: Baby shampoo can help remove sweat stains. Let it soak in for a half-hour before washing. I don’t know WHY this works — or who figured it out — but it can help extend the life of those white shirts. Pit stains be gone!
  • Shoe Drying Hack: If you need to throw shoes in the dryer but HATE the banging sound they make, shut the laces in the door — they’ll stay stationary AND get dry. (I learned this from experience because I’m a disgusting person who wears my Nike Flyknits barefoot, so I gotta wash them.)
  • Laundry Balls: This is a personal suggestion and not a hack, but I got these laundry balls from Food 52 a few months ago and I LOVE THEM. If you’re lucky enough to have a dryer, these made my towels SO FLUFFY, made the drying process faster (they actually saved me money, y’all), and I dabbed some beautifully scented essential oil on them to replace dryer sheets altogether. They’re incredible and the earth will thank you.

As it turns out though, I’m not alone: Em actually said that she’s also now racking up piles of laundry at unprecedented rates (HOW? Oh right, kids). Anyway, she was thinking that getting a pretty basket (instead of her plastic one) sounded like a easy way to make her wash and fold process a little more enjoyable. Em’s aware that sounds kinda crazy (especially now) but hey, we are a design people working for a design blog. It’s these little things that make us happy 🙂 I mean, if not here, where?! Let’s introduce our favorites if you’re also in the market…

1. Cotton Twill Laundry Bag | 2. Medium Mobile Canvas Bin | 3, Slim Rolling Hamper with Wheels | 4. Grey Laundry Basket Set | 5. X-Frame Collapsible Double Hamper| 6. Round Weave Laundry Baskets | 7. Seagrass Hamper | 8. Snap & Separate Laundry Bags | 9. Pom Pom Canvas Hamper| 10. Tosca Laundry Baskets | 11. White Ash Baskets | 12. Foldable Laundry Basket

I think that’s it for me today. Do y’all have any other tips or hacks to share? Do you have a laundry system that you LOVE, or are you still figuring it out? Do you want to talk about how you’re super lucky to live really close to a laundromat, but that it’s also kind of a curse in that now you have to carry 40 pounds of laundry for a block instead of driving it to somewhere further away? (Spoiler alert: that’s what I want to talk about.) LET’S CHAT.

The post Lacking a Laundry Room?? The Ultimate At-Home Hand Washing Laundry Guide appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign, leaving Joe Biden to face Trump. Here’s what that means for LGBT+ people

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Former vice president Joe Biden is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, after Bernie Sanders announced his exit from the race.

The independent Vermont senator suspended his campaign on Wednesday after falling significantly behind Biden in the Democratic primaries..

His exit from the race clears the path for Biden, who served as vice president from 2008 to 2016, to take on Donald Trump in November.

What has Joe Biden promised to do for LGBT+ rights?

Like many of the Democratic candidates in the race, Biden has detailed an extensive platform of policies for the LGBT+ community.

In the platform, Biden has pledged to use his executive power to “immediately reverse the discriminatory actions” of the Trump-Pence administration as he takes office, putting non-discrimination rules protecting LGBT+ people back into force, closing carved-out ‘religious freedom’ loopholes, and ending the ban on transgender people in the armed forces.

He has also pledged to make the Equality Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination against LGBT+ people across all 50 states, a “top legislative priority” during his first 100 days in office.

Biden has also pledged to boost gender recognition so that “every transgender or non-binary person [can] have the option of changing their gender marker to ‘M,’ ‘F,’ or ‘X’ on government identifications, passports, and other documentation”.

The presumptive Democratic nominee has also vowed to boost the enforcement of hate crime laws, and “direct federal resources to help prevent violence against transgender women, particularly transgender women of colour”.

Democratic presidential hopeful former US Vice President Joe Biden
Democratic presidential hopeful former US Vice President Joe Biden (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

He has also pledged to work towards a ban on conversion therapy, and to use US foreign policy to “advance protections for LGBT+ people, fight for decriminalisation of LGBT+ identities and relationships, and respond swiftly and meaningfully to threats to LGBT+ rights or safety globally” around the world.

Biden has personally addressed LGBT+ issues in many of his speeches on the campaign trail – in contrast to Donald Trump, who has never published an LGBT+ policy plan and appears unaware of even minor changes on LGBT+ issues during his term in office.

What is Joe Biden’s record on LGBT+ rights?

Serving as Barack Obama’s vice president between 2008 and 2016, Biden earned a reputation as a solid supporter of LGBT+ rights, advocating for equal rights both in the US and around the world.

Biden was credited with forcing Barack Obama’s hand on same-sex marriage in 2012, by backing equality in a TV interview while the president was still officially ‘evolving’ on the issue.

In 2014, Biden also backed an executive order banning anti-LGBT+ workplace discrimination, before the president had responded to calls for action.

The vice president later made history when he carried out the first same-sex wedding at his official residence at the US Naval Observatory – an act that, naturally, has not been repeated under Mike Pence.

At the end of his term as vice president, Biden revealed he had “run-ins with at least four heads of state” after challenging their anti-LGBT+ laws during official meetings.

Biden received the inaugural LGBT+ hero award at Democratic National Committee’s LGBT+ Gala in 2017, and made “ensuring LGBT+ equality” one of the key planks of his non-profit Biden Foundation – campaigning to challenge the “vile practice of conversion therapy”.

US President Barack Obama and US Vice President Joe Biden attend a reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 24, 2015.
US President Barack Obama and US Vice President Joe Biden attend a reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 24, 2015. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

During the campaign, Biden faced attacks from Bernie Sanders over his 1994 Senate vote for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ – the reviled ‘compromise’ plan on gays in the military which was engineered by Bill Clinton to end homophobic witch hunts, but is now seen to have merely entrenched the ban on gay soldiers.

However, Biden had long since disavowed ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ by the time it was repealed by the Obama administration in 2010, actively overseeing the efforts to scrap the ban entirely.

Biden’s campaign sought to shrug off the attacks from Sanders, pointing to his record on LGBT+ rights since 2008, in contrast to his votes 25 years ago.

His campaign has enjoyed support from a number of prominent LGBT+ political figures, including Congressional LGBT+ Equality Caucus co-chair Sean Patrick Maloney, out Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and former Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.

Biden has promised a cabinet role to Buttigieg, saying: “I indicated to him that if I become the nominee, I’d come and ask him to be part of the administration, to be engaged in moving things forward.”

The post Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign, leaving Joe Biden to face Trump. Here’s what that means for LGBT+ people appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service.

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R.I.P. John Prine, Folk Legend Dead at 73 From Coronavirus

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John Prine, the folk-country music icon and national treasure, has died at the age of 73. The singer-songwriter succumbed to complications from the coronavirus, Prine’s family confirmed to Rolling Stone. He passed away Tuesday, April 7th, at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

On March 20th, it was announced the legendary “Angel from Montgomery” singer had self-quarantined after his wife and manager, Fiona Prine, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. At the time, Prine himself was tested, but the results were “indeterminate.” By Thursday of that week, however, he had been hospitalized, and on Saturday, he had to be intubated. The Prine family announced he was in “critical condition” on Sunday, March 29th. By April 3rd, it was revealed he was battling pneumonia in both lungs.

Born in Maywood, Illinois on October 10th, 1946, Prine was known for his ability to write about love, society, politics, and his own life with equal adroitness and humor. He honed his craft while working as a mail carrier in Chicago during the late 1960s. Prine became a well-known part of the city’s folk revival scene during an era when major artists would frequently present rising songwriters to larger audiences. In Prine’s case, it was Kris Kristofferson who discovered the budding musician.

Prine ended up signing with Atlantic and releasing his self-titled debut album in 1971. The LP would go on to become a classic, featuring tracks like “Sam Stone”, “Paradise”, and the signature “Angel from Montgomery”. After three more albums on Atlantic and another trio for Asylum Records, he co-founded Oh Boy Records in 1984. Most of his releases from that point on came under the Oh Boy banner.

In total, Prine released 17 studio full-lengths, the last of which was 2018’s The Tree of Forgiveness. That record became his highest-charting release ever, topping at No. 5 on the Billboard 200; No. 1 on the Folk chart; and No. 2 on each the US Country, US Indie, and US Rock charts.

Over the course of his career, Prine won two Grammy awards: 1991’s The Missing Years (with Heartbreakers bassist Howie Epstein) and 2005’s Fair & Square both won Best Contemporary Folk Album. A member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, he was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015, and was given a Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year. He also was given the AMA Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting in 2003, and was named the AMA Artist of the Year in 2005. That same year, Prine became the first singer-songwriter to perform at the Library of Congress at the request of US Poet Laureate Ted Koosher.

Prine was a two-time cancer survivor. He was first diagnosed with squamous cell cancer on the right side of his neck in 1998. After major surgery to remove a large piece of diseased tissue and six weeks of radiotherapy, he was left with severely damaged nerves in his tongue and damaged salivary glands. Following a year of rehabilitation and speech therapy, he returned to performing with a noticeably more gravelly voice.

Prine was then diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013. He underwent surgery to remove the diseased portion of his left lung, and was able to return to touring in just six months thanks to some unique physical therapy. That included running up and down the stairs in his house until he was out of breath, grabbing his guitar, and singing two songs.

One of the most influential artists of his time, Prine is the latest musician lost to the coronavirus. Fountains of Wayne co-founder Adam Schlesinger, country hitmaker Joe Diffie, “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” songwriter Alan Merrill, and Afro-jazz saxophonist Manu Dibango, have all succumbed to the disease. Many others, like Testament frontman Chuck Billy, record producer Andrew Watt, folk rocker Jackson Browne, and Geto Boys’ Scarface have tested positive for the virus, but were able to recover.

Below, revisit some of Prine’s most memorable songs. On the next page, find messages of tribute from the people touched by Prine’s music and life.

R.I.P. John Prine, Folk Legend Dead at 73 From Coronavirus
Ben Kaye

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Lady Gaga has raised $35m in a week for coronavirus. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos still hasn’t decided to end world hunger

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In one week, Lady Gaga has raised $35m from corporations and rich people to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The popstar spent seven days calling up corporate leaders and wealthy philanthropists to ask for donations to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

The money will go towards global personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, coronavirus testing kits and help improve worldwide capacity to process the tests, she said at a WHO media briefing.

The singer, actor and noted virologist was the special guest at the WHO’s media briefing yesterday. She also spent her birthday on the phone to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, talking about how she could help with efforts to end the pandemic.

“We have said consistently that we are all in this together and we can only succeed together,” Ghebreyesus said when announcing Lady Gaga.

“We need an all-of-society approach with everyone playing their part. That includes people in the entertainment industry.”

The Chromatica singer spoke at the press conference to reveal details of the One World: Together at Home concert special.

Lady Gaga, Elton John, Billie Eilish and Lizzo are among the stars who will perform at the special concert on April 18.

“We are all so very grateful to all of the health-care professionals across the country and the world who are on the front lines during COVID-19,” she said.

Gaga confirmed that all proceeds from the benefit will be used to help protect vital healthcare workers – and that she intends to raise the money first, so that people can enjoy the concert.

“When we do air live on April 18,” she said, “put your wallet away, put anything away that you need to, and sit back and enjoy the show that you all very much deserve.”

To this end, for the past seven days the singer has raised $5m per day.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos did not end world hunger today.

Workers at Amazon, the company that made Bezos more rich than is sensible, are calling for safer working conditions during the pandemic and say they fear going into work because of a lack of PPE.

The founder of Amazon is worth more than $117 billion.

$11 billion per year is estimated to be the cost of ending world hunger.

The post Lady Gaga has raised $35m in a week for coronavirus. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos still hasn’t decided to end world hunger appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service.

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2 days ago
Overland Park, KS
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Why I don’t feel safe wearing a face mask


These are the fears that Black Americans have to constantly face. Where we can go, how we can show up, what we can wear, what we can say — it never ends. The world is upside down right now with the coronavirus pandemic, and we are living in a dystopian nightmare come to life. Still, we are living in an America where history dictates that, even in the most absurd times, hatred and bigotry continue to reign. We are still judged, convicted, and sentenced by race, by gender, sexual orientation, and class.

Early reports highlight what many have predicted: Those who are impacted by COVID-19 are overwhelmingly people of color, poor people, the homeless, and those living with disabilities. This stems from a lack of equitable access to health care.

Meanwhile, the bigotry escalates. There has been an increase of anti-Asian discrimination because COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. Racial tensions are increasingly escalating, and the situation for minorities is getting worse.

As this is a historical moment, it is important that we remember our history. Black men and women in this country have been killed for any and everything. A child with a toy gun, a young girl sleeping in her family home, a man buying an air gun at Walmart. Knowing all that, I just don’t feel safe. Even in a time of pandemic, the discrimination does not stop.

I will not be covering my face until I am able to obtain a face mask that is unmistakable for what it is. Let me be clear: This is not because I do not trust the advice of the CDC — I do. I believe in science, and I have followed all of its guidelines up to this point. I know masks work, and I trust the CDC’s recommendation.

What I do not trust are the innate biases and lack of critical thought about the implications of these decisions. I do not trust that I can walk into a grocery store with my face covered and not be disturbed. I do not trust that I will not be followed. I do not trust that I will be allowed to exist in my Black skin and be able to buy groceries or other necessities without a confrontation and having to explain my intent and my presence. I do not trust that wearing a make-shift mask will allow me to make it back to my home.

So until I receive a mask, I will get to live out my childhood dream of being on “Supermarket Sweep.” And yes, I will attempt to get everything I need into my cart and to the checkout in three minutes or less.

Aaron Thomas lives in Columbus, Ohio.

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Ten Things I Hate About You Is the Best Adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew

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heath ledger, julia stiles, joseph gordon levitt

It’s Shakespeare month here at The Mary Sue, where we are delving into all of our opinions and big lit nerd feelings about the most famous playwright who ever walked the earth.

Shakespeare’s works have endured for centuries thanks to the universality of his themes, which remain relevant. It’s the reason why we can watch these plays again and again, and never tire of seeing these classic stories adapted for a wide variety of audiences. There is a fluidity to his work, which easily conforms to whatever vessel it is poured into.

But given the centuries that have passed since his heyday, it’s hardly a surprise that some of Shakespeare’s works hold up better than others (I’m looking at you, The Merchant of Venice). The Taming of the Shrew is one such example, wherein the headstrong Katherina is tamed via her marriage to the rakish Petruchio. And by “tamed”, she is held against her will, starved, and gaslit into obedience. Cool cool cool.

The misogyny at the heart of TTOTS has been debated for decades: has Katherina really been tamed, or is she the one taming her husband? It’s a character turn that has inspired countless thesis papers on the nature of gender and psychology, and what sort of feminism (if any) existed in Shakespeare’s day.

As a feminist and a Shakespeare fan, I’ve often struggled with this play. While I love the character of Katherina, I just can’t connect her transformation into the obedient wife because I genuinely do not understand her love and affection for Petruchio. No matter how well acted the adaptation, or how beautifully filmed, I am perpetually at a loss.

These are problems that the 1999 romantic comedy film 10 Things I Hate About You ably handles. In case you didn’t grow up in the 90s, 10 Things I Hate About You was a high school teen romcom loosely based on TTOTS. Julia Stiles plays Kat Stratford (I see what you did there, movie), the headstrong feminist older sister of the popular sweetheart Bianca (Larisa Oleynik).

Every boy in school wants to date Bianca, but her overprotective father (Larry Miller) won’t allow her to date until her older sister does. That is, until nice guy Cameron (a baby Joseph Gordon-Levitt) convinces Australian bad boy Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to date her for money, a ruse that is funded by the boorish jock Joey (Andrew Keegan) who wants to hook up with Bianca.

10 Things works because it smartly realizes that the girl labeled a “bitch” in high school is often just a girl frustrated and stymied by the sexist restrictions and expectations of high school and girlhood in general. Stiles’s Kat Stratford was a refreshing teen girl heroine because she deviated from the genre’s default portrayal of girlhood. She didn’t fall into the virgin/slut dichotomy that defined so many teen girl characters. She is independent, free-thinking, and more than capable of defending herself.

This is most apparent in Kat’s reveal to her sister that after their mother left them, she lost her virginity to Joey. After she decided she wasn’t ready to keep having sex, Joey dumped her and spread the narrative that she was a bitch. And while Joey is lionized for his prowess, Kat is ostracized.

Even more refreshing is Heath Ledger’s sensitive bad boy Patrick. Patrick never tries to change Kat or force her to be someone she isn’t. He takes the time to get to know her and her motivations, falling in love with her along the way. Yes, their relationship began as a ploy, but he apologizes and takes responsibility for it. No gaslighting needed.

It’s a satisfying romance that is given more thought and nuance than the average teen comedy allows. The writers Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith continued to mine girl power gold with follow-up films like Legally Blonde and She’s the Man, which is itself an adaptation of Twelfth Night.

Is 10 Things I Hate About You a fluffy, fun adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew? Sure, but it’s also the only one that makes sense to me.

(image: Buena Vista Pictures)

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