For Cereal, Yahoo?

A periodic feature in which we highlight some of the more ableist posts and comments in the blogosphere – the things that made us throw up our hands and ask “FOR CEREAL???”

Today’s edition of “FOR CEREAL???” comes to us courtesy of the lovely folks at Yahoo, who published this handy guide from, I kid thee not, “”: “Save Your Sanity While Working at Home.” As some FWD readers may be aware, I am one of those folks who works at home, so I can review this guide both from an ableism standpoint (hello, TITLE!) and a realism standpoint.

We’re informed that this article has “hysterical” tips which will “help you keep your sanity” while you work from home1.

Uhm, for cereal? No. Really. FOR CEREAL?

This is an article which is supposed to be humorous, but, really, it reads like a pile of misogynistic claptrap of the worst order, because it’s misogynistic claptrap from fellow women, presented in a giggly, tee hee, aren’t we all conspiratorial kind of way which makes me want to gag violently. Because, it’s not about fun stuff. It’s about “women need a stern talking to or they get hysterical” and “women are so helpless they can’t figure things out for themselves” with a healthy dose of “not all careers are right for women” piled on top. This is a style I don’t really like, whether it’s in magazines or on websites or what have you, and pretty much regardless of the content2. It pisses me off, as a general rule, and it really makes me wonder about the women who write this kind of copy. Don’t they feel a bit…debased at some point?

There are a lot of tips which folks who work from home could really use, especially when they are getting started. Do I see any of those tips in this article? No, I do not. Instead, I see the writers telling people to wear trousers at home, not sweatpants. Because sweatpants are icky and gross! And you shouldn’t be comfortable just because you are working from home! Kiss my candystriped-cotton-weave-clad ass,

And the article is rife with little “tips” which seem to be primarily sending the “if you work at home, you will get FAT” message. Like “don’t eat at your desk” and “get outside.” Everyone knows that it would, of course, be unbearable to become fat, and really, that’s the most important concern when it comes to working from home. Don’t worry about building up a client base, maintaining professional relationships, getting your bills paid, just worry about your pant size, ladies!

Finally, the article concludes with advice I find totally bizarre:

DO NOT tell anyone, including your husband and kids, that you are working from home! It’s none of their business, and how are you ever supposed to get any work done if people know where you are?

Uhm, for cereal? I think this is supposed to be a tongue in cheek way of saying “you need to set boundaries for people when you work from home because otherwise lines can start blurring,” but, FOR CEREAL?!?! You’re telling people they should lie to their families? This is cute? And funny?

No. Just. No.

Want some actual advice on working from home? I’ll tell you what works for me (although your mileage may vary, because every human experience is different!): Setting a clear schedule and sticking to it, structuring breaks into my schedule, setting clear boundaries with friends and clients about when/how to contact me, wearing comfortable clothing, and eating at my desk.


  1. Evidently, all people who work from home are verging on the brink of “insanity” and can only be brought back with a stern, yet cutesy, talking-to.
  2. Everything from articles giving women “permission” to eat chocolate to articles about how “exercise is fun, really, you just need to try harder” regularly stimulates a stark rage in my living room.

About s.e. smith

s.e. smith is a recalcitrant, grumpy person with disabilities who enjoys riling people up, talking about language, tearing apart poor science reporting, and chasing cats around the house with squeaky mice in hand. Ou personal website can be found at this ain't livin'.

6 thoughts on “For Cereal, Yahoo?

  1. Wouldn’t your family like know if you worked from home?

    Oh, communicating with your spouse is passe, apparently.

    I mean, I get setting boundaries, but WTF? They could talk about how women working at home aren’t seen as “really” working and thus they don’t mind interruptions because math is hard! But no.

    And why the sweatpants hate?

    Most of the things I see “for women” or about “health” or even money on yahoo’s front page is definitely written for an audience that is not me. Though I like the pics of bad celebrity clothes, except when they bash the sweats!

    Dilbert did this already – Alice started working from home and refused to leave and gained weight. It was like 2-3 comics (I have the book at home).

  2. Sweatpants are a marker of depression and dysfunction in women: it’s what we wear when we get dumped and we’re wallowing in it. In TV-land anyway. So wearing sweatpants is a sign of Bad Things Happening.

    I work out of my home and often eat instant noodles at my desk. While wearing pajamas. I guess I suck at this.

  3. I dunno, you think maybe sweatpants would be a step up for us from PJs? Although I confess I would be loath to part with my collection of rakishly striped pajama bottoms.

  4. Meloukhia – I only stopped wearing this soft pair of pajama pants with characters from the comic Mutts because my sister got me blue plaid pajama pants with my name on them.

    And then there’s the bright green ones.

    My sweats are actually dignified – gray and black, with my school’s name on the leg.

    And when I dressed up last fall – I wore blue jeans.

    This is one area where being a college student – especially one living on campus – rules. Apparently pajamas and a 10 year old sweatshirt aren’t okay in most jobs?

  5. For cereal, indeed.

    I am a huge fan of these jean-sweatpant hybrids. (They’re denim, but have waistbands and no buttons or zippers). They’re made by Cabin Creek, and I found them at J.C. Penny’s. I bought all the ones available in my size, so I have a pair of every day of the week. And I wear them in public. (Gasp!)

  6. If I were working from home, I would probably buy a pair of pajamas, nice warm ones, because I can’t work in what I sleep in, because I sleep nude and sitting down like that without a blankie, I get bloody cold.

    Personally, I’m more productive in comfy clothes, because then I’m not paying more attention to the clothes than is really necessary – if I’m wearing suit pants, I have to be careful not to cover them in greasy handprints after my mid-morning snack. If I’m wearing comfy clothes, they’re going in the wash anyway because I wore them outside to weed my yard and they’re all over grass seeds or dirt or leaf fragments 😛

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