feminism, feminist, gender, literature, politics, women, writer

An Interesting Turn of Events: Ohio Bookstore Celebrates Women’s Month

All puns intended here, an Ohio Bookshop has chosen to celebrate International Women’s Month by effectively silencing all their male authors — and doesn’t that make a nice change? — by displaying them spine inwards.

Loganberry Books, a feminist-oriented bookstore, and their small staff worked through around 8,000 books in order to protest the historical suppression of women’s voices and to ensure their voices are now heard in this playful and potentially controversial exhibition.

The act means that only female authors are left on view, their voices, narratives and histories made visible against their newly anonymous male colleagues. And it does make an interesting turn of events, especially as women’s literature and history has for so many centuries been oppressed and censored in myriad ways.

Varied attempts only the last two to three decades have been made to render women’s words more salient: it’s a great thing to see that continue in new and interesting formats.

In conclusion, I suppose, Happy International Women’s Month!

https://heatst.com/culture-wars/ohio-bookstore-flips-male-authored-books-displaying-them-backwards/

Advertisements
abuse, domestic violence, feminism, feminist, literature, misogyny, sexism, violence, women, writer

50 Shades of Gre-garious Domestic Violence

I’ve never read the book.

I’ll own up to that much. “Fifty Shades of Grey” was never going to float my boat; I prefer my porn more consensual…

But, when the badly written smut hit the fan, I was intrigued – decent representations of female sexuality are few and far between in popular fictions – so, as any good scholar would, I did my research and, well…

tumblr_inline_nj2kzgUGKU1ryh89t tumblr_inline_nj2lc7bfTH1ryh89t tumblr_inline_nj7j6rreZ81ryh89t tumblr_inline_nj7j67tc1h1ryh89t tumblr_nj0mmeabYA1rjsbhwo1_500 tumblr_nj04xroJ8g1rjsbhwo1_500 tumblr_nj04xroJ8g1rjsbhwo3_500 tumblr_nj04xroJ8g1rjsbhwo4_500-1 tumblr_nj04xroJ8g1rjsbhwo5_500-1 tumblr_nj04xroJ8g1rjsbhwo8_500-1

I think the examples really speak from themselves; taken straight from the book, they highlight the one-sided, abusive, domineering and controlling relationship fostered between protagonist Ana and the “charming” (please note the quotation marks) Christian…

I read these samples of dialogue back when the text first hit the bestselling lists and, sick to my stomach at this violent, abusive behaviour masquerading as sexual “play” and sado-macho activities, decided that I’d give this disgrace parading as literature a miss. 50 shades simply isn’t for me… and I don’t want to go on a rant against the women who enjoyed the text or the movie – let’s face it, Twilight was pretty popular, so of course 50 Shades would and will continue to dominate the bookshelves for some time to come.

If the release date – Valentine’s Day –  didn’t tip you off, the movie experience has been dubbed the romantic experience of the year. It has experienced one of the biggest box office openings so far this year, is expected to gross billions more and is only the first installment in an eventual trilogy – or, well, being more honest quadrilogy: Hollywood’s bound to make the last book a double feature…

This all links to a continuing and disheartening trend in the dominant and controlling partner as desirable in contemporary fiction and cinema: first Edward Cullen, now the new Edward Cullen in masquerading in fanfiction as a millionaire, FORBS 500 candidate and an even worse tendency to romanticise violence against women, reducing all issues of consent and feminist milestone in the last century to meaningless trifle which will only get in the way of all the “romance” (quotation marks, remember!).

If or if not certain women or men found the movie or literary experience worthwhile and got a few shivers in the process, that’s fine. Censorship has never been my thing; too Third Reich Nazism for me and my liberal values, the important thing for me with this text is the need for awareness. The public who consume Fifty Shades should endeavour not to reproduce its messages.

As with Twilight, we need to ensure women and men are aware of the issues this book presents, the abusive behaviour depicted through a suave and powerful character, the notable and problematic lack of consent in a slave-master relationship. The romanticisation of these texts is dangerous for women, through the consumption of these texts the public relearns the abusive lessons of the past, forgoing all feminist gains, and women become sexual commodities in need of controlling and deserving a good spanking… non-consensual, of course. Through these texts women and men relearn and regurgitate a frightening culture where they are the main commodity to be taken and had.

This is what we need to ensure comes out of the 50 Shades experience:

By all means, go to the cinema, enjoy the book, reread, rewatch, climax even! But understand that this book is a fictional representation of how romantic and intimate relationships should NOT work. This text is an example of a dangerous, abusive and terrifying relationship, it is proof of how a patriarchal structure still influences our minds and the contexts of how our relationships should work.

Moreover, if you respect your partner, it is a blueprint on how NOT to treat them.

literature, philosophy, strenght, writer

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Passes Away

Aged 87, the famed writer and Nobel-Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Maquez has passed from this world.

Writing primarily about the passions of his own ethnic background, Marquez published works depicting Latin-Americans. After accepting the Nobel prize for literature in 1982, Marquez said of his kin:

Source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune. Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.

[…]

His flamboyant and melancholy fictional works — among them “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” ”Love in the Time of Cholera” and “Autumn of the Patriarch” — outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible.

– Heffington Post.

Known as the most popular writer of magical realism – the mixing of the common and everyday with magical, imaginary and fantastic – Maquez, himself, was somewhat magical and today, truly, the world has lost a piece of that magic.

advice, feminism, feminist, literature, misogyny, race, racism, sexism, strenght, violence, women, writer

“We Should All be Feminists” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I just love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, her work is beautiful, and her argument here for TedTalks is way too important to be ignored.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a renowned Nigerian novelist was born in Nigeria in 1977. She grew up in the university town of Nsukka, Enugu State where she attended primary and secondary schools, and briefly studied Medicine and Pharmacy. She then moved to the United States to attend college, graduating summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University with a major in Communication and a minor in Political Science. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a Masters degree in African Studies from Yale University. She was a 2005-2006 Hodder Fellow at Princeton, where she taught introductory fiction. Chimamanda is the author of Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the 2007 Orange Prize For Fiction; and Purple Hibiscus, which won the 2005 Best First Book Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the 2004 Debut Fiction Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2009, her collection of short stories, The Thing around Your Neck was published. She was named one of the twenty most important fiction writers today under 40 years old by The New Yorker and was recently the guest speaker at the 2012 annual commonwealth lecture. She featured in the April 2012 edition of Time Magazine, celebrated as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She currently divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

Intro and Outro music by Kadialy Kouyate performed at TEDxEuston 2011. You can view the full performance here: http://youtu.be/KUfD5WGL3hw.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

advice, feminism, feminist, literature, misogyny, race, racism, sexism, strenght, women

The Best of the Oscars (According to Me)

Everyone’s talking about the Oscars. The epic photobombs; the celebrity selfies; the best dressed. And, of course, the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o, who took home the coveted Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Everyone’s talking about her eloquence, her dress (seriously, though, that dress!), and her speech. And obviously, this is the Oscars and the hypes still all in the air, so the Academy’s best and brightest are still catching us out on the speech acceptance videos (hopefully soon there’ll be a full update) but for the moment, here’s some of the highlights for Lupita’s acceptance speech:

Lupita later dedicated the win to her parents, but inspiringly stated:

When I look down at this golden statue, me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.

Lupita, furthermore, recognised the pain and suffering which led Solomon Northup to narrate both his and Patsey’s despondent story.

1234

 

And then, there are the lesser told stories. Blogs and news pages are full of Lupita’s graceful figure and eloquent quotes; let’s not forget Cate Blanchett’s own win and stark reminder.

Blanchett now boasts the best actress award for her work as the lead in Blue Jasmine, and cut a stunning in a Georgio Armani gown. What really stole the show for me, however, was her speech, in which she recognised the incredible talent of her fellow nominees, stating:

As random and as subjective as this award is, it means a great deal in a year, yet again, of extraordinary performances by women […]  [There are those] who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences.’ she said. ‘They are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money. […] The world is round people.

43c31f00-a293-11e3-b60c-7d4e8026b5b9_oscars_cate_hero

And then, after the awards and celebrations, their was Lupita’s entrance on Ellen:

1tumblr_n1vsdizCGB1qedmbzo1_2502tumblr_n1vsdizCGB1qedmbzo2_250

 

 

feminism, feminist, literature, poetry, women, writer

Doris Lessing

Earlier this week, the talented and beloved writer, playwright, poet, and Nobel Prize winner, Doris Lessing, passed away, gently at age 94.

Her impressive career – over 50 works – exceeded decades, boundaries and genres; she wrote almost-feminist-fiction (The Golden Notebook), political non-fiction  (Prisons We Choose To Live Inside), depictions of the developing world and class struggles (The Good Terrorist), dysotopian and science-fiction (Memoirs of a Survivor)  and the landscapes of Africa where she spent much of her formative years (as is beautifully depicted in her first novel The Grass is Singing.) Her work, furthermore, has influenced the establishment of the Doris Lessing Society dedicated to academically and studiously reviewing her work.

Despite her arduous upbringing – difficulties with her mother, dropping out a school when she was 13 and self-educating herself – she evidently went on to become a masterful, respected, and, much adored public figure and, no doubt, will continue to be so.

Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

Find below the covers of some of her best and most celebrated works:

alfredandemily bict50 bict188 bict197 fifthchild