In a recent interview with Financial Times, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie nonchalantly mentioned her new child. She hadn't made it public (or even told all of her friends) because she refuses to "perform pregnancy." [more inside]
Bitch Flicks offers a number of pop culture related essays (mostly film) from their recent website event, Ladies of the 1980s Theme Week. [more inside]
In 1937 actress Leona W. Chalmers filed a remarkable application at the Philadelphia branch of the United States Patent Office: a funnel-shaped receptacle of vulcanized rubber inserted low into the vagina to collect menstrual fluid, rather than soak it up like a Kotex pad did. This invention was later sold as the Tasette, but it never gained commercial success though it had a few devotees. It wasn't until 50 years later that a similar device called The Keeper emerged. We have now entered the age of the menstrual cup, with multiple brands easily purchased online and in stores like Whole Foods, and reviews and comparisons on YouTube and blogs in every corner of the internet. But why did it take so long for them to become mainstream?
Rufi Thorpe writes about being an artist and a mother in Vela.
Nuclear Family presents: Underwritten Female Character: the Movie.
Burlesque as an expression of body positivity [SLYT, TedX Talk]
The Reluctant Memoirist: Suki Kim, the journalist who spent 6 months undercover in North Korea and wrote Without You, There is No Us talks about the implications of marketing her book as a memoir: I immediately emailed my editor. “I really do not feel comfortable with my book being called a memoir,” I told her. “I think calling it a memoir trivializes my reporting.” Memoir, after all, suggests memories—the unresolved issues of the past, examined through the author’s own experiences. My work, though literary and at times personal, was a narrative account of investigative reporting. I wasn’t simply trying to convey how I saw the world; I was reporting how it was seen and lived by others.
Maybe there’s some woman who has had four abortions and maybe that feels really wrong to you. But my rights are wrapped up with hers, so I have to fight like fuck for her to have as many as she wants—not just for her sake, but for mine, too. If I ever have a daughter, the way things are currently going, she’s going to be fucked if she ever goes through this.From "Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks"
Sex. Race. Class. Inequality. Personal branding. Millenials. Selfies. Affordable luxury. Femvertizing. Unattainable beauty standards. And a glass of free champagne. Put it all together and what do you get? $100 million a year in less than a decade. Buzzfeed's Sapna Maheshwari takes a deep dive into the success of Drybar.
There is something hypnotic in unlikable male characters that we don’t allow in women, and it’s this: we allow men to be confident, even arrogant, self-absorbed, narcissistic. But in our everyday lives, we do not hold up such women as leaders and role models. We call them out as selfish harridans. They are wicked stepmothers. Seeing these same women bashing their way through the pages of our fiction elicits the same reaction. Women should be nurturing. Their presence should be redeeming. Women should know better. [more inside]
"More than 38 million American women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Many of these women develop coping mechanisms to placate their abusers and protect themselves." How about we stop policing women's language?
There is a radical feminist thrift store in Denmark run by the former art director of Cosmopolitan magazine. I learned this by accident. (Michelle Goldberg, Slate)
[Mora] Weigel had a revelation: she was always turning to a man to tell her what she was after, and the institution of dating was to blame. It trained women “in how to be if we wanted to be wanted.” Hence “Labor of Love,” an exploration of that training, in which Weigel reaches two main conclusions. The first is that though dating is passed off as a leisure activity, it really is a lot of work, particularly for women. It requires physical effort—all that primping, exercising, shopping, and grooming—as well as sizable investments of time, money, and emotion. In our consumer society, love is perpetually for sale; dating is what it takes to close the deal.
Criticism leveled at Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of prime minister Justin Trudeau, dismissed as ‘sexist and spiteful’ after she says she needs more staff. [The Guardian] The wife of Canada’s prime minister has sparked a fierce national debate after saying she needs more help to expand her official role and take on more public duties. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau last week told a French-language newspaper that she wanted to do more, but struggled with just one staff member. [more inside]
Transgender man Thomas Page McBee reflects on how transitioning exposed sexist double standards in his work environment. Every day, I am rewarded for behavior that I did not previously exhibit, such as standing up for my ideals, pushing back, being fluent in complex power dynamics, and strategically—and visibly—taking credit. When I prove myself, just once, it tends to stick. [more inside]
Kennedy was right - "Much that is valuable is neither tangible nor tradable... Gross domestic product (GDP) is increasingly a poor measure of prosperity. It is not even a reliable gauge of production."* [more inside]
"Bottling up anger is as harmful, if not more so, than anger exhibited in violent outbursts. How we think of “anger management” should more broadly include teaching girls that it is OK to feel angry. [...] The result [of sublimated anger], for many girls and women, long into old age, is a host of physical, psychological, and emotional damages. Anger impairs people’s immune systems, contributes to high blood pressure, heart damage, migraines, skin ailments, and chronic fatigue. Unresolved anger contributes to stress, tension, anxiety, depression, and excessive nervousness."Soraya L. Chemaly writes about how girls, taught to ignore their anger, become disassociated from themselves.
Emily Bazelon writes for the New York Times about sex worker rights and decriminalization in the US and abroad (featuring photography of sex workers across the US).
Anohni's new album, Hopelessness , has a lot to say. She grapples with the surveillance state, ecocide, drone warfare, gender, and more in a more electronic setting than her previous work with Antony and the Johnsons. "A big part of [the album] is an examination of my own complicity and my own inability to truly extricate myself from the brokenness of the system that I'm a part of. It's that chasm, that denial that I wanted to model, an inquiry into and within myself." [more inside]
Elisabeth Moss will star in a 10-episode Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood is a consulting producer; The 100's Bruce Miller wrote the script and is an executive producer along with Daniel Wilson (The Handmaid's Tale feature film), Fran Sears (The Sophisticated Gents) and Warren Littlefield (Fargo). [more inside]
What it means to be a ‘free hair’ in a predominantly Muslim society This is an edited version of a conference and seminar paper presented at the National University of Singapore in March 2016 and Australian National University in April 2016
Pop culture is filled with brilliant female characters who know everything and can do anything — except save the day.
How Lifetime Became One Of The Best Places In Hollywood For Women. Since Lifetime’s acquisition by A&E Networks in 2009, the channel has mounted a successful effort to legitimize itself — 12 Emmy nominations in 2013, and 17 in 2014. This new legitimacy has hinged on two strategies: Lifetime’s prioritizing the hiring of women to write and direct their stories, and its witty, postmodern self-awareness of its own tropes. [more inside]
Twenty-five years ago, Anita Hill stood before 20 million people and testified that then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her while she’d worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. [more inside]
Perhaps the only kink you might not find in San Francisco, Christian Domestic Discipline is a community of women looking for a theological reading of sex and submission. [more inside]
When the sport you love doesn't love you back.
If Gibbons’ “dresses” comment was just one isolated incident, it wouldn’t deserve a second thought, but that’s not the situation we face. We are not talking about one off-color remark or even a handful of off-color remarks. We are talking about a sport-wide culture which permits casual sexism and reinforces over and over and over again to its female fans that their involvement in the sport is not as valid as that of their male counterparts.
Reader on Revolutionary Feminism "The Revolutionary Feminism reader includes a century of debates between communist, anarchism and radical feminists, extending from 1890 to 1983. Groups in 21 cities and four countries did study groups on the Revolutionary Feminism reader in the fall and winter of 2015. This collection is beautifully laid out, easy to share, and includes a lot of great material on lost traditions of queer and women's liberation movements." From Mefi's own alexkollontai, via MetaFilter Projects. [more inside]
"The mix of things presumed to transmit and increase female power is without limit yet still depressingly limiting."
How 'Empowerment' Became Something for Women to Buy, by Jia Tolentino for NYT Magazine [more inside]
How 'Empowerment' Became Something for Women to Buy, by Jia Tolentino for NYT Magazine [more inside]
Science is desperate. It needs to believe itself honorable. It's threatened by the fact that it's not safe for so many of us. Period. It's just not safe.- A. Hope Jahren, in an interview about women in science and advancement in plant biology.
The Surprising, Subtle Feminism of the Spider-Man Trilogy - Sarah Barrett, The Mary Sue
The Cost of Caring: After Emma realized that her white-collar job in the Philippines would never pay her enough to send her children to college, she came to New York and became a nanny. She hasn't seen her kids in 16 years.
Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorism Problem (TW: nasty stuff)
The latest episode of Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes Vs. Women has dropped, this time focusing on Laura Mulvey's [pdf] concept of the 'male gaze' in video games. [more inside]
"I talked to a woman who asked for anonymity because she’s still associated professionally with the University of Iowa. 'When I got to Iowa,' she told me, 'I was like, who the fuck are these people? And where are the adults?'" Jia Tolentino on Thomas Sayers Ellis, VIDA, and the "tradition" of bad behavior from powerful men in the creative fields.
Liz Plank sits down to talk with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in NYC during his recent visit, and asks him (among many other things) what he thinks about 28% of 2000 Americans polled saying they'd try to move to Canada if Trump won the 2016 election, about multiculturalism and diversity, about gender equality, and about balancing fatherhood and politics.
Writing women characters into epic fantasy without quotas, an essay by SFF writer Kate Elliott. [more inside]
Feminist economics deserves recognition - "In 2014 only 12% of American economics professors were female, and only one woman (Elinor Ostrom) has won the Nobel prize for economics.[1,2,3] But in terms of focus, economists have embraced some feminist causes. Papers abound on the 'pay gap' (American women earned 21% less than men for full-time work in 2014), and the extra growth that could be unlocked if only women worked and earned more. A recent paper, for instance, claimed that eliminating gender discrimination in Saudi Arabia could bring its GDP per person almost level with America's. (Feminists, of course, consider gender equality a worthy goal irrespective of its impact on GDP.) That raises a question. Does 'Feminist economics', which has its own journal, really bring anything distinctive?" [more inside]
The Tough Legacy of Ulrike Meinhof
“I think there’s a very common narrative about women being motivated by sexual or emotional dependence on men,” Katharina Karcher, a research associate at the University of Cambridge, told me. She was “shocked” at similarities between media coverage of Meinhof and Beate Zschäpe, a member of the far-right National Socialist Underground that committed a series of murders of immigrants between 2000 and 2007.
The heartbreaking truth about American patriarchy: I never spoke about the Democratic candidates because it was so hard for me to reconcile not that I preferred Bernie but that my heart was broken for this woman I do not yearn to vote for. My heart was broken because even if we play by all the rules the boys set up, the boys demonize us for playing by the rules. Even if we fight for decades to have a spot, ultimately everybody decides, “Nah, thanks anyway, we’re going with the old white guy again.”
When Middle East correspondent Carla Power began studying the Koran with a conservative Islamic scholar, she wasn’t expecting to learn that it nowhere advocates the oppression of women - or that Islam has a rich history of forgotten female leaders.
The Only Thing I Envy Men is an essay about women writers by Rivka Galchen, taken from her book Little Labors. The book focuses partly on writing by Japanese women, especially the 11th Century writers Sei Shonagon and Murasaki Shikibu, authors of The Pillow Book and Tale of Genji respectively. The latter has recently been retranslated, and was the subject of a lengthy article in the New Yorker by Ian Buruma.
What is it really like to be a woman in Ireland today? Ahead of International Women’s Day, Louise O’Neill delivers her ‘state of the nation’ address.
Dawn Porter's Trapped documentary about the effect of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws opens in NYC, LA and DC today, more theaters around the US next week. [more inside]
The three party system - "There are three major political forces in contemporary politics in developed countries: tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism (defined in more detail below). Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but can no longer command the electoral support needed to marginalise both tribalists and leftists at the same time. So, we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system, which is inherently unstable because of the Condorcet problem and for other reasons." [more inside]
Female friendship was not a consolation prize, some romance also-ran. Women who find affinity with one another are not settling. In fact, they may be doing the opposite, finding something vital that is lacking in their romantic entanglements, and thus setting their standards healthily higher. (SLNYT)
Rebecca Solnit: 80 Books No Woman Should Read.