Saturday Tea & Feminism

Orphan Black has taken over my life. I’m fascinated by how Tatiana can play so many vastly different characters (and characters impersonating each other) with no flaws. I easily forget that they are all the same actress.

Anyway, here are some links I liked this week – enjoy!

Cultural appropriation: what it is, why it’s bad (i-D)

 The reason gender was included with race in the Civil Rights Act? A joke. (Longreads)

The Latitude Festival’s 20 best books by women. (Baileys Women’s Prize blog)

Roxane Gay is joining Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey to write a new comic book series called World of Wakanda about 2 women from Black Panther’s country. Clearly it is going to be AMAZING. (New York Times)

Saturday Tea & Feminism

Happy July! If you are in America, enjoy your long weekend and fireworks! If not, enjoy your July weekend!

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Women need to be included in environmental policy, as they can have different relationships with the land and resources than men. (Huffington Post)

Unilver has pledged to stop using sexist stereotypes in its advertising. If only more companies would get on board. (LGBTQ Nation)

“Germaine Greer has said women take leadership positions in a male-dominated world and actually don’t make a difference. The controversial academic said this was the case because women ‘just behave like men’ to fit in.” Older feminists…please stop undermining the cause. I get your point, but your wording is not helping. (The Telegraph)

Andrea Tantaros’s ‘Tied Up In Knots’ reveals an important lesson. (New Republic)

Another new book, by Frank Browning, explores the fluidity of gender identity. (Maclean’s)

I reviewed the award-winning The Glorious Heresies.

Review: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

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Read: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

Stars: Four

Drinking: Raspberry Leaf Tea, Clipper

Three weeks ago, The Glorious Heresies  won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Last week, it won the Desmond Elliot Prize for new fiction. I was unsurprised. It’s a well-written, quirky novel of the seedy underbelly of Cork. The characters are vivid, funny, and tragic all at once. However, it wasn’t “fiendishly hilarious,” as The Times claimed. The novel is dotted with funny moments, but overall it just felt more depressing than anything else.

Ryan, his father Tony, Maureen, and her son Jimmy, Tara the creep, and Georgie the prostitute are all connected by murder and the drug trade. The Glorious Heresies traces the consequences to all the characters of Jimmy’s decision to cover up Maureen’s “accident.”

I liked Maureen the best. Inside her head is a funny place to be, whether she’s accidentally killing men or intentionally setting fires. Her lack of self-awareness, despite being in her late 50s, is amusing. She finds herself back in Cork after 40 years when her illegitimate son, and now head gangster in the city, retrieves her from exile in London and puts her up in one of his former brothels. I loved her narration. She was sent away after getting pregnant unmarried, just a bit too young for the Magdalene Laundries.

Ryan, on the other hand, is the most tragic of a cast of tragic characters. His arc starts out promising, with young love. But the dark side of his life is quickly revealed – child abuse, drug dealing, rape.

McInerney handles all these heavy topics deftly. Even an astute reader might not immediately catch some of the subtle events. While it is a dark novel, it certainly is lighter than most. Even the lowest points have a grim humor. It’s not always to my taste, but I certainly appreciated the irony.

The book certainly deserved its Baileys Prize win. It didn’t hold me the way that some other novels do, but it made me think, it was well-written, and it was definitely irreverent and a bit heretical. The Church, though it guides life in Cork, is secondary to the worship of drugs and self.

I’m looking forward to McInerney’s follow up to this strong debut. Meanwhile, go pick up The Glorious Heresies.

Saturday Tea & Feminism

Well, Brexit is happening. As a recent immigrant to the UK, I’m interested to see how it will all play out economically and politically. I’m nerding out a bit to see how the process will actually work. The little details are fascinating!

Anyway, have a great weekend and enjoy these links! If you read anything good, share it, please!

(Also, as an aside, it bugs me that when I look for stock photos of women with tea it’s almost exclusively white women – even when I specifically search “African American woman” or “diverse women” *grumble*)

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Brexit is a feminist issue and women need to be equally involved in the negotiations. (The Telegraph)

In common sense news: South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled that bursaries (scholarships) for virgins are unconstitutional. (BBC)

Another legal win for women: “Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the International Criminal Court on Tuesday for heading a 2002-03 campaign of rape and murder.” (Huffington Post)

Breastfeeding in literature. (The Millions)

A good review of Jessica Valenti’s new book. (New Republic)

 

Saturday Tea & Feminsim

Enjoy a few of the links on books, feminism, and more that I read this week.

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A Japanese manga artist wrote a memoir about her experiences with Japan’s obscenity laws. (The Millions)

Here’s the thing, though. If you want to become well-versed in English literature, you’re going to have to hold your nose and read a lot of white male poets. Like, a lot. More than eight.

A response to the Yale student petition to revise the English lit degree requirements. (Slate/ The Guardian)

Shakespeare influenced Germaine Greer?  Something to consider, Yale English majors. (Catch News)

Allow me to suggest that if you think these charts represent a show that is “mostly about women” or talks about women “too much,” that the problem is not us, our work, or our subject matter.

Stuff You Missed in History Class responds to allegations of bias towards women. (Missed in History)

In politics: The Brexit debate needs women—but not just for “women’s issues”. A common problem in politics, really. (Prospect)

Evan Rachel Wood interviews Amanda Palmer and I can’t even express how much I love it. (Nylon)

Review: Girl in a Band

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Read: Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

Stars: Three

Drinking: Blackcurrant & Vanilla, Twinings

I did not enjoy Gordon’s memoir as much as I hoped. Gordon is an artist, a feminist, and a musician who lived through a formative period in modern American art and music. She name drops connections from modern art, the New York art scene from the 70s and 80s, and musicians from the No Wave and punk movements. I have no frame of reference for most of these things, and frequently she just assumes that the reader knows who she is talking about and moves on. Despite her great writing style, I struggled to connect.

I think my main problem with Gordon’s memoir is that it is tinged with regret and lingering anger over the breakup with her longtime husband and music partner, Thurston Moore. A lot of sections, particularly in the series of essays about their albums and tours and specific songs, where she talks about how she “should have known” or how Moore treated her badly are incredibly bitter and difficult to read. Her perspective of the albums and the band’s history is affected by the breakup. The focus on their failed relationship inhibits more than enhances the narrative.

Also, can we talk about the title? I know it’s meant to reflect what the music magazines were calling her (“What’s it like to be a girl in a band?”), but for a woman who is so invested in feminism, it’s an odd choice.

I really wanted to like Girl in a Band. I wanted it to be another on my list of great feminist memoirs. But it falls short.

Saturday Tea & Feminism

It’s a holiday in both the US and UK this weekend. I’m off to visit extended family. I hope you are doing something fun too!

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Did you see the list of 50 Fictional Women BK mag is obsessed with? So many books added to the TBR and re-read piles. (Brooklyn Magazine)

A man’s place in feminism is behind the women – and other lessons from African women. (The Daily Vox)

Refashioning Masculinity unleashes the power of fashion to re-imagine men’s gender identities and foster their diversity.”  (Refashioning Masculinity)

The Human Rights Education Associates has a Gender Responsive Budgeting course starting 15 June. (HREA)

Silliness: have you seen The Man Who Has It All yet? The comments on the Facebook page are fabulous. (Man Who Has It All)

Meanwhile, I reviewed Hideous Kinky and wrote about smartphones.