Feminist Sunday is a weekly roundup of all the articles/threads/news/discoveries that include or are about women which have caught my attention and/or interest.
Another week has flown by and much of it has been taken up with reading I’m doing for an online course on international women’s health and human rights. A brilliant resource has been Anne Firth Murray’s book, From Outrage to Courage: Women Taking Action for Health and Justice, which gives an in depth look at the many forms of injustice women face around the world, as well as providing an extensive list of grassroots activism by women for women.
However, I’ve still had time to fit in a couple of books from my TBR pile. After finishing Bell Hook’s Ain’t I A Woman earlier in the week, I picked up a digital review copy I’ve had for a while for the republication of Alissa Nutting’s debut collection of short stories, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls. As the author of Tampa, I’m not surprised by the weird, almost surreal, elements to the stories. I raced through this collection but still need some time to unpack what I have just read.
Here is my list of interesting bookish/feminist related articles from the week just gone:
- Reading Bell Hook’s influential black, feminist text, Ain’t I A Woman, has taught me a lot about the exclusionary tactics of white women and feminists, from slavery in America to the first and second waves of feminism and even now in contemporary feminist groups. Bust have a really interesting article up on their website about the women’s suffrage movement in America (which I didn’t know much about until reading bell hook’s book) entitled: How Racism Split The Suffrage Movement. As bell hooks so clearly states, when the 15th Amendment was proposed in 1869 white feminists were more outraged and angered that white men were more committed to maintaining sexual hierarchies than racial hierarchies, rather than demanding that all women and men deserved the right to vote.
- I’ve been reading a lot about feminism outside of the west recently due to taking an online course on international women’s health and human rights. It’s been fascinating to learn about how women all over the globe have taken action in order to either force their governments to take women’s rights seriously or to take matters into their own hands. Here is a clip of Egyptian medical doctor, feminist and activist, Dr El Saadawi, talking on BBC World News HARDtalk about the need for women to fight for their rights on a global scale, rather than waiting for governments to make changes.
- It was Menstruation Hygiene Day on the 28th May and WASH United, Simavi, World Vision and GIZ launched a free online webinar series which takes place every Thursday, highlighting key information as well as introducing organisations working to improve menstrual hygiene and diminish the stigma around periods in Africa and Asia. Sali Hughes also wrote an insightful article about the very real problem of period poverty in the UK: Our ongoing denial of period poverty is a stain on the entire nation. A couple of brilliant organisations working to end period poverty include Bloody Good Period and The Red Box Project.
- ‘When an entire literary canon revolves around the praising of men’s voices, it drowns out women’s voices. It erases our stories and experiences. It leaves us vulnerable to abuses that no one in power will care to listen to’ – a beautiful article by Natalia Sylvester on why We Need to Stop Leaving Women Out of Discussions of Latin American Literature. She also includes eight Latina women writers to delve into!
- Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett has written an insightful article on the Guardian about how You cannot be ‘well read’ without reading women. Referencing Lauren Groff’s interview with the New York Times By the Book Q&A where she just mentioned female authors who have shaped and influenced her work, as well as the Waterstones bookseller who took to social media to say that they’ve never heard a woman say that they ‘don’t read men’ but they regularly get men saying they ‘don’t read women’, Cosslett dismisses the idea that the era of the ‘Great White Male Novelist’ is coming to a close, stating that ‘the privileged do not relinquish their power so easily’.
- Here’s an interesting list of books feminists should pick up this month from bitchmedia. From fiction, memoir, non-fiction, YA to psychological thrillers, 15 Books Feminists Should Read In June includes Angie Thomas’ highly anticipated second novel, On the Come Up, and Porochista Khakpour’s memoir, Sick, which will be up on the blog in the next couple of weeks.
- Neelam Tailor reflects on Reni Eddo-Lodge’s groundbreaking book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, which was published a year ago. As Eddo-Lodge claims, only time will tell if the book has been a force for change, but there’s no denying that it has made a huge impact on the way people, especially British people, think about race. As Tailor states, ‘The UK has an ugly, underplayed kind of racism, hidden behind the excessive politeness we’re so famous for, and grown from cultural amnesia’.
- The word ‘cunt’ has been dissected a lot recently in light of comedian Samantha Bee’s use of the word to describe Ivanka Trump’s thoughtless and irresponsible post, which depicts herself giving her son a hug, amid the news that that children are being forcefully separated from their parents by ICE. ‘Cunt’ is a word that has many negative connotations as a misogynistic slur to demean and silence women and, for me personally, I find it very difficult to reclaim the word in a positive light even knowing the real origin and history of it. However, Rebecca Traister has written an interesting article on The Cut about how Samantha Bee’s use of sexist language can never be made comparable to Roseanne Barr’s racist slur which effectively cancelled the ABC’s hit classic, Roseanne: Samantha Bee and the War of Words.
- Ever heard of steampunk? Me neither. The F Word: Contemporary UK Feminism, a website I often peruse, posted an article this week about a debut novel by author Ruby Smith, called Galleon. As a subgenre of speculative fiction, steampunk mixes fantasy, sci fi and horror together in an alternative world inspired by Victorian machinery. Sounds intriguing! As well as creating an exciting story, Smith also explores current socio-political ideas relating to gender and sexuality. Read the review here: Writing a world without gender.
- Electric Literature have curated a list of six Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels That Take Us Beyond The Gender Binary.