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.
It’s the last week of term and as we wind down for the holidays I’m looking forward to spending a few days out of the city with some fresh air, sea and books! My reading this week has consisted of travel literature. I have been fascinated by Kate Harris’ memoir of her gigantic cycle along the Silk Road for the best part of a week. Descriptions of the Tibetan plateau and other, almost unheard of, remote places of stark, striking landscape and beauty has captured my imagination. I now have a bigger wanderlust than ever and am craving flying off to a place and getting lost – tiny Maldivian islands just won’t cut it! Unlike other female travel memoirs I’ve read – such as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Robyn Davidson’s Tracks – Harris doesn’t cycle the Silk Road to ‘find’ herself or to overcome periods of grief in her life. Simply put, she is a modern-day explorer, mesmerised by what the world has to offer.
My next read this week involved picking up a book I had shelved for a long time. I began Joan Didion’s most famous collection of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, back in New Zealand and after getting stuck on the second essay about an actor I knew nothing about (not being much of a film buff) I really struggled to continue. However, I’m slowly working my way through it. There’s no denying Didion is a stunning writer.
Here is a list of feminist/bookish related things that have caught my interest on the web this week:
- From creator of Media Diversified and organiser of Bare Lit Festival, Sabeena Akhtar (@pocobookreader) is editing a book of essays, Cut From the Same Cloth, written by hijab-wearing women from middle and working class women of all ages and races in an effort, as she says, to ‘look beyond the tired tropes exhausted by the media and offer honest insight into the issues that really affect our lives. From modern pop culture to anti-blackness, women’s rights, working life; this first of its kind anthology will examine a cross section of British hijabis and the breadth of our experiences’. In order to make this anthology a concrete reality, Cut From the Same Cloth is crowdfunding the project. You can read more about the anthology and pledge here.
- The Women’s Prize for Fiction winner was announced on Wednesday! Although I had hoped to get through a couple more books on the shortlist before the announcement, time just seemed to run away from me. However, I did manage to read the winner, Kamila Shamsie’s stunning, heart-wrenching novel Home Fire!
- Friday marked the 105th anniversary of the death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison. In the centenary year of of the passing of The Representation of the People Act there has been more celebration than usual of her tragic death trying to tie a suffragette scarf to the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913. This week new images have been unearthed in the British Film Institute after Deborah Clair, a playwright, identified Davison in a film of a 1910 Hyde Park protest march.
- Today in many cities around the UK, including London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff, there is a huge participatory artwork event – Processions – taking place to celebrate 100 years of women voting. You can see all the brilliant artwork on Artichoke Trust‘s Instagram page.
- Porochista Khakpour’s highly anticipated memoir, Sick, was released this week (my review will be up on Wednesday) and has created a lot of conversation around the treatment of women with chronic illnesses. Bitch Media launched a weeklong series, from the 4th-8th June, about chronic illness and how misdiagnosis, disdain of and marginalising those with chronic illnesses disproportionately affect women more than men. Bitch Media kicked off their series with an interview with Khakpour, A Displaced Body: “Sick” and the Elusive Search for Wellness.
- On The F Word blog there is an interesting article about A brief history of normalising female pain.
- ‘Dispatches from the Margins: Disposable Women’, an essay written by Claire Heuchan on Sister Outrider, details the problem of racism and homophobia in the feminist movement and discusses how and why women – particularly white middle class heterosexual women – should do more to check their privilege and power.
- There was a beautiful piece on The Pool website this week about the power of women’s stories to change the world, in particular regard to the Irish abortion referendum and the debate in Parliament this week over extending the UK’s Abortion Act 1967 to Northern Ireland, but also the frustration at the lack of impact statistics have in comparison.
- With the release of Yrsa Daley-Ward’s memoir, The Terrible, The New York Times have written an article about the rise of Instagram poets and why Daley-Ward thinks they are doing the genre a service. I bought her first collection of poems, Bone, just before I flew to Maldives and have slowly been picking it up every now and again. Known for her clear-eyed poetry, which has comforted many fans, Daley-Ward has risen to critical success with her powerfully textured poems.