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.
Eid Mubarak! As we are still celebrating here in Maldives, I have an extra day off on top of a whole week of holiday! Due to this I have managed to get a fair amount of reading done. After initially stumbling over the first few essays in Joan Didion’s most well-known collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I flew through the rest of the book. She always provides such a uniquely insightful view of the world. I guess its only flaw for me was that Didion’s ‘view’ is very much steeped in 1960-70s California or New York, places and eras I have no firsthand experience of – or any knowledge of for that matter. I then picked up another Women’s Prize shorlisted novel, The Idiot by Elif Batuman, which I found so hilarious and relatable. I wanted the protagonist, Selin, to constantly guide me through life with her wonderfully blunt but accurate depictions of awkward situations and events. I truly felt sad when the book ended, like I had lost a friend. Moving away from fiction I thought I would try Cheryl Strayed’s book of advice on love and life, Dear Sugar. Her beautifully articulated and thoughtful responses to people’s problems are beautiful but I can’t help cringing at the whole idea of ‘problem pages’. In between these letters I’ve been dipping in and out of Yrsa Daley-Ward’s stunning collection of Poetry, Bone – one of the few books I brought with me to Maldives.
Here are some of the interesting bookish/feminist related things I found online this week:
- A brilliant Maldivian website has just launched recently – Korali Collective – and included is a really interesting article about feminism with a few insightful observations about the state of feminism in Maldives: Smashing the Glass Ceiling in a City Made of Concrete.
- It’s Independent Bookshop Week and I am lamenting the fact that a bookshop culture just doesn’t exist in Maldives, let alone any independent ones. Take me back to London!! Also launched this week is Feminist Book Fortnight.
- In the aftermath of the Irish referendum on abortion, the pressure on the British government to allow the women of Northern Ireland the same bodily autonomy as the rest of the union and the historic steps Argentina has taken towards legalising abortion, Sasha Amel-Kheir from Gendered Intelligence calls on making the Reproductive Rights Movement a More Trans-Inclusive Space.
- Although there have been many gains for women’s rights recently, the UK just took a step backwards when Tory MP, Christopher Chope, objected to a proposed bill to make upskirting a criminal offence punishable for up to two years. I have been following activist, Gina Martin, who has fought tirelessly for the past year and I’m in awe of her strength and courage throughout all of it. Here’s an article from The Independent entitled: Chope’s ignorant objection to the upskirting bill shows how little female consent matters to a lot of men in power.
- After writer and journalist, Lionel Shriver’s comments earlier in the week about Penguin Random House’s new diversity and inclusion policies – where she claimed that ‘[f]rom now until 2025, literary excellence will be secondary to ticking all those ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual preference and crap-education boxes’ – Chitra Ramaswamy has written an article on the Guardian website about how equality and quality are not mutually exclusive: Lionel Shriver may not realise it, but greatness can come from anywhere.
- Top 10 lost women’s classics to add to your library.
- Here are some mini-reviews of second wave activist documentaries from the seventies and eighties which were shown recently at the Barbican Centre – Real to reel: watching second wave activist documentaries.
- To mark a year since the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, Unbound have published a collection of short stories called 24 Stories, edited by Kathy Burke in order to share stories of hope and community for the survivors as well as to raise funds for the Trauma Response Network, a PTSD charity. Here’s a review from the Times Literary Supplement.
- This week the hashtag #ImmodestWomen exploded on Twitter. I first became aware of it through the brilliant Dr. Elena Adler – a recent PhD graduate in Literature and Forensics and founder of the blog Bodies in the Library, which I have been following for years. Originally created by Dr. Fern Riddell, expert in sex and suffrage in the 19th and 20th century, in response to the Boston Globe and Mail’s decision to change its style guide and no longer give experts the title of “Dr” unless they were medical practitioners, she has encouraged many women to claim their title as experts in their numerous fields of research. It’s definitely an inspiring hashtag to follow. Read her article here on NewStatesman: We need #ImmodestWomen when so many men are unable to accept female expertise.