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The Feminist Summer Reading List

The Feminist Summer Reading List
Last week, an interview with Senator Al Franken inspired a list of feminist fictional heroines in books and movies that sparked quite a debate. But it’s summer now, and lots of people are looking for good books to wade into while they relax, vacation, or take in some sun. We’ve compiled a list of good feminist reads from the members of Women Action and the Media (WAM!), who had enough great reads to keep us busy summer after summer for the next few decades at least.General Feminist Non-Fiction:Backlash: the Undeclared War on American Women – Susan FaludiThe Body Project – Joan Jacobs BrumbergCatfight! – Leora TanenbaumClick: When We Knew We Were Feminists – Courtney Martin and Courtney SullivanEnglightened Sexism – Susan J. Love This? Thanks for subscribing! Women of Color: Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism – Bell HooksColonize This! Feminist Poetry:Ai Margaret AtwoodAnne Carson Sandra Cisneros Lucille CliftonAudre LordeGrace PaleyAdrienne Rich wikimedia commons

Personal Responsibility | Hello Ladies I went for a run after dinner tonight. It was a beautiful night. The moon was full and I wanted to unwind after a long week of work. About one mile into the run, a car full of young men in their teens or early 20s drove by me. I decided to shorten my route to avoid a dark patch of road. I walked in the door far less relaxed than I had been when I set out. If something had happened to me during my run – if I had been attacked – and the incident made the paper, do you think most people reading the story would have first thought, “Why do those men behave that way?”

Homosociality | I've been thinking about homosociality a bit these past few days. Homosociality (as explained so well in Michael Kimmel's Manhood in America) is the principle that all men, including heterosexual ones, are raised in our culture to be more eager to please other men than women. It doesn't take much in my classes to get heads nodding as the subject comes up! To use one cheap and easy example, homosociality explains the function of catcalls and wolf whistles. One of the most significant difficulties (and opportunities) about pro-feminist men's work is that it challenges homosocial norms. When I was an undergraduate, I quickly mastered the "talk" of feminism. This kind of double life left me feeling ashamed and fraudulent. It wasn't until my thirties that I grew comfortable challenging men in single-sex environments. When I talk about these issues with younger men and boys, they almost invariably acknowledge the tremendous power of homosociality.

Men’s Health: Women turned on by being date raped! « Rage Against the Man-chine Wow. You all know I’m not that into Jezebel, but a friend tipped me off to a story they’re running today that I had to comment on. Basically, some company is advertising a product in Men’s Health that, if it actually worked, would be a date rape drug. I don’t think it’s terribly surprising that a ‘roid-monkey magazine like Men’s Health would be giving date rape how-to tips. I’ve unfortunately seen a few issues of that magazine, and I can’t say the ad is out of keeping with what I’ve deemed its editorial policy to be. The few issues I’ve seen have all contained at least one article dispensing advice on how to coerce women into sex, but I still find the language of the ad pretty disturbing: Women have reported that they become incredibly sexually excited when they take SEXACTIVATOR. Holy shit is right. Second, is it just me, or are the makers of this product saying date rape is cool? Third, isn’t there an intimation here that once you’re in a relationship, it’s OK to rape your partner? Ugh.

8 Real Women Who Deserve Their Own Movies Hollywood, we have to talk. I’ve spoken to every ticket-buyer in America and we’ve all decided that you need to make more movies about badass women. Like, starting yesterday. Oh sure, every now and then you will throw us a Salt or maybe even a Salt II, but face it, Hollywood, many of your attempts at a woman-driven action movies have been half-assed at best and soul-crushingly awful at worst (see Electra, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, or, dear God, Sucker Punch). It should not be that hard, Hollywood. All we, the ticket-buying public of America want is a good story about a woman or a bunch of women who fight and shoot and do other badass things badassedly. Don’t know where to start, Hollywood? 8. Lozen was the sister of an Apache chief. 7. A wise man once said “ending a movie summary with the phrase ‘and then he stomps the living hell out of a bunch of Nazis’ automatically makes everything about your movie better.” Seriously, I don’t know, I actually never saw Top Gun. 6. 5. 4.

mental_floss Blog » The War on Suffrage “Nine little Suffergets, Finding boys to hate, One kisses Willie Jones, And then there are Eight.” Ten Little Suffergets tells the sad tale of ten little girls who lose their pro-suffrage leanings when they spy shiny objects like toys, men, and the Sandman. The 1915 picture book ends with the final baby suffragette cracking her baby doll’s head open. The suffrage movement, both in America and England, involved angry debates about the ideals of womanhood, the power and purpose of government, and how much beer everyone should be drinking. Suffrage Isn’t Sexy The suffrage movement was part of the larger debate known as “The Woman Question” in Victorian and Edwardian times, when people were discussing what a real woman looked like. In other words, letting women get a chance at the polls would destroy the society. This attitude was reflected in the suffragette caricatures drawn in newspapers and magazines. I Am Woman Voter, Hear Me Roar! Babes and Booze Women of the World, Don’t Unite 1.

The Last Triangle · Hair and Blood So I’ve been thinking about periods – and no, not the punctuation kind. That’s because I spent some time on the weekend thumbing my way through an interesting little book on menstruation. Called ‘Capitalizing on the Curse: The Business of Menstruation’, the book explores the impact that capitalist forces have had on our monthly periods. I know, I know – I can hear you now: “this is a blog about pubic hair — why the period talk?” Here’s why: because reading Kissling’s book about periods actually made me think a lot about women and their relationships to their own body hair. Kissling’s interesting premise is that though it’s a regular phenomenon for half the world’s population, periods are typically seen as icky and gross — a troublesome interruption in the month that must be dealt with (ideally) in secret (god forbid your males friends should catch a glimpse of a tampon in your purse!). It helps explain why women feel such shame and disgust at the idea of their own periods.

Kate Fridkis: 'The Pretty One': An Open Letter To Families Everywhere This is to families everywhere: I want to ask a favor of you. All of you. Please stop deciding which girl in the family is the prettiest. Please stop pointing this girl out in photos where she's standing with her sisters or her cousins. I know women who grew up as "the pretty one." I know women who grew up as the sister or the cousin of the pretty one. Families take pride in the beauty of their little girls. The other day, I listened to a woman praise her niece's loveliness. "They're all very pretty," I said. She nodded, acknowledging my attempt at unnecessary political correctness, and went back to praising only one of them. I didn't know what to do. But I am also getting angry. Because it keeps happening. At first, I couldn't believe my ears. I promise, they do. They do when they are educated and loving. They will definitely do it this Thanksgiving, when families throughout the country gather to eat together, compare notes, and brag about the kids.