Tag Archives: feminism

Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote Book Review

It is a common misconception that the first wave of feminism in the early part of the 20th century was solely run by working class and immigrant class women. That is fallacy.

This year, writer Johanna Neuman’s new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote was published. Ms. Neuman writes of the women at the top of the social ladder who put their money where their mouth was to further the cause of feminism. Women belonging to the well-known families with names like Astor, Morgan, Belmont, etc, came together (as best they could) with their working class and immigrant class sisters to work towards a brighter future for generations of American women to come.

The beginning of the book was a bit slow, but when it picked up, it really picked up. By the end of the book, I was reminded that feminism does not just belong to a particular class of women or women who belong to a specific ethnicity. It belongs to all us and it is up to all of us to ensure that our daughters and granddaughters continue to have the rights and privileges that have been so hard-fought for.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, New York City

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World Book Review

While the basic definition of feminism is equality for women, it is much more than that. It represents an ideal that all human beings, regardless of sex, are judged for who they are and not for their sexual organs.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen, is an anthology comprised of essays, stories, lists, letters and art about the topic of feminism. Contributors include writers Roxane Gay, Malinda Lo, actor/activist Amandla Stenberg and actor/comedian/writer Mindy Kaling. They write about everything from finding self-love, navigating relationships and body image.

What I loved and appreciated about the book was that it was based on the real life and the real experiences of the contributors. I also liked that instead of just including essays and stories, the book also included art, letters and lists. The book could have read like a boring academic text, there was a life to the book. I don’t know about any other readers, but this book has certainly re-light the fire under my behind to continue to fight for my rights.

I absolutely recommend it.

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We Should All Be Feminists Book Review

Feminism is not just a cause to be embraced by Western women. It is a cause to be embraced by women from every corner of the world.

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie published her book, We Should All Be Feminists in 2012. She addresses feminism as it must be addressed in our modern era. Writing directly from her own personal experience, she shines a light on the topics that this generation of feminists must address to allow our daughters and granddaughters to make even greater leaps and bounds.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Though it is super small, Ms. Adichie speaks directly to what is a universal experience of being a woman and what battles we still need to fight to achieve true equality.

I recommend it.

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The Mother Of All Questions Book Review

Feminism, like any social justice movement is never static. It must be dynamic not only to meet the goals, both large and small of the movement, but also to adapt to the changing society.

Writer Rebecca Solnit published her 2nd book, The Mother Of All Questions, earlier this year. In this slim volume, Ms. Solnit writes about women who have stood up to the outdated and double standard rules of the patriarchy, the rise of rape jokes and other topics.

I appreciated this book because Ms. Solnit is unafraid to breach certain subjects in a very raw and real manner that hits the reader straight in the face. It it is a reminder that despite the enormous leaps and bounds that women have made, we still have a long way to go.

I absolutely recommend it.

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RIP Jane

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200 years ago today, Jane Austen breathed her last breath. No one could have predicted that her immortal afterlife has long outlasted her short 41 years on Earth.

Jane Austen is and will forever be a genius. Her writing is full of human characters who still resonate with readers and audiences 200 years after they were introduced to the Regency era reading public.

Sense And Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are adored the world over. Reading her books is like visiting an old friend, the experience never gets old or dull.

As a woman, a writer and a feminist, I look to Jane for comfort, for solace and for strength. She lived in an era when a woman’s only choice was marriage. Marriage in her time was more about income and status than love, companionship and mutual interests. She could have easily given into the pressure and married to keep a roof over her head and food on her plate. But she chose to not marry and instead, she created her own path. 200 years later, we still walk on the path that she created and we still admire her for being strong enough to create that path.

Thank you, Jane, for your strength, your courage, your wit, your intelligence and your amazing ability to craft a story. My world would not be the same without you.

 

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Filed under Books, Emma, Feminism, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Writing

Why I Re-Read A Strange Stirring

In 2017, it’s easy for modern women to appreciate the rights and accomplishments that we can call our own. But, at the same time, we don’t have to travel that far to go back to a time when a woman’s sphere was limited to that of a wife, mother and homemaker.

Today I finished re-reading A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s by Stephanie Coontz. In the book, Ms. Coontz examines now only the impact of Betty Friedan’s world-changing book, The Feminine Mystique, but also the criticism that was lobbied at the book and Ms. Friedan.

I re-read A Strange Stirring for two reasons: 1) how far women have come in a short span of 2-3 generations and 2) I needed reminder of how complex the feminist movement is. It is more than the right to vote or to own property or to receive an education. It is our continued fight to be seen and appreciated as the complex and complicated human beings that we are.

I also recommend it, in case anyone has not read it.

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We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement Book Review 

I think it is pretty safe to say that Madison Ave often has an inkling when a social or political movement can impact the bottom line.

This year, writer and journalist Andi Zeisler published We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement.

She chronicles how the advertising industry has closely followed the feminist movement and for better or for worse, has used the movement to sell products.

 I liked this book. I liked it because it sheds a light on a side of feminism that is rarely explored. We often don’t think about the brands we buy, but this book made me think.

I recommend it.

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November 8th Is Coming-Get Out And Vote!

Next Tuesday is a momentous day in American politics. November 8th, 2016 is the day that we finally go to the polls and determine who will next occupy the oval office for the next four years.

Regardless of who we vote for, we need to vote. Here are the reasons why:

  • Voting is both a privilege and a responsibility:
    • There are far too many countries in this world of ours where voting simply does not happen. The right to have a say in how a government runs a country is still a dream for far too many.
  • Don’t complain if you don’t like the decisions that our next President may or may not make.
    • There is always that one person who doesn’t vote because they don’t like either of the candidates of they feel like their voice is not heard. I can’t force anyone to vote next Tuesday, but I will say this: don’t complain about the direction this country is taking. Just saying.
  • For American women, this election is the most important election in our country’s history. There is no reason why any woman should sit back and rest on their laurels next Tuesday.
    • With a certain misogynistic, fake tan wearing Republican candidate running, Donald Trump,  running for office, we need to send a message that a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be. Not just in the bedroom or the kitchen or the playroom with the children. There are no boundaries to what a woman can accomplish.
    • Crossing fingers, America will have her first female President in the form of Hillary Clinton. As a woman reared by the second generation of feminism, hearing the words Madame President is music to my ears and represents the work of many women for more than 100 years.
    • It was not that long ago that American women were fighting for the right to vote. In four years, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

 

Next Tuesday, we have an honor, a right, a privilege and a responsibility  to step into the voting booth and determine how our future will be. I am proud to be an American and I am proud that my voice will be heard.

I hope to see you all at the voting booth.

 

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Filed under Feminism, National News, Politics

Lucy Preston, A New Heroine For Our Era

The glass ceiling is cracking. Every crack, regardless of its size is important.

Three weeks ago, NBC introduced audiences to a new television show and a new heroine. The new series Timeless, is a science fiction/history mashup about a group of unlikely heroes who must go back in time to prevent history from being altered.

Lucy Preston, played by Abigail Spencer is the female lead. Lucy is the academic and the historian of the group. Her job is to make sure that the history, as we know it today remains as such.

Lucy is a new kind of heroine. She is smart, capable and is not treated differently by her male colleagues because she is a woman. She represents how far women have come, not just in television, but in our overall culture.

While there are still more fully developed male characters than fully developed female characters on both the big and small screen, it’s nice to see that characters like Lucy are being created and presented to audiences. We need more characters like her.

Timeless is my new favorite show of the fall season and I absolutely recommend it.

Timeless airs Monday nights at 10PM on NBC.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Television

Good Riddance, Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly passed away today.

I normally don’t say this about someone who has just died, but good riddance.

During the height of the second wave of the feminist movement in the 1970’s Mrs. Schlafly fought against feminism and the equal rights amendment. It has yet to be passed to this day. For every right and achievement that American women have made since the 1970’s, we have setbacks. This is partially due to Mrs. Schlafly and her ilk.

Women should not be fighting against one another. When one woman wins the right to true and complete equality, we all win. When we deny the rights of our fellow women, we all lose. It’s time to stop fighting each other.

Good riddance, Phyllis Schlafly.

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