Progress does not come out of mere wishing and praying. It requires us to step up, take a risk and do something that probably scares the sh*t out of us.
The Women of the 116th Congress was published back in October. With a forward by Roxane Gay, and photographs by Elizabeth D. Herman and Celeste Sloman, the book is nothing short of history making. To be fair, the 2018 midterm elections was history making in itself. Between the House of Representatives and the Senate, 131 women were sworn in. It is the largest number of women in the halls of power in American history. Each woman is photographed and given a brief opportunity to speak directly to reader.
“All I want to be is human and American and have the same rights and I will shut up.”
I loved this book. It was a reminder of how far American women have come, but also how far we have to go. This generation of American women stand on the shoulders of women who paved the way for us to succeed. If our daughters and granddaughters are to do the same, it is now up to us to pave the way for their future success.
There are many myths about feminism and the fight for true equality.
The new book, Feminism Is… sets out to tell the truth of feminism, examine the issues that fall under the feminism label and tells the stories of some of the women who helped to create the feminist movement.
The book starts with a forward written by Roxane Gay. It then walks the reader through the issues of feminism (such as pay parity and the #Metoo movement). Also included in the book are profiles of women such as Sojourner Truth and Emmeline Pankhurst.
Though this book is meant for young readers, I feel like it appeals to everyone who is interested and/or knowledgeable about the feminist movement. It speaks of the movement in such an open and honest tone that I hope that anyone who reads it at the very least, gains an understanding of what it is to be a feminist.
Rape culture is an ugly, pervasive part of the human culture.
The new book, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay, is an anthology of stories about rape and sexual assault. While there is a diversity of contributors (including actress Gabrielle Union and writer Amy Jo Burns), the message is clear. Instead of being heard and those accused of sexual assault given their days in court, the contributors were shamed, discredited and bullied in response of being raped and sexually assaulted.
This book is nothing short of amazing and a must read for every adult. It brings the truth about rape and sexual assault into the light in a way that is unflinching, hard-hitting and in your face. It forces all of us to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we will continue to allow such horrific acts to happen or if we will finally, as a culture, do something about it.
It’s not exactly a secret that women above a certain size are looked down upon.
Earlier this year, best-selling writer Roxane Gay released her new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Her most personal book to date, the book reads like a therapy session or an entry from her personal journal. After she was raped at a young age, she began to gain weight to hide her shame and mask her misery.
I’ve been a fan of hers since reading Bad Feminist (another book I highly recommend) for the first time three years ago.This book is poignant, emotional and it felt, for me as a reader, that writing this book was her catharsis not just as woman, but as a human being.
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.
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.
One of the upsides of feminism over the last few decades is that it has allowed women to be open about their ambitions. But while we are told to be ambitious, there is limit to how ambitious women can be without crossing the line.
Editor Robin Romm has compiled a series of essays by a diverse group of women about ambition. The list of contributors to the anthology Double Bind: Women on Ambition, includes writer Roxane Gay, singer/actress Molly Ringwald and playwright/TV show-runner Theresa Rebeck.
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because it shows that even with a diverse group of women, the overall experience is the same. At the end of the day, the book reminds of not only the battles that we as women have won, but also the battles that we still need to fight.
Harper Lee starting her writing career in a fashion that most writers can only dream of. Knowing that she wanted to write for a living, friends of hers gave her the Christmas gifts of all Christmas gifts: they paid her salary for one year, freeing her up from the juggling act of maintaining a full-time job and attempting to write. The result of that year is To Kill A Mockingbird, one of the most beloved and respected novels of the 20th century.
Harper Lee was one of the lucky ones. The rest of us have to find the balance between our full-time jobs, our families, whatever else we have to deal with and (hopefully being paid for) writing. This challenge (which seems to be universal among all writers) is addressed in the non fiction collection of essays, Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living Book Review. Edited by Manjula Martin (editor of the now defunct Scratch Magazine), the collection contains interviews and essays by well-known writers such as Roxane Gay, Jennifer Weiner and Nicky Hornby.
I really, really appreciated this book. What made me appreciate it is the universal struggle of all writers. Especially in the beginning, when we are starting our careers and hoping that our dreams come to fruition.
For an untold number of centuries, women have been portrayed as one note 2-D characters. We were either the virgin or the slut. The power/money hungry woman or the innocent. There was little to no in-between.
In Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, through the character of Anne Elliot, Jane speaks of this one-sided view of women.
“I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman’s inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman’s fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.”
“Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”
Thankfully, things have started to change for the better in recent years. Respected writer Roxanne Gay’s new book, Difficult Women, is about difficult women and how complicated we truly are. In this anthology of short stories, she writes about everyday women deal with in their own complex way. Love, sex, relationships, jobs, etc. Not one of her female characters is a 2D cardboard cutout of a character. Each has her own unique sets of traits that makes her difficult, complex and thoroughly human.
I very much appreciated this book. Even in 2017, it is still hard to find female characters that are not confined to either a stereotype or forced into a character trope that has been seen one too many times. I appreciated this book not just because of the vast array of stories and characters, but because I enjoyed reading it.
This past weekend, I finally purchased a copy of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist. I’ve been in love with this book for nearly two years, but I was not sure if I wanted to buy it. On Sunday I gave in.
So, in no specific order, here are the reasons I re-read Bad Feminist…
• Bad Feminist is this generation’s The Feminine Mystique. Just like Betty Friedan’s now classic book asked our grandmothers to ask themselves hard questions, this book asks our generation to ask hard questions.
• Ms. Gay makes no apologies for who she is and what she believes in.
• She is not afraid to reveal her imperfections to the readers.
• She does not tolerate b*llsh*t, especially from members of the male sex who think they know more than she does.
• Her twitter feed is awesome and never dull.
• She is not afraid to call out the chinks in the armor of the feminist movement: the limited visibility of women of color, the limited visibility of LGBTQ women and other women who are doubly or triply stigmatized for their race, sex, sexual preference, etc.
• She would rather be a bad feminist than not be a feminist at all.
And those are the reasons why I re-read Bad Feminist.