Feminism That Doesn’t Challenge Male Entitlement Isn’t Feminism by Caitlin Roper
This is a great history of the relationship between two very wealthy and powerful women who ended up on the Supreme Court both of whom had powerful husbands who supported their careers through what is, clearly, a legal mafia of rich friends and acquaintances. Both deserved to be on the Supreme Court, but they both got there by dint of class privilege (and, obviously, white privilege). I did raise an eyebrow at Ginsburg hiring only clerks who she knew via her family and friends networks. It’s not exactly a level playing field in hiring practises if you only hire people you came across either socially or through the legal version of AT&T friends and family plans. This is not to dismiss their accomplishments or their activism in legislation that supports women, but recognising that even The Notorious RBG isn’t quite as radical as rap videos suggest.
I was also surprised by the frequency in which the XIV Amendment to the constitution was invoked as the Holy Grail for recognising that sex discrimination was equal to racial discrimination. Clearly they should both be recognised under the Amendment. However, the Supreme Court’s judgments over the past few decades have eroded the supposed protections under the XIV Amendment making it nearly impossible for individuals experiencing racial discrimination to use the courts for legal redress.* Expanding the legal protections of the XIV Amendment is only helpful if those legal protections actually exist.
Ginsburg’s recent Dissenting Opinions have become the stuff of legend and are worthy of that status. O’Connor’s interesting voting patterns are equally fascinating. This is a history of feminism in action but also a story on how class and racial privilege can mitigate sex discrimination.
*Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, (The New Press, 2012).
Theo and the distinctly sexual flavour of French racism by @KGuilaine via @WritersofColour
This is not the way Milo Yiannopoulos should have gone down by Natasha Chart
The parallels between Scottish nationalism and racism are clear | Claire Heuchan
Pride, prejudice and pedantry by @wordspinster
Male Violence Is The Worst Problem In The World by @caitlin_roper
How should we teach children about contested histories? by @farahelahi via @WritersofColour
How the political correctness debate is being manufactured via @Slutocrat
‘Gestators,’ ‘hosts,’ and ‘pregnant people’: The bipartisan pact to erase women by RAQUEL ROSARIO SANCHEZ via @FeministCurrent
On individualist lifestylism and woman-blaming: musings on recent attacks at Liberation is Life
Anyone who follows my twitter knows how much my kid loves comics and superhero films. We have watched them all (and she’s read many of them). We skipped this one at theatre due to the whole whitewashing of history and the comics in order to flog the film to a Chinese audience. This week we watched a version that will result in no financial compensation for anyone involved in the production of the film. Below is my thoughtful and considered review.
There is only one scene in the film worth watching, And, it is in the credits. About a completely different film.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest The Clothing of Books is both an essay on the art of book jackets and love story of books from the perspective of a reader and a writer. It is beautiful and thought-provoking essay examining the way in which book jackets impact on how a book is understood and marketed. It is a short read at 70ish pages, but also one of my favourite books this year.
I read The Clothing of Books the same day I started Han King’s The Vegetarian, which won the Man Booker International Prize (2016). King’s book is also beautifully written. It also exemplifies Lahiri’s thesis on the complex relationship between writers and their books once the publishing company takes control. And, not in a positive way.
The front cover of my copy of Kang’s book includes both the emblem of the Man Booker Prize and a not quite inappropriate quote from Ian McEwan who calls it a “a novel of sexuality and madness”. Unfortunately, I suspect McEwan believes that the two apply to the same character. They don’t.
The blurb on the back is the following:
The Vegetarian is an extraordinary book, but it’s not “erotic” unless you view multiple accounts of rape as erotic. The book’s central character is Yeong-hye who, following a dream, becomes a vegan. Her husband, described as a “normal man” is abusive before Yeong-hye’s conversion. His abuse increases when Yeong-hye refuses to capitulate to his demands that she eat meat. He ignores her quite clear mental illness and anorexia and punishes Yeong-hye’s “defiance” by raping her on multiple occasions. Yeong-hye’s father also physically assaults her at a family meal for “shaming” her family. Yeong-hye’s husband abandons her after she is incarcerated in a mental institution; as do her parents. Later we learn that the father has a long history of emotional, physical and psychological abuse of Yeong-hye when she was a child.
The Vegetarian is an incredible, beautifully written book but it is not “erotic” since that which is being deemed “erotic” is rape. Yeong-hye, despite being schizophrenic and having anorexia, is read, by those who wrote the various blurbs on the book, as consenting to “allowing” her brother-in-law to paint flowers on her naked body and then “have sex” with her. The brother-in-law, who is already a lazy and incompetent husband and father, uses his position as a ‘trusted’ family member to target Yeong-hye. It is his sexuality and desire that is responsible for the destruction of his own family. His desire is not “taboo” as another comment on the books suggests. It is criminal. He chooses to sexually assault and rape Yeong-hye because he likes the idea of a birthmark on her bum.
In the end, the only person who stays with Yeong-hye is her sister, yet none of the comments on the book jacket mention sisterhood as a theme within. In-hye does everything that is demanded of a women: she is financially successful, the mother of a son, does all the caring and lifework so that her husband, “the artist”, has no responsibilities. She is the quintessential “good girl”. And, is punished, repeatedly, for being so.
In The Clothing of Books, Lahiri ponders if those designing her book jackets or writing the blurbs actually bother to read her books. Reading The Vegetarian, I too wondered whether or not those writing the blurbs had read the book. Or, if they simply failed to recognise the patterns of male violence and its impact on women. As with Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, which is described as “deeply romantic” on the book jacket, The Vegetarian, demonstrates the unwillingness of readers and reviewers to define male violence as violence.
I gave The Vegetarian two stars on Good Reads. As I write this, I wonder if the number of stars is a reflection of the book itself or a visceral reaction to the book jacket’s definition of the book. There is certainly a huge disconnect between my reading of the text and the blurbs on the book jacket.
How Michelle Obama expanded the definition of a first lady by Margo Jefferson
New Year’s femicide in Brazil reminds us what feminism is fighting for by Raquel Rosario Sanchez
Star Wars: Rogue One places Asian heroes at the core of its revolution by @KellyKanayama
Our cynicism will not build a movement. Collaboration will. by Alicia Garza
I’m so glad to spoil this film for you | Victoria Coren Mitchell
The unbearable whiteness of history by @JENDELLA via @WritersofColour
UK judges change court rules on child contact for violent fathers by Sandra Saville
First Class Racism by Jamelia
Generation treat yo’ self: the problem with ‘self-care’ by Arwa Mahdawi
Response to ‘Transgender Kids:Who Knows Best‘ via @fairplaywomen
TRIGGER WARNING by @extreme_crochet http://buff.ly/2jFtCBH
The Importance of Recognizing the Murder of Women as a Hate Crime by Zoe Holman via @broadly
Me and my accent(s) by Sara Salem
Liberal feminists ushered Ivanka Trump into the White House by by RAQUEL ROSARIO SANCHEZ via @FeministCurrent
Carrie Fisher Brought The Force to All by Joelle Monique
Carrie Fisher: an iconic princess who became a powerful queen by Daisy Buchanan
Remembering Jill Saward by Linda Riley
Remembering Jill Saward by Dr. Kate Cook
The great legacy British sexual assault activist Jill Saward leaves behind by Jane Gilmour via @DailyLifeAU
Jill Saward obituary by Julie Bindel
Zen Cho’s The Terracotta Bride
Zadie Smith’s NW
Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being
Julia Alvarez’ In the Time of the Butterflies
Janet Fitch’s White Oleander
Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadow
Celeste Ng’s Everything I never told you
Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune
Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words
Elaine Brown’s A Taste of Power: A Black Women’s Story
Audre Lorde’s Zami: A new spelling of my name.
Lindsey Hilsum’s Sandstorm
Gloria Wekker’s White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race
Warsan Shire’s teaching my mother how to give birth
I read both of these at the start of the year. And, again at the end. I have all Fisher’s books ( and Pez dispenser but not a copy of Abnormal Psychology).
Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Thinking
Carrie Fisher’s Shockaholic