Posts Tagged: feminism

Using Language to Combat Violence

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Feminism needs stronger language to combat violence against women, argues Jacqueline Rose in the Guardian. Fourth-wave feminism must confront the issue of male-on-female violence globally, crafting new language “that allows women to claim their place in the world.” She points to various forms of violent oppression women face regularly, from genital mutilation to rape as weapons of war.

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The Rumpus Interview with Women in Clothes

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The Rumpus speaks to Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton about Women in Clothes, a new collection of essays and art on the intricacies of femininity and clothing choices.

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Feminism Today

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At the Los Angeles Review of Books, editor and founder of Bookslut.com Jessa Crispin writes on feminism in its contemporary incarnation by way of two recent critiques of 50 Shades of Grey. She draws a distinction between feminism (a discourse) and feminism (a table-turning form of social domination) wherein “The bullied become the bullies [and the] abused become the abusers.”

Any sort of societal critique is thrown at a patriarchal straw man, as if all we have to do is get 50 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs to be female and an equal number of female bylines at The New York Times to have a better world.

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Who Are We Writing For?

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Sandwiched between fictions on one side and instructions on the other, a woman is often denied the breathing room necessary to find her individual sexuality. In a conversation at the Nervous Breakdown, Rumpus contributor Ashley Perez and author Cris Mazza discuss sexual pain (both mental and physical) and the damaging standards fabricated by literature and expected in life:

I want every woman who wrote [an unrealistic sex scene] to sit in a therapy group with me and describe her own sexual experience, so I can gauge these fictional ones.

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Cover Art Marginalizes Female Authors

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The disparity in the number of male and female bylines might very well have something to do with the artwork featured on their books. Cover art informs readers of a book’s contents, and publishers certainly try to manipulate readers, as Eugenia Williamson explains at the Boston Globe:

Harbach’s all-text cover has a hand-drawn, cursive script (for ladies) on a navy blue background (for men).

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Working Girls of Laura Jean Libbey

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Katja Jylkka, writing over at The Toast, looks at the working girl novels of Laura Jean Libbey—19th century love stories featuring “innocent,” “bewitching” heroines. Though these pretty young women were able to attract “the wolfish attention of every male in [their] vicinity” just like modern-day manic pixie dream girls, Libbey’s working girls differentiate themselves by exerting agency:

…the original Mary Sues tended to show young women and ethnic minorities in positions of leadership and power, where before they were relegated to minor roles.

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Gender, literature, and criticism

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Women’s work has always been awesome, just as the work written by people of color, minorities, and other classes of people who aren’t white men has been. The work of white men has been awesome, too, but it has benefitted from a system where their work has been assumed awesome, rather than graciously granted the chance to be awesome.

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Lil Wayne: Ecofeminist

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Back in college, Chelsey Clammer proclaimed herself an ecofeminist with an outbreak of bumper stickers on the back of her car: “Tree Hugging Dirt Worshiper,” “‘The Only Bush I Trust is My Own (and underneath that I wrote ‘and my girlfriend’s’),” and “a slew of…rainbow Ani Difranco stickers.”

These days, she’s more partial to Lil Wayne than the Lilith Fair, but she hasn’t given up her ecofeminist ideals, as she explains in an academically rigorous essay for the Nervous Breakdown:

“My anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got buns, hun.” Mix-A-Lot views (a part of) himself as a snake—perhaps as being one with nature.

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