Y’all may not have noticed, but I truly love Margaret Atwood.
The Women’s March on Washington is what is inspiring me right now. It started out as just an idea following on the surprising election results and has now grown, grassroots-style, into the largest protest and demonstration to take place in response to the inauguration. The march is for everyone, regardless of gender identity, who believes that women’s rights are human rights. The primary march will be held in Washington, DC, but there will be supporting marches in cities, large and small, around the world. Where I live, there are at least three supporting events within easy driving distance.
I was impressed with the Women’s March Global Mission for Equality, and I hope this signals the beginning of a powerful and effective worldwide movement. I only wish that education of girls and women was a plank in the mission statement, because I personally believe that education is the key to empowering women.
For those of us who enjoy self-education, I offer my favorite feminist reads to help you resist in the coming years:
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin
- The Female Man by Joanna Russ
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
- The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper
- The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall
- The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant
- Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
- Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
- When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
- Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
- The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
- Persuasion by Jane Austen
- Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
I have posted a survey of feminist dystopian visions. I hope you enjoy.
I have have posted a survey of feminist utopian visions. Hope you enjoy.
Here’s a roundup of online reading I’ve been doing lately around issues fo diversity, gender equality, and culture change. Enjoy!
- Why gender equality is good for everyone — a very interesting TED talk by Michael Kimmel.
- Twofer from the New York Times this Sunday — when can women stop looking perfect? (hint: now) and it’s payback time for women.
- A toxic work world, especially for women.
- How Wikipedia is hostile to women.
- All-male panels at conferences–sexist. Hey, it’s math!
- Time is a feminist issue.
- Did you see the new Star Wars movie? What to do when you’re not the hero anymore.
- Shonda Rhimes, normalizing TV.
- A different pinup calendar this year.
- There is no one way to live a happy life.
You may think Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit’s short collection of essays (including the one that helped spawn the term “man-splaining”), is necessary reading for women, and you’d be right. But it’s also a great read for all creative types.
When I first started reading these essays, I felt angry. That’s okay; I’m used to feeling angry. What I liked about this collection is that she goes beyond anger, which can lead all too easily to feelings of despair and hopelessness, and provides hope for a brighter future, as well as an impetus that we all keep doing our small part because everyone’s work toward equality is important. “Woolf’s Darkness” was the essay I most highlighted, because it talks about how creative work gets done and ties that into the limitations placed on women, and also because it introduces the idea that the future is dark. We cannot know what will happen in the future or how our actions now might make a difference. We are all spinners in a web, and how those threads come together, we just don’t know, but those threads are all necessary, so we cannot stop our work, whatever it may be. We all make a difference.
Solnit says in this essay:
“To me, the grounds for hope are simply that we don’t know what will happen next, and that the unlikely and the unimaginable transpire quite regularly. And that the unofficial history of the world shows that dedicated individuals and popular movements can shape history and have, though how and when we might win and how long it takes is not predictable.”
“Despair is a form of certainty, certainty that the future will be a lot like the present or will decline from it; despair is a confident memory of the future, in Gonzalez’s resonant phrase. Optimism is similarly confident about what will happen. Both are grounds for not acting. Hope can be the knowledge that we don’t have that memory and that reality doesn’t necessarily match our plans…”
While this essay spoke volumes to me, my favorite essay was “Grandmother Spider,” which begins by showing how women have been erased from family lines and thus from history, and ends by honoring the work of women, all of it, and how it taken together weaves an intricate and beautiful web:
“Every woman who appears wrestles with the forces that would have her disappear. She struggles with the forces that would tell her story for her, or write her out of the story, the genealogy, the rights of man, the rule of law. The ability to tell your own story, in words or images, is already a victory, already a revolt.”
An inspiring collection for all people really.