Saturday, 7 February 2015

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” ― Jane Austen, Persuasion

Recently I've been getting into reading an increasing number of books about feminism, gender struggles and the history of equality. While we have all been perusing the shelves (to stack all the new releases (!!)), we have discovered lots of excellent titles! It also probably helps that in attending a class on literature, we are having a focus on feminist texts. So here are three from our selection to get you thinking...

HALF THE SKY, How to Change the World by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Gives a fresh look at what part women play in in eradicating poverty throughout the world. Stories of overcoming adversity, and the challenges that are faced all over the globe.  It's a hopeful and pragmatic book that as their website says 'is essential reading for every global citizen'. I can only assume that half the sky comes from Chairman Mao's quote that 'women hold up half the sky' which while I agree with, sometimes makes me wonder why he is always quoted. Well I guess he did at least one thing right..

WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINIST by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Is it bad that I first heard of her from a Beyonce song? Anyway, this is based on her TEDx talk that she gave in 2013. It's a an empowering (for want of a better word), and excellent resource that makes you proud to be a feminist, nay, we should all be feminists.

"What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity and money? What if their attitude was not "the boy has to pay," but rather, "whoever has more should pay." Of course, because of their historical advantage, it is mostly men who will have more today. But if we start raising children differently, then in fifty years, in a hundred years, boys will no longer have the pressure of proving their masculinity by material means."

THE FACT OF A DOORFRAME, Poems 1950-2001 by Adrienne Rich
A selection/collection of poems spanning virtually her whole life, Rich sheds light on the story of 'the other' in a patriarchal dominant society. Her words are both strong yet lilting as she draws the reader in with historic parallels to the struggles at hand. Be warned though, if you start a discussion on her work, it may never end...

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