Reviews and Blog Posts: Feminism

Gabi, a girl in pieces

by Isabel Quintero

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Gabi is a "Mexican fat girl". She loves her family, and food, and poetry, and maybe even Martin Espada. Also food. But no matter what she loves, she's pessimistic about her life. And why shouldn't she be? She's a virgin, she's poor, her father's a crackhead, her best friend is...

Oh, did that pass the Bechdel Test?

Miss Congeniality

While putting together a quick DVD display at the Ross-Broadway Library Branch this morning, I started thinking about the Bechdel Test. In case you have never heard of it, it's a simple test developed by a cartoonist in the eighties about women in film.

To pass the test a movie must have three things:

Cowboys are my weakness : stories

by Pam Houston

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I first picked up this collection of short stories when I was in college, after reading “How to Talk to a Hunter” in one of my creative writing classes and thinking it was clever. I wasn’t super excited to read what seemed to me to be just “relationship stories,” so...

True grit : a novel.

by Charles Portis

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True Grit by Charles Portis, first published in 1968, is the perfect starting block from which to begin an exploration into the Western genre. Having been adapted into two films (1969 starring John Wayne, and 2010 by Joel and Ethan Coen), the book is worth reading regardless of having seen either...

Hannah Arendt

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The German film director, Margarethe von Trotta, chooses stories about strong, conflicted women so it is not surprising her latest film is a biopic about Hannah Arendt. In the 1930s, Arendt was prohibited from teaching in Germany because she was Jewish. She was stripped of her citizenship, escaped a camp and...

Gaddafi's harem : [the story of a young woman and the abuses of power in Libya]

by Annick Cojean

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French journalist Annick Cojean writes an important but difficult-to-read account of the extensive system of sexual violence that existed in Libya under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. She uncovered this very secretive world of abuse while investigating women's role in Libya's revolution, a topic that has not received much attention. 


by Will Self

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If you are interested in a challenging literary read and you secretly wish for the second coming of James Joyce, then Umbrella will meet all your Modernist resurrection fantasies. Will Self uses boggling and dense language to describe the mistaken institutionalization of suffragette Audrey De'ath after she acquires sleeping sickness....

Silhouette of a sparrow

by Molly Beth Griffin

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It's the 1920s, and Garnet's mom has her life planned out for her. She's no longer allowed to pursue her passion, tromping through the forest looking for birds--she must learn to be a proper lady so that she can get married and take care of her home, husband, and children....

Flapper : a madcap story of sex, style, celebrity, and the women who made America modern

by Joshua Zeitz

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Sometimes I think goth, punk, and the retro styles now seen are variations on the flapper rebellion of the 1920s.  Zeitz manages to bring scholarship to the topic without making the flapper's story too boring.

The New England Scene: under the radar writers doing big things


Looking for some writers who have gathered a cult following, but may not make it onto your radar? Eileen Myles and Michelle Tea have been at the writing gig for quite some time. Tea is known as the predecessor of Myles and not simply because of their similar Boston backgrounds. They both write frank, honest, and deeply complex considerations of what it means to be female, gay, and a writer. Their upbringings give the backdrop to take ink to paper and write.

Their language picks you apart and asks you to hold up high the raw material they produce. It is no secret that female writers, especially of the obscure variety, remain that, a secret, without hitting it big in the mainstream. If you're looking for your expectations to be fulfilled, Myles and Tea aren't for you. If you're into writers moving towards a liminal space and disregarding censorship and societal norms, Myles and Tea are waiting for you.

Eileen Myles's collection of works include:

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