Amy Berkowitz’s heartbreaking lyrical essay Tender Points explores the mental and physical pain of what it is like to live with a chronic invisible illness. The author juxtaposes pop culture characters, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, against her own experiences with sexual violence and chronic illness for a unique exploration of women’s experiences with the patriarchal medical system.
Berkowitz points out that women’s experiences are always viewed with suspicion, as if they are not capable of being reliable narrators for their own bodies. This is part of the reason why it’s so hard for women to have their illnesses taken seriously by doctors—most just write off their suffering as being “all in their heads.”
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, August 6th, 2015||No Comments »|
Instead of the usual historical fiction novel that delves into the usual Western history topics such as the Tudors or Victorian London, in The Rebel Queen, Michelle Moran takes her readers to India to meet an extraordinary ruler who is ready to defend her kingdom at all costs. Told from the point of view of Sita, who is one of the guards in Queen Lakshmi’s army, and the story she weaves is absolutely spellbinding.
When the British army sets out to conquer India in the 1850s, they expect Queen Lakshmi to hand over the Kingdom of Jhansi. She raises two armies in retaliation, one comprised of men and the other women. Even though the Queen is outmatched, she still fights ferociously to defend her country from the invaders who think they can get away with stealing her birthright.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Most movements, whether they be social or political, idolize the outspoken activists, the charismatic leaders, the extroverted posterboy/girl. These are the names that go into history books and get trotted out during month-long retrospectives. But illustrator Elia Mervi‘s The Quiet Resilience Project is not about the feminist icons you’ve heard of, it’s about the women in history you might not have heard of. It’s about the artists, the writers–creative women who showed tremendous strength behind the scenes through their art. “It’s a tribute to all those who fell into complete forgetfulness,” Mervi explains, “but their clear footprints were the first step of the way of feminism, freedom and equality.” Combining pencil sketches and water colors, Mervi creates soft portraits of iconic women like writer Virginia Woolf and artist Camille Claudel. The project is ongoing, so remember to check back for more.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, March 12th, 2015||No Comments »|
In Sally Hepworth’s The Secrets of Midwives, three generations of women struggle against the secrets that eat away at their lives. The main theme of the novel is how keeping secrets can have drastic consequences and how problems are passed from generation to the next.
Like her grandmother before her, Neva Bradley feels that it is better to hide the identity of her child’s father from both her family and friends. However, over the course of the novel, Neva has to decide whether it is better to let the truth stay hidden or finally speak up, even though it would mean the destruction of her world.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, March 12th, 2015||No Comments »|
Since it’s Women’s History Month, this video by Fandor Keyframe seems particularly relevant. We love their film analysis videos and have posted a few in the past already. Probably one of the most interesting thing about Fandor’s video essays is how they critique the Bechdel Test, a film criteria often used by feminists to test if a film is pro-women or not. However, the Bechdel Test isn’t perfect, and their video Beyond Bechdel: Testing Feminism in Film goes in-depth into the library of feminist films that surprisingly don’t pass the Bechdel Test. The video argues that Bechdel-approved films like Slacker, which only has one short scene that passes the Bechdel Test, do not outweigh films like Museum Hours, which doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test but has richly developed female characters. It’s probably best if we just let them explain it.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Monday, March 9th, 2015||No Comments »|
Margaret Atwood’s classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale is a chilling look at what happens when the patriarchy is allowed to rule the roost once and for all.
Offred remembers a time when she was happily married to a husband named Luke and was able to play with her daughter. A time where women weren’t considered chattel and were considered equals of men. Unfortunately, all that changed when the Republic of Gilead was created, and now Offred is a handmaid to the Commander. In this new society, women can only go out to the markets once a day and are considered a success if they are able to give birth to healthy children.
Reading The Handmaid’s Tale will leave you shuddering violently at the vision of such an awful dystopia, especially since there are so many extremely religious politicians out there today. This novel is a warning sign of what will happen should countries fail to keep a secure boundary between church and state.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, March 5th, 2015||1 Comment »|
While most graphic novels have a quintessential superhero who can do no wrong, Chuck Wendig’s young adult comic Atlanta Burns takes readers on a thrilling ride alongside a teenage vigilante. Atlanta isn’t Superman or Wonder Woman, thank goodness. She’s a little rough around the edges and makes mistakes. But in the process of saving two kids from bullies, another teen winds up dead by an apparent suicide and Atlanta blames herself.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, February 13th, 2015||No Comments »|