February is Women in Horror Month, a time to reflect on the unrecognized community of female horror directors. Every year Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska, the sister filmmaking duo who run WiHM, put together a Massive Blood Drive PSA to encourage people to give blood (because who knows blood more than horror directors?) and support the female genre filmmaking community.
The PSA compiles teasers of short horror films submitted by other female directors from around the world. For 2015, the theme is “Blood From Unexpected Places,” paired with the tagline: “If There Were Other Ways to Get Blood, We Wouldn’t Need You.” The PSAs range from demented piñata parties to screaming blood showers to even a reverse male-gazey car wash (covered in blood, of course). Needless to say, but viewer discretion is advised. Don’t forget to also check out last year’s PSA.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Melanie Crowder’s novel-in-verse Audacity follows the life and times of Clara Lemlich, a young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York and was famous for her part in fighting for equal rights. Crowder takes readers on a fascinating journey not only through Clara’s feminist work, but also through her personal life as well. Details such as the agonizing decision to forgo the traditions of her Jewish family and fight tooth and nail to be taken seriously will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like the “black sheep” of their family.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Anita Diamant, who’s best known for her epic novel The Red Tent, takes us back in time to the early 20th century in her new novel The Boston Girl. The story is a riveting tale that explores family values and friendships through three generations.
Addie Baum, the daughter of immigrant parents, is a curious and adventurous young woman with dreams of going to college, getting married, and having a career of her own, unlike her stiff old fashioned parents. In the novel, she recounts her life story to her 22-year-old granddaughter, weaving together a story about changing times, broken relationships, and the roller coaster of life. From living alone in her first apartment to learning how to navigate her complicated family ties, Addie is an enjoyable, well-rounded character, one who’s insightful, witty, and an excellent storyteller. The Boston Girl might just be another coming of age story, but it’s one everyone can identify with.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, January 28th, 2015||No Comments »|
The topic of teenage pregnancy is one shrouded in puritanical advice. “Just don’t do it, ever!” is what our parents have been saying, but the lack of healthy conversations about sex only hurts women in the long run. Animator Signe Baumane touches on these topics in her animated short Birth. Baumane has a knack for touching on “taboo” subjects in a way that’s honest, provocative, and refreshingly feminist. Her Teat Beat series is an “explicitly educational” look at sex from a woman’s point of view, and her first feature length film, Rocks in My Pockets, is a funny look at mental illness based off true stories of women in her family.
Birth follows Amina, a 17-year-old girl who just finds out she’s pregnant. Unable to talk about sex or anything adult-like with her mother, she turns to her aunt who tells her a sordid tale about how pregnancy ruined her life. With a dark sense of humor, the short shows the sacrifices women make when they give birth. It’s funny, kind of depressing, but most importantly, real.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Thursday, January 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Rupi Kaur’s exquisite poetry collection Milk and Honey is a heartbreaking and hopeful tale about what it means to go through hell and come out the other end as a survivor. There are four chapters in Milk and Honey, each of which are devoted to taking the reader on an emotional rollercoaster ride thanks to Kaur’s haunting poetry and deft way with imagery. Kaur allows you to experience violence, abuse, love, and loss, all while musing on the power and expectations of femininity. Some of her poems will make you flinch and gasp in horror while others will have you sharing her loss and weeping with her. However, by the end of each of the four chapters, Kaur’s poetry allows readers to delve into the very depths of different heartaches so that they can begin to see the wisdom in all of the pain that the narrator has been through.
Even though many of Kaur’s poems deal with a fairly dark subject matter, Milk and Honey is not all doom and gloom. In fact, by the end of the collection, she shows her readers that every bitter moment in one’s life will always give way to the light, as there is good all around us if we take a moment to see it.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, January 9th, 2015||No Comments »|
Bold feminist Gabriela Ramirez discusses how misogynistic beliefs in our society are at the root of the catcalling problem during a TEDTalk at the DaVinci School in 2013. She begins by defining the word “misogyny” before launching into a hair-raising tongue-lash at street harassers who think it’s a-okay to cat-call women. Ramirez points out that we as a society have never learned to respect others, which is why cat-calling is brushed off by the general public as “no big deal” when in fact it’s a huge issue and causes women of all ages to cautiously monitor their surroundings whenever they step outside.
She also adds that one in five women will be victims of sexual assault before the age of 18 and that the abusers were once teenagers who likely started off committing “small” crimes, like cat-calling. From how the media perpetuates harmful stereotypes to how breast cancer campaigns erase living, breathing women, Ramirez’s speech is an evident wake-up call.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, December 18th, 2014||No Comments »|
Slam poet Kendra Urdang’s performance of her proactive piece “To Every Man Who Never Called Himself a Feminist” calls out the hypocrisy of the patriarchal and incredibly misogynistic society that we live in today. In the poem, Urdang points out that many men (and women) are in denial that “boys next door” could rape women and insist on perpetuating the lies that rapists are scary strangers lurking in dark alleyways for their next victim. Urdang then notes that much of the misogyny in our society stems from the belief that white males are “better” than women. She then calls out all the men who sexually harass women on the street by using slur words and the hypocrisy of their moral politics.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, December 1st, 2014||No Comments »|