The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: Feminism

Book Review: Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography by Andrea Warner

Buffy Sainte Marie Andrea Warner

Review by Tess Tabak

In this volume, Andrea Warner paints a heartbreaking-yet-inspiring picture of Buffy Sainte Marie, the folk rock legend who’s mostly been erased from music history. Blacklisted by two US presidents, Buffy was an outspoken woman of color, and an activist, exactly the type of person that gets willfully forgotten.

When my baby boomer aunt saw this book, her face lit up. “I love Buffy!” she said. “Whatever happened to her?”

This book answers that question. Buffy only had one or two records that achieved hit status in the US. She never stopped producing music after that. However, much of her later works were not commercial successes, deemed too experimental. Other of her songs were covered by, and later attributed to, more famous musicians, including “Until It’s Time for You to Go,” a song Elvis Presley famously covered and allowed his fans to think he had written.

There’s even more to the story of why Buffy exists in relative obscurity today, despite being one of the most inventive, original artists of the 60s and 70s. This work makes a case for Buffy as one of the musical greats of the 60s. Continue reading

“It’s October! Time to Pretend We Care about Women” by Marissa Glover

It’s early October, and that means I’m bracing myself for when the whole nation suddenly turns pink and social media turns to talk of boobs.

Enough already.

I don’t want to “save the ta-tas,” and I don’t need to see some football team wearing pink gloves or socks for a day.

Here’s why.

Women are more than their breasts.

And before you call me a prude and tell me to relax (or take the stick out of my butt—yeah, I know how this goes), hear me out. Continue reading

Book Review: No Place to Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs, by Lezlie Lowe

no place to go cover lezlie lowe

In this delightfully tongue-in-cheek volume, Lezlie Lowe gives us a deep look into human history from an unexpected angle: the elimination of waste. She covers just about every aspect of public toilets you can think of, centered around access – who gets to use them, and who doesn’t.

Access is especially bad for women, Lowe points out, because the overwhelmingly male designers do not take women’s biology into account. Just one of the frustrating facts Lowe delves into is the fact that biologically, women take longer to urinate and need to urinate more frequently on average than men; yet public toilets often have twice as much accommodation for men as for women.

Throughout the book, Lowe covers every population that public toilets fail – people with disabilities, inflammatory bowel disease, the LGBT community, people of color, and the homeless. The lowdown: public toilets fail us because they are mostly designed by young, straight, white, abled men. Continue reading

Book Review: Untrue by Wednesday Martin

Review by Tess Tabak

Wednesday Martin paints a grim picture in Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong, and How the New Science Can Set Us Free. She posits that in much of the world, female sexuality has been hemmed in, due to a seemingly innocent cause: agriculture. As early hunter-gatherers, women roamed freely and the practice of multiple sex partners was common. But with the advent of the plough came the myths about female sexuality and gender roles we are taught today: that women are naturally domestic, frail, and monogamous.

The premise is one you might be familiar with – it’s been well-researched, as the NY Times noted. However, Martin infuses the subject with new energy, her own personal perspective, and a modern update, bringing recent developments like vaginal “rejuvenation” into the mix to show just how much gender roles have stayed the same. She discusses modern day adultery through the lens of two anonymous women she interviewed, Annika and Rebecca. One had an affair, and one didn’t, but both came to regret their choices for different reasons. Continue reading

Book Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

Review by E. Kirshe

Reading a book like Any Man is a test of endurance. It’s harsh in many of the right ways, the subject matter hard to swallow, the descriptions rough and raw, and has characters real enough to be heartbreaking. There is no denying Amber Tamblyn’s skill and creativity- the book is experimentally formatted using prose, poetry, tweets, and negative space to tell the story. The moral, however, is one I keep feeling I’ve missed the point of.

 

Any Man is told from the point of view of the male survivors of a vicious female serial rapist.

 

Broken down, it’s a well done story. The points Tamblyn makes about American sensationalist culture, our treatment of  rape survivors, overall rape culture and even our notions of who can be a victim are all solid. Continue reading

#Fearlesswomen in Science Fiction and Fantasy at Book Con 2018

Sci fi/fantasy authors S.L. Huang, V.E. Schwab, Charlie Jane Anders and Seth Dickinson joined in conversation with Kaila Stern of the Mary Sue at Book Con 2018. They talked about strong female characters, odious sexist tropes, and what’s needed to change the power dynamic in the entertainment world. Read highlights from their conversation below:

Continue reading

Is It Okay If I Write This Article About Female Authority?

by Meg Thompson

 

During the lead up to the 2008 presidential election, when I was an English Instructor in western Missouri, a student said to me, shaking his head, “A woman and a black man. Can’t we just have a normal person run for office?”

I don’t remember how I responded, perhaps because I fainted. Back then, barely a semester out of graduate school, my approach to handling the delicate issues of race and gender veered toward melodrama. Today, when met with similar rhetorical questions, it is not uncommon to find me crouching in front of the student’s desk like I am taking an order at Chili’s, nodding, probing with my little questions: Why do you think that? After class, we would go to the university coffeeshop so we could chat one-on-one, more in-depth.

Now, in 2016, that black man is getting ready to finish his second term and that woman has the democratic nomination in her grasp. My female students come to my office, which is now in rural Oklahoma where I teach, and tell me in hushed tones that they aren’t feminists, but they believe women should be given equal treatment. Continue reading

Q&A With Megan O’Russell

The Furious Gazelle spoke with author Megan O’Russell about her recent novel, The Tethering, and her upcoming short story in Athena’s Daughter’s II, and what makes her furious.

 

Q: The Tethering is your first novel. Where did the inspiration to write it come from, and what was the process of writing it like?

The TetheringThe process for writing The Tethering was a little strange and not something I would necessarily repeat. The idea for The Tethering came from a little boy waiting in a window for a girl to come back. I don’t really remember why that image came to me, but I needed to find out more about the boy. I wrote a scene and then another scene, and after a lot of revisions and changes, The Tethering was born. In projects since The Tethering, I’ve kept much closer track of what I’ve written so I don’t rewrite the same information ten times. I’m still finding the process that works best for me.

 

Q: Your upcoming short story in Athena’s Daughter’s II is based on the world of the Tethering. What were some of the challenges you faced creating a new story in the same world? Do you have plans to return to the Tethering world again?

My story in Athena’s Daughters 2, “At the Corner of the Garden Wall,” actually takes place during The Tethering. And if you read both stories, it is easy to see where the two line up. Claire, the girl featured in “At the Corner of the Garden Wall,” is a secondary character in The Tethering, but I have been told many times that everyone wants to know more about her. This story is Claire’s chance to have an adventure all her own. The biggest challenge was deciding what parts of the world of The Tethering were really necessary for the short story. If I had tried to explain everything about how magic works in “At the Corner of the Garden Wall,” I wouldn’t have had room for the actual story. I also had to refrain from getting too in depth with the setting. I know who lives where in the house, but the readers don’t need that information. So it all had to be cut.

And as for returning to The Tethering, book two in the four part series, The Siren’s Realm, will be available for preorder in February, so I am very much still in the world of The Tethering.

Q: How do you approach world building? When you started writing The Tethering, how much of the world did you plan out before you started writing?

I knew what I wanted. I wanted wizards to mix with our world. I didn’t want them to be separated from us. I wanted readers to believe that the sewer grate at the end of the street might be exploding because of magic. Figuring out the how and the why of it all was one of my greatest joys in writing the series.

Q: Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? What was it about and when did you write it?

I wrote a middle grade fantasy novel when I was in high school. I’m an actor by trade, and I wrote the story backstage during King Lear. I think writing and acting really go hand in hand. They are both wonderful forms of storytelling. And I am so grateful to have the opportunity to follow both passions.

Q: What are some of the books that you read growing up? How do you think they influenced your later writing, if they did?

I was such an avid reader my parents had to use both of their library cards so I could have enough books to only go to the library once a week. One of my favorite authors was Madeline L’Engle. I think from her writing I not only took away a sense of wonder, but also the desire to let my characters be who they need to be, even if I have to write another story for them to have that opportunity.

Q: What makes you furious about the lack of female science-fiction and fantasy authors published? How do you think we can increase representation of women in sci-fi and fantasy?

When I was looking for a home for The Tethering, the publisher I worked with briefly before Silence in the Library didn’t understand that the story was about more than romance. All they could see was the boy and the girl. The magic meant nothing to them. I was lucky enough to have a supportive editor who didn’t try to make me cut all the fantasy elements from The Tethering, but it was still rough. Because I am a woman, and there was love in my book, all it was to them was a romance. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean all I can write is teenage angst. And just because a boy loves a girl doesn’t mean there isn’t more to the story.

I am so grateful I found Silence in the Library and a true home for The Tethering. I am also thrilled to be a part of a project that strives to give more women a voice in fantasy and science-fiction. I think the best thing we can do to increase representation of women in sci-fi and fantasy is to support more projects like Athena’s Daughters 2. The only way for women to find their voice is to be given the chance to speak.

 

Megan O’Russell is thrilled to be publishing At the Corner of the Garden Wall with Silence in the Library. At the Corner of the Garden Wall is a part of The Tethering series, book one of which is currently available from SitL. And if you read The Tethering closely, you’ll find the night on which the adventure in the garden happens. Originally from New York, Megan is a professional actress who spends her time traveling the country for different shows. When not on stage or writing, Megan spends time with her beloved ukulele and her wonderful husband. To follow Megan’s writing adventures, you can visit her website at meganorussell.com.

Add The Tethering to your Goodreads list at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21480311-the-tethering

Athena’s Daughters II is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter.

Follow Megan O’Russell on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor or on Twitter @MeganORussell

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