The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: Feminism (page 1 of 2)

Book Review: The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

the tenth muse catherine chungReview by E. Kirshe

I try to write very thoughtful reviews about very thoughtful books, and I will, but I’ll let you know right away that Catherine Chung’s The Tenth Muse was excellent. Don’t waste time here, go read it.

Filled with lovely prose, The Tenth Muse manages to remain an intimate story while going through a sweeping history- we encounter many of the major events of the twentieth century through our protagonist Katherine.

The book follows Katherine, a mathematician, from her 1950s childhood through her years of school and work as one of the only women in her field. Her quest to solve the Riemann hypothesis takes us through to the end of her career.

As with most stories relating to women fighting for their piece of the world I was often inspired and then angry. Much like the real-world women of math and science who appear throughout the book (some anecdotally, some make a cameo appearance in the story) Katherine is often punished for being both clever and ambitious. Continue reading

2019 Spring Writing Contest Finalist: Butcher by Courtney LeBlanc

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Book Review: What Makes Girls Sick and Tired

what makes girls sick and tired cover

Written by Lucile De Pesloüan; Illustrations by Genevieve Darling

Review by Tess Tabak

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a new picture book intended to introduce young adults to basic feminism. It’s essentially an illustrated list of challenges women and girls around the world face. The author, Lucile De Pesloüan, cuts straight to the heart of feminist issues: “Girls are sick and tired because women’s bodies are always an issue, whether they are covered by yards of fabric or completely revealed.”

 

While the issues discussed are for the most part real concerns, it’s hard to imagine an audience for this book. Almost none of the statements are backed up with any examples or evidence (a handful contain footnotes with sources). If you’re already familiar with basic feminism, this book offers nothing more than a list of things you likely already know, written in a fairly repetitive way (every sentence contains some permutation of “girls are sick and tired”). On the other hand if you haven’t been exposed to feminist ideology, the book doesn’t really offer enough on its own. A reader would have to be curious enough to look up other sources, at which point, why not just read a more thorough text to start with?

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Amanda Quaid’s New Film “Toys” Brings Life to Poetry

amanda quaid toys

Amanda Quaid’s new film, Toys, packs a powerful punch in just two minutes. Based on a poem by stage and screen actress Peggy Pope, it tells the story of a father who uses gendered toys to mold his daughter into something she’s not, and a girl who resists.

An actress and playwright herself, Quaid stepped outside of her comfort zone in directing this film. She’d never done any kind of animation before – this was her first foray into the world of stop motion. “There’s real freedom and curiosity that can come from just being a beginner at something and seeing it through and not making it a livelihood or not making it my main focus. … I’ve been really fixed my whole life on what I was pursuing.”

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Why Are We Still Arguing About Baby It’s Cold Outside?

baby it's cold outside Continue reading

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

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