Category Archives: Literature

Interview with Debbie Reese

After I did my last post, about representation in children’s literature and Debbie Reese’s blog, American Indians in Children’s Literature, it occurred to me…why not interview Debbie? She’s incredibly smart and well-read and knows what she’s talking about in ways … Continue reading

Posted in Education, General, Literature, Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Racism | 5 Comments

Racism, Representation, and Children’s Literature

I teach children’s literature, specifically Golden Age children’s literature (1865-1926), aka Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Winnie-the-Pooh), and you might notice that those dates in the parentheses coincide with the height of the power of the British Empire. So while … Continue reading

Posted in Discrimination, Education, Literature, Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Racism | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Dragon Con followup: Female heroes and femininity

On Saturday, I sat on a panel in the American Sci-fi Classics track at Dragon Con, talking about female heroes in classic sci-fi. One question from the audience stuck out to me as being insufficiently addressed in the time we had available, so: Young woman in the front row, stage left, ’bout three seats from the end, if you’ve followed me here (which is totally cool and appreciated), here’s the answer you deserve.

Question: Seeing as how “femininity” is really just a social construct, don’t we need to see more heroines who eschew traditional signifiers of femininity? Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Gender, Literature, Movies, Popular Culture | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Quick hit: Duke freshman refuse to, can’t wait to read Fun Home

On the one hand: Several Duke University students have publicly announced their unwillingness to do the suggested freshman summer reading. They refused to read Fun Home, Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her experiences with her father and her relationship with her sexual identity, because it offends their Christian values. On the other hand: Other students, not locked into a fearful, fundamentalist view of the world around them, are excited to read Fun Home and gratified to see it on the reading list. Continue reading

Posted in Education, GLBTQ, Literature, Religion | Tagged | 24 Comments

Fifty Shades of Whatever, I Don’t Even Care Anymore, Life Is Meaningless: Grey

In a bid to wring every last cent out of the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon, author E.L. James has released Grey, the story of Fifty Shades of Grey as told from Christian Grey’s perspective. Some readers, both fans of the series and critics, were curious about Christian’s thought process during the original books, since the story we see from Ana’s point of view was so deeply creepy that dear God, there had to be something, something, something redeeming in the backstory to make it more of an edgy, kinky romance and less of an episode of Law & Order: SVU with a private helicopter. Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Violence, Literature | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Shockingly, Game of Thrones is all about rape, again, still

[Trigger warning for rape and sadistic violence]

SPOILER ALERT for Game of Thrones S5, E6, to the extent that it hasn’t been spoiled already.

And for current purposes, I think that’s about as much information as is necessary for a front-page post preview. Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Popular Culture, Sexual Assault | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Terry Pratchett, RIP

Terry Pratchett, a kind man and wonderful writer, died this morning. He had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2007.

Why is his death, the death of a white, male satirist and fantasy writer, worthy of note on a feminist blog? More than one reason, but let me begin with his books about witches. Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Just a few reminders before you buy those “50 Shades” Valentines

[Trigger warning for sexual violence and emotional abuse]

Valentine’s Day is coming up! That day of romance, of togetherness, of coupledom, of… domestic abuse… Valentine’s Day is the release date of 50 Shades of Grey, that sensationalistic movie based on the “How to Spot an Abuser” pamphlet in your college guidance counselor’s office. Women and men who have read the book and know perfectly well what the story is about will flock to theatres, either a) dreaming of the day that they’ll be stalked and violated by someone as dreamy as Christian, or b) hoping to score on Valentine’s night with the person they took to the movie. And while people are free to get their rocks off to whatever they want (within certain limits), it’s important to acknowledge that what may (for some reason) come across as sultry and sexy on the page would, in real life, be a Razorbacks halftime show’s worth of red flags. Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Violence, Holidays & Celebrations, Literature, Movies, Rape Culture, Sexual Assault | Tagged , , | 94 Comments

Sometimes I love McSweeney’s

Reasons you weren’t promoted that have nothing to do with gender.

Posted in Feminism, Literature, Popular Culture, Work | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Hermione Granger and the Giving of No Fucks

It’s Friday, and it’s been a rough week, and it’s been an even rougher two weeks, and more or less the entire world deserves better than it’s been getting, and here’s what the Harry Potter series would look like if Hermione were the main character. Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Popular Culture | Tagged | 3 Comments

Barbie’s male classmates can be computer engineers.

Barbie is one educated and versatile woman. She’s been, among dozens of other jobs, a dentist, a doctor, a sign language teacher, a special education teacher, a surgeon, a paratrooper, a jet pilot, an ambassador, a firefighter, an architect, an astronaut, a ballerina, a chef, an Olympic gymnast, an unspecified business executive, a news anchor, a cat burglar, a magazine editor, and the president of the United States. And now, per the book I Can Be a Computer Engineer, she’s a computer engineer (or at least can be one). Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Media & Media Literacy | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

For Angel H: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

A little while ago, I mentioned that I was reading Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird, on an open thread, a really interesting retelling of the Snow White fairy tale by a Nigerian-British novelist that engages issues of race in a … Continue reading

Posted in General, Literature, Trans | 21 Comments