To look in the "Blues" section of most record stores, you'd think it was only men who had troubles worth singing about. This week it is my pleasure to prove this assumption SPECTACULARLY WRONG, with a glimpse at some of the women who have howled, growled, whimpered and moaned their way through the Blues.
Lori Aurelia Williams has been one of my favorite authors since high school, when I was lucky enough to stumble across When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune. Williams' debut novel was a poetic, mesmerizing story of a working-class family in Houston. It also was the rare story to deal with sexual abuse in a believable yet unexploitative manner, as the narrator slowly discovered that her friend, the title character, was being prostituted by her guardian. Williams went on to write sequel Shayla's Double Brown Baby Bluesand additional novel Broken China, and while the latter drew controversy for its depiction of teenage motherhood and stripping, I admire both of those works as well.
So it was that I approached Maxine Banks is Getting Married with astronomical expectations. Williams' first published book in five years, Maxine Banks features
a seventeen-year-old protagonist, her oldest yet and arguably her
strongest. Seeing her friend Tia's (a character from Williams' first
two books) happiness at marrying her longtime boyfriend, Maxine
suspects that marriage is the answer to her own life's inadequacies.
After all, she loves her sweetheart, Brian... and hates living with her
hypercritical mother and her mother's many abusive lovers.
Sarah Sparks loves technology. A freelance tech geek, she fixes everything from new computers to old radios and calls her home pregnancy test a "nifty gadget." When its digital face displays the word "pregnant," she comments to boyfriend, Leon, "It's actually a pretty good quality font for a disposable," before recognizing that her life is about to be altered by a much less predictable technology. In first time feature directors Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson's Small, Beautifully Moving Parts, Sarah (Anna Margaret Hollyman) is ambivalent about her pregnancy.
People with disabilities have long had difficulty accessing video games for various reasons and with varying degrees of limited accommodations. Game play details ranging from color schemes in darker settings to story lines and fight scenes that can overwhelm cognitive understanding have left many games out of the question. Controllers have been too difficult or impossible to use, and the mechanics too fast or the quest chains too long and tangled. The canyon of hardcore games almost seemed, at times, to bar disabled gamers from their guild.
Last week, a good (lesbian, childfree, professor) friend sent me an article from an issue of the Palgrave MacMillian journal Feminist Review from 2003. I've tended to stay away from these sorts of pieces in this series because I don't assume I'm writing for a specifically scholarly audience. That said, the article is a great overview of some dense, theoretical issues facing childfree feminist women, specifically in the scholarly research/analysis context, and I thought it was worth mentioning.
Each month in our nifty newsletter (sign up on the homepage if you haven't already), we'll be polling Bitch staffers and readers on their top five in different categories and posting the polls and results on the Bitch blog. This month, it's frontwomen whose talents we wish we possessed. So c'mon, give us five!
As you may know, this month marks Feminist Coming Out Day 2011, a holiday which encourages awareness of issues affecting the feminist community. We're super excited and honored to be a part of this year's festivities, and we recently spoke with organizers Lena Chen and Abby Sun to find out more. Read on for their answers!