Well, Thanksgiving's over and the holiday season has officially begun. No matter what you celebrate this time of year, chances are you're going to need to buy a gift for someone, and that's where our "Bitch in a Box" series comes in! Between now and the end of December, we (Bitch HQ staff and interns) will be taking turns writing themed gift guides designed to please even the scroogiest feminists on your shopping list. To kick things off, here's my guide to gifting for the pet lovers in your life—be sure to add your own suggestions in the comments!
As 2010 draws to a close, it's the time of year that nonprofits ask for donations. Bitch Media is no different; we need ongoing financial support. Usually, we would ask you to make a gift after telling you why you should support us. However, Bitch Media is lucky. We don't need to tell you why Bitch is important because we can let our supporters tell their own stories. This week, Everett Maroon, esteemed Bitch Blogger, explains why he ♥s Bitch.
I came out of a cultural studies program with new eyes. We know these moments: we can't read the newspaper anymore. Television is riddled with offensive stereotypes and harmful messages for women, people of color, transgender folks, queer people, and of course, many of us occupy more than one of these communities. Our favorite books, when reread after consciousness raising, disturb us because we hadn't noticed how chocked full of lies they are. We ask to see cultural deconstructions in media. Why aren't there feminist analyses of popular culture?
Although you can count her published works on one hand, Nella Larsen's achievements went beyond literature. She was a head nurse at the Tuskegee Institute, and the first African-American woman to graduate from library school as well as the first to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Today we encounter perhaps the most difficult entry of the series. While "important" and "palatable" are not always mutually exclusive descriptors, there's no denying the cultural significance of writer-director Julie Dash's hypnotic and elliptical 1991 debut feature Daughters of the Dust, which apparently was the first nationally released film by a black female director. In 2004, the Library of Congress' National Film Registry accepted it in its canon. Its distributor, Kino International, has a close relationship with Janus and thus is similar to the Criterion Collection in its commitment to film restoration and definitive DVD packaging. However, it's a slippery movie to review, not the least of which because this critic is a white woman with a shaky grasp on the folkloric traditions represented and referenced herein.
We took a long gander at the 2010 midterm elections, and I'm grateful we've had this time together, even if electoral politics often seems like an unworthy issue to spend quality time examining. For me, assessing the rhetoric from politicians and the press who cover them is telling because it outlines the parameters of debate across a range of issues and by illuminating what gets spotlighted, we can ask discursive questions about where the silences are and what effects stem from that silencing. With this general method as context, let's take a look at the next two years, as we gear up for another presidential election.
Today's entry marks the first official selection of the horror genre. It isn't my intention to project ill will toward familial bonding the Friday after Thanksgiving, as I'm having a fine time with my partner and parents. However, maybe this post will entertain those waking from food comas or folks heading back home.
I'm a recent convert to horror movies. I started my master's program in media studies four years ago dead against them. Apart from being an easy scare, I was convinced as an avowed feminist that there was nothing salvageable about such a violent genre. I was quickly put in my place by some members of my cohort, whose feminist identity was defined in part because of their horror film fandom. My appreciation began with reading portions of film studies professor Carol J. Clover's Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. I learned a great deal from her theorization of the archetypal Final Girl, a smart, resilient, often androgynous protagonist with feminist potential for whom Halloween's Laurie Strode serves as an exemplar. A smart commenter brought up the Final Girl in my recent post on Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl. The influence of Clover's ground-breaking book continues to be felt in the academy, and insinuates itself in movies like Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. I continue to be inspired and challenged by commentary from sites like Dark Room and Fangirltastic.
Another important aspect of horror movies that needs more critical inquiry is the foregrounding of female homosocial bonding. Recent releases star groups of women engaging in physically exhausting or extreme activities. British writer-director Neil Marshall's 2005 feature The Descent focuses on six women who go spelunking in an unmapped cave system in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
My time with you is winding down, Bitch readers. I will miss you! But I've still got a few posts in me.
I've written about a lot of the women (and men) who have, for lack of a better word, inspired me. Voices and images and guitar, bass, and drum licks that kept me going, made me work harder, blurred out the bad things and come along with me for the good.
I could write for a year and not do any of them the justice they deserve, and there are lots of them that won't make it here—some I meant to cover and didn't because things happened and drove me in other directions, and others I remembered just recently. There are thousands of stories in my life that are connected to music, and probably even more critical lenses with which to focus on a particular song, video, album, performer.
But I've got my last post planned for you already, and so that leaves me with the open space today. And really, only one option that I simply can't miss.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and since today is a day of recovery/digestion, I figured it also might be a nice time to listen to some food-themed songs and reminisce about yesterday's feast. Kelsey did a food mix a few months ago, but it's such a good theme, and there are so many good songs about food, that I had to reprise it. I'm also going to steal her idea to put the songs in chronological food order, from breakfast to dessert. (The mix is a little dessert-heavy, but what can I say...I love dessert.) Dig in!