Born Chloe Anthony Wofford in 1931, Toni Morrison is one of the most iconic literary figures of the twentieth century. She was born in Ohio, to which her parents, Ramah Willis Wofford and George Wofford, moved in order to escape the racist climate of the US South. I'll be referring to her by the name by which she is known professionally, Toni Morrison, throughout this piece, but I want to point out that Toni is the nickname, and Chloe Wofford preferred. She writes a lot about being denied one's true self, and, as naming is a powerful determinant here, I don't care to be one to let this writer's true self go unacknowledged. Morrison, then, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993–the eighth woman to be awarded this honour–and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. Morrison's services to literature have not just been through her own fiction, however; she's edited writers such as Angela Davis, promoting black literature every which way she can.
In the public library I recently came across a really interesting book called Women in Pacific Northwest History. It's a collection of articles about specific women and groups of women who made an impact on the culture and politics of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. I paged through articles about some really amazing people like Abigail Scott Duniway, Oregon settler and suffragist, and Bertha Knight Landes, who was mayor of Seattle in the 1920s and the first woman mayor of a major US city. The Northwest has a rich history of women who worked for positive change, and the book, edited by Karen J. Blair, is worth checking out, especially for all of you famously proud Northwesterners.
One section that particularly stood out to me was an article by Gail M. Nomura about a Japanese-American woman named Teiko Tomita. Tomita was born in Japan in 1896 and worked as an elementary school teacher until her early twenties, when her parents matched her with a man who was working as a farmer on the Yakama Indian Reservation in central Washington state. After a two-year epistolary courtship, the two were married in Japan. Soon after their wedding, they traveled to Washington to farm for a few years, thinking they would earn some money and return to Japan. But the climate in central Washington was harsh, and the Tomitas faced prejudice and isolation. The weren't able to earn enough money to go home. Teiko Tomita stayed in the US until her death in 1990.
We've been following the sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange for the last few weeks, and we're really upset with all of outrageous victim-blaming that's been going on. So, I thought I would compile a book list for those of us who would like to feel more well-versed when talking about rape culture, and for those of us who still have no clue what rape culture is (I'm looking at you, Naomi Wolf). These are books that effectively explain how and why rape is justified and ignored in our culture while also envisioning a future where sexual violence does not exist.
Are there books that helped to shape your understanding of rape culture? Let us know in the comments.
Tamora Pierce is every feminist fantasy fan's favorite, hands down. She writes engaging adventure stories with, for a nice chance, substantive engagement with social justice issues. Born in Pennsylvania in 1954, Pierce started writing her fierce teenage girl warriors when she couldn't find them in the books she read. Thanks to Pierce, millions of readers don't have that problem. I discovered her when I was twelve after a classmate just wouldn't put the Alanna books down. I'm only sorry that I didn't discover them earlier, because the intervening years have been full of fan-ish joy.
Mixing classics with covers, this edition of BitchTapes contains some of our favorite Christmas songs, spanning decades, genres, and levels of corniness. From Thao Nguyen to Loretta Lynn and from Kristy MacColl to Eartha Kitt, you're sure to hear something you'll like. Plus, our mix contains a fair amount of songs that emphasize the not-so-jolly aspects of the season, like if you're heartbroken, broke, or in prison. Enjoy, and we hope your winter celebrations are swell! (Track list after the jump!)
Ye Olde Douchebag Decree is going to look a little different today. We've got on our hands a bona fide REFORMED Douchebag, y'all. Call it a Christmas Miracle. Michael Moore, you are the man of the hour. Come on down!
You know how we've all been wondering how MTV could continue to air Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant while avoiding the topic of abortion? Nearly one-third of teen pregnancies end in abortion, yet the popular MTV shows have skirted the issue for a few seasons—until now.
If you've ever thought the rainbow patch could use a 21st century makeover, you weren't alone. Revel & Riot is a new company whose aim is to "promote LGBTQ rights, awareness and equality through new media, graphics, writing, and products on the internet." Their tees, posters, and buttons with sharp designs and reappropriated statements ("God Hates Bags", "Gay is Good", "Ask. Tell.") are awesome and a great way to show your politics while looking good. by Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home author Alison Bechdel has even given a shout-out to them!
Ah, a new twist on the classic rags-to-princess-riches tale: An American woman dreams of royalty, moves to London, continues to obsess about royalty, meets the man of her dreams, and... starts a luxury princess camp. Yes, royal enthusiast Jerramy Fine has launched Princess Prep Camp. Now, for just £2,545 (that's $3,995) per child—girls only, natch—the eight-year olds in your life can live at the height of excessive opulence, complete with a butler, for one week (airfare not included).