"Rave On" is the Page Turner series that asks feminist writers, artists, musicians, activists, leaders, and scholars to talk about a book that completely rocked their world. Today we feature writer Nona Willis Aronowitz on Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown.
I was in the midst of a family vacation when I flopped on my parents' bed and gave my mom puppy-dog eyes. "I'm bored," I whined. "I finished all my magazines. My Discman is out of batteries. And there's no TV here!"
My mother, feminist writer Ellen Willis, smiled knowingly and dug through her book collection. "Here," she said, handing me a tattered copy of Rita Mae Brown's semi-autobiographical Rubyfruit Jungle. "I promise you'll love this."
This article was originally published on July 1 at WIMN's Voices (don't worry -- they gave us permission to re-post it!)
By Jonathan McIntosh
I usually try to stay away from the forces of darkness, but last week I killed a famous vampire – and let me tell you, it was fun! Actually, I didn't stake him myself — I used new media tools to allow one of the strongest female television characters of our generation to do it. OK, let me back up a minute. Last week, at the Open Video Conference at NYU Law School, I debuted my feminist mash-up video, Buffy v. Edward. It's an example of transformative storytelling which reinterprets the movie Twilight by re-cutting and combining it with the TV series Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.
Read the rest of Jonathan's article after the jump!
News in tired feminist stereotypes has taken a turn for the weird in this month's issue of Harper's Bazaar. Fashion designer (and future zombie-lookalike contest winner) Karl Lagerfeld is the author of an article wherein he interviews the long-deceased Coco Chanel, playing the part of both the interviewer and subject by channeling Chanel from beyond the grave. (Hey, you were warned about the weirdness.)
At any rate, this might just be another example of extreme (and extremely creepy) fashion industry navel-gazing if it weren't for a few particularly obnoxious questions/answers by the zombie-esque Lagerfeld and his familiar, the actual zombie Chanel. (Fear not: Though Chanel is in fact answering questions from beyond the grave, there is no evidence yet to support her status as an actual zombie.) An excerpt from the "interview":
HB: Your clothing liberated women in the 1920s. Are you still a feminist?
CC: I was never a feminist because I was never ugly enough for that.
Puh-leez. Lagerfeld, are you serious? Can we EVER get away from the feminists-are-ugly attack? It looks like some people in the fashion industry are still using this insult even 38 years after they have DIED! Get over it already! And stop channeling dead people in order to take cheap shots at feminists! Not cool!
One day's worth of breast milk from a new mother barely reached the first line on a four ounce vial. The freezer that held the thin, yellowish milk was nearly empty, too—the first breast milk donation bank in the Northwest was not officially open for business last week when I stopped in.
The still-humble milk bank, housed in a small room on the second floor of Adventist Hospital in Southeast Portland, will be the 11th official non-profit breast milk bank in the country. In a toy-filled waiting room next to the birthing wing of the hospital, lactation specialist and organizer of the Northwest Mother's Milk Bank, Peggy Andrews, recalled what it was like back when she breast-fed her children in the late 60s, "Only three percent of women were still breastfeeding at three months. And it was pretty much just the hippies." In her time working in hospitals, Andrews says the culture has completely changed—in Portland, 90 percent of women breastfeed their babies, as do 72 percent of women nationwide.
And what has been integral to mainstreaming the image of breastfeeding? Andrews immediately points to media. "Media has played a very positive role in presenting breastfeeding in a positive light, like talking about world breastfeeding week and showing breastfeeding moms on TV. Forty years ago it would embarrass male news commentators to even say 'breast.'"
Personally, I had never heard of world breast feeding week or, to my memory, seen a breastfeeding mom on TV but, come to think of it, that's probably because I don't own a TV.
More on the milk bank below the cut!
Ladies, I have a confession to make. I don't like vibrators.
Now, I have much respect for my feminist sisters at Good Vibrations and Babeland. If you love their products, and they get you off and make you happy and compensate for a lover with bad skillz or no lover at all, more power to you. I do not judge AT ALL. Unfortunately for me, vibes always fail to Get the Job Done. And believe me, I've tried.
The other day I was alone in the car and, as you do, singing at the top of my lungs with the radio. The song that was the focus of this particular private performance happened to be Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop" and as I belted out the lyrics, Middle of the bed/ Givin' gettin' head my thoughts turned to oral sex. More specifically, my thoughts turned to songs about oral sex. I wondered, "What songs are out there that give oral love a good name?"
Now, your first thought here might be, "Get your mind out of the gutter and focus on driving!" And your next thought might be, "Why should we care about songs that focus on oral sex?" To your first thought I say don't worry; I didn't take my eyes off the road once during my oral sex-y brainstorming session. And to your second thought I say, if we can agree that the mass media can affect public perceptions, then it stands to reason that songs that put oral sex in a positive light can affect public perceptions of the act in a positive way. (Read: The more songs that make oral sex seem fun and cool, the more oral sex we will all give/get, and the better we'll feel about it.) This is a good thing for all parties involved, but it is an especially big win for women. That's because the media often suggests that women can orgasm very easily from penetration alone, yet just about anyone who has had sex with/is a woman knows that it often takes a lot more than that.
So what are the best oral-sex-positive jams? Let's discuss after the jump!
Warning: The following post may be NSFW, depending on where you W.
This is not new information: Pat Benatar rocks. It's so obvious, I know. Yet I felt compelled to write this week's Adventures In Feministory about Pat because, frankly, I did not know as much about her as I thought. My recent renewed transfixion with all things Benatar formed because of her current tour with another ridiculously awesome '80s lady rocker, Debbie Harry. The Call Me Invincible tour might as well have been formed literally from one of my daydreams because Benatar and Harry are two of my favorite musicians of all time. Benatar's music is timeless, eternally relevant and oozes with lady empowerment. Read a little about how she got so damn huge after the jump!
A highly circulating AP article on the increasing number of women with DUI charges sends mixed messages about women who mix drinking and driving. In the wake of a tragic car accident that killed eight people, four of which were children, media attention has focused on women who drink and drive--especially if they're mothers.
Diane Schuler was found to have consumed alcohol and marijuana before driving onto the the wrong lane of traffic. According to some studies, in recent years women have been drinking more and have been arrested more for DUIs. But troublesome quotes seem to direct attention off the problem at hand and more to why it's all of a sudden women are getting caught drinking.
"Younger women feel more empowered, more equal to men, and have been beginning to exhibit the same uninhibited behaviors as men," said Chris Cochran of the California Office of Traffic Safety.
It does seem to be coded language for "Feminism drove Diane Schuler to drink and then to drive," an anti-feminist myth with dangerous repercussions.
I fully support an end to drunk driving and alcoholism, and my heart goes out to everyone who has ever lost someone to drunk driving. My beef is with the way the media is approaching the issue of women (and mothers) who drink. It's as if it takes the unthinkable for attention to turn on how to address women and alcoholism (this is in addition to the fact that the statistics don't quite tell the same story). Barbara Ehrenreich got it right when she said "Gender equality wouldn't be worth fighting for if all it meant was the opportunity to be as stupid and self-destructive as men can be."
Sarah Mirk's post last month, Beat the Majority - Name a Female Scientist, reminded me of an ad I saw several years ago for a Women in Film festival here in Seattle. In it, a dominatrix flanked by muscle men is asking a man in an interrogation chair if he can name five female directors – five female directors who weren't actresses first. Of course, he can't, and the dominatrix proceeds to list all the directors included in that year's festival line-up. While many accomplished actresses have also directed – Barbara Streisand, Jodie Foster, Ida Lupino, Sofia Coppola, Penny Marshall, and Diane Keaton – to name but a few; it could be argued that it was their acting that helped them break into directing. This should in no way belittle any of their accomplishments, but what about women who set out to direct in the first place, without the benefit of already being recognized?
Hi Bitch blog readers! I'm a sometime blogger (under an assumed name, mostly, but my sorely neglected personal blog is here) and I can't tell you how excited I am to be associated with Bitch even briefly. I am incredibly honored to get to talk to and with you for the next few weeks about women and television, a subject about which I am embarrassed to say I know entirely too much.