This past weekend was Blogher 2009, the largest gathering of women bloggers. And I believe that is the key to the many tensions that hovered over the otherwise amazing conference. Women are not one cohesive entity. While there might had been 1500 different visions for Blogher, a few key issues did surface over the weekend.
If you think politics today is a boy's club imagine 1860s America. The Civil War was beginning, slavery was not yet illegal, and women were still a good eighty years from receiving the right to vote. Yet one fiery young woman was able to become a national celebrity through her impassioned speeches on social reform. Anna Elizabeth Dickinson had her first anti-slavery piece published at the age of fourteen. As an advocate for black suffrage in addition to emancipation, and equal opportunity and pay for women in addition to the vote, Dickinson was one of the best-known reformers of her time.
Alert the office manager: We need to order some new parchment from the office supply company, cuz there were so many sports-related Douchebag Decrees to be handed out this last week, we can't keep up. You'll be glad to know, for instance, that gamblers aren't getting all bent out of shape about Ben Roethlisberger's rape accusation.
But what really brought out the douchebag in people was the Erin Andrews situation. Take, for instance, the mind-shredding audacity of Deadspin.com, particularly the site's former editor Will "All-of-a-Sudden-I-Feel-Sort-of-Guilty" Leitch, who after years of gleefully providing a forum for a particularly creepy—and tediously predictable—brand of hipster-jock misogyny, now is trying to distance himself from the whole Andrews debacle.
One of my secret favorite things about the internet is the abundance of fan and homemade videos. I can spend hours watching low-budget versions of musical routines, celebrity reaction videos, and home movies featuring animals. As you may know, I am also a self-taught student of the Twilight craze, so fan-made Twilight videos are like the frosting on my internet cake. There are SO MANY. Here is one that I watched yesterday:
When a group of hairdressers called The Hair Bares phoned the Scottish Women's Aid (SWA) to inquire about making a £600 donation (that's nearly $100 USD), they received something of a shock. The organization refused to take it.
Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: A Personal History is a memoir about one of the the more melancholy aspects of Danzy Senna's childhood: her relationship with her father. Senna's parents, an interracial couple, married in 1968 with dreams of being a part of an idyllic, multicultural family. This book is a complex blend of remembrance, internal exploration, and detective work, as Senna travels throughout the South to uncover pieces of her father's story she never knew as a child and young adult.
Though Senna does ultimately finds something that resembles acceptance and understanding, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? does not have a tidy ending, which only lends the book its charm. I talked to Senna about the challenges of writing such a personal story, and what she gained in the process.
There may be no one better to teach girls how to rock than music and culture critic Jessica Hopper. She's clocked massive amounts of hours as a tour manager, band publicist, DJ, touring bassist, Girls Rock Camp booster, and fanzine publisher. Her "music-is-my-life" credo and infectious passion for young women and feminism are evident from even a split-second glance at her work.
Now she's just released her first book, The Girls' Guide to Rocking. Heard of it yet? Perhaps you've seen the kick-ass promo. Read on for more!
Jean Seberg is one of those fascinating Hollywood stories that reads like the plot of a dark Hollywood movie. Her tragic story is lesser known than say, Marilyn Monroe's – though she was just as great a beauty. And her politics caused more damage to her life than that of her acting contemporaries – ultimately leading to her death at the all too young age of 40.