You know what's fun about this New York Times article about how the Twilight soundtrack might save the money-hemorrhaging record industry? That it has only one mention of who is most likely to buy tie-in Twilight products.
"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 Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore on the memoir Close to the Knives, by David Wojnarowicz.
In the early '90s, everyone was dying—that's how it felt, it felt like everyone was dying. We were the first generation of queers to grow up knowing that desire meant AIDS meant death, and so it made sense that when we got away from the other death—the one that meant marriage, house in the suburbs, a lifetime of brutality, both interior and exterior, and call this success or keep trying, keep trying for more brutality—it made sense that everyone was dying, because we had only known death.
Queer heroes were dykes, or they were dying—some of the dykes were dying too, but not as fast, unless it was suicide or a cancer they hadn't mentioned, cancer like childhood sometimes you can't say it. So when I found David Wojnarowicz, he was already dead; I didn't find him, I found his words.
Like many a thinking lady I watch the Daily Show mostly for Jon. When it is on hiatus, and it always disappointingly seems to be on hiatus when America goes a little mad in the late summer (2005: Katrina, 2008: Sarah Palin, 2009: Health Care Nonsense), my evenings seem even less magical than they usually are. I am the kind of woman, you see, who would go for Jon - funny, informed, irreverent - over a Brad Pitt in a second. I know I am not alone in this.
But as happens in any relationship, sometimes Jon does things that well... piss me off. See, every once in awhile, his show displays all the symptoms of having been written by Liberal Dudes Who Don't Quite Get It - It usually being women, or women's rights, or women's issues. The show likes to trot out Samantha Bee and Kristen Schaal every once in awhile, but in general it seems rather complacent about its overall dudely tone. And it's easier to take some times than others.
"Today's Made Us Think comment comes from "Elly," who writes in response to Missy Schwartz's interview with Jane Campion,
I suspect a large reason there are so few well-known female filmmakers may be that so many female writers, directors etc. are too focused on the lack of "just for women" entertainment, and so tend to turn out stuff with distinct agendas for distinct female audiences — i.e. the 'empowerment' Campion spoke of — instead of just focusing on making a good product. I see it all the time in books – I rarely read sci-fi or fantasy by female authors, because the story is usually just there as a weak afterthought to help move the rant along, the real point of the book being to obsess over what patriarchal pigs men can be. Case in point: Margaret Atwood.
That's one theory, and it certainly got us thinking. What about you?"
As to be expected, responses in the comments section ranged from ignorant to sound:
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Recently in Sweden, adult film director Mia Engberg received 500,000 kronor ($69,000USD) in public funding from the Swedish Film Institute to create a collection of feminist pornographic films. Just before the final product—entitled Dirty Diaries—was released, conservatives in the European country expressed outrage at their tax dollars being used to fund the film. Ironically, the protesters weren't upset that the money had paid for the production of pornography, but rather that it was used to further a feminist agenda. When I read about the controversy surrounding Engberg's film, I couldn't help being pleased about the Swedish media's engagement in a discourse that escapes so many on this side of the pond.
If you don't know who Courtney Trouble and Bren Ryder are, it's probably because you're not into queer and feminist porn. Here's a snapshot for the uninitiated: Courtney is an American avant-garde feminist porn director and the founder of No Fauxxx, the longest running queer porn website and social community on the 'net. Turning away from her pursuit to become a firefighter, Bren decided to create a queer inferno through the adult films made by and shown at Good Dyke Porn. For those interested in what the Anti-Feminist Initiative Swedes were up in arms about, I interviewed two of North America's leading ladies of lasciviousness to engage in a discussion that is pro-porn, pro-queer, and pro-feminist.
There's a surprising gap of research, let alone feminist research, on female superheroes from comics. Trina Robbins has turned out some amazing books on women and comics, including one on female superheroes, but she can't do it alone (and good luck trying to find her work at your nearby Barnes & Noble). That's why I'm excited about Mike Madrid's new book The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines not to mention the fantastic online resource he put together to go along with the volume. Read on for more!