Tag Archives: feminism

Feminist

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Hell yes.

Radikal Readings: Women, Race & Class

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What can I say about the brilliance of Angela Y. Davis that hasn’t already been said? Like the other book by her that I recently wrote about, this is an absolute must-read. It should be required reading in every school. Davis writes about a history of the Black, Women’s and workers’ movements in the US and documents a side of the women’s suffrage movement that you don’t read about in history books as a kid. Her words are inspiring and the things she brings to light in this book are infuriating. It is incredibly well researched, presented in a straightforward manner.

It’s important to note this isn’t just about women, race and class, but  study that examines the prevalent racism in the certain women’s movements. A few of the reviews I’ve read by white women state that this book blew apart their idea of white liberal feminism, and that is a great way to describe. It is also one of the biggest reasons why this should be required reading, especially for non women/people of color.

Radikal Readings: Women, Culture & Politics

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Let me start this post by saying Angela Y. Davis is an amazing woman, whom I look up to. Now that that has been stated, let me say this books can be life-changing for those who don’t know about the history behind the contents. It is dated now (written during the Reagan era) however, that doesn’t diminish the message, and sadly much of it still rings true.

I was born in the Reagan era, thus this book was at the top of my list of works by Davis to read. The collection of essays on being black and female in America and the world is an eye-opening read. Angela Davis gives us an articulate critique of the political, societal, and economic climate that defined the 80s, especially for women. She has such a passion behind her convictions that makes for such an engrossing read. She’s intelligent and provocative in her words.

It is an absolute must-read.

Radikal Readings: Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics

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“If you thought you understood how our world works, think again. Get ready to look at your jeans, your breakfast, and your morning paper in a whole new light. This book made my brain hurt, in the best way.”— Sohaila Abdulali, author of Year of the Tiger

I couldn’t have said it better myself. International relations and politics is a subject I’ve always been interested in, (I’m currently taking an online open class about international development offered by the Universiteit Leiden) and this book, which is mostly read in classrooms, was high on the list of international relations reads related to women.

International politics and relations is a wide and varying subject, but as Cynthia Enloe points out, one cannot get the full picture without asking the important question of where are the women?  While the book is over 20 years old, (published in 1990) it is still very much relevant and she goes into great detail about the injustices regarding women. It is truly an eye-opening read, especially for those who have not studied international relations or women’s studies.

As I’ve stated before, I do most of my reading on public transportation, and with this book I was compelled to bring a highlighter and pencil with me, making annotations and notes along the way (which elicited some funny looks).

This is fundamental text for anyone interested in international relations. I only wish I had taken a class in college that had Bananas, Bases and Beaches as required reading.

The Acceptability of Bashing Women

A woman is a Miss or Ms. when she is single and becomes a Mrs. when she is married. Yet, a man is always a Mr. The terms Miss and Mrs. define a woman by whether she belongs to a man and they are still used to this day. They have become commonplace, yet, this is a prime example of just how sexist our society still is.

This great piece on ESPN with journalist Kate Fagan questioning whether former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling would have gotten just as harsh a punishment if what he said was about women. Make no mistake he is just as sexist and misogynistic as he is racist and bigoted. As Kate Fagan states, it is great that he is gone, while the racist comments are so blatant and everyone was rightfully outraged, the sexist comments were passed over.

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Beyoncé and Modern Feminism

BEYONCE-ALBUM-COVER-2013-THE-VISUAL-ALBUMA surprise album? Why the hell not? If you’re music royalty like Beyoncé, you can completely change the industry in a matter of hours. When B dropped her self-titled, 14 track 17 video album, she broke the internet and sold hundreds of thousands of copies in just three hours, in route to 828,773 in just three days. Add to this that the songs can not be bought a la carte – so that’s almost 900,000 people who spent $15.99 on an entire digital album (something I haven’t done since, well, I can’t really remember). Forbes magazine pointed out that her three day sales totaled more than Katy Perry’s Prism and Lady Gaga’s Artpop opening week sales combined.

Forgetting the surprising, record-breaking manner in which it was released, Beyoncé is a damn good album. It’s a little different than her past albums, but that makes it all the more interesting. It’s definitely more personal and just like she has always stated, it is I am woman, hear me roar – but in all facets.

I have always been a fan of Beyoncé, not just because of her music and her insane talent, but because of what she represents – a strong, independent black woman. She represents a modern woman – one that loves her her baby and being a mother, and her equally successful husband, yet, is also fiercely independent, has her own brand, wears revealing clothes and sings about loving sex. Women are complex beings and she let’s us know that you can be a feminist and be sexy. She takes the word feminist, that still has such a negative connotation, and uses in it in the way that it was always intended.

The tracks on Beyoncé, go from being Drunk in Love, to ladies being on the receiving end in Blow, to struggles in motherhood in Mine (which features Drake), but the song that discusses feminism outright is Flawless. Halfway through it features Nigerian-born writer and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaking from of my favorite TED Talks on feminism. It’s about being more than someone’s wife. That women are taught to aspire to that, when we are so much more. I love that Beyoncé tells women to tell “him,” I woke up like this – we flawless/I look so good tonight. The video features is Beyoncé with a number of female dancers of all different races, which is another reason she gets it right.

Are some of her messages at odds – sure, but that’s what makes it better. Women aren’t just black and white and Beyoncé gets that. She gets that as a woman I want to be accomplished on my own, but I still want a life partner that I love. I am sexy, but I do not want to be objectified. I want a child and family, but I do not want to give up my career.

In the midst of the current musical landscape, it’s nice to have Beyoncé remind everyone why she’s a positive role model for women.