Woman wearing a pink t-shirt with white printed text: Du respect, du temps, de l'argent

Not-so-radical notions

Notes from the March Literati Meeting

This Zoom call didn’t get off to a particularly light-hearted start. The impact of COVID (both on the fight for equality and my own mental state), breaking news about a murderous man in Atlanta ‘having a really bad day,’ ongoing reports of abuse, hashtag NotAllMen still being a thing, and all the other horrors of the world had me in a pessimistic state of mind. Then, Margaret Atwood (a perennial favourite) came up… and my mood started to pick up.

By the end of our chat about ‘Feminism’ in the glittering world of literature, my optimism had returned. Laughing together and sharing some wonderful resources (listed below) definitely helped—and the ‘Beautiful Queens’ of the Grammys didn’t hurt either.

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

Marie Shear
1940-2017

Mission: Equality

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez
By looking at the data that informs decisions about consumer design, environmental risk, health protocols, and much more, Criado-Perez illustrates how supposedly gender-neutral products and policies are anything but. 

‘I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories’ in The Atlantic
Ed Yong might be familiar for his corona-coverage, but before he was writing approachable, scientifically-accurate pieces about COVID, he examined gender bias in his own reporting. Yong’s takeaway: Passive concern is never enough.

One Life by Megan Rapinoe
No, you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy this autobiography from the captain of the US national soccer team. Rapinoe weaves activism, social justice, and inspiration through a call to action that asks what ‘What will you do with your one life?’

Non-fic… with a little nonchalance

Explained
An investigative series from Vox that, in 20 minutes or less, digs into topics like astrology, cults, and, most meaningfully for our discussion about feminism, ‘Why Women Are Paid Less.’ The story behind Rwanda’s high-rank for gender equality (as related in the episode about inequalities in women’s pay) is fascinating and more than a little harrowing.

Open Wide by Melissa Ambrosini
With “Deep Love, Rocking Relationships, and Soulful Sex” as a subtitle, there’s no doubt that Ambrosini aims to inject the empowering messages from her podcast into women’s lives—and our bedrooms. 

More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Nine years after publishing a feminist-tinged reflection on her own life (How to be a Woman), this UK-columnist returns with another punchy, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny treatise on womanhood, this time from a middle-age perspective. 

“You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, ‘And are the men doing this, as well?’ If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit’.”

Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Flights of imagination

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
An alternate history about women in the space program, this lauded book (it won both the Hugo and Nebula Best Novel awards) shows what’s possible when men-dominated agencies actually listen to women.

Seasons of the Witch : Poetry & Songs to the Goddess by Patricia Monaghan
Wiccan imagery, tarot, nature, love spells, and pagan concepts come together in four seasonal sections of poetry and prose that serve as metaphors for a woman’s life. 

Wolfwalkers directed by Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart
Gorgeous visuals harkening back to hand-drawn animation spin together anti-authoritarian, ecological, individualist, feminist, and queer themes in this fantasy tale of magic and wolves in 17th century Ireland.

Entertainment and a side of activism

Our Opinions are Correct from Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
Science fiction and science come together in this podcast that brings race, gender, and politics to the conversational table, along with a heaping serving of thoughtful questions and plenty of interesting guests. Episode 22 in particular delivers a dose of optimism via hopepunk.

The Comedy Lineup
This Netflix series sneaks in commentary on sexuality, feminism, and male confidence amidst 15-minute sets from a range of comedians. Kate Willett, Sabrina Jalees, and Sam Jay are particularly standout stand ups.

Killing Eve created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
A comedy-drama spy thriller from the mind behind Fleabag? Yes, please! And the two main actors are women?!? Well that’s Even better!

The Handmaid’s Tale created by Bruce Miller
Based on the 1985-novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, this series might be the exception to the adage that the film/TV adaptation is never as good as the book.

Next Up

A bit of humour in anticipation of our next theme

‘Humour’ (with or without the ‘u’) is the topic for the next get together of The Literati on Wednesday, May 5—and there’s a chance we might actually be gathering in person!

Sign up

And if there are any wordy works you want to share on the topic of ‘Feminism,’ please feel free to pop them in a comment—particularly if they’re funny!


Photo from the Grève des femmes* in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 14, 2019 taken by Delia Giandeini.
Thanks for making it available on Unsplash! Merci!

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