We’re bringing you our recommended reading list a day early this week because we’re taking tomorrow off in preparation for some big changes. As of Monday, Canonball will reside at a new URL (just visit this blog to be redirected there), completely redesigned for ease of use and etc. Until then, here’s an extra-long Week As We Read It to get you through your Canonball long weekend.
In Which Tina Fey Engages With Pee Jars and Breast Milk by Dayna Evans, This Recording. On Fey’s newly-released book, Bossypants:
It is bothersome, however, that Fey chooses to consistently devalue her intellect, appearance, and work. It becomes a tired act less than halfway through the book. Though Fey is consistently praised for being both winsome and accessible while remaining sharp and in charge, she rarely acknowledges the latter qualities in Bossypants, and it is positively infuriating. Why can’t Fey take a moment off from the homely girl routine and write with pride about her numerous accomplishments?
When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? by Jeanne Maglaty, Smithsonian. Historian Jo B. Paoletti on the origins of the pink-blue divide:
For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. “What was once a matter of practicality — you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached — became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted,’ ” Paoletti says.
On Ashley Judd and the Politics of Citation by moyazb, Crunk Feminist Collective. Actress Judd recently called rap music the “contemporary soundtrack of misogyny” – a lot of people agreed but failed to acknowledge the black women who made the same point before Judd:
If we can all turn to the Ten Crunk Commandments for Re-Invigorating Hip Hop Feminist Studies, we’ll see that the first commandment reminds us to “know and cite” authors who have shaped the field of hip-hop feminism. This commandment doesn’t just apply to Judd but also to some of her defenders. If you are going to defend her position, can you cite the black women who have actually done work on the issue in scholarship, film, and action? The “she has a point” camp feels dismissive of decades of resistance and carefully crafted projects by hip-hop feminists and activists.
Trans-Formative Change by Meaghan Winter, Guernica. Winter speaks with Dean Spade, “America’s first openly transgender law professor”:
The average life span of a transgender person is twenty-three years. The statistic is shocking, until it begins to make sense. Gender non-conformists face routine exclusion and violence. Transgender people are disproportionately poor, homeless, and incarcerated. Many of the systems and facilities intended to help low-income people are sex-segregated and thereby alienate those who don’t comply with state-imposed categories. A trans woman may not be able to secure a bed in a homeless shelter, for example. Spade writes that just as the feminist movement tended to “focus on gender-universalized white women’s experience as ‘women’s experience,’” the lesbian- and gay-rights movement has focused primarily on a white, middle-class politic, centered on marriage and mainstream social mores.
Another Equal Pay Day? Really? by Marlo Thomas, Huffington Post. The actress and activist reflects on America’s gender-based wage gap:
I still have my little green button from 1970 – with “59¢” emblazoned on it – tacked to my bulletin board. I remember how we all wore that button on our t-shirts as we marched to protest the gender pay disparity of that time. Now we’re at 77 cents. Forty years and 18 cents. A dozen eggs has gone up 10 times that amount.
There continues to persist the notion that a woman’s responsibilities and influence should remain confined to the privacy of her home, while a man’s rightful place is in the public sphere. If a woman does venture into a public space, she must defer ultimate decision making power to a man. Although one might shrug off this idea as a relic of the past that no longer applies to the educated, professional Muslim American women we see in 2011, when it comes to issues of religion, “the mosque is for men” mindset still prevails. Thus women’s prayer spaces are tucked away in basements or behind barriers, women are only put in charge of sisters’ and children’s programming, and female prayer goers are expected to dress a modest and somewhat formal way, while men can show up in their pajamas.
Sharing a story: Opening our worlds to the gift by Tami Winfrey Harris, Love Isn’t Enough. A roundtable of female writers discuss the need for diversity in children’s books. Mitali Perkins notes:
As a kid who is “non-white” or a “person of color,” you spend a lot of energy becoming fluent in the majority culture of North America. A book featuring someone who is of your culture feels like a haven. It’s downright empowering to be represented in literature — and now we’re back where we started: to power, which is what words, books, and stories can either take away or endow.
Life Among the One Percent by s.e. smith, Tiger Beatdown. On asexuality: what it is and what it isn’t:
Some asexual people orient themselves along a spectrum of romanticism and aromanticism, describing the natural of the attractions they feel; being asexual doesn’t mean you are not attracted to people, only that you do not experience sexual attraction. Nor does it mean that the nature of those attractions is inherently weaker because sex is not involved.
Elsewhere on the internet: Amy Poehler lived up to her role model status. The Hairpin introduced us to our new favorite comic. Ann Friedman called for an end to “new kings of” whatever. Female authors made an impressive showing on last year’s most challenged library book list. And we took a gin-soaked tour of the home of the late poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. See you at our new (gin-soaked?) home next week, Canoneers!