“If Eleanor Marx seems such a modern figure, it is because she strove to unite her political activism with her personal expression in a way that now seems wholly familiar. But we must remember that in Victorian England (as today in many parts of the world), the walls between men and women, between public and private life, were high, and there were risks of disgrace, humiliation, and even incarceration for those who tried to pull them down.”—Kate Webb: The Individual Complexity of Eleanor Marx - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics (via guernicamag)
“The classic trap for any revolutionary is always, “What’s your alternative?” But even if you could provide the interrogator with a blueprint, this does not mean he would use it: in most cases he is not sincere in wanting to know. In fact this is a common offensive, a technique to reflect revolutionary anger and turn it against itself. Moreover, the oppressed have no job to convince all people. All they need know is that the present system is destroying them.”—Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case For Feminist Revolution (The Women’s Press, 1979), pp. 210-211 (via radtransfem)
“We don’t learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Anyone is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.”—Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes (via womanbythesea)
“I find it hard to name the one book that was so damn delightful it changed my life. The truth is, they have all changed my life, every single one of them—even the ones I hated. Books are my version of “experiences.” I’m made of them.”—Zadie Smith, What It Means To Be Addicted to Reading (via distantheartbeats)
“I mean, girl, we’ve gotta look at people’s intentions toward us. Anyone who would try to shut you down or shut me down is a person who doesn’t want the best for you. If I got on the phone today and I said, “Oh, girl, listen to your dad, don’t write your truth,” I’m not a person who has your best intentions in mind. And you should be like, “Thanks Samantha, good to talk to you,” and write me off as a person who doesn’t care about you—because I don’t if I tell you to shut yourself down.”—Conversations With Writers Braver Than Me #17: Samantha Irby. (via therumpus)
“Most Americans who made it past the fourth grade have a pretty good idea who Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were. Not many Americans have even heard of Alice Paul, Howard W. Smith, and Martha Griffiths. But they played almost as big a role in the history of women’s rights as Marshall and King played in the history of civil rights for African-Americans. They gave women the handle to the door to economic opportunity, and nearly all the gains women have made in that sphere since the nineteen-sixties were made because of what they did.”—Louis Menand on “The Sex Amendment: How women got in on the Civil Rights Act” in the New Yorker (via oupacademic)
Fuck you in slang and conventional English.
Fuck you in lost and neglected lingoes.
Fuck you hungry and sated; faded, pock marked, and defaced.
Fuck you with orange rind, fennel and anchovy paste.
Fuck you with rosemary and thyme, and fried green olives on the side.
Fuck you humidly and icily.
Fuck you farsightedly and blindly.
Fuck you nude and draped in stolen finery.
Fuck you while cells divide wildly and birds trill.
Thank you for barring me from his bedside while he was ill.
Fuck you puce and chartreuse.
Fuck you postmodern and prehistoric.
Fuck you under the influence of opiun, codeine, laudanum, and paregoric.
Fuck every real and imagined country you fancied yourself princess of.
Fuck you on feast days and fast days, below and above.
Fuck you sleepless and shaking for nineteen nights running.
Fuck you ugly and fuck you stunning.
Fuck you shipwrecked on the barren island of your bed.
Fuck you marching in lockstep in the ranks of the dead.
Fuck you at low and high tide.
And fuck you astride
anyone who has the bad luck to fuck you, in dank hallways,
bathrooms, or kitchens.
Fuck you in gasps and whispered benedictions.
And fuck these curses, however heartfelt and true,
that bind me, till I forgive you, to you.
In the age of “leaning in” and “having it all,” the superwoman model for female living persists with a vengeance. Feminism is supposed to be a refuge from all that perfection-seeking, but even there, it’s easy to feel bested, lured by things that are bad for women but great for entertainment: Cue your guilty dancing every time “Blurred Lines” comes on the radio.
In her new essay collection, Bad Feminist, out August 5, author Roxane Gay wrestles with this conundrum. “When I drive to work, I listen to thuggish rap at a very loud volume, even though the lyrics are degrading to women and offend me to my core,” she writes. “I am mortified by my music choices.”
Gay—literature professor, novelist, prolificTwitterer, and blogger who imparts life wisdom couched in cooking advice—is best known for her deeply personal essays about everything from politics to pop culture. Most of the writings in this collection have been published at various outlets, including at The Rumpus, where Gay is essays editor.
Bad Feminist reads like an autobiography, segueing from elements of Gay’s life—her Nebraska upbringing, her Haitian-American family, her cooking—into smart critiques of everything from reproductive rights to the Sweet Valley High andTwilight books. It’s a mix of the somber and the hilarious; Gay aptly quotes both Judith Butler and the Ying Yang Twins. “I am flawed and human,” Gay writes. “I am messy.” And capital-F feminism could do with a little more messiness.
I caught up with Gay a few weeks after the release of her latest novel, An Untamed State, as she prepped for back-to-back summer book tours, to discuss her survival tactics for social awkwardness, her Scrabble obsession, and why she never shows her writing to her parents.
“I don’t know why people are afraid of lust. Then I can imagine that they are very afraid of me, for I have a great lust for everything. A lust for life, a lust for how the summer-heated street feels beneath my feet, a lust for the touch of another’s skin on my skin…a lust for everything. I even lust after cake. Yes, I am very lusty and very scary.”—C. JoyBell C. (via observando)
“Let women issue a declaration of independence sexually, and absolutely refuse to cohabit with men until they are acknowledged as equals in everything, and the victory would be won in a single week.”—Victoria Woodhull (via womenorgnow)
“There is something wrong with a government that makes women the legal property of their husbands. The whole system needs changing, but men will never make the changes. They have too much to lose.”—Victoria Woodhull (via celebrated-as-the-rebel-kind)
“Yes, I am a Free Lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please, and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere.”—Victoria Woodhull (the first female candidate for President of the United States), on Free Love in New York City, November 20, 1871. (via whitecolonialism)
“Growing up, I didn’t read novels by women. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s almost like I didn’t think that I needed to or, I guess, I didn’t know that I needed to. I was perfectly happy in a world contained by men. I adopted the posture of the brooding male as my own. I was Salinger, I was Kerouac, I was any male protagonist in a novel that one of my boyfriends recommended. I didn’t know that there was a specific female sadness so I was content with relating to a generalized one. And in a way, reading these novels was less of a way to relate and more of a way to learn how to be the type of girl that these male novelists liked. One of my first ambitions wasn’t to be a writer – it was to be a writer’s muse.”—Gabby Bess, in Dazed (via electric-cereal)