May CultureCAT -- Gender Equality
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Gender equality is a large topic. I have listed possible subtopics and a few suggested titles. I apologize that this list is so United States centric.
Equality between males and females: (general)
Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshman
Equality between males and females in politics (including but not limited to suffrage)
Shoulder to Shoulder by Midge Mackenzie (Great Britain)
Century of Struggle by Eleanor Flexner (United States)
Equality between males and females in work (including but not limited to equal pay for equal work)
Grace and Grit by Lilly Ledbetter
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Equality between males and females in education
Girls' Education in the 21st Century by Mercy Tembon
Equality between males and females in sports
Sum It Up by Pat Summitt
Equality between males and females in the home (division of labor in housework, childcare)
Earning More and Getting Less by Veronica Tichenor
Women's rights to their own bodies including abortion
This Common Secret by Susan Wicklund
Impossible Motherhood by Irene Vilar
Liquid Life: Abortion and Buddhism in Japan by William R. LaFleur
LGBTQ issues -- general
A Family by Any Other Name by Bruce Gillespie (published in Canada)
The Right to be Out by Stuart Biegel
LGBTQ issues -- Marriage equality
Love wins by Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefill
Courting Equality by Patricia A. Gozemba
I'm going to read Delusions of Gender: How our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine.
My nonfiction read is going to be Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape, which is one I've been curious about for a while and heard only good things about. My fiction read is going to be the YA book Shut Out, which has a plot that touches on sports. I may try for another fiction read on top of it, but we'll see what happens.
I am going to be reading about women in the armed forces which is a notoriously difficult area for gender equality with Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe.
>6 Jackie_K: This month's theme, Gender Equality can be confusing since is in CultureCAT but could just as easily be in CATWoman. Hidden Figures could be read four months straight in either CATWoman or CultureCAT. It fits into the CATWoman themes for April (being collective biography), June for Professional women, July for Women of Color and in the May CultureCAT for Gender Equality. In addition to suggesting it for this CAT, I had suggested it for the April CATWoman.
When I was writing the introduction and deciding on titles to suggest for this month's CultureCAT, I had to keep remembering which CAT I was in!
>8 sallylou61: Haha, yes I think I was getting confused between the CATs there too! These two CATs are the main reason I'm here this year, I've got so much reading that fits both of them.
I have a few choices for this CAT. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay. I need to look closer at my Kindle and Audio choices to see what else I can come up with.
ETA: I have Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin which I am reading for two other CATS. It may fit here as it explores her themes of "domestic horror" I'll know once I am reading it. If not, I have others to read.
I'll read either Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women or Special Agent: My Life on the Front Lines as a Woman in the FBI, both of which have been languishing on my shelves for a while.
In the spirit of trying to get the very oldest off my TBR pile, I'm going to read one that has been on MT TBR for more than ten years. With the Nez Perces: Alice Fletcher in the Field, 1889-1892. She was a very unusual woman for her time - an anthropologist who was put in charge of allotting the Nez Perce Reservation.
For an international historical perspective, I think I'll read Cross Currents in the International Women's Movement, 1848-1948 by Patricia Ward D'Itri. It's been on my TBR shelves since before I joined LibraryThing in 2007. (I have already read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly which several people are planning to read this year.)
I'm also hoping to read The Glass Universe if my library request comes in time.
I'm planning to read Lady Molly of Scotland Yard by Baroness Orczy, which is a collection of short stories about the (fictional) first female Scotland Yard detective. (These stories were published in 1910; the first female detectives to join the Metropolitan Police did so in 1919, so Orczy was slightly ahead of her time!) I expect that sexism will be an obstacle for Lady Molly in the stories, although the author might not portray it as critically as we view it today.
COMPLETED The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
A novel about the Danish artist Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe, who had what may have been the first gender reassignment surgery in 1930, and their relationship with their wife.
I felt mildly cheated by this book on two counts. Firstly, the author admits in an afterword that everyone in the book apart from Einar/Lili is fictional -- even the wife's name and nationality are changed -- and that it should not be read as a biographical novel.
Secondly, even so it is presented as an account of a pioneering trans woman. If she was born with both ovaries and a penis, wouldn't that make her intersex rather than trans? I'm not sure even the question would have made sense to Einar/Lili as they are presented in this book and possibly in real life.
I just read Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe which with it's descriptions of the difficulty women experience when serving in the male dominated military, fit this month's theme perfectly.
COMPLETED Conundrum by Jan Morris
Memoir from 1974 of the author's life as James and transition to Jan.
James led what appeared to be a macho and cultured, not to say privileged, life in the Army, and as a foreign correspondent and travel writer, but then transititioned to become Jan. The fluent prose makes it fascinating reading, though I'm not sure how much today's trans activists would agree with her reflections on what it is to be male and female.
Well, I finished Shut Out. It fit the topic, but I don't know that I could recommend it to anyone. There's a full review written, though.
I read Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Shuttle, which deals with the issue of spousal equality—i.e. that wives should have rights and be able to control their own money and not have to fear being beaten by their husbands. Shocking stuff for many in 1907.
I'm not sure I'll find the time this month, but I would like to read Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit.
Completed reading Art and Sexual Politics edited by Thomas B. Hess and Elizabeth C. Baker. I don't like the idea of a male being editor of such a book; he contributed one short essay, but all the rest of the contributors were women. This book is rather dated, having been published in the early 1970s. Some of the artists contributing commented on this topic in relation to the women's movement of the late 1960s/early 70s. However, several of the essays were excellent, and this is an important topic. At the time of the book's publication, several important works of art which had been credited to famous male artists were discovered to be the work of a female artist who had been working with/under the male artist.
First Test / Tamora Pierce
Keladry is 10-years old and it’s been 10 years since girls have been allowed to apply to be a page, in order to later become a knight. However, no girl has tried for it, until Kel. Unfortunately, the trainer of the pages, Lord Wyldon, doesn’t think girls should be allowed, so he puts her on a 1-year probation; no boy has ever had a probationary period. So, she is not only set apart from the others because she’s a girl, she is also on probation. This doesn’t bode well for how many of the other boys treat her.
I enjoyed this! It’s children’s or YA, so not “deep”, but certainly enjoyable. Kel did seem much more mature than 10-years old, but mostly I just ignored that. It’s less than 200 pages, so also a quick read. I definitely enjoyed it enough to continue the series. I’m happy to see there are only 4 books to this series (though it is also part of a larger “world” with other books focusing on other characters in that world, as well).
I've posted the June thread for Environmentalism/Conservation here:
This is not as much equality as LGBTQ, but I see LGBTQ - general in the initial post, so I'll go with it.
Boy, Snow, Bird / Helen Oyeyemi
I think the book started in the 1930s. Boy is a girl who was raised by her abusive father; her mother wasn’t around. She doesn’t leave until she is 20ish, when she hops on a bus to take her anywhere else. She ends up in a small town and tries her best to fit in. She does marry and inherits a stepdaughter, Snow. Boy later has a daughter of her own named Bird.
This was told mostly by Boy’s point of view, but the middle section is from Bird’s point of view when she’s 13. It was… different. I’m rating it ok, as some parts of it were interesting, but some of it wasn’t. It started off really promising, when Boy was younger, and I probably found that the most interesting part of the book. It wasn’t a long book, so it didn’t take long to read. It was hard keeping track of some of the characters. I skimmed over some of the long paragraphs. At first, I enjoyed the letters between the two sisters, but then they got wordy and talked about things I really didn’t care about… things that I’m not sure really meant anything to the story. Boy made some odd decisions/choices and I didn’t like her much of the time.
I just finished Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, which does what it says on the tin, really. She discusses popular (mis)representations of gender and brain research, outlining what the research actually does or doesn't show, to puncture popular neurosexism and shows how important the influence of culture, parenting, environment etc is on both implicit and explicit views on gender. This is popular feminism at it's most accessible, in my view - she's not stuffy, this is very readable and approachable, and in my view really important. It covers similar ground to Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot, which I read a few years ago, and I'd recommend both books. 4/5.
I decided to read This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor in which Dr. Susan Wicklund describes her experiences. Most of her descriptions are about her being a traveling doctor working in clinics in approximately five towns in the Northwestern U.S. although at times she worked in larger cities in the Midwest. She was continually harassed both going to the clinics and at times at home. She much preferred working in clinics in which she could give her patients customized service --- what was best for them instead of needing to follow strict rigid rules. Without naming any names, she tells the individual stories of some of her patients. Many although certainly not all of the anti-abottionists harassing the women outside the clinics were men.
Finished reading Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape. I've written a full review if you're interested, but I'll just say here: this is an impressive and powerful book which ought to be widely read, difficult as it is to read because of the topic, and especially by football fans. If I could afford to buy a copy for every football fan I know, I would.
I did end up reading The Glass Universe for this challenge, and I thought it was very interesting and well-written. I learned a lot about the women, especially at the Harvard Observatory, who made significant discoveries in the field of astronomy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In March I went to a program at the Virginia Festival of the Book which featured Jim Obergefell, one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case which legalized gay marriage. I found his story compelling, and decided to read the book he co-authored with Debbie Cenziper Love Wins: the Lovers and Lawyers who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality. The subtitle of the book suggests that it covers only one very important case. However, the book, in addition to telling the story of Jim and his lover, then husband John Arthur (who died soon after their marriage), traces the court cases concerning gay marriage in Ohio. The Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, actually bundled cases from Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan into one case concerning gay marriage. The stories of the plaintiffs were extremely interesting. However, the discussion of the various court cases became rather tedious. With so many people involved in the various trials, I was frustrated by the lack of an index or glossary identifying the various lawyers, judges, etc.
I finished The Geek Feminist Revolution, a collection of essays and memoirs by Kameron Hurley, describing her experiences in the formerly male-dominated realms of geekdom.
I also finished A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arneson. This is a science-fiction work about an anthropologist investigating a human-like alien race in which gender roles are very different from our own traditional roles. This novel won the James Tiptree Jr. Award, which is given to SFF works that explore gender issues.
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