Thank You Wednesday: The writers and readers of Feministing

I couldn’t wait until tomorrow and make it a Thank You Thursday. I am full to bursting with gratitude, and it could cause me serious bodily harm if I were to keep it in for an extra day just for the sake of alliteration.

More than four years ago, at the 2010 Feministing annual retreat – my first – I sat in Jessica Valenti’s living room in Queens on a freezing February morning and made a proposal to the assembled crew. I was at the time the newest and most junior member of the Feministing team, and I was nervous. I was in a room full of people whose writing I had admired for several years before joining the team: Jessica Valenti, Vanessa Valenti, Courtney Martin, Miriam Pérez, Ann Friedman, Samhita Mukhopadhyay. They were (still are) pretty much the coolest women alive, and I really wanted them to think I was cool, too. Which was perhaps a bit of a stretch because I am many things, but cool is not one of them.  Read More »

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Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet

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Vintage LOLz.

What men can do to help achieve women’s economic equality.

Rebecca Traister on Beyonce: “That this is what a woman looks like when she defines herself as a feminist in 2014 tells us that its steadily-published obituaries to the contrary, the women’s movement is not only thriving, but expanding.”

A new fellowship prepares people of color for coding careers.

Matt Damon does the ice bucket challenge with toilet water to highlight the global need for clean water.

The top 5 most hardcore stunts pulled by the suffragettes.

On Sophia Vergara’s turn at the Emmy’s: “A celebration of industry diversity shouldn’t feature a Latina woman spun around like a piece of meat on a vertical spit.”

Kate Harding on why that roofie-detecting nail polish won’t prevent rape.

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Feministing Readz: Getting inside patriarchy’s head with Natsuo Kirino’s Out

Out UK CoverWhat if The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo were about ordinary people rather than Jason Bourne-like superwomen and counter-conspirators? Oh, and, if it were actually written by a woman?

Natsuo Kirino answered the question long before The Millennium Trilogy was even drafted. Her 1997 book Out is by no means new, but for a first-time reader it still leaps from the page with an arresting freshness. The issues she addresses in the novel are both depressingly urgent and familiar, and Kirino is a masterful psychoanalyst of her characters’ inner lives.

Out begins as the story of four women who share the night shift at a factory in suburban Tokyo making boxed lunches. When one of them kills her abusive husband, she avails herself of the only resource available to her: her friends on the factory line. Led by the book’s unarguable protagonist, Masako, and bound by a strange solidarity, they proceed to dispose of the body in grisly fashion.

The book embraces its hard-boiled potential early on, and the tension comes almost entirely from the drama around the immediate aftermath of the crime, with rather standard anxieties driving the plot: will one of the conspirators talk? Are the detectives getting too close? Will the body stay hidden?

But the thickness of the book’s remainder under one’s right thumb suggests that much more than simple answers to these whodunit questions are forthcoming, and that’s where Out parts ways from standard crime drama in spectacular fashion.

In the back half of the book Kirino reveals herself to be a terrifying tribune of patriarchal psychology: down there in the dark, she gives the reader eloquent tours of nearly every character’s psyche and convincingly founds their motivations in the myriad distortions that both sexism and capitalism ruthlessly impose on people. Remarkably, she does this without sententious moralising, and though astute readers will see feminist analysis throughout the text, one never feels as if she’s doing assigned reading in a Women’s Studies class. Kirino’s skill is in conveying the unpretentious, matter-of-fact obviousness of patriarchy. If sexism is to us like water is to fish, then Kirino eloquently describes the water in a way that is neither obtrusive nor polemical.

Part of how she accomplishes this is by giving readers a story without any real “good guys” to speak of, applying this old noir literary tool to the psychology of patriarchy. Read More »

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Happy(ish) Women’s Equality Day!

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Happy Women’s Equality Day! And happy 94th birthday to the 19th Amendment!  Read More »

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Flowchart of the Day: Should you catcall her?

Playboy, which recently rebranded its digital site with some SFW content, has a handy flowchart to help you answer this age-old question:

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Read on to find out the one scenario in which it is A-okay to yell sexually suggestive comments at her in public.

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