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Feministing Readz: Vivienne Westwood’s Autobiography

No woman in the world, knitting in her living room at age 73, could trace a trajectory from nipple clamps to the Climate Revolution––and then call it her life story-–except for the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. A new eponymous biography, authored in collaboration with actor and writer Ian Kelly, charts her influence on the politics and punk aesthetic of post-war Britain. As one of the most famous Englishwomen on the planet, the story is dramatic and surprising.

From humble beginnings in the English countryside, Vivienne Westwood rose, and fell, and then rose again to the top of the fashion world as a visionary who knew how to help express an emerging moment in youth culture––and to dress it before ...

No woman in the world, knitting in her living room at age 73, could trace a trajectory from nipple clamps to the Climate Revolution––and then call it her life story-–except for the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. ...

Feministing Readz: Kim Gordon’s Is It My Body?

Rock star and role model Kim Gordon is best known for her band, Sonic Youth, but she’s also always been a visual and performance artist. For those who know Gordon primarily as a musician, “Is it My Body? Selected Texts,” a collection of her writings on art and performance published this past May by Sternberg Press, is intriguing. At the same time as Sonic Youth was reshaping the New York art scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Gordon was writing, in a refreshingly flat prose style across multiple genres, about the liminal spaces between art and music, object and performance, pop sensibility and post-medium/post-punk formations, masculine and feminine. Some of her texts are ...

Rock star and role model Kim Gordon is best known for her band, Sonic Youth, but she’s also always been a visual and performance artist. For those who know Gordon primarily as a musician, “Is it ...

Feministing Readz: Insel

You could probably count on one hand the number of novels that have taken up great platonic male-female friendships as their theme. The republication of Mina Loy’s Insel, by Melville House Publishing’s Neversink Library this past May, is a refreshing, challenging, and brilliant addition to this intimate pantheon.

Loy’s only novel, Insel is the portrait of a starving German surrealist, as told by his patron and friend, Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones is the quasi-fictional avatar of Loy herself; Insel, a loose construction drawn from Loy’s strange and euphoric friendship with the German painter Richard Oelze.

A luminary of transatlantic modernisms, Mina Loy worked across as many media as she did cities. Her itinerant artistic career occupied the capitals of the turn ...

You could probably count on one hand the number of novels that have taken up great platonic male-female friendships as their theme. The republication of Mina Loy’s Insel, by Melville House Publishing’s Neversink Library this past ...

Not Oprah’s Book Club: Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals

I first came across Patricia Lockwood’s second book of poetry, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, through this week’s internet buzz. The buzz is everywhere: a New York Times Magazine profile, condescending New Yorker and square Slate reviews, and an article in The Toast on the unsubtle heterosexism of said all male-authored reviews. Even after reading the book twice in private, it was difficult to experience her work separate from its online reception.

Perhaps this is fitting. Lockwood is arguably most well-known for her poem “Rape Joke,” which traveled meme-like across the web last year like no poem ever has, and anticipated its own hype: “The rape joke is if you write a poem called ...

I first came across Patricia Lockwood’s second book of poetry, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, through this week’s internet buzz. The buzz is everywhere: a New York Times Magazine profile, condescending New ...

Not Oprah’s Book Club: The Empathy Exams

The first essay of Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, from which the collection takes it title, begins with a declaration of performed pain: “My job title is medical actor, which means I get to play sick.” The final, “Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain,” ends with a “search for possibility.” It asks how we might understand this performed pain–bloody, self-inflicted, purple, feminized or otherwise–and also all pain, in all its painfulness, as real. The nine essays in between are exercises in not letting the violence of metaphor, and metaphorizing pain (the act of writing, really), overpower painful realities and the reality of pain itself. They are, as Jamison titles two paired series of shorter essays, “pain ...

The first essay of Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, from which the collection takes it title, begins with a declaration of performed pain: “My job title is medical actor, which means I get ...

Not Oprah’s Book Club: College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year

Julie Zeilinger’s College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year is the book I wish I read four years ago when I started college. The guide advises incoming freshman on how to navigate the confusing new experiences that come with being a freshman and a woman in college — namely, the ways in which tricky roommates, demanding academics, rising debt, insufficient mental health resources, and unfamiliar social pressures interact and intersect with sexism. But even as a soon-to-be-graduate entering the Adult World, the guide gave me tips I wish I had known three months ago, when I entered the second semester of my senior year. It also kindly reminded me, in a chatty voice, of the many lessons ...

Julie Zeilinger’s College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year is the book I wish I read four years ago when I started college. The guide advises incoming freshman on how to navigate the confusing ...