“[The Paris Review has a] column Feminize Your Canon [that] explores the lives of underrated and underread female authors.”—Feminize Your Canon
20th Century Women is such a lovely little movie. Part coming of age story. Part a story about aging. Part a story about male/female relationships that explores how difficult these are to navigate, particularly given our collective idiosyncrasies and brokenness. Recommended.
“‘Wrestling gives you what you need to be successful,’ Kretzer explained. ‘It gives you dedication, commitment. It gives you somewhere where you belong. You can be your own self and be a total badass…
‘Wrestling allows you to find yourself. With your wins and losses, you get to reflect and try to develop yourself into something better. It’s not something you practice a few hours; it’s a 24/7, full commitment. The struggles in wrestling help you with the struggles outside of wrestling.'”—Liz Clarke, “A Sport of Their Own.” The Washington Post. November 8, 2019.
I fully support wrestling as a sport for girls. Wrestling changed my life, and everyone should have that opportunity.
“Enough of stating the fucking obvious, though. Let’s talk about how we’re going to survive the next year of bloviating sexist fuckwaddery. Let’s talk about what it means not just to survive, not just to escape predation and tolerate douche bro-viating and tune out all of the ignorant dipshit-itude, but to savor life and embrace joy as a woman or a girl or a enlightened human of any gender in this ludicrously insipid, unseeing, witless world.”-Heather Havrilesky, “Manic Pixie Mean Girl.” Ask Molly. November 8, 2019.
I love Ask Molly. Everything about it.
“When I was pregnant with my third son a young colleague asked me whether I wanted a boy or girl. I responded that I thought that the role model pressure of having a daughter would be hard, so I would be more comfortable with a son. She wagged her finger at me and said, ‘You have it all wrong. The most important thing you can do for women like me is to raise fair men who are equally competent at household activities as they are at working collaboratively with women in the office. That’s the role model you should worry about–your being a strong woman who expects her sons to treat women as equals.'”-Jules Pieri, “For Fathers of Daughters.” jules.thegrommet.com. October 10, 2019.
Advice for all men, not just fathers.
“‘You need to call the Green Gang.’ The Green Gang. It was a strange, frightening phrase. Rajput had never heard of the group before. When she began asking about it in local villages, the details seemed too fantastical to be true. It was a gang of hundreds — no, thousands — of women, almost all of them poor and low-caste. It was said that they took on anyone who dared to hurt a woman, including violent in-laws, philandering husbands, domestic abusers, land-grabbers, bootleggers, molesters, and rapists. Sometimes, they beat sense into aggressors, and other times, they scared them into submission.”
—Elizabeth Flock, “The Green Gang.” California Sunday. August 1, 2019.
“While some sporting brands used International Women’s Day to launch their Women’s World Cup team kits, lawyers representing the world-champion U.S. team were on their way to a California courthouse to file a landmark lawsuit that would rock the sport.”—Philip O’Connor, “U.S. women’s fight for fairness puts soccer World Cup in focus.” Reuters. March 9, 2019.
It seems like this might be a good time to mention the Original 9, Billie Jean King and women’s tennis:
“We wanted to be paid equally and we wanted to be treated fairly. Originally we had hoped to partner with the men’s tennis tour and have a unified voice in the sport on a global basis. But the guys wanted no part of it. And not every women’s player wanted to join us.
So we went to plan B.
For a tense few days in September 1970, we sat in a semicircle in Gladys’ home in Houston and debated the pros and cons of breaking away and starting our own tour. For us, everything was at risk. The USLTA (now the USTA, the governing body of tennis in this country) threatened us with suspension and expulsion. The Australians faced an even stronger enemy in their federation. They were told if they signed with us, their playing days were over.
With one unified voice, each of us signed a ceremonial $1 contract with Gladys to play in the inaugural Virginia Slims of Houston. We drew a line in the sand and we put everything we had on that line. It was now up to us to create our own tour, to find a place to make a living and to breathe life into women’s professional tennis.”—Billie Jean King, “The Legacy of the Original 9.” The Player’s Tribune. August 26, 2015
It’s now 49 years later, and it’s still the same nonsense. But, on a hopeful note, things do change. It’s also great to see women players that have benefited from previous generations, such as Serena Williams, lending their voices to help women in other sports. If you are inclined, you might want to consider adding your voice as well, there are links to FIFA’s social media accounts on its website.
Also worth a mention, there’s a good retelling of Billie Jean King’s story in Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, read by Jessica Valenti. It’s something little Rebel Girls, or anyone in your life, will appreciate. Recommended.
“‘People now have the freedom to have crosscutting identities in different domains. At church, I’m one thing. At work, I’m something else. I’m something else at home, or with my friends. The ability not to have an identity that one carries from sphere to sphere but, rather, to be able to slip in and adopt whatever values and norms are appropriate while retaining one’s identities in other domains?’ She paused. ‘That is what it is to be free.’ …
…As a rule, it’s easy to complain about inequality, hard to settle on the type of equality we want. Do we want things to be equal where we start in life or where we land? When inequalities arise, what are the knobs that we adjust to get things back on track? Individually, people are unequal in countless ways, and together they join groups that resist blending. How do you build up a society that allows for such variety without, as in the greater-Detroit real-estate market, turning difference into a constraint? How do you move from a basic model of egalitarian variety, in which everybody gets a crack at being a star at something, to figuring out how to respond to a complex one, where people, with different allotments of talent and virtue, get unequal starts, and often meet with different constraints along the way? …
…To a pragmatist, “truth” is an instrumental and contingent state; a claim is true for now if, by all tests, it works for now.”
—Nathan Heller, “The Philosopher Redefining Equality.” The New Yorker. January 7, 2019.
Sounds like it is time to revisit with John Dewey.