Love. Anyone know who made this?
Love. Anyone know who made this?
- Hole, ‘I Think That I Would Die.’
It’s not that I don’t want the movement to connect with people, so much as that I want people to connect with feminism for its ideas and insights – not because “OMGZ being a feminist is the coolest thing ever, and you should totally jump on board if you have a vagina.”
As Flavia Dzodan puts it: “I do not conceive feminism as the end in itself. To me, feminism is the vehicle I use for the journey, not the end point where my journey ends.”
Publications like Jezebel don’t take ownership over the “f-word” – despite the fact that feminism flows through the site’s veins – presumably because they are afraid it will put readers off. (And, more cynically, because not being a “feminist site” means you don’t have to answer to “feminist criticism.”) And I think there is a place for “feminism by stealth”: the kind that wins people over through its ideas, without naming itself or worrying about whether people adopt the label. I’ve engaged in plenty of it myself.
But feminism by stealth needs to exist alongside feminism that is named and owned. Fear of feminism isn’t just a fear of “man hating,” “hairy underarms,” and other clichés. It is a fear of being political. A fear that having strong opinions, is not sufficiently agreeable or feminine.
And that (surprise, surprise) is a form of sexism itself.
Related: Does a feminist by any other name smell as sweet?
Ask Rachel: Why do you write for women’s magazines?
Elsewhere: Debranding feminism (Feminist Times)
What does rebranding mean for feminism? (Branch)
Semantics regarding feminism vs feminist critique (Red Light Politics)
The many misguided reasons famous ladies say ‘I’m Not A Feminist’ (Jezebel)
lolitabandita's photo project about gender presentation within the masculine and feminine spectrum.
This is really wonderful.
Is anyone doing National Novel Writing Month this year? Or done it before and have tips to share?
I’ve just kicked off the first 1100 or so words of mine. It’s a coming of age story about two young women in their late teens, and the way that beauty, objectification, and their relationships with men and each other shape their entrance into adulthood. They’ve both been hanging out in my head since January or so, and I wanted to spend some time with them on the page, to see if their story has legs, and to invest some time into creative writing that I haven’t had the chance to since I was the same age as the characters I’m writing about.
I don’t expect I’ll make the full 50,000 word target by the end of November – I have another book to edit before Christmas – or to come out with anything publishable (at least not without a few rounds of edits and rewrites) but I figured it’s a good place to start, to quash my inner perfectionist, and a nice way to turn writing into play again.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that New York City is one of my favourite places on earth. Possibly my number one favourite place on earth. So, when my university pal Sarah, who is doing her Masters degree in Washington DC, told me she was coming to New York for the weekend for the first time ever, I was excited to put together a list of some of my most beloved places in the city for her. And with one of Musings’ most long term and loyal readers off to NYC herself for the next few weeks, I thought I’d share them here as well.
Washington Square Park (5Av and Waverley Place, Greenwich Village)
My love of New York has less to do with the sights than it does with the people, and no place exemplifies this better than Washington Square Park. It is an explosion of humanity: men sitting at chessboards, waiting for their next opponents; jazz bands jamming; bird people covered in seed and pigeons; on the right day, the cast of Glee or Girls filming in one corner or another. Come with lunch or a laptop and soak up the atmosphere if the weather is nice, or just take a brisk walk through with a friend if it’s cold.
Rox Gallery (86 Delancey Street, Lower East Side)
NYC is a global art capital, but as someone acclimatised to London’s free museum culture, MOMA (go on Fridays between 4pm and 8pm to get in for free), the Whitney and the Met can leave me feeling like I have bleeding pockets. One alternative? The city’s thriving commercial gallery scene. I am biased, of course, but I think that my friend Emerald’s gallery Rox, on the Lower East Side, is one of the best. It is edgy yet accessible, with museum quality exhibits and a regular rotation of stimulating events.
Caravan of Dreams (405 East 6th Street, East Village)
I’m not vegetarian, but I like eating at good vegetarian and vegan restaurants because they try harder. They can’t hide behind meat, so they tend to be more inventive with the food. Caravan of Dreams is one of my all-time favourite veggie restaurants, with a great selection of organic and raw dishes (I recommend the Caravan Burrito and the Wild Rice Croquettes) and fruit-flavoured sangria.
See also: Café Condesa (183 West 10th Street, West Village) try the pan-seared scallops, and warm brie cheese. Café Habana (17 Prince Street, Soho) – their grilled shrimp tacos are amazing. Dudleys (85 Orchard Street, Lower East Side) – when I was there, I had the oxtail ragu. Yum yum yum.
Marie’s Crisis (59 Grove Street, West Village)
If you love musical theatre, you will love Marie’s Crisis: a hole-in-the-wall converted brothel packed to the brim with revellers singing Broadway songs, with Broadway quality voices. A pianist sits in the centre of a tiny room, playing songs by request. There is nothing else like it.
See also: Lucky Cheng’s Drag Cabaret Bar (24 1st Ave, East Village; 240 West 52 Street, Midtown). The food is awful, but the drag queens are divine. I have rarely laughed so hard in my life.
Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker Street, West Village; 1240 6th Avenue, Midtown, and various other locations)
Made famous by Sex & The City and popular to the point of cliché, the Magnolia Bakery is quite possibly responsible for the cupcake fever that took over every upwardly mobile suburb in the Western world in the 2000s. I love their lightly whipped icing and fluffy cakes. Not worth the half-hour queues that sometimes assemble on weekends, but definitely worth popping into if you’re in the vicinity of one. It’s a New York institution, and I still drop by every time I visit the city.
See also: Prohibition Bakery (9 Clinton Street, Lower East Side). Boozy cupcakes. I have never eaten here, only passed by, but I definitely wanted to. Try it, and let me know what it’s like.
Café Orlin (41 St Marks Place, East Village)
Or really any New York brunch establishment, but Café Orlin is a good one – and there are some bad ones out there, if you don’t know where you’re looking. The menu is inventive and Middle Eastern-inspired, and the prices are reasonable. I ordered the Green Omelet when I went, which was an excellent choice.
Barneys (Madison Avenue and 61st Street, Midtown)
“Is this the opposite of a regular department store, with the expensive items at the bottom and the affordable at the top?” my friend asked me, when I took her here towards the end of her stay. “No,” I replied jovially. “Barneys is obscenely expensive the whole way through.” Okay, so you probably won’t be able to afford anything here (except perhaps the coffee table books on the top floor), but when it comes to window shopping, Barneys is second to none. See the clothes you normally only see on internet socialites up close, admire their beauty, and realise that some of them are constructed with such blatant disregard for proportions of the human female body you probably wouldn’t want to buy them even if you did have a couple of thousand dollars (or more) to spend on a single item.
Times Square (46th Street and 7th Avenue, Midtown)
Sure, it’s the ultimate in touristy kitsch. But Times Square is also pretty damn special, with its bright lights, actors dressed up as cartoon characters, and overpriced hotdogs. The best way to enjoy the bustle is to be stand still amongst it. Take a seat if you can find one, and watch the world roll by.