Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekend Reading

Welcome to the weekend! We made it! AGAIN! To celebrate, here's a list of longer reads to enjoy in your 'freetime.' Feel free to leave links to what you're reading/writing in the comments!

Teresa Frohock has an excellent piece about the fun about writing women over 40, and the dearth of them in modern pop culture in Women Made of Chrome
There is something freeing about being forty. For a woman who has reached emotional maturity, she no longer cares what people think of her. There is no “leaning in.” Women over forty know how to navigate conventional prejudices and will subvert those biases with a word. A woman over forty will speak her mind.

Ah, but people will say, because there are those who say these things as if saying them over and over will somehow make them true: Ah! But fantasy is like history and in history, women only existed to be saved or raped or murdered.

I call bullshit. Women ruled not just kingdoms but their homes as well. There were chrome-assed bitches in the days before chrome.
The ever amazing Julie Pagano has a fantastic about her thoughts on boundaries and consent in geek culture: Late Night Thoughts on Boundaries & Consent
When topics like boundaries and consent come up, people often think of very serious triggering topics. Some people seem to think that boundaries and consent are only important when it comes to sexuality. Haleigh’s talk did a great job of pointing out that boundaries and consent also matter elsewhere.

Boundaries and consent matter at every level. You need to train yourself to understand them in a variety of interactions and relationships. We need a culture that respects boundaries and consent. In technology, this can apply to things like how we present information to our users or what we do with their information. In our day to day lives, this can apply to things like physical touch and discussion of triggering topics.

Andrew Wheeler has a great article comparing DC and Marvel in regards to their treatment of female characters in Girl Fight: The Marvel/DC Rivalry Finally Extends To Winning The Female Audience
There’s currently an unspoken contest between Marvel and DC to see who can produce more comics aimed at a female audience. It’s possible the contest only exists in my head, as I’ve been keeping a tally of solo titles with female leads for the past several months — but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that editors at the two publishers have also been keeping track.
Rebecca Mead has a just thorough profile piece about the kick ass Mary Beard, classics professor at the University of Cambridge and Troll Slayer.
Beard, in her unapologetic braininess, is a role model for women of all ages who want an intellectually satisfying life. She estimates that she works thirteen hours a day, six days a week. On more than one occasion, I have e-mailed her at 8 p.m. or later from New York, expecting to hear from her by morning, only to discover an immediate and exhaustive reply in my inbox. Among those in the audience for “Oh Do Shut Up Dear!” was Megan Beech, a student at King’s College, whose spoken-word ode “When I Grow Up I Want to Be Mary Beard” was posted on YouTube last summer. (“She should be able to analyze Augustus’s dictums, or early A.D. epithets / Without having to scroll through death, bomb, and rape threats.”) Peter Stothard, the editor of the Times Literary Supplement, where Beard is the classics editor, sometimes appears with her at literary festivals; together they conduct a seminar on how to read a Latin poem. “Afterwards, a few people will come and talk to me,” he told me. “And there will be a line of schoolgirls and middle-aged women lining up to have their photo taken with Mary.”

Lisa De Bode of Al Jazera America has a great profile of Mitchelene Big Man: Woman Warrior.
Originally from the Crow reservation in Montana, she outlasted the hard life she found growing up. She is a survivor of sexual assault in the military. She is a mother who was often overseas when her own children lived with their grandmother, and is now a parent to four other children from her reservation, raising them at her home in Pueblo, Colorado, with her husband, also a veteran.

And she is the founder of the Native American Women Warriors (NAWW)), a color guard of female veterans from Indian Country. They perform a jingle dance, which some tribes regard as a healing rite traditionally performed by women. The members of the NAWW perform to heal from injuries that cut deep and they dance for others, such as Piestewa, a Hopi who loved the dances of her tribe. Since the group’s appearance at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, invitations for the group have poured in.

“We’re trying to get recognition for the Native American female veterans,” Big Man said. “A lot of people think we don’t exist in this country anymore, but we are here and we also serve in the military.’’

Ilana Lipowicz has a fantastic interview with Lisa Mullis, avid runner and cyclist, on her motivations
If you had asked my 20-year-old self, I’d say “I’m nothing special.” If you asked my 30-year-old self you’d probably get “I wish I was something special.” Now, in my 40’s, I’ve discovered that it has always been the people I choose to surround myself with that make me, me. I choose to insulate myself with people who challenge me and who encourage the people around them. I find these people are often advocates for a better world, and by world I mean even if it’s a fifty foot radius around them at the moment, they choose to make that space better. I have excellent friend picking skills.


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