Women Unbound! Update

Well, I've finally finished my first of two books for the Women Unbound! challenge I joined this year! I've just completed The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood. Here are my thoughts:

I will admit- this book took me a little while to get in the groove. I loved two other Atwood novels, (A Handmaid's Tale, and Oryx & Crake), but hadn't read anything of hers that wasn't dystopian/sci-fi yet. Turns out, I sort of prefer that style to this one. The Robber Bride is the story of four women, friends since college, and the connections and disconnections throughout their lives, fueled by the antics of Zenia, the sexpot friend whose life is either enviable or pitiable, depending on whether she has stolen your husband yet.

I just felt like this story was a little bit anti-climactic. Atwood does (as always) create such realistic, identifiable and unique characters. These women are fascinating people. But their story unfolded a little slowly for my taste. Also, I wanted at least one of them to find their ultimate self-worth apart from their husbands (or the loss thereof). But they were focused almost exclusively on holding on to the men. As I read, I kept saying to myself, "Why do they let her get away with wreaking all this havoc on their lives?" The 'girl drama' actually became a little distracting, for me.

Overall, I did enjoy the story, but it didn't compel me. I appreciate the interesting female characters, (and they were interesting), but in the end, I was hoping for a little more adventure, and that just isn't the kind of book this was.

I definitely haven't been put off of reading Atwood. Her prose is always gorgeous, and I look forward to the next opportunity to read her work.


refusing to be ignored


what a powerful essay by Mona Eltahawy, about the horror of, and real reason behind, the practice of female genital mutilation.

"[The] analogy of penis chopping was absurd not just because if boys were being
mutilated the world would not be so silent but because, really, who would want
to control male sexuality? We invent little blue pills to boost it."

like so many other practices which are ingrained, entrenched and generally accepted, FGM is about so much more than the actual physical act. it's about power and control.

as is rape.
as is the wage gap.
as are standards of beauty.

and all this manipulation, subjugation, and control over women is everywhere.

no really. EVERYWHERE.

"Prevalent mostly in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, FGM is no
longer a traditional practice that harms girls just "over there". As a result of
immigration and refugee movements, FGM is now being practiced in the U.S.
Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand."

it is NOT just "over there" that women are cut.
it is NOT just "over there" that raped women are murdered because they bring shame to their husband or father's family.
it is NOT just "over there" that women and girls are kept from reaching their full potential by lack of education, resource and the simple encouragement to try, while boys not only receive all those things, but are expected to be successful socially, financially and sexually.

these symptoms of sexism harm women AND men. girls AND boys.

what if human beings could find a way to treat one another as equally valued, of equal worth and dignity...? wow, indeed.

for now, i applaud Mona Eltahawy and women like her who are refusing to be ignored.


a post about football (yes, really! sort of.)

i hadn't planned on cheering for the saints in the big game (frankly, i hadn't given it any thought at all). but i believe i shall, now!

Scott Fujita shows us all how to be respectful, support equal civil rights, AND a be great linebacker, all at the same time! (via Jezebel) not your usual testosterone-y triumverate.

thoughtful analysis of class-related nuances to reproductive rights? CHECK.

speaking out publicly and in the locker room on issues that have the potential to be viewed as gendered (aka breast cancer is a women's disease) and/or effeminate? CHECK.

choosing to play for the saints in post-katrina new orleans, and use his "small platform as a professional football player" because he believes life is about MORE than just football? CHECK.

well-played, Mr. Fujita. well-played indeed. allies show up in the most unlikely places sometimes. go saints!