Elevate Difference

Reviews by Natalie Ballard

Natalie Ballard

Natalie Ballard has been writing for Elevate Difference for just over a year. She also does freelance work in editing, proofreading, and occasional online social promotion of other writers. She has attended Flagler College in St. Augustine and University of South Florida in Tampa. Natalie is a long-time feminist activist, with a particular interest in the intersection of pop culture and feminism. To pay the bills, she proofreads legal notices for a Florida business newspaper.

Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock

One of the best things about reviewing books is the exposure I get to the fabulous females in feminist history who would otherwise be consigned to the cobwebby corners of academic obscurity had some enterprising writer not plucked them from the depths and held them up for the delight of feminist history nerds. This was what I experienced with Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic, which is part biography and part collected works of Ida Craddock.


Initially, it was the synoptic descriptions of Solo that drew me in. I saw phrases like “enigmatic,” “thought-provoking,” and “demanding,” along with geographical settings such as Berlin, Bulgaria, and New York City. The cover artwork interested me as well. It depicts the white silhouette of a man against a seafoam blue background; he has a cane and his upper body is dissolving into birds.


Mark Lanegan—hey, I know that name. You sure do. Mark Lanegan fronted Screaming Trees, one of the better bands to come out of the early '90s Seattle grunge scene. They never gained the attention or commercial success of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, or Nirvana, and their minor success was propelled mostly by “Nearly Lost You,” a track from the soundtrack for how-very-zeitgeisty film Singles. After grunge was discarded in favor of nu-metal, gangsta rap, boy bands, and factory pop, Mark Lanegan didn't remain with his old band churning out increasingly bad records or touring on nostalgia value.

Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japan's Imperialism, 1895-1945

Mark Driscoll, an associate professor of Japanese and International Studies at the University of North Carolina, here presents a very thorough reassessment of Japanese imperialism of Asia in the first half of the twentieth century. Driscoll focuses his attention on the fringes of the colonized Asian peoples, writing about the Chinese coolies, Korean farmers, Japanese pimps and trafficked women of various Asian nationalities that moved Japan's empire along and provided the behind-the-scenes energy that created such an empire.

Small Displacements

This tiny, obscure (I am the only person as of this writing to add and review it on Goodreads) volume of short stories by England native and Ohio resident writer Vanessa Furse Jackson ties together eleven tales into a loose theme: sudden changes in someone's life, whether major or minor, and the resulting shift felt afterward. Most of the stories are overtly sad, with others having just undercurrents of a sort of foreshadowed melancholy with abrupt endings.

Adventures in Kate Bush and Theory

Since the late 1970s, Kate Bush has been the original weirdchik in modern female pop music—press- and tour-shy, highly literate and culturally aware, witchy and Catholic, English and Eastern, masculine and high-femme. Above all, Kate has that voice, which she debuted at age nineteen with her song 'Wuthering Heights,' an eerie tale told from the point of view of Catherine Earnshaw's ghost. If there had been no Kate Bush, there would have been no Tori Amos, and most likely no PJ Harvey or Bjork either. Deborah M.

Evelyn Evelyn

“Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.” —Susan Sontag Evelyn Evelyn is the creation of Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls and lately a successful solo artist) and musician Jason Webley. Palmer and Webley have built a layered piece of art rather than simply a collaborative musical effort or side project.

Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater

Full disclosure: I am an avid fan of William T. Vollmann's work and was excited to read this book. Vollmann often has strange and interesting things to say about women and gender relations, and his notorious interest in prostitutes (who feature prominently in both his fiction and non-fiction) may almost be labeled as an obsession.

Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives

Gender stereotypes are often studies in contradiction. They can be insidious or glaringly apparent; they are hostile, and occasionally operate out of “benign” sexism. The customs and mores of the society, the media that is consumed in that society, the predominant religion of a culture, and the family unit can all commingle in order to perpetuate gender stereotypes.

Mythmakers and Lawbreakers: Anarchist Writers on Fiction

When the term “anarchy” is heard, most people think of the “circle-A” graffiti on crumbling buildings and the T-shirts of punk rock kids, or else imagine a state of complete lawlessness and the breakdown of society. Popular culture does nothing to dispel these collective thoughts. In theory and philosophy, anarchy refers to the absence of a state or rulers and a society in which there is no vertical hierarchy of class, but instead a horizontal equality of societal participants.

Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future

Barbara J. Berg and I have something in common—we both hate the term post-feminist. An omnipresent myth exists that ours is a post-feminist society in which women have achieved absolute parity with men economically, politically, and socially. Because of this, the myth states, there is no longer a need for a feminist movement, or feminist ideas, conversation, outrage, struggle, or participation in any national dialogue.

Zombies of Mass Destruction: A Political Zomedy

Is there anything more delightful than a well-done zombie film? How about a well-done zombie film with an obvious 9/11 parallel and smart, witty female, minority, and gay protagonists? All this and more can be yours with Zombies of Mass Destruction, which is as much social satire and metaphor as a gory, jolly, bloody good undead time. Zombies of Mass Destruction is set in idyllic Port Gamble, Washington, on the date of September 25th, 2003.

Pendant: Mr. President, How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty

Canadian artist Viki Ackland's handmade jewelry uses pop art, found art, and ransom-note style letters to create a visually appealing cut-and-paste aesthetic from 2-Mile Jewelry.

Fit to Be Tied: Sterilization and Reproductive Rights in America, 1950 – 1980

In 2004, at the age of twenty-three, I entered my gynecologist's office to request permanent sterilization. My doctor repeatedly refused my request, and would not honor my alternate request for an IUD. I tried changing doctors, but still encountered severe resistance to my wish to be permanently sterilized.

Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor

In 1965, Billy Wayne Sinclair accidentally killed a store clerk with a shot fired aimlessly into the dark after a robbery he had committed. One year later, at the age of twenty-one, he was sentenced to die in the electric chair for his crime, however unintentional. Sinclair initially dealt with his death sentence through denial, swallowing the tranquilizers the guards on death row dispensed to keep the inmates pacified.