Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged women

Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses

Let the whole world put on a pair of rubber gloves and plunder and pillage. We have no secrets any longer. We have become public property. Women who write about their lives face challenges that male writers do not. Not only are women charged with writing about their own lives, with creating selfhood on paper, they are somehow additionally responsible for upholding the idea of womanhood. In this way, they bear the responsibility for representing, and in a sense, for creating the lives of all women. (Considering the diversity of possible identities which women take on for themselves, this is at the very least, a difficult task.)

The Vintage Book of American Women Writers

Anyone who has taken their share of English literature survey courses will tell you that the women considered great enough to be included within the literary canon are few to be found, as women writers have been marginalized throughout history. Even today, the title “great American novelist” is one that has yet to be bestowed upon a woman, and many women writers whose work has literary significance find their work disregarded as "chick lit." The Vintage Book of American Women Writers helps to give women their due. The 848-page book traces the history of women writers in America, beginning with Anne Bradford, the first woman to be published in Puritan America, and ending with such contemporary writers as Amy Tan and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Her Place at the Table: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success

Her Place at the Table, as its subtitle suggests, offers women a guide to leadership success in the modern work environment. Each of the “five key challenges” forms a chapter. The first challenge is drilling deep, gathering the information needed when deciding whether to take on a new job or project, or when negotiating the circumstances under which you take on a new job or project.

Images of Women, Volume 2

Several years ago, native New Yorker Robin Greenstein issued Images of Women, Volume 1, which delivered fourteen folk songs about women’s depiction in the genre, based on her concert-lecture on the topic. Images of Women, Volume 2 delivers fourteen more numbers about women, mostly traditional in musical style.

Glamour: Women, History, Feminism

The word glamour has lost a lot of its allure and power these days, bandied about by fashion writers who use glamour interchangeably with polished, chic, elegant, and sophisticated.


Sometimes you stumble upon really small, obscure films that leave such an impact that you just want as many people to see it as possible. Desigirls by Ishita Srivastava is one such film. Filmed as a graduate thesis project at New York University, this twenty-minute documentary explores a refreshingly new topic—the South Asian lesbian community in New York City. I had the opportunity to watch the film and speak to the director afterward.

A Thread of Sky

Six Chinese American female characters form the main narrative perspectives of Deanna Fei’s ambitious first novel, A Thread of Sky. There is family matriarch Lin Yulan, once a revolutionary for the nationalist party in China, and her daughters Irene and Susan.

Everyday Nationalism: Women of the Hindu Right in India

Everyday Nationalism, a publication in "The Ethnography of Political Violence" series, offers readers a provocative and sometimes disturbing look at Hindu nationalist organizations and the role of Indian women in representing the nationalist movement.

Offending Women: Power, Punishment, and the Regulation of Desire

In Offending Women, ethnographer and sociologist Lynne Haney takes readers on a journey into “a world that few people would otherwise have access to”: the everyday reality of the lives of incarcerated women. She introduces readers to incarcerated mothers who are housed together with their children and serving terms in community-based prisons, a type of facility that is becoming increasingly widespread in the US.

The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society

At a time when Western society is becoming more and more dependent on cheap and rapid sustenance of often dubious nutritional value, Janet Flammang’s study is an important reminder of both the way it was and the way it perhaps should be. In The Taste for Civilization, Flammang sets out to present what she calls “table activities” as central to respect, citizenship, and a greater good.

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

When she sleeps, her nose scrapes the ceiling of her small cottage. Her breasts hang from a pole over the fireplace, and she has a leg made of iron. She lives alone in a hut on chicken legs, and her gates are topped with human skulls. Passing heroes can flatter her and order her to do their bidding, but heroines must serve her in order to win her favor.

Woman's Prison

Although Woman’s Prison is not a documentary, writer/director Katie Madonna Lee presents a realistic story of poverty and the struggles women, children, and to some degree, men face who experience it. From birth, Julie Ann Mabry is a quiet, shy person, who just wants to be safe with her mother (played by Lee). Sadly, her father takes away that option by murdering her mother, and she is left quietly battling predators, including her uncle. When Julie encounters heart-wrenching situations, she does not lose hope.

Self-Defense for Radicals: A to Z Guide for Subversive Struggle

While it’s true that most conflict can and should be resolved with nonviolence, even peace-loving radicals like Mickey Z., the author of this alphabetical guide to self-defense, acknowledge that an absolute aversion to violence is nearly impossible in our war-loving (yet God-fearing) society that seems to tolerate blood-n-guts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In a country where a woman is raped every forty-six seconds, peaceful resolution can quickly become a warm fuzzy afterthought. The reality is that standing up for something usually requires standing up against something.

Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Abuse

Author Linda G. Mills is a scholar, lawyer, social worker, and the founder of the Center on Violence and Recovery at New York University. In Violent Partners, Mills challenges the tenets of the battered women’s movement.

Woman as Design: Before, Behind, Between, Above, Below

Stephen Bayley’s Woman as Design is a large, and fairly heavy, coffee table book that examines how a woman’s body has inspired and changed the world. A woman’s body has been used as the inspiration (whether conscious or unconscious) for a myriad of products including cars, soda bottles, and buildings. Divided into two parts, part one focuses on the sexualized and eroticized parts of a woman’s body and dress in a more historical context.

Coco Before Chanel

Spoiler Alert Prior to seeing this movie, I associated Coco Chanel with couture fashion and high society women with size two figures, like Audrey Hepburn and Nancy Reagan. Coco Before Chanel introduces us to the woman Chanel was before revolutionizing women’s fashion and becoming a fashion icon to the rich, famous and not so famous.

Resistance Through Writing: An Interview with Victoria Law

Feminist Review recently interviewed writer and activist Victoria Law on her book Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women.

Decibelle (10/15 -10/18/2009)

The Decibelle Music & Culture Festival was a mixed bag, so I’m going to break it down for you, Clint Eastwood style. The Good Me'Shell Ndegeocello is a blessing. My plus-one and I attended her 10 p.m.

Feisty First Ladies and Other Unforgettable White House Women

If the front book cover of Jacqueline Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Nancy Reagan in silver one-pieces doing the cancan is the craziest thing you have ever seen, wait until you open the book. In Feisty First Ladies and Other Unforgettable White House Women, Autumn Stephens reveals stories about the United States First Ladies that you never learned in history class.

100 Girls on Cheap Paper: Drawings by Tina Berning

100 Girls on Cheap Paper is, to put it simply, a beautiful collection of illustrations featuring women. As the title explains it, there are 100 different images. What the title does not explain, however, is the expressiveness found in each page.

The Women's Room

Marilyn French’s The Women's Room, first published in 1977 and republished this year (a re-release ironically in the works before French’s death last May), has been touted as one of the most influential novels of the second wave of feminism. The book reads like a combination of a personal journal and a traditional novel.

A Cup of Comfort, Women of the Bible Devotional: Daily Reflections Inspired by Scripture's Most Beloved Heroines

Let’s face it, regardless of our daily routines or obligations we can all use a bit of comfort from time to time. As such, I would strongly recommend A Cup of Comfort Women of the Bible Devotional, which I found to be less of a daily devotional and more of a mystical adventure. It seemed that each day’s message had been distinctly crafted just for me.

East of the Sun

East of the Sun follows the journey of three young women and their quest for love, life, and self-discovery in the autumn of 1928. The story begins in London with Viva Holloway, an orphan and aspiring writer who takes on the responsibility of chaperoning three young adults—Rose, Tor and Guy—in traveling to India.

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

_"This world is made up of stories—every person's story, those that are hidden, and those that are outright and clear. This is the story of one named for a flower." _ The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder is the story of a young girl's experience growing up in 1950s Louisiana.

From May to December

From May to December is the story of four women, sisters Lolly and Jen and inmates Nicole and Sonya, whose lives intersect at a women’s correctional facility. As the title suggests, the timeline of the book spans from May to December and each chapter focuses on a different woman’s point of view. Lolly teaches classes to women in prison.

Now Silence: A Novel of World War II

Usually novels about World War II occur in Nazi Germany, Poland, or some other place in Europe. Tori Warner Shepard, however, places her story in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of the men from this area had to go through the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. Soon after, they were transferred to a prison camp in Japan. Shepard's focus is on the women who wait for their men to return from war.

Been Here a Thousand Years

Been Here a Thousand Years, Mariolina Venezia’s novel that sweeps across Italy’s history from 1861 to 1989, with certain ideas and images already floating in the periphery: Berlusconi’s wife explaining the reasons for their divorce, my own memories of whistles and blatant gazes from men during a visit to Florence, high fashion seemingly making women into glorified clothes hangers.

On Joanna Russ

Last summer, in an effort to learn more about female writers of speculative fiction (SF), I read Charlotte Spivack’s Merlin’s Daughters. While the majority of the book was a rather boring summary of what the aforementioned "daughters" had written, the introduction posited that all speculative fiction has subversive possibilities. After all, the author is imagining a new world and probably one structured by a new social order, right?

American Women Leaders: 1,560 Current Biographies

American Women Leaders is an ultimate resource of all things women. If you consider yourself a feminist or are interested in women’s empowerment, this is a great coffee table book to own. American Women Leaders features biographies of over 1,500 women who are positively impacting others.

Lessons Learned from WAM! 2009

This past weekend, I attended the [Women, Action & the Media](http://www.centerfornewwords.org/wam/" target="_blank) Conference (WAM!) in Boston. It was a great weekend that offered over forty workshops and panels, a film series, two keynote talks, and a "genius bar" allowing conference-goers to sign up for time with media experts throughout the conference. I started on Friday with the session PR: Getting Your Work Out There. It definitely set the tone for the rest of the conference—we'd be learning new skills, sharing our own experiences, and making new connections.