Archives de catégorie : Feminism

LAST TO EAT, LAST TO LEARN de Pashtana Durrani

The remarkable memoir of Pashtana Durrani, a 23-year-old Afghan woman, who has pursued her passion for educating the “disappearing girls” of the remote, contested rural tribal regions amidst all the turmoil, violence and oppression that has enveloped her country – and her family – over a generation

LAST TO EAT, LAST TO LEARN
by Pashtana Durrani
with Tamara Bralo
‎ Kensington, TBD 2023
(via The Martell agency)

Pashtana Durrani was the first recipient of a grant from Malala’s Fund, and the founder of Learn NGO, an organization that was ruthlessly targeted by the Taliban. She conceived and developed a brilliant program for getting educational materials directly into the hands of girls and young women in the form of solar-powered tablets preloaded with lessons for grades K-12.
Pashtana escaped from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover and will soon be in the U.S., with a two-year residency at Smith College to continue her critical work for girls’ education. Malala wrote one of two letters to the U.S. government to petition for Pashatana’s safe evacuation to the U.S. Pashtana is a highly sought-after expert in the on-going international advocacy struggles, a figure of hope and promise for all those determined not to cede ground in the battle for women’s education and autonomy in Afghanistan and beyond. To get an idea of her passionate engagement and resilience in the face of despair, please watch this clip of an interview the weekend after the fall of Kandahar, which was her base, on UK’s Channel 4 (the same day she was also interviewed by CNN, BBC, NBC, ABC, the
LA Times and Washington Post):

The New York Times has reached out to her twice to write an op-ed, which she will be doing shortly. For quite some time Pashtana has been a go-to person for almost every major media outlet. Her work has been recognized by Amnesty International and the UN.
Just as Malala proved, the young women of Afghanistan – and the world – will be the fiercest, most effective fighters in this just cause and Pashtana is one of their most determined and articulate voices. She has been working on educating young women since she was 7 years old (turning down a full scholarship to Cambridge, so she could so she wouldn’t be cut off from her girls for several years was an inspired, albeit shocking, decision). Her story and her students’ stories are heartbreaking and inspirational and offer essential lessons about the realities of the world beyond our borders and how meaningful lives can be led amidst stunning adversity. And the critical issues regarding the (non)education of women in Afghanistan and across the globe are not going away soon. We will never be able to shed too much light on this brutal situation.

The co-writer on the project, Tamara Bralo, is an award-winning journalist who worked for BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera English, and spent years covering war zones around the world, including Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

GOOD FOR A GIRL de Lauren Fleshman

A memoir and manifesto about women and sports, told through the experiences of a highly decorated runner. From the time Lauren first laced up her sneakers to out-sprint the boys in her neighborhood, though puberty when half of all girls abandon sports for good, and into elite running where she had to be “fast and fuckable” to fit into the Nike machine, Lauren felt she was bumping into a system that was not made for her.

GOOD FOR A GIRL:
A Life Running In A Man’s World
by Lauren Fleshman
‎ Penguin Press, TBD 2022
(via Levine, Greenberg, Rostan)

Lauren Fleshman is very, very good at running. She was a two-time USA Champion, finished 7th in the world, and is widely known for having a devastating (but entertaining to watch) finishing kick. For the past 25 years, she can now clearly see that at every step of the way she was bumping up against a system that was never made for her. This is a #metoo story that follows Lauren while she racked up the miles:

From puberty, where sports diverge by gender, where boys develop the types of bodies sports were designed around, and 50% of girls quit.
To college, where she entered a system built by and for men, one full of cracks to fall through and landmines to step on, that refused to acknowledge and account for the different physiology of women who were consistently hurting themselves to fit in.
To being a professional runner for Nike where she learned that she needed to be Fast and Fuckable to succeed in their marketing machinery.

Running is the highest participatory sport in the world, and women are taking it over. In one generation we’ve gone from being pulled off the Boston marathon course for the crime of running while female to making up 60% of the 59 million Americans who run and the 18 million who race. It’s a women’s sport now, and we are only just beginning to realize it.

Lauren Fleshman is considered one of the greatest distance runners in USA history. Her professional racing career saw two USA Championship Titles and five World Championship berths for Team USA. She is endeared as much for her failures as her accomplishments, because of her unique approach to sport and legacy in the running community. Her influence has remained strong since retiring from elite racing in 2016, when she transitioned to Head Coach of Little Wing Athletics, the only woman led, woman run, woman sponsored professional running team in the world. Lauren currently serves on the Board of Directors for USATF, advocating for better governance, safe sport, and the protection of athlete’s rights.

THE HOP de Diana Clarke

From the author of Thin Girls, a page-turning feminist novel that tells the story of how a poor girl coming of age in rural New Zealand grows to be a sex icon, the face of a movement, and a mother, all at the same time.

THE HOP
by Diana Clarke
Harper, June 2022
(via Writers House)

Kate Burns grows up wanting attention from her Ma, but her Ma wants only money and Kate learns how to get both. She and her childhood friend, Lacey, run kissing lessons for cash in the janitor’s closet of Fenbrook High, and, just like that, they find themselves in the sex work industry. When Ma dies, Kate discovers that the men her Ma was always inviting over to their home were, in fact, clients. Ma was no stranger to sex work either.
Following in Ma’s footsteps, Kate heads to Nevada where she picks up a job at America’s largest and most successful brothel: The Hop. In her new life as a Bunny, Kate searches for an identity she can perform—the other Bunnies include a goth, a housewife, a hippy, a rebel, all of them acting their archetype flawlessly. She befriends Betty, a trans woman who is a Bunny for kicks rather than cash; Mia, who is marketed as The Asian Persuasion; Dakota and Rain, who are ex-dominatrixes and newly in love. Kate becomes Lady Lane. Lady quickly becomes a bestselling Bunny and the owner Daddy’s favorite at this high-class establishment. But when ten street workers are killed in a nearby city, just bodies with no names, Lady joins her sister Bunnies in mourning and begins to see things in a new light.
Lady’s success breeds scandal and unwanted fame, deeply affecting her, transforming her life and The Hop forever. Diana Clarke’s provocative second novel is subversive in the very best way, an unforgettable work of fiction with a feminist message that couldn’t be more important.

Purdue MFA (with Roxane Gay as her thesis adviser) and University of Utah PhD candidate, Diana Clarke is a New Zealander who now lives in Salt Lake City. Her work has been published in Glimmer Train, The Rumpus, Black Warrior Review, The Master’s Review, and Hobart, among other places. THE HOP is her second novel.

VAGINA OBSCURA de Rachel Gross

Smithsonian magazine’s Rachel Gross tells the story of how early anatomists charted and named (and shamed) our lady parts — and how a new generation of explorers are redrawing and reclaiming the map.

VAGINA OBSCURA
by Rachel Gross
W.W. Norton, Spring 2022

The Latin term for the female genitalia, pudendum, means “parts for which you should be ashamed.” Until 1651, ovaries were called female testicles. The fallopian tubes are named for a man. Named, claimed, and shamed: Welcome to the story of the female body, as penned by men.
Today, a new generation of (mostly) women scientists is finally redrawing the map. With modern tools and fresh perspectives, they’re looking at the organs traditionally bound up in reproduction―the uterus, ovaries, vagina―and seeing within them a new biology of change and resilience. Through their eyes, journalist Rachel E. Gross takes readers on an anatomical odyssey to the center of this new world―a world where the uterus regrows itself, ovaries pump out fresh eggs, and the clitoris pulses beneath the surface like a shimmering pyramid of nerves. Full of wit and wonder, VAGINA OBSCURA is a celebratory testament to how the landscape of knowledge can be rewritten to better serve everyone.

Rachel Gross is a Visiting Scholar in the Women and Gender Studies department at MIT and has just finished her year-long term as a Knight Science Journalism fellow.

BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE de Jennifer Ashley Wright

BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE is a little bit You Never Forget Your First, a little bit The Knick, a dash of The Age of Innocence, and a sprinkle of The Shawshank Redemption.

BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE
by Jennifer Ashley Wright
Hachette Books, Spring 2023

This sharp, witty Gilded Age medical history stars Madame Restell, a glamorous women’s healthcare provider in Manhattan, who was a celebrity in her era and a Moira Rose-esque figure with a flair for high fashion and petty public beefs. The story of Restell’s struggle to care for New York’s unmarried women—providing abortions, birth control, and other assistance—in defiance of increasing persecution from powerful men, it ends not in outright tragedy, but with a glorious, life-affirming, bittersweet twist. That this book doubles as a history of women’s health—and the propaganda on which the “pro-life” movement was founded—makes it not just entertaining, but profoundly comforting for feminist readers. Few and far between are the books expanding our sense of hope, humor, and what’s possible for women’s rights in this politicized arena, one which augurs some real downer developments in the coming years. BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE does just that, and it does so in a sumptuous, character-driven, frequently funny package.

Jennifer Ashley Wright has written beloved pop history collections from It Ended Badly and Get Well Soon (Holt) to the forthcoming She Kills Me, an illustrated field guide to righteous women who have committed murder (Abrams Image). BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE is Wright’s first work of single narrative history.