I had just broken up with my boyfriend and moved into an apartment in Oakland with a German woman I found on Craigslist.
Not too long after, I walked to the bookstore and came out holding books by bell hooks, Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde. I looked down at the books and thought, I guess this is what happens when you break up with your boyfriend. You go to the feminist literature.
Women of the Italian Renaissance | ISOTTA NOGAROLA (c.1418-1466)
Isotta was born into a wealth Veronese family with a well-established tradition of learning; many of her relatives were university-educated, and her aunt, Angela Nogarola, was a poetess. Isotta’s father died when she was young, so it was her mother who took charge of the children’s education, hiring the humanist scholar Martino Rizzoni to tutor the Nogarola girls. Two of the sisters, Isotta and Ginevra, particularly embraced their studies, becoming fluent in Latin and knowledgeable in classical philosophy, rhetoric, and the study of Scriptures and theology. Ginevra would marry in 1438 and put aside her scholarship, but Isotta continued to write throughout her life.
The Nogarola sisters sought to enter the literary world by writing to close family friends and kin, and the scholarly contacts of Rizzoni. Their early correspondences earned them high praise among academics; when the noted humanist Guarino da Verona read their compositions, he wrote enthusiastically of the glory he brought their home city: “Oh the glory indeed of our State and our Age! Oh how rare a bird on earth, like nothing so much as a black swan! If earlier ages had borne these proven virgins, with how many verses would they have sung … would they not have honoured these modest, noble, erudite, eloquent women …?”
You might notice that he says nothing about their academic worthiness. Such is the case with most of the praises heaped on Isotta, and other female humanists like her: they are lauded for their virginity, singled out as remarkable among women, raised up as an emblem for their city or as spiritual sisters of the women of antiquity. They are made out to be symbols rather than active participants in the public discourse, prodigies with masculine souls rather than ordinary women who had taken advantage of the opportunity to learn. In a city where females were excluded from public life, the idea that any woman was capable of learning and contributing to high-minded discussions threatened the status quo.
In any case, Isotta was heartened to have attracted the attention of so distinguished a figure as Guarino, and so in 1437 she wrote to him directly. Guarino did not reply, leaving Isotta feeling angry and shamed. “You have treated me wretchedly,” she wrote, some months later, “and have shown as little consideration as if I had never been born. For I am ridiculed throughout the city, those of my own condition deride me. I am attached on all sides … Even if I am deserving of this outrage, it is unworthy of you to inflict it. What have I done to be thus despised by you, Guarino?” This time, he did write back, sending her a stinging response that dismissed her as an overemotional woman who lacked the manly virtue he had once believed she possessed.
Her family moved to Venice in 1438, and soon after an anonymous pamphlet began circulating, railing against the vices of the city’s women. Isotta herself was singled out, accused of promiscuity and incest because “she dares to engage so deeply in the finest literary studies” and “the woman of fluent speech is never chaste”. The attack may have been politically-motivated, aimed at discrediting the Nogarola family rather than Isotta specifically, but it nonetheless underlined again the precariousness of her position as a female scholar in a male field.
Utimately, Isotta withdrew into a life of celibacy and solitude, moving from secular to sacred studies — this being seen as a more appropriate field of interest for a woman. She continued to correspond with other intellectuals, particularly the Venetian politician Ludovico Foscarini, with whom she debated whether Adam or Eve held the greater responsibility for the fall of humanity.
The celebrated poet reads the seminal letter of political protest, in which she became the first and only person to date to refuse the highest honor bestowed upon an artist on behalf of the people. Background and discussion: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/05/16/adrienne-rich-national-medal-of-arts-letter/
Source: SoundCloud / brainpicker
Nina Simone: “I want to shake people up so bad that when they leave a nightclub where I performed, I just want them to go to pieces! I want to go in that den of those elegant people, with their old ideas and smugness and just drive them insane…”
“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me, no fear…”
2 1/2 minutes of pure fierceness.
This is so terrific.
Top pic: Emma pictured as herself, wearing a badge that says ‘Emma for President 2044’.
Bottom pic: Emma as Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Helen Keller and Susan B Anthony.
Mother shuns Disney Princess ideal and dresses daughter up as REAL heroines from history to commemorate fifth birthday!
A photographer has commemorated her daughter’s fifth birthday by dressing her up as five different influential women from history - Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Susan B Anthony, Helen Keller and Jane Goodall - and capturing the images for a photo series.
Jaime Moore from Austin, Texas, wrote on her website JaimeMoorePhotography.com that instead of dressing Emma up as a Disney princess - which is ‘an unrealistic fantasy for most girls’ - she decided to take photos of her emulating real women worth admiring.
‘My daughter wasn’t born into royalty,’ the mother-of-two explained. ‘But she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters.’
Each of the images is accompanied by an inspiring quote from the woman being portrayed.
In the photo that sees her impersonating deafblind political activist Helen Keller, for example, the quotation below reads: ‘Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow.’
At the end of the photo series, the photographer has written: ‘Let’s set aside the Barbie Dolls and the Disney Princesses for just a moment, and let’s show our girls the REAL women they can be.’
Ms Moore’s final pictures show Emma as herself, donning a pin on her shirt that says: ‘Emma for president 2044’, a testament to her overriding message that her daughter should dream big.
Why Society Still Needs Feminism
Because to men, a key is a device to open something. For women, it’s a weapon we hold between our fingers when we’re walking alone at night.
Because the biggest insult for a guy is to be called a “pussy,” a “little bitch” or a “girl.” From here on out, being called a “pussy” is an effing badge of honor.
Because last month, my politics professor asked the class if women should have equal representation in the Supreme Court, and only three out of 42 people raised their hands.
Because rape jokes are still a thing.
Because despite being equally broke college kids, guys are still expected to pay for dates, drinks and flowers.
Because as a legit student group, Campus Fellowship does not allow women to lead anything involving men. Look, I know Eve was dumb about the whole apple and snake thing, but I think we can agree having a vagina does not directly impact your ability to lead a
Because it’s assumed that if you are nice to a girl, she owes you sex — therefore, if she turns you down, she’s a bitch who’s put you in the “friend zone.” Sorry, bro, women are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.
Because only 29 percent of American women identify as feminist, and in the words of author Caitlin Moran, “What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? Did all that good shit get on your nerves? Or were you just drunk at the time
of the survey?”
Because when people hear the term feminist, they honestly think of women burning bras. Dude, have you ever bought a bra? No one would burn them because they’re freaking
Because Rush Limbaugh.
Because we now have a record number of women in the Senate … which is a measly 20 out of 100. Congrats, USA, we’ve gone up to 78th place for women’s political representation, still below China, Rwanda and Iraq.
Because recently I had a discussion with a couple of well-meaning Drake University guys, and they literally could not fathom how catcalling a woman walking down University Avenue is creepy and sexist.
Could. Not. Fathom.
Because on average, the tenured male professors at Drake make more than the tenured female professors.
Because more people on campus complain about chalked statistics regarding sexual assault than complain about the existence of sexual assault. Priorities? Have them.
Because 138 House Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act. All 138 felt it shouldn’t provide support for Native women, LGBT people or immigrant women. I’m kind of confused by this, because I thought LGBT people and women of color were also human beings.
Because a girl was roofied last semester at a local campus bar, and I heard someone say they think she should have been more careful. Being drugged is her fault, not the fault of the person who put drugs in her drink?
Because Chris Brown beat Rihanna so badly she was hospitalized, yet he still has fans and bestselling songs and a tattoo of an abused woman on his neck.
Because out of 7 billion people on the planet, more than 1 billion women will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes. Women and girls have their clitorises cut out, acid thrown on them and broken bottles shoved up them as an act of war. Every second of every day. Every corner of the Earth.
Because the other day, another friend of mine told me she was raped, and I can no longer count on both my hands the number of friends who have told me they’ve been sexually assaulted. Words can’t express how scared I am that I’m getting used to this.
Because a brief survey of reality will tell you that we do not live in a world that values all people equally and that sucks in real, very scary ways. Because you know we live in a sexist world when an awesome thing with the name “feminism” has a weird connotation. Because if I have kids someday, I want my son to be able to have emotions and play dress up, and I want my daughter to climb trees and care more about what’s in her head than what’s on it. Because I don’t want her to carry keys between her fingers at night to
Because feminism is for everybody, and this is your official invitation.
For the last three decades many Americans have puzzled over a system that gives an R to a movie in which a women is carved up by a chainsaw and an NC-17 to one that shows a woman sexually pleasured. From such ratings one might conclude that sexual violence against women is OK for American teenagers to see, but that they must be 18 to see consensual sex. What message does this send to the kids the MPAA presumably means to protect?
“You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”
-Ryan Gosling on the controversy around the rating of his film ‘Blue Valentine’